Monday, July 29, 2013

More on limits.......

So over the weekend I made a post on the LRB Facebook page, that had a few people up in arms.

Basically, I talked about understanding your limits.  That we all have them, and in order to have a chance at moving past them, you need to know what they are.

Of course the young, dumb, and full of cum group shows up to tell me they are going to move mountains and drink the ocean dry through a twisty straw.  It never fails.  It's always the young unaccomplished assholes that believes they will be the next Jerry Rice before he's even made it off the bench in high school.

While contrary to that, all of the really great lifters and athletes I've ever known, were generally very low key guys that understood what their limitations were, or that getting to another level would be incredibly difficult.

The weekend I was in Iowa, I talked to Eric Lilliebridge about Konstantinov's junior deadlift record of 858.  He told me a while back he wanted to break it, but he acknowledged he's running out of time and that it's going to be very tough to do.  Especially in a full meet, where the pull tends to lose some steam near the end.  Eric is a very humble guy, and while I know Eric has belief in himself that he has a chance to do this, he's very aware of how difficult that will end up being.  He doesn't just bust off "oh yeah man, that'll be no problem, that shit is in the bag."  He shakes his head and says "it'll be tough."

But this is why Eric is great.  It's the same reason why guys like Dan Green are great.  Dan's story about going to Russia is a great example of this.  He was a 600-something squatter at the time, and after watching Pozdeev out squat him by 200 pounds, he realized what the issue was.  He didn't have the quads to squat 800+.

Now if Dan wasn't the thinker that he is, and the "all balls no brains" type, he probably doesn't come to that realization.  He probably just continues to do what he had been doing all the while not understanding what his limitations were.  But Dan's a smart dude, and he changed his training in order to fix his limitations.  And eventually, he was squatting over 800 pounds.

One coach messaged me over this post and said.......

"focus on starting before concentrating on being all-American. Even all the HS kids I train now- I think it's great if they have NFL aspirations, but I'm constantly working on getting them to be the best HS football player they can be before getting caught up in the other shit."

Now don't get me wrong.  One of the main things I wrote about lately was to have an almost unhealthy belief in yourself.  However, it needs to be in the realm of REAL FUCKING LIFE too.  In other words, if you're bench pressing 315 for a max after 10 hard years of training and doing shit right, you're not going to be a 600+ bencher.

Have an undying belief that you can and will get to 335 or 350.

Setting appropriate goals is a huge part of being successful.  And it's hard to be successful when you don't even acknowledge your current abilities and limitations.  People think of limitations as such an awful word, however they ARE THERE.  They exist.  You not wanting to acknowledge they exist doesn't take them away.  In fact, the best way to conquer an existing limitation is to acknowledge it, and then plan accordingly.  Not shrug it off as if your willpower is so great that it will just fall because of your mere existence.

If you're a high school football player, and you're sitting on the bench but you want to be an All-American, then your limitation is currently sitting on the bench.  You have to get on the field first.  Then you have to dominate week in, and week out.

If you're a 400 bencher, you have to get to 425, 450, 475, etc before you bench 500.

If you've only pulled 655 then you still have a lot of work to do before you pull 700.  Even if Ed Coan said you were good for it.

Point is, understand what your limitations are so that you can have a clear and concise viewpoint of how to conquer them.  Pretending an enemy doesn't exist doesn't make it so.  It only makes you foolish.  


  1. You are one of the wisest guys I never met.
    Your blog is a pleasure to read. keep rocking

  2. I'm going to be stronger than Paul Carter some day.

    1. even if your strength levels aren't 'elite' you're still as big/bigger as the best powerlifters, even some bodybuilders. i think that's respectable. that shit takes a lot of work. i also like your recent humbleness.

  3. I had this discussion several years back regarding a certain young deadlifting phenom. This phenom is from my home state, and I've met him a few times. Competed alongside him once. Great guy, but the forum Zyzzites were all proclaiming him to be the 1,000 pound deadlifter. I encouraged them to push this lifter for the next 20 pounds instead, but they wouldn't have it.

    Lifting is made up of +1 rep improvements, or 5 pound gains. After a few years this progress becomes more and more precious, and harder to come by.

  4. This is great...I'm printing it off and giving it to my 12-y-o (soon to be 13) son. He has followed in his folks footsteps as a swimmer and is currently ranked Top 10 in the Nation for 12-y-o boys 50 & 100 meter Fly. He has aspirations of the Olympics. This post is perfect for him (& all athletes)....Thank you.