The Question That Helps You Lift More Weightby Jen Sinkler
“I just made the most major tweet of my life,” said my husband, David, to me earlier this week. (Why he rails against using “tweet” as a verb I do not know, but it always cracks me up.)
“But,” he continued, “I don’t know if anyone is going get exactly how important this concept is for making training progress.”
“Lemme see,” I said, grabbing his phone. “Oh wow…this is major.”
Can I do that? > I can do that. > I can't do that.
— David Dellanave (@ddn) January 8, 2014
It reads: “Can I do that? [is greater than] I can do that. [is greater than] I can’t do that.”
Is that blowing your mind?
If not (yet), you aren’t alone.
The tweet didn’t get a ton of traction online, but the next day, David did receive a response from someone saying, “Taking that ‘Can I do that?’ mentality at the gym today totally changed my workout. Pushed harder, better mood. Good stuff.”
That guy? He got it.
Think about it for a moment: How often do you slap some weight on the bar that you know you can lift, do a few sets and call it a day? How often do you stick to only the lifts you know how to do; the ones you’ve been performing year in and year out?
If the answer is “pretty often,” then chances are you are stuck in an “I can do that” training mentality, and chances are you’re probably maintaining your strength, at best. Hey, it’s better than “I can’t do that,” which leads to avoidance of certain types of lifts and any semblance of challenge, but I believe you can do better.
The next time you train, make the mental shift from “I can do that” to asking yourself, “Can I do that?” with regard to the weight on the bar and brand-new exercises entirely. Constant learning, growing and developing is, I believe, a major component of happiness.
Treat your training like an experiment and you will be richly rewarded in terms of strength gains and confidence building.
Even if the answer is “not yet,” continue asking the question every time you train and the answer will be “soon enough.”