“Good character is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character”. Heraclitus, with these words, tell us that effort is needed in order to be the person we aim to be. I think we can say the same about training. If you want to become a good athlete, protracted and patient effort is needed.
Before knowing Beast, nobody taught me to lift with intent. I used to pay great attention to the form and the technique of the lifts, but,except for Olympic lifts, I used to limit myself to “just” lift the weight up. Unlike strength exercises, power exercises like jumps, throws and olympic lifts need a certain speed of movement in order to make them successful. Especially with Olympic lifting, you always put the maximal intent to lift the barbell, mostly when the load is heavy, but what do you during strength training?
I can clearly remember my first workout with VBT rules. I had to do some heavy pulls and the task was “lift the barbell as fast as you can”. I did some triple lifts at 100 kg, that was about the 80% of my best 1RM. The perception of the load was completely different, because I spent much more energy compared to what I used to do, and, at the end of the session I felt like I did some Olympic lifting instead of a strength training as I usually did.
We all know that power and strength training have different features and they lead to different adaptations, but if you put the maximal voluntary intent in the movements, you can activate your nervous system with both of them. That’s why moving with intention is important, it allows a greater neural activation that drive to increased level of strength and power.
As any other factor in training, the velocity of the movement is a specific feature to take in account. It has been shown that different speeds results in different training response, because they are initiated differently by the brain and activate different motor units. The effort determines the adaptations.
There are a lot of researches about the physical and physiological adaptation that lifting with intent lead to, but in my opinion there are other aspects that are important as well:
- AWARENESS of the movement and of your body. As any other field in life, if you put maximal focus in your activity and you are aware of it, your capability of learning the movement and receiving useful feedback from it will be greater. Intention of lifting with maximal effort doesn’t allow you to be unfocused!
- ATTITUDE and VOLITION. Intention and effort always make you give 100% of your possibilities, there is no escape. If you are not willing to give all you have, you cannot aspire for great results. You better remember it!
Somebody may object that fatigue is increased with this method, but guys, I’ve never heard about any effective and restful training method at the same time. Furthermore, exertion and fatigue can be modulated and planned, and velocity is a great and reliable tool to handle work load. Lifting with intention doesn’t mean you have to lift maximal or sub-maximal weight in every session. If the goal of the session is working with 50%, because you are in a de-load phase or because you have to work on technique, looking at speed (in this case about 1,0 m/s) allows you to choose the weight that really corresponds to your 50%. The wrong choice of the load will make you miss the adaptation you are looking for.
Results come to those who are willing to spend all that they have to follow their purpose, sales are not contemplated in training.