Training Form

Correct lifting techniques are critical for achieving maximum benefits and preventing injury (see Appendix C). If your form is incorrect, strength training can lead to injury, not strength gains.

  • Use minimal weight when learning a new exercise.
  • Use a closed grip (fingers and thumbs wrap around the bar or handle and touch each other), and place hands equidistant from the ends of the bar. Load the weights evenly across the bar.
  • For free weights, feet should be hip to shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and your back should keep its natural curve. Keep your head level and eyes focused straight ahead. If maintaining this posture is difficult than the weight is too heavy.
  • For resistance machines, adjust the pads to fit your body so the pads can support you during the lift. Keep your head level and eyes focused straight ahead.
  • Lifts should be slow, smooth, and controlled. Lift and lower the weight for 2-4 seconds in each direction to ensure that your muscle, not momentum, is moving the weight.
  • Exhale during the exertion (moving the weight against gravity), and inhale when returning to the start position. Never hold your breath while exercising!
  • Always use a spotter when lifting free weights.

The most common training errors occur when people focus on lifting the weight rather than focusing on stabilizing themselves and controlling the weight. The best way to avoid training mistakes is to ask a staff member at the gym to teach you new exercises and to suggest the best exercises for you based on your fitness level and goals. See Appendix C for examples of common errors in training techniques and how to avoid making them.

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