Cambridge Bootcamp

Lifting Techniques - 7/8/2013


One thing that never fails to amaze me in the gym is the amount of poor lifting techniques I witness daily. And when I say poor, I mean really, worryingly poor. And often under a personal trainer's supervision, which quite frankly astounds me and somewhat seems to de-value the services that we offer.

The Basics

There are two different types of movement: compound and isolation.

A compound movement is a movement which involves more than one joint action.

An isolation movement is a movement which involves a single joint action, which in my opinion should only be used for hypertrophy (muscle building) purposes or corrective exercise.

That being said, both of these types of movement serve a great purpose when used for the correct type of training and when executed with good form. So why daily, do I see an isolation exercise turned into a dangerous unlisted compound exercises due to poor form and a ridiculously heavy load?! Pride, ego, misinformation and genuine instruction from gym staff.

When a basic isolation bicep curl involves flexion and extension at the knee, spine, shoulder and elbow, it really isn’t isolated, is it? The clues in the name! Isolation lifts should be carried out with strict form, no momentum, swinging, jerking, jumping or whatever else it takes to lift that weight that is quite clearly far too heavy for you.

When it comes to compound lifts, we really need to focus on maintaining optimal alignment throughout the spine and keeping the back straight; and again, the only movement should be from the joints and muscles that should be involved.

Keep the weights down and the form strict. You should only up your weights if you can perform your desired rep range with perfect form at a controlled tempo, always controlling the load eccentrically (on the way down).