The title might make you think “where do you fail in life?” Really, when I wrote it, I planned to discuss where do I fail on the big three lifts. As I type words on to the page, I realize they both go hand in hand.
I looked through bodybuilding.com and on various websites that came up via google search for how to start powerlifting. I knew that the rep range was typically shorter and the set amount longer…but that was it. How many sets or reps that was, I didn’t know. As well, multiple websites said multiple things, but one thing they had it common was using a percentage of your max. I had maxed out during prep, but only at a previous PR to make sure I wasn’t losing muscle mass or strength during my cut. I hadn’t actually tried to PR in about 6 months in deadlifting. Bench I had never tried to PR; I didn’t even work my chest out. Squats-well, I dropped that weight and I was out.
And so, I requested the help of my husband to spot me & I told him I needed to do 8 sets and on my 8th set I needed to max. I should have ran this finding a max almost like a meet, but I had no clue.
Deadlift on my 8th set I pulled 250lbs conventional. I tried 2 more sets at 260lb and failed.
Bench- I did 8 sets up until 105 and failed at 105. Max was 95.
Squat: 8 sets up to 200lb. Only problem is my husband’s idea of all the way down is not what counts in a meet. Your hip crease needs to go below your knees. So, this was not a counted 200…therefore a fail & I don’t know my squat max.
This sounds very cut and dry, simple written down, but I was unbelievably frustrated.
I videoed me benching and the last 3-4 sets are me arguing with my husband. When benching, the front of my shoulder would cramp out. Rotator cuff? It would hurt after for days. I had done 95lbs over a year ago. I was mad at myself for coming in at this same weight. I wasn’t breathing while I benched either. I benched flat. I just…wasn’t pleasant. It was so many things to work on at once and there were still so many things I would learn I needed to do in the coming days.
Squats. I was annoyed at myself for not going down all the way. My legs didn’t hurt; I didn’t trust myself. When I got to the point where I knew it was past my comfort, I’d stand up. I needed to get past this fear.
Deadlifting had always been my strong point & I posted the video of me failing at 260lb on FB. I thought this was a big step for me; showing my failure. I had people criticize the form of course which is fine. But I also had people on bodyspace, go to my FB then write comments under my posts (that weren’t related to deadlifting) about my form being terrible and I needed to fix it.
This was borderline too much for me. Everything I thought I was at least okay or good at, I felt I wasn’t. I felt like I had to start from scratch, but I wasn’t ready to accept that.
So for the next week, I did benching, squat, deadlifting 8 sets working up to my max with accessory work added in on the other days.
I didn’t improve. I failed at the same numbers and my form still suffered. I didn’t know what to do so in the meantime, I just became stubborn.
I was failing myself. I swallowed my pride. It was hard to drop weight when I already felt so weak.
I found a 5×5 program online and began modifying it to have accessory work for the muscles not directly worked. I reached out to my friend whose bf was a powerlifter and I met with them to actually learn about the sport.
To my thankful surprise, he recommended a 5×5 program! Slightly different than what was online, but it still meant I was on a good start.
5×5 means 1 day I’d do 5 sets of 5 bench at the same weight. If I can successfully do this, next time I move up. Same thing with squat and dead lift.
I also realized how important form was…and how to have an arch. And stand. And what position works best for my body.
Asking for help and stepping back was the best decision I could have made.
I started my squats at 135, deadlifts at 155, and bench at 65 focusing on form.
I still have a ways to go, but now I have 1 step up. I am returning in November to do a mock meet with my friends & until then working hard and staying humble.