Have you ever been to the gym and seeing somebody throwing weights around like a circus jugular?
Have you ever seen somebody spinning the elliptical so fast that you swear they were trying to fly?
Unfortunately just "checking in" to workout does not guarantee its success. And there are many variables that need to be locked down in order to achieve your fitness goals.
Today I really want to talk about form, and specifically one aspect of form that can be applied to every exercise.
I call it the Liftoff Point and it is the most important part of the movement.
Quick background information. There are three parts to every movement, the concentric or the raising part, the eccentric or lowering part, and isometric or holding portion. The way that you get from one portion of the movement to another portion of the movement is the key to the success of any exercise.
Here's one example of what I mean. When you see somebody doing bench press and they bounce the weight off their chest. Not only is this not safe, but they are not even using the optimal amount of muscle tension in order to be able to accomplish the goal, which is to stimulate the body to adapt to new movements and new demands. (By the way, if you were thinking that I was going to say the goal of the lift is to add more weight, you are wrong).
The goal of any workout program is always to force adaptation.
The best workout is always the workout that you have not adopted to. The worst workout is the one that you've been doing day after day for a year, or worse 10 years.
So if you were not so attached to how much weight you were lifting, you can actually drop the weight down and be more deliberate in your transition points.
The practical way to apply this technique is to pause. You should be able to do your bench press from a zero speed, and gradually ramp up into the movement.
After trying this, you might say that this is too hard. It was easier the other way. Well, why are you in the gym? Are you in the gym to make it easy? Again, you might have to lighten the weight a little bit. But swallow your pride and do it. If you can get a great workout with 5 pounds, that's what you should use.
The amount of weight that you log in your workout journals is not nearly as important as the experience that you were having in the weight room.
Overall, it's about being more internally focused, more aware of what's happening inside your body than anything that you were doing outside of your body, such as documenting your progress or listening to music.
This takes a shift in methodology and philosophy. It's not about go go go and do more. It's about slow down and do better.
This is why the most common thing out of my clients now this is
"this is so much harder than it looks.”
The reason is because I'm forcing them to slow down and actually do it properly.
Your results improve when you get deliberate. Most people don't though, it's challenging. It hurts more. But again, you are at the gym to work.
The great side benefit of this type of focus when you're exercising, is that not only do you get better results but you also greatly diminish the chance of injury. You're not using momentum or bouncing or handling weight that is outside of your range. If you're struggling with injury, specifically back pain, check out my program Help! I Threw Out My Back.
Words don't teach, experience does. I hope I was able to convey at least partially my methodology and what I mean by this. I feel it's so important, so if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to Chris@mycorebalance.com.