STOP EGO LIFTING!
Does this image look appealing? I wouldn't have thought so....
As the old saying goes: walk before you can run. This same motto needs to be applied with your gym work. Now, let's be a little more specific than that. The big moves - compound moves (bench, squat, deadlift, overhead press, bent over row etc) is where a lot of ego lifting happens. If you're wondering what "ego lifting", it's essentially lifting with your d*ck, not your actual ability.
Ego lifting will tend to happen when you're exercising with a friend or in a group because human nature kicks in and all of a sudden you're putting yourself in competition with whoever's working near you. Now it's true that guys are the main offenders when it comes to ego lifting, however ladies can be just as bad! I've heard multiple times from people who pass through our doors saying things like: "how come on Instagram she can do 80kg but i can only do 50kg" or "I saw this girl on Instagram do 10x pull ups....I can't even do one" One of my main messages to people, both in and out of the gym, is "stay in your lane". Don't distract yourself with someone else's journey, instead but all your focus into what you are doing, your results and your happiness. I guarantee that no one compares themselves to someone in a worse position or with lesser ability, instead we tend to compare ourselves to people in better situations or with better ability. It's sad but true that as humans our default setting seems to be "glass half empty".
As a personal trainer, it's my role during my client's personal training sessions to make sure that whoever it is can:
understand what the mechanics of the move
move the weight
make corrections where needed
completely the movement SAFELY!
Sometimes this can fall by the wayside if the focus shifts to: how much weight can you move. Now don't get wrong, I love when anyone smashes a new PB but let's circle back to the start: walk before you can run.
After recently listening to a podcast featuring Mat Fraser (most winningest CrossFit athlete in CrossFit games history), he spoke about coming from a weightlifting background where his coach would not let him move up in weights until he showed that he could master whatever weights he was currently using. This could potentially be a very frustrating situation because who wants to do the same thing over and over and over and over again? Gym goes of all abilities need to understand that every movement, from your warm up to cool down, should be a learning experience.
How did it feel?
What did it look like?
What did you feel working?
Were you able to control the mechanics of the move?
Simple questions like these is what we should be asking ourselves on every movement. That's how you master your big moves. If you can bench 200kg for 1 but your neck and shoulders are injured, then is that a win or a fail? If you dedicate yourself to mastering a move by checking your ego at the door, understanding there is no quick fix, staying focused and working on the fundamentals your body will thank you and you will still achieve new PBs without any shitty compensation happening.
One of the core values at Back Yourself Fitness is that we educate each and every client on a move. Just yesterday one of my client's daughters did a 25kg deadlift for the first time because we'd spent multiple sessions working on the fundamentals of a deadlift. Every personal training session I run my aim is to make sure the client can walk about with something to work on or a new understanding of an exercise. The big question I pose in my personal training sessions is: How did it feel? This question is so important because it makes the client think and recognize what's doing the work and if that's what we want. There isn't always going to be a personal trainer there to point things out so it comes back to you doing a bit of self assessment.
If you do need pointers with your big moves, or you are stuck on a certain weight for your lifts or you do pull up sore in particular places after gym, maybe it's time you get in touch with Back Yourself Fitness.