I always like meeting other lifters because we have something in common. No, it isn’t the act of lifting; it is an unsaid goal that we all have. We want to be better than we were yesterday. In fact we hate ourselves in our current state. This is a good hate. The kind that rises up through your heels and engulfs the body. It gives us the strength to lift that indifferent hunk of iron off the ground. It staves off the mediocrity that surrounds us day to day. Remember this when you start your week tomorrow. Run with the Lions, not the gazelles.
I’d rather be dead than average.
It sounds morbid, I know. Trust me, it isn’t a call for help or anything like that. The simple fact of the matter is that I can relate to this. I believe this quote is from Mike Bell, featured in the documentary Bigger Stronger Faster. Somebody else might have said it but that’s where I remember it from.
From time to time, I find myself wondering why we do what we do. Why does ‘average’ represent everything that so many of us don’t want to be? I’ve done average, I’ve done below average and frankly, being a nobody is pretty shit.
When I was 19 years old, I decided to make it happen. I decided to stop being who I had always been up until that point, a nobody. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not foolish enough to think that I’m famous or even terribly popular, but I’ll be damned if I’m still average, and that’s a start.
I went from having no passion, no drive, no ambitions and a very limited perception of a future, to having an exact goal, passion that would astound, the drive to work on it every damn day, the qualifications to get me there and achievements mounting up along the way.
I’m not sure if I can say that what I am doing is right, or will even work, but for once in my life I’m doing something and I’m proud of it. So why dead over average? Seems dramatic and bordering on naive, but here me out. Average to me isn’t what it might be to you. Average to me represents who I was, the mental state, the loneliness and knowing what that did to me, yeah I would choose to never be that/do that again.
I’d like to think that the experiences of depression and mental breakdown leave me in a mind set that will never again allow me to be ‘average’. I would hope that who I am now is incapable of functioning without a goal or some form of ambition. So this is me, literally living for a dream, it may not be normal nor accepted, but it’s me, and I’ll die before I give that up.
Aspire to Inspire.
WARNING – This post is solely discussing lifting/gym/fitness – If you don’t like it, leave now – You were warned.
Pick it up, put it down – The essentials of powerlifting, sadly it’s not all that simple, or least when trying to be better than average. Starting out simple, my lifts are a 175kg Squat, 120kg Bench and a 234kg Deadlift all at under 75kg (Junior). Where it gets a bit more complicated is – A) Getting here, B) Moving forward.
I’ve ran only one program designed by somebody else, everything else i’ve done is off the back of my own designs. For me, all the conventional programs lack the same thing, volume. I’m the crazy bastard that doesn’t want to leave the gym, that’ll train 6days a week for at least 2 hours, i’ll squat, deadlift and many variations of both all in one session.
A sample session for me will be:
Deadlift 4by5. 3. 2. 2
Paused Squat 3by3
Deficit Deadlift 2by8
Bent over row 4by8-10
Underhand pulldown 3by12
Neutral grip pulldown 3by15
Leg Extensions 3by12-15
Bicep curls 2by15
You see my point, the squats alone can take up to an hour. So my issue now is how do I progress. I hit the intensity, I hit the volume, the frequency, so what’s left?
Sadly this all means a refresh of training methods, going back to basics, a 3 day split and build back up, giving me a chance to work with new variables. An idea that freaks me out because that means 4 rest days in a week! Not my style.
Regardless, I’m a little stuck in this and with ambitious goals in mind (Squat 210, Bench 140, Deadlift 250) I have little choice in the matter. If anyone reading has experience at this, please do get in touch! Any advice is always welcomed.
Getting to where I am has only really taken 18 months, but quite honestly hitting somewhat of a plateau recently after some serious progression.
My approach is rather .. blunt? You see there are periodisation approaches, phases, speed work, rep work, RPE scales, percentage based work, conjugate methods, cube training and all the bloody rest. My approach? Go in, lift heavier. I don’t care if that’s your assistance lift, your 8 rep max, your bent over row or the close grip bench you neglect, just go in there and beat SOMETHING.
Okay yes this has it’s issues, for instance if you want to be a bit of a bitch and say ‘I can’t beat a PR each session’ then fine you’re right, but mostly because you have a shit attitude. Realistically there is always something to beat, take the bench as a foundation, there is paused/close/banded/chains/pin/touch/floor press/incline/spotto/axle bar/slingshot and go and then very rep arrangement of those too! Let’s be honest, your excuse is invalid.
This will get you a damn long way for quite some time. But! Then you hit the wall I have, where things get technical, and if you are anything like me, you don’t want to just do any old method, time is valuable. So now I’m reading anything and everything hoping to get this right! So again, advice is welcomed!
Anyway, if I figure it out for me, I’ll be sure to update you! Though I still take on clients for programming,as it seems to be easier helping others than myself (I’m a difficult one).
Aspire to Inspire.
If you’re reading this article, I’ll bet I know a few things about you.
First, you probably have two overriding goals when it comes to weight training – you wanna be big, and you wanna be strong. And by “big,” what I mean is that you want to look the part – muscular and lean.
Second, I’m betting that you feel torn between these two goals. In other words, on one shoulder you have – “Screw what you look like, all that matters is what you can do!”
And of course on your other shoulder, another voice is telling you, “No one knows what you can lift, all they know is what you look like.”
I know these things about you because, well, we’re all chasing those goals, and we all feel conflicted about pursuing two objectives simultaneously, trust me I am one of them.
Although there are exceptions, most bodybuilders admire the amazing strength of powerlifters, strongmen, and weightlifters, and most strength athletes want a physique that reflects their capabilities.
I’ve been torn this way since my early days of training. Granted I started focusing only on aesthetics. I wanted those damn abs. With a bit of time I came across for lifting heavy (in retrospect to my weight). Sure there is ego in there, but its an incredible feeling ripping heavy shit from the floor.
IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE BOTH.
So far I would say i’m pretty strong (220 deadlift today, squat 150 and bench 110) from pure determination with no coach or professional traing, just my own work. As for aesthetics, well i’ve worked for them too and compared to day 1? Shit I look like a god (by comparison).
I love to able to set an example, even if it has been done. But my beginnings, my methods, achievements and current abilities, maybe I can make my point – No matter what, you can do everything you want, anything you want, you just have to work for it.
Aspire to inspire.