How to Make GAINS with Every Repetition

June 12, 2017 by VAHVA Fitness

Learn how your approach will dictate the results you get and how with a proper form you can start to make gains with every repetition that you do.

HOW you do the exercise at hand will determine your results - not the amount of weight you use or the amount of repetitions that you do.

At the highest level, it's not how much you can lift but how well you can lift. It's not the difficulty of the exercise, but how well you can use the exercise to strengthen your body.

Bad form produces bad results. The shit doesn't suddenly turn into gold no matter how much weight you can increase or how many repetitions you can do. More bad training will just equal more bad results.

The quality of your training trumps everything. Mind-muscle connection and focus on the basics will create the best long lasting results. 

Nowadays everyone is in a hurry to do the hardest progression or the most amount of weight before they have even mastered the basics or built a strong foundation. Even after you are "strong", the basics should still be 99% of your training.

You see many amazing movements and lifts in this video, but most of these movements are not the bulk of the training - they are record lifts which are rarely done.

Majority of the time is spent on beginner level exercises such as the push ups, pull ups and dips because that's where the real progress is being made. Movement 20XX program is also all about the essentials.

Moreover, the basics are the gateway to the advanced skills, highest levels of mobility and the biggest muscles. There is no "secret trick" or a magic pill to get you to the top. The basics done right is the secret.

Here we will take a look at the push up and dip. These exercises are rarely done with a flawless form - even among many higher level athletes.

The same principles (scapula and core stability) apply to every other exercise as well so study them well.

Proper Dip Form

squat combo for legs narrow squat

The angle of your body (upright or leaning forward) and grip width will determine the stimulus of the dip. Wide grip with a forward lean will work more the chest muscles and the narrow upright posture will hit the triceps. 

Regardless of the emphasis, the main principles remain exactly the same.

Core and spine need to stay stable - a lot of people generate tons of force by pushing their chest up (thoracic extension) which will directly take workload off from the muscles you actually want to target (pressing muscles).

Scapula should remain in place and provide support. Scapula is very strong in this position (elevation and depression) which is why it's easy to overpower the rest of the muscles.

The range of motions of the joints need to be clean and controlled: avoid snapping your elbows at the top. You want to squeeze the elbows so that the medial head of the triceps gets worked.

Ideally, your entire body stays stable while your pressing muscles do majority of the work. 

Proper Push Up Form

wide kettlebell squat

Proper push up form starts from a plank position where you keep your core tight by squeezing your abdominals and glutes.

Scapula stays neutral and provides stability. Your arm placement will determine which part of the body you want to focus on: narrow will work more the triceps, where as the wide will allow you to emphasize the chest.

lunge combo

You lower yourself down with control while the core and scapula are stable. Most of the movement comes from your shoulders (anterior deltoid and chest) and elbows (triceps), not from your hips, core or scapula.

Explosive concentric phase is not good for building muscle or mobility, because the initial momentum generated by your muscles will push you up and as a result the entire range of motion is not sufficiently worked.

Similar to the dip or almost any pressing exercise, the most common mistake is to snap the elbows and not extend the elbow joint with control.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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