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Old 05-29-2012, 12:15 AM   #1
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Default Form or Get it Done?

There's been a lot of posts lately that make me wonder where form, and where getting it done actually place on the scale of success.

Obviously, form is crucial in an actual powerlifting meet, but in terms of getting stronger in preparation, can form be waived? If so, by how much? I've read plenty about loose lifts being applied nuclear hard ratcheting up performance, but is that so?

On the flip side how much can be gained, or more importantly lost, by dogmatic determination on strict form at all times?

How about lift by lift? Squat? Bench? Deadlift? Will high box squats help your overall strength and therefore get you more in a meet? Will bouncing benches get you stronger and therefore stronger in a meet? How about strapped deadlifts?

Or will you lift less in a meet because you refuse to compromise on any lift at any time in your training?

Do training reps have to equal meet reps exactly or is there a cheat in there that will get you farther?

I wonder.
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:00 AM   #2
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If you push hard enough, as you should, form will naturally get out of whack on those last couple of reps. Otherwise, strict form always.
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:18 AM   #3
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It's important to know the most effective technique for a lift, in order to lift as much weight as you can with it and therefore derive the most benefits.

When you're lifting heavy, technique will break down. If you're lifting heavy day after day, you'll be building enough strength that you can push through it anyway and still make the lift. You will only hamstring your efforts through fear of injury.

Who's going to build the most size and strength? The guy who does strict shrugs with 225, a perfectly arched-back deadlift with 315, and an "atg" squat with 250, or the guy who shrugs 545 with straps, deadlifts 500 with some back rounding, and squats 405 to parallel?
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Old 05-29-2012, 02:24 AM   #4
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Good points by OR and IM; I'm going to throw this into the mix, not necessarily because I disagree (I actually don't disagree with what's been said) but because it is another side to the argument:

Thinking more long-term than just the end of the set and being able to get your reps, if a trainee regularly changes their form to 'cheat' their way to the last few reps what exactly are they training their bodies to do?

I'll assume this is Strength/Power based since we're in that forum, so what they are training the body to do is when the going gets tough to start to bounce their benches off their chest and/or raise hips off the bench. By continually (or even just regularly) switching form to get the job done you are reinforcing the wrong technique. So eventually your body will know that when the reps get tough, or even when there is sufficient weight on the bar it will resort to that style of lifting.

The term used is 'movement patterns' in biomechanics. That is a field of study partly concerned with finding efficient movement patterns. If cheating is done on the hard sets what is effectively happening is that the wrong movement patterns are being trained and the more it happens the more those movement patterns are ingrained into the body because the muscles responsible for producing that movement pattern get stronger and stronger while the other, more strict, movement pattern gets weaker and weaker (relatively).

That's just one opposing viewpoint, specifically for strength and power. The reason people cheat is *sometimes* because a stronger bodypart takes over and completes the movement, the goal of training a lift should be to make the strict movement pattern also the dominant and strong one.
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Old 05-29-2012, 02:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fazc View Post
Good points by OR and IM; I'm going to throw this into the mix, not necessarily because I disagree (I actually don't disagree with what's been said) but because it is another side to the argument:

Thinking more long-term than just the end of the set and being able to get your reps, if a trainee regularly changes their form to 'cheat' their way to the last few reps what exactly are they training their bodies to do?

I'll assume this is Strength/Power based since we're in that forum, so what they are training the body to do is when the going gets tough to start to bounce their benches off their chest and/or raise hips off the bench. By continually (or even just regularly) switching form to get the job done you are reinforcing the wrong technique. So eventually your body will know that when the reps get tough, or even when there is sufficient weight on the bar it will resort to that style of lifting.

The term used is 'movement patterns' in biomechanics. That is a field of study partly concerned with finding efficient movement patterns. If cheating is done on the hard sets what is effectively happening is that the wrong movement patterns are being trained and the more it happens the more those movement patterns are ingrained into the body because the muscles responsible for producing that movement pattern get stronger and stronger while the other, more strict, movement pattern gets weaker and weaker (relatively).

That's just one opposing viewpoint, specifically for strength and power. The reason people cheat is *sometimes* because a stronger bodypart takes over and completes the movement, the goal of training a lift should be to make the strict movement pattern also the dominant and strong one.
I agree. We all know that guy with the 1/4 ROM leg press, and no one wants to end up like him. (...right?)

That said, there's learning the right way to deadlift and not being afraid of lifting heavy, and then there's being mortally terrified of maxing for fear of some back rounding.
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:32 PM   #6
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The people over at another forum (stronglifts.com) have what they call a 90% rule. I can't say I disagree with it. Try to make each rep as spot on as possible, while allowing for an imperfect one on occasion. For example, if your squat session has you performing 30 total reps (warmups + working sets), don't get too dejected if 2 or 3 reps don't go to parallel, or get "Good Morninged" up. As has been stated before, technique WILL break down as you approach rep maxes and/or weight maxes. All that being said, I always try to make my last rep count. When I'm on the bench, I bring the bar down, pause it, and lock the elbows before I rack it. That's the last rep of a 5 rep set, a 10 rep set, or a single. That last rep always gets treated like it's a competition lift.

To tie this all up in a neat little bow: Strive for perfection, but realize it isn't going to happen. As Rippetoe says, "Perfect is the enemy of Good."

Bottom line though, there's a lot to be said for gettin' it done.
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:25 AM   #7
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Just regurgitating everything above. If I'm wanting to focus more on technique for a period though, I usually won't go so far in a set to allow my technique to break down so much. That said, when it comes down to it, I'll kill myself if I have to when I want to get that extra rep.
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davis View Post
Just regurgitating everything above. If I'm wanting to focus more on technique for a period though, I usually won't go so far in a set to allow my technique to break down so much. That said, when it comes down to it, I'll kill myself if I have to when I want to get that extra rep.
Yep. I've been chewing on this too. It really depends to a degree on what the lifter's end game is. If someone is focused on getting big and strong, then certain "cheats" like straps and bouncing BP's can be allowed. Whereas, I would tend to think that if one were training for a powerlifting meet, then stricter form and fuller ROM should be rehearsed on the main lifts.

After saying all this, I just remembered that last I knew BTB was deadlifting with straps. Look at what he does in meets. Just goes to show that Every Rule has an Exception...except for one.
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:24 PM   #9
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During a competition is the only time I will let form break down to hit a lift. Any other time and I bail out of it. The risk of getting hurt and being sidelined for 6 months is too steep for me to do it during training.
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:04 PM   #10
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It's simple. Both, when have you've ever seen a max Deadlift with flawless beautiful form? I call it semi-loose form.
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