Everything is sets and reps and we are always practicing something.
Think how many sets and reps you have had in your existence interacting with others. Were you able to meet those occasions with honesty, generosity, humility, acceptance, and a smile, or did you practice anger, worry, gossip, or complaining, all while being unaware of the body language you were conveying.
We have all failed. We will all fail again. But what are you practicing? What are you working on?
This is why I know the training mindset is so powerful in building both physical and mental resilience.
Watch a lifter on the biggest stages. They step up. They attempt a weight.
They miss it. Their is an initial instant uncontrollable emotional reaction on their face, then they bow or wave to the crowd, walk off, and get back to work.
They make the lift. Their is a initial moment of unbridled joy or maybe it is just business as usual. They do a backflip or they don’t, regardless they bow or wave to the crowd, walk off, and get back to work.
Training offers us a beautiful opportunity to be present and practice what we will do when we fail and what we will do when we succeed. Usually, that answer is the same, smile, detach, rest, recover, and get back under the barbell.
Lifting must not be a giant heap of failing, that’s not productive. We must have success. We must practice quality reps under a load that allows us to adapt. And even if you go to failure on a prototypical set of ten, maybe 10% of your total effort results in actual failure. The research also shows that advanced lifters are extremely adept at knowing when they will fail. They have learned the edge of failure and can thus choose their moments. Failure does not own them. Failure is just the edge of what is possible right now and they are constantly working to push that edge.
But, if you stay safe and make a nice little home in your wheelhouse, you will never grow. You will never know failure and you will never know real success. You will never stress the system enough to really progress past what you think you can do, you will never taste the wind on the precipice of the edge of what’s possible and see that even that edge is an illusion you have created. You will stagnate, you will stay the same, you will buy new lifting gloves, and you will stay weak.
Sets and Reps
But did you die? Very likely not, because as much as we want it to be, lifting is not war and will never be. The imaginary conflict and struggle always resides within us. And, therein lies the power because it resembles the vast majority of our everyday struggles, where what we think, say, and do have the potential to make all the difference.
But did you live? Maybe. How in the moment were you? How happy were you just to be squatting against the pull of gravity on this floating rock.
Did you act with humility?
Did you see, feel, and accept things as they were?
Did you smile?
Everything is sets and reps.
What are you practicing?