Are You Using Good Form? Analyzing Exercise Form With Kris Gethin
Whenever the word "form" comes up it always sparks huge debate with crowds being divided on opinion. One half of the crowd will exclaim that your form should be textbook perfect whereas the other half will be more rugged about it.
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My own form often gets called into question when I post training videos online because I don't make my sets look pretty, but they f***ing work and get me results. It's a strange sensation being challenged by someone who's yet to walk your journey and make it across to the other side.
How can the journey ever be more important than the end result?
We train to get a result, if we achieve that then the training selection was correct. That's a no-brainer to me, but these cats with theory and no miles under their belt say otherwise. Like I say, knowledge without mileage is bulls***, man.
Whilst in Florida last November I was hooked up to an EMG (electromyography) machine. This accurately measures how effective you are at recruiting muscle fibers across your muscle groups at any given moment, including when you're training.
When doing a chest press it might show that somebody is using recruiting 40% of their chest fibers, 30% from their triceps and 30% from their shoulders. In somebody else these readings will differ, depending on their ability to isolate the muscle they are trying to train at that given moment.
The more muscle fibers you can recruit locally within the muscle you're training, the more you can grow.
You get the picture, it basically tells you if you're training is effective or not.
My EMG results came back and concluded that my training style is highly effective at recruiting muscle fibers in a localized area of my body. If I'm training back I'm good at recruiting fibers in that area. If I'm training legs I'm good at igniting muscle fiber involvement there too.
In fact, here's a more in-depth explanation from Rudy Mawer about the science. Rudy is a leading scientist with a wealth of knowledge on this subject.
"When Kris visited the lab for a series of tests, one of the most interesting findings was the Muscle Activation test which we measured with our EMG kit. In this test, the user (in this case Kris) would perform normal movements such as squats, bench press, leg extensions, bicep curls etc with sensors on the muscle that monitored peak force, muscle activation and time to peak force. These findings help us assess motor unit and muscle fibers recruitment within the muscle, which is key for any bodybuilder or athlete trying to optimize muscle growth and strength.
As we could see from Kris's tests, not only does he have a high peak force (e.g. he can recruit the muscle fibers to shift a lot of weight) he also has large and constant spikes in muscle activation, which shows he can keep the muscle engaged throughout the whole rep and increase time under tension and load, another key variable in muscle growth. These findings are key and likely explain how Kris can continually grow at a fast rate, the ability to maximally contract and isolate the working muscle is key for any bodybuilder, especially if you have lagging body parts."
This comes from years of practice and dedication, with a burning desire to improve my mind to muscle connection. This is what the EMG testing shows, that when there's more intent from within to recruit fibers in a specific muscle you can literally train that muscle to start firing.
My sets might not look pretty from the outside, but from the inside, the intent to damage my fibers is so fierce that my training style keeps on allowing me to physically evolve.
Taking a pre-workout with proven mental primers such as PurCaf, L-Tyrosine and Taurine can enhance the neurotransmitter relationship between the mind/muscle connection as well, which will improve your muscle fiber activation. You can go right ahead and get your Pre-Kaged for this!
The lesson here for you is simple then? Focus more on your own training and mental connection with the muscle and not so much on mine!