I am a student of strength - Strong mobility

I am a student of strength

This Sunday morning, I hopped into my car and travelled for 1 hour to a gym in Dunajska Streda. I had to be back no later for the beginning of the afternoon for family plans. A total of 2 hours travelling in half a day just for training?

In the end of 2016, I went to the SFL certification and passed the tests easily, but the bench press strength test. My bench press has always been my weak point. I even opted out of the test right at the beginning, as I knew I would not pass, and possibly hurt myself while trying. I focused on learning the technique during the weekend.

So I went on Sunday to this small town. I had an appointment with Zsolt Derzsi, SFG2, SFL, SFB. I wanted him to have a look on my bench press.


I coach people. I teach them how to use a barbell, a kettlebell or their own bodyweight to get stronger. I have been taught to identify form issues on a student and how to correct them. The SFL manual is an excellent resource for this; I often dig into it for my own training.

I also have good proprioception awareness. Most of the time, when I film myself, I am not overly surprised by how the lift looks like.

Why then would I endure the trouble of travelling 2 hours on a Sunday morning to have him look at my bench press?

Because I can only see myself on video after I made a lift, and it is too late.

Because I cannot use tactical cues on myself, the ones that makes you feel, not think.

Because I may not be my best critic, and I am blind to my own weaknesses.

Because an external eye will always point out something I may not have paid attention to.

Because I know a SFL certified instructor knows what to look for, and how to correct issues.

Because even if I am aware of an issue, I may not be able to correct it by myself.

I indeed knew the issue. I tend to relax my lats during the set, or sometimes not even contract them properly from the start. As a consequence, my shoulders start to unpack, go up, and I am lifting more and more with my small shoulder musculature, and not with my back. This is not good for performance, and in time, it is a recipe for injury.

We did a few mobility drills, and we started to bench with light weights. We focused on technique. Zsolt reviewed my setup, my positioning, my tightness, everything. Most aspects were good. I was happy to see that I was applying properly most of what I had learnt at the SFL. As expected, he pointed out that my shoulders tented to unpack and we worked a few drills to make me feel the proper position during the set.
As a bonus, he also offered to check my kettlebell military press. We worked of lats tightness again.

A few days later, my bench feels better. My military press feels lighter. Zsolt teaching helped me.

Why did I travel two hours?

Because I am a student of strength.

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