The Truth About Exercise Form
Exercise form refers to the specific way of performing a movement, often a strength training exercise, to avoid injury, prevent cheating and increase strength. Before we go any further, we want to tell you that perfect form is a newbie myth.
This article is not just for fitness enthusiasts, it’s for form nazis who love exercising their fingers on their phone screens and critiquing the way people workout. We want you to take a deep breath before you continue reading as many of your previously held beliefs will be shattered.
The Perfect Form Doesn’t Exist
We’re sure, at some point or the other, you’ve heard someone talk about the perfect form of performing an exercise. The harsh truth is that there is no perfect form. Many people follow a different technique that they will advocate over others.
Forget about being perfect, instead focus on following an acceptable, competent, safe, efficient, optimal, improved, or good exercise form. The less obsessed you’re with following the perfect form, the more focused you can be on things like contracting the muscles and a mind-muscle connection.
Form Doesn’t Guarantee Safety
While it’s true a bad form increases your odds of an injury, following the correct form can’t guarantee you immunity. An injury mostly occurs when external forces exceed the tissue’s ability to withstand them.
If you’re pushing your body past what it can handle, there will be a higher possibility of you getting hurt. Irrespective of your form, you’ll be injured if you put too much weight on the bar or simply exert more force against a load than your tissues can tolerate.
It’s Not Always Pretty
Many people always say that following the correct form will make your workouts look pretty. This is as far from the truth as it can be. Your form will always depend on the weights you’re using.
You can’t expect to deadlift 800lbs with the same form you would follow during a 100lb dead. You should start with the textbook technique but shouldn’t be afraid to improvise if it causes pain or discomfort.
The Right Form is Goal Dependent
Your goal will have a big impact on your training form. A powerlifter who wants to lift as heavy as possible will bench press with a very different technique as compared to a bodybuilder looking to add on muscle mass.
Powerlifters bench press with a big back arch and lock their elbows at the top of the eccentric movement to get the three white light from the judges. Pro bodybuilders have a little-to-no arch and don’t lockout at the top. Similar differences always prevail depending on the end goal of training.
Go With What Works For You
Every individual’s body is slightly different and will respond to different exercise techniques. There are no universal forms when it comes to building muscle mass. While performing the front dumbbell shoulder raises, some people might see incredible gains by raising the dumbbells until they are parallel to the floor.
On the other hand, some people might not feel tension unless their arm is perpendicular to the floor at the top of the movement. If your goal is to build muscle, find the hardest way of performing an exercise, and you’ll experience the highest degree of muscle stimulation.