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Maximising Your Strength Gains: The Importance of Proper Form and Technique

Maximising your strength gains is not just about lifting heavier weights - it's also about using proper form and technique.
Christ Tshiunza performing mobility for his pre season rugby fitness drills

The importance of proper form and technique in strength training. Discover how focusing on proper form and technique can help you get the most out of your workouts and minimise your risk of injury, especially in high-impact sports like rugby.

Maximising your strength gains is not just about lifting heavier weights - it's also about using proper form and technique. In this post, we'll be discussing the importance of proper form and technique in strength training, and how it can help you get the most out of your workouts. Lifting with correct form is essential, especially if you want a long lasting lifting/playing career. Read on to learn more!

When you use proper form and technique, you are able to target the specific muscle groups that you are trying to work and effectively stimulate muscle growth. Consider the working muscle as you perform the movement, feel the stretch and contraction. On the other hand, if you use poor form and technique, you may be putting unnecessary strain on your joints and other structures, which can lead to injuries and inhibit your progress. This is extremely common with bench pressing and should issues. A lot of people lift on the bench press with flared elbows which causes more strain on the joint and most people put too much weight on too quickly trying to impress there peers and end up lifting it with poor form again causing issues.

Here are some tips for maintaining proper form and technique when strength training, particularly for rugby players:

1. Start with a weight that you can handle comfortably: This is extremely important, especially when learning a new exercise. This will allow you to focus on proper form and technique and gradually build up to heavier weights as you become stronger. Do not rush this process.

2. Use a full range of motion: Using a full range of motion is crucial for maximising muscle activation and strength gains. For example, when performing a squat, make sure to lower yourself down until your upper legs are parallel to the ground or around 90 degrees, for athletic transfer you don’t need to go all the way down, you can use a bench as a guide to squat to. When performing a bench press, make sure to lower the bar to your chest and fully extend your arms. If you already have shoulder issues you can use a block on your chest to reduce the range slightly.

3. Keep your core engaged: Your core plays a crucial role in maintaining proper form and technique, especially in high-impact sports like rugby. When lifting in the gym (especially on big compound lifts) be sure to engage your core fully. Your core is your base or foundation if you like for all lifts.

4. Focus on proper breathing: Proper breathing is important for maintaining good form, especially when lifting heavy weights. Exhale on the exertion phase (when you are lifting the weight) and inhale on the relaxation phase (when you are lowering the weight). This will help you maintain not only a good rhythm but your stability and pressure in your core will be high in the lifting phase when you have a full intake of breath. This is the best way to brace your core for lifting!

By following these tips and focusing on proper form and technique, you can get the most out of your strength training workouts and minimise your risk of injury. So next time you hit the gym or the field, make sure to focus on proper form and technique to help you reach your strength and performance goals. Don’t be in a rush to increase your weights too quickly. I would say that’s the biggest downfall of most!

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