Part I: Can you mix strength and hypertrophy training?
Lifting technique may differ in strength training compared to hypertrophy training. Many of us go to the gym following what others show us without knowing our own goals in the fitness or bodybuilding industry. It’s good if someone teaches you how to squat or bench. However, that doesn’t mean you have to follow that person’s schedule the day after.
Lifting technique, what does it mean?
Essentially, lifting technique refers to the way the weight is lifted during each repetition. There are several factors that can be adjusted to alter the technique, such as range of motion, barbell placement, hand and foot position, lift tempo, etc. We can adjust our technique according to our goals for a given lift. The technique may differ during training to maximize strength versus hypertrophy.
When lifting for maximum strength, we try to lift as much weight as possible within the limits of the rules. Because strength is a performance goal, the best technique is the one that produces the best result. it may differ between sports like weightlifting, weightlifting, strongman and CrossFit because the rules for each sport and event are different.
This raises the point of specificity. Strength is specific to the task we are doing. this means that being strong on one elevator does not necessarily mean that you will be just as strong on another elevator. For example, a CrossFit athlete who can complete 10 cleanups in a short period of time will not necessarily be able to bench a heavy load with powerlifting standards for a maximum of one rep. Therefore, we have to adapt our lifting technique according to the specific requirements of the sport or event.
Range of motion
The range of motion used during any specific strength lift will be determined by the regulations of what is considered a legal lift. There would be no point in lifting with a greater range of motion than this, as it will likely result in less lifting load since more work has to be done to lift a greater range of motion. For example, a powerlifter only needs to squat down to a point where the hips are below the knees from a horizontal position. Therefore, the powerlifter should squat at this depth for competition lifts and no more. Otherwise, they just limit performance. In comparison, a weightlifter will almost always squat at full depth because they want the squat to snatch and clean up.
Another point to consider is biomechanics. It refers to the way the lifting is done. This involves factors such as foot position, hand position, torso position, and movement throughout the lift. To maximize strength, we want to use the most biomechanically efficient way to lift the weight. This will make the lift more efficient both from a physical standpoint and from a metabolic standpoint. For example, weightlifters often use retracted wide-grip shoulder blades and a spine arch when performing the bench press in competition. This makes the lift more biomechanically efficient by putting the body in a more favorable pressure position and reducing the range of motion slightly.
The last main technique to consider for maximizing strength is tempo. This refers to the lifting speed from both the eccentric and the concentric points of view. The elevator tempo can influence performance to some extent. For example, if we want to maximize the performance of the squat or bench press, we may wish to allow a slight bounce at the bottom of the lift to take advantage of the stretch-shorten cycle. However, if it breaks the rules, you need to maximize strength in the allowed pace. Another example is high repetition deadlifts in a CrossFit competition. Cross fitters often bounce the weight off the floor with each rep to achieve elastic recoil. this makes each lift less costly in energy, allowing them to perform more weight or more reps in less time.