Friday, December 11, 2015

Confidence.


Is it weird that I'm more excited about this PR than my other ones?

I think it's because I really had to fight for this one - the bench press is my weakest lift, as it generally is for women. As you can see, I'm not even up to bodyweight, though judging by the weightlifting standards for the bench press, it's generally not expected anyway. But it's my goal all the same.

Part of it is that I'm just way stronger in my legs, and part of it is that I don't bench as consistently as I squat and deadlift, so I'm much less experienced and much less confident in this lift than my other two. I haven't spent nearly as much time on this lift as I have on the other two - I literally didn't start benching until this past January, so I've been at it less than a full year. (I mean, I'm technically kind of a novice at all of this, but I am especially a novice at bench pressing.)

Confidence is super important in lifting. Strength can take me pretty far, but it's confidence that will give me the aggression I need to really move that bar. It was something I learned long ago for my squat and my deadlift, but it's something I still need to work on for my bench.

I get nervous when I test my squats and deadlifts, sure - I have high expectations for myself, and I hate to fail. But when I'm standing on that platform, staring down the barbell on the rack or at my feet, I find my game face and I GO for it. You need to be aggressive coming out of the bottom of the squat, like you're trying to hoist it at the ceiling. You need to be aggressive pulling the bar off the ground in a deadlift. You have to attack these lifts, or you will fail (or at least, you will struggle). Or so Steve tells me.

I have some sort of mental block that keeps me from applying this to my bench press. I guess I've convinced myself that I suck at this, that I will always suck at this, and moreover, that I will drop the bar on my face or something irrational like that. I'm working on changing that. I'm trying to pay more attention when I see other people bench, so I can see what it's supposed to look like. I'm trying to figure out how to position my body that works best for me. I'm trying to incorporate all the muscles I'm supposed to be incorporating, and not just my arm/chest/shoulders.

And I'm trying to just do it MORE. More practice. More consistency. Ever since my competition last month, I've been trying hard to make sure that I dedicate time every week to benching, and as you can see, it's helped.

This wasn't the cleanest lift - I didn't pause long enough at the bottom, and my bar path was slightly off, but I'm surprised that I managed to push it up at all. I remember, in the moment, I just felt so stuck and I wasn't sure how to fight through, and it felt like I was under it FOREVER. But then I got my s*** together and figured it out, and was able to straighten my arms. It looks a lot cleaner than it felt, believe me.

So, I feel like I'm making progress. I'm excited. My total now stands at 1,026 pounds.

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