THE DEAL WITH SQUATS

January 29th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

I love squats. I train my clients on squats, especially squat presses. I’m a stickler for proper form, and suggest going down slowly (think count to 3 or 5) and coming up strong. Here are some more thoughts on why I love squats:

• Squats are mostly known as a leg exercise, but they promote body-wide muscle building by catalyzing an anabolic environment

• Squats are also one of the best functional exercises out there, promoting mobility and balance and helping you complete real-world activities with ease

• Squats also help you to burn more fat, as one of the most time-efficient ways to burn more calories continually is by developing more muscle

• Squats have long been criticized for being destructive to your knees, but research shows that when done properly, squats actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue

• Squats are one type of exercise that should be a part of virtually everyone’s fitness routine, as they provide whole-body benefits


Importance of Proper Form When Strength Training

August 8th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

I am a stickler on proper form!

In both my classes and sessions, you will hear me correcting my clients form as needed. You’ll see me demonstrating proper form, you’ll even occasionally hear me tell a client to drop down a “click” in their weight to maintain proper form.

This article from the NFPT blog explains why proper form is so important.

I’m sure we’ve all witnessed it before, and we may even be guilty of doing this ourselves – improper form and technique when attempting to lift heavy.

Sure, the only way to increase muscle mass is by lifting heavy but what’s the point if you’re going to have sloppy form? Not only can we potentially cause injury to ourselves or clients with improper form, but we’re not working the intended muscle groups with improper form either. When strength training any area of your body, having proper form and technique is crucial to make sure you’re working the intended muscle groups that you want to develop and grow.

There are several factors that play important roles when strength training.

Prevent Injury

One of the most important reasons to maintain proper form during weight lifting exercises is to prevent injury. When we lift a heavy weight, this can cause the body to become misaligned, and that can place your tendons, muscles, and joints in positions that can potentially cause strains or tears. Rule of thumb here is to lower the weight if you have to sway your body in order to lift the weight. You want to avoid lifting by swaying your back to gain momentum.

It is always better to lift lighter weights with proper form than to lift heavy weight with sloppy form.

For example, if you’re performing bicep curls with dumbbells, and you have to swing your whole body into the exercise to lift the weight- then this is a sign that the weight is too heavy and you should find a lighter weighted dumbbell.

Muscle Targeting

Proper form also ensures correct muscle targeting. Going back to the bicep curls, if we’re swinging our whole body into the intended bicep curl movement, chances are that our bicep is not getting worked, and you’re working more of your shoulder girdles and core. By doing this you can potentially cause injury to the intended muscle that you are trying to work and strain other areas in the body that aren’t intended to be worked, with the example of bicep curls.

Proper Breathing Techniques

One area I’d like to discuss also is breathing. Proper form helps to ensure proper breathing techniques during our reps and sets. This is essential for weight training exercises because it helps to generate more force and reduce the chance of heart problems, aneurysms and severe increases in blood pressure. When you use the correct form you will be able to breathe the air in easier, and you will be able to focus on the exercise at hand with much greater detail. Rule of thumb here is to inhale just before the positive (lift) and exhale after the negative (lowering the weight) and keep this pace for each rep of each set.

Everyone likes to use heavyweight in the gym, but in order for us to lift the maximum weight, our muscles need to be in the ideal position to generate force. When movements become unaligned, muscles are placed at awkward angles decreasing functionality. By maintaining proper form you will be able to lift heavier that will be noticed with visible results in a shorter timeframe.