Widgets Magazine
MIGHTY FIT

This lifting cue has all the life advice you'd find in a Clint Eastwood movie

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jesus Sepulveda Torres)

I can speak with 90% certainty that in the 1997 classic song tubthumping when Chumbawamba said "I get knocked down, but I get up again." they were talking about gravity.

This a-hole is literally doing everything in its power all day every day to keep us down. It's like having a SNCO that wants you to fail just because he doesn't like your nearly-longer-than-standards-permits haircut.

Today we are talking about how to make gravity your bitch. We might even uncover how to get one step ahead of that E-7 that wants your chevrons.



The concept of straight bar path is about to blow your mind.

How a straight bar path undermines gravity

When lifting weights, you aren't actually lifting weights. You are overcoming gravity's effect on the objects you are moving AKA the weights.

Our perception of gravity's effect on a weight changes based on how inline the weight is with the muscles we are using to move the weight.

When the barbell holding the weights is perfectly inline with our balance point and the muscles we are using, the weight only feels as heavy as it actually is.

When the barbell is not inline with our balance point and muscle mass, the weight feels heavier than it actually is. It feels as if it is being pulled away from us by gravity.

The further from center mass, the heavier the weight feels.

Moving with a straight bar path is our best attempt to prevent gravity from pulling the weight away from us.

The straighter the path, the less extra resistance we have to overcome.

This is why form is so important in the barbell lifts. Poor form doesn't only increase the risk of potential injury, it also makes the weight feel heavier than it actually is.

Straight Bar Path and Neuromuscular connection

The bench press requires a curved bar path for the benefit of our shoulder health, not because we want to give into gravity's force.

(@pheasyque via Instagram)

Nearly all of the strength gains an individual experiences in the first 6-8 weeks of lifting is due to these two things.

You become more efficient at lifting. Your bar path becomes straight in your search for the path of least resistance. Also, the connections between your muscles and your brain become stronger and more efficient to ensure that straight bar path on every rep.

How you can use this to your advantage when dealing with higher ranks

Sometimes straightest bar path is just to shut up and color...

(Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Katie Schultz)

We squat and deadlift to fulfill a higher purpose, to get stronger. We utilize the straightest bar path possible so we can move the most weight possible so that we can become stronger faster.

Likewise, we serve to fulfill a higher purpose. In order to fulfill that purpose, whatever it may be for you, we must work with superiors that make our lives difficult.

There is a straight bar path equivalent here. Dealing with gravity is the easiest when we only push vertically directly against it, not on an angle. Dealing with a stubborn boss is easiest when you find the path of least resistance as well.

Maybe that means getting the hardest part of your job done when they are at lunch.

Life is like the back squat; difficult while forcing growth.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Danny Gonzalez/Released)

Maybe it means only reporting to them when they absolutely need to be informed.

Maybe it simply means always responding in a respectful manner, even if you don't necessarily feel respect for them.

I know that sounds like some bologna advice. Imagine a scenario in which you get ripped into every time you neglect a salute or to say "Sir/Ma'am." That ass tearing might take 10-15 minutes out of your day and make you feel butt-hurt for the rest of the day, which in turn will make you worse at your job and perpetuate more sessions of getting chewed out.

That's inefficiency at its worst.

By finding the "straight bar path" for each person that outranks you, you can fulfill your purpose with the least resistance possible. There will still be resistance, don't get me wrong, but that's why we join. To overcome that which we previously thought insurmountable.

We all experience resistance to different degrees. It is always an opportunity to overcome, never a reason to quit.

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kalie Frantz)

A friend of mine recently said something to the effect of:

Life is like a video game, if you're going in a direction with no bad guys, you're going the wrong direction. The purpose of the game is to kill bad guys.

The same goes for life. Resistance should exist, whether it be gravity and a barbell or a particularly difficult job. We are here to overcome that resistance with the straightest bar path possible and get stronger as a result.

Work smarter, so you can be harder.