T Nation

The Importance of Good Form

To me form is everything. I’d rather have perfect form with less weight then throw up a ton of weight while having shit form.

For example I see guys at my gym, don’t get me wrong they are big and strong, but when they are repping 300 lbs while doing a flat bench which is a lot to me and their form is something like, they lift the bar up go about half way down the back up, it’s like the opposite of what I do.

I worked out with a worker at my gym and the way he benches which I have been doing for a long time because it seems to work well, is he goes all the way down touches his chest and goes back up about half way and that counts as 1 rep.

Apparently it keeps tension on your muscle damaging it more and that’s how you build it up. Makes sense to me and it does seem more tiring.

I just think it’s kind of frustrating when you see someone barbell curling 100 lbs but he’s swinging his back back and forth really fast, when he can just do like 85 lbs with a perfectly good form and go slower sort of like a negative motion.

I also have people telling me your way of benching or shoulder pressing because I approach it the same way is incorrect, these people actually go all the way down touch their chest and go all the way back up, so like a full stretch motion.

It got me thinking, are there differences? does it depend on what you are trying to do? i.e. building strength or mass or endurance etc. What do you guys think about form? How important is it to you, is the way I bench incorrect? Should I switch it up here and there?

Form is important, but nothing is a law, nothing is permanent. And form is no exception. Although you should always control the weight and keep tension on the muscle, for different people, at different times of their life it could mean different things. The way I do a bench press works best for me, but might not work for you at all. And that may all change in just a few months.

The point is that form is an end result, it’s where you want to get with a weight before you can lift more. But there’s nothing wrong with some controlled cheating so long as you’re not doing anything stupid and are in control of the weight.

If it works for the big guys in your gym then they know what they’re doing. Has your benching worked for you? If it has and you’re getting stronger then there’s no reason to change anything. But if it isn’t then maybe you should ask those big guys for some tips. Listen to your body. The way you bench will change over time, as you get bigger and stronger. That’s what most big guys I know got where they are. Focusing on results(getting stronger for reps) and listening to their bodies in what feels right.

I understand completely. As a matter of fact I was only an ok bencher until I was shown this method and I just flew up and got a lot bigger and stronger over the winter, though I’ve hit plateaus here and there I’ve overcome them. Thanks for your 2 cents.

If you could please add some spacing or paragraphs in your future posts (that are long), it might be more readable. As is, I’m passing right over it.

this isn’t meant to be a dickish attack, rather just helpful input for later on, might help you get better replies.

Lol I didn’t take offense to it. Sorry about that, I’ll do that from here on out.

[quote]Mishimaster wrote:
To me form is everything. I’d rather have perfect form with less weight then throw up a ton of weight while having shit form.

For example I see guys at my gym, don’t get me wrong they are big and strong,
[/quote]

Stop right there. If these guys are bigger and stronger than you, perhaps their form isn’t as crappy as you think.

Once again, before you to criticizing others form, ask yourself who has gotten more results out of what they are doing.

Check out this video of Arnold’s early training. The first exercise you see him doing in the video is called “cheat curls” and is the exercise that Arnold credits for putting the most size on his biceps.

I’m not saying that you should just throw form out the window. But realize that there are reasons for using body english and that if someone else has gotten better results than you, maybe, just maybe they might know what they’re doing.

[quote]
It got me thinking, are there differences? does it depend on what you are trying to do? i.e. building strength or mass or endurance etc. What do you guys think about form? How important is it to you, is the way I bench incorrect? Should I switch it up here and there? [/quote]

Yes, there are differences, and yes it depends on your goals. If you are looking to become a powerlifter, then you need to use a full ROM on exercises like bench press. If you are seeking mass, then whatever form gets you the best results is the one you should use. Also, there are uses for many different variations of form.

I think that form is important for a beginner, as they need to learn how to recruit the muscles and avoid injury (they don’t know their bodies very well). But, once you get more experienced and in touch with your body, then you can start to experiment and find out what works best for you.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
Mishimaster wrote:
To me form is everything. I’d rather have perfect form with less weight then throw up a ton of weight while having shit form.

For example I see guys at my gym, don’t get me wrong they are big and strong,

Stop right there. If these guys are bigger and stronger than you, perhaps their form isn’t as crappy as you think.

[/quote]

Beat me to it.

remember heavy weights build big muscles

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
Mishimaster wrote:
To me form is everything. I’d rather have perfect form with less weight then throw up a ton of weight while having shit form.

For example I see guys at my gym, don’t get me wrong they are big and strong,

Stop right there. If these guys are bigger and stronger than you, perhaps their form isn’t as crappy as you think.

I just think it’s kind of frustrating when you see someone barbell curling 100 lbs but he’s swinging his back back and forth really fast, when he can just do like 85 lbs with a perfectly good form and go slower sort of like a negative motion.

Once again, before you to criticizing others form, ask yourself who has gotten more results out of what they are doing.

Check out this video of Arnold’s early training. The first exercise you see him doing in the video is called “cheat curls” and is the exercise that Arnold credits for putting the most size on his biceps.

I’m not saying that you should just throw form out the window. But realize that there are reasons for using body english and that if someone else has gotten better results than you, maybe, just maybe they might know what they’re doing.

It got me thinking, are there differences? does it depend on what you are trying to do? i.e. building strength or mass or endurance etc. What do you guys think about form? How important is it to you, is the way I bench incorrect? Should I switch it up here and there?

Yes, there are differences, and yes it depends on your goals. If you are looking to become a powerlifter, then you need to use a full ROM on exercises like bench press. If you are seeking mass, then whatever form gets you the best results is the one you should use. Also, there are uses for many different variations of form.

I think that form is important for a beginner, as they need to learn how to recruit the muscles and avoid injury (they don’t know their bodies very well). But, once you get more experienced and in touch with your body, then you can start to experiment and find out what works best for you.[/quote]

Perfect. As usual sento :wink:

Sentoguy, I did take that into consideration as a matter of fact. But they are also a lot older so you should take that into consideration. I’m not trying to argue but it would be different if we both started at the same time and he got more results that’s 1 thing. And according to the personal trainers at my gym the guys I’m talking about (it’s a specific group of guys, they are nice and all don’t get me wrong) are benching “incorrectly”

Again I guess then it has to do with what works best for who.

@Shizen, right I know that, I also sacrifice form for weight sometimes but not every single set.

I’m not trying to criticize, I’m just gathering information and opinions. So far so good!

I like to do good form; but there are times i just want to work the muscle more. For example, i might be able to do 4 reps with a heavy barbel curl with good form; but then to get more reps in, i will cheat by swinging it up…is this proper form; probably not; but it sure feels like it works the muscle a lot better which is all i care about.

[quote]ds77 wrote:
I like to do good form; but there are times i just want to work the muscle more. For example, i might be able to do 4 reps with a heavy barbel curl with good form; but then to get more reps in, i will cheat by swinging it up…is this proper form; probably not; but it sure feels like it works the muscle a lot better which is all i care about.

[/quote]

Right I know what you mean by this, I mean we all cheat a little, but I don’t think it’s right to cheat the entire time. Thanks.

Who are they cheating exactly? I found my gym time a lot more enjoyable when I started ignoring what anyone else was doing, unless it appeared to be working, in which case I might give it a go myself. Otherwise I would mind my own business.

[quote]Mishimaster wrote:
Sentoguy, I did take that into consideration as a matter of fact. But they are also a lot older so you should take that into consideration. I’m not trying to argue but it would be different if we both started at the same time and he got more results that’s 1 thing. And according to the personal trainers at my gym the guys I’m talking about (it’s a specific group of guys, they are nice and all don’t get me wrong) are benching “incorrectly”

Again I guess then it has to do with what works best for who.

@Shizen, right I know that, I also sacrifice form for weight sometimes but not every single set.

I’m not trying to criticize, I’m just gathering information and opinions. So far so good! [/quote]

Dude, many big guys are loose with their form because IT WORKS. End of story. No newbie should be training the same way, however.

But these posts (way too many of them) from these little guys who have judged some huge fucker’s form as incorrect are irritating. They became huge fuckers by learning what their own body needed to see the most progress. No one is training FOR YOU. You train however YOU alone need to in order to avoid injury and to reach your goals.

If some guy has arms bigger than your legs, he is NOT training “wrong”, AT LEAST NOT FOR HIM. If he is much older than you, that is even more of a reason for you to consider that he knows what he is doing. Anyone lifting for over a decade without a serious injury while also becoming big as hell has a firm grip on what they need to do.

You don’t.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Mishimaster wrote:
Sentoguy, I did take that into consideration as a matter of fact. But they are also a lot older so you should take that into consideration. I’m not trying to argue but it would be different if we both started at the same time and he got more results that’s 1 thing. And according to the personal trainers at my gym the guys I’m talking about (it’s a specific group of guys, they are nice and all don’t get me wrong) are benching “incorrectly”

Again I guess then it has to do with what works best for who.

@Shizen, right I know that, I also sacrifice form for weight sometimes but not every single set.

I’m not trying to criticize, I’m just gathering information and opinions. So far so good!

Dude, many big guys are loose with their form because IT WORKS. End of story. No newbie should be training the same way, however.

But these posts (way too many of them) from these little guys who have judged some huge fucker’s form as incorrect are irritating. They became huge fuckers by learning what their own body needed to see the most progress. No one is training FOR YOU. You train however YOU alone need to in order to avoid injury and to reach your goals.

If some guy has arms bigger than your legs, he is NOT training “wrong”, AT LEAST NOT FOR HIM. If he is much older than you, that is even more of a reason for you to consider that he knows what he is doing. Anyone lifting for over a decade without a serious injury while also becoming big as hell has a firm grip on what they need to do.

You don’t.
[/quote]

Makes sense. Thanks.

So what I’m getting mostly is that it has to do with preference and body type for the most part.

I mean I’m pretty big and I’m not trying to be like SUPER huge but I’d like to grow more and I want to see what works for me best. So seeing what I would call half ass form I was taught it was wrong by others even bigger then them. So I’m pretty knowledgeable but when I talk to more experienced and older guys that have been hitting the weights for years I’m pretty much all ears.

You seem like a half way levelheaded kid unlike a lot of these snot nosed Madison Ave. rejects that show up here so I’ll bite. You’ve gotten some great responses already too…

First lemme ask you something and this is not a trick question.

When you say you don’t want to be SUPER huge what do you mean? Do you mean you don’t want to be as big you can? You don’t want to look like the pros? If you were making steady progress in terms of muscle gains would you stop on purpose at some point because you were getting TOO big?

We hear all the time about how guys don’t wanna be huge. I’m sincerely curious what YOU mean when you say that.

Incidentally I don’t remember ever hearing somebody who was making good progress say that. It’s always somebody who’s having trouble.

Again, I’m not luring you into anything, I’m just asking. This will also have everything to do with you how view exercise form in the long run.

[quote]Mishimaster wrote:
Sentoguy, I did take that into consideration as a matter of fact. But they are also a lot older so you should take that into consideration. I’m not trying to argue but it would be different if we both started at the same time and he got more results that’s 1 thing.
[/quote]

Well, you didn’t mention them being a lot older in your OP. But, even if they are older, what makes you think that what they did to get them to that size (which most likely took them quite a few years) is wrong, regardless of their age?

Well, being a personal trainer myself, let me in on a little secret about personal trainers…the vast majority of them don’t know half of what they think/say they do. Are there some who do, and who have actually gotten results themselves? Yeah. But you’ll rarely hear them criticizing people who have gotten results.

[quote]
I’m not trying to criticize, I’m just gathering information and opinions. So far so good! [/quote]

If you want my honest opinion; at this point in my training career I am entirely convinced that one of the most prevalent hindrances to success when it comes to bodybuilding is over thinking things. Whether it be diet, exercise form, training split, tempo, etc… building muscle isn’t meant to be a calculus equation. Just get in there, bust your ass, beat your last performance, and then go home and eat like you are trying to gain weight. Get a good night’s sleep and repeat.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
If you want my honest opinion; at this point in my training career I am entirely convinced that one of the most prevalent hindrances to success when it comes to bodybuilding is over thinking things. Whether it be diet, exercise form, training split, tempo, etc… building muscle isn’t meant to be a calculus equation. Just get in there, bust your ass, beat your last performance, and then go home and eat like you are trying to gain weight. Get a good night’s sleep and repeat. [/quote]

It took over 8 years on this site for us to finally get back to this.

For a long time there, it was like everyone logging in was trying to impress everyone else with how much random shit they could remember and how many acronyms they could write down. Meanwhile, if you asked for a picture of all of the progress this thinking had gotten them, there was nothing to be seen.

There is a reason the biggest guys are usually NOT the ones this worried about making this as complicated as possible.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
If you want my honest opinion; at this point in my training career I am entirely convinced that one of the most prevalent hindrances to success when it comes to bodybuilding is over thinking things. Whether it be diet, exercise form, training split, tempo, etc… building muscle isn’t meant to be a calculus equation. Just get in there, bust your ass, beat your last performance, and then go home and eat like you are trying to gain weight. Get a good night’s sleep and repeat. [/quote]

100% with you on this one
You simply have to find what works for YOU, diet and training wise, forget all the fancy routines, if what you are doing is not working STOP! try something different and when you do find something that is working keep doing it until it no longer does

X and Sento are right on. Guys who are massive with less than perfect form lift that way because they have enough experience and basic strength to get away with it. There is a point where injury will occur if you flirt with bad form long enough. I see this all the time where guys who are curling shitloads of weight with a mild swing to it, and accused of having bad form. It will cause more growth than curling 20’s with super mega strict form. Move some weight people.