If your goal is to get stronger, forget about numbers for a second and focus on technique. Strength is achieved via a CNS response and through muscle hypertrophy. What does that mean exactly? CNS stands for central nervous system and it is the connection between your brain and your muscles. You get stronger when your brain sends signals to your muscles faster and you are able to coordinate and contract more muscle fibers at once. This is why novice weight lifters see huge gains in strength numbers really fast where as elite lifters see personal records less frequently. The second way of getting stronger is muscle hypertrophy. Our muscles get bigger and denser the more we lift and a bigger muscle is able to produce more force.
All of the lifts we do are very technical and the smallest detail can make the biggest change. We all know how technically difficult the snatch and the clean and jerk are, but lets throw in deadlift, squat, and press in there too. Hopefully you remember your coaches talking about bar path, weight in your heels, chest lifted, belly tight, etc. in relation to lifting. All of these cues are part of the technique of lifting.
Let’s use the squat as an example since it my favorite lift. There are many ways to get a better back squat, but if you just focus on technique before numbers, the strength will come quickly. Take an empty bar and first remember the positional cues. Shoulder blades pinched tight, weight in your heels, knees shoved out from start to finish, and chest up tall. These cues should put the barbell directly over your mid foot and ensure the bar path to be for the most part straight up and down. You mastered this with an empty barbell so you figure ok time to PR! Now that you have 225 pounds on the bar, you lean forward or your knees cave in as you stand up or you roll on to your toes, etc. Almost everyone loses their technique when they put heavy weight on the barbell because they haven’t hammered it down enough. Instead of trying 225 over and over again, figure out what went wrong and fix that technique. Start light and work up in weight ensuring perfect technique each lift. Before you know it, you will hit 225 easily and then PR the next time.
Less is more in this case. You already left your ego at the door when you joined, so forget big numbers and work technique to achieve your strength goals.
Workout of the Day
30 Muscle-ups for time.