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Is form/technique really 'that' important for weight-lifting?

Lifting weights or going to the gym can be extremely challenging and intimidating for many individuals. One of the most common barriers for people not signing up to the gym is due to the fact they are so worried about how they will look. But in the end, does technique for weight-lifting really matter?

Now, there are certainly situations where technique is absolutely important. Many individuals who compete in weight-lifting events are required to do certain things for their lifts to count. So in these circumstances, technique is absolutely important. Many of these lifts are 'power' or 'strength' lifts and therefore the correct technique allows many individuals to move the weight as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

However, for the average gym goer who is just trying to keep fit and develop basic strength, is it that important? If you walk into the gym and look at 10 people doing a squat, you'll notice they will likely all do something differently, whether that's foot positioning, hand placement or just how close to the ground they go.

So, what is my opinion on this? Technique is important in certain circumstances, however you don't need to lift with the most perfect technique. I will list a few reasons below.

1 - Everyone has anatomical differences which means we cannot look the same

Studies have been performed on several cadavers and has shown that people have significant differences in bone length, joint structure and angles. Thus, regardless of if people have the correct technique they're going to look different or have a slightly adjusted technique. As we grow older our muscles often lose flexibility, thus preventing us from performing the correct technique through it's full range of motion. This is often completely ok and often there isn't any increased chance of injury.

2 - Chronic Injuries may mean we need to adapt our technique

Sometimes people can have chronic injuries and yet they may not have any tissue damage. Because of this, technique may need to be adjusted to prevent stirring up pain or the tissues to allow individuals to exercise. For some people the optimal technique can actually be painful and because of this technique needs to be adjusted to allow them to exercise.

3 - Disabilities can create differences in techniques

Individuals who have suffered a stroke, or have other disabilities can often have tremors or neurological disabilities that may make it difficult to create 'optimal' technique. It may also be difficult to teach them the correct technique as well due to cognitive deficits. So sometimes just moving can be the best thing to do!

Whilst technique in certain aspects is important for weight-lifting is absolutely important. For the general population it may not be THAT important. There are certain things such as anatomy and injury/illness that need to be taken into account for many people that may impact their ability to achieve 'perfect' technique.

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