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LiVe Well

When it Comes to Exercise, Proper Form is the Key to Preventing Injuries

By Jillesa Anderson

Oct 19, 2017


Whether you’re doing squats, sit-ups, or arm curls, taking the time to be certain you have the correct form when you’re exercising can help decrease your risk of pain and injury.

Using Proper Technique While Exercising

In my profession, I notice many people actually shy away from exercise because they feel they may injure themselves if they don’t do it right. I especially found this to be true as I met with the contestants competing in the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute’s 2017 My Heart Challenge: Nonprofit Edition.

Through our one-on-one training sessions, I’ve been able to teach the contestants the proper technique for many simple movements to boost their confidence in implementing a basic exercise program.

Talking with an exercise specialist or finding reputable resources for proper form and technique can ensure that you make the greatest gains with fewer setbacks when you’re exercising.

You should focus on the quality of an exercise over quantity. That’s something I teach everyone I work with in developing healthy exercise habits.

Here are some simple tips for basic exercises to ensure you have ideal form


  1. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Squat down so your thighs are parallel to the floor, making sure your knees are behind your toes and not dropping inward. If you look down and you can’t see the tips of your toes, you need to move your knees back.
  3. Keep your chest up.
  4. While keeping your weight on the heels of your feet, return to a standing position.

If your knees collapse inward during this exercise, do squats with a mini-band around your thighs; that’s a good way to maintain the proper technique


  1. Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows aligned below the shoulders and your arms parallel to the body at about shoulder-width distance.
  2. Make sure to keep a straight line from your head all the way down to your toes. Instead of dropping your hips, engage your core by imagining your belly button pulling in toward the spine.

Shoulder Press:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slightly bend your knees to allow blood flow to your lower body.
  3. Bring your arms up to a goal post position with your elbows at 90 degrees and your palms facing forward.
  4. Push the weights overhead by touching the ends of the dumbbells together.
  5. Slowly lower the weights to starting position.

When pressing the weights overhead, engage your core to prevent your back from tensing up. If you find yourself arching your back when lifting the weights, your body is telling you to take it down a notch. Pick a lower weight, then work up to a higher weight over time.

Having proper form when exercising is crucial for starting, maintaining, or expanding your exercise regimen. The pain and injury that come from incorrect movement can be very frustrating — as well as debilitating to your health.

Take the time to learn proper technique, because it’s time well-spent. You’ll appreciate avoiding injury and staying pain-free as you achieve your health and fitness goals.