20 April 2009

**I Fear No Man… Or Weight.

One of the biggest problems I see in the gym does not stem from physical weakness. Instead, it stems from mental weakness- most notably, fear. This isn’t because people are inherently pussies. I’ve been just as guilty of this as everyone else in the past, and I guarantee you, I’m no fucking pussy. Instead, it’s because that evil little voice that gets in everyone’s head and screams “I CAN’T!” at the top of its tiny little lungs can get pretty fucking loud at times. Thus, you have to find ways to outsmart that evil little motherfucker and pile on the weight. Thus, by the time that you realize what you’re lifting, you can’t be scared of it, since you’ve already done it.

How To Do This:

1) This is my favorite method, which I stole from some shit I read about Arthur Saxon at some point. Saxon, crafty motherfucker that he was, used to challenge townspeople to a variety of lifts that he knew only he could complete. Though the lifts varied across a wide range, they all shared a common feature- they were unevenly loaded. His methods would range from blatantly loading one side heavier than the other to using a hollow bar partly filled with water, so the weight would slosh from side to side, to throw off his opponent’s balance. I’m not suggesting you do anything tremendously drastic, but try this- start using mismatched plates. We’re all guilty of trying to match plate types exactly, especially on bench, and I’ve seen guys go so far as to scour the gym for the best-matching clips before attempting a PR. Instead, use mis-matched weights. You’ll start to realize that it’s not so bar after all. This will get you on the path to owning the weights, rather than letting them own you. Later, you can add an extra 2.5 lbs on one side or the other, and do a couple of sets with that. It’ll feel weird at first, but you’ll come to find that even drastic differences in the weights from side to side are manageable, and even fun, provided you don’t FEAR them.

2) Stop paying attention to the weight on the bar. The best way to do this is to switch from American to Metric, or vice-versa, depending on what you’re used to. Lift the weights before you have time to really calculate them. If you’re pretty good at mental math, try to use 25kg plates, or 100lb plates, to help throw yourself off. You’ll end up using slightly different weights than you’re used to, or possibly surprise yourself by lifting an obscene amount of weight on a particular lift, entirely by accident, simply because you didn’t take the time to calculate the weight first.

3) In a similar vein, start having your lifting partner load the weight for you, based on your performance, and lift it without tallying up what’s on the bar. That's a tidbit I got from a story about Arnold and Franco, where Franco was having a shitty bench day, but was in front of a window, so he was killing himself to look good. Finally, Arnold added 10 lbs to a side when Franco wasn't looking, then when Franco got pinned, told him to lift it or die under a bitch weight in front of everyone outside. Franco finished the lift, saw Arnold changed the weight, and was amused and pissed, but laughed his ass off and proceded to have a good but brutal lifting day.

Give that shit a shot, and you may just end up surprising yourself with a 500 lb+ front squat or something, as I did one day. Once you get a couple of those surprises under your belt, you’ll be fucking fearless in the gym.

Pain, or damage, don’t end the world, or despair, or fucking beatin’s. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you’ve got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man, and give some back.

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  1. 1) Never put a picture of yourself under AH-nold. Even as big as you are, you look tiny! (Hell - the guy next to him looks tiny!)

    2) Do you still have a "can't" voice in your head? LOL

  2. Doodles - "the guy" next to Arnold is Dr. Franco Columbo - 2 time Mr Olympia, although pretty much a midget in body building/strength circuts, except he is gigantic compared to C&P : )