Watch this video.  What do you see?


Ben McCool lifts some weight.  Pretty straightforward.  You’d never guess it by how effortless those lifts looked, but they were both personal records (PRs).  In the video on the left, the “snatch”, Ben lifted 135 pounds.  He would go on to lift 145, a PR by 35 pounds.  In the video on the right, the “clean and jerk”, Ben lifted 195 pounds, a PR by 10 pounds.

But what didn’t you see?

Rare will be the day when we are not bombarded by images of professional athletes.  We see effortless performances full of grace and power and we wonder.  We see images of washboard abs and tight butts and we wonder.  We see success and we wonder.  We wonder and we wish.  We wish it would be so easy.  The only easy thing, however, is the truth:  it hasn’t been easy for any of these folks.  While we see the finished product, we have not been a part of the process to get there.

Did you see them struggle in the weight room or the practice field?  Have you sweat, bled, and suffered with them through the windsprints or the hours of heavy lifting?  Did you see all of those missed free throws or whiffs at batting practice?

As one of the original members of The Movement Program, my after school club I started back in 2012, Ben took it upon himself to improve his quality of life.  Initially, he struggled.  Every day posed a new challenge.  There were some movements that he couldn’t do.  But he would not give up.  Slowly he lost weight and started to get the hang of movements like double unders and snatches.  Progress was at hand.  Recently, however, the coaching staff here at Steelworks discovered some serious imbalances in Ben’s core strength.  As a result, he had to step away from weightlifting movements and in place began a specialized program that targeted these weaknesses in his core.  The protocol wasn’t sexy and exciting.  One could argue it was downright boring.  Ben, however, accepted the hours of monotonous work without complaint.  While everyone else was doing the “fun” barbell movements, there was Ben doing his single leg side plank holds, stir-the-pots, and suitcase carries.  In the end, it has paid off.  Nearly three months later, Ben has PR’d his overhead squat, high bar back squat, snatch, and clean and jerk (and probably a host of other lifts that I simply can’t remember).

Whenever you see someone hit a PR, celebrate the experience with them.  It is, after all, more than just a lift.