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  • Writer's pictureAllan Jr Kestenbaum

Recording yourself is NOT just for the bedroom

Updated: Jul 11, 2022

I know you've heard it more than just a couple of times. I, myself, have heard it thousands of times. I even said it myself…, "practice makes perfect"; but that's kinda BULLSHIT! You can "practice" something, whatever it is you want, be it playing the violin, be it jumping rope, even mopping the floor. Ten thousand times a day (that's kinda impossible but just hear me out). You can put in all the hours that you want (it's probably not gonna be mopping floors, I hope!). But, if there is no intention in that practice, if there are no goals to practicing besides getting "better", it will be very difficult to get really good at whatever it is you are practicing.

I believe that the best way to get better at anything is to focus on the small details. To focus on those little things, focus on doing every little thing better… and better every single time. This is a fitness blog, so we'll go the fitness route. I see so many people deadlifting, squatting, overhead pressing, lunging, benching, and the most common fault that connects all these people is that they have never seen themselves move, OR, if they have, they don't know WHAT THE FUCK they're supposed to be looking at.

So, let's say you're squatting, and besides staring at the mirror and watching the sweat droplets that are running through your fat cheekbones or your third chin, you can be looking at the position of your knees when you are descending into the bottom of that squat (just so we are clear here, the bottom of a squat is when your hip crease is below your knees, if your hip is not there, I'm sorry to inform you, THAT, my friend, is a NO REP #hillerfit, so get better, and try and get your next squat to get there). You should see that your knees are actually out and not caving in, you should also see that your chest is not dropping during the ascent of the squat, and you should be able to observe that your hips are hopefully not rising before your chest on the way up from a squat.

So, you can try doing all these things while you are squatting, OR, you can grab that $1000+/- computer you might have in your pocket or just laying around on the gym floor (I'm talking about your cellphone, by the way, I don't know many people that carry their laptops to the gym much, besides the Exxon employees I used to work around that didn't even stop working during lunchtime at the gym) stand it up somewhere where you can record yourself and press the REC button so that you can see yourself perform any and every lift you do at the gym. Then you can see how terrible your form is. Even if your form isn't terrible, you might discover imbalances that you never knew you had. Film your lifts from different angles, every angle might give you insights into whatever movement that you are doing. It might show you different things you can fix, or just, do better. The added benefit of filming from different angles is that you might discover what your "GOOD SIDE" is, or better yet, what angle you look the coolest from when you do any particular lift. You have to remember though, that filming your lifts is a double-edged sword, a lot of times people will film their deadlifts from a front lower angle because THEY KNOW their form is trash and they do not want to open the door to negative comments or constructive criticism. You can not see backs rounding when you're filming a deadlift from the front.

The best advice I can give whenever it comes to recording yourself at the gym is to choose angles that will show if you are breaking form or not, not an angle where you can see you completed the lift WITHOUT your form breaking down. Later you can compare your form to any elite level athlete that is doing that same lift/movement, and not just any "elite" athlete, but athletes that actually move well, so you try to mimic the way THEY move. Great movement can be seen from a mile away. There's no squinting, there's no asking yourself if that movement looked nice or not, you're not asking yourself if the movement looked fluid or not, there's no doubt that your squat went below parallel or not, it either did or it didn't. You can literally SEE IT! If you have to ask your mom if the dress is too short for church, you might as well and just go put on a different one that's long enough. So get out there, set your camera up, and start recording yourself, MOVING, AT THE GYM!!! (easy there, get your head outta the gutter). Once you got the video, you have two options, go be your own coach and compare yourself to the elites you want to mimic, OR, send me that video via email or a DM. I'll make sure to give it a glance and tell you anything you're doing correctly and anything you can improve on! Remember, "PERFECT PRACTICE, MAKES PERFECT" no way around it.

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