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A Physical Demonstration of Mental Fortitude

I often talk about mental strength on this blog. It’s a topic that is important to me, after all what use is physical strength without the mind to back it up? It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy working with the guys over at RehabCare HOPS, the mental health support group/charity. Seeing them progress in the self defence and fitness training I give them is awe inspiring.

But when it comes to the rest of us, what does mental strength look like? Usually we hear about it in stories and adventures, people doing amazing feats like climbing Anapurna, running the Sahara etc, stuff we can’t really comprehend because it’s so far out of our point of reference. But if you’re reading this blog then I’d say you’re a little familiar with lifting heavy things over your head. At least I’d hope so.

Over the weekend just passed I was down in Wexford at Mick Kelly’s gym Total Fitness Systems on the Westpoint industrial estate. I was down to support 6 of my athletes all of whom were taking part in the Cup of Ireland Kettlebell lifting competition. While every lifter did an incredible job and I’m extremely proud of my guys for taking part, I want to show you the two sets performed by Phil Roche.


Because these clips sum up what mental fortitude is all about. Both videos are around 10 mins long, but if you wish skip to the last 4 mins of each. This is where those 24kg bells really start to feel very heavy. Phil only weighs 71kg, this is his first competition lifting the 24’s, last year he was using 16kg bells. He’s been training with the 24’s for 14 weeks, prior to that he’d never lifted them.

If you watch the clips see how he wavers and almost quits but then that switch in his head flicks and he digs deeper, drops a gear and just goes for those final few reps. Reps that earned him not only a place on the Irish squad for international competition, but the respect of every person in the room. Check it out:

1st, the Jerks, 73 of them: [youtube] Then the Snatch, all 130 reps: [youtube] Well done Phil, and thankyou for demonstrating what mental strength looks like.



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