Cillein Groom: Discipline comes first - The rest will follow

The most commonly asked question I get as a Coach and as an Athlete is ‘what is the quickest way?’. Although this question has good intentions, it will ruin your progress as an Athlete. There is no quick way, there is no quick fix.

If you are truly serious about becoming stronger, and even to become a professional Strength Athlete you need to accept this as a lifestyle, meaning you are in this for the long run. People get so caught up on the finish line that they ignore all the red flags and obvious potholes in their training along the way. 

You should also note that peak strength age is around your mid 30s, so if you’re a teen or in your early 20s rushing yourself will only stunt your overall potential. Don't be so eager to look for  ways to increase your strength dramatically so early on. For example, I didn't start using things like a deadlift suit until I was 24 as I wanted to enhance myself as much as I could naturally first and so should you.

When I first started training Strongman 5 years ago I didn't care about being the best or the strongest, my main focus was to discipline myself because at the time I was rather reckless. Honestly if I had started with the mentality of wanting to be the best and rush to the top I probably would have got in my own way.

I have pulled back on my training several times to focus on things like technique or to help mend an injury or strain. There is no harm at all in taking a step back to focus on the finer details, but there is plenty of harm to be done if you don't. Having a solid foundation built up will make these processes easier to come in and out of as you will build up muscle memory as well as muscle mind connection.

A good example for me would be when I pulled back on my deadlift for what felt like years (was 3 months) just to focus on my technique. I struggled to keep my back straight and to pull my shoulders back, having tight anterior calf muscles was partly the problem as they would lock up so I put more focus on them during mobility training. However the real turning point was pulling myself into the bar and dropping my hips which when done on lighter weights causes the bar and plates to float off the floor. This technique really changed my deadlift as I learned to manipulate my body by using the weight, and the heavier the weight the more tension would build up and thus give me more drive when lifting.

I've had to take similar approaches to other movements such as Axle Press by breaking down the movement into each part and building the muscle mind connection rather than just relying on brute strength. Has this process of pulling back made me weaker? Absolutely not, it has made me more efficient and has given me more of an understanding of the event as well as my own body. 

It's for these reasons that I tell people to focus on the basics and get the ground work done so you can build a solid foundation. What does that look like? 

  • Not lifting heavy every week.
  • Not putting on loads of body weight in hope to become stronger.
  • Having a balanced diet.
  • Following a structured training program.
  • Doing your mobility work.
  • Working on technique.
  • Working on your weaknesses - put your ego aside!
  • Doing conditioning work. (extremely overlooked, especially by open weight athletes)
  • Most importantly… Be patient!

Being a good strength athlete is about training in a smart way! Strongman/woman & powerlifting are brutal sports and if you dive in head first without putting in any thought, you are going to have a short and painful career.


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