We Call Them “Fundamentals” For A Reason

From roughly July of 2013, until June of this year, I was stuck in a frustrating and confusing fitness rut.  My strength went down, my endurance went down, and nothing was really much fun anymore – no matter how hard I worked.

This June I found the first half of my cure by getting on a real program instead of beating myself into oblivion independently, desperate to always add the one more thing that might get me progressing again.

The second half came around the same time, as I got some much needed reminders that you’re never too good to slow down for a second and make sure your fundamentals are in order. Partly this was a result of finally, finally getting to take the Level One Trainer course – nothing helps you remember to keep the weight in your heels and your lats on at the start of your deadlift quite like going there… and staying there for many minutes at a time.

Partly it was a result of getting back to the affiliate and having someone around to point out the things I don’t realize I’m being sloppy at when I’m all alone in the garage. I’d gotten in a bad habit of rushing the second pull of my snatch when it got heavy, for example – but I couldn’t quite feel what was off. I just knew that weights that should have been light, were heavy, and my progress was going backwards. I try very hard to listen to my body and feel what is going on during my lifts, and it helps – but I still miss things.

Just having that pointed out to me was huge, because I knew to slow down and catch myself so that I could correct it. I’d gotten so wrapped up in the knowledge that everything was getting harder that I would approach my workouts with true anxiety, and then rush through lifts out of nerves – and often screw them up, reinforcing that anxiety for next time.

These two fixes – getting on a good program (I am following the Invictus Competition blog), and going back to basics, have come together for a solid and very satisfying round of PRs at the close of my first Invictus training cycle. I got under the bar and set up for my pulls both with the confidence that I had worked smartly as well as hard, and with the awareness to take that pause, settle my weight in my heels, tuck my shoulder blades back and get my breath steady – instead of just focusing on the intimidating weight on the bar and rushing out of nerves.

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