Jessica Bento, MSPT
I’ve always had a different view on what “strength” really meant.
As a swimmer, I was still part of the generation that rarely ever hit the weight room. We did some body weight exercises, but most of my training was done in the pool. So, weights wasn’t really ever in my vocabulary. I was of the belief if you want to get better at swimming, SWIM!
Of course now I know that isn’t completely true (although still has some serious merits!). As an adult I have become far more involved in strength training than I had ever in my life! The cool part is I am achieving things that I didn’t think possible!
Having seriously torn both my rotator cuffs (which ended my swimming career), I thought things like push-ups and pull-ups would never be things I would be able to achieve.
Just the other day though we were in the garage, I told Josh to look! He turned and I saw his eyes get big! He, nor I, could believe I had just knocked out a pull-up ice cold! That’s a pretty cool feeling!
Maybe I won’t ever be the strongest person in the world, but that is okay, I would love to challenge my 16 year old self to some serious contests and that is all we are after. Challenging ourselves.
That is why I wonder, I wonder why when I see fitness professionals pushing their rather new clients to really aggressive weights. Trust me, I understand YOU or the trainer you know has NEVER done this, but spend a little time on social media and it almost appears to be an epidemic! Seriously overweight people trying to lift some big weights.
You might be thinking, so? Isn’t it great to get these people doing such things to show them what is possible? The very feeling I got during my first pull-up in years!!!
Yes and no. Is inspiring people great, is making them feel successful important? OF COURSE! However, after being a physical therapist for over a decade I know the path that usually follows.
Someone gets inspired to get in shape. They read the most recent badass workout in whatever magazine or blog. Right off to the gym they head and go to town. For maybe up to a month they feel like they are kicking ass!
Of course during this time they started to feel like the knees were a bit beaten up. Maybe the back was kinda achy. Heck, this is all part of getting back into shape right?
These are all signs that your workout is going the WRONG direction!
I know we all have a case of poor patience, but we don’t have to live on the extreme ends of being hurt or being bored.
The problem with most programs is they place priority and the success of a program on the weight lifted. That can be a plus, but overemphasizing it usually leads people down the path of seeing me!
People value what they are taught to value.
Here is my challenge for you either as a fitness enthusiast or professional….
How good can you make a movement like a squat, lunge, press look? Not on one rep, but on every rep?
Can you work with more complex movements? Change that squat to a staggered stance, hold a weight in a completely different position on that lunge, or how about move to a TRUE military press stance?
How well can you work when you slow things down, I mean WAAAYYYY down? How heavy did that light weight become? Are you really strong or just getting through stuff?
My hope is not that you feel like you aren’t really making success. In fact, completely the opposite! There is so much MORE we can do to get better and our potential is far from being tapped. With some simple ideas like we teach in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training you can really break that evil cycle that so many are doomed to experience. The one where great intentions meet the reality of overly ambitious and not well thought out fitness programs.
I know myself, following this advice makes all the difference in the world. You can surprise yourself with how much you can do without necessarily rushing to put giant weights on your body and just how good you might end up feeling!
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