The closer to “perfect” your form is, the better your results and the less chance of injury you have.
Does that mean that if your form isn’t perfect that you shouldn’t do that exercise?
Well, it depends. If something feels completely wrong and you feel like injury is possible, yeah it’s a good idea to stop.
But, if you feel like it’s OK but maybe just a little off? It’s ok to continue.
When I’m working with clients, I first teach the movement and have them do some reps with lighter weight before unleashing them into warmup and working sets. If the movement looks good we load it up and start banging out reps.
Their movements are rarely perfect, but I let them keep going.
Shouldn’t I stop them and make them get it “right”?
Unless they are going to injure themselves or they’re in pain, I let them feel it out as they go because it is extremely important to be able to self-correct when working out. Having body awareness and knowing when something feels “off” is the key to gaining autonomy from your trainer, or the mirrors in the gym.
In our studio we don’t have mirrors and are often asked why that is.
It’s simple, really.
When you have mirrors around its natural to want to check your form – or check on something around you if you know what I mean – to see how everything looks. The problem with that, though, is that it almost always compromises your posture and neck positioning. No need to look like Gumby while working out. Anecdotally, I’ve noticed that body awareness comes much faster now that we are in our studio with no mirrors vs our former box gym which had mirrors everywhere.
Think about this:
Is it easier for you to take 1-2 key points before each set to focus on, or, 1-2 key points before the set along with 5-6 more cues intra set?
My bet is on the 1-2 major keys.
Beyond that, the water is too murky to know where to focus your attention. When you’re confused, the reps continue to look terrible, your risk of injury is higher and your focus moves from muscle engagement, to a long checklist of what to do and not to do.
Perfect form for you may not be perfect form for me. It’s important to remember that.
Perfect form to me is what happens when the movement is efficient, works what it’s supposed to work and the risk of injury is low.
There will always be room to improve your technique whether you’re on Day 1 of your journey or you compete at the highest level of your sport.
Find your perfect.
Find what works for you.
By all means focus on technique and always aim to improve. But don’t let the pursuit of perfect technique prevent you from achieving your goals.
Perfect is the enemy of good enough.