What If I’m Stronger with “Bad” Form?

I’ve been following fitness coach Bret Contreras since early August, at the being of my bikini bodybuilding journey. I’ve become an online  disciple of his because he is the self-proclaimed “Glute Guy.” I initially needed to build glute mass for my competition, but the act of strengthening my glutes has transformed my training in general — and my coaching.

I follow Coach Contreras for more than butt advice. Through his expertise — and as a PhD candidate in Sports Science — he’s an incredibly knowledgeable and scientific coach who speaks into a lot of things we emphasis here at CFLA. Yesterday he posted an instructional video called: “Why Should I Use ‘Good’ Form If I’m Stronger with ‘Bad’ Form?” A compelling and controversial topic to say the least.

I am a HUGE supporter of us using our best form 95% of the time, saving that last 5% for the throes of competition when we might need to get a little sloppy. I admit to being a more conservative coach only because, as a whole, our gym is comprised of everyday athletes, not trained Olympic lifters. And for the most part, Contreras agrees. His main example in the video is the back squat. When a weight gets heavy, many athletes tend to raise their hips up faster than the chest, performing what he calls a “squat morning.” This is often caused by an imbalance of quad strength to hamstring strength, and probably an inability to activate glutes in the bottom of the squat. Now, on competition day does your 1RM count when you achieve a heavy “squat morning”? Sure it does. But it doesn’t mean we want to practice that pattern. For a lot of us that means taking down the weight to practice better body mechanics even if we are stronger with the “bad form” – for now.

I can already hear your egos yelling at me: “I don’t wanna take the weight down!” So why change? Why practice with an upright torso and not folding over if that’s where you’re stronger? The simple answer is two-fold: 1. Reduce the risk of injury. 2. Strengthen imbalances. This will need to be coupled with a good amount mobility — what doesn’t?!–but strengthening your quads (or whatever weakness one has in “good ” form) and learning how to activate glutes better will only help you in other movements, inside and out of the gym.

Check out Contreras’ video here. He has interesting points about deadlift form, too. Our coaches here typically encourage athletes to practice movement with impeccable form to drive home better body mechanics even if that means lower weight. We’re just looking out for you!

Tuesday’ Workout

A) Double Under Practice

B) 5 RFR on the 3:00
5 Thrusters (50% 1RM Jerk)
5 Jerks
10 CTB pull-ups
*90 sec Cap**

And Coming Wednesday

“Franklin Hill 100’s”
4 Rounds on the 9:00 of
4x100m on the :90
(16 sprints total, with a 3 min rest btw sets of 4 sprints)

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