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Do you have the right form and posture during weight training at the gym?

Do you have the right form and posture during weight training at the gym?

Maintaining the right posture while working out is extremely important, and can prevent injuries. Read more about how to maintain correct posture.

Written by Nirmalya Dutta |Updated : October 1, 2013 3:14 PM IST

good postureIf you've ever been to a gym, you will see trainers going great lengths to make sure their clients are maintaining the right posture. But why is it so important? You'd be shocked to know that most injuries in the gym are caused by improper posture and bad form.

Celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza says, 'Proper form is imperative when lifting weights to prevent the risk of injury and to get the most benefits out of the exercise, lift slower with control, connecting your mind to the move. Along with proper form comes the idea of proper alignment (posture) and breathing technique both contribute to getting the most out of the exercise and remaining injury free.'

Physique Elite Trainer Kumar P Mannava adds, 'Many of us learn our lifting techniques by seeing others in gyms or by seeing video demonstrations. It gets very imperative that one learns to lift right from a well qualified and experienced trainer else there is a great possibility of an end to your weight lifting journey even before you start.'

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According to him, the fundamentals of correct form and posture include:

  • Choosing the right weight: What you can achieve with 50lbs x 8 reps with a high risk of injury, can also be achieved with a 30lbsx12 reps of correct form with no risk of injury. For most people, a single set of 12 repetitions with the right choice of weight can build strength just as efficiently as three sets of the same exercise done with heavy weights with improper form and posture. As you get stronger, gradually increase the amount of weight.
  • Using correct technique: Learn to do each exercise correctly. The better your training technique the more you train the right muscle group without much involvement of supporting muscles. If you're unable to maintain good technique then there are chances your form and posture going wrong. Decrease the weight or the number of repetitions. Remember, proper form matters in whatever you lift in the gym.
  • Breathe: You might be tempted to hold your breath while you're lifting weights. Don't do that. Holding your breath can lead to dangerous increases in blood pressure. Instead, breathe out as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower the weight.

Mannava adds, 'The downside of incorrect weight training techniques lead to accidents like sprains, strains, dislocation of joints, fractures and other painful injuries and others that may hamper your weight training efforts.'

Exercises which usually see the worst postures and most serious injuries are those that involve the lower body or the lower back. Here are some exercises where maintaining proper posture is of utmost importance:


The deadlift is a bodybuilder's favourite exercise which targets the entire back. It's however notorious for causing injuries and that's why when lifting heavier weights, many people use a weight belt to support their lower back.

Deadlift right and wrongThe proper form: Irrespective of whether you're using dumbbells or a barbell, it's one exercise where you need to start with the right posture and maintain proper form throughout the exercise. The right way is to keep your back as straight as possible, then bend your knees and grasp the dumbbells or barbell lifting them about six inches from the floor. Make sure your back is completely straight throughout the exercise even when you're bending down. Your head and spine should form one straight line and your lower back shouldn't be jutting out.


SquatsWhile the squat is considered the 'King of Exercises' by bodybuilders and with good reason, when done with weights, it targets the muscles of thighs, hips, buttocks, quads and hamstrings. Not only are they great for your muscles but they also help strengthen your bones, ligaments and tendons throughout the lower body. When you're doing it with weights, it engages your lower back, upper back, abs, shoulders and arms making it the most complete exercise of them all. Sadly, despite all these great benefits it's notorious for causing back and lower body injuries when done improperly.

The proper form: When doing the squat, make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and try to keep your feet as turned outwards but not more than 15 degrees. Make sure you maintain a hip hinge that is every time you squat your buttocks move backwards while going down. While doing this, make sure your squat and your lower back is slightly arched inside.

Bent-over two-arm dumbbell rows

twoarmbentoverThis is another back exercise which needs to be performed properly or can blow out your lower back.

The proper form: Start with a dumbbell in each hand and bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward. Make sure you keep your back straight and head up while you bend at the hips until they are nearly parallel to the floor. When you lift the dumbbells to the side, keep your torso stationary, lower back in and elbows close to the body. Slightly squeeze your shoulders back and hold it for a brief pause.

Lat pull-down

Lateral PulldownA classic cable exercise, the lat pull-down targets your lats, shoulders and arms. This exercise is usually done with a wide-grip but not too wide so that it restricts your movement.

The proper form: While doing the exercise make sure you pull the bar to the top of the chest with you back arched, chest pumped forward, shoulders retracted and elbows slightly bending behind the torso. Do not use your upper torso to 'cheat' in this exercise; instead, let your upper back muscles and arms do the work. It's also important not to lock your head and neck which can lead to stiffness and that you're not straining your spine while doing lat pull-downs.

Warning: If you're performing any of the aforementioned exercises or even starting weightlifting, we suggest you take the help of a floor trainer to help you get the proper form for each exercise to avoid injuries. Also, while doing heavy weights, ask them to help you out.

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