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How To Fail Like A Champ

How To Fail Like A Champ

It’s always amazing to me how people handle failure. Failure is the unfortunate result of our actions on choices that we make for a given task or scenario. Granted if the outcome is failure this is probably not the result that we desired, but how we use the failure will determine how we will shape the result of our next choice.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.–Winston Churchill

One of the elements of strength is that during training we want to always strive to hit our reps, or percentages. This is important for building strength. The ability to push to hit the desired weight is something that is essential for being able to push our physical limits.

Now the thing is that at times we will test ourselves. For instance, we may want to get a handle on what we’re capable of doing for a given lift so we’ll perform a max effort lift to see what we can do. Granted, an experienced lifter may have an idea of what he or she is capable of doing, but knowing exactly what we’re capable of doing for that moment is unknown until we test ourselves at that very moment.

The difference between strong lifters and weaker more inexperienced lifters is that when faced with a challenging load a stronger lifter will strictly adhere to proper technique, where a more inexperienced lifter will more often succumb to a cheat within the motion. This is the difference between true progress and a false perception of progress.

As you can see in the video a champ or a professional has no plan “B” when getting stuck in the plane of a lift and trying to muscle through to complete the lift without cheating. A less experienced and weaker lifter will often allow themselves to fall victim to a cheat in movement just for the sake of completing the lift.

So what can we learn from this? The biggest lesson is that strict discipline is what gives us a more concrete movement pattern. To me it’s like building a dam that won’t leak. The more water that is forced on the dam the dam will hold unless the volume becomes so great that it flows over the top. The point is that even if the dam fails it doesn’t break. Our bodies should be built to do the same.

Obvious weaknesses can be pointed out with most people just by observing how they handle being overwhelmed by either an external load, or once they have reached a rep that has brought them to failure. An easier and more common observation of this can be seen with push ups.

How many times have you seen a novice struggle to perform a push up and collapse the head towards the floor, collapse at the shoulder blades, or snake the lower body up after they get their chest elevated off the floor. This often involves a phenomenon I’ve referred to as roostering when doing push ups.

If you weren’t sure about what I was referring to before then I’m sure this looked familiar to you. Once again though the presence of weakness is obvious right? A failed push up that would involve an individual holding strong at their sticking point with their body as rigid as the Golden Gate Bridge… and then just falling to the floor would be an example of failing correctly.

Too many times the ego gets in the way of the novice. The thought process lies within the act of completing the lift (or exercise) at all costs. This is actually counterproductive and will not build on a strong foundation.

Now regardless of whether you fail correctly when in training you should be programming intelligently so that you are hitting your percentages that you are confident about. If you are performing max effort lifts frequently and failing frequently this is NOT an intelligent method of programming which is a separate issue altogether.

The point is that your technique should be dialed in and when you finally get to a point where you are ready to test yourself then you will either succeed or fail the attempt like a champ! There is no plan “B.”

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if so feel free to post up in the comment box below. Stay strong and keep training smart.

Related Articles:

The Obliteration Of The Shoulder Press

10 Lessons For Building Strength

Examining The Kettlebell Clean

How To Apply Minimalist Training For Maximal Results

Embracing Discipline To Overcome Your Fears

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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