The amount of useful information I learned from Dr. Hartle in the SFG Lifting course was incredible! Just when you think you know the “ins” and “outs” of powerlifting you get slapped upside the head with so much more knowledge. Everything from coaching cues, corrective drills, and programming were fed to us over 3 days and, I must say, I want to learn more!


As I’m going through my notes I realized, from the mountain of information, there were a few key pointers that stuck with me. Key pointers that are easy to remember and apply to any discipline. Use this info when it comes to your training and goal setting. I promise, it will save you years of mistakes.


  1. Plan the Work, Work the Plan: All too often we suffer from programming ADD. Whether it’s from our upbringing or cultural influence, we expect to have everything now. Patience has become a lost virtue in American society. This impatience is very easy to spot when it comes to one’s personal fitness goals. Most of us plan long term goals with a short term mindset. If you want results then you need pick a plan and stick to it!


Use a method known as “reverse planning”. If your goal is to deadlift 500lbs then let’s start by finding your current 1 rep max on deadlift (with good form). Now, let’s set the goal date in mind. If your current max is 300lbs then you will plan differently than if your current max is 400lbs. Once you have this date set begin your reverse planning. What will your training look like the week before you max? The week before that? And before that? Don’t get overwhelmed. This is how goals are achieved.


If it seems like you’re planning more than a year out I suggest you set a goal that’s achievable within 12 months. Remember, plan the work and work the plan.


  1. Don’t live in your sport: It’s perfectly acceptable to love what you do. Some of us like to powerlift, some of us like to do calisthenics. It doesn’t matter what you do but you have to get out of your chosen discipline once in a while. You don’t have to abandon your training all together. You just need to program in some weeks where you aren’t doing the same movement pattern.


If you’re always using conventional deadlift then switch to a sumo deadlift for a month or so. If you like doing chin ups then try wide grip pull-ups. This will keep your body healthy, reduce the risk of injury, and help with your longer-term training goals. Just look at studies regarding sport specialization in young athletes. Rates of injuries are much higher when compared to young athletes who play different sports year round. In addition, these young, specialized athletes rarely make, or last, at the collegiate or professional level of their chosen sport. If young athletes who can bounce back from injuries need variety then so do you.



  1. Strength is critical for life: One of the top reasons, if not the #1 reason, the elderly move into assisted living homes is due to lack of physical strength for day-to-day activities. Not mobility, strength! You don’t need to be a competitive lifter to value the importance of strength. Think of the last time you were too weak to do something. Changing a tire? Carrying groceries? Moving furniture? Was it difficult? Did you need someone to help you? Maybe not. You’re still young and able bodied. Let’s take it a step further.


Let’s imagine you’re 70, 80, or even 90 years old. Could you still do those things? How about picking something off the ground? Sitting down to go to the bathroom and getting back up? Not so easy now, is it? I had the not-so-pleasurable situation of having a back injury recently that made me feel extremely weak. Getting out of bed was hard! It was the first time in my life I felt nearly helpless. I felt old and weak.


Staying healthy is essential for living an illness-free life and being strong is critical for that life. Stay strong and keep getting stronger. You’ll need some in reserves as you age.



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