I got your volume right here

I’m about halfway between my first power lifting meet and my next one — a big one, an honest-to-goodness meet sanctioned with referees and required lifting garb (I’m talking singlets here!). One where I’m going to attempt a squat that keeps me up at night. If I can do this thing I will actually break a record for my weight class. I flip between extreme excitement and glee that I’m even close enough to consider such a thing, and stark terror at the thought of actually going under a bar loaded with 180 pounds.

To prepare for this, Ben and coach Max are pummeling me with volume. Lots of weights, lots of reps, lots of sets. Over and over and over going under the bar. I’m in the phase of my program now where I’m up to four sets of 10 at 70% of my one-rep max. This morning, at the beginning of an epic workout that left my clothes as sopping wet as if I’d showered in them, I did 40 squats at 115 pounds, ten at a time. After failing my third of three reps at 150 pounds yesterday, I was a little down about whether I can cut it or not.

But I ground through every last one of those squats — too slowly, and with a good amount of struggle, but I completed them nonetheless. Remembering to keep my chest and head up like Ben has been working with me on, I fixed my gaze on the 36-roll pack of toilet paper on top of the closet. Counting, mentally urging myself on when my knees wanted to come in and my legs wanted to sink instead of power upwards, I lifted that weight 40 bloody times, never taking my eyes off that package. Was it inspiring like the Rocky poster on the opposite wall? Maybe not so much, but I  was working on the rack that we used at the last meet, the one that throws me with the liftoff, and I wanted to practice there.

I went on to do lots more — it was a long workout today — but I was most proud of completing that grueling run of squats. When I look back to this winter, when I folded under 120 pounds on an attempt at one 6-rep set, it’s hard to believe I’m working with the same body I had then. And when I tallied up the weights I lifted on squat and deadlift today, multiplied by reps and sets, I found that I’d moved 9200 pounds! Yep, I’ve got your volume. : )


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