Category Archives: Motivational

Head Up, Chest Out

For anyone taking their lifting seriously squats hold a special place in their lives. It’s a deep and complex relationship you develop with this special movement; and like many relationships, you love it, hate it, and feel like you can’t live without it. It’s primal, as is the nature of The Big Three.

The Big Three are primal because they replicate acts of strength we’ve been performing for the entire history of our species. With the bench we are pushing something away from us. It’s aggressive, like a confrontation. The deadlift is picking something up. This one is obvious; an action we’ve needed to perform probably more than any other basic movement.

The squat diverges from this theme somewhat. It obviously builds very functional strength, but doesn’t have as direct of a correlation to a natural movement. I relate it to an aspect of humanity that’s more philosophical, but no less primal: struggle.

There’s no easy squat day. If you had an easy leg day then you can have no doubt that you’re doing it wrong. Unless you’re deloading It should always be difficult. It’s a struggle. Depending on the lifter this struggle can begin long before the actual lift. I tend to believe that the more advanced the lifter the sooner this struggle begins. The importance of it is known, and even if you know you’re going to squat in 50 of the 52 weeks in year, that 2% matters.

Belted and chalked up, the bar digging into your traps, you drop down into the hole, anticipation building as you prepare to explode out of it. You’ve made it through your warm-ups and even those weren’t easy. Hit your lift and you achieve a new PR; miss it and all you have is the pain. You start to come out of the hole, and there’s that phrase, simple but like no other. If no one is yelling it at you, you’re yelling it in your mind to yourself. Head up, chest out!


The 1000 Pound Total

When I started lifting more seriously one of my first goals I set for myself was achieving the 1000 pound total. If you’re unfamiliar it’s the total of your flat bench press, deadlift, and squat. I viewed it as a long term, but realistic goal. Recently I surpassed this goal.

I don’t post this to brag, once you look into the strength world at all, you know it’s really just not that strong. Maybe compared to the average guy walking around, but who cares about being average. I bring it up because I feel it is something each and every man without a limiting health issue can accomplish.

Getting under the bar can be extremely difficult on even the best of days. It’s love/hate even if it’s mostly love. It induces the pain that creates our better self. Sometimes that isn’t enough on its own. While its easy to say that thought out goals provide that extra drive, that’s not always enough either.

What I found was always enough when I got under that bar so many times was I knew that thousand pounds was mine. I just had to take it. Do what was necessary to get what belonged to me. Not everyone’s goals are going to be the same as mine, but know that your share of iron is just waiting for you to claim it.