Hurry, hurry, hurry through the reps. Fast as you can knock ’em out and move on to the next set. No real awareness and no real control. It’s a scene I’ve seen every single time I’ve been in a gym. When we’re doing movements, we’re constantly educating our bodies how to operate. If we rush through this process we retard that learning.The human body is an incredibly complex machine. There are multiple muscles working at every joint. Some of the muscles even work at more than one joint at a time. It requires constant tension adjustment through a movement to make the body do what you want.
We’ve been doing it so long by the time we’re adults that we don’t even notice all of these little adjustments anymore. When you perform a movement quickly it’s not really possible to make note of these movements. If you don’t make note of these movements, your can’t consciously adjust them.
When you slow down though, you can feel all these little movements within the big movement. I was doing a bench press this morning, and my first work set was pretty wobbly. On this first set, I could feel that I was relaxing muscles that needed to stay tight so my arms would move the correct way.
It’s not that the weight was too heavy or that I was doing too many reps. It was that I was using my body inefficiently. I could have hurried through the reps no problem and even moved the weight up on the next set. But I would have missed the opportunity to better educate my body. I eliminated the wobble on the next two sets because I realized what I was doing wrong.
That pattern is definitely shared with other movements I do that are similar to bench press. Taking my time and fixing this issue allowed me to better train the muscles that stabilize my shoulder joint and I just decreased my injury risk in the shoulder while also increasing my strength. Movement is a skill, and when you improve efficiency, as a consequence you increase strength.