Perfection is an interesting concept, we all realize that we are not it if you are in touch with yourself and if you do think that you are you are deceived and possibly very insecure. Now the realization that you are imperfect should not leave you feeling powerless and hopeless, in fact it should make you excited for the endless possibilities to learn, grow and improve in all areas of your life from: relationships, career and so-on. I will be the first to acknowledge that learning new stuff isn’t difficult and often painful, but avoiding this truth will lead to you getting nowhere fast and becoming ineffective before you know it. So just to end this rant, seek and pursue perfection. But realize it is out of grasp and even if we did somehow manage to achieve it, how can we really know if it truly is perfection?!

Another idea where people feel that there is a perfect standard is in movement. A lot of times exercise and rehabilitation professional foolishly assume that there is no such thing as perfect movement and try to cram people into their box of ideological fallacy.

This group of people believes that their standard will somehow stop the injuries that happen in people due to poor exercise form and overuse. Yet, their clients are often the most “banged up” and it could be different if they did not assume that everyone should look the same, as well as respecting the law of individual differences.

Now this post is not saying that there are no rules for safety and performance when it comes to training and exercises. It is simply saying that there is safe form not perfect form. The goal of this post is to give you a standard for that form, which is simply, competency as well as some of the consequences of forcing our movement ideals on all. What should be corrected and finally to tie it all together with a bow and send you home being better for it!

As I stated earlier, there is no such thing as perfect movement; however, there is competent and safe movement. Safety comes as a result of not overtaxing a joint in the movement pattern and doing that overtime which could lead to injury in the exerciser. This means that you should have proper mobility and stability in the movement to keep you safe as you do it. The joint by joint concept shown below can help you visualize this as you look at it.


Also here is an example of this concept at work in squatting, the low back should be stable or long, the t-spine needs extension, the hips mobile to get in the best squat for you. You need ankle dorsi-flexion and plantar-flexion to do it well and of course your head shouldn’t bob around like Quagmire!

So in light of the last paragraph, you see the need for things to be move adequately in order to perform this task of loaded or unloaded squatting. If one aspect has an issue, it can lead to overuse in another and an overuse injury somewhere along the chain. If that is the case, our cues are not enough to fix the problem and the problem at hand should be corrected in a way that results in better movement by the individual. E.g. a restricted ankle needs to be mobilized in order to squat better.

In light of those issues that can put the exerciser into a bad position as they train there needs to be allowance for the individuality of the person and their anthropometry as they do any exercise. In fact, there may be things present in the person’s movement patterns that you feel are ugly. But that is how the person is built and just the way it goes and maybe there is a need to switch to different variation of the same move. E.G. dumbbell bench press over barbell.

Now also be aware that there is the possibility that a person may stand a tiny bit uneven in a lower body exercise and also be ok. I would in this case try to correct it, if their movement profile says that they are ok and then be open for feedback from the person as to how they feel while doing the move. If they feel weird or if they have pain there may be a chance that they have two different hip joints (the ball and socket and need to be allowed to be a bit uneven in their stance.

Depth in a move also may vary from person to person and trying to force a person deeper in a move such as a squat may lead to a whole lot of health problems down the road. So have your ideas just recognize that everyone is different and should be treated as such.

In conclusion, I hope that you realize that better is better and not to aim for some false ideal of perfection as you train others if you are a trainer and if you are a fellow no trainer fitness buff, don’t let anyone force you into an uncomfortable or painful position in the name of some outdated philosophy. Be free to do you even if it bothers the anal exercise form person. Take the time to get assessed to see if you have any issues that need correction and practice safe form as you train. Most of all keep on rocking and get fitter as you train to be the very best that you can be!

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