When you work with a TB12 Body Coach in an initial session, one of the things you’ll hear us say most often is “form first.” Correct form should be the foundation for every exercise and for your functional strength & conditioning program.
Exercising with proper form — “form first” — promotes injury-free functional movements through proper biomechanics. It is also the path toward realizing your potential for peak performance. Impatiently chasing peak performance by cutting corners in your form will lead to pain, injury, and compromised performance. You should focus on moving with good mechanics at all times. Whether we're walking to work or playing a sport, we're continually creating and reinforcing movement patterns.
Mind-body connections can work in one of two ways. If we’re using correct form in our movements, we make good neuromuscular memories. But if we move with incorrect form, we can develop imbalances or create compensation patterns leading to an overload of a structure — like knees, ankles, and shoulders. In the example of running, if you load your left side more than your right side, you will have unequal force distribution. Unequal force distribution results in your left side taking on more load than your right.
This puts your left side at risk for injury and pain. Exercising with quality form allows your body to absorb external forces (like pounding the pavement when you run) by using proper mechanics and creating alignment in your body to limit the potential for injury.
Form Comes First
Form first is integral to the entire session you will have with a TB12 Body Coach. During the session, your Body Coach will carefully observe your movement in every plane of motion throughout the kinetic chain. This evaluation allows the Body Coach to identify weaknesses or imbalances in the movements — imbalances that can be the root cause of your injury or chronic pain.
Using Cues to Initiate Change
Body Coaches use a variety of verbal and tactile cues that help clients learn to use proper form when they are training. While assessing a client's squat, for example, a Body Coach is analyzing correct muscle activation and biomechanics such as knee alignment and trunk position. Correct muscle activation allows proper dispersion of forces onto the proper muscles, allowing for improved mobility and effectiveness of muscles.
Tactile cueing can be as simple as your Body Coach tapping on the correct muscles you should activate during the movement. The Path Toward Functional Movement With the squat, for example, the Body Coach may tap on your abdominal muscles to make sure those muscles are helping you stabilize your spine during the squat. Once we develop the foundation of the exercise, we incorporate the speed component into the movement. Combining speed with correct form makes the movement functional. Making it functional is what translates to sport and everyday life.
“Form first means engaging only the muscles you should be engaging for the movement you are attempting to do. That’s how you keep the proper balance.” — Tom Brady
Gains Over Time
Committing to a form first approach with your movement and exercise can lead to:
1) More efficient power flow through the body, leading to improved performance
2) Balanced muscle activation leading to greater strength
3) More effective absorption and distribution of loads from external forces, leading to a lower likelihood of injury and better long-term health
The bottom line is to make form a workout priority. Keep your ego in check when following any training program. Don't let a desire to use more resistance or intensity than you can handle with good form outpace a commitment to making sure form comes first.