deadlift, powerlifting, barbell training, strength training,


A hungry boy was eating a bag of cherries. The very last one slipped out of his fingers, and dropped on the floor. His quick reflexes told him to pick it up – FAST! After reclaiming his cherry, he shouted, “FIVE-SECOND RULE!”

“If it’s not five-second yet, it’s still okay to eat!” the boy thought to himself. He cleaned the cherry using his T-shirt and gave it a quick blow. “Good as new,” and proceeded to eat the cherry he just picked off the floor.

The hungry boy grew up and became a strength coach. When he saw his lifters failing their lifts, he thought to himself,  “Surely, if they want it as much as I wanted my cherries, they could have pulled it up.” And thus, the FIVE-SECOND RULE in lifting was born.

True story.


Which team are you in?

Have you heard of the five-second rule? Have you noticed yourself or seen anyone giving up on their lifts, although it looked relatively easy until they gave up?

If you are guilty of such a crime, don’t worry! You are not alone! The majority of the lifters belongs to Team “Let it go!”

*Cue “Let it Go” from Frozen*

Bro science tells us that there are only two kinds of lifters in this world – lifters that are strong and lifters who let it (the bar) go.


Not strong enough?

Luckily, we know the usual offenders of this rule. Yes, I’m calling you – late Novice/Early Intermediate lifters.

I can understand. Up until now, everything has been smooth sailing for you.

You know the bar can go up… Up until now!

Now it’s starting to feel different! It’s hard.

You start to doubt yourself,

“Can I do this?”

You are exhausted. Thoughts start coming into your mind.

That’s when Elsa comes into your brain, singing

– you guessed it –

“Let it go!”


Case study:

Check this video out. Observe his third rep and tell me what you think. Is he in Team Lift Heavy, or is he in Team Let It Go?



Honestly, I didn’t expect him to fail his third rep. And see how fast he decided to stop pulling. Elsa hasn’t even started singing!


You are strong enough, but…

You need to give yourself some time to recruit the maximum number of motor units in your muscle. A more in-depth discussion about motor unit recruitment would require you to read another 1,000-word essay, so let me summarize in just a few sentences:

1. Each muscle consists of a few motor units that are recruited according to the load we are handling.

2. A smaller load requiring less force would require a lower number of motor units being recruited.

3. A bigger load requires more motor units to be recruited, and this requires time. Imagine that when you’re surfing the internet using 3G, you will need to wait longer for the things to load if you want to watch a 4K video on YouTube.


The solution:


/ fʌɪv ˈsɛk(ə)nd ruːl /


1. Don’t let go of your bar for a full five seconds!

2. It sucks, but just suck it up.




Yes, it will feel like the hardest thing you’ve done in your life. It will feel impossible until it becomes possible. So, the key is to want it enough.

Be the hungry boy!

Don’t let it go!



My interest in fitness started when I was around 19 years old. Being overweight for most of my growing up years, I decided to do something about it. After months of not being able to achieve the desired results, I began poring through books and articles about training and nutrition. The more I read, the more interested I became in this field, and got better results when the the newly discovered knowledge was applied. After 1 year of persistence and hard work, I lost 24kg and felt fantastic. The sense of achievement motivated me to pursue a career in working with people to help them achieve their own fitness goals.

After achieving my weight loss goal, I tried a variety of training programs for a few years, looking for a new goal to train towards. After aimlessly moving around from program to program, I chanced upon a book called Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, written by renowned strength and conditioning expert, Mark Rippetoe. Little did I know that this book was about to change my life and coaching career.

At that point, I had experience training with barbells and was relatively familiar with it but never have I come across any material that gave such explicitly detailed explanations of how to perform the barbell lifts. I devoured the book and modified my lifting technique and program. In just a few months, I was pleasantly surprised by how much stronger he had become. I now had a new goal to work towards – getting strong.

With full confidence in the efficacy of the Starting Strength methodology, I began coaching my clients using this program and got them stronger than they ever thought was possible. The consistent success my clients achieved through the program cemented my confidence in Mark Rippetoe’s teachings. I then decided to pursue the credential of being a Starting Strength Coach and I’m currently the first and only certified coach in Singapore and South-East Asia

In my 9 years of experience, I have given talks and ran programs at numerous companies and worked with a diverse group clientele of all ages with a variety of goals. Today, I specialise in coaching people in their 40s, 50s and beyond because it brings me a great sense of satisfaction to be part of the process of improving this demographics’ health and quality of life by getting them stronger.