Author Topic: The Art of the Grind  (Read 1306 times)


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The Art of the Grind
« on: May 14, 2023, 01:00:17 PM »
The Art of the Grind by Bryce Lane Mar, 30 2007

All arts are not about beauty, not about splendid photographic instants where all is perfect, not about perfect three pointers,
dead-on rack and recoveries,  double plays too perfect to see or even describe. Some arts are ugly, take time, too much time
and if the question is asked "why doesn't he just quit", the answer is a casual "because he hasn't passed out yet". The art I
speak of is patience over existential pain borne silently till the job is done. Millimeter by millimeter, crawling at a pace that
raises the blood pressure of the athlete, the refs and the spectators to dangerous levels yet never stops till the thing is done.
Like all other arts, it has a technique. A technique you must master, a set of understandings and emotions you must make
yours. Simple "tough it out" and "quitting is not an option" statements are meaningless. The grind must be loved and
mastered like any other high art. You go there by choice, because you know it's a rare opponent who is comfortable there.
The grind is something they have to go through, something that must be tolerated to win. If you master the grind this is how
you win, they have a limit to what they must "tolerate", you don't tolerate the grind, you go right there and stay there as long
as need be without hating it, without resisting it, without being divided in yourself about being there.
The secret to grinding is not "belief in yourself", "going somewhere else" or any other dumb little paliative. As the man said
in the movie "ya gotta have your mind right" (Cool hand Luke). Having your mind right means you realize that the moment
your hand starts pulling or pushing on the bar There is no strategy. There is nothing to think about. If your mind stops, your
body stops, the bar stops. If there is a "zen" you can practice without all the cultural decor, a grinding deadlift is it.
This is not a simple lack of fear. If you are not afraid when you look at the bar, then this will certainly not be a lift where the
grind will happen. Be afraid, yet act anyway.  Here are some things to practice to get your mind right for the grind:
1.) Have a set routine-Do the setup quickly and the same way every time.
2.) Pull, press or squat as soon as possible-Don't waste time over or under the bar. Don't "fiddle".
3.) Have your fear-Don't strategize against fear, you will lose every time. Speak to fear and it wins.
4.) Do not "test" the bar. If you are going to lift, lift. If you are not going to lift don't. Good grinders don't mess with getting
their toes in the water, they step up and dive.
5.) Avoid the "fourth breath"-This is complex but aquaintance and I were watching deadlifters in another division at a
contest. Most came out, gripped the bar, one-two-three breaths, then up. Yet with some there was a fourth breath and it didn't
go up. They had talked themselves out of it. Right on that fourth breath you could see the spirit go right out of them.
Of these listed  "The fourth breath" has a biggest meaning. It is about commitment. It means that once you have committed,
you don't permit any "monkey chatter" in your head. It means you have decided. This is not something you are born with.
You must practice with every lift. The way to get rid of the "monkey chatter" is by routine and by simply giving it no time to
happen once you have committed. Fear is natural, yakking about it in your head is not. Fear is normal, overreaction to it is
learned and you can unlearn it just as well.
I have a routine in contests. When I hear the "platform is clear statement" (deadlift) I knod to each  ref, step up to the bar,
right hand hook, left hand hook, back arch/heels down, three breaths and up. It has been that way for more than a decade
with every lift in the gym or out. I am almost proud in a way to say I haven't had a significant thought with my hand on the
bar in ten years. There is always plenty of time to strategize, ruminate and test elsewhere; places where you can even do all
that over coffee, tea or fried chicken if you like but never with hands on the bar. With hands on the bar, the world is silent.
The secret to the grind is to simply do it, to learn how to simply do it, to seek always a simple pure expression of undivided
will by ceaseless practice at shutting down everything that doesn't move the bar one millimeter further.



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Re: The Art of the Grind
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2023, 11:58:50 PM »
Really emotional and informative article! Yeah you are very right ‘Quitting is not an option’ It’s good for those who are new in the training and want to quit soon because of the obstacles they had faced and still facing, but consistency makes them perfect and eligible.