by Bret Smith CPT, B. A., B.S. | Move Strong Studio
Where does it begin?
This will not be an article on the technicalities of lifting weights, posture or proper biomechanics. I know what you are saying…”oh bummer!” Fear not as I attempt to use the metaphorical approach linking the struggles of daily life and exercise to that of putting yourself into the proper mindset to succeed at all you do.
Having recently had a discussion with a friend about prioritizing habits and needs we ended up sharing stories based on experiences in the gym. We noticed that we could compare the challenges of life to those of lifting weights. What does lifting weights have to do with life and/or the challenges we face every day? A lot, as it turns out, and I will explain why.
If you are experienced with strength training terminology you can already appreciate the feeling of accomplishing new personal bests. You are also familiar with the term “pump” and how vascular and swollen your muscles feel after a hard training day. Even if these terms are unfamiliar to you, let’s look a little more closely at one exercise in particular to demonstrate what I mean. The squat is primarily a multi-joint lower body exercise that has many parts that may or may not be obvious. Some see “load bar…get under bar…lift bar”. Others see bar placement, hand position, shoulder angle, stance, width, head position and on and on. But what if you looked at the squat as a symbol of what we try to overcome everyday…doubt, fear, anxiety, low energy, depression to name a few. Additionally, if you do not load the bar with enough weight you are staying in your comfort zone most likely based on fear or anxiety. If you overload the bar and have not properly trained for it you are destined to be left with feelings of inadequacy. However, if you take the time to focus and really work at this skill via practice, technique and consistency you will always be moving forward.
Our discussion led further to the subject of “embracing the grind” and where that is represented in the squat. Again this is up for interpretation based on who is training and what they believe but we both thought that even though there is a lot to prepare for with this exercise, that it actually begins when the bar is at the lowest point. This is where all the forces are against you…gravity, stress, and self-doubt. But this is also where you have to be the most determined, focused and committed to pushing through in order to overcome the challenge facing you right now. “Be present… not when… not tomorrow… right now” if you are not present at that point the weights and the bar win.
The universe blesses all of us with unique strengths and challenges. Committing to overcoming any challenge no matter how big or small is a skill that must be trained and honed continually. Remember your training!!