Every Sunday I’m revisiting a post from the past in light of new events. Today we’re talking about aggression, anger, technique, and moving heavy stuff.
Aggression, Technique, and Strength was about trying to pinpoint a definition of aggression, and situations when it would be appropriate to get aggressive in order to make something happen. The weight room comes up often, for instance.
My stance back then was generally, if it takes my focus away from what I’m about to do, then I’d rather try to stay calm. I’ve made more progress this year in my training than any other years combined, and a lot of it has had to do with being calm. Sending the focus inward, not outward, if that makes any sense.
Our brains are really smart, even if you don’t think you’re overly intelligent. They remember how to do things, how we feel when we do things, and they file that information away in some complicated super-database for easy access. The next time we try to repeat a task, those earlier mental components and results are still in there, informing the new attempt.
Here’s what I’ve learned about getting psyched up for something: I used to hop around like a jumping bean before trying a big deadlift. The results were great for a while, and then I had a day when I was sad, upset, and had other things on my mind. But I was feeling very strong. I’d had enough to eat, I’d slept well–in other word, it was a great day, physically speaking, to try something big.
But emotionally, I wasn’t up to feeling aggressive and psyched up. I tried a modest lift and couldn’t get it. I had programmed myself to think that I couldn’t perform a heavy deadlift without my antsy, agitated prep work, which mainly comprised yelling and stomping.
I’ve gotten away from that now, based on two things I’ve heard from friends and coaches. Adam Glass recently said, “I try to make every lift look the same.” This doesn’t mean that you should try to make a squat look more like a bicep curl. Only that all of your squats should look the same to me, the outside observer. They use the same form, and they use the same temperament.
I’m not knocking anyone’s psyche-up routine, whether it’s the hat they turn around in the gym or the coffee they drink before heading off to work. But for me, those routines became variables that I was letting control my training sessions, not that I was controlling. They had become part of my technique.
Technique is everything to the lifter. Once my technique depended on my ability to recreate a certain emotional state every time I trained, progress was dead until I felt better.
Dan John said that seeking “elegance and mastery” are the keys to success in strength training and life. I believe that.
And that, my friends, is the rambling, non-dogmatic semi-advice of a man who stayed up too late and is about to go take a nap before my head hits the keyboard.
If you liked this post, please Subscribe To The RSS feed.