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Old 12-26-2012, 05:53 AM   #20
Max Brawn
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Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
OK, first of all great advice thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for. Some thoughts on when you hit that very edge of your strength. I ddin't particularly express my question correctly, but most got the idea. Thank you.

My thinking was that if you hit a maximum lift with your very best form, then that's your max strength and form. OK, nothing to discuss.

However, if you NEED perfect form to hit any given lift at the maximal range then you are somewhat form dependent. So, if you back off a little bit, work on hitting that weight more and more often, you will be better at hitting that weight under non-optimal conditions or imperfect form. Therefore you are stronger.

Some people are already stronger. They don't need perfect form to hit a lift, they just grind it out. Perhaps if their form was better, they'd lift more, but they are strong period.

I totally agree that you must be safe in all lifting and good form has a lot to do with that. I would never advocate poor form. But I do think you could coach being stronger by being more experienced and more determined, and maybe more conditioned.

I also wonder if there is some other gear somewhere out there where you just buckle down and hit weights you think you should hit. I'm heading into a lift worrying about XYZ, but some guys are just worried about pushing the damn weight up. Why do I need a checklist? Either I can do it or I can't. Yes, within reason everyone has a routine, but I'm wondering if am just so fixated on form, I am forgetting that the point is to lift the effing weight.

I am frustrated a bit lately in that when the pressure is on I do not hit weights that are I think within my abilities. I haven't hit a third attempt in a meet since March and that was a miracle, I am goughing out some gym PRs, but not even hitting my theoretical maximums, especially in deadlifts which is I think a measure of pure brute strength. Technique lifts like Bench and Squats I am progressing, slowly but surely.

I can keep putting up bigger numbers in bench with my arch, and now squats because I am learning to put the bar lower and take advantage of those leverages. But, there's no tricks to deadlifting. So now suddenly, I can't trick my way heavier.

Granted, maybe my theoretical maxes are wrong or my ego out of control. But the fact remains that I feel like I have to have perfect form to progress. I feel like there is another level out there that I am not understanding and don't have the strength to simply access it.

I agree it is the chicken or the egg. Strength is measured by weight and either will register on the scale. If you can only bench 200 one minute and somebody shows you how to arch your back and drive with your legs and you bench 250 five minutes later, you are not "stronger". Technique simply allows you to apply your strength better.

But at a certain point you have to decide to put the weight up. Maybe it's mental strength, I don't know.

I'm making progress, I know will continue to make progress, I'm not pissing in the wind here. I am curious if there is another way of thinking about this.
The top powerlifters in the world ALL are thinking form cues as they lift. It may not be an extensive list but they are going through that mental checklist as they execute. Watch the Westside videos and listen to the coaching cues being shouted for example. Dave Hoff is the strongest squatter in the world right now (give or take) and he is still being told to sit back, knees out, arch hard as he comes up. Like I said before, working on form never stops, it evolves. Brute strength will only take you so far.
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