Exercise is the ‘magic bullet’ for health when administered correctly. Some of us medical professionals like to state, “exercise is medicine.”

But, like so many positive things in life, the blessing becomes the curse when exercise is administered incorrectly. Now there are many ways that one can exercise wrong including training errors such as doing too much, too soon or too fast. Another example would be picking an exercise that is not suitable for one’s body type or goals such as a person with osteoporosis doing only pool exercises when they need gravity to build their bone density.

The error in exercise that I want to focus on here is improper form. Improper form is the root cause too many injuries in exercise and sports.  I can write a separate blog post on various popular sports but today I’d like to focus on weight lifting. It is critical to highlight the importance of proper form with weightlifting considering the recent surge of weightlifting based gyms in United States.

Even more than every other sport, weightlifting has predetermined, calculated movement patterns that are required to safely and effectively perform the exercise. For example, we all run a little differently and the ‘ideal running form’ is on a spectrum, meaning various parameters of a person must be evaluated to properly, and individually, evaluate their running form.

But weightlifting movements are a bit more cut and dry. So it’s easier to give a person a pass/fail when they attempt a weightlifting maneuver.  

Some of the most common weightlifting maneuvers ironically require the most demanding movement patterns. Here’s an example:

The squat requires your heels to stay down, your feet to not flare out, your knees to not kiss, your arches to not collapse, your spine to stay in neutral, core motor control turned on and your mid back to be flexible. This list isn’t even all inclusive. If you want to add in an overhead squat, your shoulder range of motion has to be perfect. Now wanna add weight? Don’t until you have the above ingredients.

So when folks are ‘on-ramped’ into weightlifting classes in 2 weeks, do you think it’s likely they have all of this mobility and core strength? Nope.

Undoubtedly, the lack of the above ingredients increases the risk of weightlifting and can turn exercise from a blessing to a curse.

So what’s the solution?

People need a more critical video-based analysis of their movement so they can begin working on their weakest links as they very, very gradually start the weightlifting program. Picture the on ramp being more like six months. It doesn’t mean you’re not lifting, you’re just working on your specific individualized mobility and stability plan while ramping and before adding weight.

Why video based analysis?

Most humans are visual learners. If someone tells you to correct a movement while you’re doing it, it’s much harder to understand unless you’re seeing yourself do it.   Video-based analysis lets you re-film a movement at a later date and compare for measuring progress.  It’s also a great way to document the necessary homework!

Why do I need IdealRun to analyze me?

An Orthopaedic Board Certified Doctor of Physical Therapy analyzes your weightlifting movements and provides you impairment specific exercises that address your particular limitations. It takes years of academic training in movement analysis and musculoskeletal assessment to become highly skilled at looking for finite movements that a limit power potential or increase injury risk. This is our specialization and we are excellent at it.

Dr. Eric Schweitzer, DPT

Founder at IdealRun
Doctor of Physical Therapy, author, professor, runner and triathlete – has practiced physical therapy for more than 15 years.He runs a successful physical therapy practice, Premier Physical Therapy, located in Clearwater, Florida and is the founder of IdealRun a personalized online running gait analysis.
Dr. Eric Schweitzer, DPT

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