Words of Wisdom w/ Gerald
(aka midnight powerlifting-ramblings of a night owl)
Article One: Lifting weights is not lifting weights!
Over the past few years of living in the gym and being surrounded by lifters, clients, and enthusiasts everyday, I have noticed a few key, controllable habits that remain constant with all of the guys and gals that continue to make strength gains. 1. Confidence 2. Student mentality
3. Trusting your coach/mentors.
Attitude is by far the number one necessity when it comes to training and powerlifting. I'm not talking about the "walk around like an asshole, overly cocky attitude", but more of a confidence in how you approach the bar, and how you go about your training. There are a million and one different programs out there that will work to get you stronger, and while I do have my own personal thoughts on how people can optimize their training to consistently get results, thats not what this article is focused on. The confidence I'm referring to tonight is attacking your training session KNOWING that you are going to hit your anticipated numbers, KNOWING that you have done the necessary prep (rest, recovery, food, technique, etc.) to accomplish your training for the day, KNOWING that the weight (whatever it is) is going to move, and KNOWING that there is no other option for anything else to happen that day. Do you see the theme here? Of course it is expected that everyone will have a shitty workout every once in awhile, but this alone can minimize a lot of those poor performances. Moral of the story-Don't be mentally soft!
The second controllable habit I've noticed is that the lifters who are consistently getting stronger never stop refining their technique. Now by no means am I saying to adjust your stance or form every single week (and never obtain any true progress), but more so access your lagging area, correct it or program to correct it, and move on!
There's also another technique that these top athletes work to refine when they approach their set; their mindset. It's awesome to watch when a lifter is training with a methodical, almost robot like focus.
Lifting weights is not about lifting weights! If you're thinking about moving the specific weight on bar going into a bench, squat, or deadlift your numbers suck... The only thing that should be going through your head before any lift should be the key points for you to successfully and safely complete that lift. This starts with the barbell on your very first warm up and ends when your final work set or big pr is complete! The barbell moving how you want it to is the sum reaction of how you are utilizing your body.
For example my latest squat checklist: Are my feet set correctly under the bar and balanced? Am I bracing properly or at all? Am I spreading the floor and using my hips and glutes on the pick? Are my knees flaring out? Is my upper back tight, chest up and locked in? The checklist goes on, and yet not once have we thought about the weight on the bar. Of course all of these cues become more natural with time, but the last thing you want strolling through your head is the half ton or huge PR weight on your back. Instead, do every part of the equation to reach your expected outcome; the weight will move!
The last quality that I've noticed from successful and promising lifters is that they put their full faith into their coach/mentors, or into whatever training program they have chosen. You are coming to a professional, or paying for programming because you need help or have stalled out. You have paid this coach or invested time for this mentor to help you, hopefully in person, so trust them! We recently made the 1am journey out to Westside Barbell a few weeks back and one of the most memorable moments for me was one of Louie's lifters poking me in the gut with a nice, nonchalant, "you have weakass abs." Well damn, while the delivery was blunt, clearly he was correct. The only response I could think was - how do I fix it for the future, and how can I be better in the short term? I can trust that when a legend, Louie Simmons, then shares his blueprint on how he has taken a lifters abdominal strength from an 800lb core to a 1000lb+ core that there is valuable information there that will make me better.
Control what you can control! While you cannot control the numbers in your program or what your coach expects out of you, you can control the confidence to get the work done, you can control the mental strength to go through your pre-lift checklist, and you can control how hard you're going to work that day.
A lot of people will ask well what about having fun and staying motivated, what about those factors? My response would be if you aren't having fun trying to be the strongest mfer out there, or if you aren't enjoying regularly lifting poundage that would crush 99% of the population then I don't know why you have even read this far...
Now I don't claim to have the most extensive education in this field, although my practical application has shown promise, I can guarantee that incorporating these different perspectives into your training can take you down a long, successful path towards your strength goals.
Build that unstoppable confidence, become a student of the sport, and trust your mentors!
August 25, 2017
PS - If it is in your heart please take look at our Relentless Detroit fundraising page: https://relentlessdetroit.networkforgood.com/projects/33927-gerald-stuecher-s-fundraiser