Trainers are incredibly helpful in teaching better form and correct alignment, but no matter how astute a trainer is, he or she may miss a few things. To help protect your body from injury or strain, keep these questions in mind during your training session. Even though it's a trainer's job to keep you safe, it's still important to develop a keen eye for any bad habits that could present potential problems later.
Where Should I Be Aligned?
Everyone's body has different tilts and asymmetries, and your trainer might not always be able to see the one-inch difference between your left and right shoulders, for example. If you are aware of any asymmetries in your body, verbalize them to your trainer so he or she will keep you in check. You also want to remind yourself of common alignment issues like keeping your shoulders down and back, abs engaged, hips even, and weight on the heels of the foot when doing squats or lunges.
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Which Side Is Weaker?
Most people have a weaker, less flexible and/or stable side, and some trainers will recommend that you start an exercise with your weaker side. By starting with your weaker side, you'll have more energy to perform clean, perfect reps before tiring out. Your trainer may eventually learn your weaker side, but it's also good that you remember to always start an exercise on your weaker side.
Does This Feel Right?
Trainers want to push you to your limit, but they certainly don't want to injure you. (And if you have an old injury, some exercises might be too painful or intense for you to perform.) While training, ask your trainer what muscles each exercise should be targeting. If your back or an old injury starts to flare up, speak up! Or, if you feel like the described muscle groups are not being worked, let your trainer know since this may indicate you are performing the move wrong. Usually the trainer will be quick to offer a modification or another exercise that will activate the right muscle groups or take the strain off of the injured ones.