T Nation

Perfect Form or Heavy Weight?


What is more important, perfect form, or heavy weight? I can lift heavier weights, ie squat, if I let my form suffer a bit, dont go as deep, or as slow, but which is more important, lifting the heavy ass weights with slightly imperfect form, or doing everything in a controlled, slowed down (burning) motion (as thats the best I can describe it).

Im not talking extremes, where its possible to get hurt, but obviously you cant go as deep with 405 on your shoulders as 225 (at least I cant) but I can go to parralel with 405, where I can go all the way down with 225.


Perfect form. And I think that's a no brainer. And that doesn't mean slow, burning tempo. Waterbury says fast concentrics build more strength than a slow tempo. As for ROM, whatever you'll be tested with. Lower than parallel has a better strength carryover for the most part. Don't let your ego get in the way of your progress.


I think they both have there place... it sounds like what your talking about isnt necassarily letting your form slide (which should be avoided the best you can) but just variations of the same exercise, and I'm sure you know variety is one of the keys to progress.

It also depends on your goals, if your training mainly for strength or power lifting I think you will find few top level guys doing ass to the grass squats.

At the same time if 225 is your max ATG and 405 is your max parrelel squat I bet bringing up the first will also help out the second. Thats a big difference in weight.

Just thought I would add the weight feels alot lighter to me if I drop down fast and explode up... i've heard people who squat like this refered to as "dive bomb squaters"


going half way in a squat does not constitute bad form. bad form would be to break the arch in your lower back, or to let your legs buckle, or to have a different motion using heavy weight rather then with light weight. obviously when going near failure your form will break a little but this should not be occuring with lower intensities. Is it bad to do board presses to improve your bench press and to hit the triceps hard even though it makes the bar move half the distance? i don't think so considering every powerlifting routine includes them.

are we talking about parallel powerlifting squats (wide stance) compared to oly fulls squats (close stance)? there will be a difference in these numbers but if you are talking about the same stance position as far as your numbers go if you can squat half way 405 i think you should be able to full squat way more then 225. try using adjustable box squats to get lower. laters pk


It pays to know how to cheat a little in a movement. I see tons of small guys with perfect form. It is nearly impossible to stress your body enough to promote regular growth if you are using a weight that you can always lift "perfectly". I cheat in some movements. I gained muscle because of it. I have not had any major injuries in nearly ten years.


Except for that whole wheelchair thing :wink:

Perfect form first, then heavy weights. Once you have the form down properly, you can properly "cheat" big weights.



PS, the wheelchair is just for sympathy ass from Storm.


Thanks for the info guys. The 405 parralel Vs. 225 ATG was just an example. It just seemed that last night at the gym, I noticed towards the end of my reps I "cheated" my form a little, to get through the set. I didnt go ass to grass, and I wasnt slow and controlled, I had to be more explosive to get through the last couple reps. Nothing extreme, but I just didnt know if I should lower my weight for the next time around, or keep plugging. I think that since Im just getting back into the swing, Ill lower the weights till I make sure I get form and whatnot down. Thanks


I knew you were hitting it. Does she rock you like a hurricane?


'Til I can't read my own mind.


Once you have your form perfect and a bit of knowledge, you should know what cheating is acceptable and what isn't. You should know the difference between a cheat that will help you push up your last rep or two, when you are cheating too much, and a breakdown in form that could lead to injury.

Your form will naturally change under very heavy weight, but you have to keep it strict enough that you don't injure yourself.


Sweet! I would love a "storm" in the bed. BTW if this goes on, and you can't even read your own mind, do you freeze time until you catch your breath?


Which is what's important. I do get the feeling, however, that you some newbies judging everyone else in the gym on "form" even if they outweigh them by 50lbs of LBM. The goal is to prevent injury, not get so stuck on how perfect your last dumbbell curl was to the point that you hardly ever increase the weight used and don't see much progress.


I'm just a newbie, but I work in a physical therapy clinic so I have a bit of knowledge on exercises and kinesiology.

I wouldn't say shortening range of motion in a squat is cheating. Many atheletes will only train to certain depths, because they don't use anything but that range of motion in their physical activity.

However from a looks standpoint, I could not begin to tell you how important getting parallel to the ground is, or whether or not it will make your muscles look differently not to.



Does Jean now about this???????