T Nation

Technique Thread

I didn’t see a thread like this around so here goes: I’m sure a lot of you, myself included, had to teach yourself proper technique on a lot of the lifts, so this thread is for posting some resources that helped you along. Also, if you have any tips that you’ve gained yourself through experience please share!

Squat:


http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/powerlifting-articles/so-you-think-you-can-squat-part-1-and-2/
http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/iron-brothers/articles/powerlifting-articles/5-squat-tips-for-immediate-improvement/
http://showandgotraining.com/mastering-the-squat.html

Box Squat:


Bench Press:


http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/features/so-you-think-you-can-bench-get-the-whole-series-here/



Deadlift:



Oly: www.californiastrength.com/olwete.html

Misc:



Thumbless grip is awesome for pressing. IMO

When I was first learning how to bench, I downloaded Dave’s 6-Week Bench Press Cure video to my iPod and listened to it at least twice before every workout. Did wonders for me. Thanks a lot for putting this together. I was searching for a page like this not to long ago and couldn’t find one anywhere. And with something as important as technique, it should be stuck to the top of the Beginner Forum.

Thanks again

I’m reading Starting Strength by Rippetoe. Amazon has it for $30. He’s got 60 pages devoted to the squat alone. I’m finding it really helpful getting going. I wanted to jump in and start at the squat rack and my Rippetoe inspired training partner pulled me back to some gauntlet squats and Bulgarian split squats to start. This might sound sissy but I’m a petite woman. I’m really focused on improving my ROM and getting technique right. I’ve just been amazed at how much there is to learn. The book covers 5 basic lifts; the squat, the bench press, the deadlift, the press, and the power clean. I think I could be busy with those for a good long while.

One thing I’m seeing more and more with people new to the bench press, is if they’re using a weight that’s a bit too heavy for them they scare the last rep up and into the rack, what I mean is they force the bar up and back into the rack before locking out. In most cases where I’ve spotted someone doing this I have to catch the bar from crushing their face.

For safety, lockout your weight before you rack it on the bench press,or prepare to have a new hood ornament.

Remu -
Thank you for posting the videos above. The Dave Tate box squat video is great. I’m very quad dominant from years of running so I really have to work on overcoming that. I can turn everything into a quad or bicep exercise. That’s been the first big surprise about lifting weights - Just because you think it’s a hamstring move, doesn’t mean you are really getting them effectively, if at all. As for the bench press video, I just wish he would take the big white sweatshirt off so I could see his shoulders and back a bit better!

Powerpuff, I see what you’re wondering about, if you look at the habit #4 in Cressey’s 7 habits article

and #1 in the Technique mistakes http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/5_common_technique_mistakes&cr=

Combining what you see in both of those demonstrations, it is very subtle if you don’t know what you’re looking for, but in the rowing example for instance, look at the way his humerus is a few inches in front of his back in that end position of the row compared to the correct video where it is flush and his back flattens out by contracting his scapula and pulling the chest through.

On the bench press example in the other article you see the same motion of him not getting his back tight as he “rows” the bar down to his chest in the first ex. versus when he consciously focuses on pull the bar towards his chest setting the shoulder capsule into a more optimal position.

Personally the thing that made me most aware of my shoulder positioning was when I started doing dips, If i didn’t contract my scapula a certain way or twist my elbows a certain way I felt very unstable and one shoulder would dip down further or uneven to the other.

.

Very cool idea for a thread. Only problem is that most people won’t end up using it. :wink:

To chip in my two cents, I’m of the opinion that power cleans can absolutely be successfully self-taught if they’re treated like any other big compound exercise - progressively and patiently, treated with with respect, and given proper attention to prevent injury.

Unless you’re competing in the Olympic lifts, “good enough” technique (which allows strength and muscle gains without causing injury) will, in fact, be “good enough.”

Also, Dan John will hate me for saying this, but I was never able to get the form down with broomsticks or PVC. I personally needed to practice using some resistance, 55 or 65 pounds, so I’d be able to get a feel and control over the exercise. (The same also goes for snatches.)

Rippetoe (one of his several vids on the subject):

Wendler:

Justin Harris, hang clean and press:

Thanks for the input Chris, I thought if it could help at least one person out then it’d be worth it! Great videos

It’s a whole series. There all great. I think it would be awsome if this thread was stickied. I know I sure as hell would’ve liked to have vids on good form all in one place when I was first starting. Hell, I’m happy to have it now!

agree. sticky this helpful thread up!

Chris - About the Power Clean segment you posted, I’ve been watching the whole Starting Strength DVD. I’m a fan. There’s a lot of free content around but I think this DVD is worth the money. No I’m not getting any kickbacks from Rippetoe! He’s just really good at teaching point by point.

Thanks to those of you who are willing to give advice on the beginner forum. I appreciate it.

[quote]Remu_87 wrote:
One thing I’m seeing more and more with people new to the bench press, is if they’re using a weight that’s a bit too heavy for them they scare the last rep up and into the rack, what I mean is they force the bar up and back into the rack before locking out. In most cases where I’ve spotted someone doing this I have to catch the bar from crushing their face.

For safety, lockout your weight before you rack it on the bench press,or prepare to have a new hood ornament. [/quote]

Remu - For me part of the problem is my size. The racks in my gym are almost too tall for me. I can clear the bar at lock out but just barely so I absolutely need someone there to spot. They do have several benches with hooks at three levels but those don’t work well at all because I’d have to bend my arms to get them over the hook which seems more dangerous. Maybe someone will make a bench in size petite! Ha! Maybe it would come in pink!

Yea Buddy!

If anyone’s got a video glossary of the different row variations (Pendlay, Devil, Bent Over…) and Curl variations (Hammer, Preacher, Strict, Concentration…) I’d love to see 'em.

Something that tends to confuse a lot of newer lifters is the stiff-leg deadlift vs. the Romanian deadlift.

People will often use the terms interchangeably, but there’s a subtle difference in how they’re performed (the Romanian dead has a bit more knee bend on the descent) even though they both target the hamstrings, glutes, and some low back.

Stiff-leg deadlift:

Romanian deadlift, as demonstrated so monstrously by our own hungry4more:


(Note: You do not need to be up on a step, like hungry is. That’s a way of increasing the range of motion and making the lift more challenging, which most beginners are neither flexible enough nor advanced enough to do properly yet.)

[quote]Enders Drift wrote:
If anyone’s got a video glossary of the different row variations (Pendlay, Devil, Bent Over…) and Curl variations (Hammer, Preacher, Strict, Concentration…) I’d love to see 'em.[/quote]
Because rows and curls are such a basic and broad type of movement, there are so many variations that I doubt you’ll be able to find a single glossary listing them all. Sorry, man.

I’m sure they could probably be tackled individually, but even then it’d be a heck of a homework assignment to assemble them.

While this is a thread about good technique, I think it’s important to address the issue of using loose technique or “cheating.”

Not to bring this thread off-topic at all, but I think it’s something worth mentioning, and here seems like a good place to mention it as long as we don’t get hung up on the idea.

A few rules of thumb (should be rules of the wrist?) about cheating:

  1. You shouldn’t cheat unless you’ve already learned, practiced, and committed to memory textbook-perfect technique for the given lift.

“Cheating” implies that you already know what “proper” form should be for an exercise and you use that good form on a regular basis. Having a beginner incorporate cheating techniques too early in their lifting career could lead them to thinking that it’s normal or acceptable to “cheat” the majority of the time.

Cheating is a semi-advanced intensity-boosting technique and I’d rather have someone get standard exercise down pat before getting involved in learning when and how to incorporate cheat reps. Just like I wouldn’t teach an absolute beginner about partial reps or rest-pause.

  1. You shouldn’t cheat unless you know why you’re cheating.

For bodybuilders, cheating is usually a way to get more reps without having to reduce the weight. More often than not, you want to know ahead of time that you’re going to cheat the last few reps of a set (unless you’re advanced/experienced enough to really know when to wing it and how far to push).

Even when we’re using cheat reps, you’ll benefit most if you perform the negative under control. This will go even further towards the enhanced stimulus. For example, with curls or lateral raises, you’d use lower body drive* to get the weight up, but you’d do a “regular” negative and lower the weight under control. When you can no longer control that negative, you’ve reached absolute muscle failure and continuing to train is redundant at best.

    • This reminds me of a point I picked up somewhere, can’t recall where though. As a built-in “safety feature”, try using total lower body drive to initiate the cheat (as if doing a push press), rather than just swinging the lower back, which is more injury-prone in general.

As a more visual example, let’s consider bent barbell rows. There are two basic ways to use cheating. We could either load a weight that wouldn’t allow textbook-perfect reps and do cheat reps for the entire set, which would have strength benefits since we’re using heavier-than-usual weight. If you can be sure to still activate the target muscles (instead of letting the momentum take tension off them), this would also obviously benefit muscle growth.

Or instead, we’d load our standard weight, something that we can handle with textbook-perfect reps, and we’d perform a set of those perfect reps until near-failure, and then immediately finish the set with some cheat reps. This would have some benefit for strength and muscle size since your muscles are under tension for a longer time.

The main point is that a beginner should know what good, safe form is; they should practice that high-quality form the majority of the time; and they should consider using loose form or “cheat reps” as part of their training strategy only when it’s appropriate to do so.