• Matt Ferrara BS C.S.C.S

Position and Intent

Pain is a great teacher.

I dropped an 85 kilogram barbell on my back today....

I was doing hang snatches, at a weight I had done hundreds of time before.

What happened?

The bar fell out of my hands and dropped on my upper back and threw me forward.

What happened before that was I got up late, rushed to the gym, ate on the way, and rushed through my warm up. Mentally I wasn't there, and sure enough on the second rep of the first set I dropped the bar on my back.

Needless to say it didn’t feel good, but it was a great reminder of two of the most important aspects of training that I was momentarily lacking.


You can’t control how heavy the weights feel, but you can control your positions. Focus on what you can control, and the rest will fall into place.

I used to have a weightlifting coach that would stress trusting in your positions when getting under heavy weights. Dropping under something heavy as fast as you can and hoping you can make it isn't a natural thing. As a result, many struggle with the sport of weightlifting from a mental standpoint more than a physical one.

His point was that if your trusted the positions you worked so hard on building, everything would work out. This gave you something to focus on both in training, and right before committing to get under a heavy lift.


Approach every exercise, set, and rep with a clear intention and outcome. If you don’t know why you are doing it or aren’t mentally present, don’t do it.

Intent is what sets training apart from simply working out, and intent is what leads to success.

If you want to get better at something and follow the 10,000 hour rule, you can't just spend 10,000 mindless hours going through the motions and expect to become an expert. Instead, you must put the mental effort in to be consciously present and deliberate with your actions. This is intent, and this is critical in achieving your goals.

Here's My Near Death In Case You Are Interested.....

If my positions were good I would not have dropped the bar on myself, and my back would not feel like I was beat with a 2x4.

If my intent was clear, I also would not dropped the bar on myself. Again not feeling like the victim of a mugging is always a good goal for a Thursday morning...

I’m going to keep learning and relearning these lessons the hard way so that you don’t have to.

Until next time, stay strong with your positions and maintain your intent. Share this with a friend who needs a reminder to stay vigilant with these!

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