If you’re having gym problems I feel bad for you, son.
I have a lot of patients turn up in clinic who feel like their gym form is going out the window. They might have been training for a long time, but feel their right and left sides are uneven in press moves… They might have a bit of a wobble, or lack coordination. Or commonly, they think they’re doing great until they isolate a particular muscle group.
Building sustainable strength comes from breaking a move down into it’s tiniest parts and mastering each one, but that’s rarely what we’re encouraged to do in the gym.
Big, compound movements are the current trend, with functional training rigs taking pride of place in most modern gyms.
But how do you get to the part where you’re doing big compound moves like a gym pro?
It’s not rocket science. Scale it back.
Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards, even in gym training. It can’t be progress all the time. A little rest period helps recovery, and can actually improve your performance when you go back to training.
Try some “active recovery” days – this means light training that doesn’t challenge your fitness too much. Yoga, walking and gentle swimming are all great ideas to help your body actively recover from training and stay mobile between work outs.
Movements like chest press use both sides of the body together, which is great, but can hide discrepancies in strength. One side will be weaker, with less coordination – which could hold you back from progressing in the long term.
To identify this, and rectify it – take your training to free weights and train each side of the body individually. You might be surprised with what you discover!
Form Over Reps
There’s no better feeling than smashing out a big set of reps and throwing the weights down, triumphant, and feeling like Arnie. However.
You can do as many reps as you like with bad form, but bad habits promote compensation in your biomechanics, and ultimately lead to injury.
Lower the reps, perfect your form, and you’ll find you’re stronger, better coordinated, and less prone to injury in the long run.