The only time I ever watch weight lifting is during the Olympics. It’s always been more entertainment than sport to me:
A clap of white powder… monstrous Eastern European man strides onto stage… man eyes bar with piles of heavy disks… looks to heaven, then coach… takes Buddha stance… deep breath… attacks bar and swings weights above head in a swift jerk… blood vessels bulge… legs shake… miraculously stands under murderous amount of iron… drops weight. Gold!
Never been my bag. I mean, no disrespect guys, but it just doesn’t seem healthy.
So when I was confronted with a barbell with a few disks on the ends, no doubt Turkish muscle men were laughing somewhere. Justice.
Of course I sucked at it. I shook and paused in all the wrong places, unsteady on my feet I barely lifted the ??kg above my head. Over the course of a week or two, under the supervision of the trainers at Roark, I improved.
They took me back to a quiet corner where they keep the PVC pipes for beginners and made me do it over and over. They kept on about having the right “form”: to keep my back straight, feet firmly planted, suck in my ribs, feel the strain in my legs, lift slowly etc.
In my haste to progress, I still did my back in. My form was fine with a plastic pipe, but load 40kg on the bar and I wobbled, struggled and had all the poise of a duckling on ice. After a minor strain I took a step back. I also had to put my ego in my pocket and go back to basics.
I learnt a good lesson about my limits, and keeping the right form throughout the movement. It got me thinking; if I had a problem, how many other guys are struggling or doing it wrong?
A few years back, Men’s Health ran a series called “The Perfect Form”, which took readers through a move step-by-step each month. Inspired by that I asked James at Roark to demonstrate a few common moves for a video series to show us all the correct moves.
Check them all out here, they go from stretches all the way through to cleans, presses and squats. If you’d like to see some others, let me know and we’ll produce them.