Models vs Templates for Proper Lifting Form

HELP! My Squat Looks So Different Than Her Squat!

Today we’re going to discuss one of the most common points of confusion for a new lifter — learning how a general lifting model applies to their body.

New lifters often wonder why their lifts don’t look the same as others’ lifts. They try to replicate the exact same thing they watched in a video or read in an article.

It may seem unintuitive at first, but two people can have lifts that look different and yet both are lifting in accordance to the same model. People have different proportions and segment lengths – anthropometry. Therefore, when they follow the model perfectly, their lift will look different from another person with completely different anthropometry.

Models vs Templates for Lifting Form

The barbell lifts don’t prescribe a cookie-cutter template for how to execute the movements. The lifter must simply stay balanced against the force of gravity.

The position you take to achieve balance will vary from one anthropometry to another.

For example, for a lifter with a long torso in relation to their height (like Jayson Ball), he will have to lean over less (or stay more vertical) during the low bar squat compared to a lifter like Niki Sims. Niki has very long femurs and is of similar height to Jayson and yet, she has to lean over a lot more to keep the bar in balance over the mid-foot.

Both lifters are correctly executing the low bar squat in accordance to the model, even though their squats look very different.

Same Model, Different-Looking Lifts

If you were to only fixate on the bar’s position relative to the landmarks of the face and neck during the press, you would be ignoring the model.

If you try to make one lifter look exactly like another to fit a “cookie-cutter” visual template, you’ll be frustrated. Moving the bar to make it look like the visual template may violate another part of the model!

Remember, there is a model for every lift. And there is a model as manifested in the anthropometry of the person doing the lift. There is a difference in identifying technique error and identifying technique variations that are actually implied by the model.




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