It should go without saying that if you are going to get the most out of the exercises that you are doing, then learning good technique is pretty important.
When learning technique it helps to have an understanding of the muscles you should be using during the exercise and what role they are playing. This helps ensure that you are targeting the right muscles. Good technique should also promote good movement and promote the safety of your joints. Seek the help of an experienced coach if you are looking to learn good technique.
However, bad technique is fairly common in most gyms – although I do also see good technique too. I really have seen some crazy and horrible things in gyms over the years, but this is largely due to a lack of education, rather than the misplaced idea that they are training for the circus or something equally bizarre.
Even a seemingly simple exercise like bicep curls can be butchered quite badly. The number of times you see someone – nearly always guys – in a gym using far too heavy a weight swinging it up using their hips, which results in the biceps actually doing very little of the work. This will actually have little effect on bicep muscle growth. Learn to use a weight that works the muscles hard, but also ensuring that you are still working the muscles you are actually trying to work and not substituting with others instead.
For people who are relative beginners to lifting weights – and even some who have been lifting a while -good technique sometimes needs to be worked on. Having said that, my experience with many clients, is that some nail an exercise straight off and others take a while to gets to grips with an exercise. This can even be true with the same client. They can proficient at some exercises and less so with others.
The one thing that reinforces good technique is repetition, so this means sticking with an exercise for a while – or at least a similar movement – to ensure continued proficiency. Chopping and changing exercises all the time means you never get the chance to be good at them. Anyone who possesses a great skill has to practice that skill or set of skills all the time to continue to be good at them. If you want to be good at something you do too.