At the beginning of March, I signed up for a 30-day challenge to perform 300 kettlebell swings a day. I started swinging kettlebells in the fall to help build stability and functional strength, things that would directly transfer over to the bike. I needed a good swift kick in the posterior chain and kettlebells always delivered.
So when this challenge came along, I thought it would be the perfect way to take things up a notch. Toward the end of February I slowly increased the swings in my workout until I knew I could bang out 300.
When March 1st rolled around, I took my measurements and started swinging for the fences. Not so bad. But after a few days of all bells and no breaks, my shoulder started talking to me. Each day my form was breaking down just a little and I was getting lazy with my swing, not properly hinging through the hips. I knew I needed help and reached out to one of the organizers of the challenge who happily assessed my swing and offered pointers. Even after the lesson, I still had to focus on correcting certain aspects and found myself sliding back into the original pattern. I didn’t want to give up, but I knew that one perfect swing far outweighed 299 shitty ones.
When I’m working with my clients, I’m constantly helping them correct their form, activate the proper muscle patterning for a task and develop stability. When we learn a new exercise, we’re cementing a new movement pattern into our brain, one that the motor control center will use over and over. Practice makes permanence. It’s easier to learn something correctly the first time than it is to re-write a movement pattern later. This is why I always encourage people to work with a good coach or get their movement patterns assessed. Good form is practiced until it becomes a habit (and this takes thousands of reps).
Even the fittest of athletes suffer from bad form, so consider this next time you’re looking to others for guidance at the gym. If it feels wrong, it probably is.