My dad taught me many things, even showed me some stuff in the gym.
BUT he never taught me to squat with a barbell OR deadlift.
Oddly enough, his back and legs were very strong. Not from barbell squats and deadlifts but from hard manual labor.
So when I started out at the gym I had no idea how to squat or deadlift and I never saw anyone do those exercises at the first few gyms I was at.
CRAZY, I know!
It was years of bodybuilding type routines, along with running for cardio.
My body changed from showing up and doing some work but the real transformation came when I started squatting and deadlifting.
Only problem was I learned on my own.
Back then it was bodybuilding magazines and the big guys in the back room of the gym.
The internet wasn't anything like it is today. There were no youtube squat tutorials.
Anyway, I learned to squat and deadlift on my own, radically changing my body AND my mind, in the process.
Here's the thing---- I'm still learning... and it's been fifteen years..
Here's something important I've learned:
One of the keys to training consistently and without setbacks is to always work on perfecting your technique.
AND (bonus tip) if you can't do one version of a lift, you can always modify it somehow.
For example when I couldn't hold a barbell on my back due to my shoulder injury, I found a way to squat with straps.
Or when I hurt my back and couldn't hold the position on a conventional deadlift without pain, I moved my feet out into a sumo position and could train the movement that way.
No matter where you are on your personal training journey, you CAN and SHOULD work on perfecting your technique on each barbell lift.
You don't have to follow the rules. Just because some guru says you MUST squat or deadlift a certain way, does not make it so.
Find what works for you.
I know that phrase gets thrown around haphazardly sometimes but here's what I mean as an example-
Squatting has been tough on my knee for awhile so I didn't try to push through the pain and be a tough guy.
I reduced the weight on the bar and tried that. Then I altered my stance. Worked on technique.
I tried box squats as a variation. Then I tried new shoes.
Now I am working on some pause squats.
I kept squatting but I reduced the volume by a significant amount.
All of these changes have helped.
I FOUND what WORKS for me.
Knee pain is going away and I am still training consistently.
Training the deadlift more often appeals to me.
If I use the conventional stance I have a hard time recovering.
With the semi-sumo stance once a week (other day Sumo or conventional) I can recover better and get stronger.
Pretty simple and straightforward. You won't know until you try something like this.
FOCUS at the commercial gym
While I was doing my pause squats and semi-sumo deadlifts, a guy came over to talk to me.
I had my headphones on and I was trying to keep my head down so I could get "in the zone"... basically stay focused and not distracted.
Since I'm a friendly guy and I listen to people, this guy started chatting me up.
Noooooo, not today, I thought..
One of the BIG reasons I am going to build a garage gym is to avoid this from happening ever again.
Eventually I told the guy I need to focus and I have a lot of work to do but the distraction had already occurred.
If you train at a commercial gym you need to do whatever you can to focus.
Put your hoodie on, stare straight ahead, tell people: "not now chief, I'm in the zone.." whatever it takes!
Training time is sacred time.
There needs to be focus and purpose.
The more you PUT INTO it, the more you get OUT OF IT.
If you train at a commercial gym and you need a plan to follow- hit me up- I can write you a template for the month- Fill out the FORM HERE TO APPLY