Three Habits of Great Lifters
Written by Bryan Miller
Here are three habits (that are a must!) for those looking to increase general strength, compete in a strength sport, or overall just be a great lifter!
1. Movement Quality vs. Chasing PRs
Patience is one of the most noticeable characteristics of an experienced lifter. All too often beginners will chase PR after PR until their progress comes to a screeching halt.
Why does this happen? I like to call it the ‘novice effect’. Each person has certain strength/lift potential with poor movement quality. The novice lifter will progress rapidly at first just by getting stronger, but the progress is short lived and WILL plateau. When the strength potential is finally reached, the only way to become a better lifter is to do what should have been done first – and that is to focus on movement quality. To solve this problem, technique should be of the utmost importance until the lifter is proficient enough to begin breaking personal records with perfect technique. The movement should look the same, whether it is a PR or one hundred pounds below a PR.
2. Training vs. Expressing Strength
When the lifter has a good level of technique, then the real training can begin! However, technique should continue to be refined and never forgotten; nobody is perfect.
Expressing strength should be reserved for competitions or certain days in training. How often do you see Kendrick Farris (or any other elite lifter) max out in training? Not very often. On the contrary, there are many videos of him (and others) doing multiple reps of squats or high rep snatches in sets of 3s and 5s.
One of the best powerlifters of all time, Ed Coan, would hit training maxes every 12 weeks. Leading up to the training max, he would squat for 10s, 8s, and 5s. Quit chasing PRs and start getting stronger.
3. Work on Your Weaknesses
During one of Dimitry Klokov’s seminars, he was asked “Why do you press and deadlift so much?” His response was that those are his two weakest body parts and when he focused on those weaknesses, his Olympic lifts improve. You will notice he didn’t answer snatch or clean and jerk all day, every day. He has found what works for him through varying his training. The point is that you need to find what YOUR weaknesses are and attack them with vigor.