Two weeks ago, I had a day in the gym that was perfect. Every motion flowed like silk. After having a pause for the holidays, getting back in the groove felt great.
Last week, while my form was still on point, the flow was uneven. I finally understood what competition commenters mean when they say a lifter grinds out a set.
The amount of effort to move the plates was huge, at least for the first lift of the set. The speed picked up for each one after that first time, but still over the course of the session, my trainer and I could see that my brain and my legs were fighting each other on my first approach to the bar.
These weren’t lightweights, but neither were they really heavy ones either. And yet, they resisted movement. Each time I started a set, I dragged that bar over my shins, knees to finally come to rest at the hip.
My trainer made a couple of suggestions on modifying my approach. She showed me three different ways people set up at the bar. We split one approach into smaller steps, and I worked through each one to finally find the right stance for me.
I was so excited I wanted to try a whole new set, but alas, it was the end of the session, and I knew too well that my unrestrained enthusiasm could lead to a wrong move and that could lead to injury. As I had just reached one year without any complaint from the wonky hip, I had to concede. But at my next session, I promised myself, I would remember the tweaks and try them again.
That same day I received cartoon celebrating the knowledge we gain from failure. The cartoonist observed “Failure just means not yet.” It made me think a little more deeply about the reluctant bar.
Had I just kept on getting smooth as silk lifts with these lower weights, what would have happened once I aimed for the higher weights I want to try this year? Without learning some of the tricks and tips to adjust or modify my approach before trying again, I might have stayed stuck for a whole lot longer and experienced significant frustration at not moving forward (or upward as the case may be).
I’m trying to document some of these insights, along with the PRs and the key anniversaries (yay one year without a recurrence!) so that I can see all the ways I am moving forward even when it feels by only one metric like I’m not. What are other ways we can measure progress or changes in our fitness that are meaningful and realistic?
— MarthaFitat55 enjoys powerlifting even when the bar fights her command.