• Is There Such A Thing As Proper Form?

      By Ron Harris Iron Man Magazine

      In several of my conversations with four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, one topic that has come up regularly is the constant critiques of his form. Jay himself has called it “sloppy,” but he’s quick to point out that what appears to the observer to be bad form is actually the style that he’s found to be the most effective over two decades of training.

      “We all have our own individual structures, attachments and so on,” he says. “To think that there is one way of doing any given exercise that’s going to be perfect for everyone is just ridiculous.”

      Even a factor as seemingly inconsequential as the trainer’s size has an impact on how form might be affected.

      “A 300-pound man rowing 405 pounds is going to do the exercise differently from a 200-pound guy using 185,” he notes.

      Not only is Jay’s observation significant, but the point he’s really making is that bodybuilders don’t train with the goal of demonstrating textbook form, as if we’re the stars of some training DVD. The goal for us is always to stimulate the target muscle to the max. That hit home for me recently when the following comment was posted on YouTube about a video in which I am shown doing a set of wide-grip barbell upright rows:

      “I may not have a bodybuilder’s physique, but if you’re honest you’ll know that he’s not doing a proper shoulder row. He’s pulling it up and out and then back at the top. It should travel straight up and down. No, it’s not because of his chest—there’s tons of clearance room. Yes, he looks pumped after, but dumbbell presses will give you that pump. He has a good physique, but he’s not doing a true shoulder upright row. If you’re honest you can see the path the bar travels. You can’t lie about that.”

      So let me get this straight. I have a good physique, and my shoulders in particular are well developed, but I’m not doing a “proper” upright row for shoulders? As it so happens, I discovered many years ago by tinkering around with my form on that exercise that pulling in more of an arc, as if I were trying to pull the bar or dumbbells over my shoulders, gave me much better stimulation in the side-deltoid heads than simply pulling up in a straight vertical plane.

      By the logic of this critic, I should have forsaken better results in order to “stay true” to the so-called correct form. But wait, why do I train again? Oh yeah, that’s right, to improve my physique!

      I urge all of you to play around with every factor possible in the way you do exercises: foot placement, types of grip on the bar or dumbbells, hand spacing, the path the weight travels, etc. Yes there are general guidelines to follow for any exercise, but never feel locked into performing any of them with a very specific form.

      Always remember why you are training in the first place and what’s most important. Are you in the gym to impress others with how wonderful your form is, or are you there to build an impressive physique? It’s your body and nobody can know how subtle shifts and variations in standard form might benefit you by producing better results. And as I always like to point out, results are all that truly matter at the end of the day.

      Editor’s note: Ron Harris is the author of Real Bodybuilding—Muscle Truth from 25 Years In the Trenches, available at www.RonHarrisMuscle.com.

      Source: http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/is-th...form%E2%80%9D/
      Comments 6 Comments
      1. bomcgraw's Avatar
        bomcgraw -
        I'm glad to finally see somebody with some credibility say this. Before I busted my leg, I was 170lbs and squatting 400lbs but people told me I was doing it wrong because my back looked funny. The way I held my back relieved a lot of the uncomfortable pressure in my spine and kept the weight loaded on my hip and leg muscles but everybody said it was wrong cuz I didn't look like the guy on the poster by the squat racks.
      1. jbryand101b's Avatar
        jbryand101b -
        So you busted your leg doing squats? Had to ask.
      1. bomcgraw's Avatar
        bomcgraw -
        Originally Posted by jbryand101b View Post
        So you busted your leg doing squats? Had to ask.
        Lol no. I shoulda clarified that. I shattered my femur during a training exercise in the army back in '06. Before the accident my squat was 400 but since then I havent been able to squat that much because of knee pain from the surgery. I'm still gettin stronger tho so I should be past it before too long.
      1. wtmdcg91's Avatar
        wtmdcg91 -
        The article is so right!! Is all about angles , foot positions, arching not arching and all that good stuff. But i must say you must know your body and have already made the mind to muscle connection to add that to your training , cause if you don't you will not be able to feel where you need to make the adjustments and how!!!
      1. kohai66's Avatar
        kohai66 -
        This is a great read. I am glad to see that someone is recognizing individual biomechanics. I too have been critiqued for my stance and foot placement when squatting, but it's just how my body reacts to 200+ sitting on my shoulders.
        However, that being said, as lifters we need to be aware of the basic form requirements of whatever exercise we are doing to prevent injury.
      1. hugry4more's Avatar
        hugry4more -
        Good read
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