Throw your Heart over the Bar (AKA Chris’s single rep)


Once upon a time there was a famous trapeze artist passing on his knowledge  to students wanting to learn the art of the flying trapeze.  One day after giving a full explanation and instruction in a skill he told the students to demonstrate their ability.   One student looked up at the small platform where the trapeze artists stand and was suddenly filled with fear.  He froze, already picturing himself falling and couldn’t move a muscle.

The artist came over to the student, put his arm around him and said “You can do it, and I will tell you how.  Throw your heart over the bar, and your body will follow.”

To throw your heart over the bar means to put faith into what you’re about to do, and not to focus on the barrier.  To focus on achievement, not on defeat.

Tamer and Maiden

Recently I watched a video of a friend of mine complete the three feats of strength necessary to become a StrongFirst Beast Tamer.  To put this in perspective, among all current StrongFirst coaches, there are only 25 men and 8 ladies holding the titles of Beast Tamer (Male) or Iron Maiden (Female) in the world. The required strength standards place these people in an entirely different category.  A single leg squat, a one arm overhead press and a pull up to the neck must be performed with a 108lb(48kg) kettlebell for males and a 53lb(24kg) kettlebell for females.

On the gym floor it warms my soul to see my athletes throw their hearts over the bar and accomplish what they thought they couldn’t.  It is a minor irritation as a coach to see someone fail when I know they can achieve something and I often believe this is a case of not being present in the moment and focusing on the direct task at hand.                                                                                                                                                                                             Do not think about the set, or the workout.  Focus solely on that single rep.                                       Throw your heart over the bar, then the next one.

If your coach is mindful and your programming solid, they know you have it.  The task wouldn’t be in front of you if you weren’t physically capable of achieving it.  The day following the posting of this blog I will begin a program designed by someone else to prepare for SFG Level 1 certification.  Up to this point I have relied on my own programming and have earned good progress and insight.  I am throwing my heart over the bar (or kettlebell in this case) and have full faith this program will result in the desired adaptations.

Truth be told, I place major faith in the advice of the StrongFirst coaches that have helped me along the way.  I have taken on-board each of their suggestions and haven’t been steered wrong.


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