Why Technique is so important

Last week, I posted a video on our Facebook page discussing how we undertake the Overhead Press (see it here >>> https://www.facebook.com/muscleactivationstrengthstudio/videos/2206561839378394/). Today i want to expand on why not only the technique for this lift is important, but also why it is so important to get them correct for all the big lifts and what some of the benefits are.

Firstly, lets discuss whether or not the big lifts are actually for you as an individual. This is what we call orthopaedic profiling. Orthopaedic profiling is where we assess whether or not you can actually get into the position for the lift. With the overhead press we need to have the right amount of movement in three key areas to equal 180 degrees of shoulder range of motion. These areas are the scapular, shoulder joint and the thoracic spine. If you do not have enough of range of motion in these three areas then an intervention in terms of mobilisation/strength and control work may be needed or the overhead press may be to risky for you to undertake.

This leads us to the biggest benefit of correct technique:

It reduces the risk of injury

Undertaking the correct lift technique will greatly reduce the risk of injury both under the bar and away from the gym. If we look at what can happen with incorrect technique, lets have a quick look at the bench press and one of the common errors we see, excess elbow drop. Having your elbow drop too far below the bench will lead to the humerus (upper arm) slide forward and beat up the anterior aspect of the shoulder area. continually repeated over time this can lead to numerous shoulder issues both inside the gym and outside. This can easily be avoided with the use of the correct technique which involves having an arch in the thoracic spine, shoulders pulled back, braced and pushing feet into the floor, limiting elbow drop and taking away the risk of smashing the anterior portion of the shoulder.

Second Benefit: It increases performance

Yes that’s right, just by using the correct technique you can lift more weight which will lead to a greater increase in strength, hypertrophy, performance etc. This is because bio mechanically we will be lifting in a more advantageous position. That is weight will be as close/over the mid line of the body. If we look at the back squat, the correct technique will have the weight consistently staying over the middle of the foot where we are strongest this will allow us to lift as much weight as we can possibly do for the allocated rep range. Inversely, if we don’t have the correct technique and the weight shifts farther from the midpoint, the more force we will have to produce to overcome the wight on the bar which will lead to a drop in weight lifted.

Technique is critical when you lift in the gym and can really lead us down 1 of two rabbit holes.. hole 1 can be greater performance and reduced risk of injury and the other is injury and reduced performance due to being in a disadvantaged position or suffering from constant injuries.

If you’re finding yourself struggling with constant injuries or just aren’t sure how to undertake the correct technique, ten get in contact with us by filling out the contact form below.


Stop Chasing Acute Responses

How many of you go to the gym and expect to sweat, feel some type of soreness or feel a strain through your muscles and even worse feel pain? What about once you leave the gym? That feeling of nearly having to crawl to the car or not being able to lift your arms above your head, are these the signs YOU look for to judge whether you have had a good workout or not? Most people do.

But what if I told you it didn’t have to be this way.

Mike Boyle, in my opinion one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the world sums it up the best:

“If someone says to me I’m not very sore from that workout, next time we will go outside with a sledgehammer and I’ll beat you with it, now will that be a good workout?”

More than likely the answer will be no, but what I am trying to get across is that pain is not the indicator of a good session. Here are some reasons why those volume heavy leg sessions you have been doing are detrimental to achieving your goals:

  1. Recovery time. Doing workouts that push you to your limits means that you will have to allow an increase in recovery time before you can train again. Now seeing as there is only 7 days in a week you may be only able to do 2 maybe 3 sessions a week if you recover properly and not want to end up sick or overtrained.
  2. Injury. Smashing yourself in the gym every session will eventually lead to some type of injury and then this will be followed by forced time off, which will put you off track from where you want to be.

So what should you be aiming for instead?

What we want to be aiming for instead is the minimum amount of work to obtain full activation of the muscle fibres. The following are ways you can train to recruit more muscle fibres.

  1. Opt for compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, overhead press etc. over isolation movements i.e bicep curls, as these compound movements will use multiple muscle groups in the one exercise which will not only recruit more muscle fibres but also burn more calories (think about fat loss).
  2. Lift Heavy. Incorporate some strength training into your routine as this will lead to full activation of the muscle in fewer reps.
  3. Lift until technical failure. This is where we get our volume in. Instead of lifting until you can’t lift the weight anymore try lifting until your technique fails, not only will this still recruit more muscle fibres it will also dramatically reduce your risk of injury.

Give these tips a go and see the difference in your training when you stop going for that feeling of soreness or getting as much volume into your session as possible.


Talk to you guys soon,

Coach Corey