I highly recommend you read part one of this series before continuing on.
This part, in particular, bears repeating…
These tips are based on my own experience(s) as an elite-level lifter, training with other Pro and Elite level lifters, being coached by elite lifters and working with and coaching other elite lifters.
These are not in any specific order of importance and will not pertain to everyone. These are the things I find myself repeating over and over again with different lifters. It should also be noted that I would NOT suggest many of these things to anyone who falls outside this target athlete. To make this point even more clear. If you are not an Elite or Pro strength athlete, many of these suggestions should NOT be applied and they very well could destroy your lifting career or make you suck on the platform. Now go back and read that one more time. This is not a statement I am writing that is intended to make these look “top secret.”
This is not meant in the way most people will read into it. We already know strength sports at the highest level are NOT healthy. I would go as far to say that no sport at its upper level is healthy in any way. Once pushing the outer limits of one’s mental and physical self becomes part of the competitive process, health, in its typical sense, gets tossed out the window.
This is what I mean by staying healthy:
First off, very few who compete at the top levels are 100 percent healthy. They ALL have something that hurts, is screwed up, torn, pulled, broke, etc. This is an accepted part of the game. Normally the one who is the least “screwed” up on meet day is the one who will have the best day, or better put, will display their strength to its greatest potential.
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When I speak to these lifters what I ask them is what their best total is and when they did it. When and where doesn’t matter, what does matter is the next question I ask and that is, “How much did you leave on the platform?” Let’s say, for example, the answer is a 2455 total and they know they had 50 pounds more in the squat, 20 more in the bench and maybe 10 or 15 more in the deadlift. When you add this all up it is an 85-pound PR correct? So why not go into the next meet at the same strength you were then and pick up those 85 pounds?
The reason is that most lifters do not think this way. They feel if they got stronger they could add another 40 to the squat and that would make a total of 90 more pounds for the next meet. This is where you need to really stop and think. When was the last time you hit a 95-pound PR in the squat from one meet to the next? Exactly! This is very rare, but they will train with this thought in mind and end up beating the crap out of themselves in the process. They will actually show up on meet day MORE beat up than they were the meet that they had their best day at. They may or may not break PRs, but if they do, they are usually less than what they left on the platform last time.
If you have an awesome meet and the strength IS there, but you don’t completely demonstrate it, the correct answer is to keep training to get strong but don’t keep the pedal to the floor when it’s not needed. Spend the cycle training smart and not doing “stupid shit” that you know will beat you up more than it will get you strong. The main goal is to break your PR total, right? Why make this harder than it really is? Do what you need to do to step on the platform just as strong as you were when you had your best day but less beat up.
Think of it this way. If that 2455 was done with a slight back strain, a pulled hamstring five weeks out and one rib out, what do you think you would have left on the platform if you were 100 percent healthy, or even just 80 percent healthy? Hell, just more healthy than you were that day?
I’m not saying strength isn’t the main goal — it is! What I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter how fuckin’ strong you are if you are always beat up and hurt. Nobody cares what you do in the gym — what matters is what you display on meet day.
In the gym, you can either train to impress for the day or leave an impression that will last a lifetime. This means that you HAVE to learn to train with the end goal in mind. One awesome lift/PR in the gym is never worth sacrificing what will be displayed on meet day.
Be Your Own Worst Critic
You know the best way to deal with critics? Be your own worst one. Expect more from yourself than anyone else ever could of you. Then, whatever you hear or read won’t matter.
I hear all the time how the forums have ruined the sport, but what you are reading is the same crap I used to hear in the gym before the internet even existed. It has always been the same way…everyone squats high, so and so is so strong due to better drugs, or they have better custom-made suits and shirts nobody else can buy. The list goes on and on. All the internet did was provide a different means for it to be shared. Back then, it was in the gym, at meets, and by telephone. Today it is online. The point is the “shit” is still the same “shit.”
I’m not one of those who buys the old line that it doesn’t matter what they say as long as it’s about you, or if you sucked they wouldn’t say anything. There are many other statements such as if they didn’t care, they wouldn’t say anything and only the best are the ones who get talked about. My thought process has always been, who cares? And who is who? If someone says something about you or your lift, who is saying it and what real significance do they have in your life? Why even bother with it? Yet, week after week for the past 10 years, I get at least one email from an advanced lifter asking me if I saw what was being said about them (or me) on so and so’s forum. If these sites do not enhance your training, why bother reading the crap? If you do go there and get pissed off at something someone else wrote, then it’s not their fault you are pissed. It’s your fault for reading it in the first place.
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Even if you are getting bashed BIG TIME, within a few days it will scroll off the front page of the forum and be forgotten — that is — unless you buy into it and post back. As soon as you do this, they (once again ask yourself who is “they”) know they got to you and the trolling won’t stop — it WILL get worse. When you get under the bar for your next training session, will anything they say make a difference?
This is usually what I hear after telling them this. But, they said this, or they were talking about that. Who cares? And once again who is “who”? What you need to do is spend more time LISTENING to those who you train with and less time reading the crap about you online.
This is a serious question and I want it to sink in. Are there things your training partners have been trying to get you to do (such as keeping your head up when you squat, tucking your elbows when you bench, squat lower, sit back more, etc.,) and you STILL haven’t “got it” yet? They tell you every time you are under the bar and you still don’t do it for one reason or another. Maybe they are trying to get you to clean up your diet, show up to train on time, stop missing sessions or one hundred other things, but you choose to IGNORE them for whatever reason. Yet, you can’t IGNORE someone who posts on a forum?
Honestly, out of the two groups, who REALLY deserves your respect? So, why are you giving it to those who don’t deserve it and don’t care, but not to those who are in the gym sweating, bleeding and straining to help you get better?
Until next time think on that.
More tips coming soon.