I have three simple rules when it comes to form:
- Due to anatomical differences, good form will necessarily look different from one lifter to the next
- All beginning lifters must master the basics
- Once a base of strength and muscle has been built, form adjustments can be made depending on the goal
Allow me to elaborate. Sometimes I read articles by various strength & conditioning experts and my jaw drops. I wonder if any of them really train people or pay attention to joint angles and biomechanics.
For example, I recently read that a good squat looks the same for every lifter. Having trained thousands of people in my life, I can assure you that there are many ways for a squat to look right, and that different lifters will have markedly different squat form depending on their body structure. I liken the torso, femur, and tibia to a lightning bolt. Everyone has a unique “lightning bolt,” and your lightning bolt will highly influence the joint angles inherent to your maximal squat form.
This article is by Matt Might. What an excellent way to view a PhD! Using my situation as an example, I’ve read all the research on the glutes, I’ve conducted my own experiments, soon I’ll be collecting and publishing my data, and I’ll have expanded the boundaries on glute training. But in the grand scheme of things (taking the cosmic-overview, as my grandmother used to like to say), it’s just one small aspect of knowledge.
This is why we need all sorts of individuals pushing the boundaries in their particular areas of focus, so we continue to broaden the sphere of knowledge. Strength training research requires so much additional research and is slow-growing, but nevertheless we manage to make considerable progress each and every month (see HERE if you’re interested in strength and conditioning research). I hope you enjoy the pictures.
I can’t think of a question that comes up more in Strength & Conditioning interviews than, “If you could only do one lift, what would it be?” Most of my colleagues absolutely loathe this question, believing it to be absurd since nobody is ever in a position where they can only do one exercise for the rest of their lives. I, however, happen to love these types of questions. Taking the time to ponder this question helps coaches ponder the efficacy (capacity or power to produce a desired effect) and efficiency (the ratio of the output to the input of any system) of an exercise (or combination of exercises if more than one exercise is allowed).
I drew this out today to help people determine how they should train. It’s a strength & conditioning programming flowchart. Tomorrow I’ll explain some of it including what maintenance mode entails.