When I am not ‘playing’ with numbers and doing other maketing goodies, I enjoy coaching people in the gym. I say coaching because my training philosophy revolves around teaching trainees the proper technique and form of each exercise, and since most of the exercises my trainees follow (e.g. Deadlifts, squats, C&J, etc) involve simultaneously moving many muscle groups, technique and form are on top of my list.
I am big believer that if you focus on the technique and form of the exercise, strength will follow. It is very easy to increase weight on your squat with poor form and technique, but you need to remember that there will be a point where the heavy weight will take over and squatting 405lb will be something you will only watch on YouTube videos.
Technique & Form
I was fortunate to have a great coach who also happened to be an olympic weightlifter back in the old Soviet Union. He started training at the age of 10, competed for the first time at the age of 12, and eventually was training with the Soviet Union Olympic Weightlifting team. He moved to Israel around the late 90’s, and when I was there from 2006-2007 he took me under his wing and taught me everything I know about technique and form. More importantly, he taught and instilled in me the skills of analyzing different body types.
What does it mean?
Some people are taller than others. Some have shorter arms, and some have wider backs. All these body-types need to be taken into consideration when you are teaching exercises such as Deadlifts, Squats, and the most complex one, C&J. For instance, a trainee with longer legs will postion his feet differently than a trainee with shorter legs when training Deadlifts or Squats. This gets more complicated in the C&J movement, which combines power-movements such as the Deadlifts, the jump, the ‘pull’, the ‘catch’, the front-squat, and the ‘jerk’.
If this isn’t enough, our bodies are divided into three types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph. You can have a combination of types, such 1/2 ectomorph 1/2 mesomorph, but for the purpose of this post let’s keep it at three.
An ectomorph is a typical skinny guy, lightly built with small joints and lean muscles. Usually ectomorphs have long thin limbs with stringy muscles. Their shoulders tend to be thin with little width, and they find it very hard to gain weight.
Mesomorphs, on the other hand, have a large bone structure, large muscles and a naturally athletic physique. Mesomorphs are the best body type for weightlifting (specifically bodybuilding) since they find it quite easy to gain and lose weight. They are also naturally strong, which is the perfect platform for building muscle (I happened to be a mesomorph).
Unfortunately, this is not the case with Endomorphs. The endomorph body type is generally soft and they tend to gain fat very easily. Endomorphs are usually of a shorter build with thick arms and legs. The bright side of being an endomorph is that their muscles are strong, especially the lower part of their body, and thus they tend to possess the look and strength of a powerlifing athlete.
I tend to train all three types. Why? Because all three offer a different level of challenge. What is important to remember is that regardless of the type of body you train, form and technique should be the cornerstone of your training philosophy. Without it, your trainee will never get stronger and eventually injure herself.
What led me to write this?
It was a picture I saw (image below) that led me to write this post. All athletes in this picture are the best in what they do, and they all possess different strength, size and shape. Regardless of your body type, strength is something we all have. Train smart.