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Getting there is not as important as HOW you got there!

It can be amazing watching people perform exercises. I am all for full range of motion lifts but, as the title suggests, getting there is not as important as how you got there.

Lets take a squat for example. One thing I notice with most trainees is that in an effort to get full, a$$ to ankles, depth (getting there) they compromise with a wicked posterior pelvic tilt (how they got there). Two things can be said about this:

1) They got the full range of motion that they were looking for.

and

2) How effective was that exercise knowing that the way they got there (posterior pelvic tilt) places the spine in a potentially compromised position?

Lets look at another example that gets butchered a lot, the overhead barbell press. I will watch guys start with the bar down near their anterior delts (under their chin) and then as they press up overhead, they start to shrug their shoulders, one arm starts to press more than the other, they lean back, and their scapular movement is not proper at all. Again, getting there (pressing the barbell from the start position to overhead) was not as important as how they got there (sloppy form and poor scapulohumeral rythm). The exercise put the shoulder and, depending on the degree of backwards lean, the lower back in a compromising position.


Nothing good can come from either of these examples. One thing I try to strive for is perfect technique all the time. If I am unable to get proper range of motion with good technique, I imediatly want to know why. Sometimes it may be a flexibility/mobility issue or sometimes it may be that I am just trying to use to much load and occasionally it may be a combination of the two.

One thing everyone should do when they go to the gym is think about the exercise before you perform it. Go over, in your head, where the start position is, where the end position in, and what is supposed to happen in between in order to perform the lift correctly, safetly and effectively.

Besides the two above, some real trouble exercises are:

bench press
rows
deadlifts
step ups
lunges

Do a form check on these exercises. Drop the weight down if you have to. Slow the tempo down if you have. Or, worst case scenario, drop the exercise and regress down to something that is more manageable, until you are able to work up to performing the lift with perfect technique.

Hopefully everyone can get the nerve to check their ego at the door and correct their exercise technique even if it *gasp* causes you to lower the weight on the bar.

Later,

Patrick