What we were basically discussing was how they got seemingly so strong so fast. Now before you start thinking I’m blowing my own trumpet…I was actually explaining that it had nothing to do with me. What we were discussing is that when they started I did what I usually do and have them do 2 ‘induction’ sessions…this is just to give them a bit of a feel for the facility and to have a bit of a poke around. Then they do their testing just like everyone else.
Anyway…back to my point. One of the lads was saying that he basically did for reps what he did for 1RM in testing on the bench. The reason this happened is because when he loaded the bar he neglected to take account of the fact that the bar weighed 20kg’s. Now he’s only been doing 3 sessions a week for 3 weeks now. Put quite simply he has not gotten ‘stronger’ in 3 weeks…well not significantly anyway. All that has changed is his ability to stabilize and control the bar. What has gotten better is his ability to express his strength. If we tested him now I’d say he would do close to 50-70% better. Now I ask you this…is he actually 50-70% stronger? Of course not.
Why am I talking about this I hear you ask….or more likely you are probably saying…what the hell is this idiot going on about now…or words to that effect. Well the reason is that I think experienced even elite lifters and trainees forget this fact. Say you are stuck at 100kg on your bench…or that you can squat and RDL 60lbs more than you can deadlift…is getting stronger the answer? What most lifters try to do is to keep trying to smash their head against that brick wall. They keep piling on the weights and think to themselves that it is just a matter of training harder, training more or trying harder…have you been there and done that? It isn’t always a matter of getting stronger.
This guy will test this week after only a month of training…and he is going to smash his previous scores. Is he significantly stronger? I doubt it. Is he better able to express the strength and power that he has? You bet. More importantly that better expression of strength and power means increased km/h on his serve and improved court speed and agility. Do I care that he’ll add 10kg’s to his bench…not really…too me what it is more of a sign of him being able to control and apply the strength that he has in a focussed and specific way.