Some people believe that one cannot do any sort of progression without increasing poundage (myself included). This sometimes leads to bad and dangerous form.
Although there’s an advantage to hoisting heavier and heavier weight over time – since it will stimulate your Central Nervous System, setting the tone and momentum for muscular and strength development; however doing all your lifts in a poor form just so that you can lift heavier WILL NOT DO JACKSHIT for muscle gains!
Yes! You might do well at first, IF you are lucky not to be injured in your first week of doing so!
BUT is that the quickest way to gain muscle? To load the bar with impossible weight that you cannot even take to full range of motion properly? NO! Off course not! The gains that you will happen to make will be “lucky” gains at best. If you can take advantage of the time under tension principle, you can reap TEN times more!
BUT I heard that power-lifters go SUPER HEAVY on their lifts!
Silly! Yes they go super heavy FOR YOU! But these are weights that they can hoist in the perfect form! In powerlifting they have a certain mandated form for each and every competitive lift. If your form doesn’t qualify it is null and void no matter how heavy it is. So that is the reason why power-lifters eat, and breathe excellent lifting form; in fact the definition of the power athlete’s One-rep max (or any rep max for that matter) is:
“A one rep max is any weight that one can carry for only one repetition using the PROPER form”
Proper form, or else IT GETS DISQUALIFIED! Next Lifter please!
Now we stated above that 200 pounds can be as heavy as or EVEN heavier than 300 pounds; why is that? Let me explain:
Let’s say that John Bradshaw Layfield can bench 300 pounds, but JBL has to either bounce the weight off his chest or just bench from midway of the whole range of motion of the move, to the point of muscle contraction. In short he would be benching at only HALF the range of motion (or less) – or else his spotter just does the entire job.Follow @AboutLifting
This scenario is only good for JBL if he is just deliberately using the 300 pounds for negatives – negatives is where you take a weight that is almost impossible for you to lift on your own, but a spotter lifts the positive (the lifting part) part for you and you will be taking advantage of the heavy negative overload (negative part is the lowering part) and take your target muscle to negative failure using that weight; you will lower that weight for an extended 3 seconds each rep until you cannot lower the weight in a controlled fashion and you have to stop otherwise, you will just drop the bar loaded with an impossible weight on your chest (take note that your spotter will NOT assist you on the negative portion of the reps when doing negatives).
Otherwise, the idea of hoisting a very heavy weight for you (keep in mind that “heavy” is relative) but sacrificing good form and range of motion is a completely useless practice in the long run and will not bring you much success in terms of muscle gain. It will not bring you much strength gains as well as your muscles not working to their full ROM and with you doing a sloppy rep, is really not making your target muscle group work “hard”.
In lifting, to be able to reap any benefits at all you must make sure that the target muscles work “hard” that is why we say that one must lift like every rep is their last and one must also make each and every rep “harder” not easier. Thus JBL would be better served by doing 200 pounds in a very strict form.
200 pounds done for reps, using the correct form, going from muscular stretch position to fully contracted position, without using momentum to bring up the bar and deliberately creating an extended time under tension is HARDER than doing 300 in a sloppy way.
For your pectoral muscles (and for the rest of the muscle groups involved and for your body in general), the 200 pounds is WAY HEAVIER than the 300 pounds you were trying to hoist.
The 200 pounds done in a full range of motion in a clean and strict form stimulates your muscles better and ignites more muscle and strength building pathways.
The 200 pounds in effect, would initialize the muscle building and strength gaining processes (like how a small match could light up an entire bonfire) while 300 pounds will only work for shooting your ego or impress some chics (if at least you don’t end up looking horrible as you lift).
In other words 200 pounds will get the job done while 300 pounds will only waste your time and only boost your ego at best – and simply lifting and execution of a lift in proper and strict form, makes your muscles and CNS work harder.
Note: 200 lbs. is just an example (I am not even sure how much JBL can lift)! I am not prescribing everyone to do 200 pounds! Remember that heaviness or any weight is relative to the person lifting it. What this article means is that one must use the weight that will challenge them but only the one that he can lift in a strict form. A 5 rep max is not a 5 rep max if you cannot do 5 reps in a strict form and in a full range of motion. The 200 pounds pertained in this article may be 100 pounds or even 50 pounds for you; or the 300 pounds here might even be 400 pounds for you – who knows!
In summary, adding pounds is only secondary to perfect execution in maintaining progression. First you take a certain move and do a perfect form, and then after you do you can worry about adding weight to the bar. If needed you should even use your own body-weight and ONLY your body-weight at first – for example, if you cannot even do a ten rep push-up with good form, there is no point in even starting to bench press with external resistance.
Increasing reps is also another way for progression. Instead of going very heavy the next session or adding as much as 10% in the bar, just work until you can do 12 or 15 reps with a certain weight then after which you can increase the weight and intensity for that same lift.
Okay there you go! Do you have any questions? How many reps do you usually do with your favorite lifts? What is your favorite way for progressing; reps, poundage, volume, density, etc? Tell us more on the comments, please. If you think that this article will be helpful to a fellow lifter, then please forward or share with him/her this entire article without hassle by simply clicking on the share buttons bellow. Eat your eggs, people!