Are you writing the test faster but getting the same grade?
Are you lifting more weight, but continuing to ignore movement or technique issues?
Are you only looking at one metric of success (#'s) when judging your progress?
Christie has been a remote coaching client since late February. She reached out because she lives in a very remote location (basically neighbours with Santa), and wanted some guidance on how to reach her goals. Christie wanted to get stronger, improve her body-comp, and learn how to align her nutrition and lifestyle with her goals. She has a training history of working with a personal trainer in the past, and has also some time spent in a Crossfit Box.
Here is a video of her first "Heavy Single Backsquat". She hit 140#.
There were a couple technical issue here that needed to be addressed before increasing the weight on the bar would be appropriate:
-The squat was knee-initiated
-Lack of Glute Med. Engagement & Strength (Glute Med is the like the side of your butt)
-The weight distribution on her feet rolled in and forward (from heel to big toe) as she squatted
-Her butt rose before her torso when coming out of "the hole"
-Her hips are tight
These are all very common issues for people who have not spent a lot of time on the details of squatting, and could be potentially harmful if Christie did not fix these issues but continued pushing the weight and trying to lift more with the mindset that the only progress is increased #"s or heavier weight.
It is unfortunate that this thinking so deeply pervades the fitness industry, because for the average person who is lifting for life (the 99.9%), and not being paid to do so (the .1), improvements in technique and movement quality are much more meaningful. By focusing on technique we add depth to our practise of strength because we are forced to think and use our brains as we focus on more things as we lift. Furthermore, the chances of being able to lift into old age are greatly increased when technique is the focus, and not big #'s.
Unless you are competing and need to shut the brain down to ignore pain and win, the more actively engaged your mind is in each cm of your lifts the better. As an aside, I believe lifting properly with a focus on technique can play the same part in one's life as a yoga pose or asana. "Any attempt to know one's own self is yoga", is a quote I think of often in relation to how strength training should feel or be approached for the general public.
So, with Christie, we took the approach of improving her technique, doing things the right way, and letting the strength gains come when they were ready to. Here is the video of her most recent "Heavy Backsquat".
She looks like a different lifter (even though she's still wearing the same shirt), and all of the aforementioned issues have been fixed. The bonus is that this display of technical improvement is with an extra 11% on the bar from the previous video. Focus on the process and doing things well, and the progress will come.
Great work Christie!!
If you are looking for progress that doesn't only show on paper, and want to learn the details of strength training and a lifestyle that supports you being your best self, then please contact me to set up a coaching call.