Below is something that all people who think they love the barbell should read. The barbell is a unique tool that has influenced the lives of millions. It has personally led to a life of adventure, empowerment, and a world full of friends, but before you think that it is all gumdrops and lollipops, read below!
Remember we will be in Kissimmee, FL this weekend March 28-29 at Obsessive CrossFit Disorder, and then Zach Even-Esh and I are teaming up May 16-17 for the best Certification Ever! Check out all of the Learn 2 Lift Certs. below:
The Unspoken Quality
Everybody loves the sport of Olympic weightlifting during the first year or two of the sport. The gains come easy, and the body feels great. The sport is awesome for many reasons. We all love to pick heavy things up above our heads. It is a feeling of domination when you lift an object from the floor, to above the head, and then slam it back to the ground with a victorious roar. We love the way we move around the bar with speed and agility. We all love that artistic component to the beautiful sport of weightlifting. Let’s be honest, we love doing a sport that most people can’t wrap their heads around. Anyone can play basketball or football, but only a select few can perform the sport of Olympic weightlifting well.
Let’s talk about the part of the sport that most people hate and don’t survive. Let’s talk about what happens after that first couple years of bliss. What happens when you are not setting personal records on a regular basis? That is when you find out if you are truly a weightlifter. There will come a time when the weight feels heavier, and your technique will seem to get worse. What are you going to do then? I tell you what great lifters do. They persevere! They will focus on getting stronger, and they will do their research on improving their technique to the point of perfection.
It’s during this tough trial in a weightlifter’s career that most people quit or give up. When the real work starts, most people take the easy road and quit. That is why people like Donnie Shankle and Jon North are such anomalies. They are examples of the few that stuck with it, and now they are on top of their sport.
It’s during this time period that people will start to perfect their technique and pinpoint weaknesses. In the beginning, people are setting personal records because they are strong, mobile, or have great technique. After the first couple of years, they focus on what they don’t have. For example, if you have great technique but lack mobility, then they will focus on mobility. If you are mobile and strong, then perfect your technique. It might take a while of trial and error before something clicks, but they great ones never quit searching.
When the athlete makes it through this period of their training life, they begin to become great at what they do. This weekend, my brother-in-law was talking about how long it takes to perfect something. The general consensus is that it takes about 10,000 hours of performing an activity before one perfects it. I recommend meditating on this before deciding to quit.
The other factor that separates the truly great athletes from the rest of the pace is the ability to separate injury from ache. Weightlifting is a tough sport. You are going to have achy knees, shoulders, elbow, back, and more. Of course your job is to limit the ache as much as possible with stretching, hot baths, chiropractic, massage, and any other form of recovery that works, but don’t mistake this ache for a major injury. Knee pain is not an excuse to not train. Shoulder pain is not an excuse to not train. It’s all a part of the process.
There are cycles of training designed to break you down forcing your body to adapt. Then a good coach tapers the athlete, the ache goes away, and boom it is PR city baby. I know that this makes me sound like a cold hearted pig of a coach, but it is just the truth. I have trained with some of the greatest Olympic Weightlifters and Powerlifters in American history, and all of them were able to train through any ache and pain. Mental toughness is something that is not talked enough about. There are people that are simply born tough, but the rest of us simply need to get tough.
This blog seems cruel and unusual, but it is just the truth. This is the stuff that coaches talk about when no one is around. I believe that you all need to know the truth. Now look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself which type of person you are. If you need to get tough, then do it!
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