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Body Mechanics: Exercise Techniques To Transform Your Physical Appearance

  • Written by  George Robichaud
  • Video
Proper style and technique along with visualization are key to reaching your goals in the gym. Proper style and technique along with visualization are key to reaching your goals in the gym.


From the time we became hunter-gatherers, we ran to catch our dinner…or ran from becoming it. Everything we did involved rigorous physical activity in one form or another. So fitness is in our DNA. But never before in the history of mankind has it been easier to live a sedentary lifestyle. Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution living has become increasingly easy, requiring less and less effort — but our evolutionary biology has not kept pace.

So one day we peer into the local gym, deciding it is time to be proactive about our physical wellbeing and add exercise to our lives. We slip into the room to the clang of weights and the smell of sweat, feeling somewhat intimidated and a bit lost. Then we attempt to exercise, instinctively mimicking the fittest person in the room and hoping to acquire some kind of training knowledge by imitating their movements. I see people in the gym all the time with very bad exercise technique, and poor physical development. It is precisely because they have a fundamental lack of understanding of what a muscle contraction entails. Executing a muscle contraction properly or improperly can mean the difference between explosive gains or a lifetime of fitness frustration, always seeing those around us improve whilst your own body composition never seems to change.

So what principles and techniques must we incorporate in our exercise movements in the in order to maximize our efforts? And transform our physical appearance?

Let’s take a closer look.

Is what we see actually what we get when it comes to the fundamentals of exercise? Can we learn by simply watching other people in the act? I have been doing resistance training for almost 30 years and I continue to gain insights into this deceptively complex thing called a muscle contraction.

There are two components to a proper muscle contraction. There is a mechanical (style/technique) component, and a visualization component (mind/muscle link). These two elements have to work in concert in order to get the full benefit out of an exercise movement.

Style and Technique

Poise and posture play a big role in exercise technique. Your body should always be squared off. Slumping over equipment or arching your back off the flat bench to gain leverage or doing partial repetitions rob you of maximum benefits for all your work. A full stretch followed by a complete range of motion with the weights is the proper way to execute a repetition.

For the bench press, touch the breastbone with the bar, and finish the rep with your elbows fully extended just short of the locked out position with the chest fully contracted. Pushing the weight only half way up, then lowering it, logically only recruits half the fiber.

For squats, get all the way down onto the haunches and then thrust up into the upright standing position. This also stretches the tendons and ligaments. Hurling the weight up and letting it drop does not recruit much muscle fiber. Thrusting the weights up haphazardly robs the fibers of adequate stimulation. A proper contraction requires deliberate muscle movement. Which brings us to…


The mind/muscle link is such an overlooked aspect of a contraction. This is not an esoteric concept. Thinking about the contraction through the entire range of motion — the fibers stretching, the sinew tensing and the muscle peaking — facilitates the recruitment of muscle fiber and contributes greatly to the overall look of your physique. Visualize the process and put your mind into the muscle.

Don’t struggle anymore with your gains in the gym. Learn these principles and accelerate your gains.

Good luck!

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Last modified on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 16:41

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