200821 Adaptation by Daniel Pare, strength coach
Years ago, I used to work in a commercial gym. In that gym, there was a machine, and an older person was doing bench press in a Universal station. The stack is behind the bench and the handle is shaped like a T. I am looking at this person setting up to do bench-press. She positioned herself and started to bench-press.
I approached her and when she was finished with her set, I told her that I was going to help her. I asked her how it felt and where she felt it. She told me that she felt it in her shoulders. Remember she is bench-pressing! If this had been free weight (barbell) it would have been on her mouth!
I immediately told her that she was not positioned correctly, and I also asked her, if she wanted help with the positioning. She said yes.
So, I asked her to stand up and to watch me. I laid down on the bench and I asked her to position me to the best she knew how. So, she proceeded, and she did ok, not right on, but not bad (the barbell would have been in line with my shoulder. That is better than the mouth). Then, I proceeded to finish positioning myself.
I asked her to take a close look at my positioning and then I asked her to position herself right away. She positioned herself the same way she had done before. This time, I helped her out. Then I asked her to do her set. When she was done, I asked her to tell me what the difference was. Wow, she said, I feel my chest now!
What I was getting at with this little story is that one must have awareness of how he or she should be positioned to perform an exercise. If one is not positioned properly then, muscular imbalances are developed and strengthened, and this is exactly what needs “not” to happen!
From time to time, I ask my clients and members to simply close their eyes, position themselves and do a few reps, with an empty bar or just bodyweight. If you have no idea how an exercise should feel then, good luck positioning yourself. It just will not happen.