Controlled Aggression

Article written by Alanna Casey

We were training the farmer’s carry, my training partner had just picked up 185lbs in each hand. She stood up with the weight then started walking. I allowed her to take about 15 steps and then violently shouted in her ear “MOVE FASTER, CALLIE!!” And wouldn’t you know it; she started moving faster, a lot faster. After about 50 feet she put down the weight and looked at me and said, “I really started moving after you yelled at me, huh? All I needed was you yelling at me and telling me to go faster!”

I am guilty of the same exact thing. In fact, when I’m training or competing I will ask a fellow teammate to yell at me, to give me certain cues or instruction. Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. However, what do you do when your training partner is not there? What do you do when you coach isn’t there to shout at you to move faster? Those are the moments where YOU need to understand and tap into your inner aggression.

Lifting is violent. Competing is violent. Hitting a new PR is violent. You are asking your body to exert maximal effort over a specific time period. You are attempting to get your “fight or flight” reflexes working in a setting where you are not in imminent danger. You must demonstrate 100% authority over your body’s breathing, its muscle movements, and adrenaline release. You are using your body as a vessel, to achieve what your mind desires. And your ability to control that vessel, dictates the outcome of your lift, your event, your WOD, or your competition. You are demonstrating controlled aggression.

I see a commonality as I watch various lifting video, especially from women. They tend to not be aggressive enough. I watched my friends yoke video the other day, and while others were commenting “good job,” and “great work,” I commented, “It looks like you’re going for a stroll. If I were there, I’d be yelling in your ear to hurry on up!” You see, I watched her video and thought, “she can be more aggressive.”

My message is this: be brave when you lift. Be brave when you’re going for a PR. Tap into your inner aggression and do MORE than the minimum required effort to move that weight. When you are performing an event for strongman, or going for a PR in powerlifting or crossfit, lift like your life depends on that movement! Sprint like your soul is on the line. Move weight like someone is yelling in your ear, even if no one is. Be your own training partner when one isn’t there. Demand more of yourself.

Some days it just won’t be your day in the gym, and that is okay. Some days you will just not feel “strong,” you just won’t feel “fast.” But, generally speaking, your body is capable of so much more than you have imagined. The reason your body hasn’t “achieved,” is because you have not imagined it; perhaps because you are satisfied with how you preformed. So don’t be so easily satisfied. All of the champions I know have one thing in common; they are not easily satisfied with themselves. They are their biggest critic. They are their harshest judge. They expect more from their selves than anyone else could.

YOU are the coach of your body. YOU are your best training partner, so be aggressive. In whatever form your aggression may manifest itself. For you, that may be yelling before you lift. For others that may be 15 seconds of complete silence to clear your head. Whatever it is that gets your inner aggression ignited, find it! Find it and use it to your advantage. Be brave and release your inner strength when you are ready; all in a single movement, in a single event, in a single WOD. Then, you will tap into your true potential. Then, you will start to understand how to become the master of your body. Then, you may achieve greatness.

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