Weight Training Workouts That Shouldn’t Have Perfect Form

I’m off to California shortly for a conference this weekend but wanted to get this post out to you before I go.
 
This should be a great weekend for learning , networking and a little vitamin D. And maybe a bit of fun too. Stay tuned for an update or too in next week’s blog posts.
 
Now onto the tip of the day.
 
And this tip may surprise you.
 
Because it’s the opposite of what you’ll hear 99% of trainers tell you.
 
You shouldn’t always use ‘text-book’ technique.
 
What do I mean by that?
 
Well it’s to say that there is a traditional way to perform an exercise. And everyone is coached to perform it the proper way.
 
Think about it…what is one thing people new to working out are always told? Use perfect technique. But here’s where this may not be such a good idea.
 
If for a complete rep on a barbell bench press I start with extended (straightened) arms and lower the bar under control to gently touch it to my chest before returning the bar to the starting position.
Sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it?
 
Well here’s the problem.
 
Some people will have shoulder issues from previous injuries. Others will have poor posture from sitting at a desk or behind the wheel for hours on end. And for these types of people there may be more harm them good for them to follow a traditional range of motion than what is considered complete.
 
Aha! You might be saying. You switched from talking about technique to range of motion.
 
You’re right I did. But that’s part of the point here. Often times we may be coached to move our bodies or an external load through a predetermined range of motion to constitute good technique. Shortening your range of motion would sometimes be called lazy, cheating or simply a poor rep.
 
Consider another example.
 
Imagine if I was to perform a squat. And I was told to go down until the tops of my thighs were parallel with the ground. And I was also told that my glutes only really get activated in the bottom 20 degrees of the movement. I might feel motivated or compelled to reach this range of motion. But before I reach this depth I lose control of my lumbar spine.
 
In other words the natural curve of my low back is lost and my hips tuck under as I reach the bottom of the squat. 
Not a good idea. So what’s the solution?
 
Use a challenging load that you can control through your specific range of motion. And if you find your compensating when performing an exercise what should you do?
 
Lighten the load.
or
Shorten the range of motion.
or
Both.
 
Simple as that.
 
Gradually you develop the stability and mobility to move through a complete range of motion.
 
But until you get there don’t force yourself into a position you can’t control.
 
Ignore what a textbook or well-intentioned trainer tells you when the insist you push past a range that forces you to compensate.
 
You’ll get better results and your joints will thank you.
 
Chris                                                                                                                                                                        okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’

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