There's a very clear reason people follow linear progressions for strength training--they work.
For several weeks I've followed an Olympic Weightlifting progression with very good results in both the snatch and clean & jerk numbers. After just this three weeks I am experiencing firsthand the 'drive' that is essential to create powerful weightlifters. Overall I do know that I want the health and fitness benefits conveyed from the time spend jumping and landing with the barbell. And I see that linear progression training for strength and power may not actually be such a bad idea... in moderation. There also seems to be more benefit to progressive, unrelenting pursuit of known and knowable goals than I previously believed.
Coming into this I was hopeful yet skeptical. Nevertheless I set some very high goals (BW snatch and 225 C&J) for myself to attain by 4th of July weekend. The first three weeks have shown a gain of 15lbs in the snatch and 10lbs in the clean and jerk. Will I make the goals? I'll do the work, we'll see about the weight. But there's more to weightlifting than just the weight.
Two things I've been learning about myself are almost the same: the need for patience and how to tune out all the white noise inside and around me when I lift. Unsurprisingly to all who know me I'd say I don't have very good habits with either of these things, but I'm learning. Weightlifting is showing me the value of taking my time and waiting my turn. You must be ready to commit before you make the attempt. You must calmly approach the barbell and respect the weight with all due care and concern of any other dangerous, compelling endeavor. Almost like a boat captain or jet pilot, going through a mental checklist over and over again until the series of thoughts in the checklist are accomplished without thinking about them.
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
This state oddly Zen-like thinking | non-thinking demands that you turn off all the white noise in your head. This is my biggest problem. We all have out inner demons, and they often shout the loudest when we're trying to focus on the task at hand. These inner voices are hard to turn off. Worry. About school, money, taxes, your hairline, your waistline, love, death and/or all of the above. Is the weight too heavy, too light? Will you miss it? These voices can be deafening.You must address the barbell. Get your grip, perfect stance, take the big breath, get tight on the bar, start the lift, first pull, push the knees back, now fast... That white noise will distract you, draw your focus into one part of the lift, make you forget about sweeping the bar in, pushing your knees back or any of the minutiae that become colossal under a heavy loaded barbell. You must let the white noise go and exist in the moment of each lift.
There's an amount of dedication to becoming an expert weightlifter that I admire, although I'm unsure if I can possess it. Maybe that uncertainty tells me all I need to know. In the meantime I'll chase the patience weightlifting demands and allow it to chase the white noise from my head. I've got some goals to hit, and 4th of July is right around the corner.