Form is a heavily discussed topic within the weight lifting world, what exactly is proper form? For some, this might mean a full range of motion, for others it might mean no swinging but it goes deeper than that. We are talking repetition tempo! Sure your form may be perfect but the speed at which you are performing your repetitions may not be optimal for your goals. Let’s dig a little deeper.
The first thing you need to establish when deciding if your rep tempo is correct for you is your goals. If strength is the main aim of your training then slow, controlled eccentric phases (negatives) are going to be very important, along with explosive concentric contraction phases. So what are you aiming for champ? Strength or size? For sure, there is certainly a cross-over and you don’t have to exclusively aim for one, but for optimal results it generally pays to be specific rather than lumping weights around aimlessly.
The next question to be answered is what exercises you are doing? Although a specific rep tempo application is going to be beneficial, it may differ from one exercise to the next. For example, the rep tempo for barbell bench press and clean & press will differ even if the same goal applies, right? Beyond repetition tempo, stability is essential. Everyone’s biomechanics are different therefore certain exercises are not always the best choice for them. Squats are one of the best exercises out there, period yet if your stability is poor due to underdevelopment within your glutes minor then it isn’t such a good choice. This doesn’t mean it can’t ever be, it just means working on your weak areas will help improve your form on this exercise, making it a good choice.
Finally, good form and the neurological connection between your brain and muscle aka ‘’mind to muscle connection’’ is of paramount importance. Whilst good form helps the athlete achieve this sort after relationship between mind and muscle, there is more to it than this. In this instance, the correct form is the sort which sees the athlete ‘’flex’’ the target muscles against the resistance as though they had no weight at all working against them. This is a unique, somewhat unusual tip to getting a better neurological response, more from your reps, workout and of course from your form!
If ever you thought good form simply meant not swinging like a gym monkey on heat you were wrong, that just scratches the surface!