Wake up!

Why isn't it working?

Your effort is there, you're doing the program, damn certain sweating enough.

"I wonder if Nick's getting results.."
Look at the arse on that dancer.. " (MTV)
"Sod it, at least I'm getting 12 reps out doing it like this."
 

You are not awake!

Your brain is not engaged to your muscles and you will never reach full potential.

Higher level muscle recruitment from focus...

When you get a lift right it feels different, you're aware of all the fibres in the target muscle, all the angles all the way through the movement. Ask an inexperienced gym user, which muscles are working in a deadlift and they'll tell you "err legs I guess".  Same question to someone that's body aware and they'll tell you "hamstrings, glutes and a lot of lower back". You could argue they just know their anatomy better and therefore sense the muscle contraction, but whether it's chicken or egg they also feel it better.

Feeling = knowing = controlling. Once you start down this path you are going to end it with much better control of not just your body, but your individual muscles. And that my friends is a step towards better, stronger training.

Using each muscle obviously makes you more controlled and by default stronger.. Muscles are broken down into lots of muscle fibres that actually fire individually. You never recruit an entire muscle, some of the fibres fire and some don't. If you fired them all you'd probably hurt yourself! But by improving your nervous control you literally train your nerves to fire more regularly and recruit more fibres making you stronger.

When you see someone lifting massive weights on say a lateral raise and you can't get close with controlled technique it's not because you're weaker it's because he's swinging his body, jutting his neck forward and using loads of different muscles plus momentum to swing the big weight up. That does have it's place, somewhere, sort of. But when you lift with control you are trying to use specific muscles to do a specific job without all this back up. Without stressing your spine and joints. Your targeted muscle can then be worked really intensely to produce the desired fatigue within the desired movement pattern.

Unless you're a PEAKING bodybuilder this is the preferred result. Good strength within correct patterns. 

"Think of your body as a framework of perfect alignment and lay down whatever effort you can around this perfect alignment"

 

Take away:

Better stability and technique come from being aware of your key joints.

  1. So lay down the foundations of solid movement before you move by checking your shoulder, chest, hips, knees and feet are where they should be.
  2. Use these checkpoints in every movement.
  3. Finish your set when you can't control them any more = "Technical failure"

You might need to do some postural awareness and technique coaching. If you're not sure of the above then find a way to afford it. You'll have much better results with much less wear and tear.

 

 

James Hardy