bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

No advice column.

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mental slow weights
bird poops on plum branch
One of the things I love about slow weights as I get the hang of it is that it puts me in a situation that is usually so scary and intimidating: trying as hard as you can and failing.  However, it's all happening in a controlled environment, and someone's there taking care of you, and failing is the whole point to begin with so there's no judgment about being bad at it.  If you don't fail, it means that the weights are too low.  And, as I start failing at some of these more regularly, like today, they tell you to hold it where you are, and it's this crazy land of failing and continuing to try as hard as you can for 5 or 10 extra seconds that is a mindset that I'm really excited about exploring and feeling strong within.  My instinct these first few times is to reach failure and to back out a little (in such small ways that they're probably not perceivable to anyone other than me), but I want to get to the point of failure and continued effort for as long as I can.  To feel strong in a state of failure could be a really valuable practice.

Slow weights is turning out to be similar to meditation and yoga and running to me.  Where the real progress that happens is mental.  Of course, I also like that I'm consistently going up 5-20 lbs every session on each machine and as I get a handle on the mental part the physical part of maintaining form and breathing relaxed and not making faces or sounds is getting easier too.  I love it. 

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It's weird how fast you can increase your strength if you haven't been lifting a lot throughout your life. You'll find that you're twice as strong in a few months. One thing that I was forced to do when I was thought of as an athlete was "The Pyramid." It's basically a way to do bench press that uses a lot of the same reasoning as slow lifting. Here's what you do:

Figure out what you max out on for one rep on bench. (Probably 180 or something if you're starting out.)

Now take 70% of this (125) and put it on a bar and set it up for bench press.

At this point you need to lift it 6 reps and rest for 5 or 10 minutes.

Then increase the weight in whatever increment is natural (10 or 20 pounds, the more the better.)

Now do Another 6 reps.

Keep increasing the weight until you get to the point that you can't do 6 reps. Continue increasing the weight until you can only do a single rep.

At this point, start removing the weight you put on earlier at the same increments. Do as many reps as you can. Keep removing weight in this way until you can do 6 reps again.

This is for bench press, which works a lot of major muscle groups (notably chest, shoulders, arms, back.) and it's great for overall strength and balance. You'll of course need someone to spot you since you'll be struggling with the weight more often than not. The good news is that you'll increase your strength tremendously in a very short amount of time. Depending on what sort of frame and natural muscle density you possess, you'll be able to go from a max of 180 to a max of at least 230 in a couple of months, if not faster.

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