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February 13, 2012

Strength Conditioning Can Change your life

Repost from my guest blogger Brian "The Grizz" Espino:
  
Earlier this week, Jim asked me if I was interested in writing a segment for his blog. I thought this was brave of him, considering how much I like potatoes. I will leave the diet tips to Jim and focus more on the weight room. This first post will be mostly background information, but there are a few lessons in here. In high school I was interested in, and loved playing most sports. However I didn’t pick the right parents to be a great athlete, and the only team I was on was the math team. Fast forward a few years, and while in graduate school in Kansas, I started to lift weights at my university’s gym.


My workouts initially consisted of doing a little work for every body part, every other day, mostly using machines. When I started, I weighed about 150 pounds. The only big lift that I knew of was the bench press. I would not consider myself that strong at the time, as I could lift about 170 pounds a few weeks after I started to lift weights. I set the goal of benching 200 pounds. Eventually I benched 200 pounds and my next goal was 225. Each time I reached a goal, I would set another one to give me something to work toward. About three years later I weighed nearly 200 pounds and could bench press 320 for multiple reps.

Luckily I suffered my first weightlifting injury. While performing a negative rep, something popped in my shoulder. I say this was lucky because during the time I couldn’t work on my bench press, I learned a few other lifts, most notably the squat and the deadlift. Previously my lower body work consisted of machine based exercises, such as leg curls and leg extensions. With some of those machines, I could lift the entire stack. I was about to be humbled. The first time I tried to squat, upon lowering a modest amount of weight to the squat rack’s safety pins, the bar didn’t budge. My legs were weak! While my shoulder recovered I worked on my squats and deadlifts, and within months, I could almost deadlift 300 pounds.

Now to the day that changed my life. My goal for the day was to deadlift a new max of 300 pounds. Another student was lifting nearby with substantially more weight on the bar. After I successfully deadlifted 300 pounds for the first time, I started to strip the weight. When I was taking the weight off of the bar, this more experienced lifter asked me, “What are you doing? Put MORE weight on.” He said I could lift more and invited me to lift with him. By the end of the workout, he had me doing a reverse band deadlift where I was locking out over 400 pounds. From that day I have been hooked on the powerlifting bug. Four years have passed and now as a powerlifter, I have found myself in the same role that my old friend from Kansas played in my training. In the following posts, I will be giving out tips and strategies that I use myself, that if you choose to, you can apply to your own workouts.

Have a great workout!




Tip of the day: 

  As you read Brian's post you see that goals are set along the way and while he had a boundary he learned that he could push past it. Sometimes we all need that someone to help get us past our limits. Brian had his friend at graduate school in Kansas. He assisted with me during my first deadlift meet last June 4th. While I had trained for the lift with the help of Mike Macri at Albany Strength, at the meet Brian encouraged me to push for a deadlift over 400 pounds. Thanks to both men. Keep your eyes open for those who can challenge you and help you reach your potential. Be willing to accept the challenge before you, and don't be afraid to ask for help or take the help that is offered. It is not a sign of weakness. IT IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH

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