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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Rant: Do What Works For Your Body

    I figured this'd be a better place than the misc to post this for the sake of keeping things on topic rather than letting this turn into a troll fiesta.

    I've seen and experienced this myself too many times. People getting chronic aches/pains, nagging injuries that just won't go away, lack of progress, etc. because of being too scrutinizing of anything that isn't considered "textbook" form.

    What is "correct form" for someone else, might not be ideal for your anatomical structure. For example, anyone who ascribes to the teachings of the Starting Strength community will preach that everyone should low bar squat. This is false not only because it doesn't align with everyone's motive(s) for doing the exercise, but because some people are simply not built to low bar squat.

    It's great advice for powerlifters who want to eke out every last pound to their squat and find they can lift more weight low bar. It's also great for people who simply find low bar squats more comfortable than high bar. For Olympic weightlifters, people looking to hypertrophy their quads, and people (like me) who can simply squat more comfortably high bar, there is zero reason to low bar squat and if anything it's going to hold them back.

    Another classic example is paused benching vs touch and go. I've heard claims that paused benching is better in every way - forces the chest to work harder, is safer on the shoulders, etc. yet when I replace TnG bench with paused bench, I get chronic shoulder pains and plateau much more often. Powerlifters have to pause bench because it's a requirement of their sport. Everyone else? Do whatever works best for YOU. Whatever allows you to sustain progress over the long-term while avoiding injuries is the form that's right for you. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    Thought I'd post this because I wish I had known all of this years ago when I first started training. Would've saved me alot of frustration and pain along the way. Would love to hear about other peoples' opinions/experiences with this subject.




    Tl;dr make the exercise suit your body, not your body suit the exercise.
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    Sure, it's good advice. But in competitive settings everyone involved should follow the same lifting standards. If not in a comp., do as you will.

    Dogma isn't useful for anyone. But even saying "screw dogma" becomes a sort of dogma.

    Re.: benching. I'd say that paused bench is better than T&G bench because it requires more strength and more control. Just like DL without straps and without dropping the weight is better than with straps and/or dropping it. The feat of strength is more admirable when different types of challenges can mess up your lift, and when you overcome those different challenges.
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    I don't understand why some would believe pause bench is better for shoulder. It seems worse for me.
    And I do pause bench. But if you have shoulder issues, touch and go seems better.

    Also this (first minutes)

    "Reminds me of the good ol' days back in 03-04 when ripptoes/5 by 5/hit/doggcrap reigned supreme and you did not need direct arm work for big biceps. Rows and chins were it. "Ever see a guy rowing 300+lbs with chicken arms?". Ah yes those were the days. God bless amusclehead and his twisted one dimensional views along with the rest of the former flock."
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    It's complicated, we all have biases and can all misinterpret things like pain signals quite easily.
    the vast majority of people don't know what is "best" for them.

    Training should definitely be individualised, and tailored to the trainee whenever possible. However very rarely is it suitable for the trainee to do that for themselves I would say.
    You see examples of this in how many high level athletes still prefer coaches to self directed learning, only a select few really program for themselves the entire time.
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    OP, what you're saying makes sense in many circumstances. But for a lot of people (esp people asking Qs over the internet), general cues or "cookie cutter" advice often is necessary at least in the first instance since they wouldn't know what's best for themselves and you can't really give targeted advice without knowing more and seeing that person lift - so you do your best and have to make assumptions or ask them more Qs. In practice, some people do fine with very high volume, deviations in form, etc.
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    Training should definitely be individualised, and tailored to the trainee whenever possible. However very rarely is it suitable for the trainee to do that for themselves I would say.
    You see examples of this in how many high level athletes still prefer coaches to self directed learning, only a select few really program for themselves the entire time.
    Interesting, I hadn't noticed that but it's true. Why do you think elite athletes choose to follow a coach? Surely they have enough experience and knowledge to do it themselves, but they choose to have someone else guide them. I've got 2 ideas: 1) they want an extra set of eyes and an extra brain, and 2) they want an objective observer and thinker to guide them. 3) they're continually learning and gaining experience, and they want someone to guide that knowledge and experience.

    Candito is one who self-coaches but he's an exception.
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  7. #7
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    Interesting, I hadn't noticed that but it's true. Why do you think elite athletes choose to follow a coach? Surely they have enough experience and knowledge to do it themselves, but they choose to have someone else guide them. I've got 2 ideas: 1) they want an extra set of eyes and an extra brain, and 2) they want an objective observer and thinker to guide them. 3) they're continually learning and gaining experience, and they want someone to guide that knowledge and experience.

    Candito is one who self-coaches but he's an exception.
    Candito, Mike T, David Woolson are the one's I can think of.

    I think there's a few reason, first we can't discount it just saves them time and energy that they can focus entirely on training instead of figuring things out more.
    second, definitely helps to have ideas and observations from an experienced outside perspective. On top of that a coach is getting direct feedback and experience with multiple athletes and has a lot more data to inform decisions with than a single person would themselves.
    I also think there's an element of "buying in" and drive that gets added by having targets set by someone for you, and having someone driving you to push more.
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    IMO everyone should have a good coach. If they can afford one. Following cookie cutter programs and training on your own is a good way to get injured. I've seen experienced guys crack ribs on the bench press, mess up their back, tear biceps, and other things training alone. I didn't train at a gym of novices either.

    Also never get trained by a pro athlete or champion. They rarely make good coaches or trainers. The bench warmers in sports almost always make the best coaches.
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    This guy has some good videos talking about experience.

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    I have some of the same arguments OP but it is usually with free weight and barbell purist
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    Candito, Mike T, David Woolson are the one's I can think of.

    I think there's a few reason, first we can't discount it just saves them time and energy that they can focus entirely on training instead of figuring things out more.
    second, definitely helps to have ideas and observations from an experienced outside perspective. On top of that a coach is getting direct feedback and experience with multiple athletes and has a lot more data to inform decisions with than a single person would themselves.
    I also think there's an element of "buying in" and drive that gets added by having targets set by someone for you, and having someone driving you to push more.
    Woolson is or used to be a client of RTS, isn't he?

    Your second point, definitely. First, I'm not so sure. At first I thought about that too, but then dropped it because it seems like a lazy approach, and elite athletes are anything but lazy. I'd think they put razor focus and attention into every aspect of their lifting. Not wanting to take time and energy for figuring out their training isn't characteristic of the best of the best, IMO.
    Third point could be true. Just an aspect of their personality type, maybe?

    Mike T. recently published a case study on Brett Gibbs, have you seen it? Gibbs is a good example because he's not so focused on social media, he just lifts for himself and his own goals.
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    You see examples of this in how many high level athletes still prefer coaches to self directed learning, only a select few really program for themselves the entire time.
    Almost like having an accountant to work with your own money or something.
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    I do generally agree that experimenting and finding what works for you is huge.

    Regarding the coaching thing, I think a lot of people cannot coach themselves as well as a high level coach due to lack of experience. High level coaches have worked with lots of athletes and spend a lot of time reading the literature and discussing with other coaches (to some degree). That gives a wealth of experience that can be applied to specific clients. When the clients give appropriate feedback then it can yield really good guidance. Also, keep in mind that so much of training/performing at a high level is belief in oneself; if you have a good coach you trust that will remove a lot of self-doubt.
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    I do generally agree that experimenting and finding what works for you is huge.

    Regarding the coaching thing, I think a lot of people cannot coach themselves as well as a high level coach due to lack of experience. High level coaches have worked with lots of athletes and spend a lot of time reading the literature and discussing with other coaches (to some degree). That gives a wealth of experience that can be applied to specific clients. When the clients give appropriate feedback then it can yield really good guidance. Also, keep in mind that so much of training/performing at a high level is belief in oneself; if you have a good coach you trust that will remove a lot of self-doubt.
    Remove self-doubt, so that the athlete can push themselves appropriately, and also remove impatience, for the same reason. Overreaching too far, too early, because of impatience can be as much of a handicap as self-doubt.
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    CEO 10k/year Ironface's Avatar
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    Ok, I typed up a lengthy reply but I keep getting “Access Denied” when I try to post it....going to see if I can make a different post then edit it to see if that works.

    Edit: nope. Been trying for days to post the reply I wrote out and it’s long and detailed enough that I don’t feel like writing it again. Anyone know what the problem is?
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    Originally Posted by Ironface View Post
    Ok, I typed up a lengthy reply but I keep getting “Access Denied” when I try to post it....going to see if I can make a different post then edit it to see if that works.

    Edit: nope. Been trying for days to post the reply I wrote out and it’s long and detailed enough that I don’t feel like writing it again. Anyone know what the problem is?
    Sometimes long posts get blocked for some reason. Break it up into smaller posts and try.
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    Ok, I’ll address 1 reply per post.

    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    Sure, it's good advice. But in competitive settings everyone involved should follow the same lifting standards. If not in a comp., do as you will.

    Dogma isn't useful for anyone. But even saying "screw dogma" becomes a sort of dogma.

    Re.: benching. I'd say that paused bench is better than T&G bench because it requires more strength and more control. Just like DL without straps and without dropping the weight is better than with straps and/or dropping it. The feat of strength is more admirable when different types of challenges can mess up your lift, and when you overcome those different challenges.
    To be fair I did state that in the case of competition ie. powerlifting, one is limited to the confines of the rules of the sport. However, even in powerlifting, there is some leeway for individual nuances in form.

    Squat - high bar vs low bar. Wide vs close stance. Toes pointed out more or less.

    Bench - grip widths, bar path

    Deadlift - stance, hip position, back angle

    I wouldn’t say that saying “screw dogma” is dogma itself as long as the animosity towards said dogma is justified. That’s just my opinion though.

    Agreed that paused benching takes more strength, control and is generally more impressive. However, like I said, it’s not ideal for everyone. If I incorporate pause benching, it doesn’t matter what I do with my form or how many face pulls I do - my shoulders WILL get jacked up and my bench will stagnate.

    Disagree on deadlift. These days I deadlift with straps purely for safety reasons. To me, the risk of tearing a bicep simply isn’t worth it and hook grip isn’t an option for me for two reasons:

    1) I spent over a year working on it and could never get it to feel secure

    2) I see little athletic benefit from using my thumb as a strap rather than just, well, using straps. Mixed grip can be a decent contributor to grip strength, if that’s part of the reason you’re DLing. Hook grip? That’s more about technique and getting your thumbs used to the friction. I don’t see how jamming your thumb against a bar is going to be an effective grip exercise. Just my opinion though. For non-powerlifters, I see little benefit to pull with hook vs straps. The mixed grip is more about whether or not you feel the risk of a bicep tear is worth the kudos of pulling “raw” and the extra grip work.

    Even when I was DLing mixed grip, I was never even close to being limited by my grip. It was always my posterior chain that determined whether I made a lift. So for me, it’s not more impressive to DL without straps because my grip’s never been a weak link in my deadlift. For me, it’s purely done for safety reasons.

    One more thing. I always deadlift with a “controlled drop”. This is for injury prevention purposes. If you can DL a certain weight, you can lower it too. This is because eccentric strength always supercedes concentric strength. The only factor that could potentially change this is fatigue. However, slowly lowering a heavy deadlift can open you up to injury, much like touch and go deadlifts have their risks. The only reason I would personally do it is to increase TuT for hypertrophy purposes - and the risks to me simply aren’t worth it. I’d rather just pull for more reps.
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    Originally Posted by jaxqen View Post
    I don't understand why some would believe pause bench is better for shoulder. It seems worse for me.
    And I do pause bench. But if you have shoulder issues, touch and go seems better.

    Also this (first minutes)

    video
    I get how the ballistic nature of a particularly aggressive touch and go bench might aggravate some peoples’ shoulders. But if you’re doing it properly with a slow, controlled descent, it seems safer from my experience. Your shoulders are in that compromised position at the bottom for less time. Pause bench always jacks my shoulders up eventually, which is why I no longer do it.
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    It's complicated, we all have biases and can all misinterpret things like pain signals quite easily.
    the vast majority of people don't know what is "best" for them.

    Training should definitely be individualised, and tailored to the trainee whenever possible. However very rarely is it suitable for the trainee to do that for themselves I would say.
    You see examples of this in how many high level athletes still prefer coaches to self directed learning, only a select few really program for themselves the entire time.
    Agreed. For someone who has been lifting for years though, I believe my points become more salient. Noobs would be better off learning the basics and potentially working with a trainer.
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    Originally Posted by Ironface View Post
    Ok, I’ll address 1 reply per post.

    To be fair I did state that in the case of competition ie. powerlifting, one is limited to the confines of the rules of the sport. However, even in powerlifting, there is some leeway for individual nuances in form.

    Squat - high bar vs low bar. Wide vs close stance. Toes pointed out more or less.

    Bench - grip widths, bar path

    Deadlift - stance, hip position, back angle

    I wouldn’t say that saying “screw dogma” is dogma itself as long as the animosity towards said dogma is justified. That’s just my opinion though.

    Agreed that paused benching takes more strength, control and is generally more impressive. However, like I said, it’s not ideal for everyone. If I incorporate pause benching, it doesn’t matter what I do with my form or how many face pulls I do - my shoulders WILL get jacked up and my bench will stagnate.

    Disagree on deadlift. These days I deadlift with straps purely for safety reasons. To me, the risk of tearing a bicep simply isn’t worth it and hook grip isn’t an option for me for two reasons:

    1) I spent over a year working on it and could never get it to feel secure

    2) I see little athletic benefit from using my thumb as a strap rather than just, well, using straps. Mixed grip can be a decent contributor to grip strength, if that’s part of the reason you’re DLing. Hook grip? That’s more about technique and getting your thumbs used to the friction. I don’t see how jamming your thumb against a bar is going to be an effective grip exercise. Just my opinion though. For non-powerlifters, I see little benefit to pull with hook vs straps. The mixed grip is more about whether or not you feel the risk of a bicep tear is worth the kudos of pulling “raw” and the extra grip work.

    Even when I was DLing mixed grip, I was never even close to being limited by my grip. It was always my posterior chain that determined whether I made a lift. So for me, it’s not more impressive to DL without straps because my grip’s never been a weak link in my deadlift. For me, it’s purely done for safety reasons.

    One more thing. I always deadlift with a “controlled drop”. This is for injury prevention purposes. If you can DL a certain weight, you can lower it too. This is because eccentric strength always supercedes concentric strength. The only factor that could potentially change this is fatigue. However, slowly lowering a heavy deadlift can open you up to injury, much like touch and go deadlifts have their risks. The only reason I would personally do it is to increase TuT for hypertrophy purposes - and the risks to me simply aren’t worth it. I’d rather just pull for more reps.
    There's a million ways to spin it, but basically you're saying what every experienced lifter and coach says: everyone has a unique build, and there is an ideal form and unique set of goals and practices for each person. Right?

    Not so sure I think you're right about DL with/without straps. I use straps too, but I know that the guy who can lift my weight without straps is a better puller than I am. Only thing I can do to improve is ditch the straps...if I wanted to.

    My comment about dogma was just a way of deflecting the topic. People rip on Starting Strength to no end, when they'd make better use of time just focusing on learning more about the sport, practicing it, and keeping a positive outlook about it. Not to be dogmatic.
    Currently running Calgary programming again: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=175647011&p=1618375061&viewfull=1#post1618375061
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    My comment about dogma was just a way of deflecting the topic. People rip on Starting Strength to no end, when they'd make better use of time just focusing on learning more about the sport, practicing it, and keeping a positive outlook about it. Not to be dogmatic.
    It does seem like he was specifically referring to each pause benching and low bar being applied as a general order, though I don't have any issues with what you're saying otherwise.

    My only question is, is it really actually common for people just to tell any/everybody to do stuff like that?
    Last edited by GeneralSerpant; 10-18-2020 at 11:04 AM.
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    There's a million ways to spin it, but basically you're saying what every experienced lifter and coach says: everyone has a unique build, and there is an ideal form and unique set of goals and practices for each person. Right?

    Not so sure I think you're right about DL with/without straps. I use straps too, but I know that the guy who can lift my weight without straps is a better puller than I am. Only thing I can do to improve is ditch the straps...if I wanted to.

    My comment about dogma was just a way of deflecting the topic. People rip on Starting Strength to no end, when they'd make better use of time just focusing on learning more about the sport, practicing it, and keeping a positive outlook about it. Not to be dogmatic.
    Sure, but I figured it’d be worth posting on an open forum because plenty of newer lifters out there aren’t working with a coach and are instead going off what they read on the internet. I was one of those people. And I wish I knew about this stuff when I first started.

    The DL with straps thing is just my opinion. I guess doing it raw could be more impressive. But when you’re not competing, you’re lifting only for yourself and you know realistically that your grip is never a limiting factor in your DL - to me, it seems no different. Do I enjoy raw lifting more? Yeah. Can I justify doing it and risking a torn bicep and thousands of dollars to get it surgically repaired, as well as months unable to lift, work or partake in other hobbies that require the use of my arms? The answer to that question is a resounding no (for me).

    If it was something like a trap bar deadlift, it would be a different story. But barbell deadlifts have a “grip problem” meaning lack of grip strength isn’t the only reason to use straps; they’re also used for injury prevention.

    However, if you’re strapping up solely because you lack the grip strength to pull raw....then yeah, you’d be correct.
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    Originally Posted by GeneralSerpant View Post
    It does seem like he was specifically referring to each pause benching and low bar being applied as a general order, though I don't have any issues with what you're saying otherwise.

    My only question is, is it really actually common for people just to tell any/everybody to do stuff like that?
    Not super common, but it definitely happens. Mark Rippetoe is the most significant example that comes to mind. I remember Jason Blaha saying a while back after Vegan Gains tore his pec that pause benching is better and safer than touch and go.

    There’s also the classic example of noobs reading a textbook or watching a video on how to do an exercise and trying to replicate it *exactly* irrespective of how it feels on their body. This is a trap I fell into myself.
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