When I first walked into a CrossFit gym years and years ago, my eyes were drawn to the gym's leaderboard and I saw the various weights and times that signified the best that gym had to offer. When it came to the weightlifting movements, those weights and numbers all of a sudden took on a certain significance. They became "heavy". That heaviness acted as a dual natured force, in that it both motivated and limited. It motivated because I wanted to work hard to reach those numbers and it limited because it created an artificial and arbitrary idea of what "heavy" was in my unschooled and inexperienced mind.
When I hear athletes complain about weights being heavy, I cringe. When I hear coaches tell athletes "Wow, that's heavy" (especially in the context of their own lifting experiences), I cringe. As far as I'm concerned, "heavy" has three relevant meanings as it pertains to moving weight: 1. Heavy as an absolute. 2. Heavy as a function of an athlete's ability to maintain efficient form and movement (and how that predictably begins to break down as you reach high percentages of your max). 3. Heavy as a feeling (as in "This feeeeeels heavy")
The first is interesting to us as a measure of what the best of the best are doing in terms of moving weight. An elite weightlifter is moving "heavy" weights as an absolute. The second is the most important to me as a coach; a heavy weight relative to that athlete's ability as expressed by their demonstrated ability to maintain efficient form and function. The third is usually a complaint or negative self-talk that I hear far too often! When you and I disagree on "heavy," you should trust that I'm referring to the second meaning while you're likely referring to the third and add more weight!
Happy lifting everyone!
Posted by Zareh.