I got to thinking after yesterday’s email about breaking
plateaus about how many different ways there are to
get off the “two steps forward, three steps” back
Here’s one that I was thinking about and it’s – well –
kind of intellectual – possibly even metaphysical.
And it’s something that many of us don’t even think
that much all about.
But first, did I tell you recently that my good buddy
Tim Anderson crawled ONE MILE without stopping?
How’d he do that?
Well, several ways. But one of the ways was his focus.
He has an uncanny knack for really being able to focus.
Once he makes up his mind he’s going to do something,
well, he does it. All the way. All the time.
No swerving, second-guessing, hemming, or hawing.
So here’s where we get all psychologically-trippy and
Check this out – if we make the word “focus” and acronym,
here’s what we get and why this works:
Most of us, myself included, take pride in being “flexible” in
what it is we do or are trying to accomplish.
The problem with this when trying to overcome a plateau is
flexibility can work against you. The ability to accommodate
and adapt can throw you off your game.
And even getting off course by a couple of degrees can
in the long run, leave you way far away from your goal.
For example, corrective exercises. In the past, I’ve known
people who have “issues” with their presses so they go
down the corrective exercise rabbit hole thinking they’ll
overcome their plateau.
Six to twelve weeks later when they’re done, the “feel”
better or “test” better, but their press is nowhere to
Sometimes, you just have to push through no matter how
hard it seems.
There’s an old saying – “All roads lead to Rome.”
Unfortunately, in the strength world, this just isn’t true.
To get off your plateau your program needs to be focused
more on just “today’s workout.” There needs to be some
long term planning, with a vision to what the future holds.
That can be frustrating for some to focus on the future,
but consider that proverb –
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Catch a vision for what you want to accomplish and go
This goes without saying. Many of us hit a “plateau” and
the real truth of the matter is that we are consistently
inconsistent with our training.
And even if we are consistent in showing up, there’s no
consistency in what it is we’re doing to get us to our
Therefore, there’s no long term training effect.
And our results are the same.
Here’s the best one I think.
In order to get off a plateau, you must be unrealistic
in your thinking.
You must not think the way others think or even the way
you used to think.
Can’t get your workouts in cause you don’t have time?
Get up an hour earlier.
Can’t seem to Press that heavier bell?
Add another press workout to your week and increase
your weekly volume. Remember, in order to press a lot,
you must press a lot.
Can’t lose that spare tire?
Stop going out drinking on the weekends with your
buddies or start drinking water at social events instead
of the G&T’s.
The point is, do what you and others normally wouldn’t
and you’ll start seeing the results that you and others
This one will probably fry your brain or piss you off.
Whatever it is you’re stuck on, zero in on only on that
thing. Make it the center of your attention.
I’m not saying your life should revolve around it, but
you shouldn’t include things in your life that are
contradictory to it.
For example, I’ll never forget when I hired a nutritionist
to help me strip off some body fat. About a week into it,
I bought “The Zone,” started reading it, and then called
my nutritionist asking him about the differences in the
diets and their approaches and why his was better than the
His answer was simple – He reminded me that I’d paid him
to custom design my diet – and not Barry Sears – and that
I could either use the Zone and stop working with him
right at that moment or stick with what he developed for
I chose the latter.
So ultimately, failing to focus, or rather FOCUS, will
cause you all kinds of psychological/emotional issues
simply because of the anxiety that comes along with
And that anxiety has a cascade effect in / on your
Your stress hormones get out of whack (technical term)
and you can actually not only keep yourself on your
plateau, but actually regress as you shift into
permanent “fight or flight” mode.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
It’s sole focus is to get you stronger and push you
up over your plateaus.
It does this by helping you focus on the things you
need to focus on –
1. The proper techniques to find the best leverage
to lift the most weight safely – AND how to get there
from where you are now.
2. The proper programming – to help you get strong
and conditioned – so you not only do you not have to
worry about what the “best” program is (you’ll be on
it) but you won’t get distracted by other programs
because you’ll see gains almost instantaneously.