Form, Tempo, Range of Motion
When I begin work with a client on training execution these are three initial factors that I do not stress:
- How much weight to use
- How many sets to perform
- How many repetitions to complete
Clearly those things get addressed. They ultimately have to. But they are secondary to three more critical factors that establish a foundational basis for the work to come. Why? (1)- Because until you focus on and master these fundamentals, moving something heavy from point A to point B, by any means possible, is all that you are accomplishing. And that ultimately will lead to less than ideal functional strength and will likely result in some form of injury down the road. Why? (2)- Because upwards of 50% of those I observe in commercial gyms are working hard but doing so with poor fundamentals. By far the biggest problem I see is trainees using far more resistance than their body is capable of (or ready for) and using unwanted momentum to do so. Here are two classic examples: Bench Press- Lowering the weight (eccentric) too quickly, bouncing the bar off the chest (momentum), raising the weight (concentric) using that created momentum.
Lat Pulldown- Using the entire upper-torso on the pull (concentric) with no pause, not returning to full extension and no pause at the end of the (eccentric) motion. A full range of motion and intentional pauses are paramount with this exercise for full effect. If you are new to strength training, focus on mastering these three factors first. Form: There are hundreds of YouTube videos available to view for any exercise movement you can think of. Watch 2-3 to see the proper form before attempting yourself. Tempo: Eliminate momentum from your execution as much as possible. Tempo timing for those of you starting out- 1 second to perform the eccentric portion of the movement. Momentary pause at it’s completion. 1 second to perform the concentric portion of the movement. Momentary pause again before starting the next rep. Range of Motion: Complete every rep fully in both directions.
Do not short-arm, or limit the movement in either direction.
Full, complete repetitions is the goal.
If you can’t do so, you are using too much resistance. Lower the resistance until you can. Dialing in these fundamentals will set you up for greater success and greater real, functional, muscular strength down the road. Until next week, Chris