Learning from the best: Brett Gibbs

Arguably the best pound for pound powerlifter in the world right now. He is also one of the most well-rounded powerlifters in the IPF. A hugely strong Squat a powerful bench press and a massive deadlift.

But, the best thing about Brett is not his strength, but his mentality.

He has the champion mindset.

His persistence and drive to achieve is a hallmark of him as an athlete.

Brett Gibbs has been at the peak of the sport for the last 5 years and can be credited in many ways for the progression of the sport in both the Raw and Equipped forms. Additionally, through his social media channels, he has helped thousands of powerlifters become more successful and direct them in a positive direction.

But, through his extensive experience and domination at the top level, we can certainly take away a few things.

Being a champion does not always mean you win

I say this in reference to 2016 IPF classic worlds. I would definitely say I am #teamgibbs so maybe this perspective is a little skewed. Regardless, while Haack displayed a commanding victory and placed his name strongly in the powerlifting world. Gibbs demonstrated his champion quality.

Gibbs had a lot of errors on this day and got really unlucky in a lot of ways. The soft lockout on the squat and the dropped final deadlift being two notable problems.

But, he conducted himself with the utmost decency and walked away ready to fight another day. While this was definitely a huge setback for him coming in as the no.1 ranked he took the loss. And made sure that his opportunity to come back was open.

Consistency In Training Means Consistency In Comps

Gibbs has achieved the level in the sport through consistency, not just in continually competing at the highest level but in continually training with the highest quality in every one of his sets and reps throughout his long term training and also his preparation for every single meet he competes in.

Ensuring that you take your time working through your sets and getting adequate reps, to ensure that rep quality is at the highest possible level. This will allow you to build overall consistency which is a direct function in ensuring the consistency with your performances at competitions. Essentially building the highest level of technical efficiency in each of the powerlifting movements. He always completes the lockout fully, always hits depth and always pauses for comp length. Practice how you play and you can be like Gibbs one day.

Comp Accessories Should Help Your Comp Movements

This is a contentious issue and one that really encompasses many of the issues in the powerlifting world, politically speaking. I am sure you are aware of the debates between westside conjugate style lifters and modern raw style lifters.

Well the controversy for me seems to revolve around the value of dynamic effort and max effort style training versus linear periodization and specificity.

This is one of the elements of Bretts lifting that I can respect. Personally, I can see the value of accessories that are highly specific as opposed to movements that differ significantly and instead build overall strength.

But, Gibbs includes a few stalwart movements which ensure progression in the main lifts and help to eliminate weak points in your lifts.

So I recommend evaluating potential assistance movements that will benefit you most in each of your lifts for example:

Long pause bench press, close grip bench press, Pause squats, Pin Squats, paused Deadlifts and Stiff leg Deadlifts are all great options for progressing these movements while including a significant amount of competition specificity.

Take a Step Back to Step Forward

Sometimes it is important to acknowledge that there are limits to our progress and we have to establish methods of resetting and pushing forward in a different direction. Changing his squat form and working more on technique in the bench press assisted him in progress.

But, a lot of these improvements were made due to his poor performance and need to find other ways to improve within the sport.

Being patient and assessing our weaknesses as they develop, it allows us to further understand our own limitations and ensure that we can progress consistently and compete at the highest level of the sport.

So focus on being consistently analytical of your progress as well as evaluating as you work towards your goals and thus become a better athlete holistically.

In my opinion, the best method of accomplishing this is through setting goals for each training cycle and whether that is to move more weight or simply just improve in a tangible technical way. At the end of these periods looking back at how this has gone will allow you to establish where to go from this point and how to continue to progress.

A further requirement of this would be to consistently record video of your training lifts, especially top sets but also higher rep sets so that you can evaluate where you might be falling short and find ways to ensure that you can optimize your training and performance.

On the whole, there are certainly a few things we can take away from Brett and his quality approach to the sport. But, most of all if you take away anything from this post consider the determination. Like many of us, he progressed from being a beginner to becoming a member at the top of the sport. So there is hope for you, regardless of how far away you are with consistent work and ressilient effort you can make it to the zenith of the sport.

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