Life happens
Life is hard
Life is unfair
Life sucks

Ever heard these or thought them yourself?
Probably, if you are honest with yourself.
The media bombards people 24/7 with bad news, which is stressful enough.
Most of the things you are watching or hearing about are happening to someone else or some place else. Maybe you can learn to handle that to a certain degree because you removed from it.

It’s a whole different story when it happens to you or someone you love!
Consciously we can often cope pretty well; but subconsciously damage is being done.
For example, four months ago, a family member had a serious, life-threatening medical situation while we were on the other side of the country on vacation and had to get an emergency flight back. The next month another family member also did and soon passed away.

Shortly afterwards I was getting a check up with my doctor and he was very concerned about my blood pressure, which was pretty high, The stresses of the ongoing medical problems and the recent death in our family was getting to me and affecting my health.

My doctor wanted to put me on medications for this, which I was against. I prayerfully considered the situation in light of his advice and I knew I could fix this (with GOD’S help) through my training

I changed my training program slightly, then attacked it. I have been monitoring my blood pressure for the past few months and it got lower and lower. Thank GOD!
Today it was 105/67 without meds, just a lot of prayer and hard work.
Everyone is different, and I am not a doctor or suggesting you do what I did, but it worked for me.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to write a few articles for Mike Mahler’s Aggressive Strength Newsletter. He was the first guy I ever saw doing double kettlebell lifts (100 LB 0r more each).
One of the subjects I wrote about was electro-mechanical delay, briefly it is the time it takes for your muscles actually contract after they receive the signal to fire.

“In contraction of skeletal muscle a delay exists between the onset of electrical activity and measurable tension. This delay in electromechanical coupling has been stated to be between 30 and 100 ms. Thus, in rapid movements it may be possible for electromyographic (EMG) activity to have terminated before force can be detected.”

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1979 Nov;42(3):159-63.
Electromechanical delay in human skeletal muscle under concentric and eccentric contractions.
Cavanagh PR, Komi PV.

As a coach/athlete you have probably how some people will begin a lift, like a deadlift, and not develop whole-body tension before they begin to pull.
They just do not seem to develop enough power that way. It’s almost like an energy leak.
When we had Our Powerlifting Coach, Dru Patrick (aka “the beast-maker”) at the Cave
you could hear his commanding voice bellowing out, “Tight,tight,tight! Everything tight!”

Coach Patrick was a tough, no-nonsense Powerlifter. He had a 550LB raw bench and knew about strength.
He always insisted on the whole body being tight before the lift started; and he was living proof that it made a difference!
In my original article I mentioned two ways to reduce electro-mechanical delay:
1) use a counter-movement prior to moving whatever weight you were using
This is fine for kettlebell training, but not barbell lifts
2) develop whole-body tension before you begin to pull

Just like the beast-maker said, “Tight,tight,tight! Everything tight!”

Those of you who have followed my posts over time know how much I despise the lazy attitude and entitlement mentality that is so prevalent in our culture.

Someone asked me during our strength tests this week if I was scoring harder than last time. I said no, just that people were giving many more opportunities to make corrections.
Many lifts were “no repped” due to poor technique. I did that without apology.
It is much more important to me to have people learn the right technique and lift safely than to see bigger numbers. I “no rep” my own self when it is needed also.
It’s kind of a 2-edged sword. High standards are tough on everyone, but they are very much worth the frustration and seemingly endless reps.
My job is to help people get stronger and more fit; not to pamper them and settle for mediocrity. Though it may not seem like it at the time, goal for myself and for them is excellence rather than perfection. Only one perfect man ever walked the earth, but excellence is a an achievable goal.
Strive for excellence every day!

One of the main things I have learned over the years from my martial arts, military service, and strength & conditioning is the importance of focusing 100% on the immediate task at hand.

I remember many times having the door position on a night jump from a C-130; the only thing that mattered was seeing that parachute open within 4 seconds. The was my complete focus. I wasn’t thinking about what I was going to do once I hit the ground, I had to get there in one piece first.

The same thing goes for lifting. You have to concentrate on that one rep, not the one you just missed or the one you hope to make next. Just this one, nothing else matters at that moment.

You cannot and must not let all the chatter of this crazy world invade your thinking!
Shut out the noise, the regrets, the anger, the disappointments, the busy schedule and all that other garbage and just make that one lift.