Alex Bres, another Black Iron success story


Over the years I have always had my fair share of athletes as clients, but lately because of some of the success of my after school barbell program I have been getting more and more of them. I am happy about this. It is a lot of fun to help those who are motivated to work hard and succeed, and luckily most of the kids that walk in my door fit this description.

This past year I have had one athlete who has really taught me a lot about being committed to training. Alex Bres came in as a referral last spring from Lansing Catholic after basketball season. He was quiet. His mother told me right away that I probably wouldn't get much out of him in the way of conversation, but that he would be willing to work. So that is what we did.

Like all young athletes that come into my gym he started by learning to squat, press, and deadlift. Once he had that down we taught him how to bench press and power clean. Eventually we added in chin ups and snatches. That is all we did for about 6 months. He ran the Starting Strength novice linear progression longer than most kids his age can last. Everybody starts the program and makes serious gains in the first few months, but the average person will usually start making excuses once the bar starts to get a little heavy. Not Alex though. Whatever we put on the bar he lifted.

You learn a lot about training when you watch people grind through sets. You start to realize that it becomes much more mental than anything else. Some people have the ability to endure grind a lot more than others. Many people talk a big game while very few actually put up a big game. And coincidentally the ones that do rarely talk much about it.

Alex was like this. He just came in and did the workouts we asked him to do. Nothing fancy. Just the basic barbell program program. We added weight to the bar every time and made sure we fixed any mechanical problems he was having with his lifts. We also taught him about the importance of recovery and eating sufficiently to stimulate muscular growth. Most importantly, we taught him about not doing foolish things in the weight room and wasting a bunch of time and energy on things that do not lead to an increase in performance.

And he listened. I watched Alex come in everyday and put in work. I watched him gut out his first 300 pound set of five on the squat and really wasn't sure he was going to get the first rep, but he slowly grinded his way through all five reps. I am pretty sure it took every ounce of effort he could muster. He grew a lot from that experience.

Alex took the strength that he built from our program along with the same discipline he brought in everyday to the football field this fall. It became