T Nation

The Importance of Good Form

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
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]

No of course I completely understand what you mean. Like it’s hard to say about the too big thing, it has nothing to do with me not making progress, I’m actually making great progress.

Like I’d like to be bigger then I am now (of course) but I see some dudes, they are so huge they can’t even scratch their own ass, you know what I mean? lol, it’s hard to word it. I mean I’ve been called huge by people my age even though I don’t think I am at all, I think I’m pretty good at least. It’s just a personal preference, by “too big” I mean like some of the dudes in my gym that are like “monsters”, hard to say, as I said to the point where I like.

[quote]Sentoguy 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.

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?

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”

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.

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

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]

I completely understand what you mean.

The district manager of the gym I go to is actually a exercise science major, so I tend to talk to him about stuff when I try to learn more things or I start getting confused.

Maybe you are absolutely right. Maybe the reason it’s confusing me too much is because I am making it complex when in reality it should be simple.

And maybe I mis-interpret the advice I’m given. Maybe when he talks to me he’s telling me that that form isn’t good for me for example.

I’m actually disappointed to find out that 1 of these bigger guys at my gym which I look up to and listen to a lot is on steroids. =[

Thanks for the info guys. I’d like some more opinions rather then just asking me questions.

So far I’ve gotten, form can be a personal prefrence, or depending on your body type, and I’ve gotten a who cares about form, go bust your ass and do your thing.

[quote]Mishimaster wrote:

No of course I completely understand what you mean. Like it’s hard to say about the too big thing, it has nothing to do with me not making progress, I’m actually making great progress.

Like I’d like to be bigger then I am now (of course) but I see some dudes, they are so huge they can’t even scratch their own ass, you know what I mean? lol, it’s hard to word it.
[/quote]

Well, keep in mind that mobility/flexibility has little to do with size, and much more to do with keeping up with one’s flexibility/mobility training. Lots of big guys are also very flexible/mobile. Ronnie Coleman can do a full split (both straddle and front). Can you? Yet I’m willing to bet that he’s a hell of a lot more muscular than you.

I’m not trying to say that exercise science majors (which I myself am) don’t have some useful knowledge. If you wanted to learn about energy systems, or anatomy and physiology as it pertains to exercise, or the names of the muscles and what joint actions they perform, or a whole list of other scientific topics, than they are good sources of information.

But, if you want to learn about how to actually build muscle, not just how to do it in theory, then you need to ask those who actually have done it themselves (or at least have done it for a substantial number of their clients).

I don’t care what degree(s) someone has, unless they have real world experience and success to go along with that technical knowledge, then they are no authority on the subject.

Quite possibly.

Again possibly, or possibly he’s just spouting off rhetoric that he was taught. You’d be surprised just how closed minded and out of date a lot of the information that they teach people in the exercise science field is. Like I said before, unless this person has actually gotten results themself, then they might just be parroting what others have told them.

Why does that disappoint you? Don’t be fooled by popular culture into thinking that steroids are some sort of magic bullet. Lots of people take steroids and don’t get anything special in the way of results from it. You’ve still gotta train hard, eat right and rest, even if you are on steroids, in order to maximize your results.

So don’t just write off that person’s results or advice simply because they are/were on steroids.

And for the record, I have never personally taken steroids, in case you were wondering.

Actually I’d say that it’s all of the above.

When you are a beginner you need to learn “correct” form (which usually means very strict and through a full ROM) in order to learn how to recruit the desired muscle(s), coordination, avoid injury, and avoid “cheating” (which at this point means making the exercise easier by primarily using your naturally strongest muscles at the expense of working the desired muscles).

Now, once you become accustomed to resistance training (intermediate) and recruiting your muscles, coordination, etc… is no longer an issue, then you can start to experiment with different exercises, splits, different movement forms/patterns, etc… to try to find out what works best for you. For instance maybe flat BB bench is a great chest builder for you, maybe you’ll get better results from DB’s, maybe a low incline, maybe only doing the lower portion of the press, etc…

Once you figure out what works well for your body, what set/rep schemes you like/work best, what type of training split you prefer, and all of the other details, then you just get in there and bust your ass. At this point it’s absolutely best to stop overanalyzing things (when I’m in the gym I actually try to stop thinking about what I’m doing all together and just do it, it’s exercise, it’s supposed to be physical, not mental) and just focus on busting your ass.

Having said all of that, the three “stages” are not mutually exclusive.

You should ALWAYS be focused on working hard. It’s just that in the beginning, working hard means paying close attention to form and working the desired muscles, while later on it just means giving the exercise your all.

You should ALWAYS be focused on how your body is responding to the exercises, split, etc… that you are doing. It’s just that in the beginning, because you are completely new to resistance training, you can’t help but see results from it, while in later stages there will come times when you need to switch things up to prevent stagnation and/or injury.

And, whenever learning/trying a new exercise, there will always be some period of motor learning where you will need to focus on your form. It’s just that the later you are in the game, and the more similar the exercise is to what you’ve done in the past, the quicker this process should take.

At least, that’s my experience.

for me form is almost an ethical thing- I use full rom and minimal body english because this makes the numbers I achieve 100% legitimate. proper form correlates more with numbers than it does physique.

It is ironic too that the biggest guys usually have far less than perfect form. Even more irony lies in the fact that the biggest guys are regarded as experts on everything health/bodybuilding related when their physique is much more due to genetics and their dietary habits.

Thanks a lot Sentoguy. I’ve actually been experimenting a lot. I used to come up with a schedule and switch it every 2 months or so, but now I switch schedules every 3-4 weeks to try out more stuff faster so that I know what I like more.

What about time off? I take 2 days sometimes 3 depending on how my routine is off a week. I’ve been told by someone that I should a week off randomly. I’ve tried it a few times and it feels awkward because I’m so used to hitting the gym every day no matter what. Is there truth behind this?

[quote]cougarenegade wrote:
for me form is almost an ethical thing- I use full rom and minimal body english because this makes the numbers I achieve 100% legitimate. proper form correlates more with numbers than it does physique.
[/quote]

Ethical? Really?

Are you paid to exercise with good form?

The biggest guys I know worked their asses off in the gym for years, consistently. They made eating a priority, often eating gasp anything, just to keep the calories up. And guess what, it works.

You don’t need to be an expert to get large and muscular, you need to be disciplined and consistent.

[quote]cougarenegade wrote:
for me form is almost an ethical thing- I use full rom and minimal body english because this makes the numbers I achieve 100% legitimate. proper form correlates more with numbers than it does physique.

It is ironic too that the biggest guys usually have far less than perfect form. Even more irony lies in the fact that the biggest guys are regarded as experts on everything health/bodybuilding related when their physique is much more due to genetics and their dietary habits.
[/quote]

Are you serious? Even the most genetically gifted lifters I know work harder in the gym and the kitchen than any of the guys critiquing them negatively.

Genetics won’t get you there if you don’t work at it at all.

I also don’t understand how “ethics” has anything to do with this. This is the bodybuilding forum. If what you are doing isn’t working, no one cares how “ethical” it was. If your concern is more on “perfect form” than stimulating a muscle group to grow, you seem to be missing the point.

Any of us could take 20 seconds for one rep with a 25lbs dumbbell and make it look like we needed to be photographed for a text book. If that isn’t making your muscles bigger and you much stronger, you are wasting time.

Results matter.

[quote]cougarenegade wrote:
ethical[/quote]

…???

So, you feel guilty when your form isnt perfect?

[quote]Misimaster wrote:
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[/quote]

But they are big and strong and can rep 300lbs which you can’t. Maybe you should take some notes.

We went over this already, I’m not repeating it for you…go back and read if you want to.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
cougarenegade wrote:
for me form is almost an ethical thing- I use full rom and minimal body english because this makes the numbers I achieve 100% legitimate. proper form correlates more with numbers than it does physique.

It is ironic too that the biggest guys usually have far less than perfect form. Even more irony lies in the fact that the biggest guys are regarded as experts on everything health/bodybuilding related when their physique is much more due to genetics and their dietary habits.

Are you serious? Even the most genetically gifted lifters I know work harder in the gym and the kitchen than any of the guys critiquing them negatively.

Genetics won’t get you there if you don’t work at it at all.

I also don’t understand how “ethics” has anything to do with this. This is the bodybuilding forum. If what you are doing isn’t working, no one cares how “ethical” it was. If your concern is more on “perfect form” than stimulating a muscle group to grow, you seem to be missing the point.

Any of us could take 20 seconds for one rep with a 25lbs dumbbell and make it look like we needed to be photographed for a text book. If that isn’t making your muscles bigger and you much stronger, you are wasting time.

Results matter.[/quote]

I completely agree. Half-reps and cheat-reps are probably one of the most useful things there are for breaking peaks and getting stronger.

There was this guy at the gym last night who was doing tricep extensions with terrible form. Not only was he swaying with the weight and using all sorts of body motion, but he was doing isolated tricep work before his chest work. HELLO.

I would have said something to him but his arms were bigger than my thighs. Damn roids and genetics.

[quote]medevac wrote:

I would have said something to him but his arms were bigger than my thighs. Damn roids and genetics.[/quote]

Lol, sweet avatar btw.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
cougarenegade wrote:
for me form is almost an ethical thing- I use full rom and minimal body english because this makes the numbers I achieve 100% legitimate. proper form correlates more with numbers than it does physique.

It is ironic too that the biggest guys usually have far less than perfect form. Even more irony lies in the fact that the biggest guys are regarded as experts on everything health/bodybuilding related when their physique is much more due to genetics and their dietary habits.

Are you serious? Even the most genetically gifted lifters I know work harder in the gym and the kitchen than any of the guys critiquing them negatively.

Genetics won’t get you there if you don’t work at it at all.

I also don’t understand how “ethics” has anything to do with this. This is the bodybuilding forum. If what you are doing isn’t working, no one cares how “ethical” it was. If your concern is more on “perfect form” than stimulating a muscle group to grow, you seem to be missing the point.

Any of us could take 20 seconds for one rep with a 25lbs dumbbell and make it look like we needed to be photographed for a text book. If that isn’t making your muscles bigger and you much stronger, you are wasting time.

Results matter.[/quote]

Some of the most genetically gifted guys I know dont lift, or half ass it, and arent as strong as some of the less gifted guys I know. My brother, for example, doesnt lift, eats one or two meals a day(think pizza and quesadilla’s) and was 200 lbs(at 5’8" and could do about 10 reps with 200lbs on the bench press), and is more muscular than 90-95% of the population. He is down to 180 from not eating, but still has 15+ inch arms.

My other brother, is about 6’, weighs between 170 and 200(my guess) and can deadlift 300 lbs, without ever training a day in his life. The only excercise he gets is when his pickup was fucked up he would walk the 5 or so miles to his friends house, didnt play sports or do sprints or nothing.

Then there are guys on here I read about who it took 3+ years of dedicated training to get to that level, but eventually are way past that. And in the end, the less gifted guy is much stronger and bigger/more impressive because he put the time and effort in.

Yeah I know my brothers arent as gifted as dorian yates or ronnie coleman or andy bolton etc, but they are at the top end of the spectrum, or so I was led to beleive by what others here say about their own experiences.
For 99.99% of the poplulation Time and effort are the most important thing to get results.

[quote]medevac wrote:
There was this guy at the gym last night who was doing tricep extensions with terrible form. Not only was he swaying with the weight and using all sorts of body motion, but he was doing isolated tricep work before his chest work. HELLO.

I would have said something to him but his arms were bigger than my thighs. Damn roids and genetics.[/quote]

May be he has learned he is triceps dominant and wanted to exhaust them before hitting chest so that they were removed from his chest work. This seems like the obvious explanation since his arms are bigger than you thighs, he must have a reason since he has proven he can get results.

[quote]medevac wrote:
There was this guy at the gym last night who was doing tricep extensions with terrible form. Not only was he swaying with the weight and using all sorts of body motion, but he was doing isolated tricep work before his chest work. HELLO.

I would have said something to him but his arms were bigger than my thighs. Damn roids and genetics.[/quote]

May be he has learned he is triceps dominant and wanted to exhaust them before hitting chest so that they were removed from his chest work. This seems like the obvious explanation since his arms are bigger than you thighs, he must have a reason since he has proven he can get results.

[quote]BlakeAJackson wrote:
medevac wrote:
There was this guy at the gym last night who was doing tricep extensions with terrible form. Not only was he swaying with the weight and using all sorts of body motion, but he was doing isolated tricep work before his chest work. HELLO.

I would have said something to him but his arms were bigger than my thighs. Damn roids and genetics.

May be he has learned he is triceps dominant and wanted to exhaust them before hitting chest so that they were removed from his chest work. This seems like the obvious explanation since his arms are bigger than you thighs, he must have a reason since he has proven he can get results.[/quote]

That whistling sound is my post whizzing over your head.

BTW another thing I’ve noticed, this guy at my gym in particular…why are the biggest guys also the nicest and most fun to have around the gym? And for some reason the newbies aren’t too bad and just seem happy to get out of your way. But intermediate guys are brooding douches?

[quote]medevac wrote:
BlakeAJackson wrote:
medevac wrote:
There was this guy at the gym last night who was doing tricep extensions with terrible form. Not only was he swaying with the weight and using all sorts of body motion, but he was doing isolated tricep work before his chest work. HELLO.

I would have said something to him but his arms were bigger than my thighs. Damn roids and genetics.

May be he has learned he is triceps dominant and wanted to exhaust them before hitting chest so that they were removed from his chest work. This seems like the obvious explanation since his arms are bigger than you thighs, he must have a reason since he has proven he can get results.

That whistling sound is my post whizzing over your head.

BTW another thing I’ve noticed, this guy at my gym in particular…why are the biggest guys also the nicest and most fun to have around the gym? And for some reason the newbies aren’t too bad and just seem happy to get out of your way. But intermediate guys are brooding douches?[/quote]

I agree. One of the reasons I never hesitated to ask the big boys for assistance and help with diet and training. Intermediates seem to have this ego and chip on their shoulders, acting like their shit dont stink.

Hey my shit DOESNT stink.

wait yes it does

horribly

:expressionless:

As far as form goes, as long as you’re not getting hurt, and youre getting good results do what works best for you. Theres no written manual on how you HAVE to do an exercise.

[quote]Defekt wrote:
Hey my shit DOESNT stink.

wait yes it does

horribly

:expressionless:

As far as form goes, as long as you’re not getting hurt, and youre getting good results do what works best for you. Theres no written manual on how you HAVE to do an exercise.[/quote]

LOL!

[quote]medevac wrote:
BlakeAJackson wrote:
medevac wrote:
There was this guy at the gym last night who was doing tricep extensions with terrible form. Not only was he swaying with the weight and using all sorts of body motion, but he was doing isolated tricep work before his chest work. HELLO.

I would have said something to him but his arms were bigger than my thighs. Damn roids and genetics.

May be he has learned he is triceps dominant and wanted to exhaust them before hitting chest so that they were removed from his chest work. This seems like the obvious explanation since his arms are bigger than you thighs, he must have a reason since he has proven he can get results.

That whistling sound is my post whizzing over your head.

BTW another thing I’ve noticed, this guy at my gym in particular…why are the biggest guys also the nicest and most fun to have around the gym? And for some reason the newbies aren’t too bad and just seem happy to get out of your way. But intermediate guys are brooding douches?[/quote]

You already new that. I guess that I have not read any of your other posts. Sorry. I get the sarcastic tone now when I reread it.