PR Mon. PR Tues. PR Wed. PR Thurs…

When is a PR a PR? I got into a conversation with a potential new gym member last spring at WFAC about this. He believed that a novice lifter should test their one rep max when they begin training so they can see their improvement right away (and in the process, accept what a good “coach” they have.) I believe this person to be a moron who has no business putting a barbell in anyone’s hands.

The Icelandic wonder boy (seriously, this kid has tiger blood; very athletic and smart parents; and is sweet to boot) above tried to deadlift anything he can get his hands on last year at a Highlander I competed at. How many PR’s is this kid going to hit before it means something?

How is this different than a person brand new to barbell training? Who hasn’t taken time to properly learn the lifts and run some type of linear progression to get stronger? Hell, a first meet is just another training session. The idea we are feeding people is that hitting PR’s as a new lifter is something special, therefore, THEY’RE special. We get to show them how good they are being coached and what a superb athlete they are just because they’re hitting PR’s session after session for their first year.

Uhhh, nope. Hitting “PR’s”  as a new lifter means you’re getting stronger. As you’re supposed to. Because you’re paying your strength coach to help with that process. A PR comes after you spend time in the gym training. Not a month, not two months but a significant enough amount of time that grinding out that PR actually means something.

At the same Highlander last fall, I hit a heavy WFH of 13′. Another strong competitor and I were the last one’s standing. She hit a PR of 13’6″, one she’d been working years to hit. Believe me, she was far more stoked for her 13’6″ than I was for my 13′. Don’t get me wrong, I was very happy and wouldn’t have made it that far without her help (it was my first time competing at a Highlander.) But I didn’t work years for that PR like she did hers. THAT, is what I’m talking about. It’s how I’ll feel when I hit 15′ on the heavy WFH or more than 8′ on the Bremer stone (I hate that thing.)

Training takes time, PR’s will come. Don’t rush them, they’re meaningless when you do. Work your ass off, and savor a hard fought PR.

Wine of the Day:

PENNYWISE Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009

Excellent Cab at it’s price point ($10.99)

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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