Finding Discomfort

Strength training makes people better. Not just stronger. Better in general. That belief is woven into our culture.

Strength training is supposed to be difficult. But perhaps not in the way you think it is.

To really respect the process and to treat strength as a skill you have to deal with your weaknesses. Physical discomfort is non-negotiable (however, many people over-estimate just how uncomfortable you have to be). But you’re going to get mentally uncomfortable too.

Many people are taken aback by how much mental work goes into training at Bang Fitness. If you’re the kind of person that just wants to crank through things unthinkingly, we may not be for you. We don’t do exercise nihilism. This is a mindful process. It’s what deliberate practice looks like in any other realm, from playing an instrument to learning a language.

This doesn’t happen without making mistakes. They’re part of the learning process. As coaches, it’s our job to help ensure that the mistakes you make don’t cost you; that they don’t eat away at your joints or chew up your ligaments. These are the kind of mistakes that make you better. Nobody’s judging you for not being an expert out of the gate. As a matter of fact, we respect the shit out of anyone willing to invest in the process.

Some people love high-level detail but never seem to hit top-gear. We ask them to push hard and fast. Theory is great but discussion is limited and the rubber has to meet the road somewhere.

Some people are great at intensity; they can crank things out like demons. We ask them to go slowly. Momentum masks instability and compensations.

Some people have tremendous strength at their disposal when things are stabilized for them. Take them off a machine, though, and things change. Lengthen them out or make them move laterally and smoke starts pouring out of their ears.

This guy is solid but just ask him to dance the Charleston…

Some people have all the flexibility in the world. Ask them to demonstrate control at the midpoints, though, and they crumble. For them, we shrink down the range of motion and add load. They earn their range.

When we systematically attatck the missing pieces we begin to create an organism that has no weak links. Our pal, Dr. Kathy Dooley doesn’t like to refer to these chinks in the armour as weakness. She calls the issue “leakness” – places where stability leaks out. You can be plenty strong but still exhibit these types of inefficiencies.

When we go after the things we’re not comfortable with, we confront our own idiosyncrasies and issues. Working too hard or not hard enough, focusing too narrowly on our competencies or ignoring our strong points. Whatever is in the way . . . That’s the thing we deal with.