A. Bench press – take 15 minutes to work up to a heavy single.
B. A slightly modified version of Jay’s planned team workout for this past Monday. With any luck, we won’t be snowed in by another massive blizzard tomorrow morning, and we can actually pull this one off.
If you’re coming tomorrow (I’m writing this on Friday), please come for either 9 or 10 am. I think for next Saturday I will start requiring people to sign up through the website for either the 9 or 10 am classes, as we are starting to get pretty busy Saturday mornings.
This past week I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective, and how it pertains to training. I’ve had a few people asking why they just can’t seem to get a handle on complex movements such as the snatch, clean, double-unders, or even regular skipping. We’ve occasionally gotten comments such as, “I don’t know why I can’t get this. You make it look so easy.” If you only knew how much sweating, gnashing of teeth, frustration, cursing and practice that has preceded the ability to string together dozens of consecutive double-unders in a workout. Ask Hillary how much I muttered dire threats under my breath against my skipping rope — for weeks and months on end. Hillary was the same way, although possibly without the dire threats part, because she’s just nicer than me. This stuff does NOT happen overnight.
Haven’t quite gotten the hang of the snatch or clean yet after three months of training? Do you think you could play competitive rec league hockey after three months if you didn’t even know how to skate? Do you think you could play Mozart on the piano after taking lessons for three months? Why do you answer “no” to the last two questions much more readily than the first one? Because you know how hard those things are to do.
Quick question — how much did you know about the jerk six months ago? I’m not talking about the fool who cut you off in traffic yesterday. Chances are pretty good that you had no idea that a jerk involves throwing a heavy weight over your head, and then inexplicably diving underneath it and standing up with it. Chances are pretty good that you don’t know anyone who has ever done any olympic lifting, and so there is no reason for you to know just how long a learning curve olympic lifting actually has. People spend years learning this stuff.
You’re an adult. When was the last time you actually tried to learn a physical skill? When was the last time you played a sport? Some people have a natural curiosity and like playing around with new things and learning new skills. Some people “grow up” and think that jumping on rocks and doing headstands and handstands is for kids only. It’s easy to get frustrated with learning new skills as adults. We think we have a good handle on how the world works, and all of a sudden we come to the stark realization that squatting down and standing back up a mere 40 consecutive times makes us feel like we are going to regurgitate our last meal, or that pulling a barbell from the floor up to our shoulders couldn’t possibly be so darn complicated. But it is complicated. It is a skill, and like riding a bike, skating, juggling, and driving a car, it takes time to learn.
Give yourself a break. Remind yourself that you didn’t learn to ride a bike overnight, so why should you expect to be able to do a snatch after only a month? Why should you be able to rip out a fast 500m row after being sedentary for the past decade? Focus on the little things. I’ve had martial arts teachers tell me that you need to improve just one thing a day, because after a hundred days, you’ll have improved a hundred more things. After a thousand, well, you get the picture. Think of what you could do with one thousand improvements.
Feeling frustrated because you didn’t quite get the score you wanted on a workout? Really? It’s just a workout. Let it go. Find a cute puppy. Pet it. Tell me if your workout score still matters. Tell me if it matters that you didn’t quite nail down that olympic lift you learned a month ago. Perspective matters.
Also, watch this from Ido Portal. “Move… because you can. If you won’t, probably you won’t be able to. Use it or you’re going to lose it. And it’s going to be a bad day when you lose it. Move.”