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Bench Press Competition Results

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Don't Bench Press EventWell, it’s official…

Don’s competition was in Kennesaw, Georgia last week and I was really impressed by the intensity that most of the athletes brought to their sport.  Don didn’t break any records, but he did achieve one part of his goal – pressing 275 pounds (I don’t remember the exact number – sorry, Don). You can get all the exciting details at Don’s weight-training page at

Don’s goal – and what I’m working with him on – is breaking the 300-pound barrier for a 64-year-old (soon to bee 65).  His training coach says he needs more control, since there has to be strict control during a competitive press.  I told him I disagreed.  I believe control comes with fierce desire – a sort of no-holds-barred type of intensity I saw some of the athletes exhibit during the event.  The scream, huff, puff, yell, and cry out before, during, and after their lift or press. Control will happen when the desire overwhelms his cultured “wine-sipping” tendencies (his words).

Don says that yelling and grunting is “not my style.”  I can relate, because its not “my” style either.  But I tell you what, the ones WITH that style usually got the results!  Here’s why…

Sun Tzu in his ancient treatise on The Art of War wrote as a leader of warriors: 

“On hemmed-in ground, I would block any way of retreat.  On desperate ground, I would proclaim to my soldiers the hopelessness of saving their lives.  For it is the soldier’s disposition to offer an obstinate resistance when surrounded, to fight hard when he cannot help himself, and to obey promptly when he has fallen into danger… Place your army in deadly peril, and it will survive; plunge it into depsarate straits, and it will come off in safety.” 

Don SherrilAn athlete who assumes the mantel of a warrior becomes intense.  The athlete who not only becomes a warrior, but one who fights to the death, becomes unstoppable.  The problem in modern America is that there are very few who can turn on that survival-warrior instinct at will.  It takes special guidance to access some sort of hidden decision in the subconsious mind that could invoke such an instinct, but I believe it can be done. 

Next week I start working with Don on developing this instinct by accessing the mental-emotional compartments of his self-image.   I already brought up the idea that – faced with a 350-pound weight crushing his daughter – he WOULD and COULD lift or press it.  The problem is, the mind gets in the way.  There are many MORE reasons NOT to press over 300, namely: 

Its not my style.
I might get hurt.
I can only do it with steady workouts and training.
I can only do it when I HAVE to, and
There is no rush.

Sound like some of the self-talk going on in your mind?  Not surprisingly, these thoughts are very common.  Personally, I find it stressful to sit on a bicycler for more than 5 minutes while watching TV, but I don’t have any physical goals (yet).  Stay tuned for more results with Don.   – Michael

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