July/August 2009 – The Value of Technique!
The Most Underrated Aspect of Exercise
I decided to write on the topic of technique because it is too often ignored or taken lightly. To be honest, this is not something that surprises me because most people tend to take the path of least resistance. However, there are many disadvantages in not making technique a priority in your workouts. These disadvantages can lead to a lack of positive results, pain and even injury. Allow me to explain.
I Can Do It Myself!
Yes you can. You can do anything yourself. However, what will be your results? For instance, you can cut your own hair, represent yourself in court, or even perform emergency surgery on yourself, but just try to imagine what your results would be. These images should be quite amusing and outright scary, right? Well, it is no different with exercise. Because of this ‘I can do it myself’ mentality, I often see the most amusing and terrifying exercise technique imaginable.
Another common occurrence I see in the gym is people copying others. They watch others do certain exercises and then they try and do it the same way. I call this the ‘blind leading the blind’ strategy because most people at the gym are not well versed in exercise technique. Keep in mind, just because a person is in great shape does not mean they know proper exercise technique. In addition, another misconception is that someone who has many years of workout experience knows effective technique. In truth, some of these people have the worst workout technique and are often riddled with pain and injury.
I have been in this business for about 10 years now and I am always improving the application of technique. In truth, I consider myself a professional because I have the ‘I can always learn more and improve my service’ mentality. That is why I find it strange when people think that they can exercise on their own (without any professional guidance) efficiently.
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: Efficient: 2. productive of desired effects; especially: productive without waste
Remember, it usually takes the same amount of time to do an exercise wrong as it does to do it right, however, the positive results you will get from doing exercises correctly may never come when doing them incorrectly.
Drop That Weight!
I made a gentleman drop 25 lbs in 5 minutes! No it’s not what you’re thinking. He was doing an exercise called the bent-over reverse flye with two 35 lb dumbbells. Once I corrected his overall technique, he had to use the 10 lb dumbbells to maintain proper form throughout the exercise. And may I add that he struggled with those 10 lbs (chuckle and grin). This is only one story, out of many, where I have humbled people using exceptional technique.
I am a huge advocate of raising workout intensity by increasing weight, but not at the expense of technique. I recommend perfecting your technique first, as this naturally raises exercise intensity, and then progress to lifting heavier weights while trying to maintain the same form. Most people do not understand the true power behind raising the level of intensity by using improved technique. I believe this is something that is best understood when experienced, just ask the individual doing the reverse flyes with the 10 lb dumbbells.
If you want positive results from your workouts, make sure you are applying exceptional technique to your exercises!
By: Sal Crispo
Vaughan Personal Trainer