How to: Have Proper Form in Your Workout

Two years ago, Snowy DeCaen, learned just how essential proper form is when exercising.

“No matter how ‘easy’ the exercise may seem, there is always room for injury due to poor technique,” DeCaen said. “Quality is everything. I can do 100 reps of an exercise and end up injuring myself all because maybe I didn’t do the movement correctly, or I performed it too fast and it didn’t activate the correct muscles.”

And the truth is, many people work out for hours on end and don’t receive the results they work hard for.

Due to lack of proper form, it’s common for this to happen.

For all who work out on repeat, especially with spring break just a few days away, it’s time to perfect that form and see the results you’ve been waiting for.

With many of the “simple” exercises, form is often over-looked. However, DeCaen a recent Central Michigan University graduate, understands the importance of quality over quantity.

DeCaen is a fitness enthusiast who has been following trainer-certified workout plans for the past two years. She said when performing an exercise you should always keep in mind what muscle you are actually working.

“You should be able to feel that muscle and only that muscle squeeze and contract,” she said. “Focusing on that while performing your exercise, will help you be better aware if you’re performing an exercise correctly.”

Bringing awareness and helping execute form, Mount Pleasant senior Jose Vasquez is a personal trainer at Endurance Fitness Center, who gets a first hand look of people benefiting from correct form and fitness techniques.

Vasquez said results are not always reached because people may not be confusing their muscles, their nutrition is not 100 percent, lack of sleep, not drinking enough water or incorrect form.

“Without proper form, you’re not able to get the full benefit of the exercise,” he said. “The easy exercises are the ones that most people overlook when they are performing them, mainly because they think everybody does them­– (i.e.) I’ve seen people do them like this, so I’ll try it, without researching or understanding how the exercise is suppose to work.”

For everyone who exercises without research and understanding, it’s possible the entire movement is being done wrong.

To prevent this from happening, (and considering bikini season is near) we are properly introducing how to perform a crunch, push-up, plank, lunge and squat correctly.

Five Simple Exercises with Proper Form 


One of the first exercises we learn in grade school is crunches. Despite that we’ve been doing these for over a decade, they can just as easily be done wrong.

The exercise itself strengthens the abdominal muscles.

In order to perform a correct crunch you need to lay on your back, with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Lift only your head and chest up, off the ground until you feel your abdominal muscles. Then lower your head and chest back down. You can place your hands across your chest or place fingertips and hands behind your head.

For everyone doing crunches daily, make sure you pay attention to your form– jerking your head or using your hip flexors will not help, in fact, it will make this exercise ineffective.

Those rock hard abs are near, that is if you follow proper form.



Push-ups are another common exercise that’s been done since elementary school.

They are a full body movement, working both your core and lower body­, which we’ve all come to rely on. However, if you don’t practice the right technique then this exercise is not reliable.

You can put yourself in great pain by not doing the right form, making this exercise a complete waste of time and leading to no progress at all.

A push-up is done by lying face-down to the floor, keeping your back straight, then raising your body by pressing down on your hands and then lowering your body back down.

Often, people do not breathe in between reps or they arch their back. It’s important to continuously breathe and keep a straight back for this full body workout to be accomplished.



Just about everyone has a love/hate relationship with planks. You love them because they are a great workout, that burning sensation confirms it. But, you hate them because that burn is nearly unbearable for over a minute.

If you are doing a plank and do not feel a burn in your core, and your legs and arms don’t shake after some time, then odds are you are not doing them right.

A plank is a single movement for stronger abs, strengthening your lower back and building your shoulders.

Proper plank position is bending your elbows at a 90-degree angle and resting your weight on your forearms. With your body extended in a straight line from head-to-toe and your elbows bent directly underneath your shoulders.

The longer you hold the plank the more strength you gain.

Whether you love or hate the burn, planks are a great exercise that must be done correctly, with the pain and all included.



Oh no, it’s leg day again. You are bound to do a lunge or two and much, much more.

Lunges are a great way to workout your lower body, and get those toned legs you’ve been longing for. And before applying any additional free-weight or bar-weight to your lunges, it is important to know what the right form for this exercise is.

Weight training has become a popular workout fad and before that additional weight is added to your lunge, the form is top priority. If you do not follow proper form, then it may lead to unwanted strain on your joints.

To practice lunges correctly, keep your upper body straight, your shoulders back and chin up. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Your front knee should be directly above your ankle and your back knee does not touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels when you push back to the starting stance position.

Whether it is leg day or just an everyday exercise, the lunge is a known muscle-gain move that must be done properly for end results.


An essential leg day routine always calls for squats.

This is said to be one of the most misguided and commonly done wrong exercise; becoming a major concern for those who add bar weight to their squats.

If done incorrectly, major injuries can result. This is why it is important to be informed on the proper form of a squat.

Begin by standing with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Your hips should be stacked over your knees and your knees over your ankles. Roll your shoulders back and down at ease­– you do not want to round your back, as it will lead to stress on the lower back. Keep your hips back and bend your knees. As your butt sticks out, make sure your chest and shoulders are upright and your back straight.

For the best squat, get deep and low, engage your core and keep body weight in your heels. Return back up to standing position and repeat.

To truly receive that leg-day workout squats should be done. Squats are also a full body exercise ­– working the hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings and even the core.