Sep 25 2017

My Personal Meditation

Richard Crosby @ 2:36 am

“The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds”.

That is the last paragraph of an article Henry Rollins wrote called “Iron and the Soul”. I hope he doesn’t mind me posting it here. I like the article, but in particular I like this paragraph because it exactly how I feel about weight lifting.

When I am finding life hard, lifting weights is solace. Not an easy solace, or an escape, but that is what makes it so powerful.

For me it is a sort of meditation.

I am 37. I have lifted weights since I was 17 when my parents bought me a weight set for my birthday (with only a couple of brief spells where I let my habit slip). I did not know what I was doing when I first got that weight set, but I did it anyway. I have learnt a lot.

I don’t think that I am genetically predisposed to being particulary strong. I am naturally tall and skinny. I think a lot of men – maybe even the majority of men – would be significantly stronger than me if they applied themselves to weight training as I have done. However, as one of the small percentage of people who have applied themselves to training over the long term, I am a lot stronger than most people, and a lot stronger than I would have been if I had not developed the habit of training!

In my opinion the percentage of people who are stronger than me is small. The percentage of people who are stronger than me without the use of steroids is very small. Not that it matters.

I know there are people who are stronger than me. I know there are some who are an incredible amount stronger than me. If you go back to read the first paragraph again, Henry Rollins explains why that is irrelevant.

If you want to pick up a new hobby, I recommend training with weights. If you stick with it, it will do a lot for you.

You might want to stop reading here. What follows is probably going to really bore most people.

I put most emphasis on major compound lifts. I have learnt that for me, that seems to be the most effective way to get strong. Because of the way I structure my training, I don’t currently deadlift. The deadlift is my favorite exercise. When I deadlift regularly I can increase the weight I put on the bar every week, for weeks on end, before my progress finally starts to slow. I put a lot of focus on squatting, because unlike the deadlift, it is a real war for me to make progress in the squat. I have poor squatting leverages. I have bad knees – and they give me less grief when I am including squatting in my workouts.

Currently I can bench press 107.5kg for three sets of 7/7/6 reps. I find it frustrating that I know I can up this to 117.5kg for three sets of six just by eating a lot of calories and putting about a stone on quickly, even though most of it would be fat not muscle. I know this works because I have done it fairly recently, but I was unhappy with how I looked.

I am not as lean as I would like to be, but I cannot be bothered to diet carefully, so my current strength and appearance is a compromise.  A while ago I did diet and lost about two stone – however I also lost about 20kg off my bench press – it was obvious a lot of the weight I lost was muscle – so it was not worth it.

I would like to take my bench press to 120kg for 3 x 6 without putting fat on. I know that to do it I will need to eat more carefully, and sleep better. I am not sure I can be bothered to take the requred steps. Until I make that decision this is a dream rather than a goal.

I am going to give some thought to whether I can be bothered to make this goal a project I am going to work on. I I decide I can, I might post about it here. I have kept weight training logs for many of the twenty years I have trained. I have some good ideas of what will affect my results, but there is a lot I do not know. It could be an interesting project.

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