The 3 Biggest Reasons You Aren’t Getting Stronger
Let’s all take a moment of silence for the courageous men and women who spend hours day in and day out with a barbell and never reach their strength goals.
Regardless of whether you’re the athlete we’re talking about, or you’re a coach searching for the answers to your clients’ problems, it’s time to take a few steps back so you can take endless steps forward.
#1. You’re doing it wrong.
To make an example, let’s choose a sport with a higher barrier to entry than weightlifting. If one was to buy a set of gymnastics rings, only to flail around aimlessly in hopes of mimicking a gymnast, how quickly would they develop the skills to complete movements like a muscle-up or uprise? For a few hundred dollars one can purchase a barbell and weights, and in some capacity move them through a range of motion that resembles a back squat, snatch, clean, etc. Combine the lower barrier to entry with your ignorance and/or ego and we’ve developed the beginning of a long frustrating road. Too many people reading this right now are thinking, “Ohhh, I need to do it right? Thanks for the tip”, but how many of those same people work up to heavy weights with terrible form and instead of backing down just say, “fuck it” and throw more weight on? How “obvious” is the issue if you have no plan of action to correct it?
Taking it back to the comparison between weightlifting and gymnastics, we all know how skilled both groups are at the highest level. Our goal as athletes and coaches has to be the aspiration of moving correctly. There are resources on our site, YouTube channel, and all over the internet for those of you who want to take the DIY approach. There are also incredible coaches all over the world that will accept you, and your broken positions if you simply walk through the door with some humility and the ability to see the big picture.
#2. America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.
This list is most definitely in order. That means that you went back to the drawing board and cleaned up all of your lifts before reading part two, right? Or maybe you were already a technician with a barbell but still can’t seem to get stronger. We all know that guy at our gym; moves like a step-by-step instructional weightlifting poster, but you could do “Clovis” twice before he finishes a rep. Our muscles crave force (F) production and unless we bring the acceleration (a) to complete F=ma, the weight (mass) just isn’t going to cut it alone. Some athletes are genetically predisposed to have a higher concentration of fast twitch fibers and speed is just an afterthought to them. Other athletes had a childhood of running, jumping, throwing, etc to help them develop speed and power through stimulation. For the rest of us, we need to re-evaluate how we approach moving the bar in terms of intensity.
Long story short: once you’re efficiently moving the barbell, you need to begin focusing more on moving it from point A to point B much, much faster.
#3. If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
In the magical world of this article, you have already figured out how to move with efficiency, speed, and intention. Now what? You need a strength program that actually fits your sport, goals, weaknesses, skill level, time constraints, and the list goes on. You have a full-time job, two kids, and a bad back, but it seems like a good idea to follow a Bulgarian weightlifting program that has you maxing multiple lifts each day? You’re a competitive CrossFit Games athlete and you follow an old Russian volume cycle for squats that renders you useless in your conditioning? Or, our absolute favorite, “Yeah I follow MisFit bitch work, with catalyst weightlifting, Wendler squats, westside bench, aerobic capacity blog, and the .com metcons”. Do any of these awesome ideas seem like a plan for success? We hope you know the answer is “no”.
Programming may be everyone’s favorite topic when it comes to the quest for strength, and the fact that there are so many really great programs out there can actually make it harder to hone in on what’s going to work best for you. The best advice we have is to take a step back, ask yourself if you’re taking care of #1 and #2, and then objectively look at your big picture. The answer usually isn’t that complicated when it’s given some real thought.
At MisFit Athletics it is our job to “give it some real thought”, and we take that job very seriously. Each and every year our program addresses technique at a basic level regardless of the athlete. As a result, when we shift the focus over to power and speed, the foundation for success is already there. If we know what we are accomplishing in steps #1 and #2, and the focus of our program lines up exactly with the goals of our athletes, then we’ve done our job. A job that we will continue to do over and over and over again as long as we’re around.