What’s up guys,
Now those who train with me know I keep things pretty strict when it comes to exercise technique. I don’t like rounded lower backs, slouched posture, or arched backs all in the name of adding extra weight to the bar.
The fact is, quality reps always trump garbage reps.
Quality reps engage the right muscles, make you stronger throughout the lift, and bulletproof your body against injury. Crappy reps don’t target the correct muscles, don’t improve your strength much, and give you a one-way to ticket to Snap City.
There’s nothing worse than seeing someone do half-squats or trying to press a weight that’s clearly too heavy for them. This is what’s known as ego lifting – guys trying to fool themselves (and Instagram =/) into thinking they can lift heavier weights than they’re capable of.
Ego lifting doesn’t get you anywhere.
(Note: there is a time and a place for form that is less than perfect, such as during very heavy lifting. That’s cool, as long as you have a good foundation of strength and technique to begin with.)
I’m especially a stickler for good form when it comes to the basic bodyweight movements, such as press-ups, pull-ups, and inverted rows. If you don’t have good form with these staples, it’s unlikely you’ll be any better when it comes to moving heavy weight.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a seminar aimed at personal trainers.
During the breaks, the hosts ran a competition for the max amount of press-ups and pull-ups, with a prize for the winner.
Well guess what?
Barely anyone used a full range of motion. Pretty much every rep was choppy at best. None of the officiators said anything either.
The average score in the room was probably 50-70 press-ups, and 30-40+ pull-ups.
To put this number into context, potential Royal Marines have to do 16 strict pull-ups and 60 press-ups to earn maximum points during recruitment testing.
(Yeah, I know a lot of them may have been doing the reps however necessary to get the prize, but it would have been interesting to see the average numbers if the officiators enforced strict form.)
Before we move on, here’s what a few of the best coaches in the world have to say about bodyweight training.
Not everyone needs to or should lift a barbell, but bodyweight exercises are essential. I’ve used them to rapidly transform the bodies of professional athletes, models and entertainers. One of the many things I love about them is they can be done anywhere at any time.
Many men don’t realize that serious muscle and strength can be built with just bodyweight exercises. Not only that, bodyweight only workouts can be high intensity and done in quick training sessions throughout the week. They’re free, improve movement, and improve relative strength.
MOST guys use bodyweight training ineffectively and inefficiently. – You CAN pack on muscle with bodyweight training. You CAN develop serious strength & power as well as burn fat through bodyweight only training.
Bodyweight exercises work a whole lot of muscle at once, so we need to get it right.
For instance, during a press-up, you are (or should be) engaging your shoulders, arms, chest, back, abs, glutes, and quads.
So with the above in mind, below is a brief run-through of three classic bodyweight movements – the pull-up, press-up, and inverted row. Hopefully it will help tighten up your form so you get the best out of these old dependables of strength training.
To make it easier: put a medicine ball underneath your chest and touch the ball, then press back up.
To make it harder: elevate your feet or wear a weighted vest.
To make it easier: use elastic bands to assist you at the bottom of the movement.
To make it harder: add weight with a weighted vest or dip belt.
3) Inverted row
To make it easier: bend your legs or raise the height of the bar.
To make it harder: elevate your feet on a box/bench, or add a weighted vest.
Hope this helps guys.
Bodyweight exercises always can and should be a part of your training regime. Just make sure you’re doing them properly!