Strength Training Highs and Lows
Years ago I could not do a single pullup.
I worked hard at it and eventually got strong enough to do reps with heavy weight attached to me waist.
That was an accomplishment for sure, but what felt really good was getting twenty reps straight on the pullup bar.
After taking some time away from doing pullups due to some shoulder and elbow issues, I came back recently and found I could only do 6 in a set.
I've had the same experience with other lifts too.
Even pushups. At one time I won a competition by doing 75 straight. No way would I be able to do that many now.
So as per usual for me, training shifts and changes every so often.
Now my focus is not so much on putting up bigger numbers in the Squat, Bench and Deadlift.
I've altered my focus towards more conditioning work while improving my pullup/pushup numbers as well as doing more volume on different variations of the BIG 3 lifts.
Do You NEED to Squat, Bench and Deadlift?
There are a ton of different opinions on this question but I don't see it as black and white.
Yes, the big 3 offer tremendous benefits.
But, there's not just one way to do them.
For some people with shoulder injuries, barbell bench pressing may not be a good idea.
Other folks suffer too much joint pain from low-bar back squats.
Same for deadlifts.
Yes, everyone can do them.
But there are a bunch of alternatives if you find you don't make progress with a lift, or keep getting injured or have pre-existing injuries that require alternatives in your training.
It's not ALWAYS about MORE weight
Progressive overload works. No question.
But there's other ways to make progress in your training.
Right now, I'm not trying to add more weight to the bar every week.
I'm adding more sets at a given weight or more reps OR adding weight to the bar.
There's no rule that says you always have to add five more pounds to the bar.
Yes, it's a great way to get stronger and improve your body and life.
It's not the only way.
I always say you have to do the things you hate to do but if that means injuring yourself, then it's wise to do something else.
If squats hurt your low back, shoulders, knees etc.. make sure you are doing them correctly first. Get some coaching.
And if you still find the movement causes you more joint pain and less GAIN, it's time to look at alternative movements.
Maybe it's just changing the placement of the bar.
Or using a different kind of bar: a SSB or Buffalo Bar maybe.Or trying landmine squats while you recover from the injury.
I never want anyone to feel stuck in their training.
Like if you don't do certain movements even though they cause you serious problems, that you aren't tough or you aren't training properly.
Train hard, push yourself and DO MORE but be smart about it.
For me, I don't care what anyone thinks of my training. I'm not doing it for them!
I want to do front squats instead of low-bar squats? That's what I'm going to do.
My focus is on pullups and not increasing my deadlift? Yep, I don't care what anyone thinks.
Get stronger and do hard shit, but also be mindful of what your own strength journey calls for.
It can be different than anyone else. Embrace it.
Keep challenging yourself to be the strongest version of YOU.
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