Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: Bar Speed, Introverts, Charlie Weingroff Seminar
1. One of the funniest conversations I ever had in the gym happened like two years ago when one of our football guys – who’s since become a great friend and is now in law school – was prepping for an “open” NFL Combine.
Having had a successful collegiate career and even spending some time playing professionally overseas in Europe, he decided to give it one last “horrah,” and try to hook up with a team through a handful of open tryouts.
One day while testing his 1RM in the bench, he missed at like 325 lbs. After racking the weight, he stood up, looked at me, and started asking what went wrong: did he jump up in weight too fast? Did he lose his arch? Maybe he didn’t allow enough time to supercompensate? Was it because it was Thursday?
I shrugged, looked at him point blank, and said: “dude, it was too heavy.”
There was a split second of crickets chirping – maybe even a slight fear that he’d end up punching me in the mouth for saying something so candidly – but then we both just started laughing out loud. Even elite athletes tend to over analyze things.
Regular Joe’s aren’t any different. Almost always, the answer isn’t quite as complicated as you think it is.
I say all of this because there’s one aspect of training that I feel many trainees fail to grasp: BAR SPEED.
Whenever I watch a trainee struggling with hitting their reps on any given exercise, or worse, miss a lift (which, admittedly, is something I try to avoid as much as possible), almost always, it’s due to lack of bar speed – or just being fast in general.
Put another way: it’s a lack of telling themselves to be explosive.
A great example is when I start working with a new female client and I have her perform a standard push-up. More often than not, it’s really sllllloooooooowwww. For some reason – whether it’s because someone told them to do so, or they read it somewhere – they feel they need to “grind” out reps in order to work the muscle harder and to feel the burn.
As a result, technique falters, and many will struggle to hit five solid reps. Possibly worse, some will think they’re doomed to do nothing but “girl push-ups” (knees on the floor) till they’re blue in the face
Conversely, once I tell them “stop flaring their elbows out FOR THE LOVE OF GOD,” to focus on being a little more explosive, and to push themselves away from the floor as quickly as possible, many are surprised to see they can bang out numerous reps like it’s their J.O.B.
One simple cue, and we automatically increased the level of awesomeness.
Likewise, the same can be said when I coach some of our high school athletes through squats. Once we have proper technique nailed, I try to instill in them to be FAST. Even if the weight is heavy and it feels like there’s a Volkswagon on their back, so long as the INTENT to be fast is there, that’s all I care about.
So, bringing this little conversation full-circle, when in doubt, if you find that you’re missing reps:
- It could very well be that the weight is too heavy. Take some off. Just a thought…….
- More likely, though, it’s probably just a matter of following this simple equation:
Put weight on the bar+ lift it with some purpose = good things will happen.
2. I’m a self-described introvert at heart. Contrary to popular belief, being introverted doesn’t mean you’re shy, or anti-social, or the Unabomber. Rather, what it means is that, at times, you gain much of your “energy” from doing things on your own.
I THRIVE off of this.
While my job predicts that I’m “on” much of the time, which is great, I LOVE my job; by the end of the week you’re more apt to find me
staying at home with a container of Ben & Jerry’s watching Notting Hill in the local coffee shop or bookstore catching up on some reading than at the local bar.
I crave some down time where I can just sit back, chill, and not have to listen to Rage Against the Machine blaring in my ears.
Having said that, below is an excellent TED talk by Susan Cain titled The Power of Introverts. If you’re an introvert (and even if you’re not) it’s 20 minutes I feel is well spent.
3. Charlie Weingroff is coming to my old stomping grounds!!!!!
My first job in New England was back in 2005 where I worked in Ridgefield, CT as a trainer at the Ridgefield Fitness Club.
Without getting too sappy, I look back at my time there with fond memories because 1) it got me the hell out of central NY, and 2) I was able to grow as a professional and understand what it was like to work in an environment with like-minded individuals.
As it happens, they’re going to be hosting a one-day seminar with the one and only Charlie Weingroff, which should be a great opportunity for those in the CT and New York City area (it’s only like a 45-60 minute train ride) to go and get their learn on.
Here’s the dealo:
Date: April 6, Friday, 12-8 PM
Cost: $255 early bird by 3/17, $295 regular.
Description: In this seminar, Charlie will discuss the evidence-based approach to motor control skills acquisition as it relates to corrective exercise. Charlie will also discuss the most contemporary approach to corrective exercise within the context of the Functional Movement System. This class will focus on corrections for the non-painful client or patient.
Contact Info: Ridgefield Fitness Club, Ridgefield, CT: 203-431-7796
I’m hoping to attend myself, and if I do, you can bet that I’ll get my revenge for the Kenny G incident. Yes, I’m talking to you Mike Subach. Oh yes, I’m talking to you. (sorry everyone, inside joke.)