Deadlifting, mindfulness, & the impending finish line
We have reached the stage in the Amazing 12 program where it is noticeably tougher. The deadlift, in particular, presented some challenges this week at Core Results. Sue felt as if she was nearing her limits. She pulled 92.5kgs off the ground repeatedly. That’s more than she has ever done. Kari did the same with 72.5kgs – way more than she has lifted before starting the program.
However, Kari’s form broke down during some of the sets. So we lowered the weight and practised the technique with a lighter weight. This was a valuable experience and not a failure by any means. The deadlift may seem straightforward – and it is – but it can also be very technical and those fine details are essential when you begin asking your body to overcome heavier loads. To ask that question of a body that hasn’t been already primed is courting disaster. Body type and mobility make a difference to how easy it is to master the deadlift. But nothing beats practice and patience.
It got me thinking, because while we don’t do deadlifts too often on the program, we deadlift practically every day of our lives. Some of us realise it and some of us do not.
Whenever you take from the ground a weighted object you are effectively performing a deadlift. Mothers and fathers picking up their children are deadlifting. Labourers at work. Children at play…
It is not always enough to go to the gym. The gym is just the beginning. It’s how you lead your life that matters most. The gym is where you learn and refine the skill under supervision. Out in the world is where you get to put your gym skills and gym strength to use.
The time spent in the gym is relatively little. But if you do not apply what you learn you aren’t really changing much. If I train you to deadlift once per week and the rest of the week you lift objects from the ground with bad form, which movement pattern do you think will prevail?
If you workout every day, but spend the vast majority of your time seated or slumped at a desk or on a couch, what shape will your body adapt to?
I see all the time people lifting by using their backs and they complain about having a bad back. Figure that out.
Changing a movement pattern is tough in the beginning. It requires almost continual thought, devotion and concentration. Kari found it a little overwhelming at times trying to focus on all the components of the deadlift to be able to execute the movement well. But with practice comes change. She’s made tremendous progress from when we started.
Over time that which we once had to think hard about becomes second nature and a new pattern emerges.
The Amazing 12 tries to teach that. We’re honing skills and eating habits week in, week out. You get good at what you practice the most.
“I’m more mindful of my body now since starting the Amazing 12,” said Kari. “I’m more aware of how my core influences my posture and how important it is to engage core muscles when lifting.
“I have also learned to listen to my body and not push it to pieces – that it’s not just okay to have rest days, but crucial.”
For Sue the injury she sustained more than a year ago was enough to make her more conscious of how she moves day in and day out. “Once you’ve had an injury and been debilitated, you become more mindful,” she said.
“But coming from a place of injury and movement recovery, the Amazing 12 has given me back my confidence in the way I move. I no longer hold myself stiffly to protect my shoulder or worry about lower back pain when picking up something heavy.”
“Lifting heavy weights teaches you to respect your body. I am proud of what my body has accomplished during these three months and I’m now confident of being ‘fit for purpose’.”
Next week Kari and Sue head towards the finish. It’s about getting them to peak for the photo shoot. The aim of the program is to achieve the best results possible – strength, fitness and shape – in 12 weeks. The photo shoot is just a way of illustrating the change in shape. But the real gains are made in strength (intelligent programming), fitness (conditioning work), technique (from practice), confidence (reaching the finish, overcoming challenges), health (eating better) and training knowledge (self-sufficiency).
“The 12 weeks have flown by quickly,” said Kari. “It’s unbelievable to think we have only one week left. I’m going to miss the training sessions. But I’m looking forward to building on what I have learned and to include more cardio in my training. My legs are craving a long run.
“I’m also looking forward to having a cleaner diet. I’m more mindful of nutrients and how to fuel my body. The Amazing 12 showed how head-strong and disciplined I can be when required. I was fortunate enough to share the experience with a lovely training buddy, too. She [Sue] is an inspiring lady.”
Sue has mixed feelings. “I will miss the training,” she admits. “I have loved it, despite it being tough at times and pushing me way out of my cautious comfort zone. I will miss the friendly banter and comradery of my training sessions with Kari and Claude.
“I am anxious about what happens next and where to go from here. Now I’ve climbed Everest [well, nearly], I like the view. I will, however, be glad to have more time to focus on other important things in my life. I’m looking forward to getting back to ‘normality’ in terms of my family and running my business.
“There is no doubt you have to make sacrifices for the Amazing 12 and that is why it is an accomplishment for those who undertake it. Nothing of real value is easy to come by after all.
“While I am sad the Amazing 12 is nearly over for me, I am happy I did what I set out to do and more. I have achieved something I didn’t think was possible a year ago and, what’s more, come this Friday I can eat cake!!”