Coaches Corner: Life Without Weakness
Dead bugs build a stronger core. A stronger core means a solid foundation. Anything with a solid foundation is harder to knock down.
I’m into getting stronger because I know what it is like to be weak. I’ve been the shy kid in school with only a handful of friends. I’ve been picked on and been too afraid to stand up for myself. Young me (Rob 1.0) was the kid who didn’t tell the girl he cares about how he feels. Who’s been the broken young man who lost family and let it tear him apart. I’ve spent years accomplishing nothing. Years I’ll never get back.
Man, it’s good to be past all of that.
I think that’s what life is all about. Time; not wasting it. It’s the only thing we can’t reproduce. Sure, we can eat healthy and exercise to increase the time we have (hopefully), but at any moment it can still all be taken away from us.
I train to be strong. I train so my years on this Earth can be greater than I can imagine. I don’t want to look back and remember the things I could have done. I want to see as much of the world as I can and I want to feel free. When I have kids, I want them to understand and appreciate all of this as well.
Have you ever had a serious injury? Surgery? Chronic pain? Have you ever experienced a day, a week, or a month when you could not go for a walk with friends or family or do the things you love to do? It makes life feel like a prison.
Once, I felt twinge in my back in the first half mile of a 10k. Thanks to my foolish pride, I finished the race, but was crippled for a week. No work, no leaving the house. I could barely get to the couch or the bathroom. If you’ve read my previous post, you know that this left me with chronic back pain for years, until I met an FMS professional (thanks again, Ed) who set me on the right path.
This brings me back to dead bugs. They appear simple, and that’s the point. Too many of us are impatient and want to rush to the sexy moves like Deadlifts, Kettlebell Swings, Military Pressing, Bench Pressing, etc. After all, none of your friends want to hear how many dead bugs you can do (they’re soft anyway). So, we skip the steps needed to build a powerful foundation, or build the foundation, and don’t revisit the exercises that helped us get there. We resist, even when our coaches remind us of their impact.
I recently visited my trainer, Master SFG Phil Scarito, in King of Prussia, and he reminded me of this fact. A few rounds of dead bugs and hanging hollows (that’s an exercise for a future post) brought me to the realization that my core was not as strong as I believed it to be. After only two days of adding these two movements into my daily practice, I went from barely able to single arm Military Press a 32kg (roughly 70 pounds) one time, to pressing it 3 times with relative ease. Now, 2 weeks later, I have successfully pressed a 36kg bell (79 pounds) on the road to pressing the 48kg beast (106 pounds).
Foundation is everything.
A quick search on Google and you’ll find the definition of training is 1) “The action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior” and 2) “The action of undertaking a course of exercise and diet in preparation for a sporting event.”
Remember why you train. What skills, or qualities, are you trying to improve? There are certain qualities we all need in order to live a comfortable, healthy and capable life and there are certain qualities that your chosen sports or passions may require. Make sure your programming covers it all. Movement Screening is a great way to ensure your programming isn’t missing anything.
I still make mistakes (I am human after all), but I’ll never be the same weak person I was again, mentally or physically.
Remember that every foundation is made up of thousands of small bricks. Celebrate the victory of each one being laid down, and having the strength to make the tough decisions necessary to reach our goals inside and outside of the gym.
Here’s to a life without weakness.