Coach Broser, I am a big fan of your videos online and see that you are a staunch advocate of using extremely strict technique. What do you say if someone argues that some of the most massive bodybuilders in the world, like Ronnie Coleman, Branch Warren, Jay Cutler, and Johnnie Jackson, all achieved their development while using very “loose” form on most movements?
First, let me simply say: Just look at them! How could I possibly argue with their results? They have 12 Olympia titles, six Arnold Classic wins, and a bunch of other IFBB Pro League titles between them! However, aside from all other obvious factors (i.e., superior genetics, PEDs, Spartan-like discipline), did they achieve their incredible musculature because of, or in spite of, their “less than textbook” lifting technique? Would each of these champions have become even more impressive if they all utilized strict exercise form?
I think one of the most important keys to success when it comes to bodybuilding is having complete and unwavering faith in your own approach. If you truly believe your method is best and have no doubt it will lead to the desired results, you are already many steps ahead of the game. And the men you mentioned have said several times in interviews that they could not imagine training any other way. They all have expressed that if they had tried to train strictly and slowly, rather than in the more ballistic style they employed, that they would not be nearly as massively built. From a psychological standpoint this might be true, because as I mentioned, it is their faith that is greatly responsible for their results. However, if in their early days they had been mentored by someone who taught them to train ultra-strictly—and that is what they then did and believed in—I personally feel they may have grown just as massive or perhaps even more so. Not to mention that Ronnie and Branch in particular have suffered some rather severe injuries in their careers, which may have held them back to some degree (and perhaps even forced them out of the game early).
The best method for the majority is very strict form/ technique and total concentration on stimulating only the target muscle. Cheating should be used only to get a couple of extra reps (or specifically, eccentric contractions, which are vital) after you can no longer complete the ROM in proper form.