Scott Sonnon describes technique as a bowl and discomfort as akin to a crack in the bowl. The effort the technique requires is analogous to the flow of water into the bowl. The effect of the crack is expressed in the leakage of power, potential, and practice, one experiences as a result of poor technique. Pain inhibits. And the pain doesn’t need to be related to the movement whatsoever to create inhibition. Inhibition of motivation, activation, force generation, stability, power, etc. People often train with injured or painful areas, say a sore shoulder. Then they leave the session with new back pain. Why am I falling apart?! Everyones been there. Why does this happen? Well physically, the body will do all it can to avoid pain and compensatory patterns start very quickly. What most fail to do is listen to the attempts of the body to communicate to you that something is wrong and to stop.
The intricacies of motivation, particularly the motivation to be and do better, and why some people just don’t have it, will always perplex me. It seems such a natural human instinct to not only want to survive, but drive, create, and thrive. I’ve loved many sports and intellectual activities and am completely understanding of others who feel differently. What I don't get is some peoples’ general aversion to physical work. I don’t understand how someone can dislike something so innately human, purposeful, and meaningful as expression via movement. I want to highlight the mechanics of motivation, why it works for you and fails you, and provide a structure to stay motivated. Hopefully this’ll result in some stickability to your chosen ‘movement program’.
There are people who are just slow at picking physical things up, but it’s visible that they try, it’s visible that they’re listening. They just struggle as their nervous systems aren't as developed as others. Bad learners however are this way because of their mental approach. From the word go they are away with the fairies, looking at everything but the coach, taking in everything but the lesson, and then telling the coach whats going wrong with their movement and body before they give the coach a chance to actually speak. On top of this they seem to like to choose mid-movement as the time to analyse and critique their own form, completely destroying the flow of movements that don’t offer the time to think, and visualise themselves doing it whilst doing it! Finally, and most annoyingly, because the approach is so, poor rep after poor rep is repeated again and again and again. Yet the expected result is improvement! Einsteins definition of? These habits are totally defeatist, they lead to poor self talk, low satisfaction, low self esteem and more. The hard thing is, bad learners are often unconsciously bad. So, here are some pointers to help become conscious, and become a good learner:
CrossFit is hugely popular with females. The variety, fun, and obvious metabolic effect attracts a lot. Plus they get to lift heavy and not be stared at like some unsightly beast ;) The things I love about training females is that they often seem naturally more efficient with their movement, they are naturally more mobile, and their attitude to progression in general is much more sensible. This ability to maintain efficiency, and the general size of females allows them to handle much more volume, and less rest between sets and between workouts. There is also a definite a preference to really nail something before moving up in weight, something a lot of males could learn from. All of the above, makes for easy coaching. There are however some significant roadblocks to be aware of and to work through...
In some ways, I hope you get injured. Why? Injuries are the most informative loss you can have. Most competitors will tell you they learn more from they’re losses than their victories. That’s understandable. Not many people analyse why the won, they just celebrate. Likewise, not many analyse why they are injury free. But when someone loses, they investigate the hell out of every step they took to find out where they went wrong and how they can improve. Then do everything in their power to come back better than before. That’s the never give up attitude that sees a competitor make it. Unfortunately for a lot of people who get injured, that’s where the analogy finishes.
At TSR, we understand one size doesn’t fit all. We alter programs for the individual. We are honest about our abilities and refer when we can’t fulfil someone’s needs. We keep it fun! Recently I read some very interesting research on ignorant and incompetent people, and something coined, the Dunning-Kruger Effect. The Dunning-Kruger Effect basically highlights the idea that we are all in various stages of denial about our own level of skill and expertise, and importantly, that the more incompetent and ignorant one is, the higher the level of denial. Ignorant and incompetent people are basically terrible at knowing and understanding their level of incompetence and ignorance. They actually think they’re awesome.
It’s a common belief that in athletic performance, strength is the most important bio-motor ability. It’s benefits are multi-faceted, and you can read about most anywhere. To name a few benefits, improving strength has been shown to reduce injuries, help with weight loss, increase bone density, improve psychological well –being, and energy, as well as improve sleep. We focus on strength for all the usual reasons, but importantly, we focus on strength because strength is king. Let me clarify, in most strength sports, relative strength is king.
If there is one thing I find harder to teach someone over anything else, it’s how to train with intent. It is beyond frustrating watching people go through movements like zombies and or with smiles on their faces. I’m not against enjoying yourself or zoning out from the stressors of life, but as soon as it’s time to approach the bar, it’s game on. You need to be determined to act in a certain way. There needs to be some resolve and importance in your actions and thoughts. Your attitude and mind must be one of deliberateness, and a desire to own the weight. There needs to be tenacity and directed aggression. You need to do it like it actually means something to you to do it right. In other words, you need to do it with intent. If you aren’t going to do it with intent, I don’t really see the point in doing it at all.
The coach/trainer vs athlete/client relationship can be a tricky one. A lot of trust, belief and openness is required. This relationship often gets strained because both parties have failed to stay honest, give each other what is deserved, keep the relationship professional, and treat each other with respect. This seems to me to be a matter of honesty and being true to ones needs and wants. The following are some thoughts on how athletes/clients can approach this so coaches take them seriously. And, well, if you’re a coach/trainer and you don’t take it seriously, I have no other advice than, find a new profession.
I think sometimes people get confused as to why they are actually training. Don’t look at the other freaks around you, what they’re doing, or their goals. Why are you training? You are most likely training for longevity and fun, not performance and status. I think people lose sight of this. Maybe this is why they walk around with aches and pains that they do nothing about, eat the way they do, and why they train themselves to injury and/or exhaustion. Maybe, like a good friend of mine said recently, people take poor care of themselves because they give away their power to experts too easily, and as such are crap at parenting themselves. They expect someone else to parent them and make it easy for them. We are all well aware nothing worth working for is easy. Experts are there to provide the tools you need to get where you want and teach you how to use them. What you do with that knowledge is your choice. It’s of no consequence to anyone else what you do to or with yourself. Your choice, your actions, your consquences.