Why doesn’t there ever seem to be a simple yes or no answer when it comes to exercise?
I constantly worry about my form and I always cringe when I see people (mostly men…yes you men who think you know everything about lifting) lifting heavy weights with improper form. You CAN hurt yourself if you are lifting heavy weights with incorrect form!!!! Your back shouldn’t be rounded when you do a deadlift!
If you are just starting to lift or even an experienced lifter, it is always good to have your form checked and to learn correct movement patterns. It will help prevent injuries from occurring. Also, when you use correct form, you will be engaging the correct muscles which will help you lift more!
BUT…yes there always seems to be a BUT…
But while form is important there are going to be times when you need to push through those last couple reps even though your form has broken down. Pushing through those last awful reps is what is going to make you stronger.
As a trainer, I allow some clients to have less than perfect form when they are starting out. I’ll spend part of our session working on their form, which will help them as they get stronger. I want them to develop good movement patterns so that they can prevent injury.
BUT (again with the buts!) I also do sometimes just push them to move even if their form breaks down a little bit. If your client wants to lose weight, they need to move. Plus excess weight could be distorting his or her movement patterns. SO sometimes letting someone work up a sweat is more important than focusing every second on proper form. BUT don’t let them go too heavy if their movement patterns need some work.
I guess a rule that I go by is that it is ok for form to break down when:
A. You are performing the last couple reps of a set. (This means you used a challenging weight!)
B. You are performing a max rep.
C. You are overweight and trying to learn form, but also just starting to become active. (Add weight slowly as your form improves. Using heavy weights with bad form for more than a few reps will put you at risk for injuries.)
Let me know what you think! Is form important?