In strength training, the notion of “perfect” form has long been a point of contention. This week, I want to debunk some myths about perfect form. Instead of worrying about perfection, I encourage finding the safest and most effective form tailored to your individual body. Safe meaning the way you’re moving minimizes the risk of injury, and effective meaning that the movement is producing the desired result.
The Illusion of Perfect Form
Contrary to popular belief (and counter to what some influencers might tell you), there is no one-size-fits-all definition of perfect form. Every body is unique, and what works for one person may not be the ideal approach for another. Rather than obsessing on an unattainable perfection, it’s more productive to focus on form that ensures both safety and effectiveness.
Recently, I saw a PPG member doing dumbbell Romanian deadlifts, and something looked slightly off with his positioning. I could see that his spine maintained a stable, neutral position — an important part of safety in that movement. I asked him what he was feeling in the movement. His told me glutes and hamstrings, which confirmed that the exercise was doing what we wanted. That version of a Romanian deadlift works for his body.
The Pitfalls of Unrealistic Standards
In the age of fitness influencers, people are out making wild claims on the internet, saying things like “If you experience any knee valgus, you shouldn’t squat.” The truth is, we all navigate our daily lives with unique movement patterns that probably don’t look like textbook perfection. It’s important to balance safety, effectiveness, and the acknowledgment that perfection is often the enemy of good. Returning to the example of knee valgus (this is when your knees cave in towards each other during movement, and often happens while squatting), knee valgus can be a risk factor for injury, and you don’t need to quit squatting if your knees cave in a little. Accessory work can be so important when addressing these kinds of issues (that’s one of the great things about our LIFT program – the mobility and accessory strength work is built in).
Instead of stressing about fitting into some weird ideal, work towards a form that suits your body’s specific needs. Your unique biomechanics, joint structures, and limb lengths all impact what your safe and effective form will look like.
As always, if you need a bit of help figuring this all out, hit us up for a free no-sweat intro. You’ll chat with one of our coaches for about fifteen minutes and we’ll see if we can help you! Sometimes wading through the fitness myths can feel confusing and overwhelming. We’re here to help you get moving without getting mired in confusing and contradictory information.