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Months to Fix a Faulty Recruitment Pattern?


Here's a link to a video that refers to what I am asking:

Let's assume for instance, that a person like that high school student in the video above did squats 3 times a week with 3 sets of 10 reps,with a weight that is right below the threshold where his/her form started to breakdown, and with practically perfect form during each weightlifting session in order to fix this faulty recruitment pattern.

Then according my calculations, it would take about 100-167 workouts consisting of squats to fix the faulty motor engram, and doing squats 3 times a week would mean that it would take 33-56 weeks -which is equivalent to approx. 7-13.5 months- to fix that faulty recruitment pattern. This would seems to be a ridiculous amount of time to fix such a problem. Is there a faster and more efficient way to fix a faulty recruitment pattern like the example in the video?


Seeing how people often attend clinics and improve their form on a lift within minutes, I would say

  • the number is just an estimate, especially since people are different.
  • it is much harder to fix a subconscious motor pattern than a conscious one. A boxer who drops his guard will have to work harder on it because he will stop thinking about it a few minutes after the fight starts; a 5-rep squat set, on the other hand, where you can focus on each rep and maybe even have a coach next to you yell "chest out, spread the floor etc"? WAY easier.
  • you could add additional squatting sessions where you'd do something like triples with 60% 1RM with several minutes of rest, so these would be more like active recovery than anything. Even better, do goblet squats on off days and do them with light-ish weights and low intensity, always focusing on the hips and the back arch.


He's not talking about a faulty recruitment pattern more about the ability of the body to maintain form against heavier loads. That gets better as you go on. In my opinion it is mainly a product of the physical maturity of the individual and how long they have been training.

For instance I remember the first few times I box squatted at age 14, sitting on the box with 95lbs or so, my back buckled and swayed back and forth. Very quickly however it came around. I'd say in the course of a month it was completely different.

I'd say this is due to load on the back which, if you haven't exposed your body to that, is very unusual. It is unlike anything else your body has been exposed to.

But if your talking faulty recruitment patterns that would not take that long, you just need to strengthen the muscles involved in the proper pattern and use a weight, speed and ROM that this new "correct" pattern can handle.


I suppose those numbers are estimates, but then how long would it usually take fix such a problem whether it be from not able to maintain good form under relatively heavy load or a faulty recruitment pattern? I know every individual adapts differently, but I am curious as to what an expected time frame would be fix either one of those types of problems.


Also, the reason I am asking this is because I don't want to have routinely do a major exercise such as squats, deadlift, lunges, rows, etc. and end up having problem where I end up having a problem like a faulty recruitment pattern or a neuromuscular activation dysfunction in my muscles and/or in a given exercise.

If that happened to me then I am concerned that I would have to switch an exercise such as barbell front squats with a corrective exercise for months or lighten the load and stall with that decreased tonnage weight for months until I get the right form and repeat that perfect form with the same tonnage constantly until I have mastered it. I don't have a qualified personal trainer available or even an experienced and legit weightlifter within my area who can help me make sure that my form is practically perfect on a given exercise.


You're overthinking it. Ask anybody who's lifted weight long enough - you'll probably double check and modify your technique, especially on compounds, for a long time. Make sure you get it right once, do a few activation drills before lifting if you're really worried, and film yourself occasionally. If you're being smart it is very unlikely that you will screw anything up.

Bottom line: stop worrying about problems that aren't there and may never be.


Well like I said as long as you are maintaining good form the best you can the back will get stronger as you go that is the nature of lifting.

As far as having dysfunction you would be in the minority if your body worked well. One of the authors of an article within the last month had horrible form, so its pretty prevalent.

As far as doing front squats I dont really know what your talking about. If you can front squat well, you can back squat well. Front squats just HIDE problems better and make it harder to tell there is an issue but its still there.

If you can do any leg exercise properly you can do back squats properly its all the same. But with back squats you get loading on the back as well.


I see. So as long as maintain good form the best I can, then my form will get better over time the more times I lift.

Also, I see what you and nighthawks are saying in that fixing a faulty recruitment pattern or the inability to maintain good form under heavy loads should only take as long as the being able to rehabilitate an injury. Right?

One more thing, I've heard that front squats actually show more problems than back squats, because front squats require more core stability/strength and good shoulder stability/strength in order to handle otherwise the load or the weight will end up falling too far forward to where it'll drop off of you.


Depends on the person, but in general, back squats are going to show many more problems than front squats. You are sitting into your posterior chain on a back squat and most people dont have one. You can look pretty good on a front squat and it can be complete shit. It can take a pretty good eye to spot problems there sometimes.

But back squats can look better, it depends on the person.

As far as heavy loads go. There is going to be a point where EVERYONE will start to fall apart. It just depends on where you want to call it. Ideally you would maintain close to perfect form until you hit a weight that couldn't move, but even then your form would be fine you just couldnt move it. You see this alot in top level olympic lifters and powerlifters. They get stuck but they will not waiver on form much.

Stop over thinking it. You need to get a good corrective exercise program and go from there. The issue is if you can't squat properly with a weight that doesnt even challenge your strength. Which is most people. Then they just keeping adding weight to the bar.