December 11th – My Best & My Worst Workout Ever

Posted: December 11, 2013 in Fitness, Fitness Diary
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday was chest and triceps (with some core-maintenance work). This ended up being my best and my worst workout probably of all time. Let’s start with the good news:

My local gym idol was there in the gym yesterday so I felt pretty pumped (even though we don’t share a language and our entire communication process is through nods and waves). The man was yesterday benching 100Kg and looking pretty awesome overall. I decided today I was going to go for my PERSONAL BEST in benching. When I was ready and warmed up I began. My Personal Best (and my actual goal for the longest time) – benching my own weight – 85Kg. With my feet firmly in the ground, my teeth gritted and my iPod playing metal louder than ever before I released and I began. I pushed and I grunted but sure enough, it came down to my chest then peeled away again with every effort in my body. I did 3 whole reps!!! 

Now it was a little bit of a cheat so I’m not claiming victory just yet because a) it was on a smith machine – not a free bar so it’s about power but there was no balance. b) I did not go as low as I would usually go out of fear… All the same, heaviest I’ve been able to push on a smith machine so still a Personal best 🙂

Now why was this also the worst workout in history for me? I had become so emboldened by my successful benching, the proud nod of my gym hero and the fact that with him now leaving I was the fittest in the gym, I decided to try my hand at the free-bar benchpress to work on my balance. I started low (30Kg) and managed to move 15 reps on this quite easily so I felt pleased, thinking “hey, I dunno why I was so worried about doing free-bar benchpresses”. Then I loaded up to 50Kg. I pumped 9 reps, admittedly with a struggle and  thought ‘Come on bro JUST ONE MORE the bar came down, I pushed it up but it was a real struggle. It became clear very soon that I was not going to get it all the way up, so I went for the very low backup notch to save myself.

Here was where I made 2 mistakes (one immediate, one with hindsight)

  1. I suddenly realised how stupid I had been to push myself on a free-weight without a spotter.
  2. I had looked to my right side in order to check if I was high enough to release into the latch and as a result my left side started to drop

Because the left side had started to drop and the right side was in the latch I just couldn’t get the left side up again and to my terror, it was slowly dropping lower and lower, the bar eventually came to a rest on my face at which time I pulled my head out and the weights came tumbling on the floor. Idiot. The whole gym looked over and the trainer ran over to help and then in the most embarrassing moment he used the only English he knows “be careful.”

I felt humiliated. Not because I had not been able to secure the last rep on 50Kg, not because the entire gym (including the snarky idiots who are there every week and just stare at people) but because I had broken the one rule of the gym: safety. I had gone heavy, so pumped in my bravado that I could have injured myself because I was too proud to ask someone to spot me on a 50Kg lift.

Luckily for me, the only thing that was hurt was my pride but for every mistake made, a lesson is learned. So please if you do read my blog, take this away: NEVER BE TOO PROUD TO ASK FOR A SPOTTER. You’ll feel safer and be able to push harder. Learn for “bar-face” here and don’t make the same mistake.

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