Yesterday I had three or four different clients who were struggling with very specific technical issues. Each of those clients could not for the life of them manage to fix those technical issues at heavyweights regardless of the amount of effort they put into it. One of them could not create speed to the bottom of the squat. One of them struggled to move their feet correctly. Another one of them specifically struggled getting their knees back during the first pull. These athletes continue to try and fix these technical faults at maximal or near maximal level weights. They continue to bang their head against a metaphorical wall while trying to make their body perform what their mind is telling it to do. None of these athletes were successful.
That leads me to my next point. Technical error and specifically bad habits are not fixed nor beaten out of your motor pathways at heavyweight. I don’t care how strong-willed you are or how athletic you are, you will never be able to create good habits and prevent bad at heavy weights. I took each of these athletes down to 50% or 60%, had them perform a specific drill addressing this technical fault, and had been bang away at multiple reps for multiple sets at very lightweight. The only way to create good habits is to complete good reps over and over and over again.
The reality is that none of us like to do this. Not of us feel like we are really getting a workout or working hard at 60%. Nothing feels heavy at that weight. That’s the point! The light weight allows any athlete to perform the lift as desired for multiple reps and multiple sets and therefore create new and better motor pathways.
All of us have bad habits that we have seen and continue to see in our lifts over and over and over again. It’s frustrating. Often times it is depressing to continue to do the same wrong things consistently every time the bar gets to 85% or more. However we are unwilling to drop the weight, lower the percentage, and do work at a weight the does not feel very heavy. Our ego often times inhibits our progress. My suggestions and challenge for each of you is to first identify those bad habits that continue to haunt your lifts and then secondly complete a specific exercise aimed at those bad habits and to complete that exercise at a much lower percentage then your maximal weights. It should feel easy and it should feel light. It’s when those weights are easy and light that you are able to move well and complete the lift as it is designed to be most efficient. Drop the weight and do it right. It will reap great benefit down the road. Remember you reap what you sow. So sew hard into multiple good reps now to reap good reps later.