T Nation

Form vs Results

I’m on the Starting Strength plan…and the past few sessions I’ve really struggled on the last couple of reps on the final set.

My question: I find myself ‘cheating’ on these last 1-2 reps. My form starts to slip a little (especially for the press). When this happens – when I feel like I’ve ‘cheated’ – should I redo that weight at my next workout…or simply proceed to the next heaviest weight?

I know this sounds like a stupid question, but I don’t want to be progressing beyond my capabilities and end up setting myself BACK several weeks because of it.

In the Starting Strength book Mark Rippetoe mentions that you shouldn’t progress until you can do a weight for all the sets with perfect form. This is because the aim of the book is not to enable to you to move weight but rather to make you stronger, and that it is easy to get injured when lifting with bad form

You shouldn’t “cheat” with your form until you have mastered it. A novice should be very strict with their form, while a more advanced lifter may take “shortcuts” from time to time.

Fact is, the advanced lifter has already developed his form and may be revising it for specific reasons that are not known by the casual observer. Be strict now, it will pay dividends later on.

If your ‘cheating’ drop back the weight a bit.

It shouldn’t be adviced to cheat or break form for anything; this is something we all should strive for.

(However, when reaching for this goal; sometimes form is broken)

Powerlifters at competitions are the best example of how a bad lift can work; but if you ask them about it they will say that its only in the competition and they practice perfect form when training.

Bad form, drop the weight…keep reading.

Okay, so drop the weight.

Didn’t matter today – I couldn’t even make it using bad form :frowning: First real set back I’ve had in about five months. Crappy. I couldn’t even do 3 in the first rep! My legs just felt rubbery to begin with. Oh well.

I’m pretty happy with my form on the bench press, the deadlift…the squat I can probably go lower (I go just past parallel, I can probably drop a couple of inches more). And the military press – I just watched some of Rippotoes videos. Great help actually.

[quote]B rocK wrote:
If your ‘cheating’ drop back the weight a bit.

It shouldn’t be adviced to cheat or break form for anything; this is something we all should strive for.

(However, when reaching for this goal; sometimes form is broken)

Powerlifters at competitions are the best example of how a bad lift can work; but if you ask them about it they will say that its only in the competition and they practice perfect form when training.

Bad form, drop the weight…keep reading.[/quote]

This is probably completely wrong, but would it make any sense to think that because his form only drops on the last rep or 2 that because he accomplished the others with no problem that he should be able to grow enough to keep the same weight?
Basically I’m asking if he’s messing up the form on only the last reps shouldn’t he be able to lift them properly within a few more workouts?

I think SS gives you 3 tries (workouts) to get all the reps with good form before you have to drop weight.