After recently learning my body fat percentage I decided to incorporate heavier weightlifting into my training in order to trade a bit of fat weight for muscle weight. I dreaded it, frankly. For some reason I had decided that I was already lifting heavy enough weights, and in fact I think I had it in my mind that I couldn’t lift heavier weights.
One day in the gym I challenged that assumption.
Normally I do chest presses with dumbells, and I will pick up two 20 lb weights and do three sets of 15 reps. I’m feeling silly even telling you this, because on Test Day I picked up 22.5’s and did an easy set, then 25’s, then 30’s. With absolutely no difficulty. None whatsoever. I was sure this was a fluke.
I finished out arm and back exercises as usual then went over to the leg machines, still suspicious. Normally I’ll set the extensions on 30 lbs and do three sets of 15 reps. On Test Day I loaded 50 lbs and moved easily through two sets. Then 70 lbs. Another set, no problem. This was becoming embarrassing.
On leg presses I always pick 90 lbs, simply because anything over 100 sounds enormous. Test Day: I loaded 150, since it is more than I weigh and it seemed like a serious challenge. It was easy enough to finish two sets. In a moment of “Oh, this is just stupid, I’m not Superwoman,” I jacked it up to 210 and found I couldn’t even get the plates off the stack. “See,” I told myself, pulling it back down to 190, where I completed my last set, but had to work for it. But 190! A cool hundred pounds more than I had been doing! Why didn’t you tell me I was such a slacker?
I’m stronger than I thought. I’m Super Jr. Woman. Miz Up-and-Coming.
I’m going to keep shifting more of my exercises up until I can’t complete my long sets, but I’m going a bit at a time to avoid over-stressing anything. It’s been about 6 upgraded weightlifting workouts so far, and there have been no negative repercussions, problems, or difficulties.
Let my oversight be your lesson: test yourself! You never know what you can do until you try. Trite as hell, but also true. I’m not sure how I missed it all this time.
But I’m on my way now.