Last I remember, the gym was made to train your muscles and not your ego. That being said, we’ve all had our phases of showing off the weight we lift when we’ve managed to go heavy. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with showing off an achievement, but trying something just for the sake of showing off is not healthy, at all.
We all have that select crowd at the gym that loves to clear off the floor and create a buzz before they perform an extremely heavy yet unimpressive 1 rep max. The rounded backs during the heavy deads, or the quarter range squats, or the half range bench presses, that my friends, is called ego lifting.
Most of us are not professional bodybuilders, but rather recreational athletes that do what we do to look good and feel healthy. What’s the point of benching 4 plates, when in reality you can only bench 2 with the proper form?
I think mirrors were installed in gyms so that they can look at their form and make sure that they’re as close to the ideal form as possible, and not just for gym bros to do their hair and look at other people through it.
Getting into a little bit of the science, ego lifting spells disaster for anyone looking to build muscle because it skips the burn. Every time you are lifting a weight which is too heavy for you, you rush toward completing the repetition. In this process you tend to forget the controlled eccentric movement you are supposed to do and get suboptimal results…and you risk your joints with each rep.
That’s not it, when you are lifting too heavy you are not allowing muscles to remain under stress for a considerable amount of time required for growth. This is also known as Time under tension and a lot of training technique slow down reps to increase this time under tension, now imagine doing the opposite just to satiate your ego.
From experience and from what I’ve observed I’d say that weight doesn’t matter, it’s a function of time and you will eventually lift heavier anyway. Forcing the issue while compromising on the form is a BIG NO, and you should respect your body enough to pick a weight suitable for you. Say no to ego lifting and say yes to muscle growth!