Ask any bodybuilder or athlete about their gains, and they’ll tell you there’s a science to it. In order to put on lean body mass, you need to have a calculated and informed approach to your diet and training.
Whether you’re a newbie in the gym or a seasoned bodybuilder, you’ll probably have some idea that to make serious gains, you’ll need to work out with the proper form in the gym and do the math in the kitchen.
If you’re not getting enough from your gym sessions or your gains have plateaued, then our bodybuilder tips for better form will help you unlock new goals. Here are our top tips for improving your technique and smashing it in the gym.
It’s pretty complex to train your upper body, and to get the most out of your training; you want to do a combination of compound movements and movements that isolate specific tissues and muscles for targeted growth.
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
The incline dumbbell press is a great way to build your upper chest. By tucking your arms into roughly 45 degrees on the eccentric portion and reversing that motion as you press, you should feel a more significant contraction throughout your chest as your pecs flex and internally rotate your arm.
The dumbbells should be going both upwards and towards each other as well since the pecs are also used to move your arm.
Your upper traps help to pull your shoulders back. So, when you do shrugs, particularly with a barbell, the resistance is in the front of your body and not aligned with the direction of the muscle fibers in your traps.
Therefore, by leaning forward, your shoulder will be directly on top of the weight, giving you better range of movement and alignment.
Dumbbell rows are excellent at building strength in your lats. They’re also easier on your lower back by supporting your torso with your free arm.
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Using a low incline bench, you should be able to lock into a more stable position by resting on your elbow. And rowing on a low incline should help you pull up and back at the same time and reduce any twisting.
Pullovers are highly underrated, but all golden-era greats like Arnold Schwarzenegger utilized them. One movement would rarely stimulate your lats, chest and triceps all at once. By tucking your hips when you raise your arm, your lats will be stretched further, and there’s much more contraction.
Nothing develops your delts like the lateral raise; by slightly leaning forward and raising your arms, you have a better range of motion and more engagement with your muscles!
Your biceps are a reasonably straightforward muscle, which is precisely why a curl emphasizes your biceps. If you can bear using a straight bar that fully rotates your wrist, you’ll get a better contraction from the exercise. Squeezing your pinky can be an effective mental motion to reinforce squeezing.
When you’re using the standard cable press, you’ll keep your upper arm glued to your torso, which is excellent for isolating two of the heads in the tricep, but it almost entirely avoids the third head of the tricep.
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Instead, allow your upper arm to drift forwards slightly during the eccentric phase and tuck it back to your sides as you press. You’ll be engaging all three heads of your triceps at the same time.
Control is critical here, and it’s very easy to lose control and become sloppy, so stay aware of your form.
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Lower Body Technique Tips
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The hip thrust is a decisive move if you’re looking for a pair of glorious glutes. If you want to focus on your glutes, keep your range of motion short and load up on weight. If you’re looking to work your hamstrings and glutes, then go for a fuller range of motion.
Back squats are so versatile; however, a common error when performing a squat involves shifting your weight too far one way, either towards your heels or toes. To ensure you’re in the right place, you could place a set of small change plates under the middle of your feet whilst you’re warming up.
This will force you to use your midfoot as your heels and toes are off the ground; therefore, you’ll adequately engage your legs.
A hip extension is relatively straightforward, but depending on your stance, you might find that sinking into a hinge is easier if you turn your feet out slightly. This rotation places your glutes in a shortened position, which stabilizes your hips and helps to support you.
Using machines can be a bit hit and miss, especially as their fixed range of motion can be restrictive. However, they can also help you focus on single muscle exercises, and you can focus all on one muscle/group.
When using a prone hamstring curl machine, push your hips into the pad, with your thighs resting on the pad (not pushing against it). This will give you better leverage without encouraging you to put your weight on a different part of your body.
A fantastic way to target your abs is the cable crunch, as long as you know how to isolate them. Squeeze your glutes and lock your pelvis during your set. This will provide a base for your abs to contract against and take some of the bounce out of the exercise.
Why is technique so important?
Good technique can help you to get the most from your time in the gym and amplifies the work you’re putting in.
Plus, the exercises you choose for your routine should work with you, not against you. Keep a record of your workouts and continue to tweak and tailor your training to fit your needs.
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