Does Good Form Really Matter?
Do you get confused about good form? What is it really? Does it really help, many professionals swear you should not embark on any kind of work out without paying attention to good form.
On the other Hand when German Researchers did a study on good form, where they had a group of runners spend three months forcing them to have good form, they were prettier runners, less bouncy with smoother gates, but they also were less efficient with reduced lung capacity and they had more injuries.
What are we supposed to think about this study? Should you not listen to your personal trainer when he preaches about good form? I wouldn’t say that’s exactly it. The problem lays in our thinking, we want to GET good form, we look at what good form is and we try to MAKE ourselves to do that no matter what the cost, even if getting there requires tensing and forcing your spine to be straight and making your foot to land a certain prescribed way.
All the wile your not breathing or having any fun really, really the point is to have a good looking butt, or something like that. Most people join a gym focused on the end result, or what we call end gaining in the Alexander Technique, rather than the journey of getting healthy. The end results tend to be more injury like in the study, and a hearty abandonment of gym membership cards.
What if it’s not so much the form that’s the problem but the making, getting and forcing ourselves into something that we do because we want to gain an end and make it look a certain way. Think about it like this, if you have kids or friends and relatives that have kids you take care of sometimes have you ever tried to get them to do something? Have you ever allowed a kid to do something? Which one works better? Forcing good form on your muscles is a bit like telling an enraged child he needs to eat his peas or else.
We live in a society where we have a habit of end gaining, it’s the social norm, we care more about the destination than the journey, and what is the cost of that? If you look at the environment you see the cost, we chop down trees, dig holes in the ground and pollute the air because we need to make all the crap we could probably live without wile destroying the oxygen and water supplies we can’t really live without. We do it to our bodies too.
When we end gain we waste a lot of energy, just like with the earth, the stressful tensing uses muscles that we don’t need to use wile leaving other useful muscles to atrophy, and we don’t really breath. Also, overuse injuries become common, we are tired at the end of a workout rather than invigorated and we are more likely to give up and decide to stay on the couch rather than be active.
What can you do about end gaining thing you might want to know? In another study, they put sensors on people running a treadmill and had them run it twice, the first time they had them end gain by thinking about what they were going to gain at the end of the run, how much further they had to go, what they were looking like to other people. The second time they had them think about where there head was balancing what their foot was doing, without making it wrong or trying to fix it.
The people in the second study had more lung capacity and had fewer injuries, they also had more fun than the people that were unnecessarily focused on the end result. So basically you can reduce a lot of stress by being in the moment, but old habits die hard. You can make many improvements by just letting go of form and letting yourself have fun when yo are running, walking, lifting weights and the like. If you want to learn more about how you can stop end gaining, do yourself a favor and give me a call, I teach the Alexander Technique, a method that examines the nature of end gaining and the habits mis balance that form around it. You learn a means whereby the letting go can happen and you can move with more freedom and ease and have much more energy at the end of the day.