Mom taught our group classes a lesson yesterday.  She taught them the meaning of a Finnish concept: Sisu.  And the best way to teach is by demonstrating.

Plank holds have been on the menu a lot recently.  Tedious as they may be, they are an important exercise for developing the strength required to stabilize your mid line when under load.  If you lack the strength to hold a plank, you are not yet safe to support heavy loads on a barbell.

Mindset is everything.  Yesterday I asked group classes to hold a 5 minute plank.  I invited athletes to change as needed from side plank to centre plank but not to take any breaks.  You groaned and rolled your eyes as if I were asking the impossible.

Tough, yes.  Uncomfortable, yes.  Impossible, no.

Several Empower athletes did as requested, shifting from centre to side for 5 minutes without breaking from the plank position.  It was tough.  But they proved it was possible.

Mom, perhaps determined to demonstrate some Finnish resolve, chose to hold that centre plank without shifting for the entire 5 minutes!  Was she trembling by the end?  Absolutely.  Was it uncomfortable?  You bet.  Was it impossible?  Obviously not.  At least not when you’ve stopped making excuses for why you can’t and decided to just suck it up and suffer through the hardship.

Does Mom possess super powers that you do not?  Is it your core or your mind that is lacking strength?  If your core is really that much weaker than that of an athlete in her 70’s then I know what you need to be practicing a few times per week.  If it’s your mind, then it’s time to change those internal conversations.  Stop cringing away from hardship and begin teaching yourself to embrace the challenge.  There is no change without discomfort!

Sisu is a special strength and persistent determination and resolve to continue and overcome in the moment of adversity, a combination of stamina, perseverance, courage, and determination held in reserve for hard times.  While Sisu is a distinctly Finnish concept, you don’t need to be Finnish to cultivate Sisu.

Yesterday was our second time tackling this unusual row:rest interval and it yielded several personal bests.  Here’s how the scores played out:

Metres Athlete
4200+ Rowdy, BFG
4100+ Point Break, Marty, Magnum
4000+ Sandman, Badger
3900+ Doc Disc
3800+ Dr. T, Smash, Mr. Fantastic
3700+ Smokey, Mufasa, Big Cat
3600+ Yeti, Hard Rock
3500+ HHH, G-Money, Iron Man, FeProf
3400+ Crusher, Dauntless, Sentadilla, Quicksilver, Fierce
3300+ Auto, Shades, Riot, MakMama, Pepper, Skipper
3100+ Silk
3000+ Hawkeye, Ryder
2800+ HeeHee
2500+ Mom, Sprite
2200+ Intrepid