You’ve heard me preach about exercise form before. Chances are, you’ve heard others do the same. Standardizing a controlled, properly targeted rep to create an efficient set is crucial to developing lean tissue and progressing in the gym.
Let’s say, I ask two individuals to do a dumbbell curl. 15 lbs., 10 reps.
Individual A, who we’ll name Leonidas (because I like big, badass names) has impeccable technique, a real 10/10. Shoulders down and back, no swinging or momentum, elbows pinched to side, SQUEEZING the bicep as tight as possible at the top of the movement.
Individual B, who we’ll name Ephialtes (man, bonus points if you recognize that name), has god-awful technique. No knock to him, the guy doesn’t know any better. Swinging all over the place, not controlling the eccentric, hunching over and extending the spine through the motion, even moving his hips on a curl.
For Leonidas, his set was challenging as all hell, he barely made it to 10 reps. For Ephialtes, his set was easy, probably could’ve done 10 more.
Next workout rolls around, and the same standard of quality of reps occurs for each of our individuals. Because of this, Leonidas is only able to do 12 reps with 15lbs. Ephialtes pumped out 20 reps with 20lbs. So, you tell me, who’s biceps were more challenged?
While on paper, Ephialtes might look stronger, we know by seeing his technique in person, his rep quality doesn’t even come close to comparing to Leonidas’. So while the written down numbers might be bigger for Ephialtes, Leonidas’ biceps were challenged exponentially more. Now, here’s the ultimate question..
Is your goal to challenge a muscle or to feed your ego with a bigger dumbbell and more reps?
If you’re in the latter group, good luck. If you’re in the former, your technique matters. You should be striving to get stronger with proper form in order to reach your goal.