Breaking Bro Science: Focus on Form

Powerlifting or any strength sport is all about how much weight you can lift right?

Wrong. While a performance within powerlifting is determined by the total one can achieve at a competition. It is also heavily reliant on the quality of the movement. Your squat won’t count if you didn’t hit depth and your bench will be red lighted if you bounce the weight.

Pretty obvious, so why write a post about it. Well, I recently was reminded that good form supersedes just enough to get white lighted in a meet, it is the consistent quest which all lifters must follow in order to become the strongest version of themselves. I recently watched a youtube video from Nick Wright in which he was having his coach the almighty Brett Gibbs analyse and perfect his form ahead of his meet. The video was very interesting, but, Brett said one thing that really caught my attention. He mentioned that most people hit their strength potential and can not lift more weight because they are trapped by their poor technique.

And when you think about it, this makes perfect sense! I am sure there is one dude at your gym that squatted 405 for the first time 5 years ago and is still squatting that weight. Most people would consider that a plateau. I mean technically it is, but more often than not it is not caused by poor programming. Rather it is a by-product of a lack of skill in that movement. For me, my squat has plateaued recently, due to my hips rising and the bar rolling up my back, if you follow the Instagram you will have seen a lot of this. It prevents me from moving more weight because I compress forward onto my toes.

I have started trying to focus on breaking at the hips and really focus on pushing my knees out at the bottom. Whether or not those cues will help is to be seen. But, the most important takeaway I had from this thought, was that skill is as important if not more than strength to succeed in powerlifting. Take this example, you have a 700 HP V12 in your car, but you have a 3 gear transmission. You still have 700 horses under the bonnet but you are so restricted in the amount you can actually use. This is the same phenomena where people can leg press 1000 pounds but can’t convincingly squat 135.

Ultimately, the video has really inspired me to pursue a more effective technique, with renewed vigor. If I veer want to reach the lofty goals which I set myself in the sport I am going to have to work hard and skill training definitely comes into it! So focus on your form, whether that’s recording workouts or having a training partner watch you! And remember strength has no limit!

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