You Can't Hurry Strength
I think I was somewhat lucky that when I started powerlifting I was not in the social media game yet. Even as I slowly got into social media, I did not follow a ton of powerlifters, because well, I didn’t know them yet and I didn’t know enough about Instagram to find them. Seems pretty simple. While I would’ve been able to learn things much, much faster had I followed some of the powerlifting rockstars at the beginning it also may have led me to rush my strength. It is easy to forget how much time these SUPER strong men and women have spent in the gym under a barbell.
You can't hurry strength
No you just have to wait
She said quads don't come easy
It's a game of squat and take
How long must I wait how much more can I take
Before competitiveness will 'cause my joints, joints to break?
No, I can't bear to bench my whole life alone
I grow impatient for a tricep to call my own
But when I feel that I, I can't go on
I remember what Meghan said
YOU CAN’T HURRY STRENGTH.
I think that will make the top 100 billboards no??
What do I mean that I would’ve rushed my strength? I mean I may have tried to push too much weight too early chasing numbers that were arbirtrary to me, just because I wanted to compete with others.
That sounds thick-skulled you say? Of course it does! I was a younger, more impressionable, not quite as mature version of myself ;). I was also (and still am) hyper competitive. If I am in it, I am in it 100%. I am in it 100% because I think there is something there. There is a possibility for me to do something, for me to set and achieve a goal.
When I started training in a powerlifting style I wasn’t sure I would compete. I didn’t have any outside noise influencing my goals. Instead my goals were solely focused on bettering myself. This allowed me to spend time working on my form before I started attempting heavy loads that would put my body at a higher risk for injury. And for this, I am truly thankful.
If you are just starting your strength journey, whether you plan to compete or not, know the only person you should be comparing yourself to looks you in the mirror daily. In the beginning you will make lots of gains! Newbie gains are a real thing, and it is amazing. It allows you to experience the exhilaration of PRs, build confidence, and fall in love with the bar. You should be looking to make progress week after week, not by just adding weight to the bar but by adding quality to your movement and gaining a better body awareness. This is the BEST time to take your time and create quality movements rather than add more weight.
As you proceed and become an intermediate lifter you will realize this eb and flow of strength gains. You may go 6 months and maybe add 5lbs to your squat, then in the next 2 add 20lbs. Sometimes, you may regress for a time being. Always remember the only person to compare yourself to is YOU. When you are frustrated go back to the drawing board. Remind yourself of those first days and how far you have come. Go back to some of your favorite exercise and drills to make your training more enjoyable, but don’t give up!
If there is one thing I want you to remember from my silly jingle, is that building strength TAKES TIME. It takes years. If you take your time to create beautiful, quality movements, you will have those years. When the PRs take that long, they are ever so sweet. So in the world of social media, in the world of seeing people PR daily, know it isn’t real life. And if it is, it is not sustainable for the long run. If you are in this for the long haul know strength is like a 401k. The longer you invest , the more of a compounding effect it has(I have NO clue why I am choosing this example as I do not like math, or excel sheets, HOWEVER seeing these comparisons of the 25 yr old who starts investing vs someone at 35 always leaves a lasting impact on me, that to the tune of 100s of grands).
Strength takes time. Let it. Once you have a strong base, your will notice your own compounding effect. You will notice your own numbers start to steadily and healthfully climb.
While this may seem funny coming from the girl who started competing in powerlifting 2 years ago, what you need to know is my 401H(hypertrophy:growth and increase in size of muscle tissue, aka GAINZ) has approximately 10+ years in the bank. Lifting in itself is not new to me, training specifically for strength is relatively new to me. When I started powerlifting it took me a year to build sport specific strength and work on the quality of movements in my squat, bench, and deadlift(ok, this one took longer) before my numbers started to truly take off!
YOU CAN’T HURRY STRENGTH, NOOO you JUST HAVE TO WAIT!