10 November 2020

The word “technique” is often thrown around in gym circles and in the fitness industry, without reference to an individual’s goals.


The way we train should be dictated by the individual goals that we have. Start by considering these questions:


1)    Are we training for maximal strength development? Is this for powerlifting, or for athletic purposes?

2)    Are we training for maximal muscle development?

3)    Are we training for fitness?


The way you answer the three questions above will determine your program layout, exercise selection, rest periods, intensity (referring to load used, not effort, as effort should always be high), sets/reps and total volume.

Of course, all training should be periodised in a way that favours the physical characteristics we’re trying to develop.

For example, if we’re trying to build strength or lift as much as possible, the focus shouldn’t only be on the weight, but also on the way the movement is performed.

The reason for that is pretty simple: if you find the most efficient way to lift a weight, using the technique that suits your body type, you will be able to build strength in the most efficient movement pattern for yourself on that particular movement.

This is the reason why individualized coaching is important. It’s also why when you begin to train others, it becomes even more important to understand what adjustments are needed to their technique in order for them to lift better. For example if you look at high-level strength athletes, their technique is also world-class, and the efficient movement allows them to lift more. This is why the initial focus for anyone starting in the gym should be on developing correct technique, then later move to focusing more on physical characteristic development.

Typically an efficient movement also includes a shorter range of motion, which allows for more weight to be lifted between point A and point B. This is usually the goal of strength training development, especially for competitive powerlifting. Better technique also means more stability, and more stability means a better foundation to produce strength from. Having a strong foundation of strength is also highly recommended for most sports, especially when it comes to strength/power production.

As we’ve just addressed technique for strength development, we will now talk about strength for muscular development. The main aim here is to feel in the target MUSCLES. By performing the exercise in a manner that allows for greater muscular tension, which is the biggest driving factor for muscle growth, this allows us to leave no stone unturned and recruit the fibres we are trying to.


Of course with compound exercises the main aim will be to lift heavy, whether or not you’re a powerlifter or a bodybuilder; however, the bodybuilder will be hoping to feel the movement in their pectoral muscles. They’ll also want to use multiple angles to target the muscle, e.g. incline, decline, fly movements etc.


With the above in mind, reps and sets are a guideline, but how you perform them will dictate the return - or, the results you get from them. If your goal is to gain strength you shouldn’t be performing your compound lifts super slowly, and if your goal is to gain size, you shouldn’t be performing your exercises super fast. A middle-of-the-road approach is usually ideal!




Back to Articles