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youth athlete

Why We Train: Health and Strength for Life

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Why We Train: Health and Strength for Life

Seventeen year old Steph recently had a strong PR squat at 120 kgs (264 lbs). Steph has been training with barbells since the age of twelve. On her third day in the gym, back in 2012, she squatted 12 kgs for sets of five across. Five years later, she regularly squats over 100 kgs for multiple repitions. 

Unlike many trainees her age, Steph isn’t working with barbells to support goals in another sport or athletic endeavor. She has been able to fulfill her physical education credits for school by writing about her experience with barbell training, but for the most part she trains just for the sake of training. Steph’s time in the gym is not just about numbers - she is developing skills that will enable her to train for health and strength for the rest of her life. #strengthmatters

Left: Steph squats 100 kgs for the first time, in May of 2016.

Right: Steph sets a new PR at 110 kgs, in May of 2017. 

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Above: Steph squats a life time best 120 kgs (264 lbs), in November of 2017.

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The Flow State

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The Flow State

     

     In all of athletics, there are quiet, sacred moments where an athlete must make the decision to stay present in their body. Upon choosing to be fully immersed in the moment, time slows down and the athlete feels rather than knows what to do, where to go, how to move. The athlete returns to this choice over and over again, practicing the feeling of sinking deeper into themselves, deeper into what psychologists call “the flow state”.

     Flow state is the idea of being so fully present in the current moment that actions happen naturally and automatically. Distractions, anxieties, fear, and the ego fall away. Preparation takes over. The athlete is absorbed in the activity for the sake of practicing the skills required to perform the task. This is the flow state, the present moment, the place we strive to train from all the time. 

     Barbell training lends itself well to the practice of finding flow state. There are many quiet moments in barbell training, many times that it is just you and your breath and the weight in front of you asking you to show up as your whole self. These moments are found in other sports as well - in this context, barbell training can have a profound impact not just on the body, but also on the mind.

     Any athletic or performance endeavor will include unquestionable brushes with the flow state. Can you hold your focus to recognize where you are? Can you re-frame your experience with the bar to apply what you are learning out on the field, court, mat, or competition platform? Will you stay with your breath and chose to remain present, or continue to let extrinsic distractions siphon away your potential? 

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