Gaining Muscle – Time to Step Up Your Game by Kris Gethin
Just last night I was in the gym, hitting a high volume shoulder session using the famed DTP principles when I realized that I had grossly over-estimated my strength by using weights which were about 25% more than I usually would for side lateral raises. The logical thing was to get different weights, but I’d already done the first 50 reps and I just about got through it although it absolutely thrashed my deltoids!
As I picked up the heavier set of dumbbells for my 40 rep set, I thought, “S*** this is heavy!” I persevered because I knew deep down I had it in me. So why was it that I was physically able to lift 25% more weight within each rep range than before?
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Simply put, it was the application of the right mindset injected with a shot of UK grime (British Hip Hop) pumping through my headphones. There was nothing fancy about what I had done, or anything different. Except this time I’d put myself in a situation and realised I actually did have the physical ability to get through it.
It took longer, I had to rest/pause more, every rep certainly caused me more pain and mentally it was severely challenging when I had 23 reps to go and the weight felt insanely heavy.
Nevertheless I dug deep.
The best piece of advice I can give you with dealing with extraordinary physical challenges is to break it down into small, manageable sums in your head. If you’re on rep 10 and you’ve got 40 more to go, and it’s already throbbing you will begin to panic inside and possibly become submissive.
However, if you keep asking for five more reps of yourself, and just thinking of it in this fashion then all of a sudden it becomes manageable again. Just get through the next block of five, then go again.
Don’t build the challenge up in your head to be such a mountain of pain that you’re already defeated before you’ve even started. Give yourself more credit for the physical attributes you posses, when your back is firmly against the wall it is utterly amazing what you can actually do when needs must. So make this a “needs” based scenario.
Scientific studies have actually been conducted to ascertain how limiting the mind can be and the findings were quite extraordinary. They gave some participants “performance enhancers” which were in fact, empty placebo based pills with nothing more. Yet the participants believed that they were extremely potent steroid based substances which promised to give them immense hikes in strength.
Guess what happened to their performance? Some of their one rep maxes grew by up to 20%. Not bad for a substance which had no active ingredients, except the ability to convince the mind that it CAN do it!
Certainly something for you to consider and take in to your next workout.
Now I do have to come clean because I did forget to mention one thing. Just six days ago I did start stacking Kaged Muscle Creatine HCL which is the first creatine I’ve used in about four years. My body has never agreed with creatine before.
I’m bigger, fuller and stronger. So maybe the 25% increase in strength wasn’t all in the mind after all, but there was undoubtedly an element of both.