20 Signs Your Lifting Form Sucks — Advanced Human Performance Official Website

I’m not going to get into the whole CrossFit debate as there’s definitely multiple sides to the argument.  However, it’s worth nothing that any athlete who focuses primarily on cramming more and more total volume of work into a given time block (increased training density) is definitely going to be at greater risk for technique and form deterioration particularly when it comes to large complex strength movements. That’s because you inevitably become concerned with numbers more so than your technique ultimately causing you to resort to any and all means necessary to get one more rep. 

With that said, there’s nothing wrong with periodically trying to push the envelope and improve your training density.  However, if you are going to consistently implement this training strategy then you’ll need to employ strategic phases into your program that emphasize purely mechanics and technique as a means of cleaning up any form aberrations that may have developed during your time constrained training phases. In fact the best CrossFit athletes will implement such training blocks into their weekly programs.  If you’ve been sticking solely to training protocols that focus only on increasing your training density without implementing technique phases into your routine it’s time to reassess your form and body mechanics.  More than likely you’ve developed some bad habits and various forms of muscular dysfunction that need to be addressed.

– Sign #16 –
Your form sucks on video

If you really want to get a read on your form, record yourself on video from multiple angles.  Regardless of whether or not you’re an expert strength coach, anyone who’s spent at least several years consistently pursuing their strength training goals will have a solid idea of what proper form looks like from a visual perspective. More importantly lousy form will look visibly obvious even to an untrained eye. 

Look for glaring asymmetries, excessive momentum, postural aberrations (i.e. spinal flexion or extension), or any shifting and wiggling throughout the repetitions.  Also examine whether or not your form changes from the beginning to the end of the set.  In addition, find a video of your favorite trainer, athlete, or strength coach demonstrating proper form then compare your video to theirs.  Yes there will be subtle biomechanical issues you won’t pick up on however you’ll most likely be able to address a majority of the larger and more obvious technique aberrations.

– Sign #17 –
You’re obsessed with progressive overload

Progressive overload is a critical component of resistance training.  Without it, it would be nearly impossible to gain significant levels of strength or size as it’s the cornerstone for what drives training success. However, rushing progressive overload is a surefire way to develop form and technique issues.  Unfortunately this describes many lifters as they feel so obsessed with demonstrating tangible progress at each workout that they’ll go to any and all lengths necessary to grind out that extra rep or additional load even if it means sacrificing technique. 

However “strength progressions” that occur under the auspices of form degradation and aberrant mechanics is in fact pseudo progression as the trainee did not gain true strength or size but simply became more efficient at cheating their way through the movement.  In other words they’re producing a false sense of progression. Simply put if you’re one of those lifters that feels compelled at all costs to demonstrate signs of progressive overload each and every workout, chances are that somewhere down the road you began sacrificing form and technique.  Remember improving form and technical efficiency on a lift is one of the most effective forms of progressive overload there is.  Focus on your form and technique and watch how naturally occurring progressive overload becomes.  

– Sign #18 –
You rarely perform single arm or single leg movements

Many lifters are under the mindset that sticking solely to the big basic compound movements is all they need to maximize their physique and performance.  While going heavy on the basic barbell movements and other bilateral exercises is sure to build significant mass and strength, there’s also risk for developing asymmetries and imbalances.   If you’ve been using predominately barbell or even bodyweight movements (i.e. weighted pushups) chances are you’ve developed various asymmetries and imbalances simply from allowing one side of your body to dominate the movement. Periodically including dumbbell, kettlebell, or single limb movements into your routines is critical for not only exposing these issues but also for correcting them. 

– Sign #19 –
You’ve been using the exact same movements for years

Sticking to the same lifts year in and year out can lead to a number of imbalances.   While endless amounts of exercise variety is unnecessary, periodically switching up your movements or even adding very small modifications can help uncover various weaknesses, imbalances, asymmetries, and dysfunctional mechanics. For instance many lifters unknowingly develop bad habits and form aberrations over the years on basic compound movements. Implementing new or unique exercises periodically into your routine forces you to move out of your comfort zone and learn the subtleties of that new movement.  As a result this oftentimes exposes a number of activation deficits and faulty mechanics that you may not have ever tuned into had you not been forced to master a new exercise. 

– Sign #20 –
You experience more soreness near your tendon insertions

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