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After having pushed myself too hard on incorrect form and nursing multiple injuries, I want to start lifting afresh under a coach. My goal is to gain strength without gain in size, though I wouldn't mind if it comes as a natural consequence. This time, I want to be very, very particular about form.

In my place, trainers at commercial gym are body-building oriented and not that particular about details of correct form. I am planning to train under a powerlifting coach. However, I have a few concerns. I have come across ideas like powerlifters aren't very concerned about form, their main focus is to lift as heavy as they can. This idea probably came from a few figure-competitors and body-builders.

Just want to know if there is any truth in the above statement?

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2 Answers 2

Everything depends on the coach; however, bad form will prevent you from lifting heavier weights. If anything, form is more important with power lifting where the goal is to have the highest total on the platform.

That said, there is a decently wide range of what constitutes good form, and it comes down to finding a coach who can help you find your optimal form. When shopping for a coach consider the following:

  • Who else have they coached?
  • What were the results they had on the platform? (the proof is from contest to contest)
  • Do the coach's athletes actually compete?

If you find a coach that trains competitive power lifters, and those power lifters are getting stronger from contest to contest, chances are they are a good coach. If the athletes really aren't improving, or are only adding 5-10lbs to their totals when they are no where near elite totals, then I would pass on the coach.

If you have multiple candidates, hire one of them for a while and see how well they work with you. If you are unsatisfied, try the next coach. Remember to be very patient. It's only fair to let the coach know about your history of injuries. They may have you doing some things that may not look like power lifting for a while to help rehab your body. This may be mind numbing and tedious work, but it is very necessary when correcting long term pains.

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The coach I am considering trains powerlifters who win at national and inetrnational level. Is that good enough a guarantee about the form he uses? No idea about how those athletes improve, will have to find that out... –  Swati Priyadarsini Oct 29 '13 at 17:27
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He sounds like he would be a good coach. You can't get to national and international levels with poor technique. The only thing I would further ask is if he trains geared or raw. The technique is different on both of those. If you want to lift without gear (no bench shirt, squat suit, briefs, etc.) then you want someone to teach you that technique. –  Berin Loritsch Oct 29 '13 at 20:05

It'll depend on the coach. But in general, bad form gets you injured, and then you can't lift very heavy, so that wouldn't make sense, would it? It is common, however, for there to be some bad form on 1-rep-max tests or in competition, since these are all-out efforts at the limit of (or beyond) one's ability. That's different from allowing or promoting bad form in training.

Just go see this powerlifting coach and see how much they focus on form.

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I completely agree with this. It absolutely depends on the coach. Although it seems Swati is under the impression that body-building coaches aren't concerned with proper form and I would disagree with that (of course depending on the coach). On an unrelated note to my previous point - I have seen plenty of trainers coaching bad forms and their "customers" don't even know it. Swati - make sure you double check anything a trainer says with online resources, another trainer and whether YOUR body reacts positively or negatively to his/her suggestions. –  Jordan Carroll Oct 29 '13 at 11:40
    
@JordanCarroll, I personally don't think of body builders as using bad form - I just happened to trained under one who taught me bad form sometime back. I was only trying to tell that sometimes, powerlifters and body builders have antagonistic view towards each other and I am confused... –  Swati Priyadarsini Oct 29 '13 at 17:21

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