Facing Facts

Facts are stubborn things. Regardless of one’s aspirations, wishes and desires, they remain resolutely in place like gravity. Reality isn’t malleable, especially under the bar. You pit your body against a fixed weight in time and space and you either move it or you don’t. Powerlifting is a test of strength in three specific lifts, but the test is just the endgame. Getting to the platform is where all the work takes place, and it’s brutally hard, with no payment for your efforts. While there is nothing stopping me from getting on the platform and performing the test to the best of my abilities, there has to be a payoff for me personally. Putting up three lifts that don’t measure up to my own expectations would be a disappointing finish to the hard road I took to get there.

I write this with a mild strain in the perpetually weak link in my chain. I lose track of how often I’ve injured this area, but it’s always from deadlifting, and it’s always when I pull at close to my limit strength. Switching from Conventional to Sumo has allowed me to avoid straining it, but even the mechanical differences in style couldn’t keep it at bay permanently.The deadlift is the lift where one moves the most weight. It has the biggest impact on your total. An inability to improve beyond where I stand currently will leave me with a total I’m not willing to claim. Perhaps over time I can strengthen the musculature that is holding me back, but perhaps is not something I’m willing to bank on.

I’ve had to bow out of Project Momentum as I can’t squat or obviously deadlift right now, and probably won’t for a few weeks. But more importantly, I have to shift my goals from competing in the near future to possibly competing in the far future. It was a harrowing few days of mental anguish, but I went into the gym yesterday and hit some small, neglected muscles and awoke this morning ready to challenge myself with whatever I could do that didn’t irritate my strained lower body. It felt great to hang a 45-lb plate on my belt and bang out 6 weighted dips for a nice PR, then drop back to 30-lbs for multiple sets of 6. I did a few sets of pull-ups and some barbell shrugs and returned home to eat dead animals and feel good about my accomplishments.

The journey continues.

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