Squat like Meesh

Stress-free Holiday Workouts

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While certainly a time to celebrate and share with loved ones, the holidays can be stressful too. No, I’m not talking about the kind of stress that comes from sitting next to your MAGA-lovin’ aunt Kathy at dinner or listening to your gluten-free, vegan, paleo sister Tara talk about her life-changing experience in Costa Rica. I’m talking about something very real, very scary, and very important. Protecting your gainz!

However, worry not! With a little bit of planning, a little preparation, and just an ounce of self-discipline, we’re going to make sure those hard-won gains aren’t also easily lost. We’ve outlined a 3 day program that you can do almost anywhere. Because working out while traveling is always easier to plan than to execute, this short program is designed to be as simple as possible. All you need is a barbell, a few dumbbells, and 30-45 minutes of free time. Enjoy!

[One last note. A little bit of time off won’t kill you. If finding a gym while you’re out of town is inconvenient, then you should rest. The last thing you want to do is create stress around an activity that should be fun and compelling. Besides, the harder you train and push yourself during “on” days, the harder you should rest on the “off” ones.]

 

Day 1

Warm Up

3 Rounds

  • Jump Rope x120sec
  • Plank x60sec
  • Plank Ups x30sec
  • Pause Push Ups x15

Strength Training

*Rest 30-60sec Between Sets

  1. Back Squat: 70-80%x5x5
  2. Deadlift: 60-70%x4x8
  3. Bench Press 50%x3xAMRAP

Core

3 Rounds

  • Weighted Toe Touches x20
  • Russian Twists x15each
  • Crunch To Press x10

 

Day 2

Warm Up

3 Rounds

  • BB RDL x10
  • BB OH Press x10
  • BB Goodmornings x10
  • BB Back Squat x10

Strength Training

*Rest 30-60sec Between Sets

  1. Push Press: 80%x5x3
  2. Front Squat: 70%x3x5
  3. RDL: 60%x3x15

Core

4 Rounds

  • x10 Weighted Sit Ups
  • x20 Plank Ups

Day 3

Warm Up

3 Rounds

  • BB Lunge x10each
  • BB Press x10
  • BB Goodmornings x10
  • BB Upright Row x10

Strength Training

*Rest 30-60sec Between Sets

5 Rounds

  • DB Press x10
  • DB Rows x15
  • Push Ups x20
  • Sit Ups x15
  • Pull Ups x10

Core

3 Rounds

  • V-ups x10
  • Pause Supermans x10
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Athlete preparing for snatch

Fixing the Forward Jump

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As in every other area of life, unless you’re an expert, you’re probably doing it wrong. Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, obeying traffic rules, securing your computer network, raising your kid, whatever, it’s guaranteed that you’re doing several things incorrectly every single day. Some of these technical errors are conscious, slowly rolling through a deserted four-way stop, for instance. Some are almost unknowable; how does one individually optimize their diet for health and longevity? But many, like so many aspects of life, are somewhere in between. While I can’t be sure where you fall along this spectrum, if you are doing this during your lifts, then it really doesn’t matter. You’re doing it wrong.

Stop jumping forward!

The often unpredictable and seemingly unstoppable forward jump can be one of the most frustrating and daunting technical problems in the entire sport of Olympic weightlifting. Like everything in this sport, diligence, persistence, and a little bit of neuroticism are required to fix deficiencies and get you to the next level. This means, unfortunately, that the longer you’ve been doing it wrong, the longer it will take to start doing it right. If you’ve been self-taught for most of your career, this news will come as no surprise. If you haven’t or aren’t, we’ll cover many corrective actions you and your coach can take to remedy this. Either way, there’s still hope. First though, let’s address what many of you might be thinking at this point. Again, the rough reality is, you’re doing it wrong.

Watch enough YouTube highlights and Instagram miracles, and you’ll notice some common lifting habits among all lifters. Dedication, strength, mobility, pig-headedness. We all share these traits. What we don’t share, however, is ability. Ability magnified by thousands upon thousands of hours spent training. The elite few that have invested their lives in this develop sometimes strange and idiosyncratic movements that seem to defy what we’re discussing here (and the basics of lifting advice writ large). But you are not elite. You didn’t discover after eight years of competitive lifting that your femur length and left hip joint mean you need to turn your left foot out and stagger your stance a couple inches while keeping your right foot straight. You didn’t cultivate record-breaking, obscene back strength that allows for your starting position to be nearly parallel with the floor. You’re 25 years old. And you just started last year. So, let’s stick to the basics.

How do I fix it?

For better or worse, weightlifting is one of those sports with many life lessons. In our case, the lesson is simple. Treating the symptom is no way to treat the disorder. Before we get ahead of ourselves with quick fixes and corrective exercises, let’s step back and identify what’s causing our technique to break down in the first place. Working back through the assembly line of positions and movements, we likely notice there are multiple mistakes earlier on, our “disorder”, that culminate in jumping forward, our “symptom”. For example, your hips rising off the floor too quickly is probably causing your shoulders and chest to fall too far forward in front of the bar, resulting in a loopy bar path and, thus, forward jump.

Step 1. Identifying the “disorder”

Incorrect Set Up
Sometime during the last few years a zeitgeist has developed around keeping one’s shoulders a greater distance in front of the bar. While the idea in general is valid, it’s not something that needs to be so heavily emphasized for beginner and intermediate weightlifters. It will happen organically if you start with and maintain proper angles in the set up and throughout the first pull. Over-emphasizing this can be very confusing and even detrimental to the initial set up and subsequent parts of the lift. It should be no surprise that setting up in a bad position will set you up in bad positions throughout the entire lift. If this sounds familiar, it should. Even though pulling forward during the lift might appear to be the cause and the forward jump the effect, a more basic cause is an incorrect starting position.
Quick Fix: If you set up in a position that easily allows yourself to be pulled forward by the
barbell, then you are probably going to be pulled forward. Simple as that. Try to prevent this by setting up with your chest high, hips “low”, and maintain the angles throughout the lift.

Shoulder, Hips and Bar
When performing a lift from the floor your shoulders and hips should move at the same speed
as the barbell, and these angles must remain consistent through the first pull. If this sounds complicated, you’re trying too hard. All you need to know is if your hips rise before the bar then you are wasting energy, time and the very important leverages that these lifts depend on. Start doing yourself a favor and stop allowing this to happen. This is especially difficult with heavy weights. It doesn’t matter. Try harder. Still not enough? Max loads expose
positional and technical weaknesses.

Quick Fix: Work in the use of lighter loads to work on building correct movement and
consistent technique. Back off sets at 70-85% of max effort are the typical “sweet spot”. Light enough to allow for corrections, but heavy enough to provide sufficient stimulus and resistance.

Swinging the Bar Forward
The shortest path between any two points is a direct line, wormholes notwithstanding. This applies to weightlifting too. (OK, maybe not part about wormholes!) When attempting to lift a weight from the ground to overhead or to shoulder height, the farther you deviate away from a straight path, the more difficult you are making the lift. While there is some subtlety here, for our purposes in addressing the forward jump, we want to prevent the bar moving away from the body after hip contact.

This is typically how it happens. After you break the floor plane, the bar drifts away from you until it reaches your hips. (Note that this drift is often the result of poor starting position, poor rising mechanics, insufficient strength, or a combination of the three. See above for more help.) Because you want to, need to, make hip contact, and because the bar has separated a significant distance from your body, you have to actively pull the bar back into your hips while simultaneously thrusting your hips into the bar. This results in excessive horizontal bar displacement.

With beginners this often happens unintentionally. Sometimes, the same problem occurs but with conscious effort behind it. Remember what we discussed earlier? There is no shortcut to lift mastery. You can’t copy-paste an Olympian’s technique. Work on the basics, learn it correctly, and tailor your lift to your own strengths and weaknesses as you grow in your experience. Slamming the bar into your hips, diving underneath, and praying that it lands in the right position is not a technique at all. If this is your game plan, it’s time to revisit more than your forward jump.

Regardless of cause or intent, bar drift and horizontal displacement can be avoided by
keeping your arms relaxed, legs driving, chest up, and by maintaining barbell proximity
throughout the entire lift.

Quick Fix: Focus on each lift segment individually. Start by working from floor to knee, then move on from floor to hip, and finally add in some high pulls to work on
staying connected through the finish.
The second most important take away to this article will be found in the following sentence.
Now that we’ve hopefully identified your problems, let’s look at some of the best ways to fix it.

Step 2. Finding the “cure”

Awareness
Awareness can come from watching a video of yourself, a coach’s ear-piercing scream, or even proprioception alone. (If you don’t know what that means, it’s worth looking up.) No matter the method, after identifying the underlying “disorder”, this should be the first step in fixing it. Becoming aware of what you’re doing wrong and where that begins is often enough to start fixing it. Grab a coach, a friend, a cell phone camera, or even a mirror, and evaluate each position and movement as you go through the lift. Compare this to what you know you should be doing or an elite lifter with classic mechanics, and get to work resolving the discrepancies.

Physical Barrier
A more active method of intervention is the creation of a physical barrier. Place an object or draw a line in front of the lifter to discourage them from moving forward. Depending on the athlete, you can use anything from a PVC pipe, all the way to a human body, but keep in mind the larger the obstacle, the larger the possibility of a fatal miss. It’s best to start with a line of chalk and work up from there. Use this strategy in every session until the problem is solved.

No Foot Movements
The most radical technique, but one that is also guaranteed to prevent jumping forward, is to not move your feet at all. If you take away the lifters ability to move their feet, then you take away their ability to jump. You can do this by starting with your feet in your catch position and maintaining it throughout the duration of the lift. Otherwise, work through your movement as your normally would. This should normally be reserved only when the above options are exhausted, and even then, limited only to warm-up reps and technique-focused sessions.
[More advanced remedial methods certainly exist, but they are outside the scope of this article. Barbell complexes and pull variations can have tremendous value when working on specific technical corrections. These complexes can be fun and seem like they produce results, at least those measured in sweat. However, they are, by their very nature, complex, time-intensive, and incorporate many (potentially wrong) movements into one. When utilizing complexes make sure you are using them with purpose and intent, not just for the sake of making something difficult or more challenging.]

Step 3. Starting “treatment”

This one is all on you. You’re dedicated enough to pursue one of the most frustrating and demanding sports in the history of man. Are you dedicated enough to fix a six-inch jump?

 

 

In our next article, we’ll discuss the when, why, and how of integrating complexes and accessory work into our training regimens. For now, let’s stay focused on the basics, on identifying our “disorders”, our “symptoms”, our “cures”, and our “treatments”. That’s how you earn the privilege to break the rules of weightlifting. That’s how you become a master.

 

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Front Rack Stretch Athlete Front Rack Position

Overcoming Front Rack Mobility Issues

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Inadequate front rack flexibility can slow progress, lead to injury, and make cleans, front squats and most overhead lifts feel like hell on earth. The front rack is often an athlete’s worst enemy, and as a result, most will shy away from any movement that incorporates it.

The alternative, while certainly more difficult, is to face your fears, let go of your pride, and take the necessary time to correct the position. No, it won’t be easy or quick, but it will improve if you work at it. Look at it this way, if you neglect the work involved, you’ll undoubtedly suffer immense pain every time you front squat, sounds awful right? Or even worse, you will avoid front squats and cleans all together, ultimately missing out on all the gainz these exercises can and will deliver. But if we work to address the issues now, taking the time to purposefully and rigorously work through them, we can end in a better position than we began, pun intended.

While there are many ways to address front rack positional limitations, the exercises we’ve curated below represent an efficient and effective warm up that takes only 12-15 minutes total. Using this warm up 3-5 times throughout the week, specifically on days where you perform exercises that utilize the front rack, will ensure you are strong, flexible, and comfortable.

Mobility Exercise #1

Banded Front Rack Stretch

  1. Loop one end of a heavy resistance band around an object mounted a few feet above your shoulders.
  2. Place the other end of the band around your elbow and create tension by moving away from the mount.
  3. Grab the band with a full grip and try to mimic the actual front rack position as close as possible.
  4. Keep your elbow tucked in close to your head while gradually increase the bands tension.
  5. Maintain the stretch for 30-60 seconds then switch to the opposite arm.
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Mobility Exercise #2

Triceps Barbell Smash

  1. Stand directly in front of the rack with your shoulders squared.
  2. Grasp the barbell with one hand and set your opposite arm on the bar with your palm facing up.
  3. Start with the bar near your elbow and gradually rotate your arm back and forth while applying pressure into the bar. (Expect this to be uncomfortable.)
  4. Continue to roll out the meat of your tricep with slow rotations, only moving up the arm once you feel relief in the tissue. (This can be a slow process for heavily muscled individuals, so take your time.)
  5. Maintain the stretch for 30-60 seconds then switch to the opposite arm.
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Mobility Exercise #3

Lats Foam Roll

  1. Place a foam roller directly under your armpit, extend your arm and keep your thumb facing straight up.
  2. Try to elevate yourself so the majority of your weight is resting on the roller.
  3. Slowly roll up and down your lat while moving slightly back and forth to ensure all tissue is addressed.
  4. Only move further down your side once the immediate tissue finds relief.
  5. Continue until you roll the entire lat, starting at the armpit and finishing at your hip.
  6. Spend at least 45-60 seconds on each side.
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Mobility Exercise #4

Front Rack Hold

  1. Un-rack the barbell in the front rack position and walk out as if you were going to perform a front squat.
  2. Attempt to maintain as much of a full grip on the bar as possible.
  3. Try to relax your upper body and control your breathing while simultaneously forcing your elbows up as high as possible.
  4. If flexibility is limited, ask a friend to apply slight pressure upward at the elbows.
  5. Maintain this stretch for 60 seconds.
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Pigeon Stretch profile

Relieve Hip Pain and Restore Proper Mobility

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Kyle Dosterschill

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“You’re telling me that you’ve been living with low back pain for over a year?!”

That was my response to learning about one of our new member’s ongoing battle with chronic pain, tightness, and overall discomfort in her lower back. After multiple failed attempts to treat the symptoms, she reluctantly decided that it was “just going to be a part of [her] life”. It kills me to know that so many people go through this. Living everyday with excruciating pain is not living at all. I’m writing this article for her, and for all who deal with similar issues.

Many of us immediately assume low back and hip pain is caused by tight, bound up muscles. While this isn’t necessarily wrong, the etiology is often more complicated, involving other systems and structures than just the muscle tissue itself. the joint capsule systems are usually of equal blame, thus deserving equal attention but rarely receiving it. Not only does inadequate hip mobility lead to pain and weakness, it also causes poor movement mechanics, reduced force production, and frequently leads to injury. Pain or not, your hips are likely starving for some TLC.

Below is a hip joint capsule mobilization protocol that’s worked wonders for so many people, including myself. This can be done as a squat warm up, workout cool down, or even as a stand-alone program on rest days. Those who are experiencing everyday pain should make this part of their everyday routine.  

Step #1

Squat Assessment

  1. Align your feet just outside shoulder width
  2. Keep your toes pointed straight ahead
  3. Try to squat to full depth without sacrificing posture
  • Do your feet rotate out?
  • Does your torso overextend?
  • Where is the pain coming from?

Note your results and repeat the same assessment after you mobilize.

Step #2

Banded Hip Distraction

Banded Hip Distraction top          Banded Hip Distraction bottom

  1. Loop one end of a band around a floor mounted object, secure the other end around the top of your foot and again around the back of your heel.
  2. Create tension on the band by moving back and lying down.
  3. Relax and allow the band to pull.
  • Spend 3 minutes on each side.

Step #3

Lacrosse Ball Glute Smash

Lacrosse Ball Glute Smash leg down           Lacrosse Ball Glute Smash leg up

  1. Sitting in an upright posture with the soles of your feet touching, position a lacrosse ball under the meat of your glute.
  2. Find an area of bound tissue to focus on.
  3. Slowly externally rotate your leg by dropping your knee to the floor and then pulling it back towards your mid-line.
  4. Continue rotating your leg throughout.
  • Spend 5 minutes on each side.

Step #4

Lacrosse Ball Hip Smash

Lacrosse Ball Hip Smash flat          Lacrosse Ball Hip Smash slightly raised          Lacrosse Ball Hip Smash fully raised

  1. Lying flat on your back, position a lacrosse ball right below your hipbone, just outside of your high glute meat.
  2. Distribute as much weight as possible onto the ball.
  3. Break up the tissue across your muscle fibers by slowly rolling onto your side and then back to the starting position.
  4. Continue rolling back in forth throughout.
  • Spend 3 minutes on each side.

Step #5

Pigeon Stretch

Pigeon Stretch top          Pigeon Stretch profile

  1. Start by sitting upright with your legs straight out in front of you.

  2. Swing one leg behind you and position your other leg in front so it’s perpendicular to your trailing extended leg.
  3. Maintain a flat back while slowly lowering your chest towards the floor.
  • Hold for 2 minutes on each side.

Step #6

Couch Stretch

Couch Stretch profile          Couch Stretch Front

  1. Kneel onto a mat with both knees and scoot your feet back to the wall.
  2. Swing one leg up so your foot is in contact with the ground in front of you. Your front leg should create a 90-degree angle at your knee.
  3. Slide your back leg up the wall so your shin runs parallel to the wall.
  4. Slowly sit as tall as possible, closing the gap between your back shin and the wall.
  • Hold for 2 minutes on each side.

Step #7

Squat Assessment

  1. Align your feet just outside shoulder width
  2. Keep your toes pointed straight ahead
  3. Try to squat to full depth without sacrificing posture

Compare your results to the initial assessment.

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Athlete standing outdoors for log article

The Accountability Log

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Kyle Dosterschill

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“I just don’t understand. I eat well, I train hard, and I do all the things necessary to achieve my goals, but I still can’t ______________.”

We all have these blanks in our lives. Goals and ambitions we want to accomplish but haven’t been able to for some reason. Focusing on the area of physical health and wellness, our blanks might be to finally get those six pack abs, to squat 400 pounds, to lose weight, to gain weight. The list goes on and on and on.

As coaches, we’ve heard this complaint too many times to count; everyone finds themselves in this situation at some point. I know I certainly have. While the blank could be any number of different challenges, the overall paradigm is the same in almost every case. Since the problems seem to follow a similar format, it’s likely the solution does as well. What this solution looks like and how we can make it work for us is as simple and practicable as it is powerful. Note-taking.

“Note-taking?” You ask. Can it really be that basic? Can just recording what we do in pursuit of a goal help us to achieve it? Absolutely. Take weight loss, for instance. While we might “try” to eat healthfully and exercise, if we don’t record what we actually eat and what we actually do in the gym, we are left to rely on our memory. Like all our memories, our brain mitigates the bad we do while exaggerating the good. A gluttonous Oreo binge becomes a “few too many, but not the whole package.” A half-hearted squat session becomes “another firm step toward my squat goal.” Now imagine keeping mental track of everything you eat and all your workouts for weeks at a time. It would be impossible! But accuracy looking backward is not the only benefit of a notebook.

When we track our performance in writing, we are much more likely to stay consistent and true to the plans we set for ourselves. Who wants to write (and later read) that they consumed “36 Oreo cookies” while binge-watching “The Office?” Or that they only completed “2 ½ sets” of the five they were aiming for? No one! This effect has been proven time and time again in studies across disciplines. Without consistently tracking nutrition, sleep, and training, you have no data to refer back to and nothing to correct moving forward. This is the only way to find what works and dismiss what doesn’t. while holding yourself accountable to what you know is right.

To help you get started, we have developed three simple logs that cover the biggest aspects of personal health: diet, sleep and exercise. (These can be found at the bottom of this post.) Try logging your behavior for one week. Then, at the end of the week, compare what you’ve written with what you planned to do. As simple as it sounds, this is a great way to get started logging and the first step toward identifying problem areas and breaking through your plateaus.

Regardless of your current condition and goals, we all benefit from written logs.  Even if your progress isn’t stalling today, that doesn’t mean it won’t tomorrow. Being health and strong is a lifelong journey, and we inevitably fall victim to slow or even regressing development. This accountability log will maximize your progress, saving you time and frustration.

For those that train with us at Hunger in the Wild S&C, log for seven days straight and then bring in your data to meet with a coach before or after class.

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Training Log Microsoft Word Format

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Training Log PDF Format

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Sleep Log Microsoft Word Format

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Sleep Log PDF Format

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Nutrient Log Microsoft Word Format

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Nutrient Log PDF Format

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hitw-260

Bodybuilding Assistance Work for Weightlifters

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Kyle Dosterschill

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The 3 workouts below can be used as independent training sessions or tacked on to the end of a hard session. If implemented correctly they should each take around 15-45 minutes and be performed 1-2 times per week. Keep in mind these workouts are meant to compliment your weightlifting training and should be executed with a conservative approach.

Workout #1

Upper Body

A1.Pushing Strength 3-4s (6-10r)

  • Push Press / Snatch Push Press
  • Overhead Press / Snatch Press
  • Bench Press
  • Incline Press
  • Lateral/Front Raises

A2. Pulling Strength 3-4s (6-10r)

  • Rows
  • Pull Ups
  • Chin Ups
  • Upright Rows
  • Shrugs

B. Lock Out Strength 2-3s (12-20r)

  • Tricep Ext.
  • Close Grip Bench
  • Dips
  • Overhead Holds

Workout #2

Lower Body

A1. Pushing Strength 3-4s (6-10r)

  • Step Ups
  • Close Stance Squats
  • Bulgerian Split Squats
  • Walking Lunges
  • SL Squats

A2. Pulling Strength 3-4s (6-10r)

  • Deadlift
  • RDL
  • Goodmornings
  • Hamstring Curls
  • Glute Bridge

B. Grip Strength 2-3s (12-20r)

  • Hammer Curls
  • Reverse Grip BB Curls
  • Wrist Curls and Extensions
  • BB Holds 5-15sec

Workout #3

Trunk / Plyometrics

A1. Anterior 2-3s (12-20r)

  • Planks 15-60sec
  • Leg Raises
  • Russian Twists
  • Sit Ups
  • BB Roll Outs

A2. Posterior 3-4s (12-20r)

  • Good-mornings
  • Hyperextensions
  • Reverse Hyperextensions
  • Glute Ham Raise

B. Plyometrics 3-8s (3-6r)

  • KB Swings
  • Vertical Jumps
  • Broad Jumps
  • Box Jumps
  • BB Squat Jumps
  • Medicine Ball Throws
  • Medicine Ball Slams

Choose 1-2 exercises from each “A1” and “A2” group and perform as a superset.

Choose 1-3 exercise from each “B” group and perform as a superset.

(s) = sets

(r) = reps

Example Rep Scheme:

3-8s (3-6r) Perform between 3-8 sets and between 3-6 repetitions.

Rest intervals should be kept short, between 30-90sec is ideal.

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C Meesh Focus

Lesson #1: Bad days are just good days waiting to be transformed.

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Kyle Dosterschill

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Some things are easy to learn but difficult to master. In the world of sports, sprinting might qualify as the former. Almost everyone intuitively knows how to run quickly, but it takes years and even decades to master starting technique, block usage, optimal stride length, breathing… the list goes on and on. If sprinting is “easy” to learn, then weightlifting is very, very, hard. It takes months of dedication and a background in athletics just to move to challenging weights. Years later, many athletes have only made incremental improvements beyond where they began. It is a brutally difficult sport to learn and an even more imposing one to master. That’s why, when things are going well, they seem to be going really well. (Almost intuitive, one might say.) On the contrary, a bad day can quickly spiral out of control if it’s not handled promptly and properly. As a beginner athlete your goal is to have more good days than bad. With such a challenging sport, it’s understandable that you’re going to suffer through some bad days. Ensuring you can transform these difficult workouts into learning opportunities is vital to keeping the good day “tally” higher than the bad. Before we can talk about fixing “bad” days, we need to identify exactly what makes it bad to begin with.

To start our discussion, we must first distinguish what makes a good workout from a bad one. Most are going to immediately assume that an increase in weight is the only way to have a good day, whereas a bad day would be defined by lower weights and missed lifts. If this were the case, even elite weightlifters, especially elite weightlifters, would have to categorize most days as “bad”. Just as a track athlete doesn’t seek to break the world record every time she gets into the blocks, neither should you aim for a PR with every workout. Focusing on technique, mobility, and consistency is critically important to the new athlete seeking to improve his or her skills and establish a foundation for success down the road. However, if we don’t use weight as a metric for workout success, what do we use? 

There are numerous ways to evaluate a training session. By feel, control, awareness, and of course, your coach’s assessment, you can identify successful lifts, exercises, coaching cues, you name it. Diligent note taking, including video recording of lifts, can help you understand where you’re succeeding and where you’re falling short. For example, if you lift the same exact weight for 3 weeks in a row, each week with more control, more awareness and more positive praise from your coach, this is progress. Let progress in movement be your measuring stick, and the increases in weight will naturally, and often times directly, follow. 

Let’s say you’re doing everything right, focusing on the mechanics of the lift and pushing appropriate weight for your workout goals, but you’re still feeling off and missing lifts. While it may be tempting to embrace this frustration and get yourself pumped up and take the weight again, this is exactly the wrong approach. Losing focus, increasing muscle tension in the arms, shoulders, and neck, moving the bar too quickly off the floor, these are all great ways to continue missing. Most misses are caused by a deficiency in technique, not strength. The first step to making the most of this situation, to transforming your bad day into a good one, is to identify what’s wrong. Ask yourself if you are focused, if you are relaxing your arms. Refer to the cues you and your coach have developed, things like keeping the bar close and standing up all the way while pulling. Once we have the problem identified, we can work on correcting it. (Hence the diligent note-taking and recording mentioned earlier.) In this way, we have taken a frustrating, defeating experience and turned it into something positive, whereas if we’d merely focused on the daily PR, on attempting the same heavy weights over and over again, we’d have nothing to show for it but discouragement. 

Remember that weightlifting is a very technical skill, a skill so difficult that elite lifters spend their entire lives trying to master it. Learning to turn your bad days into good days, learning to find positivity and growth in each training session and each rep, this is how you get better. This sport is a marathon, not a sprint, so pace yourself accordingly.

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