Good (Not Perfect) Form

I have a relatively new client who was new to weightlifting when she joined my program.

Like most of us just starting a strength training program, she’s concerned about doing the exercises wrong and getting injured.

So on almost every exercise, she’ll stop and ask, “Am I doing this correctly?”

And so I wanted to say a few words about what it means to have good form.

It does NOT mean that you squat with the same stance as the person next to you. Everyone’s anatomy is different.

It also does NOT mean that you squat to the same depth as the person next to you. Everyone comes to the gym with tightness in different places and their own individual muscle imbalances.

Having good form also does NOT mean your form has to be perfect. As your coach, it’s my job to make sure you’re performing the exercise well enough to get the benefit with the lowest possible injury risk.

It’s not my job to freak you out if your form isn’t perfect.

I also wanted to say something about pain during a workout.

Acute pain is always something to be avoided. You’ll know it when you feel it … that’s your body throwing up a stop sign.

But we also don’t want to become hypersensitive to pain. My general rule is, if the pain or discomfort you’re feeling while performing an exercise is a 4 or less on a scale of 1-10, it’s generally safe to continue doing the exercise. What we might do is limit range of motion (for example, having the person squat to a box).

If the pain is a 5 or greater, it’s time to consider making some exercise substitutions and/or focusing instead on corrective exercises that will help alleviate the pain.

So yes, proper form is important … and I’ll always make sure you’re doing the exercises safely.

But I’m also going to let you spend some time in the gray area, because getting outside your comfort zone helps your body adapt and change. Perfection is the enemy of that progress.

Your Friend and Coach,

Train Smart. Train Hard. Train Safe. Train to Sweatt

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