In bodybuilding and strength training, it’s important that you do your very best to learn and keep good form. Performing an exercise correctly not only gives you the maximum benefits the exercise has to offer, but can also prevent injuries from occurring.
But – and it’s a big but – what constitutes correct form is not only in large part down to the anthropology of the person (their physical dimensions and proportions) but correct form can also widely vary depending on who you talk to.
If you are learning to lift on your own, my best advice is to study several different sources, and try the varying methods out for yourself. It’s important that you find the best form for you.
Of course, a trained coach could probably pick several faults with your technique, and depending on your anthropology can give you pointers which can make your lift easier and more beneficial. But, chances are another coach will then pick fault again and tell you to lift a different way. So who do you listen to?
The most important thing when training, above and beyond ‘textbook form’ is to find your own textbook form. Obviously, it’s always important to avoid back curvature in just about every lift, by keeping the spine erect and taut. That’s more or less a universal rule. But, you’ll know when you are lifting in a way which suits your body, because it will feel fluid, clean, and you’ll notice you are hitting the muscles you are trying to hit.
Everything takes time and practice, but don’t become a slave to studying to find the perfect form before jumping into it. You’ll find everyone has their own unique style anyway, and it’s all about finding yours.
Suffice to say, you should begin your lifting career with very light weights which are easy to handle. Try filming yourself performing the lifts, and check your form from different angles. As you feel yourself becoming more familiar and comfortable with the lifts, then begin adding more weight. Keep adding weight for as long as your form stays good. Once your form starts to suffer, it means you are adding too much weight and you either need to forego adding more weight the next time around, or possibly even drop down a little to recapture your good form. But, that’s another article, and another day.
In a nutshell, all movements should be fluid, controlled, and pain-free. Sure, muscular pain from fatigue is good, but tendon and joint pain, clicking, grinding and popping is not the kind of pain you want to continue putting yourself through for any prolonged period of time. If you experience this kind of pain and discomfort, you need to change exercises, or try to tweak you exercise slightly until the lift can be accomplished pain-free.
The simple fact is, ‘the right way to lift’ can be significantly different from person to person. If you do what feels right, don’t be stubborn to injuries, and listen to your body, I’m sure your form will be just fine to keep you injury free, healthy, and allow you to progress in transforming your body.