Have you ever noticed the pitchers during a baseball game? They have a set pattern of movements they do prior to every pitch.
The batters do the same thing before they step into the batter’s box.
Before every free throw in professional basketball, the player follows a series of movements before they shoot the ball.
Lifting weights is no different. The athletes create a consistent movement pattern that they replicate prior to each lift – whether it’s a warm-up weight or they’re going for a personal best.
When you lift weights, are you paying attention to how you set up for the lift?
You should be in tune with your hand positioning on the barbell, your foot position, as well as your body’s position relative to everything else.
LIFT LIGHT WEIGHTS LIKE THEY ARE HEAVY AND HEAVY WEIGHTS LIKE THEY ARE LIGHT.
The warm-up weights are for you to work off the cobwebs in your joints so you can be ready for the real work. To be sure you’re ready, you have to set up and move the same way you would if the weight was heavy:
- Get your mind right. Quit goofing around with buddies in the gym. Make sure the coast is clear around you.
- Set your foundation: Grip is right. Footing is right.
- Prepare your body by taking out “the slack.” Be tight. Pretend you’re already lifting the weight before you ever lift the weight.
- Create intra-abdominal pressure.
Malcolm Gladwell said that you have to spend 10,000 hours studying/practicing to become an expert.
In weight training, all reps are NOT considered equal. It isn’t 10,000 reps that makes you an expert. It’s 10,000 GREAT reps that makes you an expert.
Building a consistent movement pattern will create the muscle memory that you’ve no doubt heard of. Having the muscle memory will allow you to spend conscious brain power on improving your lift, rather than trying to focus on something new simply because your stance changed again for the 5th time this week.
That being said, sometimes it’s important to make a change to your stance, due to injury or you learned a new, more efficient way to move. That’s a normal part of the learning & improvment process, and is outside the scope of this post.
IN THE VIDEO: I take you through my squat set up. Your set-up might be different. That’s okay. The point is to pay attention to how I do the same thing whether the weight is an empty barbell, a warm-up weight, or a working weight.
Of course, there is more to it than just what is highlighted in the video. Before actually lifting any weight, I take out the slack in my body, the bar, the dumbbell, the cables — whatever I’m using. THEN, I lift.
Lifting should never be herky-jerky or loosey-goosey.