I have a running theme with my growing teens classes that at Courage Performance we are all working to become intelligent Meatheads. I like this because it enforces all my athletes to always think about what they are doing and why. I am all for getting amped up, moving heavy weights, going for certain PR’s, and general meathead “chest bumping” that occurs so often in most gyms. But I am not ok with all this happening without an understanding of what the hell you are doing, and having a certain level of integrity and standards.
Here’s a pretty common occurrence in a good amount of gyms I’ve seen: athlete/client/member is doing (insert basically any exercise here). They have warmed up, they have progressed through the movement and are now teetering around a max load for them with this particular movement. They fire themselves up, maybe make some really laud, aggressive noises to get psyched up, then attack the exercise with every ounce of energy they can muster. They achieve a “successful” rep - as in - the bar gets to where it’s supposed to, or their body moves in the general direction it’s supposed to, but there is zero control over it. Most of us have seen those ridiculously pressed out, legs splayed, “snatch-like movements” made so popular by poorly coached, unintelligent meathead exercisers; or completely pointless half squats or presses performed by most not-so-intelligent meatheads who don’t know what they are doing. Fine, here are some more entertaining links: HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE
This is exercising for the sake of exercising, and not something I like very much personally. If you are getting work done just to say you got it done, sure it's better than doing nothing, but come on. I can’t really see the point of it, and in my mind that is sort of the modern meathead mentality that puts you at a pretty high risk of injury.
In my mind, getting to the gym and knowing why we are doing what’s programmed is extremely important. There are progressions, there are specific combos of movements, there are harder days and easier days, and my goal is to have each athlete understand why. Also, having a good set of standards in how things are performed is about one of the most important things one can have in the gym. One of my favorite things in my teens classes is when an athlete knows he/she could easily lift a heavier weight, but understand themselves enough to stay at the weight they did, or even move down a few pounds because they felt their movement was not up to standard.
I can fully support someone who gets fired up when they move some form of sub-maximal weight with true efficiency, under complete control, and with integrity. This is better than moving a max weight while looking like a mess, then getting all pumped because they hit a PR. Young athletes in my gym learn very quickly that hitting a new PR with minimal control doesn’t mean very much. You may hit that 350 squat, but if it’s not up to the standards we put forth early and often, it does not mean a thing. You take weight off, and you hit that squat the right way, we got something going on. Take that solid, but clearly less-than-what-you-could-do-incorrectly weight, and get fired up about how well you moved. Intelligent Meathead.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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