A Visit to the Archives: Heavy as Form Allows

As coaches, one of our jobs is to help our athletes pick the appropriate movement or weight to use for their workouts. Sometimes we do this by writing down the scaling on the board (e.g. Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced); sometimes we start you off with warm-up sets, see how you're moving and help you pick a weight from there; and other times, we let you pick your weight, based on your training experience.

As you do the workout, another part of our job is to call you out when you're not moving well – to tell you to drop the bar when your back is rounded, or take the weight down or scale you to a different movement if you're not hitting the movement standards.

Today we re-visit the BroSesh Sundays archives to read an article that explains why we do this and why we have such a strong focus on skills development in our programming:

Bros, it's ALLLL about Mechanics, Consistency and THEN Intensity. 

When we learn movements, whether gymnastics or barbell-based, we should follow a set principle: Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity.

Why is this important? Well just like Bros don’t let Bros skip leg day, Bros also don’t let you get away with shoddy movement or partial ranges of motion.

Proper mechanics leads you to being able to lift more load over more reps. This means you get bigger, stronger and faster.

Let’s break it down a little further….

Mechanics refers to the technique of the movement and your ability to move your body and/or an external object (a barbell for instance), through full ranges of motion in a safe and efficient manner. Once we can do this for single reps with light/no load, we layer on consistency.

Consistency simply means that you can consistently perform the correct movement mechanics. We begin by learning movements through progressions to create patterns of motor control (the ability to perform movement patterns). We then seek to re-create this motor control consistently over multiple reps. It will take many reps to get to this stage, particularly for highly skilled movements like Olympic Lifts and higher level gymnastics. Of course, this is also dependent on your individual movement issues, strengths and weaknesses.

Intensity is added last. Intensity is there to challenge the mechanics and consistency of the movement patterns in question. This intensity can be in the form of load, speed/tempo, range of motion, stability etc.

If you can perform movements with proper mechanics, both safely and efficiently, over and over again you will lift more weight, get stronger, fitter, faster and generally be more badass.

Which leads us back to part of our Bro-code: ‘heavy as form allows’. When performing any movement the intensity should not be such that it causes a breakdown in correct mechanics. Bad movement mechanics will not make you better at good movement mechanics, it will only make you better at moving badly. Bro, don’t be that guy.

You have to earn the right to lift heavier loads, and you earn that right by moving well, consistently.