When Strength Training, Form Matters

One big goal for my winter base-building season is locking in on cross-training to both  reduce injury risk and improve my performance. My group fitness instructor days give me plenty of options to draw upon, plus a good understanding of proper form.

Executing said proper form? Not so good. At least when it comes to squats. That was Friday’s lesson.

I’ve known for a while that I can’t do single-leg squats. I get a tiny bend in my knee, but nothing I would call a squat. Then my knee starts to feel unstable and I have to back out of the baby squat (squatlet?). But until I tried a new approach to strength training, I didn’t realize how truly bad my form — and thus my strength — actually were.

One of my Subber friends has been doing the 5×5 strength training, and I finally got curious enough after watching the Kilted Kibitzer’s progress to look it up for more details.  What I found was intriguing, so I decided to try it.

That’s when I learned that my squat form is so bad I can’t actually break parallel. Even with no weight. (Although until I can manage to lose the extra 110 pounds I’m carrying around, that’s still plenty to lift.) So my post-workout reading while I was soaking in Epsom salts was all about figuring out what’s holding me back and then ways to fix my squat form.  Again, that group fitness instructor background comes in handy at times like these.

I’m sticking with the 5×5 approach, but Monday will be no weight and working on perfect form. Part of that means incorporating core work into my cross-training. Once I can do a full 5×5 with no weight, I’ll work up from there. And by fixing this issue, I’ll be overhauling my mechanics to benefit my running even before I’m able to start adding weight.

Today At A Glance

Running: 75 minutes easy on the schedule, actually did 77 for 4.5 miles. My 90-minute long runs have been coming in right about 5.1 miles, and my last 1.5 today were my fastest miles, so the next 90-minute long run should be in the 5.4 to 5.5 range.

Cross-training: Dead bugs, forearm plank, side planks, bridges, leg circles, double-leg stretch, Pilates 100s, plus yoga to stretch out, including extra Pigeon Pose

Nutrition: Quinoa-flax toast with almond butter and low-sugar cherry preserves and a skim latte for breakfast; chicken sausage with roasted Brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes for lunch; Scallion and asiago omelet with turkey bacon and roasted broccoli for dinner; Greek yogurt with berries, plus a couple of clementines, for snacks.

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