Mechanics should be placed above all else.
It’s important to understand that we lift weights to develop co-ordination of our own body. Lifting weights isn’t just about getting stronger and more powerful. It’s about becoming a more efficient athlete. It’s about learning to fire the right muscles at the right time, while simultaneously bracing or shutting down others. It’s about getting your muscles to communicate.
Our goal in the gym – as Denis Logan puts it – should be to “develop great athletes that are good weightlifters” and not the other way around!
Here’s a few things to think about when it comes to lifting…
#1 Don’t add load on top of dysfunction – you’re going to break down and you will get injured. If you don’t move well, don’t add load! First, focus on the mechanics of the basic movement patterns i.e. squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull… then and only then, should you move on to increase intensity (a.k.a. load).
#2 Bigger lifts don’t equate to better athletes. Better co-ordination, balance and timing lead to better athletes. This is what strength training can help with. Once you can move well, then we can start talking about how bigger lifts can turn you into a better athlete.
#3 Don’t fail reps (or do so extremely rarely) – I’m not talking about bicep curls and pushdowns here. If you want to fail on an arm pump, be my guest. But try not to fail more than a couple times a year on the big lifts (squat, bench, dead etc.). Failing reps is a clear sign we’re testing strength, not building it.
#4 If it’s taking you 3+ seconds to do each rep, you’re lifting to heavy – avoid grinding out reps on a regular basis. We like to use ‘reps in the tank’ to prescribe intensity. In the video you can see @bquigley_hitting a TB deadlift. This was part of a max strength night. We did 5 sets of 2 and asked him to keep 3 reps in the tank. See how he pops up on each lift?
Give the neural system just enough stimulus to adapt to and leave it there. Remember that mechanics should be placed above everything else and that a bigger lift doesn’t equate to a better athlete. #one22