Over and over again I have preached the necessity for technique and focus on technical proficiency as a young lifter. The need for understanding where the bar must be and where the body must be in order to create speed and power is critically important. I have always preached that technique must come long before weight. You’re only as good as your technique. Aggression will only get you so far in this sport. That being said this post is not another rant about too many lifters who worry about lifting heavy weight instead of focusing on technique. This post is the exact opposite.
Recently I’ve had multiple discussions with multiple lifters about the need to have heavyweight on a barbell and lift it often. Stan Luttrell, my old high school weightlifting coach and mentor, is a huge advocate of loading the bar heavy and often. Multiple coaches across the country and across the world believe the same. There is nothing that stimulates the mind and the body like a lift at 95% or higher. Furthermore, attempting and making heavy weights consistently does wonders for your confidence in competition. It also changes your central nervous system and your motor pathways to function well at high percentages which will always translate over to the platform. Please don’t hear that I am against training doubles and triples and volume work at lower percentages. That is just not true at all. However, it does not take much time to get to 95% on a regular basis. If you’re making pretty big jumps early and moving at a consistent rest interval, you can’t get to maximal level weights in 15 minutes or less. I think it is beneficial and recommended to hit a maximal lift then drop down for singles, doubles, and triples to get your volume it. There’s something significant about lifting heavy weights. Only those who lift heavy weights on a consistent basis can understand this and you will recognize those lifters when they step on the platform and smoke maximal or PR lifts. These lifters are especially keen to hit heavy lifts when it matters most. These lifters do this on a daily basis and thus it is no special thing for them to attempt and make a maximal lift.
Often times, as lifters, our rituals and mechanics and technique will change when the weight on the bar gets heavy. The only way to defeat this bad habit is to put heavy weight on the bar often so that heavy weight becomes normal. If you attempt a maximal lift once every two weeks then your body is not prepared nor is it used to lifting that heavy. Consistency of heavyweight on the barbell creates a mental toughness and physical toughness that only heavy weight can create.
All that being said there is a quick disclaimer, if you are new lifter or weightlifter who is developing the technique side of their lifts then heavy weights are not the place to do that. I define heavy as 90% or higher and to develop technical proficiency you need to be living around 75% or 80% on a consistent basis. Heavyweights should be lifted on a consistent basis by lifters who are only ever tweaking small parts of the technique not developing the lift as a whole anymore. Technique must always come before weight.
That being said nothing develops a competitive weightlifter like 100% effort lifts.
Here’s one of my favorite lifters going heavy in training: Go Heavy