Trust the Barbell

By Juli Bauer

Let me get something straight. You expect me to lift 120 pounds over my head, multiple times, after I just snatched 90 reps? You expect me to trust the barbell to land over my head, without crushing me, AND be able to stand up out of it? You’re high.

Well, obviously not, since multiple people did it. You freaks of nature.

I was lucky enough to coach and partake in WOD 12.2 this past week. I saw frustration. I saw surprise. I saw tears. And I saw pure joy. I watched on as multiple people lifted more weight than they ever had before. I watched them prove to themselves that what they thought was impossible, truly was possible.

Why did this happen? Did they all become instantly stronger in a day? Did they master the snatch by watching the Burgener warm-up on repeat for 17 hours straight? (Probably. That’s what I did.) No. They didn’t PR on their snatch by pure luck. They instilled trust in themselves and trust in the barbell. Plain and simple.

Trust is a hard thing to find. Especially with a barbell. Think about it in relationship terms. You meet someone for the first time, it’s awkward, you have uncomfortable staring moments, and you question everything about them. (No? That’s just me? Cool.) Then you have your first kiss. It’s not that great, but it could get better. Then it does. And the relationship is rocking. And you’re loving every date you have because you’re starting to really like this person. And trust them.

Welp, that’s exactly how your relationship with the barbell is. It’s uncomfortable at times, it’s annoying, it’s sometimes questionable, but in the end, you have put trust in the barbell and decide you believe it will do what you need it to do. Like snatch 165 pounds multiples times. If you don’t trust that damn barbell, sh*t ain’t gonna happen.

And just like a relationship, trust in the barbell takes time. It takes patience. And it takes passion. If you don’t have the yearning for more weight, more reps, and more cowbell, that relationship will never grow. You have to fully believe your one rep max clean and jerk WILL happen or, well, it won’t. You have to fully believe that all the time and energy spent with that barbell will pay off in that very moment or that sh*t ain’t going over your head.

But you know what’s the best part of this relationship? The barbell doesn’t complain. It doesn’t talk back. It doesn’t even talk at all! Best.relationship.ever. So take full advantage. YOU tell the barbell what to do. YOU have created that relationship with the barbell so YOU have control over it. It’s not the barbell’s fault you missed your rep, it’s yours. You only have yourself and your trust issues to blame. Fool.

So, since I am extremely good with relationships, I’ll help you develop your relationship with your barbell. I’m a professional. Just plain fact.

1) Be kind to the barbell. Throwing your empty barbell on the ground or kicking it and saying “F*cccccck” won’t get you any. Any PRs that is.

2) Smile at the barbell. Smiling makes everything better. Have you seen Annie T. workout? All she does is smile. She smiles and the barbell does exactly what she wants it to. Good move Annie. Huge props.

3) Put your blood, sweat, and tears into that barbell. Literally. If you give it all you got, it’s going to repay you.

4) And the best piece of advice for any relationship is communication. Talk to that barbell. Tell that barbell it’s light. Tell the barbell it’s time to snatch the sh*t out of things. I’m not even kidding you. You tell the barbell you love it, it will love you back.

It’s all about trust, baby.

Juli Bauer is a regular contributor to Again Faster and the sole author of PaleOMG. She coaches at CrossFit Broadway in Denver, CO. Photo of Natan Geva of CrossFit Brisbane courtesy of Patrick Cummings.