As a follow on from my previous post about Multiplanar Strengthening Exercises, I also want to mention the importance of keeping an eye on the quality of execution of the exercises.
It’s not uncommon for me to meet a frustrated athlete with, for example, anterior knee pain who has been given rehab exercises by their physiotherapist and has been diligently performing them, with no improvement in symptoms. Usually it’s not because the exercises prescribed are wrong, more-so the fact that the exercises are, through no fault of the athlete, being performed incorrectly.
The problem is that unless you’re an elite performer with full time support, nobody is there to watch over you and give feedback on form and quality as you perform the exercises.
A Classic Example: The Single Leg Squat
Most people (especially who have a tendency to underuse their glutes and dominate movements with their quads) will perform a single leg squat in such a way that inhibits the glutes from engaging as they should – due to the lack of motion at the hip throughout the exercise. By focussing on sitting back into the squat and loading through the heel, the glutes will be more inclined to engage.
The contrasts in form can be seen in the two stills below. Note how the knee stays behind (or at most inline with) the toes when squatting correctly. As soon as the motion at the hip is lost, the knee pushes forwards of the toes and takes increased load through the quads.
Applied To All Exercises
This same principal of making sure you are executing your rehab and strengthening exercises well should be used for all exercises you perform. You don’t want to schedule precious time to get your exercises done and then find that you’ve been effectively wasting your time with poor form.
Just like everything else in training, it’s important to train smart with your rehab and strengthening exercises!
You should know which muscle group each exercise is targeting and should be able to feel that muscle group working. If you’re trying to work your hamstrings for example and only feel the exercise in your back – the chances are you’re doing something wrong!
If in doubt, get a professional to take a look at your form and advise appropriate exercises.