Lift Like a Girl Part 2
“Maybe I’ve done enough. Maybe I can stop here.”
That thought permeated my mind as I stood there, quivering, with a barbell pressing into my traps, sweat beading on my forehead, and my fingers clenching the iron bar. My knees were shaking, I was panting fervently, and I was almost dizzy from the previous 15 squats. Talking myself out of continuing the set was quite tempting, but I wanted to keep going - I knew I could do more.
Reluctantly, and stubbornly, I descended for another rep. Once I reached the full squat depth I pressed my head back, pushed my knees out, and drove through my heels to return to standing position. While it only took a few seconds, it felt as if that rep took a solid minute to complete.
I continued to pant and my legs quivered more with each additional rep. A bead of sweat rolled down my forehead and into my eye. Annoyed by the burning of the salty sweat I started to perform another squat.
“Seven . . . teen,” I grunted as I locked out the rep.
“Maybe I’ve done enough and can end the set here,” I contemplated once more as my breathing continued to increase and the weight began to feel heavier than it did when I first started the brutal set.
My mind fought a fervent battle between “just stop this madness!” and “don’t quit now – a Beautiful Badass would keep on going until she achieved the goal”.
The “goal” for this set of squats was 20 reps, and the set was approaching two minutes worth of sustained, taxing effort. The time between each rep was getting longer as I took more breaths and regained my composure and focus.
“Keep going. Keep going!” I told myself, and proceeded to squat down for rep number 18. I locked it out, and again my legs began to shake even more. After several deep breaths I squeezed the bar, took in a breath of air and held it, and squatted down again.
Once more, a rep that took only a matter of seconds felt like a solid minute from beginning to end.
Nineteen. One more rep to go. Although I desperately wanted this set to be over, I didn’t rush into the last rep. I took several deep breaths as my legs shook beneath me. I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to perform the last rep because my legs were incredibly fatigued. However, I had safety bars in the power rack, so I would be fine if I couldn’t get back up.
“Last one. Do it. Get it done!”I thought anxiously.
I braced myself, took a deep breath, gripped the bar, and descended for the twentieth, and final rep, of my squat set. As I descended, I continued to maintain total focus and made sure the rep was perfect. All the way down, chest out, and pressed as hard as I could to return to the starting position.
Twenty reps. Done. Finally.
I stumbled forward and violently crashed the bar into the supports and proceeded to slowly crumble to the floor. Though I was incredibly fatigued, I was buzzing with excitement from the completion of that 20 rep squat set. I just set a new personal record, and realized the extent of my mental and physical abilities.
After resting on the ground for a few moments I thought it would be wise to get up and walk around. As I staggered to my feet, I caught a glimpse of the Beautiful Badass logo glaring back at me from my reflection in the mirror.
Today, I earned the right to wear that logo proudly.
If you’re a beginner strength trainee, you probably can’t relate to this story. However, if you’re and intermediate to advanced lifter and you’ve experimented with high rep squats with a challenging weight, you know the exact mental and physical battle that is mandatory to tackle such a grueling endeavor.
On occasion I like to challenge myself with high rep squats, high rep deadlifts, hill sprints, and other physical feats. Not only do these challenges build the body, but they forge mental fortitude as well. These occasional challenges also build confidence, which is a pleasant side effect.
This example is one of many describing what it means to Lift Like a Girl®.
So, now, only one question remains – do you lift like a girl?