Load vs tension – which one matters for muscle growth?

4maik

4maikWhat really changes the body: the weight on the bar or the way you are moving said bar?

Starting out in the business, I was firmly in the progressive overload camp, meaning that if you are always incrementally increasing the weights, your body will change. And to some extent that is correct; greater stress will cause change.

For a more through explanation of the item above, watch this video https://business.facebook.com/musclemania/videos/1686887494675010/ .

However, when increasing the load, a lot of people start lifting incorrectly. To handle a heavier weight, they tend to use only the strongest part of the movement (e.g. shorter curls, squats that are not deep enough) therefore not hitting all the target muscles properly and setting yourself up for an injury.

So how do we find a middle path for keeping tension while moving sufficient weights?

Here are some practical examples:

Squat – focus on pushing the floor away as opposed to standing up. Do not stand up all the way, but keep the quads engaged.
Deadlift – finish about one inch before standing all the way upright, so the glutes and hamstrings are still working.
Bent over row – keep the upper body parallel to the floor at all times and the elbows close to the body.
Lat pull down – if possible, find rotating handles so the palms can turn inward 45 degree. Initiate the pull from the shoulder blades and bring the elbows toward the body.
Chest flyes – focus on bringing the elbows together, not the hands.
Shoulder press (dumbbell) – move the dumbbell about 2 inches to the outside at the finishing position, so you are not just stacking the joints but keep using your deltoid.
Biceps curls – never move the weight forward, always upward.

In closing, remember that high school is over. The weight is just a tool, nobody cares what you can bench. It’s all about how you look!
Till next time
Maik

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