The elitefts Powerlifting Experience II: With Great Risk Comes Great Reward

TAGS: elitefts Powerlifting Experience II, team elitefts, Eric Maroscher, powerlifting

Although a few days have passed since I was in London, Ohio for The elitefts Powerlifting Experience II, the feelings from that event are still fresh inside of me and do not appear to be going anywhere any time soon.

The Powerlifting Experience concept, like chains on a bar is so simple, yet genius in its simplicity. 60 student lifters placed into four teams of 15, about seven team elitefts coaches per team, thus one team elitefts coach per approximately two powerlifting pupils. It is nice, simple math, but what the numbers leave out is the exponential factor. That exponential factor is founded on the affect based dynamics of this event. The total non-tangibles amplify not only the day, but each and every moment of the day.

On the surface, you have what appears to be a group of novice to intermediate powerlifters. This blanket observation could not be any more incorrect. This is a group of powerlifters who are not only wanting to learn, but willing to travel out of state, and in some cases, travel from another country to  willingly and openly expose their weakness, to reveal their powerlifting soft-white-underbelly to the scrutiny of some of the best contemporary powerlifters and coaches around. Hell, in my group alone you had Steve Goggins, the first human to squat 1102-pounds at a bodyweight of 242 pounds. Anyone categorizing this group simply as merely novice powerlifters is clearly not seeing the visceral fortitude it takes for a man or a women to risk pride and for all they know, humiliation, so they can become better at this sport. Already, by just stepping foot onto the hallowed grounds that is the elitefts compound, these lifters have demonstrated one of the essential character traits it takes to be a champion in this sport, and that is the ability to risk.

The elitefts Powerlifting Experience II began on a Friday evening with the members of team elitefts meeting their pupils at the compound after the coaches had been broken into the four coaching teams. The team I was on, Team Driven, met and discussed how the seven of us would break up the 15 powerlifting pupils as to best serve them. Questions were asked of to determine the levels of experience, number of meets, years of powerlifting training and the like each student had. Further, we decided that if a coach knew a lifter, they could not coach that lifter, and this was followed by counting off the students which came to about two lifters per coach.  You could sense the students’ feelings, a mixture of trepidation, excitement, fear and uncertainty. To me, the fact that they were nervous but yet were here was an indication that these lifters already were wanting to break free of the flock, never ever to return, and that makes all the difference.

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Saturday morning comes and while the pupils warm up and are taken through some mobility work, I go to the other end of the compound and warm up as well. If their core temperature is up, I want my core temperature to be up. If they are pumping blood into their muscles, I want to be pumping blood into my muscles. And if they are wanting to become the best, I am going to do everything in my power to help them bring their desire to fruition.

The group now warmed up, and with their monolift height established, one by one, each pupil lifter approaches the squat bar by him or herself, with seven sets of coaching eyes visually making note of every single nuance of movement. Then it begins…

 

"Stop.

Don’t do that, do this….here is why.

Does this make sense? Do you understand? You are nodding your head that you understand, but I am not feeling that you are understanding, so explain to me why I am correcting that?

Okay, that is what I thought, so let me explain it again. Good, that looks better.

Stop, you are doing that incorrectly again.

Try this. No, try again. Better, try again.

Think about it this way. Try again.

Outstanding, now with that corrected, also do this.”

 

With many of the corrections the pupils become less confident as they leave their poor technique comfort zone, but they know why they are here and it is our job to keep them confident while at the same time helping them unlearn their poor technique and not just learn, but understand what we are having them change and why.

As the team works with the pupils the weight does not go up until the issue has been corrected and the lifter fully understands why it was corrected.

With technique tweaked, re-tweaked and in some cases completely overhauled, the warm-ups continue as we approach first attempts. Most times the number the student lifters picked for their opener we dropped significantly as we are also teaching them how to wisely pick their openers. A lot of time was spent in this area because you can either spend a career fighting to survive a powerlifting competition due to poor attempt choices, or winning powerlifting competitions due to wise attempt choices. As first and second attempts come and go, teaching, re-teaching, fixing, affirming and encouraging is ongoing. With form now drastically improved, it is time to test.  And that means the third attempt.

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Each and every team elitefts coach has not only become completely committed to his/her individuals but to each lifter pupil in our team as a whole. We want their third attempt, which has been built now on far improved technique, quality warm-ups and solid as a rock first and second attempts, to utterly obliterate their all time PR. With each third attempt the lifters’ combine for the first time their prior base of strength and their new foundation of technique and each one of them approaches the bar for their final attempt with absolute conviction in their eyes. Gone is the trepidation, gone is the uncertainty, gone is the fear and filling the holes of those emotions is determination, confidence, and aggression.

As each lifter squats, benches and deadlifts their final attempt, each coach is completely emotionally engaged with that lifter. Each coach sends the student lifters that unseen energy force that we all know exists regardless of whether the sheep of the world and other lemmings and naysayers believe in it. Looking on, each coach is connected to the lifter and is mentally willing them to make a successful lift as the lifter is simultaneously putting their entire physical and mental being into this final attempt. Following the group’s final squat, and prior to the first bench press, the coaches and students walk to the outside of the compound and a reinforcing discussion begins about what was learned.  This repeats itself for both the bench press and deadlift.

At the end of the day, this group of 60 aspiring powerlifter annihilated some 164 personal records.  Old numbers were left to the waste-side and new, bigger numbers now stood in their place.

With the lifting done, the pupils are asked to sit down in the front of the compound, with the elitefts team members sitting further back behind them. Dave Tate enters the compound, and if you are a powerlifter and you are in the presence of Dave Tate for the first time, I can assure you, he is all that you would expect him to be, and then some. As if words were quite expensive, Dave does not throw them around frivolously. Further, Dave does not mingle with the team. Why? Because the mountain does not come to Mohammad, Mohammad comes to the mountain. If it were any other way, it wouldn’t be Dave.

Dave approaches the microphone and he essentially asks, “Is it possible that from the start of this session to the last deadlift hitting the floor for you to have somehow, miraculously became stronger?”  The answer to his rhetorical question is clearly, no. Yet, out of 60 lifters, 164 PRs were set.

PLEII 2015

This is the exponential math of The elitefts Powerlifting Experience.  Some 30 team elitefts coaches working with 60 pupil lifters to get them, for the first time, to unleash their power through the vehicle of proper technique. And the result, 164 times in one day, was the same: powerlifters lifting more weight on this day, than they have lifted in their entire life!

Why are these feelings still stirring up inside of me, these feelings of pride in these pupil lifters, feelings of camaraderie with my elitefts teammates, feelings of goodness as the profits from this day all go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation charity, feelings of rebirth because you can’t be immersed in a coaching pool like this and not learn something yourself, feelings of being a part of something bigger than yourself which is exactly the vision the Monster Garage Gym was built from, feelings of perspective one gains by hearing the closing words from the King of the House Of Biceps, Clint Darden? The why is because powerlifting is a journey and for these student lifters, who took the risk to make this pilgrimage to the elitefts compound and risk it all, their journeys are forever changed for the better.

The elitefts Powerlifting Experience II: Squats and Morning Progress

The elitefts Powerlifting Experience II: Bench Press

The elitefts Powerlifting Experience II: Deadlift Session

The elitefts Powerlifting Experience II: Team Photos

 

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