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.
On January 18, 2020, we will be hosting the Hudson Valley Winter Classic at Locomotive Crossfit.
It turns out that this will be your last chance to qualify for the American Open 1 at the Arnold’s in Ohio, March 5-8, 2020.
Registrations are live!
Many lifts are lost before they’ve barely begun. A successful lift starts at the beginning. You can’t have a solid finish with a bad start. Lifts are taught from the hang because as the lifter starts with the bar lower and eventually from the floor, the rate of difficulty increases. Each phase of the lift needs proper technique to maximize efficiency, getting the most out of your strength. Right now, we’ll focus on starting from the bottom position.
The start position is very important. A lifter should first learn a static start, meaning, get into a ready position, locked in, with no movement of the bar or body before beginning the lift. A dynamic start is when a lifter is moving just before starting the lift. For example, when a lifter ratchets their hips up and then down into their ready position just before lift off. A static start should be learned before getting into a dynamic start because you want to be consistent in your start position. If your body isn’t accustomed to starting from the same place and you jump right into a dynamic start, you’re more likely to be starting from different points and being inconsistent with your technique.
There are many different cues a coach will use to reinforce good positions and where the focus on the lift should be. Depending on what the issues are with a given lifter, the cues are meant to direct the lifter’s attention to something specific that will help the lifter complete a successful lift. Here are some cues for the start:
- Monkey feet (flat feet) – I’ve used this one to reinforce the focus on keeping the feet flat, heels down. Picture doing a regular push up – your palms are down, fingers out, with full contact with the floor. In the same fashion, you want your whole foot making contact as you drive the bar by pressing your feet into the platform (not rolling onto your toes). Drive your feet into the platform with a stiff core to hold your position – don’t let the bar pull you forward/off balance.
- Brace! – your core should be super tight.
- Chest up – Pull in your lats/pinch your shoulder blades together, keep a tight neutral spine.
- Pull yourself down to the bar – remove all slack/tight core
Use specific exercises to build strength from the floor. Don’t neglect core work – that may be the weak link that doesn’t allow you to keep your form as you transition into the second pull. There are many options, including unilateral work, to address any weaknesses or imbalances. Here’s a few:
- Paused Deadlift to knees
- Deficit work
- Reverse Hypers
- Good mornings
- 1 leg RDL
- 1 leg squat
- Weighted planks
This is only a quick list of good exercises that should be in your repertoire. Complexes are also good to work the transitions from the start, to the second pull, into the completion of the lift. The start of the jerk is also very important. In the same way, it requires flat feet and a tight core to properly drive the bar up, not forward. The lifts start and end with the feet. Like roots to a tree, they need to be planted and balanced.