Finding Discomfort

Strength training makes people better. Not just stronger. Better in general. That’s something we believe… strongly.

Strength training is supposed to be difficult. But perhaps not in the way you think it is.

To really respect the process and to treat strength as a skill you have to deal with your weaknesses. You have to get downright uncomfortable.

Many people are taken aback by how much mental work goes into training at Bang Fitness. If you’re the kind of person that just wants to crank through things unthinkingly, you’re going to struggle a bit. Posture, joint mechanics, breathing… you can’t be on Mars to get all of these things. You have to be firmly planted in the here and now.

As coaches, it’s our job to help ensure that the mistakes you make don’t cost you; that they don’t eat away at your joints or chew up your ligaments. We give you the opportunity to make mistakes that help you learn and get better. On your end, it’s your job to try. Everything else will take care of itself.

Doing the counterintuitive things, the uncomfortable things, is – very simply – good. It’s practice. Practice means making mistakes and generally just being bad at things for a while. And while you may not have the luxury of being bad at your job or being a terrible parent, you do have the luxury of making tons of mistakes here with us. We don’t judge. You’re putting yourself out on a limb and we think that’s cool.

Some people are great at intensity; they can crank things out like demons. We make them go slowly. Momentum masks instability and compensations.

Some people love excruciating detail but never seem to hit high gear. We make them push hard and fast. Theory is great but discussion is limited and the rubber has to meet the road somewhere.

Some people have tremendous strength at their disposal when things are stabilized for them. Take them off a machine, though, and things change. Lengthen them out or make them move laterally and smoke starts pouring out of their ears.

Finding Discomfort Bang Fitness

This guy is solid but just ask him to dance the Charleston…

Some people have miles worth of range of motion. Ask them to demonstrate control at the midpoints, though, and they crumble. For them, we shrink down the range of motion and add load. They earn their range.

When we systematically attack the missing pieces we begin to create an organism that has no weak links. Our pal, Dr. Kathy Dooley doesn’t like to refer to these chinks in the armour as weakness. She calls the issue “leakness” – places where stability leaks out. You can be plenty strong but still exhibit leakness.

When we go after the things we’re not comfortable with, we confront our own idiosyncrasies and issues. Working too hard or not hard enough, focusing too narrowly on our competencies or ignoring our strong points. The common theme, though, is digging in; working hard even when we’re feeling weak or unmotivated. When we do this, we myelinate the same pathways that help us in life. We actually get better at life. We become better people.

Putting 500 on the bar is still pretty sweet, though!

Originally published at on February 28, 2014.


Leave a Reply