Look to toddlers for proper form
What does every one do when they want to get extremely fit but don't know that much about training? They go out and hire an expensive trainer. I like that, because I am an expensive trainer. What if I told you that exercises that will mold your body to exactly what you desire could be found in your own living room, simply by watching your own child?
Babies have an innate ability to simply do what feels right to their body. In doing so they happen to maintain perfect form that most adults lose and then spend years trying to get back to.
A perfect example of this is a toddler squatting. Any parent has seen their child do this a hundred times. When the baby is grabbing something off the floor they don't bend at the waist, they squat. Its a full squat, bringing their butts all the way to their ankles and they do it easily. This type of form is huge in terms of maintaining mobility and flexibility in your back, legs and hips. If you can't squat with your thighs running parralel to the ground then you are tight in the hips and low back. If you don't rectify this your training will suffer because you are not going through the full range of muscles needed to complete this move creating imbalances.
Try this stretch that has worked the best for all my clients.
1. place your legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart
2. actively push your hips back into the seated position as if you are going to do a squat.
3. when you are passing parralel have your hands clasped and run your elbows in between your knees.
4. actively use your elbows to help you increase your squat as far down as possible. Try to reach the squat postion a toddler can hit with your butt coming down to your ankles.
5. continue to use your elbows against your knees to help push you farther into that deep seated position. You can do this by slightly wiggling with your hips, rocking and sliding further down with the assistance of your elbows.
6. hold this position for 20-30 seconds and do 2-3 sets. If you have difficulty getting down into this deep seated position you can use a wall, railing or anything you can grab on to in order to help you reach as deep as possible. Simple push your way down into that position slowly.
Work on this before each work out and you will be surprised how your entire body responds. Remember to keep your chest open, like a blue jay sucking in air before belting out a tune. Opening up the chest will help keep that normal arch in your lower back. This will be hard for most people because we are so tight in the hips due to sitting most of the day. By doing this stretch before beginning any exercise you will be less prone to injury and actually feel better. Its a great way to take your fitness All the Way!