Maximum muscle growth comes through maximum muscle stimulation with a full range of motion.
In turn, maximum muscle stimulation means lifting the heaviest weight you can handle with good form. Good form can make the difference between big time gains and NO gains. BUT….
Let me make this clear – Strict form is NOT good form.
Your personal trainer won’t agree with me on this one. In fact, many ‘Experts’ will have you do your barbell curls with your back flat against a wall throughout the movement. This ensures that you don’t ‘Cheat’.
Ok, there’s cheating as in using more momentum to move a weight than actual muscle force. But, there’s also cheating as in cheating yourself out of potential gains.
Biomechanically Optimized Form
Strict form is actually unnatural. What is sometimes called ‘Biomechanically Optimized Form’ is natural. It’s natural because it works in harmony with your body’s biomechanics.
If you go outside and pick up a boulder you’re not going to bend down, put your hands underneath it and try to raise it up using ONLY your biceps. You’ll use your legs, back, chest, arms, shoulders & abs together to get that thing up. It follows that for weight-lifting, you should do the same.
You need to be lifting the MAXIMUM weight you can handle to encourage MAXIMUM muscle growth. Just as your biceps alone wouldn’t have budged that boulder, using strict form will severely restrict the weight you can lift in a set of barbell curls for example.
“Mark, doesn’t this mean I am sacrificing form for weight?” No, absolutely not.
You still must place maximum load on the intended muscle throughout a full range of motion. If we take the barbell curl for example, this would mean allowing your torso to fall forward on the negative part of the rep and rock back on the positive part. This natural movement will allow for maximum load on the biceps while still keeping good form.
Biomechanically Optimized Form basically is:
Form that accommodates the heaviest weight possible while still ensuring proper timing and a full range of motion.
NEVER lift a weight that is too heavy to allow good form. Say yes to heavy weights but NOT at the expense of form.
Optimized form is not sloppy form, neither is it strict form. It’s good, powerful, muscle-building form.
Let’s take another example: Bent-Over Barbell Rows. Again you should allow your torso to raise up during the lifting part of the rep and lower on the negative part. Please bear the following in mind though: You must INITIATE the rep with the intended muscle and follow through your body’s natural movement, not the other way around.
You don’t swing your body and allow the momentum to carry the weight so far before you finish the rep off with the intended muscle. Ensure that the muscle(s) to be worked is feeling the weight all the way through the rep, from bottom to top.
Optimized form delivers MAXIMUM overload to the muscle(s) in question. Using this form in conjuction with all other THT principles contained in Total Anabolism 2.0 will produce better results than you’ve ever experienced before!
* Don’t sacrifice form for weight
* Do allow natural movement
* Do feel the intended muscle throughout the whole rep
* Do use a full range of motion
* Do MAXIMIZE overload
* Do MAXIMIZE stimulation
* Do MAXIMIZE growth
Until next time, remember to MAKE EVERY REP COUNT!
image credit: ScottBuff
Can I give you my free muscle-building workout?
Join thousands over the world who are packing on slabs of new muscle for free with Targeted Hypertrophy Training (THT)