To gain the athletic edge or to lose that few extra pounds, we push our bodies to the limit and thus fatigue will set in. Fatigue will have numerous effects on us. One of those effects is decreased quality of movements or motor tasks. Let’s take a fine motor task for an example, such as buttoning a button. That task when you are not fatigue should not be a problem. However, when you are fatigue that task becomes more difficult to complete. This article will breakdown, remind and enforce the importance of proper form in a movement. Below are three pieces of advice to help you push past your plateau and to accelerate to your goals. Ask a personal trainer in Richmond about proper form.

Making the exercise HARDER
When a newbie becomes a rookie, then a rookie becomes a pro, his or her program will change. This includes the volume, rest periods and exercise selection. They will no longer be performing basic exercises or basic programs. Intensity will increase as well as exercise difficulty. For example, a newbie will be performing a goblet squat with a light weight for his or her first year. As they progress onto their third year of lifting, they may be performing a barbell back squat to increase intensity. This is a very natural progression to challenge the body to introduce progressive overload. HOWEVER, you must not forget proper form! Ever! If they have good form in the goblet squat but terrible form during the back squat, they must regress back to the goblet squat and work up from there. Ask a personal trainer in Richmond about progression of an exercise.

Never sacrifice technique for MORE WEIGHT
Let’s take the same example from above. The individual is quite comfortable back squatting 65 pounds. Once they increase the weight the quality decreases (whether it be rounded back or caved knees). This is NOT okay! It is great to increase weight for progressive overload but you cannot lose the quality of the movement. Form always comes first before adding any weight. This is to ensure safety. If you risk injury, you are risking time off training.

There are various reasons why you cannot lift more weight with the same form. They could range from lack of mobility under more weight, lack of coaching or simply not strong enough. Find out what is lacking and focus on strengthening the weak point.

Lower weights slower than you lift them
It is one benefit to lower and lift weights at a quick speed but it is a HUGE benefit to lower weights slowly. Now we are manipulating the time under tension (also known as TUT) in the lift. TUT is one of the main factors that plays when we are trying to build muscle. Generally speaking, TUT must be greater than 30 seconds in order to build muscle. In other words, if your sets are less than 30 seconds you aren’t really getting the best bang-for-your-buck. Ask a personal trainer in Richmond about time-under-tension.

Most of us aren’t competitive power lifters. The goal for us is not to successfully lift a weight. For most of us it is to look and feel good. When we focus on lowering and lifting the weight with control, we create a better mind-to-muscle connection. This will in turn target that muscle better. Slowing down the lowering is much harder than quickly cranking out the set, but the gains are endless.

Wrap up
You frequently hear fitness enthusiasts swear by “always use proper form”. While that holds true all the time, the specifics of that phrase is rarely touched on. One: it is allowed to make an exercise more difficult ONLY if form is kept in check. If you perform a harder exercise, not only you are risking an injury you are not achieving the proper gains. Two: never sacrifice exercise quality for MORE WEIGHT. It is never appropriate to lose the quality of the movement in order to lose more weight. It is the same reason as above: risk of injury. Three: lower the weight slower than you lift them. Manipulating time-under-tension demonstrates control and gives you better adaptations.

Until next time,
Coach Marco

Crux Fitness is the Top personal training studio with the best personal trainers in Richmond, Surrey

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