A Painting Up Close March 09 2015

The great painter J.M.W. Turner was famous for his imaginative landscape paintings that focused more on emotions and moods rather than the actual topography of the surroundings. However, many overlook his meticulous studies of topography in his early years and his precise usage of colours that formed the base for his magical works of art. We often hear people talk about focusing on the big picture. But many times, it is the little details that make up the big picture.

As much as training progress largely revolves around training, diet and recovery, there are many overlooked factors that can be potential deal-breakers.

Small differences in form and technique can have a big impact on one’s lifts. As training progresses, one’s strengths and weaknesses change and that may require different lifting techniques to take advantage of them. My weak quads used to be my limiting factor for squats and I felt more comfortable with a medium-wide stance. Doing specific quad work like front squats and hack squats didn’t seem to do much, and it was only after I moved in my stance and squatted with a much faster descent that this new-found strength came into play.

Keeping old injuries at bay and preventing new ones is an often underestimated training progress factor. Aside from practising proper lifting form, stretching and foam rolling on a regular basis is essential as tight muscles can be the basis for many lifting problems in the future. Personally, having spinal degeneration and recovering from a back injury means that I have to continually decompress my spine with numerous stretches after training. Once in a while, I do get lazy and often, I am jolted back to my senses with sharp pains while lifting!

Of course, the best brushes and canvas in the world count for nothing if one is lacking in the artistic department. The same for training, as much as focusing on these little factors can be beneficial, the training progress express will not be speeding off anytime soon with bad diet and recovery or terrible training programming.


By Heng Jun Kai