Brad Feld

Back to Blog

Form Matters

Jul 21, 2004

I went to the gym today (we have one in Homer – it’s small, but it works) to do my semiweekly (or is it biweekly – twice a week) weight workout that my running coach makes (ok – begs) me to do. I hate weights (my standard reaction to anyone that suggests we go lift weights is that jews don’t do weights), but I capitulate to my coach.

The gym was pretty full (by Homer standards – about ten people). While I was resting between sets, I stretched and looked at the other folks working out (something I never do in a large club – I end up in with my eyes in that “glazed over not looking at anyone or anything mode.”) I was stunned by what I saw. There was a guy on a stairmaster that was literally hunched over at a 90 degree angle to his legs reading a magazine while he lifted his legs straight up. Another guys was riding a bike, but had his chest lying on the bike readout / reading stand thing – again – almost bent over at 90 degrees. Both of these guys looked brutalized after about 10 minutes of jamming their legs up and down at a weird angle to the rest of their contorted body.

In contrast, there was a woman about my age that was doing a workout that was similar to mine. Her form was perfect and it showed – her muscles were well defined, she was calm during her workout, and was moving about twice the weight I was with what appeared to be moderate effort. She noticed the hunchbacks also at some point and nodded to me – pointing at them – as we passed during a break. She was extremely aware of her form – not because anyone was watching her (I don’t give myself that much credit), but because she knew the benefit of perfect form to what she was trying to accomplish.

As I settled into another set, I consciously thought about how I was sitting, what I was doing, and how the various parts of my body were moving to accomplish the task at hand. It’s a good metaphor for so much of life – if you pay attention to your form, you get better results.