10 Random Lessons

As our summer training session wraps up, I wanted to leave everyone with 10 valuable lessons we learned over the past 3 months.

Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Leaking Energy is a Waste

"I have competition biceps!!!"

I love that our guys are competitive, but the pendulum has often swung too far to the other side.

For a time, our guys were putting just as much energy into trash-talking and intimidation as they were to their actual training.

We even had one guy scream at another guy as he was deadlifting 425lbs on his test day.

What happened next?

He couldn't move a single pound more for the rest of the day and he missed his PR by 20lbs!

You only have so much energy to expend during a training session.

Do you want to put it into moving weights or telling another guy you are big enough to be his father?

(It should be noted that this same athlete hit a PR with 460 a week later when he was not acting like a horses you know what.)

2. Bad Form Will Come Back to Haunt You

Me: "You need to keep your arms straight on deadlift. You cannot simply pull the weight off the ground with your arms."

Athlete: "Coach, Have you seen my arms?"

Me: "You can get away with brute strength with light weight, but it won't work as the weight gets heavier."

Athlete: "I have competition biceps. Nothing ever feels heavy to me."

This is a conversation I have just about every day.

Unfortunately, most athletes don't believe they can't get away with the same garbage with heavy weight as they can with light weight ... until it is too late.

At best, it is a failed PR on test day.

At worst, it is an injury.

Treat every rep of every set as your max ... even if it is just the barbell.

3. There is No Good Reason to Miss a Lift

Just because you told me you were going to miss a lift, it doesn't mean it is okay.

Sure, you saved yourself the humiliation of being on The Soft List, but you still missed an opportunity to make yourself better.

I understand that people have things like work, finals, and vacation.

But Coach, I was on vacation ...
I understand ... but I don't care.

And either does the weight.

Or the guy who is going to knock your teeth in during football camp.

4. What You Do Outside the Gym is Just as Important as What You Do Inside It

You spend 4 hours a week at the gym.

You spend 164 hours outside of it.

Enough said ...

How Torres spends his weekends

5. Be Where You Are At

Here is another typical scenario from our training sessions ...

We are just about to start Barbell Overhead Squats

Athlete: "Coach, How much weight should I use on seated rows?"

Me: "Seated rows are listed last on your sheet. We are doing Overhead Squats right now."

Athlete: "I know. I just want to know what I should do for rows later."

Me: "Why don't you focus on what you should be doing on THIS SET right now. We can talk about seated rows when we get to it."

The whole point of this dialogue is that you need to focus on what you are doing right now.

Zen ...

How can you properly brace your core and retract your shoulders on overhead squats if you are thinking about a seated row?

You can't.

Be where you are at ...

Think about rows when you are doing rows and squats when you are doing squats.

In fact, how many of you are reading this right now while listening to music or watching TV?

6. If You Have Pain, Do Something

Yet another scenario ...

Athlete: "Coach, My lower back hurts."

Me: "What have tried to do to make it better?"

Athlete: "Nothing."

How do you expect to get better if you don't try to eliminate the source of the pain?

I have given my athletes an arsenal of stretches, SMR techniques, and mobility exercises.
We believe in those things so much they are incorporated into each and every one of our training sessions.

Even with that, our guys seldom try any of them until a second before our training session.

At that point, it is too late.

Now I have to have you work on a medicine ball for 20 minutes instead of your scheduled training session.

If something hurts, use the tools I have given you to try to make it better.

If that doesn't work, then come to me for help. (And make sure this all happens well before the training session starts.)

7. Be Happy, But Not Content

I truly believe that the biggest killer of motivation is success.

I also believe that being content with "being able to compete" or "putting up a good fight" is the attitude of losers.

On the flip side, I also believe you need to take time to be happy about success in the gym or on the field.

We have a guy that curses and screams even after he hits a PR.

If you hit a PR, be happy.

Just don't be content with it  ....

Ski after he beat his bench max by 20lbs

8. Never Change a Horse Mid-Race

If you have been using the same barbell or the same spotter for the past 3 months, don't purposely go out of your way to change things on test day.

If you weren't happy with your environment, you should have changed it 3 months ago.

9. Not Everything Will Be Perfect

Life is not perfect.

There are going to be times where you are forced to "change a horse mid-race".

You may not get access to the squat rack you always use, your spotter may be out SOFT, or your favorite barbell may be missing.

Skinny Bar = Sarno's Bar
The same thing may also happen in real life.

It might rain on game day, the opposition may come out with a new offense you didn't scout, or the Borgia's may get cancelled.

Showtime ... Are you serious?

When the horse is changed, you need to be mentally strong enough to overcome it.

Take a deep breath, collect yourself, and use your training.

10. If You Don't Start in The Power Position, Don't Start At All

What is the "Power Position"?

It is when the following are all in alignment ...

Head - Shoulders - Hips

The picture below gives a perfect example of someone who is out of the Power Position.
By looking down, he has broken the chain.

Even if he puts his head back into the bar, he will never regain the Power he has lost.

Might as well cheat on your girlfriend

Trying to get your body back into a Power Position is like trying to get back with your girlfriend after she cheats on you ...

It will never feel the same ...

If you get out of the Power Position, just re-rack the weights.

If your girlfriend cheats on you, get a new girlfriend.

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