At BearWolf Training, we pride ourselves on good form and technique. It's essential to great training and achieving better, longer lasting results.
However, good form can be difficult to achieve when you don't have a BearWolf coach watching over you. It can be difficult to be aware of small corrections that not only make your lifting safer, but more effective.
Every BearWolf workout plan comes with demonstration videos of key exercises. If you have access to them, watch them carefully and take on the cues in the description.
You should also consider the following points whenever you lift. Try to create a personal checklist that you cue yourself from the ground up. Bear in mind that some exercises may deviate from these rules, but generally speaking - they should serve you well.
Your neck is part of your spine, so ideally it should follow the natural angle that your back does. This means that the distance between your chin and your chest should remain the same throughout an exercise with your face pointing in the same direction as your chest also.
Your upper section of your spine will have a natural subtle curve forwards. You should always aim to not allow this position to drop further forwards so that you begin to hunch over. When speaking of maintaining a neutral spine (neck, upper back, lower back), we would look for you to keep your back moving as one solid structure throughout the exercise
Your shoulders should be pinned back and pulled down away from your ears. This will not only create a stable joint, but aid with your upper back position also.
The lower section of your spine will also have a natural curve that subtly hollows out your lower back. Avoid leaning back too far in an exercise so that you exaggurate the hollow.
For most exercises, you are trying to keep your knees directly over your ankles as best you can and aiming to have your knees pointing in the direction of your toes, if not a little outwards towards the outside of your foot.
You should try to have your feet pointing directly forwards and allowing no more than a gentle turn outwards.
Coach James demonstrates all of the above in his hip hinge demonstration. Pay close attention to how he keeps his back straight, his head position and how he stacks his ankles and knees well from both the front and side.
If you manage to adhere to the above rules and move within a range where you can maintain all of those rules, you should be safe an efficient. However, you will also want to create tension through your body to ensure you are stable and strong.
The best way to create tension is to get tight (refer to 'Setting up for a lift' for additional info.) Screw your feet into the floor, aim to bend the bar, squeeze your hands tight and brace your abs like you are expecting to be punched in the stomach. Maintain these cues through your training and you will dramatically increase your potential.