You may have heard the phrase, “Playing lotto is not a financial plan.” It makes sense, right? So why do people still gamble? Maybe it’s the thrill. Maybe it’s laziness and simply a poorly planned shortcut. It can be both. What does this have to do with weightlifting?
Look at it this way. Gambling is working out without a plan, or possibly making the plan yourself. Investing is finding the right person to program for you. There are some who can write a program for themselves that are quite successful at it. I believe these are outliers. I’ve been coaching for many years and have written programs for myself that did help me to improve. But, was my training optimal? Despite being a DIY guy, I’ve come to terms with the knowledge that I shouldn’t do everything for myself. Look at it this way. If you’re in a relationship, your emotions and ego cloud your thinking and there’s a good chance you’re going to misread something and approach a problem the wrong way. However, you can objectively look at your friend’s relationship and see exactly what they may be doing wrong. That objective perspective is priceless. You may have heard the saying, “A man who represents himself in court has a fool for a lawyer.” The same goes for coaching.
Here’s where the investment comes in. I don’t mean the cost involved in working with a good coach. Although, you should recognize the value a good coach will bring to your life. I’m talking about “buy in.” This is about investing your time, your effort, and most importantly your trust in your coach. Trust that your coach has your best interest at heart and sees what you need to keep you on a successful path. Once you’ve established that trust, now you need to put in the time and effort to make this partnership work. The Coach/Athlete relationship is a partnership with the goal of making the athlete better. A perfect program (if that unicorn exists), is useless if the athlete doesn’t believe in it. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, how much effort do you really put into it?
Ok, you’ve listened. You’ve found a great coach. Now what? Communicate! Your coach needs to know what’s going on in your head, not just what they see. They should be doing their best to explain what they want you to do. You should be doing your best to let them know what you feel is working, not working, painful, mentally taxing, scary… Lifting can be more mental than physical. Knowing where you are mentally, will help your coach properly prepare you to progress.
You want to be better, right? Don’t gamble. Invest!
This pandemic has thrown everyone into a bizarro world. There are real concerns on every side with understandable anxiety and fear for our welfare – physically, mentally, financially and for our friends and families. One thing weightlifting has taught me is that through stress, we can come out of a situation stronger. We may take a beating for a time, but we usually come out of it in a better place mentally and physically.
For a time, we were scared of losing the gym – our sanctuary. Thankfully, we’re still there. In fact, after some tough losses, we’re starting to grow again. There is real excitement and a great communal vibe in the air. With reduced capacity, masks, etc., we are not only managing, we are starting to thrive again and it feels great. I am very excited about our new members and our vets that continue to put in the work and improve regularly.
Many pundits were writing off gyms after they were closed for so long and people set up home gyms to keep lifting. The fact is a home gym is great, but it doesn’t give you the communal vibe that training together does. We are communal by nature and do better when we’re around others who support us, push us to be better than we sometimes allow ourselves to be. There is an undeniable energy that’s shared in a good gym. It’s a great feeling to be training and coaching in a great gym. We’re not only blessed with our team’s synergy, we also vibe off our extended family – Locomotive Fitness Co. Come on down and join us. Be part of our renaissance.
When weightlifting, the focus should always be on technique. It’s a constant challenge to maintain that technique. So, of course, you have to make a conscious effort to be consistent in your approach. The only thing that should change as the weight on the bar goes up is your effort.
Use exercises and your coaches eye to fine tune technique. The exercise below is one approach.
In this video, I’m starting with a below the knee snatch pull followed by a below the knee hang snatch. The knee is an important transitional point, so this is a good place to work with. The first lift focuses on you pulling and keeping the bar close. The hang snatch follows the same groove to reinforce an efficient movement. The green line in front of the toes is your boundary. You should be keeping the bar behind that line to maintain better leverage and efficiency of movement. This is where using video is a great way to check the bar trajectory.
The exercise helps to reinforce the correct groove without having the lifter overthink the movement. Ideally, the lifter should feel the movement and know when it’s right. Focus on technique. It’s an integral part of your making that big PR down the road.