One of the my favorite things I brought back from the RKC was the use of standards for exercise form. They have a checklist of things that must be done to pass your technique test on several key exercises, something that clears any and all questions about how it should look. In this “your alright, I’m alright” world we live in sometimes we’re afraid to call something out as wrong but having standards is necessary for many things in life, including exercises.
The best thing that a standard does for you is it tells you when you are really ready to advance the load on an exercise. If you add load and the standard is lost then you are not ready for that load, period. Getting lazy with your technique in order to pump out some more reps or add some more load is one of the most common mistakes made in the gym and it all stems from there being no real standard being preached and implemented.
After coming back I typed up the standards for my facility and took my coaches through them in order to impress upon them the importance of meeting these standards so they can be the best example possible to our clients. Here is a copy of the checklist we are using for the Swing, Goblet Squat and Turkish Get Up:
Have someone check your form against these standards and see if there are areas you need to improve upon. You’ll also want to re-check them periodically as you get stronger to make sure that you have not started compensating in some way.
Having standards means that we have to draw a line in the sand and say that we are taking a stand – this is how it needs to be done. This gives us something to check our egos against and see how strong we really are.