Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

November 29, 2012

Keep fit by keeping proper form

On Fitness
The Andover Townsman

---- — Question: What are the most common biomechanical “form” problems that cause injury in weight lifting and resistance training? Any suggestions on how to avoid them?

Expert: Scott Topjian, fitness director, Latitude Sports Clubs, 10 Main St.

Answer: Hyperextension of the lumbar region of the spine or lower posterior core. These bones and discs are subject to incredible pressures and sheering forces from the muscles activated as well as the additional weights selected for the exercise.

The ultimate problem is that people do not realize they are injuring themselves. Overuse, micro-trauma and failure to properly recover will eventually “open the can of worms,” guaranteed. However, with some experience and knowledge, one can learn how to avoid this common error and exercise both safely and efficiently.

Experts: Robyn Lebowitz, Y personal training coordinator

Dawn Lovejoy, Y chronic disease prevention program coordinator

Answer: The best way to avoid injuring yourself and to have the correct form is to hire a professional who can teach you correct form and make sure you are starting with a safe amount of weight and working to your capacity cardio-wise. Start small, you can always add more.

If you already have injuries or problems with form, when you have a fitness assessment a trainer can include posture and movement assessments, such as static postural assessment, which checks for neural alignment, symmetry, balanced muscle tone and specific postural deformities and a dynamic posture assessment such as overhead squat assessments.

Faulty body alignments that are not revealed during the static postural assessments may be revealed during a dynamic (movement) assessment, which the overhead squat assessment is. This dynamic assessment is designed to access dynamic flexibility, core strength, balance and overall neuromuscular control.

With this information you or your trainer will be armed with knowledge on what needs to be corrected to improve and perfect your form to prevent injury.

Question: How do I stay motivated when I am constantly having to modify workouts to work around physical limitations such as with my knees, hips, shoulders, necks, wrists… ?

Expert: Scott Topjian of Latitude

Answer: Records. Keep track of the specifics of what you are doing: machine/exercise selection, the range of motion, the weight, seat settings, et cetera. Though your workout must be modified, if you can repeat it and record any progress, then you can track improvements in your condition. Ask your fitness professional for some new variations on those old favorites and you just might be surprised.