The Bar Tells The Truth

lisfaileddeadliftSome lifts don’t come up. This one didn’t. Not in yesterday’s Total.

The CrossFit Total can be one of the most frustrating things when we’re not able to exceed the numbers we’ve pulled in the past. Back Squat, Press, Deadlift. How hard can that be? That’s what we think.

And, yet, pulling the same numbers again — or greater — doesn’t always happen. It might be conditioning, it might be sleep, it might be nutrition or hydration, it might be your back acting up again.

But one thing’s for certain. The bar doesn’t lie. You either pull it or you don’t. The bar tells the truth.

And, here’s the really funny thing: It tells the truth when you walk away too. How you leave a failed lift tells more about you than you might ever imagine.

If you pout, we learned about you. If you listen to the coach for what to concentrate on next time, we learned about you. If you’re sad, we learned about you. And if you kick the trashcan, we learned about you.

Think about that the next time you fail, at anything. What are you teaching others about yourself?

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20 comments
Jason Lyons
Jason Lyons

Hey everyone, new here but I got to know Lisbeth better this weekend and this link was posted on our blog so I decided to read more. To address Nathan's concern about your press, mastering technique will improve your press dramatically if you already have the strength. As Lisbeth said, going straight up is an absolute must. The thing that I tell our clients is if you can see your hands at any point in time, you are not going straight up. If you can see your hands, you are a few inches in front of your head and in this lift, 1 inch is enough to start hurting your total. The second thing that I find a lot of people in our gym do wrong is bar placement. If you are a man, the bar should be touching your adam's apple. Many of our men start with the bar across their chest. If you think about it, that is a good 3 inches and when you are trying to press heavy weight, every inch you can get is worth taking. This is the same for the push press and jerk as well. Ladies, you do not have an adam's apple so your cue is putting it on your collar bones. It will hurt but the pain will go away. To quote Coach B, collars bones were made to support barbells. Lastly, I think arm and wrist position is something that hurts many members in our gym. It will be hard to explain what we teach but I will try. Put your arms in front of you with forearms and palms touching with fingers pointed towards the ceiling. Now slowly open your arms so that your forearms and palms are facing in front of you. If you imagine you have a barbell, your elbows should be slightly in front of the bar but not excessive. We have many members that have their elbows in a near front squat position and it is not going to utililze your muscles the right way. Also, before you press, take a very deep breathe and fill those lungs with air. This will help you create a "shelf" on your chest that will help support the barbell. Finally, make sure that your wrists are not broken and by this, I mean make sure that are not bent back pointing behind you. It will require improved flexibility but you want to work on "closing" your wrist so that your palm is in line with your forearm. You may need to bend it back every so slightly to help build another shelf for the bar but do not go crazy. We have some men that rest the bar on their fingertips. In my opinion, this will hurt you everytime. Focus on those few things and I bet your press will increase. We had some men that went up 20 pounds over night just based on bar placement. Good luck!

Jennie Yundt
Jennie Yundt

Hi Lisbeth! I'll admit it....I kicked the chalk bucket once after a failed dead lift attempt. It was a big baby, jerk thing to do. As I cleaned up chalk for the next 35 minutes, I reflected on my behavior. Fortunately, nobody was around when the chalk bucket kicking happened, and I was REALLY glad. That's not who I am. I'm not a chalk-bucket-abuser. I'm a I'll-get-you-next-time-er! Great post!

Rich
Rich

Lis, those "oldies but goodies" are totally awesome!!! The amazing transformation of each and everyone is almost unbelievable.

Jason
Jason

Sign me up for that program. My press is pathetic!

Jen
Jen

Nate and Dave talk to me about a little GTG program we can do to help your press.

Greg
Greg

The bar didn't lie on my DL yesterday either. My 3rd attempt was 25 lbs under my PR and it didn't get off the floor. I think it's true no matter what you are doing. You do the best you can (at that moment in time) and the rest is out of your hands.... It is what it is. That's really all you can ask of yourself.

David
David

Interesting points. It was a fun time last night. I, like Nate, would like to find a way to improve my press. As for dropping and walking away or completing a lift, I think that you know if you're going to get past that sticking point or not and if you don't know, you try like hell to get past and if you don't...it'll come next time. What I really like though is that at that point where I know it's not going to happen, the weight is dropped. I also believe that getting to that point where I have to dump and run, I'm learning where my limits are.

becky
becky

The bar definitely does not lie. I have seen it time and time again with my own body. I will start failing at lifts and not know why and a few days later I will be sick (Don't worry - it's not contagious! No swine here!) I have found that sometimes, I just need to walk away from the bar. Live to fight another day and remind myself that it is an accomplishments just being able to do whatever I did at that moment. Last year, during one of my moments of illness, Lis reminded me that our bests vary from day-to-day and that as long as we give our best at every moment, we have something to be proud of. I try to remember that as much as possible, but sometimes need to be reminded.

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

Nate, Jen can tell you what to work on for strength to improve your press, but I think we need to work on your technique -- as do several people. The biggest thing I saw last night on the press was folks bringing the bar out from their face. That will kill your press every time. You literally have to move your face out of the straight path of the bar, if that makes sense. I believe Press is on the schedule for next week. It needs to be on Mon or Wed, so I can instruct. Jen, can you tell us what day next week we're Pressing?

Nathan
Nathan

Nice work Rich! I really only got to witness a little of the 5pm class doing their thing (I was avoiding being 'blood choked' by Derek), but I saw Viv and the Mikes pulling some damn fine heavy deadlifts! A great job to all the 6pm-ers as well! Melissa was rockin' last night fo' shizzle, she was on fire! Mucho passion! Serious business! Question: My press sucks and I would like to unsuck. Form is obviously part of it, but what can one do to "grease the press groove" so to speak? Ya know, something like a pushup program (read: equipment-less) that I can do at home and work and anywhere?

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

And nice work, Rich. I was impressed with the way you just went to work on that platform yesterday. No BS, just focused and determined. And smart. Knowing when to put it down and walk away is a skill we all learn the hard way. Good on you for paying attention to your brain and not your ego. I know that's a hard thing for me, so I imagine it's hard for everybody!

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

One of the best moments of yesterday, for me, was taunting Melissa into adding more weight to the bar for her back squat. Her need to beat me triumphed over her own doubt. And she made that lift. Nice work, Melissa. That's exactly how CrossFit should work. Competition, done right, is a really good thing. As for me, I've got some goals now, in addition to the bikini body for Miami in February. 180 Back Squat + 100 Press + 220 Deadlift. For my 45th birthday next year. Time to get my ass in gear. Hold me to it, CrossFit Watertown.

Pamela
Pamela

Rich I was as impressed with the fact that you put the bar down as I would have been if you'd made the lift, perhaps more so. You knew to push your limit and when to back off. For me one of the best parts about CFTs is the fact that we'll see it again in a few months. I always leave the last CFT looking forward to the next.

Rich
Rich

Yes, the bar never lies!!! CF Total PR for me last night (635) and I saw a number of others PR as well. The bar was telling the truth when the 3rd DL wouldn't come off the floor but, I walked away knowing I had reached my limit that day without getting hurt, and smiled at Pam.

Chris
Chris

Good stuff today. Lis and I were talking about it the other day. When you have a bad day or a bad lift and you feel like you can't do this lift as well as you used to, stop and think about all your other lifts and skills. How many have you improved upon lately. You're usually making way more overall progress than you think. That's the magic of CrossFit.

K
K

I WANTED TO TOTAL!!!!!!!!!!! BOOOOO MY SCREWED UP BACK :(

Janice
Janice

but clyde made it :)

Jill
Jill

bam! early bird gets the worm!

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