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More Weight On The Bar Does Not Always Equaly Better Results

At the gym today I saw a father lifting with his son (couldn’t have been more than 16 or 17 years old). They were squatting and you could tell the father really meant well as he was teaching his son the exercise.

The father kept on coaching the boy by telling him not to let his knees buckle in (good advice). But, every time the kid squatted, his left knee kept bucking in. Rep after rep, the father would yell out “don’t let your knee buckle in!” and after each set the father would say the same thing “don’t let your knee buckle in.”

The funny thing is that no matter how much the father told the boy to not let his knee buckle, he still couldn’t stop it from happening. What was even funnier was that after each set the father would increase the weight. I guess he thought that if he put more weight on the bar, his son’s form would get better and the knee would stop buckling in. Well, as you can imagine, the boy’s form didn’t get any better (in fact it got worse because as the weight increased his squat depth decreased) and the knee kept on caving inward.

The point I am trying to make is that more weight does not equal better form. More weight on the bar is not always the best option. If you are unable to squat down (or do any exercise for that matter) without good form, then lower the weight and work on it. For this kid, he would have probably got more benefit from either:

a) Performing a slower eccentric and an isometric in the hole, with lighter weight and working on staying tight and keeping his knees lined up over his toes.

Or

b) Working on squatting to a box and again focusing on staying tight and keeping everything in good alignment.

The father fell into the trap that most un-experienced strength coaches make:

He wanted his young athlete to get really strong really fast. Even if that strength came at the expense of technique.

As we know, you can’t rush strength. It needs to be developed over time. Be patient with your athletes and coach good form. Allow them to develop their abilities over a set period of time and remember, they have their whole life to get strong!

Teach them; don’t rush them,

Patrick