No two people are alike, which means everyone has a different set up that fits the individual needs of the athlete/lifter. The perfect program, the perfect lifting technique, the perfect anything, is the one that’s specifically designed for you. Learning what works best for your individual body type is important when learning technique for lifting.
Many times people watch videos of other athletes who are training and they "try" to copy the movement pattern. This can become a problem because you need to take into consideration that the athlete has many differences in height, weight, and performance level. Sometimes when you get fixated on a certain athlete, it can break down your own performance level because you then give up when that didn't work for you. There is a reason why. You are different!
Watching form and technique is a great tool to learn cues and how it should look. Now we need to take one step further and find out what works for YOU and your body type.There are common points of performance associated with each lift, but every athlete has a bit of wiggle room within these guidelines. Two people can look dramatically different doing the same lift and both be absolutely correct. So, if your technique looks vastly different than the person lifting next to you, how do you know whether you’re different or just plain wrong?
The way you move plays a huge role in understanding this concept. The length of your body segments will inevitably change the look of a correctly executed lift.Your skeleton is a limiting factor for how you perform a lift. Some people have an ideal hip and femur arrangement which results in a naturally more comfortable approach to the squat and press. Don’t try to force yourself into a below parallel squat with a narrow stance if your body was not built for such range of motion.
Past injuries can also have an impact on your training. Sometimes you can work around injuries and sometimes you can’t. Think about your shoulder. If you had a shoulder injury and your range of motion is not 100% back to normal, front rack and overhead training will become bothersome. When dealing with an injury, assess the range of motion that causes you pain and find exercise variants that allow you to continue training without causing further damage.
One of the biggest mistakes an athlete can make is not respecting their individual training set up. If you have shoulder restrictions and can’t low-bar back squat or snatch, do high-bar squats and Russian swings instead. Do not limit yourself to one training aspect because it's "programmed" that way. A good coach will be able to help you move throughout a range of motion that yields the same effect without inflicting pain throughout the movement.
This doesn’t mean that you should give up too easily and switch exercises just because something doesn’t look quite right. Instead, take a moment to examine why your movement is different. Do you need to work on mobility? Maybe your set up can be tweaked slightly for better movement quality. Do you lack the stability to maintain the movement ?These are all things you should work on. If you want to be your best, skip the easy route. Seek guidance from an experienced coach who can help identify if your deviations from “normal” are standing in the way of your goals or are in fact putting you on a path for success.