Today’s deadlifts

I had not deadlifted in several weeks. At the CrossFit classes I’ve been to lately, the luck of the draw has had me doing squats, bench presses, kettlebell cleans, or doubleunders as the skill, and I’ve missed any deadlift sessions they’ve had.

Today my deadlift workout was uncharacteristically light and high-volume, with a lot of back-off sets. Back-off sets — lighter sets following the heavy one — are also uncharacteristic — usually I work up to one really heavy set of five, anywhere between 205 and 220 pounds, and stop.
Today, 185 pounds felt heavy enough, and adding volume by working my way back “down a ladder” in weight felt really good. I don’t believe this workout will make me stronger in a measurable way — but I do feel, physically and mentally, that it gave my nervous system the work it needed to stay engaged with the daily, unconscious skill of maintaining a straight back supported by strong hip muscles that are “awake.”
“Awake” is a nonscientific, vague, vernacular word that probably has no anatomical or physical accuracy. But I think anyone who’s ever exercised can relate to and understand the feeling of muscles waking up and of skills (nervous system) being refreshed through activity. Maybe that feeling of “awake muscles” is the feeling of putting the brakes on whatever imperceptible atrophy may have been happening.
Strength is a skill that is both practiced and trained. Nervous system (brain, spinal cord and all the rest) learn how to do things and how to recruit the muscles that are needed. This enables the muscles to do work and get bigger and stronger for better leverage.
I feel great after this deadlift workout even if it isn’t moving me directly towards a personal record lift. I set a personal record last August and might train for another one in 2018. If I do, the deadlift workouts will look a lot different than today’s.

This week

This week, my eldest client C came back to train some more after being away for over two months, out of the country. In her training, among many other things, we do sit-stand as a sub for squats. She sits down and standsĀ  up from, or tries to touch-and-go from, benches at heights of 17 inches, 16.5, and 16 inches. Who would have thought those three increments would be so different. I have another trainee who does the same exercise, sit-stand, from the same heights. She is quite a bit younger than C but just happens to have got pretty out of shape. She is benefitting faster than C from the sit-stands, but C is ahead of her in other strengths and skills. Everybody’s unique, that’s for sure.

Another C, a friend from CrossFit 206, trains with me once a week, and I really like her. I think she’s excited to see me, as I am her. I’m glad I have my digital wall clock/timer, so that I can time her rest between sets and don’t get carried away chatting to her. That clock really keeps me honest.

Another trainee, M., had his final two sessions with me this week. He’s gotten stronger and slimmed down but he doesn’t seem to see and feel it in himself. I want him to commit to training more wholeheartedly — he’s off to CrossFit in a couple of weeks — but he seems to feel it’s a luxury he can’t quite afford. To me of course it’s a basic health practice that one wouldn’t consider giving up if other things could be sacrificed that aren’t as necessary as health.

I created a collage image for my business Facebook page using pics of five trainees working in the garage. I think it looks good. One person who gave me permission to use her picture also posted it on FB and kindly enthused about our training, which makes me feel great! Another trainee after only a few sessions noticed she can get on and off the floor easier.

It was a good week. Unfortunately I have a headache now that it’s over. My work is mentally extremely tiring. I’m so glad I decided to have Fridays off.