One of my favorite workouts to ever come up on the main site is a lifting day. I know you all must be shocked. Yes, it’s true, I don’t much enjoy lifting days. I’m not fond of actually doing the workout, in particular, but rather the message it conveys is what makes it my favorite. Think back to your old gym days in a conventional globo gym. If you were going to add repetitions to an exercise, that is you were going to go from a set of 5 to a set of 10, you were going to have to take weight off the bar in order to complete the set. It’s basically universally accepted that you would have to do this for any exercise, right? Well, then why doesn’t that happen for this particular workout from the main site.
Now, are these the EXACT SAME exercises? No. But, it’s still getting the bar from your shoulder to above your head. Right? The start and end point are all the same. And, yet as the reps go up, so does the weight. Strange. What kind of voodoo magic is this? What is the mechanism that allows for this paradigm shift? Because for any other exercises that are all of the same variation, if you add reps you’re going to have to decrease in load. So, what’s going on here?
The message being conveyed here is technique. It’s the same that might happen if you’re on a farm and you have two guys loading a truck with 50-pound bags of chicken feed. Let’s say one guy is 6’0″ tall and 200 pounds and the other guy is 5’9″ and 160 pounds. It’s generally thought that the bigger guy would be able to load the bags faster. What if he has no idea how to use his body though? Is it possible the smaller guy can load the bags more quickly? Sure it is. We see it in the gym all the time. The ability to move large loads, long distances, and quickly and do it well can be LEARNED. Technique is the great differentiator. The smaller guy might know how to do power cleans and push presses. The bigger guy would probably rely on the fact that he’s big and just bend over pick the bag up and then curl it up to his shoulders and heave it into the bed of the truck. Sure, he can do it, but it’s going to get tiresome very quickly.
The paradigm shift happening in that workout described above is that it doesn’t always matter how many reps need to be done. If you’re performing the movement that allows the weight to get from point A to point B with the most efficiency there’s no telling how heavy you can get, reps be damned. This is why learning movement is more important than strength in terms of the barbell. If you don’t believe this is true, just look up Chinese Olympic weightlifters on Instagram. You’ll find a bunch of 125-pound, on the shorter side men and women, throwing 350 pounds over their head. How? Technique.
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