As gym rats we can get lost in getting a certain amount of sets or reps accomplished at x or y weight. We want to follow a given program for best results. What we can lose in that process is working on the movement as a skill.
Of course we want progressive overload in our programming, but movement quality is equally important from a performance and injury prevention standpoint.
Ilyan Ilyin just set a world record of 517lb clean and jerk at 206lbs bodyweight. The weight looked like a warm-up set.
The same thing happened with Benedikt Magnusson’s world record dead lift of 1015lbs. It looked like he was warming up with 135lbs.
Sergei Bubka effortlessly sets another record in the polevault back in 1993.
No one has touched his record since by the way.
You always hear the same response when someone sees these videos, “he made it look light.” “He/she could easily do more weight or jump higher etc etc.” Well if their technique wasn’t 100% and they didn’t have good bar speed or perfect technique when doing their events, they would have missed. If things didn’t look effortless, they’d be missed lifts, or missed bars.
I have a very hard time with some people getting them to understand how important this is. We all want to use more weight, move faster or beat the clock. If we’re really interested in getting better, we’ll check our egos at the door and work on exercise mastery.
I’m certainly guilty of ugly reps and sets and it’s something I’m still working on correcting. It’s only because I want to get better just like everyone else. This is an idea that I’ve been trying to hammer into my brain lately.
I mean look at this old video of me deadlifting, I’m lucky I didn’t shoot a disc out of my spine across the room, or poop my pants.
The take home point is that whenever we’re sacrificing our technique to get another rep, we’re not really helping our cause to get better. Being aggressive and tenacious is great, but lifting with poor technique is less effective and puts us at risk for injury.
When we’re in the gym working on our lifts, the goal should be getting the technique better, moving the bar quickly and shutting it down when technique starts falling apart. If you want to be a world class athlete, you’ve got to train like one. Treat your exercise like you’re working on skills, not just sets, reps and weight lifted. Set a strict technique standard for yourself on each and every rep. You’ll make faster progress this way and reduce your risk of injury as well.
If your back looks like a “C” when you deadlift, you might be doing it wrong,
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