The Importance of Perfect Form

After 20 years of resistance training and progressing from newbies to intermediate and now advanced lifters, FFOver40 can honestly say nothing is more important to building a solid physique than practicing PERFECT FORM on all your lifts.


We can walk into any gym today and immediately point out 80% of all trainees executing lifts with poor form.  Lack of bend in the knees, arching back and shoulders ,improper stances and grips, too much weight on the bar, will all hinder and prevent you from ever building a structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing physique.

It is very difficult to learn and execute proper form due to the powerful forces of EGO and MOMENTUM.   If you can control and eliminate both from your training, there will be nothing stopping you from building a world class physique.

Unfortunately peer pressure is a mighty obstacle to many lifters who see their friends lifting heavy weights creating a “more is better” mindset. A mindset of always trying to add more weight to the bar instead of focusing on technique and maximum muscle fiber contraction is a sure way to prevent progress.  What comes next are major muscle imbalances most noticeably over rotated front deltoids from ‘throwing, bouncing and avoiding full eccentric extension.

This often results in a misshapen upper body.  Walk into any gym and notice the guys who appear to walk around with their shoulder girdles in a state of constant flex and you will know exactly what I’m describing.  😉


How does one learn to execute perfect form? 

Poor form although very commonplace is easily corrected with a changed mindset of:

  • Visualization,
  • Concentration
  • Controlling rep speed and the resistance

There are many ways to learn, but the tried and true way is thru continuous practice in the gym.  FFOver40 (Monica) learned from watching others execute lifts who had physiques she admired while Jay was on a never ending quest to master the principles of resistance training, kinesiology and biomechanics thru his voracious reading of books and studies written by exercise physiologists.

For an average trainee, it doesn’t hurt to ask questions and consult with folks in your gym about form and technique.  And depending on your finances, you can always hire a personal trainer.  You have to be careful as many trainers get into a rut of going thru the motions and not concerning themselves with your form.  And most people reading this site know there are a lot more poor trainers than good ones.  Choose wisely.   There are also plenty of places on the web to watch videos of trainees executing correct form including  

Lastly, let’s analyze our earlier statement:

Executing perfect form in a lift requires



Visualization requires you to picture yourself executing the movement beforehand and allowing your mind to truly see and feel the exercise before  you perform it.   Learn to harness the Mind Muscle Connection.

Concentration requires you to eliminate all distractions and focus 100% of your energy on finishing your exercise/set.  A good set of wireless bluetooth headphones can help with this tremendously.  You must also avoid chit chatting and using your cell phone.

Controlling the Weight requires you to always use a weight you can control , executing each rep and set in perfect form.

<NOTE> These principles are discussed in the “Mind Muscle Connection” in commandment #9 in our upcoming article The 10 Commandments of Physique Enhancement!

After saying all that, let’s be real.  Nobody will learn to execute perfect form when exercising on the first day they enter a gym.  It will take months and sometimes years of consistent and focused training to perfect your form.

If you try and remember the acronym V-C-C (Visualize-Concentrate and Control)and make it a focal point when performing your lifts,  you will be well on your way to attaining the physique you seek.

Be the BEST YOU at Any Age!

  • Greg G.

    Great article! Right on the money! Leave the egos at home, gents. Proper form is key in building a strong foundation which will in turn enhance future efforts.

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  • Brissbrass

    Jay, in listening to you on the DNP podcasts it seems like your overall philosophy is, going heavy is over rated. Another way of putting that might be that going heavy in the long run can lead to more injuries and isn’t as effective as one might think. I’m about 8 months into my lifting career in my mid twenties and have trained with 2 different body builders. I feel my overall form is correct (always learning though) and lately have really been concentrating on my cadence. However what do you say to those who say for size/bulk you have to lift heavy? Are their any exercises that you would go heavy on with lower reps (not that we are counting reps or anything)? Thanks!

    • Jay

      Thanks for your question Young Brother. Like Mike-my goal is to help enlighten by paying it forward.

      My answer to that question 15 years ago would the same as the answers of your friends and training buddies is now. The truth as Mike often points out is USUALLY OPPOSITE of the ‘facts’ of popular culture.

      Building thicker-bigger and denser muscle fibers is purely a function of maximal fiber contraction over time. Assuming your nutrition-gear and rest is all in order, how you maximally contract fibers in inherently up to you. I can assure you, maximal fiber contraction will not be reached when you are lifting at over 85% of 1RM.

      • Brissbrass

        Thanks for the quick response Jay. That makes allot of sense, you stress this allot it must be for good reason.