If there is one important lesson I can pass on from my years of weight training it’s that weight training technique is key. After working out for a while it is natural to want to lift heavier and heavier weights. It’s something easy to get caught up in and something I did in the past. You see other people lifting heavy weights and you want to emulate that, you think people will accept and respect you more if you can lift heavy weights. The truth of the matter is that no-one is watching (or really cares) what amount of weight you are lifting.
At one time in the past I actually bulked up and weighed 4 stone more than I do now. I was around 15 stone and stood at 5ft 8” tall. Naturally I could lift heavier weights than I do now and I did low reps with really bad form. It wasn’t until I saw pictures of myself I realised what stupid mistakes I was making. Yes I was 15 stone, yes I was strong, but I also had a huge gut, no definition and any mass I had was hidden under a layer of fat. I also didn’t feel very healthy and often had injuries.
This brought me to the question of why I started going to the gym in the first place. The answer and I suspect it is the same with most of you was to get fit, get a nice muscular body with good definition and a six pack, to get more confidence, to attract women (or men) and to look good when you take your top off, NOT to see if you can break the record for heaviest bench press or squat.
In fact I was just at the gym today when I saw a bloke carry or should I say struggle to carry 2 dumbbells to his upright bench. I knew from the way he was carrying them he was going to struggle doing dumbbell shoulder press, in fact he could only get one dumbbell up to his should on his own and had to get someone else to lift the other one for him. So he then starts his set which involved half jumping up off the bench and half grotesquely bending his back and lifting the dumbbells all of 3 inches. Well, I figure common sense will take over and he’ll realise these are just too heavy and use some lighter ones, but no. He proceeds to do a further 2 using the same technique with the same result. It was a miracle he didn’t injure his back then and there, but take my word for it he will if he continues. Not only that, he won’t build any muscle in his shoulders because the range of motion was so limited. Oh and another thing, people in the gym myself included weren’t thinking what a strong monster he was, but were actually thinking what an idiot he was.
So please don’t make the mistake of letting your ego dictate how much weight you should lift. If you can’t do at least 5 reps (preferably more) with proper form and full range of motion then the weight is too heavy. Don’t get caught up in how much weight you can lift as a) there is always going to be someone stronger than you and b) it’s not a weight lifting competition.
This is something that is definitely put across in Old School New Body. The whole idea with this program is to work the muscle hard and fully exhaust it, that way you will build good quality muscle and burn fat. Lifting very heavy weights for low reps with bad form and limited range of motion won’t.