At the school I currently work at I take students into the gym and teach them how to lift weights safely and correctly. As part of my mantra I always talk about leaving your ego at the door and maintaining correct form. Normally I follow my own advice and set a good example…
This week has been 1RM (1 Rep Max) week at my box and it had been going really well; I set a new PR (Personal Record) for my clean and unbroken double-unders. Then we got to deadlifts on Thursday. The week previous I had already set a new PR for my deadlift and I was feeling good. I got to my PR weight from last week and lifted it with ease. I waited 2 minutes and added another 20lbs. Again the lift went far easier than I expected. I decided to add yet another 20lbs. After a bit of a break I attacked the lift and it was ugly! I looked like a hunched over gargoyle. However, I got the weight up and locked out full extension. Unfortunately, this is when the ego took over. I got one of my coaches (@matt_cass123) to film me do it again so I could post it on social media. So back to the bar I went and lifted it again, even uglier than the first time. I got home added the video to Instagram with a post thanking the coaches at The Training Ground for pushing me to smash some PR’s and how I had just lifted over twice my body weight. Then the woman that always knows best and always tells me how it is, my wife, dropped some truth bombs. Why did you post that? Do you think people will watch that and be impressed? What does that say about you?
Why did I post it? May be I was bragging or showing off. May be I wanted to show how much I had improved. May be I wanted my ego stroked. In all honesty I just got a little bit excited about smashing a PR and just wanted to share it. However, watching me lift a very heavy weight with very poor technique is not going to benefit anyone. Some people might be impressed by the weight but most are likely to be cringing and hoping I don’t cause an injury. Needless to say, I listened to my wife and instantly took down the post.
CrossFit gets a bad name for having people lift with poor form and by posting a video of me doing that I am adding to that reputation rather than dispelling the myth. And it is a myth. 99.9% of the time people lift with great form or coaches intervene. Most of the time I lift with correct form or I am at least working on correct form with a much lighter weight. This was a 1RM lift, which is performed only 3-4 times a year. During such lifts you are trying to push as hard as possible and sometimes technique suffers. However, it is only 1 rep. What I shouldn’t have done is repeat the lift and share it.
Why is correct form so important?
1 – Most importantly, it reduces the risk of injury. If you get injured you’re not going to make any progress.
2 – It ensures you are working the muscles you are intending to and therefore helps you to build muscle mass more efficiently
3 – It can actually make the lift easier in some cases (i.e. Olympic lifting, keeping the bar over the centre of mass)
It is even more important with newbies/beginners to ensure correct form otherwise bad habits and poor technique will become reinforced and can lead to imbalances and poor posture.
So before you pick up those dumbells you know you’re going to have to throw your whole body weight into lifting think about your long term gains rather than your short term ego boost.