Monday, August 23, 2010

Skill learning

I was reminded of an important fact today: Lifting is a skill. Like any skill it needs to be taught correctly. I am pretty militant when it comes to teaching proper from, but I forget why it is so important at times.

There are the obvious reasons that I instruct my athletes to lift correctly; Negating the chance of injury, increasing power output, bio-mechanical correctness. What is important to remember is like any highly developed skill, lifting should become second nature. If trained properly over time an athlete won't think twice about completing a familiar complex action, whereas a person who has been learning to complete the lift incorrectly will; a. hurt themselves (badly) b. lack confidence in their movement and continuously perform it wrong stalling any future growth. Olympic lifters are prime examples of this, their technique is so perfect they can throw over 2ookg above their heads and make it look effortless (in regards to technique).

Bruce Lee spent his adult life perfecting his body and mastering basic techniques. In Lee's notebooks "Commentaries on the Martial Way" he makes note of 127 different striking techniques for Jeet Kune DO! IT takes hundreds of thousands of repetitions to master a skill, Lee advocated the simplest strikes in any situation, regardless of the simplicity of the strike the amount of skill work required to reach the his level of proficiency is enormous.

I don't expect everyone who comes to me for training to become paragons of a sport, but I do expect them to learn, and continue to enforce the basics. A solid foundation is the only way to grow, in life and during training. Cheating on form or thinking that you don't need to learn the "trivial basics" will invariably lead to injury and disappointment. Swallow your false pride; If you are going to learn a new skill, learn it correctly, and take the time to reinforce the basics, they make you who you want to be!


  1. So very true - When I first started lifting, ages ago, my dad showed me proper technique and emphasized breathing and form. I have been amazed, since then, at how few people seem to understand the importance of this.

    Foundations are key, from start to finish. In martial arts I found a strong foundation for all my future learning by studying taijichuan. The emphasis on breath, balance, and efficiency it so heavily emphasized served me extremely well in other martial arts, and really in just about everything involving movement throughout my life.

    My instinct is that anyone having difficulty with an exercise, whether performing it comfortably, or getting results from it, is having difficulty with their foundation, their basics.

  2. You are correct! Most people who go into an athletic environment whether for sports, martial arts, lifting, or weight loss, want results immediately. People look at great lifters and want to have those results immediately. It doesn't work that way. It takes time, effort, and proper guidance.