Are you just lifting, or are you treating movement as a skill?
Let me explain one vs the other. That person who aimlessly pumps out reps with no control or intent – they’re just lifting. That person who’s set looks like a work of art, each rep executed with perfection, control and intent – they’re treating movement as a skill. They understand that each rep must be performed in such a way that maximizes the desired stimulus to the greatest degree.
It begins with the perfect set up. If your body is not in the most mechanically stable position to perform the movement you’ll be leaking force all over the place and missing out on serious gains over the long term. Set yourself up before each set in such a way that’s going to provide the most stability and effectively bias the muscle group(s) or movement you’re aiming to target. From there, each rep is then executed with control and intent, which brings us to the next point.
You must move with intent. Are you trying to target a specific muscle group or are you trying to become more efficient (stronger) at a particular movement? Your sets need to be mindful. You must be engaged both physically and mentally. Contract forcefully during the concentric portion of the movement and control the load during the eccentric portion until you reach end range. Focus on maintaining a consistent tempo throughout the entire set while actively preserving your stable set up position.
Frequently revisit the basics and hone your skills on key movements before challenging yourself further. This will ensure quality stimulus and longevity over the course of your entire lifting career.
Always ask yourself this question – “How can I maximize the effectiveness of this movement?”
Set up. Execute. Repeat.