The SECRET SYMMETRY between technique, programming, work ethic....

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 geared to the new to intermediate powerlifter. LIVE, LEARN and PASS ON.

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THIS WEEK’S Monster Garage Gym/Maroscher Coaching Log: The SECRET SYMMETRY between technique, programming, work ethic, consistency, etc...

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Coaching Log:
Recently at the gym a couple of newer lifters stopped in and were inquiring about programs as they felt their current program was not yielding for them the results it promised. We went through the whole, “what are your goals, how long have you been lifting, what program are you currently on, where are you in meet prep, do you in fact compete?" and on and on. We invited the lifters to train for the day as the big question for me was, "what do your lifts look like?" In other words, it might not be that their program is not working for them, as it might actually be perfectly suited for their needs, but perhaps the weak link in the chain of their training is technique.

So we had the lifters warm up, and basically go through their day's training. The atmosphere of the Monster Garage Gym was such that they hit all time, P.R.’s but the stark reality is that their lifting form had some serious issues. What these guys had going for them was heart, a vision, a good work ethic, a reasonable program, a nutrition plan and a love for the sport. All that said however, if you have all the raw materials to build a house but the foundation is absent, you will have the nicest planned house on paper that ultimately blows over with the first real storm, and the story ends there.  In powerlifting things need to match up, there needs to be a symmetry to them, because in powerlifting, there is always a storm brewing and it is waiting for you.

A great program deserves great technique. Without great technique, what would have been a great program, fails to meet its maximum potential. Likewise a great nutritional plan without the work ethic in the gym equals a failure to meet your maximum outcome. A great plan without the ability to execute it at the meet equals a failure to meet your maximum outcome. There has to be a symmetry among all the ingredients, all the tools in the tool box. 

Technique is the common thread for ALL powerlifters regardless of experience ‘under the bar,’ regardless if you are a competitive powerlifter, a gym lifter, or at minimum a recreational powerlifter. Great technique is the common thread between the equipped powerlifting and the RAW powerlifter and all the hybrids of RAW in between. Superior technique is the central fulcrum, the bedrock to all sports and powerlifting is no different.

The emphasis in the last 5 to 7 years on programming (there are reasons for this, but that is a story for another time) is overshadowing the absolute requisite ingredient for success in powerlifting and that is the lifter’s technique.

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Programs that work for someone today may not work seven months from now, or might not even work at all, but solid technique, foundational form is what should be worked out every training day.

For the newer to the intermediate powerlifter the term “programming” has all the trappings of what is in vogue today in a sport where the newer lifter is caught up in following this person or that person's program. There is a perceived gravitas to saying, “Yeah, well I follow Lifter X’s program, and he/she is a bad*ss, thus, vicariously, I am a bad*ss.” After you have been in the sport for years and years, dare I say decades….you will see it is not the program, as that will change for you over the months, years and decades, but the technique that must be established and honed to near perfection that allows the program to shine, allows the hard work to pay off, allows the lifter to get the most out of their body come meet day.

I recently watched Dave talking about “Training for your first powerlifting meet.”  What he is saying is the level of lifter now competing is very new, very inexperienced and green with regard to the basics of the sport. This is what my peers and I who have a couple of decades of skin in this game see each year at the State and National meets. We see that huge gathering of brand newbies jumping into a meet either on a whim, or because it is a place to display their ultra-trendy man-bun. There is nothing wrong with this, in fact, I say the more the merrier, as the sport will grow the best and chew-up-and-spit-out the rest. But it is an ever disappearing era of the new lifter training in a power gym for a number of years with great lifters, then competing once they have a solid foundation/education/established technique. What was once a highly competitive State level meet with 80 seasoned and ravenous for victory powerlifters is now a meet with 230 lifters, with the majority having mere months under their lifting belts and a goal at the end of having something to post on their socialookatmedia page. As they are new, and of no fault of their own, they gravitate to what they see on socialookatmedia and that is again programming, online coaching, and the like. This is also in large part that powerlifting gyms are a scarce as ever. So again, reflecting on another of Dave’s videos,  even the coaches who advertise are often either new to the game or are mere trying to make money to support their own lifting, and that does not bode well for the newbie lifters.

Working with a lifter in person on their technique in person takes time and is a localized, travel limiting variable. Where as writing sets and reps can be done electronically, so there is more money to be made, thus the newer lifter who is a little lost and trying to find their way sees so much information online regarding programs, that they get the false impression that this one aspect of the sport must be the most important as it is the one seen the most, advertised the most and thus the most consumed and becomes the most emphasized part of powerlifting by the other newer lifters.

Toward this end regarding technique, on this particular Squatter day at the Monster Garage Gym, we captured some of the Squatter day crew on film. Some at are the start of their programs (multiple reps) some are hitting singles as their meet is closer, some are RAW, some equipped, some in-between. Some are seasoned lifters with decades of meets under their belts and one trains to regain his health and and is looking to rebuild his body that have been ravaged by medicines and chemo (survivors are the strong(est) by-the-way). But as you watch the video, more so, listen, as the cues are virtually all technique related.  They are constant and permeate the entire training session.

This is something that all of the pods that train at the Monster Garage Gym work on as it is the essential ingredient for all other factors of your powerlifting training.

The takeaway to all of this is, yes, a program is very important, but if it is played out to fruition on a lifter with poor technique, then that program, which might be that lifter’s perfect program will be tossed aside as it never reached its promised outcomes. But then again, neither will the next program, or the next, or the next.

Wishing you the best in your training and competitions. Ever Onward, Eric Maroscher, Owner: MONSTER GARAGE GYM

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