Saturday, June 23, 2012

Making Heavy Look Easy

I'm out of town right now for a family wedding/reunion, so I'm going to be short and provide an article and 3 videos for your reading and viewing pleasure.

A buddy of mine forwarded this article to me about deadlifting with a rounded back.  The author points out that rounding the back, specifically the upper back, puts you in a position to pull heavier weight off the ground.  In the powerlifting world, this makes perfect sense.  At some point, however, there will be form breakdown when the weight gets heavy enough.  I get that.  But should you train this way?

At the end of the article, one of the recommendations suggested is to always train with an arched back and solid form.  I couldn't agree more!  If you train with good form, the more effortless your maximal lifts will become.

If you don't believe me, check out this Russian beef cake making these HEAVY lifts look EASY:

1) 210kg Snatch
2) 250kg Clean & Jerk
3) 210kg Snatch and 245kg C&J w/ Bar Trajectory


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Breaking Mental Barriers

Mental barriers suck.  We all have them at some point.  Physically, you very well may be capable of making a certain lift; however, at a certain weight, there's something mentally that is holding you back.

In my opinion, these mental barriers are the result of a lack of confidence.  I touched on this in a previous post, but it can't be discussed enough.  It typically happens when you look at a certain weight (i.e. 400 lb. back squat), and immediately tell yourself that it will take a lifetime, at least, to hit that number.  After months of training, you finally get close, but suddenly you start to stall, even after so much progress.  Why?  You pigeon holed yourself.  You had very early in your mind that whatever number is nearly impossible - and because of that, it is.

But have no fear, I'm hear to help you f-stomp those mental barriers.

Coaching Tip #1:  Change your mental approach from negative to positive...ASAP.  I'm coaching a pretty bad ass athlete on his lifting technique.  He's strong and can throw around some pretty heavy weight, but when it comes to the snatch, something just hasn't been clicking.  Regardless of the incredible progress that has been made, he tends to go "full retard" after a couple missed lifts.  Last week we had a tough and frustrating training session.  When recapping the session, it came out that anytime he snatches, the thought of "oh, f***" immediately enters his mind.

There in lies the problem.  A negative mental approach.  What should be said is, "oh, f*** YES!!!".  Confidence just doesn't start on the bar with making lifts.  It starts way before you even set up on the bar.  Fix your mental approach, fix your confidence.  Simple as that.

Coaching Tip #2:  Push yourself.  Another athlete I've started to work with is VERY technically sound, but she doesn't have big numbers.  It's not because she isn't strong, necessarily, but rather because she has never believed in her ability to put anything significant on the bar.  How can you truly know your ability if you never push your limits?  You can't.

What happens if you push yourself and you fail?  Push your self again, and again, and again.  Having the courage to step up and put yourself on the line can be huge a confidence boost, even if you fail.

At the end of the day, if you're able to successfully increase your confidence, you'll be able to reduce your mental barriers and see some gains in your training.

Breaking Mental Barriers Daily!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Why I Coach

Aside from the fact that I want to develop strong, powerful and proficient athletes and lifters, why do I coach?

I coach because it's fun.  I coach because I get to interact with people on a very real level.  I coach because it fires me up when I see success and improvement.  I coach because there's something special in knowing that I'm possitively impacting someone's life in and out of the gym.  I coach to see the excitement of someone hitting a new PR and sharing in that experience.

There are instances from time to time where I take for granted the satisfaction that coaching gives me.  Sometimes I take for granted the real reason why I enjoy making people stronger and more powerful.  Then, weeks like this one come along, and I am reminded in a big way.

This week at the gym, we completed the Crossfit Total (max back squat, press and deadlift).  The amount of PR's hit this week was incredible - more than I can keep track.  Needless to say, it's been an energizing and inspiring week!  Seeing your athletes break through barriers and achieve success is extremely fulfilling, and for that, I am thankful.

A week like this one also motivates me.  It motivates me to continue to get better as a coach.  If I don't get better as a coach, I can't expect my athletes to get better.  Simple as that.  I need to be able to give my athletes the tools in order to hit those PR's and break through those barriers.

Here's a big THANK YOU for those who let me coach you.  It's inspiring, humbling motivating and energizing!