I'm a novice bodybuilder (getting converted into strength trainer). Its been 3 weeks since I'm hitting gym. All my ego is shattered in past couple of weeks. I used to think I was strong but I'm so wrong. That is why, I decided to go for strength training.

Coming to the point, while I made some progress in terms of strength & gaining muscle (increased weight by 5kgs and my body looks little bulked up). But I feel that I'm not doing it right. Bit by this increase weight in each workout bug (probably to satisfy my ego) I've been adding weight but my form is getting compromised.

For example, in t-bar rows, initially I was able to reps with 15kgs in proper form (no rounded back, chest up, tight core, weights touching chest) but now I'm doing it with 25kgs my current form is (no rounded back, chest up, tight core, I use momentum from the jerky start to lift weight and even then weights don't touch the chest). I'm still doing reps this way by making myself believe that I'm pushing muscles to extreme & hence creating strong stimulus.

With bent-over barbell rows, I do it with 15kg but my back is not as straight as I maintain in squats & presses (I try to keep it straight but I just can't with this weight & in this position) and the bar doesn't touch my abs. I just bring it some what half way.

With Press (standing), I do it with 25kg but I'll be hardly able to do 4-5 reps (I need to do 8 reps) so rest 3 reps I try really really hard but I tend to use my right side of the body more to this push the weight up.

There is a voice in me telling me that my technique is deteriorating. But I'm unable to convince myself to stop it. I'm afraid inside that if I reduce weight, I wouldn't be creating required stimulus and moreover it means I'd be doing same weight through out week or two which means no progress. Can some one give strong reasons why technique (proper form) should be preferred over weight & no. of reps?

2 Answers 2


How about hurting yourself and be unable to exercise for a long time (possibly never again)? Is that a good reason? And yes, bad forms can easily lead to short/long-term injuries.

Programs such as Strong Lifts advocate starting the weightlifting program with an empty bar. This allows you to focus on the form. Then, you increment the weight periodically.

Also, they advocate warming up with incremental weights during a session. For example, if your weightlifting session for the day is 80 lbs, you perform a few reps with the empty bar. Then, you add 5-10 lbs and another set of reps. You continue the process till you reach your required weight. Of course, you can increment with higher weights than 5-10 lbs if you're working towards a very high weight.

Using these processes, you focus more on your form/technique, and you naturally get stronger as the weights increase.

And yes, you might initially feel silly using an empty bar; however, the benefit is immense on the long run.


I'm the one who asked this question. I'm answering my own question after 4 days. What changed in these 4 days? I've hurt my shoulder and my back. I'm unable to sit properly. My shoulder is hurting badly. Proper form is far most important than stupid increase in weights or reps. If I'm unable to maintain proper form implies that our body (bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments) doesn't have enough strength to maintain that form. I should have listened to my god damn body.

I now probably have to rest my body for a month without weight training :(

EDIT after 1 year+: After recovering from above injury, after a while, I couldn't still keep my ego in check. I just wanted to do more. I mistook Dead Lift to any other exercise. Using the weight that would give me single set of only 5 reps, I did 3 sets. I didn't feel anything then. The next day my back was so painful, I was unable to sit for 2 min continously. Back pain was so severe, I visited doctor and took bed rest of 15 days while taking medicines. After couple of months of such suffering without any improvement, I went to a weightlifting coach and he suggested a weightless exercise program for a month. The pain started decreasing gradually. My back is to perfectly normal state. Lesson learnt again.

Fast forward few months, now I'm Strength Training again. My squat has crossed my Body Weight and I'm consistently making pain-free progress towards my squat at double the body weight. Now, when I miss even a single rep in a set, I repeat the same weight in next workouts, until I can do it without too much effort. My prime focus is on form and technique rather than weight.

Another important reason why everyone, especially novices, should focus primarily on technique/form is, because it prepares you for heavier weights. At heavier weights, every small mistake is going to be a costlier mistake and can do irreparable damage to the body. Even though my weights are not as heavy, I can feel the potentiality of injury due to lack of form. Clearly, we want to build body not break it. Right?

  • Sorry to hear about you hurting yourself. Guess my answer didn't come fast enough to rescue you from yourself. Take a few weeks' rest from weightlifting. If you want to lift, perform bodyweight exercises. More importantly, focus on stretches or yoga-like movements for now. They should immensely help. Aug 17, 2014 at 19:22
  • @Kneel-Before-ZOD: are bodyweight exercies ok? I can switch to building gymnastic bodies program for few weeks
    – claws
    Aug 17, 2014 at 20:15
  • Bodyweight exercises are great but you still have to use correct forms and go at your body's pace. Pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, body squats, etc. There are tons of them to shed your body fat while recuperating. But I suggest you start with yoga-like stretches first. Aug 17, 2014 at 22:42

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