Hanging On by A Thread

Albert Coleman
2 min readJan 25, 2022

I’d like to share a helpful piece of imagery that I’ve been employing both with myself and my clients. This imagery came about from me trying to find a more vivid way to describe the minimal amount of force required phraseology I had been using. While that phrasing worked initially, I quickly found that people stopped concentrating on it as well. My suspicion is that it isn’t threatening enough.

What I’ve taken to recently is the image of the weight stack being lifted by a Kevlar belt that is so shredded that it is on the verge of snapping. The tensile limit of this thread is such that it can sustain just the amount of force required to break inertia and sustain uniform movement of the load, but not an ounce more. Keeping this image in mind when starting a repetition, if even the slightest amount of excessive force is applied to the movement arm, the thread will snap. If instead, force is applied so gradually that only the exact amount of force needed for commencement and sustaining, but not more, then the thread will stay intact. In simpler terms apply the right amount of tension to the thread without snapping it.

Applying this imagery to the totality of the rep cycle works equally as well. If at any point during the movement there is any off/oning or segmentation, the peak force impulse created will snap the thread. The same could be said for the vibration and segmentation that occurs with excessively slow movement. This is common on the negative.

The beauty of this imagery is that only ONE speed will result in keeping the thread intact. Tension must be kept theoretically constant. ANY non-uniformity will cause snapping. It’s do or die. Fear is a great motivator.

The effect of this imagery in my own workout has been incredible. I visualize a stack hanging by a frayed thread. Every portion of the exercise I am monitoring the thread to make sure I don’t do something that would cause it to snap. What has really been interesting is what happens once failure once failure occurs. At failure all I have to do is tell myself to keep tension without snapping the thread.

This has been the most effective cue I’ve used in my 15 years of instructing.

Al Coleman

Excerpt from The Inner Circle website



Albert Coleman

SuperSlow Exercise Specialist Certified since 1999 | Co-Founder @Automated Muscle www.automatedmuscle.com