“Only truthful hands write true poems. I cannot see any basic difference between a handshake and a poem.” – Paul Celan

We all like to PR.  This is what we ultimately strive for.  It is a measure of your improvement and something that you train day in and out for.  This is the very nature of what it means to be competitive.  This is the ultimate goal of Weightlifting: to lift as heavy as possible.  Given the nature of these lifts, the heavier it gets the more technical you must become.  Being strong is certainly a linch pin, but it is so much more than that… or else anyone who did steroids would be in the Olympics.

The mental facet of this sport is just as present as the physical… perhaps, from the outside, this is why the general population may view Weightlifters as obsessive.  It requires a lot of single-mindedness.  The athlete will literally form a relationship with the barbell and the weight.  It becomes an expression of themselves.  Each level they achieve, as their skill rises, presents a new type of relationship.

I heard John Broz once say that attempting a PR lift is a lot like a hand shake with a stranger.  The first time you meet someone it is simply a formality.  You don’t know anything about them, nor they you.  This is a lot like the first attempt of a PR pull.  You have never tried the weight before.  You pull, and just kind of attempt to get under it, but miss.  The was the hand shake.  You are getting familiar.


The more you pull something you start to create a relationship.  Then your PR eventually becomes more successful… in a year it’s all of a sudden your working weight.  The largest measure of success in technical measurements, in my eyes, are your minimals – or the weights you can move consistently.  One day you clean it, sloppy, but you got under it… miss the jerk.  Then you clean AND jerk it in two weeks… slight press out.  Two more weeks you smash it…. withing 6 months you barely miss it anymore.  It was all of those pulls where you develop that relationship.  All of your misses get you used to the movement at that weight.  They’re building timing, strength, positional awareness, stability, balance… confidence.  So, in a way, you are creating a relationship with that weight.  Your first attempt really is just shaking hands… relationships take time to build.