“Make Light Weight Feel Heavy”
The fitness industry is often so focused on technique as a tool to prevent injury that we often forget about how valuable it is for, ya know, results. One of the most common mistakes that folks make is to live in the mindset that you constantly need to be going as heavy as possible in order to keep making progress, specifically with strength and muscle building.
Let’s not get it twisted, challenging load is a non-negotiable to change your body. If you ain’t challenging, you ain’t changing. But, so is sound technique and connection to your movement. The point is not to make challenging load and deliberate technique mutually exclusive pitted against another, it’s to get them working as a tandem to understand the sweet spot of the correct external load for the context.
Take a front rack reverse lunge, something that’s on the menu quite a bit of late. Let’s assume that you can “do” ten reps at 135# but with the following faults.
- You descend out of control and your back knee slams into the mat.
- The overloaded barbell causes excessive hunching in your upper torso.
Sure, you got the reps completed in a way that makes you feel like you got stronger, but it really benefit you?
- Your back knee slamming means you didn’t control the eccentric (lowering), the most important part of the movement when it comes to creating adaptation.
- Your hunched posture likely disengages your core to enough of a degree that your bracing is lost and stability benefit on your front abs is muted.
Sure, you got some concentric (raising) benefit and you might have overloaded your nervous system to some degree that may yield a strength gain return, but not very likely since your muscles weren’t really trained optimally. Consider all the movements in the gym every week. How are you performing them?
Again, it’s worth doubling down: Err on the side of heavy. Especially in workouts that are 25 minutes long. Just make sure it’s not at the cost of technique that yields optimal results.
LITMUS TEST: Are you in total control of the eccentric (lowering) portion of a movement, or is the weight controlling you? That is your limiting factor.
The more that you can make lighter weight feel heavier through deliberate technique, the better results you’ll get and the more you’ll save your joints and longevity in the fitness game.
For Quality @ Heavy:
50 KB Sumo Deadlifts
50 Barbell Rows
50 Plyo Deficit Split Squats
50 Barbell Curls