Deadlifts has become my favorite of compound exercises. It’s an exercise which full power is required. The more weight I get to add, the more power I must give. The more freeing it becomes. It’s just that first rep that momentarily turns me against it. I set up the bar and weights and will look at it knowing the task I have ahead of me. For a moment it seems tedious and fatiguing. I realize the energy I’m about expend on the exercise and on the consequent sets. I take a moment…. A deep breath…. I know what’s about to happen and how I will feel as I get to my second set and after completing my deadlifts. I want to push it off for a few moments longer, but that feeling of mind and physical power and freedom, I want it… I must take that first step, start the first rep. Pushing it off even momentarily will only delay this magnificent state of mind that comes after. No time to waste, get in the right position, the correct starting form. I lift that first rep and all consciousness of delay disappears. 2,3,4,15 reps, my first warm up set is done… Now I just want to do more reps. It’s all about that first step, jumping in before the notion of the massive task ahead can sink in and cause me to back away. I know how much I want it…. Any delay is simply me losing control and pushing of the inevitable, giving in to the difficulty of the task. The difficulty of the task will try put me off, but I am stronger than it and all it requires is that first step. Take it, take that first step and all is well.
Thank you to the overwhelming response, support and acknowledgement I received on the Throwback Thursday post. It really helps to have the support of others on such journeys. My hope is that at least one person was inspired by it. Life is a constant lesson, learning experience and inspiration not only for ourselves, but for and from those around us as well. Embarking on an unknown journey can take one to unknown destinations. Stay strong on your journey an remember that enjoying the journey is in fact enjoying life.
It’s important to modify, adjust, or even substitute exercises to fit one’s ability, injuries, focus, and goals. Sometimes, It’s even worth modifying a movement in order to simply get the best out of an exercise. For example, if you can do a full set of regular pushups, but you can do even more when doing knee pushups, it’s worth doing some regular pushups then continuing on to do as many as you can with your knees on the ground. This way, you can get more reps in, and achieve more than with doing less of the complete movement.
In my case, I have had a week of adjusting and substituting my exercises. I recently took a week break (my first real break in over a year) due to a shoulder injury. Recovering from a shoulder injury can take a lot longer than a week, taking away your ability to do most upper body workouts. But personally, I find it difficult to stay away from the gym and upper body exercising for too long. So as my shoulder recovers, I’ve been adjusting my barbell grips (from my goal preferred wide to narrow) and substituting some exercises (either changing to low weight and high reps or using a barbell instead of dumbells) to keep the movement and pressure on the shoulder to the absolute minimum. This enables me to continue working out while recovering steadily from my injury.
Still it must be done with caution to absolutely ensure the injury isn’t worsened and continues to recover. I find that testing an exercise and the weight before jumping into a full set allows you to asses the injury comfort/discomfort and danger levels.
Today, I shared the bench press with someone I don’t remember ever seeing at the gym before. He asked me how I was able to lift as much as I was lifting (which wasn’t actually too much…I won’t lie…it did kind of make me feel good though), and stated that he could only lift a third of the amount. I explained to him that its the effect of three elements: consistency, hard work, and mental strength. I am consistent with my exercises, workout routine, and diet. I don’t mess about much during my workout. I work hard and push myself to the limit on every exercise. When I feel I can lift more weight, I add more weight. Often, our mind tells and convinces us that we have reached our maximum. Sometimes, I mentally convince myself that I can’t raise my workout intensity or the weight, but I will try it anyway and see how it goes. If I can, I do. If I can’t, I don’t. Many times it is true, but at times, personally, I know and feel that I can do more. So I simply try it. Don’t worry, mental strength will grow with time. Mental strength is necessary for the consistency and hard work, but at the same time, consistency and hard work cause growth in mental strength. It’s like a big circle….well, for me anyway.
Would you agree? Have you ever felt the same way when it came to raising your workout’s intensity?