pilatesformIf you ask me what the most important aspect about exercise is I would say that I have four top things. Among those are commitment, cross-training and clear goals. However, form (or performing an exercise correctly) is my number one. If you have incorrect form, the other things will not matter.  One of the main principles in Pilates is form. There is a quote from Joseph Pilates, where he states: “A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.”  I completely subscribe to this philosophy.  Taking the time to learn proper form is worth it. Not only to protect the body from injury, but also to ensure you get the results you want.  If you have ever been to a gym, yoga or Pilates studio or a park for that matter, you can witness bad form. People straining and contorting their bodies to get into a pose, running hunched forward, lifting weights as they hurl their backs into extension.  If you cannot afford a full time trainer, there are plenty of resources out there to help you. You Tube is a great resource if you are looking at videos from a reputable company. Be careful. Anyone can post a video but not everyone who does is knowledgeable.  Some of my favorite channels are:

IDEA Fitness

ACE Fitness

Yoga Works

GaimTV (Yoga)

Pilates Anytime


THNKR (Do’s and Don’ts of Running)

Some of these sites also offer paid subscriptions so that you can also do classes in your home taught by the top instructors in the field.

If you are going to classes in your area be they Pilates, Yoga, Cross Fit, Spinning or Barre, read the Yelp reviews. Read the teacher bios to get an insight as to their experience; call and ask questions. Do they focus on proper form? How many people are in class?  If your questions get glossed over, then move on.

So do your research. If you aren’t getting the results you want from your workout, most likely it is your form. Perhaps invest in one hour with a reputable trainer and bring specific exercises you’d like guidance on.  It can be worth the money to save you from injury or from giving up.  In a nutshell, if you aren’t doing it right, it’s not worth doing.  So become a form fanatic today!

— Jessica Kuiken

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