Personal records (PRs) are always celebrated. And we LOVE watching people get stronger.
But striving for PRs isn’t always appropriate. Sometimes, you should work out for skill acquisition. By this I mean that you approach a training session to improve your movement mechanics, getting better at the skill of lifting.
Here are some scenarios when working out for skill is appropriate:
You’re new to fitness or lifting
You’re working through an injury
You’re not feeling good (beat up, lack of sleep, etc.)
You’re back after taking time off
Approaching a movement you’re not good at
Getting better at the skill of a lift will transfer to more strength and muscle over time. The better you move, the more ability you have to gain strength and muscle.
If you’re never putting yourself through proper positions, your body won’t magically do it one day…you’ve got to practice! Moreover, loading the bar with heavy weight when you can’t yet achieve perfect movement mechanics can lead to injury.
You can add intensity while working on the skill of lifting by using a slow tempo and/or pausing at different points in the lift to build up those proper positions.
Trust the process. It will pay dividends later!