I attended a strongman seminar on Sunday with Hugo Girard (2003 World’s Strongest Man) as the coach, needless to say we were gonna lift heavy and we did.
The day started like every other seminar, certification, CF class I’ve ever been to or coached. The emphasis was on proper technique before all else. If you lift anything with significant weight poorly you will get hurt, sometimes not immediately but repeated over time will catch up to you.
He spoke about crossfit being injury prone since they use lighter weights during their workouts and can get away with poor technique and still complete the workout, but it catches up to them over the long run. TECHNIQUE IS KING!
In strongman with heavy loads (freakin’ heavy) they cannot complete the lifts unless their technique is flawless since the loads are superhuman large and the body needs to move efficiently. TECHNIQUE IS KING!
You know yourself when you move properly when lifting anything from a barbell, to a box off the floor to your kids, when we lift with our legs and not our back things are easier. TECHNIQUE IS KING!
The other take home for me was how he described a good athlete. It is not about shape and size but rather the heart, determination and drive the person has. Athletes are not all elite, they are soccer moms/dads, factory workers, office workers, people who have full time work and still hit the gym to be better at life period. Someone who is strong doesn’t get them too far if they don’t have heart and drive.
All this to drive home the point that when you are at the gym, don’t look around and look at others and try to compare yourself physically to that person or people. Fact is, we are all made the same inside and you can’t physically see the heart, drive and determination. If you have it in you, you are in my humble opinion an athlete no question. Give 100% every time you show up, don’t let the frustrating days stop you from coming in(Just Show Up…sound familiar) and then you are an athlete my friend. Numbers are fine but if you work your ass off that is what truly counts. I can coach someone to gain strength, stamina, flexibility, speed, power, agility, tec…BUT I cannot teach someone drive, heart and determination, it’s either in you are not. If it is missing it can be added, but that journey is up to you my friends. How bad do you want it?
Take two things away from this;
1. Technique trumps all, NEVER sacrifice technique for weight (egos at the door please)
2. Heart, Drive and Determination will dictate how well you do NOT how much you can lift now, the rest come with commitment and desire.
Be a master technician and give it all you’ve got!
I recently watched a video where a 61-year-old lady was raving about how Crossfit had given her, her life back. One thing that stuck with me was the advice her son-in-law gave her on the days she felt like skipping or didn’t feel all that great. The advice…”Just show up”.
Just show up…it’s simple it works. Many times I have seen people reluctantly make their way to the gym and afterwards leave completely rejuvenated and feeling better. I have many examples from my Foundation program where people admitted to me on their way in they would have rathered just stayed home on the couch or in the backyard, but after going through the workout they felt much better and had loads more energy. Being active gets the blood flowing, the adrenaline pumping and the brain firing on all cylinders.
I wasn’t going to blog today because it was one fo those days where just chilling felt right but I remembered that advice “Just show up” and made my way down to Caveman Strong and did a 3 round strongman workout and about 15 minutes of mobility work. On the way out of the gym it was like an entirely new me. I am full of energy now and decided to blog after all and share with you that simple advice that can help spice up an otherwise drab day.
Those 3 words are so effective and work in all situations, bad day at the office…Just show up, feeling a bit tired and sluggish…Just show up, feeling a bit sick…Just show up (and take some extra Vitamin D3), not in the mood to go workout…Just show up.
The alternative to all of these, if showing up doesn’t happen will not help change things like sitting on the couch, feeling sorry for yourself, taking a nap or reaching for some horrible comfort food is a guaranteed failed attempt at feeling better.
Being active is always the best alternative. If you cannot make it to the gym itself do something for Pete’s sake! Take a walk, air squat in the kitchen, do some burpees, pushups situps anything just get active.
JUST SHOW UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, and Be great!
This applies for more than just your training, it goes all the time but we will use training as the setting here. I have coached many people over past year who have trouble believing in themselves when it comes to getting a lift, performing a certain movement or just plain getting in the zone. This past week I have encountered enough of them to write this week’s entry.
As much as your strength plays a huge role in how much you lift many people don’t put enough effort in the mindset category. You have to have confidence and believe in yourself every time you step up to the bar. Otherwise you’re battling more than the weight you’re battling yourself.
One thing you need to do is stop focusing on the weight and concentrate on the movement. Where do my hands go, are my feet set and get ready to take that breath and go! When resting between sets visualize yourself performing the lift then go and do it! Your goose is cooked if you approach the bar and are just thinking “Holy crap this is heavy, I’m not sure I can do this…”. Get that numskull out of your head and focus on the movement. If you go into a lift thinking you can’t you likely won’t but if you are focused on the movement and address the bar with confidence and honest effort it will get done. Sometimes it may take a few tries but with the right frame of mind you will get it.
I would love to PR (personal record) every day but that is not how it works. Some days I do leave frustrated but I focus on the positives and go back at the next day or the next time whatever frustrated me comes up in my training schedule and attack it head one with confidence. If you truly love what you do in the gym you will enjoy the journey and celebrate each extra pound you push, pull, drag or lift. Many people forget about the journey and focus on all the failures, but it takes those failures to achieve your goals and become better.
As I mentioned this applies to everything you do in you life or day-to-day routine. Believe in yourself and good things WILL happen, maybe not each and every day, but more often than not. Your positive attitude may also encourage others around you to do the same and the more we believe in ourselves the easier it is to work and play with others.
Back to the gym…less focus on the weight and more focus on you. You can’t control the bar, but you can control how you will execute the movements and your frame of mind. Add up the weight totals later. Remember, it’s not always about how much you lift, it is as much about how you are lifting. Focus on the movements and positive attitude and the numbers in weight will come.
It’s simple, there is one thing you always need to believe in, just one thing…YOU!!!
Now go crush some numbers and enjoy the journey.
The old saying `less is more`can ring true only if by that you mean lower rep counts with good or even great technique. One of the hardest things to get people to understand is that when doing a high intensity quality workout with a focus on proper technique and challenging weight, or just plain maxing out goes a lot further than those ridiculous uber high rep count marathons that leave you laying in a pool of your own sweat.
The minute you sacrifice technique for more weight and give into your ego or you just `get through`those 500 total rep workouts with horrible technique just to say `guess how many reps I did today… your cheating yourself. Save it please. The stronger you are the better things get for you a everything, no exception. If you are strong all becomes a little easier from climbing the stairs to taking out the trash to playing with your kids. Those high rep nutty workouts only shape your ego and not your body. It is a recipe for disaster and injury over the longer term.
Try and workout with a real purpose. Pick a strength element (olympic lift, power lift, gymnastics movement, there are more) and focus on nailing great technique and then watch the weight go up. Plow through 700 reps for time and you will break and not see any real gains. After your focused skill work to get stronger and improve your movement throw in a short high intensity workout that last anywhere from 3 to 20 minutes. Work hard and do the elements of the workout well for actual results, rather than try to get in 10 rounds and 5,000 reps under 45 minutes. Try this and you`ll see results and feel better and most importantly get stronger.
I don`t think anyone would answer NO to the question would you like to be stronger. Strength is what will carry you into your senior years climbing stairs, playing sports and staying active rather than buying an electric scooter or sitting on the couch watching television all day.
I don`t care if you can do 100 crappy pushups, 100 questionable squats, 400 burpees and 900 situps. What I care about is how well you move, are you getting stronger and are you truly happy with your progress. The numbers that go up should be the loads your lifting and not always the rep counts.
I was guilty of those `look how many reps I did workouts` for sure. We all do it. Since I changed to a focus on technique and moving properly I have seen more gains in strength and overall health than when I was chasing numbers. Train with a purpose and real goals, not for high numbers you can tell your friends about.
Quality over quantity folks. Let it sink in.