The art of bro lifting has infiltrated the ranks of strength coaching like never before.

The relentless drive for coaches to brag about how many kids can lift this or that is beyond my comprehension.

I come from a powerlifting background, and chasing numbers is what it's all about. You picked a number or a total and trained your balls off to get that number. All lifts had to be done correctly—squats below parallel, benches paused, no hitches on deadlifts, all done on referees' command with no one touching you or the bar (more on this later).

It would be easy for me to worry about numbers and not all the other millions of things you must do to develop an athlete. Numbers are just one variable. I am all for athletes getting stronger, laying that base for power and speed, but what I have seen in this numbers game over the past year has destroyed any integrity that those numbers may have.

RECENT: B is for Bend

Let's make this simple. If a coach or another player touches you or the bar during the execution of a lift, THAT LIFT DOES NOT COUNT!

There's no "it's all you, bro" or "I only helped this much" and on and on. What in the world are we teaching these kids? I tell my players all the time, "I don't make your tackles or score your touchdowns. Why should I lift your weights?"

It started with the squat. Coaches were grabbing kids at the bottom and driving them up, or the classic grabbing the bar on a bench. The new low, which I witnessed not a week ago, was a team spotting and helping players on the POWER CLEAN! They would kneel in front of the player and help him push it up once it got off the ground.


I know you don't think it's ridiculous when you are doing it, but when you see it and read about it, it's just not right. This is the line where I am a purist.

I know there are a hundred ways to skin a cat, program workouts, and train your teams, but the two constants must be exercise technique and players lifting their own weights. Your athletes will perform better, and their parent's insurance companies will thank you.

It's okay to let them fail at something. Maybe it will motivate them to come back and try harder next time.

You can give them all the false confidence in the world, but when it's fourth and one on the field and your coach isn't there to help you make your block, reality sets in.

Throw away the crutches.

In closing, let's quote the great Ed Coan. When asked, "What was your philosophy when putting together your training cycles?" he said, "Just do a little better than I did on the last one."

write for elitefts

Coach G has been a strength and conditioning coach at all levels of athletics for the past twenty years. After beginning his career as a strength coach at the high school level and winning four state championship titles, he became a head football strength coach at the Division I-AA level. Following a successful ten-win season, he moved on to the SEC as an assistant strength coach, working with football and other various sports for four years. Coach G then moved on and has been a director of strength and conditioning at the Division I level ever since. He has coached in numerous bowl games, playoffs, and conference championships.

shop elitefts bands