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1.3. Technique vs style

It’s easy to get confused about the execution of a lift. You see one top lifter squat one way and another squat a completely different way. One way must be better, right? And since they’re so different it’s natural to assume that one has good technique and the other has bad technique – right? Wrong. This would be a typical confusion of what’s technique and what’s style.

Good technique comes in many different styles. For instance, starting with the hips low in the deadlift, with eyes looking straight ahead, then seemingly “squatting the bar” is not bad technique. Neither is starting with the hips fairly high, looking slightly down and relying a lot on the back and an aggressive hip drive. However, doing either of these and getting into what would be called a bad position or lifting with the wrong muscle would be bad technique. It’s rare to see a discussion on this and rarer still to see an explanation what it boils down to.

The two opposite styles of deadlift mentioned above could be the result of strong or weak muscle, or perhaps an early education from a coach who have a specific way of teaching. But even that is jumping ahead of ourselves because it all starts with leverage, determined genetically. A long legged “t-rex” simply won’t lift the same way as a short legged, long armed person unless they’re prepared to leave a lot of weight on the platform.

For this reason an entire section called ‘Factors affecting the style of the lift’ have been added to all three lifts. This will help the coach and athlete to find the style for the particular lifter instead of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.