The Importance of Proper Technique and Form to get the Best Benefit from Exercise & Physical Therapy
Updated: Oct 18
One of the best, most important aspects of working with a physical therapist is both accountability and ongoing education on proper technique and form for movement and exercise. It is very easy to watch an exercise shown to you or even try it out yourself in the clinic and do it correctly, but then when you get home you forget how to get started. In order to get the most benefit from your home exercises and prevent further injury or pain, you need the hands of your physical therapist to direct you until you master the technique and can safely perform them on your own.
So what can happen if you do an exercise incorrectly? Let’s take a look at why it is important to know each correct step to an exercise and how to maintain proper form.
Start with Correct Posture
Many times the aches and pains that we feel start with improper posture as we perform normal daily activities or repetitive movements. When our posture is bad, our joints and muscles are put on a strain and used in a form they were not made to do. When we pull our body into a better starting posture, we recruit the muscles properly and increase the control of our joints.
A good practice to get into is standing and sitting as if you have a string going through your spine out the top of your head, like a puppet and someone is pulling that string taut. I grew up showing horses and I was always taught to “Sit up through your hat.” You will notice that as soon as you sit up tall, several muscles contract and there will be a decreased strain in your back and neck. It’s ok if you can’t maintain this posture for very long; any break that you can give your spine will be much appreciated.
Move with Correct Form
Once we have a solid base to move from, our muscles can perform at their optimal strength and through their entire range of motion available to us. Believe it or not, the smallest changes in our posture can change the outcome of an exercise entirely. For example:
If we are performing resisted rows with a theraband and allow ourselves to slouch or round our shoulders we lose the optimal position for the rhomboids and other scapular muscles to pull our shoulder blades back and out of the way. This improper technique can lead to impingement of your bicep and/or rotator cuff muscles and limit your ability to pull or lift objects.
When we understand the significance of proper technique and why it is helping us, then we will be able to remember better going forward what it is supposed to look like and even better, incorporate it in our day.
I go into more detail on the effects of posture on back pain in my blog: https://www.onthemovempt.com/post/posture-does-it-really-affect-us
How Do I Learn the Best Posture and Form?
I can’t even count how many times a patient has told me, I’ve always had good posture! Yet, when I assess their posture, I see otherwise. There are many aspects that play a part in good posture and we can’t see those things in ourselves unless they are pointed out to us. So the best thing you can do to learn posture and form is to work with a professional, specifically a physical therapist who are specialists in the movement of the body and can give you ways to work on it and correct deficits that may be limiting you.
There are a lot of resources on the internet that can be helpful; however, it is often difficult to understand how to move your body when you are watching a video or looking at a picture. A physical therapist can get their hands on you and guide you through the position and motion so you feel what muscles should be working and how your joints should be moving.
The best thing you can do if you feel you need some direction on correcting your posture and learning the proper technique for exercise is to get a hold of me! We can spend some time in the comfort of your home addressing these deficits you have and learning new ways to move your body. You can schedule a free phone consultation here.