The MONSTER GARAGE GYM/MAROSCHER COACHING LOG is a weekly Coaching Log by MGG owner, 2-Time WPC World Powerlifting Champion, Eric Maroscher, and is one of the Featured Coaching Logs at EliteFTS.
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THIS WEEK’S Monster Garage Gym/Maroscher Coaching Log: PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
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We know the adage, Practice Makes Perfect. When it comes to power, technique and execution, the saying should really be, Perfect Practice Makes Perfect….Here is what we mean.
The time you spend in the gym is your precious time, and is when you can focus on your goals in your own powerlifting fortress-of-solitude. As you prepare for your meet, you train hard, you follow your training program and you put your all into each and every lift. In essence, you are practicing so you can have the best meet results you can.
As our coaching logs are geared toward the beginner to intermediate powerlifter, here is your food for thought, if you fall into that category. As the weight gets heavier, any flaws we have in our technique become magnified (this is especially true for the equipped lifter). So practice and repetition are key, but better yet, make it perfect practice and perfect repetition. As we often get caught up in the moment of the bigger lifts, and emotion and fury are added to the day’s mixture, often we can inadvertently sacrifice our technique when we inject brutality into the lift. As powerlifters, lifting with brute strength and being keyed up is beneficial but not at the cost of losing the technique. Both must be in the mix in the right ratio as attempting to muscle up big weights without your technique based leverage is more often than not going to lead to a missed attempt. If intensity was all that was required, every crazy whack-job at the local health club enrolled in anger management classes would be an all time record holder.
There is for sure a time to “Let Johnny Out Of The Bag,” but practicing perfect technique wins the day at the meet as the intensity should be encapsulated within that great form.
For the past few months, I have had the opportunity to watch bench master Matt Houser at the M.G.G. This is a 900LB bencher who makes that amount of weight routinely look like 225LBS. Matt is all inside his own technique and his training, and his practice, his near perfect practice is steeped in the pursuit of perfect technique while building his strength. On more than an occasion, he has asked for the music to be turned down at the gym, as he lifts better when he is able to contain his intensity within the technique. If you are a Star Wars type of person, what I am saying is that containing intensity within technique, is Jedi level stuff.
To help illustrate this point, we have included footage of Robert Bain (242LB RAW powerlifter) during a recent (deadlift) training session, as he prepares for the upcoming AWPC RAW Worlds. Robert is a 725LB RAW puller in the gym, but to do that in a meet, he needs to pull in competition like he does in the gym, of this he is keenly aware.
Last week's coaching log we talked about individual reps that comprise a set, and their place in a training program. To that end, Robert, who is still a newer powerlifter, practices step back reps, and practices containing himself within the lift. This is a tough balancing act (the master of this is the GOAT, King Coan. Not a yell, nor scream, but 1000 horsepower of technical perfection all wrapped around contained intensity). The other aspect to note in Robert’s focus on technique, is realizing that there is always a great relief once a big pull is locked out, but having the discipline to set the bar back down with the body still in position and stay tight until the bar is set back onto the floor is what also makes the difference. You can call it time under tension, completing the lift, or whatever vernacular you choose, but the bottom line is, controlling the down is critical for building the pull from the ground, and the discipline it takes to do that when the lifter is amped up after smoking a big pull is one of the ingredients that can take them from being a really good powerlifting to being an exceptional powerlifter. Watch as his head and chest stay up and in position even during the down of the movement. “The controlled down” along with complete immersion and commitment to try to perfect his technique are critical reasons Robert has gone from a 605LB - skin of his teeth pull, to a 725LB - smoke show in 23 months.
The take away is, on heavy days, be cautious of sacrificing technique for intensity. If you can manage both intensity as well as focus on perfectly practicing your form, (technique is a lifters bedrock that all else is built on), you are more than on the right path. We will never perfect our technique, but being as perfect as we can be and practicing this sets us up for success at the end of the day.
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