Friday, March 9, 2012

Invisible Strength

Today I'm going to talk about strength. 
Have you ever really given it much thought? I haven't really, not til recently. In the past my fitness goals/thoughts have always had to do with things like speed, endurance, and looking toned/fit. Basically, things you can see. (Yes, you can see speed and endurance when you run, just look at those folks who cross the finish line first at a race.)
Now think about strength...is it visible?
60#

You might think the answer is yes, but that's not necessarily true. I didn't say muscles, I said strength.
Let me illustrate this with my own personal experience.
This week in my workout rotation is my 1RM's. These are my favorite workouts, I love seeing what I'm capable of.
My shoulder press 1RM didn't change, which is fine, I won't have a new 1RM every time I try for one, and that's okay.
But then I did my goblet squat workout.
Now, it's been about a month since I did my last 1RM workout and in the meantime I've not tried that amount again. I've done percentages of that (50,70,and 85) only. My muscles haven't gotten any bigger in the past month, so, I really have no clue whether I'm stronger or not in this move until I actually try the 1RM.
I slowly worked up to 60#, then skipped over 65#which was last time's 1RM and tried for 70#. 
Boom.

75#
Oh wait, let's add some more weight and see if I can do it. 75#. Yes!

80

Um, more? Try for 80#? Okay. And success again. I tried for 85# but couldn't lift the weight into goblet squat. So, that means my new 1RM is 80#, which is 15# heavier than my last one. I looked back at my notes from last month and remembered that the reason 65 was my last 1rm was because I was unable to lift any more weight than that into goblet position, yet this time I could lift much more than that. So, folks, that means that I've gained some strength in the past month, even though my muscles haven't gotten bigger. 

Invisible strength: you don't know you have it until you're tested. (Or when looking at the bigger picture and not just in the weight room, when life shoots you a challenge of some sort.)

Okay, I have to share about my deadlift, too, since I'm already talking weights and all. :)

Ninety pounds. No problem but getting close to my 1RM last time of 125.


Sorry, it's blurry and upside down, but that is a 45# aka full sized plate on that bar. Yay, I'm finally using full sized plates! So much easier to use and keep good form than the smaller ones.
So, once again, I surprised myself with some strength that I didn't know was there:
My new 1RM for deadlift is 150#. (That's a 25# PR)
You could say I'm stoked.

So, my whole point is that strength is invisible.  I have goals for how I'd like to grow in my strength, pounds I would like to be able to lift. And by working towards those goals my body composition probably will change, but I'm not going to get focused on that, because obviously that will not change as fast as my strength will. If I'd been focused on how my body hasn't changed in the past month INSTEAD of how much I can lift now, I'd be super discouraged right now. But I didn't and I'm not, in fact I'm pretty much on the moon right now.


2 comments:

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