Thursday, April 1, 2010

Form: Work with your natural biomechanics

I often get asked about proper exercise form and commonly the exercises in question are curling movements. Here's my take.

Contrary to popular belief, you should not remain super strict with your motion when doing barbell or dumbbell curls. You should allow your body to move naturally thereby working with your biomechanics rather than fighting them. Working with some natural movement you'll enable you to handle more weight and handle it safer by not adding undue stress to your joints.

Don't confuse biomechanically optimized or "loose" form with sloppy form. It is quite the opposite. You are still controlling the weight throughout the movement rather than jerking or throwing it.

It is difficult to write about form and much easier to understand if you see it. Biomechanically optimized form is illustrated in my series of training DVD's along with a detailed explanation of all the important Max-OT principles.

Believe. Achieve.


  1. That's great advice Jeff, infact I have been aware of this since learning about Max OT. Skip used to call it "controlled cheating". I do have a question about biomechanics in one particular exercise. While doing the seated row pull using the Y handle, your body naturally wants to move forward and backward (aka, a gentle rocking motion) as you let go and pull on the handle respectively. Is this correct? I do employ a bit of this 'sway'. I figure if I sit erect without moving back and forth a tiny bit, I will be putting unwanted stressors on my lower back. I still ensure I get the muscle 'squeeze' of my mid back/lats but I this article reinforces my belief that I should 'sway' a tiny bit forwards and backwards. What do you think?

    Thank you Jeff - and hope you're having a great Easter.


  2. Yes, some natural movement on back exercises is perfectly fine if the weight remains under muscular control.