In searching the net for the picture above I could not find one photo which depicts how to do standing resistance exercises correctly! So I will use the photo to work off to explain the mistakes people make, the correct form and the reasons why.
Whatever the standing exercise is – whether it is overhead or not and whether it is using dumbells or barbells – the same form applies. The reason you use the form I will describe is because it gives you a far more stable base to work your movements around and you will not tend to cheat the movements by swinging your body. These are important to understand if you want to gain real results.
So what is wrong with the form in the photo above? Firstly, the stance is incorrect in that the feet whilst in a reasonably stable position with the feet at shoulder-width apart are parallel to each other rather than one foot ahead of the other. Also the knees are not bent slightly. Having the knees slightly bent takes some pressure off the spine and any injury will stop your progress completely?
The correct form therefore is to have one foot ahead of the other (only needs to be the length of your foot) and your knees bent slightly (note I said slightly so they only need to be unlocked from the straight position). Keeping your body locked into this position will enable you to concentrate on not swinging your hips into the upper body exercises you are doing. Also tense your core muscles – in fact all the muscles of your torso – which gives you a completely stable position so you can put all your effort in moving arms and upper back into whatever movement you are doing.
Developing this whole body tension is far safer than just concentrating on the movement of your upper limbs. Even though you might consider that this method isolates the movements of the upper limbs you are using the whole body, but in a very specific way. I am an advocate of doing mostly whole body movements in your resistance program, but when you are doing these exercises (and I include Standin Press; Upright Rows; Lateral Raises; Front Raises and Standing Curls…and their many variations in the standing position) – you will gain far more out of doing them properly.