Who doesn’t want to get strong(er) without much extra effort?
Nobody I know.
Who doesn’t want to ensure they never miss a lift at a meet due to blowing commands?
Again, nobody I know.
I’ve got a very simple tip for you to follow that will improve your lifts, and if you compete, you’ll never miss a lift because you blew a command.
I’d love to tell you I made this one up, but I got it from Spud.
Hold the weight at lockout.
All the time.
We were training together a few years ago and I was doing my Dynamic Effort Lower session.
While doing squats, I was rushing the last rep and jumping it into the hooks of the Monolift.
Ole Spud said in his Southern Drawl, “hold it sumbitch. You’ll get stronger.”
And he didn’t put the hooks in on the next set until I held it.
Pretty sure he made me a little stronger right there.
How will this apply to you and your training?
It’s a simple concept.
Let’s look at the competitive lifter first.
At TPS, we train all of our lifters to hold each weight on the last rep as if waiting for a judge’s command.
You should too.
How many times have you seen a lifter miss a good lift because they jumped a rack command?
I know I’ve seen it as a spectator hundreds of times.
As a judge, I hate flipping the switch to red if they miss a command, but rules are rules.
So, for the competitive lifter, holding each lift on the last one for a 1/1000 or more and saying “rack” in your head will go a long way towards ensuring that you don’t miss a lift.
It doesn’t matter what the lift is:
- Bench Press
- Deadlift (it’s a down command here)
- Clean and Jerk
- Axle (all down commands versus rack)
Hold the last one every time and pause and say to yourself “rack” or “down” or have a coach or training partner do it.
This may seem like a small detail that doesn’t matter, but as the old saying goes, the devil is in the details.
I think this works very well on the deadlift.
Holding the last rep in this fashion does two things:
- Makes sure it is locked out
- Builds grip strength
My Head Coach, Kevin Cann uses a phrase a lot that his coach, Boris Sheiko said to him:
Are you training for yourself or for the judges?
Keep this I mind as you train.
Every rep must be done to competition standards for the classic lifts.
It’s a good idea for the variations too as Spud so eloquently pointed out.
When he dropped this bomb on me I was doing speed squats to a box with bands. That certainly is not done in competition, but he was right.
Repetition builds skill.
Make sure all of your reps are to the highest standard.
Hold It Right There
Let’s look at the lifter who does not compete.
How will this benefit them?
Well, strength is not only physical, it is mental.
Let’s look at physical first on all of the lifts listed above.
Holding the weight at the finish:
- forces you to stabilize it in a fatigued state
- it forces you to make sure it is properly locked out regardless of the lift
- it builds strength in specific areas (although it is minor)
- Grip in the deadlift
- Upper back on the bench
- Traps and shoulder girdle on the Clean, Snatch and Press
- The torso and upper back on the squat
This is a little “extra” work that you won’t even notice, but will accumulate over time.
Now, on to the mental:
I am a big believer that the mental game needs to be strong in order to succeed whether you compete or not.
If you have the mindset of so many Instagram posters that your lift was good and it really looked like shit, change it.
Film your sets and be objective.
- Did you lock it out?
- Did you get depth?
- Did you hitch?
Watch your lockout and how you rack the weight.
Are you throwing it back onto the hooks when it as 85% of the way up, or are you LOCKING it out an holding it still for a second?
I had this discussion with two of our lifters a few weeks ago.
They were both benching and about 85% of the way up they were throwing it back to the hooks to get it out of their hands on the last rep.
I said that shit didn’t count and basically gave them what I am giving you here.
Their mental game was soft.
They were fooling themselves.
After a bit of resistance, they followed the suggestion of holding it and agreed that I was right.
It’s not about me being right though.
- It’s about you maximizing every part of your training.
- It’s about you doing the little things needed to get better.
- It’s about you not fooling yourself into thinking it was a good lift.
- It’s about you building the metal strength to FINISH when it is hard.
- If you can’t finish the last of 5 reps properly I’ll bet that you can’t finish a heavy single properly either.
Listen to Spud.
Hold It Right There and get strong(er) every set.
Oh, and one more thing:
Go to the Contest page on my site and sign up for the Malden’s Strongest Strongman show July 29th with 100% of the profit going to charity. Full details are on the page.
Ask me a question-Be sure and Type to Murph in the header
Find me on Google-search for Total Performance Sports Malden, Mass. The Best Gym in Boston, Facebook too.
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Vincere vel mori