When I was working my ass off to pull the bar down to my chest for the third time, suddenly, someone was saying this…”Mun, what the hell you are trying to do?”
I turned and saw the fitness instructor.
“Doing wide grip lat pull down. If not, you thought I am dancing?”
“If you want a big back, it is not how much weight you lift. Your form is more important than weight.”
Suddenly, my enthusiasm was ruined.
However, deep in my heart, I knew that he was right. “Forget about the weight. First, keep your body vertical. Don’t lean back too much. Pull only with your lats. Feel it. Hold it and squeeze it. Now, release slowly, fight the negative, let it back and hold the stretch. Hold it, keep holding it. Now, pull, no cheating, no momentum, don’t lean, pull with your lats. Concentrate on the muscle, not weight.”
The instructor stood behind me and he stuck his hand between my shoulder blades so that I did not lean backwards too much.
I did 10 repetitions, 2 sets. On the last rep, he wanted me to hold the weight in the stretched position while he did the counts. After 2 seconds, I had to let go the bar like I am holding shit. My lats had the burning sensation.
Then, I looked at the weight stack. It was only 70 lbs. Before that, I was doing 100 lbs. That meant that the other 30lbs, I was originally lifting, was from momentum or cheating I never knew existed.
The moral of this experience is simple: heavy weights are not always necessary to build muscle. What is more important is that the weight you are using “feels” heavy to the muscles being worked. Quality wins over quantity.
If your goal is simply to lift a weight from point A to point B, then you would want to use every trick to accomplish that. Power lifters are an example. For instance, in a biceps curl competition, powerlifters speed up their reps, even if they do not keep their back straight and they will do whatever they can to lift the weight up.
For me, power lifting in such case is not muscle building or body building. No, I do not mean that I am a hardcore bodybuilder nor do I despise power lifers, but what I am trying to say – form is the difference between bodybuilding and simply lifting weights. Poor form lifting too much weight takes the load from the target muscle. Momentum moves the weight, not the muscles. Building is accomplished best with strict form, controlled tempo, tension, and total concentration.
Also, keeping the proper form will not only let you target on the muscles, but also prevent injuries. You should not feel pain at your lower back or wrist when you are doing bench press. If you are, you may want to relook at your form.
Swallow your ego, start off with lighter weight, lift between 8 and 12 repetitions correctly before you increase you lift. Be patient. Once your muscles get stronger, you will be able to lift heavier weight. You will be able to build more muscles eventually.
Category: Weight Training
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