I may have had a minor weightlifting epiphany this week. Ready? Here it is: It’s not as much about the numbers as what I put into it.
Yep. I was far happier with my work this morning completing 2 squats at 177 lbs than I was with completing 8 but failing the 9th on a max reps at 160 earlier in the week. Why? Because today I didn’t give up; Monday I did.
Yes, technically it’s probably more impressive to have done the 8 reps at 160. But I went into my training this morning determined that no matter how hard it got I would not give up. Ben could take the bar if need be, but not for lack of trying on my part.
We did a couple of fun challenges — first a 1 bench, 3 clapping push-ups routine. I started with 65lbs. 1 rep, then the push-ups, then add weight and keep going till failure. I got to 102 and failed on 107. Ben explained exactly what I did wrong in letting the bar drift forward on the way down instead of pulling it in. I know now what to focus on next time it’s heavy and I’m tired.
Then we did squats — sets of 2 with lateral band shuffles in between. As usual, I didn’t know what was on the bar, just kept going. Ben tightened my belt a notch past what I usually wear when we got to the heaviest (thanks for giving me the smallest waist at the ball, Mammy!). “You don’t need to breathe,” he said, “just take a big breath.” With the belt that tight I could really push on the belt, and my top half felt full of air and unbendable.
I squatted the first one pretty solidly, then on the second, went down slow, didn’t stay tight, and didn’t think I had a prayer of standing up. But I wasn’t giving up this time. Ben was probably yelling chest — I don’t remember. I just pushed up and roared, a lot more than I would normally do — I couldn’t help it, it just came out. And I kept pushing, thinking it would never go but awkwardly, and slowly, it did. It may have been one ugly squat, but I had done it, and buried it, at that.
Of course I wanted to know how much it was, and I was pleased with 177, but really, I was just super happy to have not given up. It’s more important to me to know I can keep trying when it’s easier to quit than it is to get a specific number. As much as I want to squat 200 pounds, as long as I don’t give up under the bar I’ll have accomplished something I can be proud of.