On Sunday, I went to see Zsolt Derzsi, SFG2, SFL, SFB, to have him help me fix my bench press.
I have a weak bench press, and I need to quickly get it up to finalize my SFL certification. Nothing better than seeing a SFL certified instructor from time to time to ensure technique is correct.
One thing I forced myself to do was to act as a student, not a know-it-all coach. You see, Zsolt is young. I am almost 20 years older than he is. I am also a SFG, and I went through the SFL. It would be easy to be a bit arrogant and discuss everything he says. I did not.
We first talked about programming. I am following a 5×5 approach for the bench press: one heavy day of 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps, and one technical day with lighter weights for 2 to 3 sets of 5. I also work on my kettlebell military press, with the Soju and tuba press program, GTG style. Had he told me that I had to change something in my programming, I would have followed his advice.
Then we went near the bench and started some mobility drills. I usually follow a different order for mobility exercises. Anyway, I mirrored what he was doing, forgetting my usual order for once.
He had me do a few empty bar bench presses, then with a light weight. I did not discuss the weight on the bar. It was not heavy, but it was enough for him to see my technique and what to improve.
After a lot of bench press sets, drills, corrections, cues, he suggested we go practice some kettlebell presses. It was not why I came for. But considering that he identified the main issue being a lack of tightness in my lats (shoulder unpacking during the set), it made sense to also work on military press. So we went to do some.
He had me doing light presses with 20kg, even 16kg, for another 20 minutes, correcting, cuing, until I really started to get it right. As my programming called for singles throughout the day with a 28kg, he suggested I did one set while I was at his gym. So did I.
You see, I knew the issue was with the lack of tightness in my lats. There was nothing new here. I also came for my bench press, not my military press. But I listened to Zsolt, I applied everything he told me, without discussing.
I came to him because I needed help. I know that, despite being young, he is qualified: he is strong, and made many people strong. Everything he did was safe. All I had to do was to listen, and apply.
I had to be coachable.
It does not matter how good you are. When you come to someone qualified to help you, listen to him. Do not discuss. Apply. Be coachable.