The importance of proper technique and form for strength training

The importance of proper technique and form for strength training

 It is important to use the correct technique when performing exercises in fitness. Incorrect execution can have significant consequences, as it unnecessarily increases the risk of sustaining workout-related injuries..

In this blog, we delve into various aspects of poor form and technique through evidence-based studies. We explain what is meant by poor form and technique, as well as how beginners or experienced individuals can avoid this unnecessary risk of injuries. Read on to steer clear of these mistakes and get on the right track in your training.

What is meant by bad form?

It can be very confusing to step into the fitness world as a beginner, and it's often where most mistakes happen - and with good reason. However, one learns from their mistakes, and most get through the beginner phase painlessly. Poor technique can also occur among more experienced fitness enthusiasts, as some become too optimistic and may lift heavier than they can handle. Below you'll find a list of conditions that suggest your form/technique may need refreshing:

  • Wrong position
  • Too much swing/momentum
  • Does not tighten up properly before lifting
  • Small ROM (range of motion)
  • Uses too heavy weights

These conditions are the ones you most often see in the fitness center, and they can actually be avoided quite simply. Many of them can be associated with a lack of knowledge about training in general.


How does a smaller range of motion limit you?

With 'range of motion' or ROM, it refers to how far you move or stretch in a given exercise. If you look at, for example, squats, full ROM would be going so far down that the knees are parallel to the hips. With a limited ROM, you don't go nearly as far down before moving back up in the exercise.
person rowing in the gym

If you lift with a smaller ROM, there are a number of limitations, especially for beginners. A study shows that strength in the upper body in particular is negatively affected by a lower ROM. The group that trained with full ROM saw an increase in strength in the preacher curl exercise of 25.7%, whereas the group that trained with limited ROM only saw an increase of 16%. In addition, both groups saw an increase in muscle thickness of 7.37%. Therefore, it is better to lift with full ROM when training for strength. However, it must be said that the group that trained with a limited ROM lifted with 36% more volume than those with full ROM, i.e. either they lifted with heavier weights or more repetitions. This means that the group with limited ROM also had a greater risk of injury due to the extra stress on the body.

Another study shows that training with a small ROM in lower body exercises negatively affects muscle growth and strength. That is why it is super important that you practice in e.g. to get deep enough in squats, which even reduces the risk of injuries, proven in this study , since you also train the joints in the low part of the exercise.

Greater muscle damage is seen after training with full ROM than with limited ROM. This study shows that you hit your muscle fibers harder with full ROM training. This will therefore mean that the repair process that takes place in your muscles will take longer, also understood in the sense that the soreness will last a little longer at full ROM. Soreness is not a direct indication of greater muscle growth or strength, but is a sign of a harder workout, and may mean that you get greater muscle growth or an increase in strength.

For more experienced strength trainers, it may be an advantage not only to train with full ROM, but also with a limited ROM, if you e.g. is weak in certain parts of a lift. It can, for example, be in the bench press exercise, where in the upper part of the exercise, also called the lockout part, you are weaker than at the bottom of the exercise. Therefore, it can be an advantage to only train the weak part of the exercise, which you can do with the help of a high pin press, which minimizes your ROM in the exercise, so that you only train the upper part of the bench press. However, there are no studies that confirm this, but there are many powerlifters and powerlifters who make use of these exercises.


Why should one avoid using momentum in exercises?

First, it is important that we understand what is meant by momentum. When you use momentum in training by e.g. bicep curls, it can look quite violent, as you will swing the whole body incredibly much in an exercise that is meant to isolate the bicep muscle. When you swing in this exercise, you use much less bicep and much more joints and spine. Momentum is something we all use in everyday life, as it makes it easier to lift things, due to the energy you use.


If you look at Newton's 2nd law , also called the law of force in relation to training, it will appear as if a given exercise is accelerated for each repetition that is taken, as the force increases in the direction in which the exercise is performed. This means that the exercise will be performed faster and faster if you use momentum or swing in the exercise, and that your muscles will work less and less. The National Federation of Professional Trainers writes that with slower repetitions you stop the use of momentum, as momentum is built up from speed. Therefore, for beginners, it can be of great benefit to train at a slower speed, as you can achieve muscle memory for the exercise, while also avoiding using momentum, thereby reducing the risk.

You often observe individuals making the mistake of relying on momentum, usually because they are using weights that are too heavy to be lifted without relying on momentum. It's crucial, therefore, that you train to enhance your own capabilities rather than aiming to impress others. Lifting with momentum is not beneficial, as it involves minimal muscle activation, and it also increases the risk of injury.

Why is it important not to use the wrong position?

If you e.g. stand incorrectly in a squat or in a deadlift, it can lead to a high risk of injury, as well as the fact that you either implement other muscle groups in your exercise or that you cannot lift as heavy as you would be able to with a proper position.

Stilling squats

In our previous blog , we wrote about how the foot position in the squat can be of great importance to your lift. If you don't angle your feet, it can be more difficult to achieve full ROM at the same time that you have a greater risk of knee injuries. There are also rumors that the knees must not go beyond the toes in a squat, but if you do not get the knees beyond the toes, you actually have a very high risk of injuring your hip and lower back. We recommend that you read the entire blog to get a more detailed overview of how you can improve your posture in 2 important exercises.

"Read: 2 important exercises you're probably doing wrong and how to do them correctly"

In addition, in exercises such as deadlifts and squats, it is also important to tense up before lifting.
Strongerbyscience explains that in order to tighten up properly, it is important to take a deep breath down to the stomach rather than the chest, and keep the pressure there, as it increases your intra-abdominal pressure, which ultimately creates support for your back through your lift. This applies to all exercises where your core plays a big role, as it provides this support and stability in the core area. If you avoid this before a lift, you lose this support and therefore you cannot lift as heavy, and it is easier to bend your back in e.g. deadlift, which can cause injury.

How can video feedback help you?

Video feedback means that you get feedback/response from a video recording. That is you e.g. records himself doing a certain lift, and thus compares it with an expert in the lift that he wants to improve in. Often other people, such as a coach, are involved to pinpoint what can be improved. In this way, you can see in slow motion where the difference between yourself and the expert is.

A study where 3 people used video feedback to improve in Olympic weightlifting saw a significant improvement in all lifts. One of the subjects scored in his baseline/comparison basis in the snatch exercise a score of 24% compared to a score after just one week of 85% using video feedback.



In conlusion, there are many factors at play when training in the most optimal way. But for beginners who haven't been training long enough to know how the exercise feels when done correctly, it can be a bigger challenge. Beginners should therefore always start lifting at a slow pace to achieve muscle memory and to reduce the risk of injury. For the more experienced lifters, it can often be something mental that causes the exercises to be performed incorrectly, as you may end up lifting heavier than you can actually handle, because you may have been stuck on a certain weight for a very long time.

However, it is most important that you continue to lift with the right form and technique, as this is where you achieve the most strength and muscle growth, but also generally to reduce the risk of injury when you train. It can be a good help to watch yourself train on video in slow motion, to see the difference between yourself and an expert in that exercise, as you can analyze the differences and become more efficient in the given exercise.


If you learned something new or if you have any questions about the topic, please write a message in the comment field and we will respond as soon as possible!




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