There is always so much attention placed on form and technique when lifting weights but is it really that important? Should there be such an emphasis on how you lift the weight, how you stand or sit and how fast or slow you lift it? Isn't just the fact you are in the gym or out and about exercising enough than to worry about form too? Did the greats like Arnold, Frank Zane, Lou Ferrigno worry about form or did they try and lift the weight and build a physique we could only dream of? Well, let's have a look at this one in more depth
Are you a newbie just starting the gym or as the new year approaches are you thinking about joining the gym and changing your physique? Whatever the reason for you starting to lead a better lifestyle and lift weights I want you to think about your form and the way in which you lift the weights. Does a new joiner need to worry about it? Do you need to worry about the way you lift your weights? As long as you are lifting the weight, burning calories, working the muscles, it is a workout right?
The Moderate User
Are you someone that enjoys the gym when it suits you? Are you a season gym attendee and is the time you go the most during the summer months when you wear less clothes? Usually you will go to the gym for a few weeks or months then have a month break before going again. Other commitments get in the way or you just don't feel like going! Should you worry about form? Does the same message written above apply to you too? You made the choice to get in the weight room instead of sitting on the couch, sipping a beer or eating some fast food. Does it really matter how you lift the weights because you are in the gym and lifting which means you are doing a good job right?
The Lifestyle Athlete
The type that rests maybe once or twice a week and lives and breathes fitness. No diets, no fads, just a healthy lifestyle and a huge passion for keeping fit and healthy. Is this you? You have been lifting weights for a few years and have a great physique, do you need to worry about form? Can you get away with performing cheat reps?
Form is such a controversial topic of conversation and will always be something people disagree over. I believe there are three different types of people that exercise and these are outlined above. Therefore in my opinion I believe that only those which are new to training or go sometimes and then take a break should focus on form. Sure you are exercising and it is much better to do some form of exercise than it is to just sit on the sofa and do nothing. However, for the time being you might be doing good but when you lift weights it is very easy to change the shape of your body and build muscles which could cause injuries later on. If for instance you are constantly lifting weights to build muscles in your back but have poor posture in doing so then it could cause lower back pain in months to come. It could also cause muscle imbalances and you might even find you aren't working the muscles you thought you were. So just lifting the weights and neglecting form if you are a beginner or someone who drifts in and out is a NO GO in my opinion.
What I Think
Form should be a focal point as you do not want to be injured or suffer later in life. However, for more experienced lifters and those of you who know what you are doing, it is ok to neglect form. The greats like Arnold Schwarzenegger would cheat their reps and lift heavier than they could but already had a good foundation to do so. Neglecting form on a few repetitions at the end of a set will help you achieve greatness and there is a place where you can forget about form. Ultimately it depends on the individual because, just lifting the weight in any fashion may cause further problems later on in your training career.
As always, train smart and make sure you listen to your body.