Playing The Long Game

I often think of weightlifting to be very similar to poker. You’ve got to play the long game. Thinking to yourself, do you really want to risk it and go all in before the game has even started? As a poker player I know for sure that I do not. It is the same with weightlifting, people tend to go ‘all in’ too soon, thinking they need to be training twice a day, or they go heavy every session without realising it’s early days. This is where injuries occur.

A poker player will start off a tournament only thinking of how they can gain a few chips here and there, trying to get a read of the table and perhaps honing their technique with the lower ranked players before moving through to the more challenging opponents. If they try and rush this process and attempt to win every hand too early, it’s easy to make mistakes and lose all your chips in doing so. Weightlifting needs to be treated the same way and with the same respect. Taking the first year or two to hone your own technique, understand your body and gain just a few ‘chips’ here and there will result in a strong to base to work with later.

How to initially gain those first chips

Building a base is a slow process and isn’t often filled with fun, exciting and sexy lifts, but it has to be done. All those accessories you put off, core work you’re convinced will make you unstable for tomorrow’s training or mobility you’ve ignored yet again because you “don’t have time”, start to add up. These are three key areas that are going to help you build that base so you don’t bust out and walk away with nothing. Blocking out time during your training sessions once or twice a week to just focus on strengthening your weaknesses or getting more mobile in areas where you are not, is the best way to move forward and start playing with the high rollers.

The player that plays the longest wins the poker tournament.

The lifter that lifts the longest wins the weightlifting meet.

Great accessory movements to win you those extra chips

Posterior chain

  • Good morning
  • RDL
  • Bent over row
  • Pendlay row
  • Sled push
  • Deadlifts
  • Lunges
  • Split squats

Over-head strength

  • Pull ups
  • Dips
  • Strict press
  • Bench press
  • Dumbbell presses
  • Dumbbell flies
  • T spine extension drills
  • Close grip OH squat

Core strengthening

  • Sit ups
  • Strict toes to bar / knee raises
  • Ab roll outs
  • Hollow holds
  • Russian twists
  • Planks
  • Back extensions
  • Glute bridges

Start incorporating some of these into your training to be able to play that long game!