Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  on Jun 18 2015

It’s that time again, another meet is fast approaching and all the training is practically done as I sit 9 days out. Just a few more technical sessions left to dial everything in, recover and reduce fatigue. 2 years into powerlifting and every meet presents its own challenges and I am constantly learning from these challenges. A few of the big things I’ve learned over these last 2 years is to not chase expectations and to treat like its more than just a hobby.
Chasing expectations is a huge downfall to a lot of beginner/intermediate level lifters, they see all these numbers going up and they start a training cycle with certain numbers in mind. So the whole time during the meet prep they are constantly chasing these numbers which in their mind are attainable. What it does is it causes them to miss a lot of lifts and get frustrated with the process. As if lifting weights and expectations where all captured in a linear progression, wouldn’t that be phenomenal. So a person does a meet and squats 500lbs, so they jump straight to “well next meet I will hit 600lbs” completely shitting on 510lbs, 530lbs etc.. like jumping 100lbs is a practical and logical next step. So at 12 weeks out the chase begins and week after week they set these unrealistic expectations that they have to hit this or hit that in order for 600lbs to manifest itself on the platform. This will not only take the joy out of training for this person but it will also start to weigh on them emotionally and have them second guess everything they are doing.
So what do they do next? They have a few routes to go, they either say I need to take more drugs, because yeah that will do the trick!! They need to get work done, a few massages here and a few chiro visits there and boom magically you will squat 600lbs… yeah ok. Or they will throw out their current program and bastardize a few programs together of their favorite youtube sensations and mix them all together and yes finally the magic formula to gains is established. So they keep chasing and missing and losing and missing and they are sitting at 2 weeks out and they are frustrated, discouraged and trying to find a way to just pull out of the meet.
The best advice i can give these guys is one you’re not that good if you were then you wouldn’t be chasing so hard it would just happen over time and two learn to enjoy the process and take it week by week. Things will happen if work and time are put into the process but it won’t happen overnight like you expect it to. It will come when you’ve put in years and years of work and you get to the point where shit doesn’t happen, things don’t progress, so you push even harder that ’s when progress will come, it won’t come in one training cycle or even one year it will come after the accumulation of years and years of consistent work.
The next thing I’ve learned is to treat it as more than just a hobby, i know some people will laugh at this and thats fine, thats their prerogative but thats also the reason why they are mediocre at best. You hear them all the time on social media saying “chill out man its just a hobby nobody is making a living off of this.” Yeah your broke sorry ass might not be and thats good enough reason for you to treat it as a hobby and to be average at it, but I get paid to compete and I do make a living off of this sport and a pretty good one and one of the reasons I have done that in such a short time is not because I am the best but because I treat it as more than just a hobby.
The mind is extremely powerful and if you are constantly feeling it with negatives and self doubt than thats exactly what you will reciprocate. So fix your outlook on it and things will start to pay off and the a stream of great possibilities will happen. Or maybe you tell everyone you treat it as a hobby that way when things don’t work out or you don’t perform well its an scape goat for your shitty performance, but in a ll reality its a sign of fear, fear to put yourself out there to say I am the best or I will be the best and I will make money being the best. i don’t care what it is I do I try to be the best at it and maybe thats why I’ve never had to work for anybody but myself and maybe thats why I get to travel and experience life outside of were I grew up.
It seems our sport is further behind then any other sport as far as revenue streams go but yet you look around at all these meets going on and you realize they are all packed. So maybe if people took it more seriously and less like a hobby you might start seeing more successful people streaming from it. If one person can make a few millions off of the sport than why can’t several people. It’s all just a matter os perspective and how hard you are willing to work.

Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  on Jun 17 2015

Not long after a top level powerlifter posts a high ranking total on the leaderboards, criticism soon follows.  This is human nature after all.  One blog post won’t do anything to change that though, and I won’t bother with trying.  Rather, I’d like to address a single comment I often hear after a lifter performs well on the platform:
“I don’t know how he stays healthy enough to do that.  I mean, my shoulders are trashed and I’m not even benching half what he does.  He must have not played sports in high school or suffered any injuries when he was younger.”
WRONG.  The difference between the most successful strength athletes, and the ones who assume top guys are invincible, is the relentless desire to find a way.  Not under most circumstances; under every circumstance.
There’s a fine line between training around injury, and ignoring obvious risk factors for serious injury.  For the sake of this discussion, I’ll reference the former.  Problem is, often those without the will to persevere in the first place will likely lump every condition into the latter.  Usually out of fear, laziness, or both.  Sometimes you’ve just got to sack up and get back into the weight room.  Fortune favors the brave. 
If you don’t think those at the highest level in strength sport have been dealt their fair share of painful setbacks, think again.  Of course they have.  The difference is that they just don’t let roadblocks stop their progress.  Pectoral strains may mean spending more time training overhead press until the muscle heals.  Quad injuries can recover while backing off from the squat, but training stiff legs deadlifts and good mornings with even higher priority.  A lifter may rest a sore bicep by pulling with a hook grip or straps.  Beaten up low backs may mean taking a break from wide stance low bar squatting, and employing a more vertical high bar squat setup.  Find a way; keep moving.
 You can’t get something for nothing in this world, and everything comes at one cost or another.  Take enough attempts at or near 100% of your 1RM, and no matter how diligent your recovery strategy is, an injury is bound to force its way through the door at the least opportune moment.  That exact moment is my focus here.   What separates the peanut gallery and the man with ten plates on his back, is the decision made at this fork in the road.   The strongest don’t give a shit what it takes, and will find the way to continue training.   They will NEVER stop moving.  If it means doing a thousand reps a day on a hamstring curl machine with an empty stack, so be it.  Means to an end. The internet coach will cash out and tune in online to bitch about why his bum is too sore to squat tomorrow.   Don’t be that guy.  Or girl.
The greatest lifters don’t possess magical healing powers the rest of us only dream about.  They have invested as much time and effort into injury recovery and adapting to sub-optimal conditions, as they have invested into any other part of their training package.  Recovery know-how is invaluable on the path to maximal strength.  If this is a subject that interests you (it should), there is an infinite supply of quality information out there.  No excuse to claim ignorance, that’s for sure.  But this isn’t about whether or not you know how to heal properly, it’s about possessing the fortitude to push forward no matter what you must heal from.
I’ll close with this:  Understand I am not an advocate of grinding head first through major trauma and injury, all in the name of a bigger total.  Reckless training will lead you down a very short road with an unpleasant end.  This should be obvious, because making stupid training decisions and ignoring warning signs will ultimately hinder a big performance more than it will ever help.  What I am saying is that the next time your mom is driving you home from the gym in her minivan, ask yourself if that sprained ankle is really the end of your powerlifting career.  Is it?  Or is it something you can probably find a way to work around and grow stronger while it heals.
Not even Coan was immune to injury.  He simply found a way where others didn’t.