The Bad Place Can Be a Good Place

Today’s Workout
5 rounds
1:00 handstand walk*
1:00 max double unders

Start rounds when you’re ready

5 rounds
1:00 max handstand hold
1:00 max double/single undersSometimes I’m a bad student. Whereas I have patience and generosity with my students and frequently remind them not to be hard on themselves, I have difficulty doing this for myself. I get frustrated. I judge myself. I imagine I’ll never get any stronger or better and therefore am doomed to be a failure. It turns what should be an enjoyable practice into a very bleak scenario.

A few Saturdays ago my deadlift workout started heading this direction. Nothing felt good about any of the sets. My back hurt. I kept banging my knees. And the most anxiety invoking thing was I was lifting less weight than I had a couple weeks earlier. How could this be? Was I getting weaker?Am I suddenly feeling that old? Am I doomed never to be strong again? I could not even conceptualize how I had lifted 20 pounds more just a few practice prior to this day.

A few more sets and nothing improved. I was weak and miserable. I pulled my weight-belt off after an aborted set and stomped away from the weights. I pouted.

Thankfully my boyfriend is a coach, and a patient one at that. He took me back to the basics and we worked through what could possibly be going wrong. Over the course of a few more sets of deadlifts we narrowed down the errors in my technique and suddenly, with the same weight as before, I went from struggling to easily moving the weight, with literally almost no problem at all.

What did I learn from this? First, that the problem had nothing to do with my strength – it was purely technique and my mental approach to the practice. Second, I learned the technique in such a way I will never do it wrong again. Going to that “bad place” and then working step-by-step out of it actually caused me to cement the technique into my mind permanently. I would never allow myself to be miserable like that in practice again. I will never make those same mistakes on a deadlift again. And so, the “bad place” actually became a very good learning possibility — once I allowed myself to see it that way.


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