I had a new client come in the other morning and start his training with me on his new fitness journey to get SWOLE (strong).
As we moved through our warm up, I paid close attention to his coordination and mobility - two key elements to success in Olympic lifting - neither of which turned out to particularly beautiful. That being said, we made the necessary modifications and got him moving correctly with a barbell.
I could see the discouragement in his eyes as the person next to him was moving a pretty damn hefty load and there he was sweating his ass off with an empty bar. It is more than obvious that he doesn’t understand what he’s missing. So let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room:
Me: “How long have you been Olympic lifting?”
He replies: “Never.”
I ask further: “Do you spend much time on mobility?”
He replies: “Not at all.”
“Everyone has to start somewhere.” Luckily for me, I turn around and there is the man of the moment, one of my more experienced clients, who is about to crank a cool calm 160kg off the floor. “That’s where we are trying to get you to go. See his tight set up on the bar?!”
His smooth pull off the floor, acceleration through the hip and solid core structure.
All that doesn’t happen overnight. He’s been working on that for a few months now and his speed has only just recently improved over the past couple weeks.” He nods, “Technique will always trump the load. We need to get you familiar and develop coordination through each phase of the lift before we get you attempting to pull the building off its foundation.”
“I get it.”, he says, as a wave of ease washes over his face.
What is the relevance of this story?
This is an epidemic that I’ve faced each and every day of my fitness career. When you approach certain workouts or even singular movements by themselves that are foreign to you, you will be outside your comfort zone. It’s important to bring yourself back to centre. If it’s new, it’s going to be hard. If you’re a runner without a lot of lifting in your regimen, or a bodybuilder that never runs at all, or an experienced Olympic lifter that has been missing gymnastic progressions in your training over the years, more than likely you’ll be overwhelmed when initially confronted with a foreign training stimulus.
At the same time, remind yourself why you wandered through my door in the first place:
You heard about what we are all about and it spiked some interest in your blood. Or you simply just wanted to do something completely different. There is enough variety provided in our programming that you will, without a doubt, be exposed to your weakness.
It is this challenge that stimulates results.
It is overcoming the hurdles that were your weaknesses while developing your strengths that keeps you coming back. Just keep in mind that no one is amazing at everything, especially in the beginning, and if you don’t put in the time and effort, progress is impossible.
Keep yourself grounded. You will improve. All we have is time. Just be consistent and the results will come.
Train like you mean it!!