In this Table Talk series with Swede Burns and JP Carroll, so far the two elitefts team members have answered questions about training elite lifters, trusting the process, accessory exercise volume, sequencing of assistance work, and making every rep perfect. For today's video, they discuss why an advanced powerlifter needs a coach.
First they answer a question for JP:
What's one thing you learned from being coached that you wouldn't have figured out yourself?
Though there are many things he has learned, JP answers by saying that the most valuable change in his training from working with Swede is the focus on the execution of every single rep. Before starting with Swede, he was simply strong and could move a lot of weight. His technique sucked, but he had mostly gotten away with it by simply being so strong.
It wasn't until working with Swede that he started to develop the technique he needed to keep improving — and even then it took some time. At the start with 5thSet, he would try to pump out his reps too quickly. It wasn't until he slowed it down and started thinking of every single reps as singles that he started to improve his technique.
Swede follows up on this by pointing out that this not only made JP stronger, but it also made his lifts safer and a lot more clean. The lesson was to make every rep right, every single time you do it. You have to make those cues natural so that by the time the meet comes you've done it hundreds of times. Swede explains that he manages this with every lifter he works with. In video reviews, he continually reinforces technique. It may seem like he's saying the same thing again and again, but it's a process. You have to always focus on fixing the lift — as one thing starts to get fixed, another issue will pop up to address.
If the massive increases in strength for JP don't have you convinced, consider this: Imagine you're doing five sets of five as your workout. Your first two are perfect and your last three suck. What hapepned? You just did 60% of your training as shit. You trained your body to suck 60% of the time. If you're doing lots of volume, this can become even more of a problem. Practice doesn't make perfect — perfect practice makes perfect.
So when do you cut your 5thSet? As soon as you can't do a rep correctly anymore. Your last reps before failure need to look like exactly like your first reps.