As a coach, I spend a great deal of time putting limiters on people’s workouts:
I limit the weight they use during a workout
I limit the range of motion I wish them to utilise for a movement
I limit the movements they complete to ones they can do safely
I limit the intensity with which they take on a workout
I apply these limiters for their well-being. I don’t want to see people training beyond their abilities and exposing themselves to unnecessary risk. I like to keep them training with the main goal in mind being longevity.
However, I have recently started to notice that I also spend a lot of time helping people remove their own limitations. Last week I mentioned the concept of going RX and how people should be prepared to try and explore their boundaries. Building on that concept it’s important to understand that some of us apply limits to ourselves and for a variety of reasons. The big thing is acknowledging that you’re doing it and stopping it.
I spend the few minutes before the timer kicks off a workout checking if everyone is happy with the weights they are using. During this time, I invariably have to get some people to lower their loads – I admire ambition but I respect safety! However more and more I am finding I am having to ask people if they think they could go heavier (as a hint if I ask you this it means I know you can go heavier). This is usually met with, ‘Heavier? No I can’t lift that’. After a brief and polite exchange, more weight is usually added, the workout is completed excellently and the person thanks me for pushing them.
I have seen the same exchange happen with regards to KBs, barbells, box jumps, pull ups and even running certain distances. People seem intent on limiting their abilities without even testing them. As mentioned before I am a huge fan of scaling and modifying workouts to meet people’s needs. But I am also a fan of people having faith in their own abilities and knowing what they are capable of.
So, next time we recommend you try something heavier or harder please know this is us expressing our faith in your ability and us telling you, you should too!