The Power of Belief.

August 18, 2012

In case you haven’t noticed, I have not posted any training updates for over 3 weeks.  That’s because there have been none.  I injured my back while warming up for front squats 4 weeks ago (I’m not sure of the exact date).  This is isn’t usually a big deal as my back will seize up at least a couple of times a year but I am usually fine within a week.  I took care of it; iced and got a massage (72 hours later, after the acute phase of injury) and was back to training the next week.  That Wednesday, it happened again while taking up my snatches for doubles; this time it was much worse.  I haven’t been able to do much of anything besides upper extremity bodybuilding until today.  In truth, brushing my teeth without being supported by the bathroom sink was impossible and tying my shoe was a painstaking operation.  I couldn’t even do flat bench press for a couple weeks as it caused too much pain in my back.  I was referred to a talented PT by one of my clients.  After a quick examination, he performed an adjustment.  My SI joint was out of place.  And what was once shooting pain with every movement was reduced to a hearty inflammation of my back extensors (that I can deal with).

A quick word on receiving medical treatment due to injuries received in training:  You are going to have to be proactive on receiving appropriate attention.  A general physician is going to have no idea what you are talking about when you say that you are actually an Olympic weightlifter.  He is going to see your developed physique and as soon as you say, “I hurt it while lifting weights” he is going to immediately stop caring and assume that you foolishly injured yourself on your twelfth set of heaving bicep curls.  He will prescribe you some weak anti-inflammatories and send you on your way.  It’s not his fault.  You see, it’s not your doctor’s job to care about any athletic goals that you may have or if you are able to continue pursuing such goals, possibly at a detriment to your health.  It is your responsibility as an athlete to find professionals who regularly deal with athletes and have at least some perspective on what it is you are doing.  This will most likely cost you some money, so be prepared; better than wasting a fifteen dollar co-pay on some pencil neck doctor or PT who could care less about your athletic pursuits.

A few weeks ago, I told you that I don’t miss workouts.  And I still haven’t.  What have I been doing you ask?  A whole lot of this.

Backs on backs on backs.

Getting JACKED.  If I had two broken legs and a broken back, I would do seated bicep curls until my veins burst.  That’s just how I am.  I don’t miss workouts.  I will find something productive to do with my time no matter what.  I’ve been slowly adding in overhead work.  And today was my first day that I was able to do anything pertinent to Olympic weightlifting.  It was humbling to say the least.  Yes, my back still hurt.  But my pride hurt more than anything else.

I did some power cleans off the high blocks with 60kg.  After a few reps, I realized that it probably wasn’t a good idea to continue.  The squat program for today called for BS 5×5.  CC texted me earlier asking if 102.5kg was a good weight to use for her worksets.  I texted back, “Yes.”  I used 100kg.  What made it even worse was that I felt it necessary to use more support than I usually need, so I borrowed one of the powerlifting belts hanging up at my gym (we share space with Team Supertraining).  The first belt that fit was initialed “M. Bell.”  I was ashamed to be using it for such weights.  I finished up with some presses and 225 reps max on bench.  I had recently surpassed my original max of 20 reps by 1.  I did 20 and called it a day.

This was me a few months ago.

And within a few week’s time I was reduced to this.

The thing is, when this video was taken, I have never wanted to quit the sport of weightlifting so badly.  It was just too much.  I was trying to make rent, trying to finish school, trying to coach a team, trying to not hate myself.  And now that I was reduced the possibility of doing lat-pulldowns for the rest of my natural life, I had never wanted to get on the platform so bad.

Last week over dinner, I was discussing how badly I wanted to get back to lifting weights, how badly I wanted to surpass myself from a few months earlier.  My coach (like all good coaches must) provided the voice of reason.  He reminded me that I am not a young man anymore, that I would not be able to train the same way that I did when I was seeing gains even a year prior.   But I have an advantage over my age: I started training late.  I was 18 by the time I discovered the sport.  And I was still wrestling full-time 3 years into my training.  So I have still a few more years to go before my competitive career is done.  My knowledge of the sport has grown as well.  I now have the ability to give myself direction, a target for my arrow to shoot.  I don’t just train, I train with purpose and perspective.

I will come back a tank; a big, brown fucking tank that will crush weights underneath my booted heel.  I have no regard for constraints such as physique or weightclass.  If I gain weight it will be because I am stronger.  If I lose weight it will be because I am working harder.  I would advise all lifters who are not at the top of the national ranking list to do them same.  Having been reduced to only doing general strengthening for my upper body, I now have a newfound respect for being generally strong as well as a strong Olympic lifter.  For years I refused to do any upper body work out of my misplaced pride of being an Olympic weightlifter.  I now know that this was just an excuse to be weak.  I figured that the best lifters didn’t do anything besides Olympic weightlifting, so neither would I.  This is called arrogance.  Never compare yourself to dominant high-level Olympic lifters unless you yourself are a dominant high-level lifter.  Don’t listen to lies about how your arms will get too big to be a talented weightlifter.  I’ve only met two people whose arms are literally too big to do cleans and I guarantee they are not you.  If you have shitty mobility it is because you have shitty mobility.  That is all.  I believe that I will come back in 15 weeks stronger than ever.  And I will show it on the platform.

8 Responses to “The Power of Belief.”

  1. Gregor said

    More upper body? How can your guns get any bigger?

    I guess every day is chest & back day from now on.

    Keep your head up. You will be on the platform stronger than ever.

  2. Taylor said

    Get it big time.

  3. Spenco said


  4. Joshua Cline said

    Im fittin to see if you can have arms too big for weightlifting, since im a non competing (for now) old dude that secretly just wants to be jacked to impress his daughters friends in 10 years.

    Way to go E-buddy!

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