Sunday, November 9, 2014


It is without hyperbole that I say the internet form check is responsible for retarding the progress of the majority of trainees online today.  Trainees who could have spent years making amazing gains in the gym and reaching phenomenal and impressive levels of size and strength have instead been regulated to years of staying at light weights, striving for absolutely perfect form, failing, restarting at lower weights, and repeating the process over and over again.  People have now become so completely paranoid about the slightest hint of back rounding, elbow flaring, shallow depth, etc etc that we seemed to have forgotten that all of this was simply a means to achieve a goal: getting bigger and stronger.  Instead, we have now changed the means INTO the goal, with many trainees foolishly admiring the form a lifter employs in their training, rather than the results this form has achieved.

Let me be frank: seeking the advice of the internet on achieving your goals is seeking the advice of those who have failed on how to succeed.  The internet has FAR more failures inhabiting it than those who have managed success, and the advice you receive in turn will be on how to fail, not succeed.  It is the blind leading the blind, and if you are lucky you may accidentally have someone parrot actual good advice from a legitimate source, but for the most part everything accepted as dogma is simply perversions and mutations of actual good advice.  The loudest voice online is the least successful.

The absence of a counter argument in many cases simply indicates a lack of need

On this topic, those who contribute advice and critique to form checks are simply those regurgitating what they have been told is good advice.  In turn, all they simply do is state the obvious.  “Your back is rounding”, “you have buttwink (which, by the way, hearing someone say “buttwink” is a great way to know that they aren’t strong)”, “your knees are caving in”, etc etc.  These statements are useless.  It would be akin going to the doctor with a cold and him telling you with full authority “Your nose is running, you have a slight cough, and are running a mild fever”.  Thanks Doc, how do we fix it?!

We laugh, but is it any better with a form check?

Herein is where we identify once again the deficiencies of this system.  In theory, the internet form check is a boon that allows us the useful observation of many other trainees with helpful advice.  In reality, the latter is missing, and the observation is far from useful.  These good Samaritans are finely skilled at the art of critique, but when it comes to knowing how to get bigger and stronger, they are lacking.  Nowhere is the contribution “your back is rounding BECAUSE your feet are too far apart”, or “your knees are caving in BECAUSE your feet aren’t angled out”, mainly because these fine denizens of the internet are clueless on how to actually succeed, and instead only know how to tear people down.

It is this talent at destruction that is in turn so pervasive and horrific within the internet community, which creates a culture where success is impossible.  Those that foolishly submit their form to the internet are admonished for any attempt to exert effort, told instead that they MUST reset the weight until they can meet some impossible standard of perfect form (which, coincidentally, is ONLY possible when using a weight that is too light to elicit any manner of physical change).  Ghost stories and legends are told of experiencing “snap city”, “snapping your shit up”, and other such drivel that is once again only ever said by someone who has failed to accomplish anything impressive.  The trainees that post on these videos have not only never experienced success, but in many cases have never even experienced an injury to even know WHAT it feels like when form deviates so bad as to result in one.  They have lived a life of such extreme deluded paranoia that they have no frame of reference for what it means to even train.  And they speak in such masses with such volume that any attempt to preach sanity, effort, toil and hard work is immediately drowned out as dangerous.

Strong people encourage effort, weak people discourage it

When met with examples of highly successful trainees using form that is not what has been deemed as “safe”, all manner of excuses come out.  Genetics, drugs, experience, “advanced techniques”, whatever the case may be. As an intelligent reader, surely you can deduce from this that the ONLY people that are following the “safe form” are the unsuccessful trainees, and the successful people seem to be following the unsafe form.  Knowing this, whose approach seems worth emulating?

Allow me to offer my own universal approach to form critiques.  Odds are, if your form is failing, it’s because your set up is poor.  Many trainees falsely diagnose inability to maintain a strong position with a weakness in the muscles that support said condition, but truth be told, I have never seen someone unable to keep a neutral back due to a weak back.  Instead, they simply never put themselves into a position wherein they could even effectively RECRUIT the muscles necessary to maintain good posture.  If you videotape your lift and notice an issue with execution, you have already identified what the internet would have told you about your form.  Now it is up to you to play around with how you put yourself in the position to execute the movement, watch others with levers similar to yours, and find out where the discrepancies exist.

There is no universal cure for “back rounding”, but I know an easy fix for “feet too far apart”.

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