Form First. Weight Second.
Do your knees bug you during running, lifting, or jumping? Do your shoulders bug you while doing kipping movements on the pull-up bar? Or better yet, are you continuing to add weight to your exercises, but not seeing the results you want to see in the mirror or in your sport?
If this is the case, then there is a good chance that you are not getting the full-range of motion in your lifts, movements, etc.
Rather than just ignoring this, and throwing more weight on your movements, or adding more reps to your kipping pull-ups because it looks cool...take a step back, go a bit lighter and focus on getting that full-range of motion!
Getting the FULL-range of motion in any particular movement will allow you to get the FULL benefit from that exercise. I mean, it only makes sense right!?
For instance, on a squat, if you are only going half-way down, you are basically missing out on the other half of that movement. And only going down half-way can end up causing more stress on the knees rather than focusing on building the glutes and hammys like a squat is intended to.
So, instead of continuing to go up in weight and half-way down, go a bit lighter, and focus on form: drop the butt back first, chest big, and drop below that hip crease.
Over time, this will not only make you stronger, but it will also help prevent injury by increasing your mobility in your hips and hip flexors.
This is one reason why we love crushing tempo! If you have not thrown tempo into your workouts, I highly suggest you give it a shot. The next time you do a split squat, rather than just going crazy heavy, go a bit lighter, and force yourself to go 3 seconds down, pause 2 seconds at the bottom, and then 1 second on the way up. Perform this for 3 sets for 6-8 reps and really focus on your form rather than weight. This time under tension will help strengthen your core, build your strength endurance, and help you dial in on that exercise.
Then, if you want to go heavier the next time with less tempo, your body will be better acclimated and allow you to move better and more efficient.
This goes the same with more bodyweight movements such as pull-ups. Many people start with trying to perform kipping pull-ups before learning how to do strict. Again, being able to do kipping or butterfly pull-ups is cool, but doing strict pull-ups first will strengthen the shoulders, lats, and core and allow you to move more efficiently on higher reps or more advanced movements.
So if you are someone who has been doing kipping pull-ups for a while, I challenge you to do Max Reps of Strict Pull-Ups instead, just to see how much more of challenge they are, and how they activate the core, lats, shoulders, etc. #burners!
Now, we are not saying that grabbing heavier dumbbells or being able to do a ton of pull-ups is a a bad thing. Quite the contrary actually. We love to see when people progress in weight and reps. Doing so is a great indicator of you getting fitter! However, getting the form down first should be your focus. But once you are able to do that, then, yes, get after it with those weights, speed, and reps and earn at that rest!
Neil Shaffer FutbolerFit HQ