The best thing I’ve done to become a better lifter
As an empowered woman, I’m not afraid to admit that my husband has more athleticism in his pinky toe than I have in my whole body. I’m not cutting myself down here. I’m strong as hell. But he’s a former elite level decathlete with an insanely impressive athletic resume. The things that have taken me years to learn as an athlete, he knew at least 20 years before I discovered them. Because he’s the most humble person in the world I’m stubborn as hell, it has taken me YEARS to pay attention to the advice he gives me. I usually end up saying years later, “shit, remember when you told me ___? Yeah, you were totally right.”
Shortly after my husband and I started dating he got back into throwing the javelin. He would do weird throwing drills in a gymnasium and have me film them for him to later analyze. I had no idea what he was doing. We would sit and watch the videos on my computer later (yes, this is how the world worked before the iPhone). He would slow them down and watch them frame by frame to see if he was hitting the proper positions at the proper times. He watched these over and over, and over. He started teaching me what to look for so I could help him in real time. He didn’t have a coach, but knows more about that event than probably a handful of people in the country. He was coaching himself. This concept was completely new to me and I was blown away.
Fast forward 7 years to when I switched over from crossfit to weightlifting. If you are familiar with CrossFit gyms, they don’t have mirrors. You literally never see yourself working out. I had no idea what I looked like when I was performing various skills and lifts. And I’m the first to admit I don’t have great body awareness. I competed in my first weightlifting meet with little knowledge about the sport and without ever having seen myself lift. Someone recorded my lifts for me during the meet and I was a tad horrified when I saw them afterwards. I may have been strong, but I was FAR from performing the lifts properly. At this point I knew I needed a coach, but since there are no USAW barbell clubs in my area, I hired a remote coach. One of my tasks was to video my lifts and send them to my coach. The longer this went on, the more I learned from my coach, and the more able I was to identify the tiny nuances that meant the difference between a successful lift and a missed lift.
My problems didn’t end there. I train at a globo gym, where until super recently, I was the only weightlifter there. I never trained with others who were better than me (except for when I traveled the 90 miles to train with my coach and team), simply because there was no one else doing what I was doing. I realized this at one of my 2nd or 3rd meets. My lifts didn’t look or sound quite like everyone else’s. So I came home and started watching videos of lifters on YouTube. I would analyze them and see what made them successful and how they were different from my videos. I would go to the gym, perform a lift, watch the video, analyze it, and try to fix it. He I would slow them down and watch them frame by frame to see if he I was hitting the proper positions at the proper times. He I watched these over and over, and over. He My coach started teaching me what to look for so I could help him myself in real time. He I was learning to coach himself myself. This concept was completely new to me and I was blown away… Oh, wait… hey honey, remember when you used to analyze your throwing videos? Yeah, I should have been doing that years ago, you were right.
So, film all your lifts, watch yourself, watch other people, train with other people, and learn as much as you can. Figure out what makes your unsuccessful lifts different from successful ones. This is what will lead you to greatness. This is what will lead you to PRs. This is how you get better every.single.day.
Strong, Brave, Empowered by Iron.