Muscle memory is a form of procedural memory that can help you develop more strength through repetition – but in the same exact way, it can make you very bad at the same thing, and here is why:
The phrase «practice makes perfect» is an accurate phrase, showing the more you do something, the more you build up the procedural memory of that and, in turn, your brain can quickly instruct your muscles of how to carry it out. The hiccup with this phase is that muscle memory doesn’t have the capability to judge whether you are doing it well or badly, right or wrong, just that this is how it was trained to do it. Practicing good form, rather than just going for PRs every lift, matters! If you practice poor form and train your muscles with poor techniques, it harms you in many ways. Not only will you be wasting your time learning and teaching your muscles the incorrect form, you will not be benefiting fully from all your hard work! Repeating the same mistakes will teach the muscles those mistakes, and overcoming those and correcting them can prove a massive feat. «You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,» can sometimes be an idea that relates, as once those muscles know what they are supposed to do (right or wrong), changing their memory can be an uphill battle.
The key to building good muscle memory and staying away from this danger zone is to focus on quality over quantity. Slow down, take a deep breath, check yourself in the mirror and make sure your form is on point for the exercise being completed. Learn the form and train your muscles properly, and you will be more likely to develop muscle memories that don’t need to be reversed and relearned.