Saturday, September 25, 2010

Standards Of Performance

"What are you doing with that rake?... No, that is not raking.... What? Different styles of raking? No, there's one style, and then there's bullshit. Guess which one you're doing." - Justin Halpern's Dad
Burpee Gone Bad

I don't know how you can screw up some exercises, but it happens. Deadlifts become one-inch health lifts, military presses start from eyebrow level, burpees become the lazy-man's version of a clapping push-up, and squats become Kegel exercises with a slightly greater range of motion.

If you choose to do a limited range of motion squat, fine - by all means, go for it. But, don't call it a squat, it's a squat variant (maybe even a "quarter-squat"). In your training log, there should be at least some reference to quality of movement if wide variation exists among your sets and repetitions. Documentation becomes important as we walk down the road to mastery because if, for example, you take 5 minutes to do 50 push-ups, downward dogging every fifth repetition, it's fundamentally different than if you bang them out without rest and solid plank position the whole way through - without any note of this in your log, even if your training density and movement quality improve, it's still just "Push-Ups: 50 reps".

I feel compelled to insist that I AM NOT A "FORM NAZI", but there needs to be some kind of standard when it comes to exercise performance, or we all start down that slippery slope toward partner-assisted trampoline-chest presses that many gym goers know as simply "the bench press". 


Alexander said...

Good point. It is easy to fool oneself that one is doing something that one is not doing. My guess is that push-ups is the most massacrated exercize there is from this regard.

mommamel said...

I would like to inject that when I was a beginner of all body weight exercises my form was good but my movement was slight. I asked my instructor if it was better for me to do a "girl" push up or do a very limited range of motion push up. I was informed that if I want to be able to do a push up then I might as well just start there. My squat was no different. It wasn't until just this week that I think I did my 1st official burpee. It takes time and a lot of practice to get it right.

Boris said...

Thank you Alexander.

We all do what we need to do - nothing wrong w. that at all.
Yes, it does take time and a lot of practice - you'll get no argument from me!