Minor powerlifting epiphany time. I’ve been focusing on the lift I was best at — the squat — precisely because I was strong at it. I was ok with not excelling at my bench and deadlift because I had a pretty darn impressive squat and I felt like that carried me. I broke a small federation’s record and was aiming for a bigger record at a USAPL meet next month. But circumstances (lemons in the form of pain I can no longer ignore) are forcing me to stop working on squat — and on deadlift — for a while. I can cry about it (and ok, maybe I have) or I can make the most of it with an upper body push/pull program. And Ben tells me it’s time to get good at bench press.
I like to evaluate my lifts using the CrossFit strength standards, where my squat falls into the ‘elite’ category. I’m intermediate in deadlift (nine pounds shy of advanced) and intermediate in bench, two pounds short of advanced. That’s quite a gap in performance from my big-girl lift to the other two. Truthfully, it would have been easier to keep focusing on squat, at least as far as my perceived reward. Getting closer and closer to a double body weight squat would have been (and still will be when I’m ready to start again) tremendously exciting and gratifying. Adding maybe a pound at a time to my bodyweight bench just won’t pack the same punch. And that’s actually what will make it better for me.
When I can learn to take pride in small accomplishments, to fight what will be a longer battle for great success, I’ll be a stronger, better athlete. Being a good sport is not my strong suit. (Have I mentioned the time I had to leave a party in disgrace after an opponent in a board game refused to continue playing because I was “too competitive”?) Trading a chance to break a record in exchange for simply breaking a personal record is hard for me. But it’s teaching me some valuable lessons.
Working on my bench press, the lift with the slowest gains and the lowest numbers, will help me learn patience. It will make me humble (no ‘I can bench press your husband’ T-shirts!). And it will make me grateful that I am training at all. So let’s get benching!