I walk into the gym and first find the equipment I need to complete my giant sets. I get everything set up and consider the weight I'm going to lift. It has been a week since I've done deadlifts and I'm looking forward to them right now. I rack up 95 pounds and do my warm up sets. I go slow and deliberate, paying attention to my form as per Mission 1, Day 22: Deadlift explained. After two warm up sets, I up the weight to 185 pounds and drop the barbell to the floor. I then take a step back for a just a second.
As I stare straight ahead, I begin to visualize myself lifting the weight. I've only lifted this heavy once before and I needed visualization to get there. After visualizing myself doing the weight, I squatted down and got into position. I thrust my feet downward as though I was going to push right through the floor. At the same time, I began to lift the weight from the ground. Every muscle in my body pushed and pulled to get the weight all the way up. I continued this motion, up and down, for 10 repetitions. I worked hard through each exercise–explosive pushups, Bulgarian Split Squats and a 2 point bent over row. I did the mandatory 4 sets and moved on to the second giant set. It was then that I understood what exhaustion while working out is all about.
I had pushed myself on the deadlift to match a personal best of 185 x 4 x 10 and now, as I was about to start the second giant set, I could see what it did to me. The second giant set starts with deadlifts off a box with a much lighter weight. If you've read Mission 1, Day 22: Deadlift explained you know how the arms are stiff like meat hooks. Well, during the first exercise of the second giant set, my arms were quivering. My traps were already sore and they were quivering as well. This feeling just got more intense as I moved to the dumbbell bench press and then the walking lunges. Every fiber in my body was quivering as I continued my workout. It was an incredibly intense feeling.
Upon completing the final exercise, I walked over to the treadmills. I could still feel my arms and traps shaking. I had taken my workout to the level of exhaustion, but not the bad kind, the kind that forces growth. I wasn't tired, I was energized. I got on the treadmill and cranked out 30 minutes of steady state cardio. I honestly felt like my stomach area was shrinking as I was doing the cardio. It was such an amazing feeling.
The workout log:
|Deadlift||185 x 4 x 10|
|Explosive Pushups||BW x 4 x 10|
|Bulgarian Split Squats||20 x 4 x 11|
|2 Point Bent Row||35 x 4 x 12 *[PB]|
|Deadlift from a box||85 x 2 x 20|
|Dumbbell Bench Press||35 x 2 x 20|
|Walking lunges||25 x 2 x 20|
|Seated Cable Row||80 x 2 x 20|
Adam Waters spoke during the Group Shred about the burn after a workout and how good it felt. I'm here to tell you that bringing your muscles to exhaustion also feels incredible. I made a point of taking in 16 ounces of Cytosport drink and a protein shake with BCAAs and Glutamine immediately after the workout. As I drove home, I felt completely drained, but slowly, I began to feel a strange energy. It was like nothing I'd ever felt before. Then I thought about my deadlifts. I got a smile on my face because I knew that exercise had set the stage for everything that followed.
When you hit the gym, don't take anything with you. When you are done, you should have left it all on the gym floor. Your workouts should take every ounce of strength you have to complete. When your workouts get to that point, you know you are making good progress towards change. Exhaustion, a feeling generally linked to bad things, turned out to be a huge motivator for me today. Harness the power of exhaustion and you'll see what I mean.