My blog inspiration comes from a recent personal experience at the gym. It was leg day; I began with my warm up on the treadmill, properly preparing my body. Performing my usual exercises for the various muscles I intended to work: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves. I’m onto my squats.... Starting with warm up sets, lightweight, higher reps, slow and controlled repetitions with a pause at the top; concentrating on squeezing the muscles. After this typical series of warm up activities my muscles, joints, and nervous system have been properly warmed up. Form is on point. I’m about to start my working sets.
As usual, I start to drop it like it’s hot (yes like that Snoop Dogg song) and I’m well into my fourth working set. It’s rep 9 of 10, core engaged, chest out, shoulders back, knees are just below 90 degrees of flexion, I get to the bottom of the rep. And wouldn’t you know it, I get stuck. Unable to return to the top of my rep. A quick decision must be made... power through this rep, with the chance of compromising form, increasing the chances of injury. Or check my ego and abandon ship; as men this can be a tough pill to swallow. Being someone who constantly preaches injury prevention, body mechanics and proper form, I was left with only one option. I rolled the bar off my back and let the weight hit the floor. Suddenly all eyes are on me. Someone approached me, ensuring I was unharmed. All I could think was yes, of course I am. Why wouldn’t I be? I properly abandoned the bar and stepped forward away from the weight and away from any further danger. I safely finished the remainder of my workout, injury free.
This experience inspired my blog for this week for a few reasons. 1) I want to simply remind you to stay safe in the gym and learn the proper way to ditch weights without compromising body mechanics. This seems straightforward, but it often is not. Learning a few of these simple techniques can be the difference from being in the game or on the bench with an injury.Do a bit of research and figure out how to ensure safety in exiting a lift, practice this exit using light weights. 2) I think it’s important for people to understand that no matter how much experience you have, failure and progression go hand in hand. This is really the point that sticks out for me. If you’re not willing to fail, then the limits are not being tested, and progress is unlikely. Ultimately, progression and growth are the fundamentals to reaching goals. A potential roadblock (or what you may deem a failure) can be as simple reaching only 8 or 10 repetitions due to fatigue. For example: one-week bench press, 205 for 10 reps, the following week, 205 for 8 reps. This could be viewed as failure when compared with prior accomplishments, which is often distorted frame of reference in my opinion. Failure should be used as motivation instead; encourage progression, a reason to push harder, conquer all obstacles and barriers.
Never be content, or settle. Strive to exceed your own expectations. If you fail, ask yourself why, what needs to be done differently? And what did I learn from this “try” that I can improve on and apply forward. These changes that are made time and time again will ultimately lead to success. There is no reward for failure, this discourages people from trying. Instead dig deep, refuse to give up until you are absolutely positive you have left everything on the table. The most satisfying accomplishments never seem to come easily - however, they do have the sweetest rewards. So with your head held high, try your best to maintain a positive attitude, find the good in every situation. And don’t fear ditching a lift in the name of progress.
Authored by Greg Horvath | Greg is a Certified Personal Trainer at NXTLVL, and a Therapist Assistant