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Maxing Out vs. Perfect Form

An association many people have with lifting is “the heavier the weights, the better the

lift.” When lifting weights, many people tend to only care about how heavy

they go, even with injuries. People say “I want to deadlift X amount of weight. Although, my shoulder is bothering me, but you don’t need a shoulder to deadlift.” If the importance of proper technique is not stressed, it can lead down the road to mindsets like this one: building on top of an unstable base can only lead to eventual disaster.

Some of the questions you might hear around the gym are “how much do you lift?”, “what equipment do you use for certain exercises?”, “how often do you do certain lifts?” but the question that is never asked is, “do you have proper form?” It is not necessary to lift heavy in order to be in shape, however, a non-negotiable is that it is not necessary nor beneficial to lift heavy without having mastered the form. In fact, poor form will only carry over issues that will accumulate generating an injury.

There are countless of videos on the internet about people lifting big amounts of weight

with very poor and dangerous techniques. On top of this, many other people

comment on these videos: “wow man, way to go!” and “awesome man, keep it up!”.

As the intention of motivation and support is positive, the encouragement of this behavior is way more harmful than beneficial.

This is another example of building on top of non-proper form, as the person performing the exercise does not have proper guidance or education. Some people comment the truth: “yes, heavy lift, but poor form” as someone points out non proper technique, there will be comments pointing to jealousy of not being able to lift that heavy and just being a “hater”. The fixed mindset of these comments leads the individuals to think that there is nothing wrong and that indeed anyone who criticizes does not have any idea what they are talking about. This is the sad and problematic part; not being able to recognize when something is not being done correctly.

Many people want to lift heavy no matter what, for whatever reason they might have. However, it is not justification for poor technique. A person who has good technique while doing squats and can lift 100 lbs. has more room for improvement and is doing a better job than one with poor technique that lifts 300 lbs. Why? No matter how strong a person can be, by having poor technique and not fixing it, this person can only keep doing this for so long as imbalances and patterns develop, which will end in an injury. While with good technique, over time the other person could get to 300 lbs. and beyond.

In summary, there is nothing wrong with wanting to attain heavy numbers when lifting. Everyone should lift, however, everyone has to earn that progress. You have to earn putting more weight on the bar. More importantly, keep an open mind about other people's comments. As it is true some people will only criticize in order to harm, there will be some that their intention is to help. At the end of the day, if lifting is something that is a goal, look for professional guidance so it can be done by enjoying the process, learning and in the safest way possible.

Jesus Vicente



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