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Old 12-24-2012, 10:57 AM   #11
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So if you're still at the point where you need to break form to make a lift then you have some technique and form drilling to do yet. If that is the case you want to avoid doing maximal lifts for a while and get some volume in and really drill the movement path.
This is the primary reason I want to see guys who want to jump into strength training to progress above 4 reps for as long as possible. Rep practice, form practice, muscle and strength building.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:04 AM   #12
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This is the primary reason I want to see guys who want to jump into strength train to progress above 4 reps for as long as possible. Rep practice, form practice, muscle and strength building.
Exactly.

Drill the lifts, build the work capacity and set the foundation to enable you to progress down the line.

3 sets of 10 on 5-6 exercises done 3 times a week is perfect in my opinion.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:15 AM   #13
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Exactly.

Drill the lifts, build the work capacity and set the foundation to enable you to progress down the line.

3 sets of 10 on 5-6 exercises done 3 times a week is perfect in my opinion.


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Old 12-24-2012, 11:17 AM   #14
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Great points in here. Just to throw in my two cents I think that form is THE great constant in terms of things to work on. As your strength improves, this can highlight flaws in your form and imbalances in your muscles. Form is not a learn-once solution; it needs constant review and the strongest lifters will always have the best form FOR THEM. This will come from experimentation, mobility work, assistance exercises and lots of hard work. When you watch Vogelpohl squat 1175lbs with his feet wider than the monolift or Duffin pull 900lbs raw with a sumo stance, you are watching a thing of beauty; the ultimate in efficiency, technique and strength combined. Don't ever stop learning.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:30 AM   #15
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In my opinion technique is more important then strength for 99% lifters. If your technique is not proper, soon you will find yourself hitting the wall. Poor technique is also one of the main reasons of injuries.

In your's (Mike) case, if you see, you do get very strong in last 3-4 months but as soon as you change your technique / working as suggested by JB's program your numbers on almost all lifts undergo a lot of improvement.

Strength can take you upto a level but if you want to reach your max. potential it has to be technique + strength exactly in the same order.

stay strong ...
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:02 PM   #16
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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.
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:20 PM   #17
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This is why I hate it when people are obsessed with training to failure. When they start to get tired their form always suffers, and they end up engraining really bad habits. If you were coaching someone to throw a certain type of pitch, but after a while they were getting tired and having trouble, you'd tell them to stop because they weren't going to improve if they didn't have the energy to put into the technique. How is lifting any different?

When it comes to programming, people always get it backwards. The don't care about technique on bench or pull ups, but don't you DARE sway when you're doing curls! In fact, lean on that wall. That'll keep you from swaying.
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Old 12-25-2012, 11:49 PM   #18
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Just some of my thoughts on the subject:

You and everybody else are correct about form. It needs to be great to prevent injuries, and allow effective lifting. But where I see you are having a hard time is that form breaks (on supra max lifts) when the muscle, or group of muscles, is too weak, so it recruits other muscles. Which is why your form breaks.

Your weakness isn't that you aren't strong enough. It is that your weakest link is the breakdown in the chain. When your form breaks you have to know where is it breaking down and work on that muscle/group.

Fazc is right. Doing high rep work will allow you to become comfortable with your lifts. I feel doing high volume work with lower weights allows me to hone in on my weak points of my technique. When I become exhausted I start to break form, but because the weight isn't heavy, I know where it fails without serious damage, and I can add my assistance work to fit where I am too weak.

Not sure if this makes any sense. I see you feel weak, but I am trying to tell you that you are strong. Just find the weak link in the chain and work on it. Strength is defined by the individual.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:53 AM   #19
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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.
Mike, I still don't necessarily think what you're describing is a result of more/less strength. I think your struggles with single rep maxes relative to rep maxes are more a matter of neuromuscular efficiency.

I've pretty much always trained with low reps and as a result I'm highly efficient and the disparity between my single rep max and rep maxes are massive. Whereas someone else might be able to do a set of 5 with 90% I would be very lucky to get a triple for example.

People used to consider this a matter of muscle fiber make up, but I think that was too simplistic an explanation to be accurate, your body will just adapt to what stress you put upon it. Constantly heaving up singles will get you better at them and over time (6-12 months) you will find your ability to do reps will diminish as your ability to do singles increases.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:53 AM   #20
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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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