Straight up I am just going to ask you: Do your muscles know what number is on the bar? Or is it your ego that knows what number is on the bar?
As a coach at Ultra Fitness and Strength Gym I spend a lot of time pulling people back, not bringing them down, pulling them back, it is important to understand the difference. Bringing them down would be hindering there potential, pulling them back is growing their potential without injury and more chance to practice their craft under the bar at a sustainable weight learning near perfect technique.
'Practice bad reps and you will be good at bad reps, practice great reps and you will be good at great reps.'
Note, I will never say perfect technique, there is always something to work on. The moment you think your reps are perfect is the moment that you enter a world of ignorance and I can guarantee you will hurt yourself sooner or later, it will come.
I totally understand the thought process that most people have with 'thinking they have to train hard to get results!' It is true!! You want to know what is even more of a challenge..? What truly training hard is!? Knowing when to pull your head in and not add another 10kg to the bar! It is like when you are having a verbal fight with someone and it is about to blow up, it takes a
stronger person to back down and defuse the situation, especially if you know you are right!
So, if you hit a 100kg squat last week and today your goal is to hit 110kg. You have had a huge day at work, slept like shit and didn't eat much, obviously it isn't wise to try the 110kg today. The pressure test: here comes your ego, we all have it, it speaks to all of us. "But I hit 100kg easy last week so 110kg should go today." Don't be a dumb ass. The thing I LOVE about strength is there is no magic fairy dust or special powers that are going to get you over the line on the day. Strength is what it is, you are only as strong as you are on the day.
Deep down we all know we shouldn't hit the weight and we have all been in a 'I told you so' situation where you knew you shouldn't have hit it and tried it anyway and missed. It takes A LOT of discipline to say NO and I can tell you from experience when you have torn muscles and had serious injuries you learn pretty quickly. If you haven't been injured bad, learn now or learn the hard way.
Train By Feeling
What if the weight plates were blank? You had know idea what freaking number was on the bar? How do you think this would effect your training?
I am going to put this down to it's simplest form. Do your muscles know what number is on the bar? NO, all they know is they are getting fucked up and need to grow and get stronger... THAT IS IT. SIMPLE. Depending on the type of week and day you have had will determine how the weights move on the day. If the numbers are less, who really gives a shit, work hard and all your muscles know what to do is to keep growing! If the number is more, hip hip hooray! Take the win, be extremely happy with yourself and move on without expecting it every session.
'In a humble state we learn better.'
The reason I am harping on about this is there are far to many unnecessary injuries from pushing unnecessary weights to often. The idea is to train 'optimally' not 'maximally' So if your max set of 5 reps on bench is 100kg, train around 90kg, better yet, train around the FEELING of 'optimal.' This way the weight becomes irrelevant and you can get to work at an optimal weight with minimal injury potential.
Feeling and intuitive thinking is a skill, like any skill it needs to be learnt and practiced. I am by no means perfect at this, my ego likes to chime in and say hello almost every training session. It is just a matter of being conscious of the voices in your head. Save the big weights for when the time is right.
- Jake Fisher