The other day I was having a conversation with one of my youthing friends and while he commented on one of the How to Have Optimal Hormone Level articles, particularly the one about strength training for Testosterone and High Intensity Training for Growth Hormone, he mentioned he wanted to say something to me for some time.
Naturally I was all ears and I had the feeling that a “lesson” was coming right around the corner. My friend commented on how he used to train the same way and how he understands where I am coming from, as he did all his life until two years ago until “a friend” mentioned something to him.
He asked me the same questions that were asked of him:
“Why are you lifting things that are so heavy that requires you to lose even a little bit of balance?”
And here comes the kicker:
“Any weight that takes you off balance is too much weight. Too much weight out of balance begins the aging process. Lift only weight you need to stay in balance. Re-define your body for sustainability. You have to re-structure your whole body.”
He then mentioned how he had to start and re-learn all the exercises he was doing with a light weight and to make sure that the movement started from the feet and that he slowed down the movement so he could see how the weight and the exercise affected his balance. If he was off balance then he had to scale the weight back down until he mastered that weight WITH balance. However, he also mentioned that once he got it right he had an “incredible rise in strength in balance.”
OK, so now I had my marching orders and I told him I would play around with it. I had my deadlift workout scheduled for the next day where I was eager to do 10 sets of 315lbs singles. From now on I will refer to the deadlift as the HEALTHLIFT. I LOVE the way my body feels when I healthlift 315lbs. There is just something about it that turns on all the gears in your body and you feel like a Ferrari with the engines revved up after a tune up, which is the feeling of naturally spiking up your Testosterone through exercise!
What I did was to do 10 learning sets of five reps focused on balance. I would start light and see where I could get to. Before starting the lift I would focus on both feet and make sure I felt the four corners of the feet into the ground. If any weight shifted from the feet then I had to stay on that weight until I mastered it. Also I would pay attention to how I was pulling with my legs. If I favored one side over the other then that was an indication that I was off balance and had to stay in that weight until I mastered it.
What follows are the notes from my training journal for each of the ten sets of five reps which I did in a very slow and controlled manner so I could scan my balance at every point of the lift.
1. 65lbs – good to go
2. 85lbs – good to go
3. 95lbs – first three reps off balance because when I locked out I would place more weight on the right leg than the left, paid attention and fixed the last two reps
4. 95lbs – first three reps good to go, but I put a little bit more weight on the right leg during my last rep
5. 115lbs – 5 good reps, caught myself almost going off balance but I fixed it. Immense concentration per rep.
6. 135lbs – 3 good reps, then last two reps I leaned a little bit right, felt it a little bit more in my right glute and lower back.
7. 135lbs – 3 good reps and then in the last two reps body moved as ONE UNIT as if the weight came up almost by itself. This is the first time I have this feeling in the healthlift!
8. 135lbs – 5 good reps, three of those felt “automatic” where the body performed as ONE UNIT as opposed to how I was used to doing it which felt like a sequential chain of activation (heel, calf, hamstring, glute, lower back, back).
9. 155lbs – 5 good reps
10. 185lbs – 5 good reps, even though I shifted left once on the way down in the last rep, first time I went a little off balance on the way down.
OK, just as a reminder, 135lbs-305lbs were supposed to be my warm up weights and 315lbs was supposed to be my work weight. The highest I got up to and what will be my future working weight until I master balance will be 185lbs.
The feeling of having my body lift as ONE UNIT was awesome and now I will look to reproduce it on all future lifts.
As I start my second run of Extreme Military Fitness Elite I will take two weeks with lighter weights to get the balance right before I go into the heavy weights. I will also include this very important information into the course.
Try it out for yourself and incorporate balance into your strength training and let me know what you feel.