You may have heard me say it before: Form over speed equals results. This isn’t just a slogan on a shirt or something I say in my videos. This is a true statement that I wish more people would understand. When you have great form, you’re able to achieve a better range of motion. With better range of motion, you will definitely get better results. So let’s talk about a few simple movements: planks, push-ups, plyometrics, lunges, and squats. Making some small tweaks to how you’re doing them can help get you to good form. And good form with these leads to good form in most movements. Just keep a close eye on your form while you’re working out—either face a mirror or put your phone in selfie mode. You don’t have to even hit record on the phone; watch yourself on the screen and see what your body looks like through different movement patterns. I promise you that these simple tweaks will create a huge impact in your workout routines—and your results!
Do It Right: Plank is the foundation of many movements, especially those that activate the core, so maintaining proper positioning is critical to your results. Place your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Your butt should be down and your back flat. Press all the weight into your heels. Your neck and head should be in alignment, so be sure to look slightly out, not directly down at the ground. Be cautious of letting your hips sink to the mat or pike up in the air. To modify plank, simply drop the knees to the ground and keep the rest of your body in alignment. Whether you’re on knees or toes doesn’t really matter—do whatever is right for you and your body. Just make sure to follow these guidelines so you’re getting the most out of this movement.
Do It Right: Push-ups are a functional exercise and a great way to work the upper body without equipment. A lot of the principles of plank also apply to the push-up—with a few minor tweaks. There are of course multiple kinds of push-ups, but for the standard one, your arms should be slightly wider than the shoulders so that the work is in the chest. All of the other plank principles apply as far your body alignment is concerned. Same goes for modified plank. Don’t stress out over range of motion at first. Over time you’ll be able to go deeper into your push-up as you perfect the movement. In the beginning it’s better to perform the move in a modified position and focus on form, rather than try to do it on your toes with bad form. Form breeds results, but it also protects us from injury.
Do It Right: People are often afraid of injuring their knees with plyometrics, but when done with excellent form, they’re completely safe. First, you have to go down to go up! In other words, your movement for any plyo work should start with a squat or soft bend in the knees. Second, land softly. Just think toe, ball, heel. These are the parts of the foot that you want to land through in order to not put undue strain on your joints. Third, finish where you started…in a squat. If you need to modify any plyometric movements, simply remove the jump but keep the “explosive power” by squatting and rising up onto the balls of the feet.
Do It Right: Lunges are a great functional movement and are especially effective at working the lower part of your body. It’s important to keep your body in the proper position by ensuring that your ears, shoulder, and hips are in alignment. Toes should be tracking forward, and you should have a wide enough stance to be able to drop your knees down toward the ground in two 90-degree angles. Don’t let your knees push past your toes. The motion should be up and down, not forward and back.
Do It Right: There are many variations of squats, but for standard squats, your feet should be about hip distance apart. You want all the weight in your heels, so much so that you can slightly lift your toes off of the ground. Push your butt back but keep your back flat, shoulders pulled back, and chest lifted. To modify a squat, simply decrease your range of motion or turn your toes out ever so slightly to open up your hip flexors and ensure that your knees don’t track inward.