July 19, 2008

Positioning counts!

Here's the scenario: Two guys are attempting to build their chest muscles. They lift the exact same amount of weight, do the exact number of repetitions and sets. After a couple months, Guy A develops a really strong chest; very defined pecs. Guy B doesn't get a defined chest; instead his arms are chiseled. What happened?

Positioning, folks. Positioning counts. Where you put your hands on the barbell, what your back does (arches or stays put), where your shoulders are -- all of this counts in your lift. It's very likely Guy A concentrated on using his chest muscles to complete his lifts, keeping his shoulders down and not letting his lower or upper back arch. Guy B really only used his arms in his chest lifts, probably raised his shoulders when trying to lift heavy weights when they should have been stationary, and I'm guessing his back was moving too.

Concentrate on what body parts are supposed to move throughout your specific lift, and what body parts are intended to be stationary. You'll get the definition and build muscle where you originally wanted it, and not elsewhere. (That's a time consuming and big "oops" to fix.)

If you understand at this point, go ahead and stop reading. If not, here's another example. When you come up from doing a squat, you're supposed to "push through" your heels to stand; do not use the balls of your feet to stand. There is a difference.

When you use your heels, you get the burn in your glutes that you're supposed to feel. When you use your whole foot or the balls of your feet (if you haven't fallen over yet) you feel it in your calves and quads. You're not supposed to feel it there, but it'll strengthen those muscles instead of your glutes -- when your aim was to strengthen your glutes in the first place.

I just see too many people not concentrating on form or positioning, and they're wasting their time! (I do help them when I can.)

(Obviously there are some times when you can move your position to change the angle of muscle you're working, but I'm not referring to that right now; maybe later.)