I've had a few -10% sessions here and there over the past 6 months but this one was brutally awful.
I usually judge the rating of a session by how I feel and by how the weights move. On this particular session, well, everything felt as off and as bad as it could feel. I mean, squats felt atrocious. Worse than being on the receiving end of some prison sex by inmates who chose to wear sandpaper condoms.
My legs hurt, they wouldn't cooperate, I got on my toes too much during squats even though I tried fighting that to stay on my heels. Deadlifting felt even worse. Everything was a grinder. I couldn't get into a tight and strong position at the bottom. My hernia hurt. My right shoulder hurt like hell. I could go on and on and on, but you get the idea. It was just a total cluster fuck of a session.
This got me to thinking. Not only about the dipshit trolls that took my comment about "not a 650 squatter" out of context (on purpose of course, because that's what dipshit trolls do), but about my interview with Eric Lilliebridge from a few years ago, to setting a training max.
Eric said in that interview.....
People will write to me online and be like "well what happened to your lifts? you look weaker." And I'm like no shit. There is no way you can stay at that top level forever, there is no way you can. I can't pull 800 any day of the week. I only hit that number a couple of weeks before a meet or at the meet.
I feel like this concept is lost on so many people. People take numbers and phrases and use them at face value without any understanding of the ebb and flow of training life, and the ups and downs of training cycles and where you are at at any given time.
So someone could show up at the gym Eric trains at, some arbitrary day, and ask him to pull 800 and he would/could fail to pull it. Hell, I know for a fact he missed a 675 no belt deadlift, but of course the video never made it to the internet because you've never seen a video of Eric having a miss. I know this because his dad pulled it no belt, and taunted him about said miss on the video.
This isn't to say that Eric gets 100+ pounds out of his belt. Not at all. It's to say that on THAT DAY, Eric was not a 675 beltless deadlifter. He couldn't do it.
On his best day, his did pull 850 with a belt.
So which one is he?
That's the whole point of training. Building a base level of strength, and then understanding the ups and downs of training. Good days and bad days, rain or shine, sometimes who you are isn't as good or as bad as you'd like him or her to be, but that's what you are, on that given day. It might be who you are tomorrow, or next week. But that's why we keep training. In order to be something more. In that quest to be something more, sometimes we falter, or lose footing, and training progress declines.
Is that who we are at that moments? Yes, it indubitably is. We can only be what we show on any given day, in any given moment. It doesn't mean that's our best, or even our worst. It just means in that moment, this is what our body can do. We train to be more than that. That's the whole purpose of training isn't it? Because we aren't happy with what we can currently "show"....we're trying to become something more.
My comment about "you're not a 650 squatter" got me to thinking about this a lot. The context of that quote was pretty clear. It meant, "you're not a 650 EVERYDAY squatter" so don't program like one. Which was the point. If you once did something, but can't do it everyday, are you that thing?
I think that's a great question.
What if you had done it before, but couldn't do it on that day? Does it still stand? No? Yes? Are you what you were, or are you what you are in that present form? I've had a million war stories told to me from guys who "used to bench...." whatever. Even if it's true, can they do that while they are telling this war story? Probably not, otherwise they aren't telling me what they used to could do.
People have taken great liberties to take shots at me about saying I've claimed to have pulled 700. I never said that I HAVE pulled 700.
I said that I can. That I will. These are examples of me being prophetic. Not telling a war story or belaboring that I've done something. I haven't.....yet. I will. I don't care if people like me using "I can" or "I will." It' phrases people need to learn if they are ever to believe they will accomplish that thing. If you're using phrases like "I might" or "I will try" then you have no real belief or confidence in yourself about accomplishing that "thing". Brandon Lilly used these same phrases to me. "I can..." "I will..." It's pretty common. I'm not sure why people get up in arms about it. Pete Rubish made the same type of quotes. We all did. None of us blinked an eye about it. Self belief is a critical factor in success.
So as I write this, I doubt I could have squatted 600 tonight. A weight I've squatted on more than a dozen occasions in my training life. But who was I during this training session? Probably not a 600 beltless squatter, I can tell you that.
Understanding who you are and where you are at in your baseline of strength, is a great way to come to grips with how to program and get better. It may be humbling, but it's smart, and it's rewarding. Combine this with the belief that you CAN and WILL reach your goals and that's a proper recipe for success.