T Nation

Finally Got It - 'Loose' Form is Good


...that not-textbook form is actually "good form"
Curling without full elbow extension and a super-strict start allow for a lot more weight...

Overhead DB presses with a lean and a slight twist of the T-spine (like some strongmen do) actually allows me to lift without shoulder pain...and using a lot more weight.
Also, push presses (not jerks)...

Benching w/o touching the chest can save many shoulders...

Kroc rows, are uber-cool (when they don't turn into one arm deadlift-jerk movements)...

(just did 8 rows with 40 kg...and pretty strict...ha ha...frack tempo)

Not insisting on having the elbows glued on extensions: as above for curls...

[Vids below, exemplifying my form]




Thousand times more impressive than "strictly" pressing 25 kg for reps.

Also, Matt Kroc repping 225 on rows. Yes, yes, after a bunch of articles, discussions, and noticing the big guys are not form nazis, I actually got it.

EDIT: I can finally press overhead pain-free!!!


Yes, you can move more weight with loose form.
Yes, it's often more effective to not use textbook form.

I don't understand what your point here is though. You didn't ask a question or really make it easy to comment on your post at all.


For some reason I totally remember the thread where OP explained he always uses exactly perfect ofrm.

Yes I do indeed remember that thread.

Hope this revelation helps your bulk Stern.


When I come upon big discoveries I like to shout it from a mountaintop, but when there's no mountaintop I come to T-Nation


I figured out if I drink, I won't be thirsty. I guess I should open a thread or write an article or something.


Fuck! I've been so thirsty for 2 days now. I didn't know how to deal with it. Thanks bro!


You've gotta admit that curls + momentum often give onlookers the impression that they "don't put the tension on the muscle"... and many times, they don't..


I'm pretty sure onlookers are not paying as much attention to you as you think. Most guys just go to the gym and focus on their own workouts.


Ha ha ha. I wasn't implying that they pay attention to me (although I've had at least 4 people tell me my grip on the bar was too narrow during BP).
I meant that for many people it's hard to tell if they actually use their biceps or just their delts during curls.


Why do you care what "onlookers" think of your workout? If you see a guy with 19+ inch arms using a lot of momentum while curling, do you honestly think he's doing it the "wrong way"?

If your goal is to build muscle, lift whatever way helps you work your muscles the best. That doesn't necessarily mean that loose form is the best. If singing twinkle twinkle little star helps you work your biceps the best, then do it. Who cares what anybody thinks about what you're doing if you're making progress doing it?

Sorry if this is harsh, but I can understand why Professor X posts the way he does sometimes. There's a whole generation of people who think they are going to find the magic bullet of bodybuilding in some internet article or supplement, that the only way to do things is X because Coach Y says so. Just go lift some weights, eat, sleep, repeat. You'll figure out what works best for you along the way.


When one reaches a certain lvl, yea id say loose form can have its advantaged. But at the early to moderate stages, id still argue that one should stress form.

I cant say that i like this thread, simply because its going to give a lot of newbs that read these boards the impression that not fully extending their arm and swinging their entire body in an attempt to curl a weight is perfectly acceptable.

Truth is, there are three types of form- Bad form, Good form, and Perfect form.

Bad form is you not knowing what youre doing. It is you shortening ranges, contorting body parts, and essentially wasting space in a gym.

Good form is text book form. Self explanatory.

Perfect form is what is ideal for you. It changes with the person. It fits your body type and your needs to give you the best possible firing in a muscle. This is developed through years of training and experience and takes a bit more understanding of THE body and YOUR body.

Chances are, most people should stick to Good form for a few more years before they attempt to bend the form rules.


Well, there are "magic bullets"...a few months of pull-downs did nothing for my back, while a few months of chins added around 3" of back and 1" of biceps. (as Bret C's studies have shown, the chins activate 2-4 times more of everything compared to pull-downs, so this is easy to explain)
High rep squats/deadlifts are also "magic bullets". GOMAD is also a "magic bullet".
But, this, if you understand "magic bullet" as something VERY effective, at least compared to bullsheet muscle-rag routines. If by magic bullet one understands "1 minute biceps, chest and abs", though...that's a whole nother animal...

Well, I just lift quick, and no longer strain to keep my body uber-stiff (except DL, squat, 1A Push-ups, and a few other). I don't swing, just "skip" the first (some) degrees of flexion and strictly curl after that, and I could row (albeit for less reps) what I "Kroc" (actually, I twist/heave less than mr. Krok. Not that there's anything wrong with that)

(frame rate in this one^ sucks due to night mode; tempo is ~same as in the next)


You should try getting a little looser on your diet now and eating some real food.


Fatty beef/pork/chicken (for the chicken I strip its fat and add cream or peanuts or palm oil), eggs, full fat cheese, milk, dairy, peanuts, palm oil, fruit, whole wheat bread, potatoes, french fries in palm oil. Do tell, what is more real than this?
Any comments on the rowing? >
If I were to go "striict" and keep the back perfectly immobile I'd only use ~66 lbs instead of 90... and for curls, 10-20% less.

I also began DLing twice a week, once @~70% - 20-30 reps, once @~80...95%, 10 total reps (3 @~85, 1 @ ~90, 1 @ ~95, 3 @~85).

@Hallowed: thank you. It will. Especially for the arms. Well, I do use picture perfect form on DLs, squats, dips and one-arm push-ups...and rotator cuff exercises...


ive got a question about your last video, why did you stop at 12? rep speed didnt slow or anything. kroc rows are usually heavy and high rep. it looked like you could have cranked out another 8-10.


Oh yes I think we all remember that one, for some reason.


OP... seems like you just over-think everything way too much, for real.


I tend to agree with this comment.

I'm also a lot more "strict" with my form now that I'm at a more advanced stage than I ever was before. For me, loose form generally means the MMC is not as strong and you are not feeling the muscle work the entirety of the movement, it becomes a game of momentum. I guess I believe that a good stretch and squeeze is imperative to have in every exercise, especially something like back training. Doesn't mean I won't go as heavy as possible but I don't use much body english anymore.