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Thread: Mental Workout

  1. #1
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    Default Mental Workout

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    I am learning rather quickly that the basics are not only a great physical workout but a mental one as well. I am a few months into SS and after each workout I feel there is so much to learn, especially the squat and deadlift. I think I correct one aspect of the lift and realize I need to fix several others. I am convinced the reason no one where I have to train uses these movements is because it takes as much brain power as muscle power to use these exercises. They would rather plod mindlessly along on the treadmill and churn out hundreds of curls so there brain does not need to get involved. You guys that are blessed to have a local coach who knows the basics are a lucky bunch. I marvel at the complexity of the movement as I read trough SS once again. I am determined to keep after it even though my brain hurts. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    It's cool to drill down on things and strive for perfection, or virtuosity as teh couch would say, just be wary of paralysis by analysis. I think more people don't do this shit because it's physically hard than don't because it's mentally challenging. I dunno.

  3. #3
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    It takes a great deal of focus and intensity. Yeah, you dont want to get caught up in paralysis by analysis and at the same time you have to be aware to keep that chest up, shove those knees out and drive with the hips, or your body will tell you that screwed up before too long.

  4. #4
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    The big 5 much more technical than anything you could do on a hammer strength machine or supersetting bicep curls with skull crushers. The bench is the easier-yet I still see people botch that one up pretty bad- and is probably you see it the most in the gym. The squat is tricky with all of its little nuances and is pretty damn hard when done both correctly and heavy. The press is the same since should you bring the bar too far away from your body or lose tightness, you probably won't complete the set.

    Strangely enough, power cleans seem easy to understand to me. Alll you need to pull the bar to thigh level, jump, and then bring those elbows up to rack.

  5. #5
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    There is definitely a mental aspect to Starting Strength. I have found myself over analyzing my lifts, and find that it can hold you back. You want these movements to become natural and automatic. If you are constantly reminding yourself of cues you are likely to disrupt the motor process.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by staypuft View Post
    I am convinced the reason no one where I have to train uses these movements is because it takes as much brain power as muscle power to use these exercises.
    I am with you here Staypuft. Although I don't know if it is "active brainpower" as much as knowledge or competence of the lifts. People just won't do what they don't know how to do. For example, when I "lifted" before SS I avoided squats because I didn't know how to do them. I didn't know there was a "low-bar" position where you could place the bar comfortably, I didn't realize running shoes where terrible for stability, and I didn't realize that when I squat I'm not supposed to squat on top of my legs like an accordion, but instead squat my ass between my legs.

    When I learned how to squat from SS I didn't gain any more brainpower, I just wasn't ignorant anymore (more or less). It just took someone (something in this case - a book) to show me the way.

    However, I do admit I have a naturally curious mind. I went out of my way to seek out how to do the basic barbell lifts because it seemed to me that was a good way to go about getting truly strong and would be a fun challenge (even though nobody I knew did it). Turns out I was right. Maybe a lot of regular gym goers are more resigned to just stay put in their current ways, or the fear of of the unknown or of failing keeps them from trying something new. So maybe it is more to do with overcoming inertia than brainpower?
    Last edited by Krump; 01-07-2010 at 01:17 PM.

  7. #7
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    Try strongman some time if you enjoy that.

  8. #8
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by staypuft View Post
    I am learning rather quickly that the basics are not only a great physical workout but a mental one as well. I am a few months into SS and after each workout I feel there is so much to learn, especially the squat and deadlift. I think I correct one aspect of the lift and realize I need to fix several others. I am convinced the reason no one where I have to train uses these movements is because it takes as much brain power as muscle power to use these exercises. They would rather plod mindlessly along on the treadmill and churn out hundreds of curls so there brain does not need to get involved. You guys that are blessed to have a local coach who knows the basics are a lucky bunch. I marvel at the complexity of the movement as I read trough SS once again. I am determined to keep after it even though my brain hurts. Thoughts?
    Attention to detail is important and cultivating it in every activity you spend time doing pays off across the board.
    Last edited by crc; 01-07-2010 at 02:40 PM. Reason: vagueness

  9. #9
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    I agree.

    I'm convinced that the mental aspect of lifting(or anything, really) is the most difficult part.

    If you consider the mental vs physical aspects, it is pretty evident.

    Mental:
    - Making sure you show up to train(Laziness, fatigue, resisting temptations, etc)
    - Making sure you get all the nuances of lifting while trying not to be crushed(Knees out, hip drive, elbows up, big breath, stretch reflex, straight arms, push the floor...)
    - Telling yourself something isn't too heavy for you (Setting personal records every workout even when the weight feels like it is going to drive you through the floor)
    - Disciplining yourself to eat, sleep, and recover correctly (GOMAD, eating even when you're so full you look like a malnourished Ethiopian, getting to bed at a decent hour instead of playing Modern Warfare 2[Guilty!] or going out to party with some friends)
    - Telling your inner-naysayer to fuck off (Getting fucking PISSED when you realize that you are unsure about the weight you are about to lift. Getting angry enough that you push it up with ease even though you have to hold onto the bar to make sure you don't fall down in case you pass out[Also guilty])
    - etc. etc. etc. The list is endless.

    Your mental "game" controls everything you do, imo. Your body is just the physical result of all the hard work, dedication, and discipline that you've subjected your mind to.

    Physical:
    - Uhh...you know, push/pull the weight with proper form
    - Uhh...?
    Last edited by JCavin; 01-07-2010 at 02:58 PM. Reason: Deet da dee

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    The mental aspect of any endeavour is the critical component. They say the hardest part of writing a book is getting your ass in the chair. They also say that opportunity knocks often but people ignore it cause its dressed in overalls.
    I've had 2 successful businesses only because I work when everyone else is watching Two and a Half Men. (of course it killed my marriage but that's another story).

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