Interpreting Failure | Andrew Lewis Interpreting Failure | Andrew Lewis

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Thread: Interpreting Failure | Andrew Lewis

  1. #1
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    Default Interpreting Failure | Andrew Lewis

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    Failure occurs for three primary reasons: giving up, technical failure, and strength failure each addressed in order of likelihood for a novice. Determining which occurred requires feedback in one form or another. The best feedback is a coach. The next best feedback is a video recording of the set.

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  2. #2
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    Feb 2020
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    Thank you Andrew for the article. I know in the past when I've missed a lift I'm usually wracking my brain over what the reason was. Would you agree though that form breaking down and not being strong enough are very much intertwined? In my experience, when the weight is very heavy and I miss a rep, my coach and I will quickly recognize the "mechanical cause." Knees slide forward at the bottom of a squat, bar comes off the shins in a DL, get stuck forward on the bench, etc, etc. We can always tell what went wrong, but I find myself at times screaming at my coach (in my head); like I KNOW what I did, but I can't help it. The weight was too heavy and I couldn't keep the bar on my shins. The weight was too heavy and I got squished at the bottom of the squat and it pushed my knees forward. I was too tired and I couldn't stop the bar from drifting forward on the last rep of the bench.

    It has always been the case that we work through it somehow. We focus on correcting the problem and re-attempt or reset. Eventually we get it done, but I often wonder at that point was only ever just a problem with form or was it that I had reached the limits of my strength? I'd like to think that when the weight really does get heavy that it's both. Am I right in that or do you think I am missing something?

  3. #3
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    You're welcome!

    Heavy weight will cause technique breakdown. So does fatigue.

    And you could have a failure that is caused by a technique problem that meant not enough force was produced against the bar, but you could potentially be able to apply enough force IF the technique had been right.

    Consistency in technique is important, in part, because technique breaks down at heavy loads. So if you have a common problem that hasn't been fixed consistently, it will almost always come out at heavy weights.

    I've had clients that they always "fail" in the same manner at heavy weights, and we can't seem to fix it consistently at really heavy weights. They still make progress and get stronger, but we usually have to reset or make changes to the program to work around the problem that we cannot beat out of them. Whether or not this is a fault of mine as a coach or an eventuality of some clients is not clear to me.
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  4. #4
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    Feb 2020
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    I wonder in those form breakdowns whether or not it's a matter of lacking the raw strength to keep the right position at very heavy weight vs. simply not knowing how to apply that much strength at a heavy load. Like we've seen lifters who can do a max effort deadlift with their back in perfect extension while it's more common to see folks bent over like a fishing pole. Is it that that one lifter is just that strong or is it that he/she has simply figured out how to keep their form straight under a very heavy weight. I know for the longest time my back would always get more vertical at the bottom on the squat when the weight got really heavy. I used to think it was simply a matter of me not being strong enough. My coach hammered me for the longest time and now finally it doesn't happen anymore. Or at least not as much, but even at a PR weight I've been able to keep a better angle. I'm still not 100% sure about it but I suspect it probably is more a matter of learning how to do it than actually lacking the strength. At least that is what I am beginning to think the more time I spend under the bar.

    I guess that's why Rip always says heavy single are something that needs to be practiced.

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