One heavy rep!
So much to think about but also so little. Afterall it’s only one rep right? Well, then again so much could go wrong…
But so much could go right too!
Don’t let it psyche you out!
There’s a considerable amount of learning, worth, and growth to be had during this particular week of our cycle.
Here are a few thoughts on how to approach a 1 rep max phase in your strength cycle or a heavy single and a healthy mindset for going into it.
Maximal week, like others, can be just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. However, if we never test our one rep maxes or go for just that one heavy rep under load, we never push our limits either.
Building to a heavy single is actually as much about learning how to lift heavy as it is about trying to hit a new PR. Practicing heavy lifting consistently helps you learn the changes in timing, demand on (and of) technique and form, along with the difference in feel, set up, and approach.
PR’s are so rewarding. Of course. They’re exhilarating. They make all the hard work seem worth it which is also why they’re the “seemingly” defining factor of progress. Although, the truth is, they aren’t the only one! We simply can not and we will not PR every day or every cycle. And that’s okay. If PR’s are your only marker for success you won’t find longevity in strength training. You have to ride the waves. We all do.
A goal of mine (and this is just mine personally) is to improve how previous maxes feel. This allows me to approach the bar as the weight is increasing with a focus on how I’m moving the heavier load rather than just how much I’m moving. I know that the better I am able to move a previous max the closer a new one will be, even if it’s not in the current cycle. This mindset has helped me lift smarter, longer, and heavier (heavier, in due time) by teaching me not only to trust the process but have patience in it too. Again, this is just a personal perspective but I hope it can help.
Also, something Mike told me waaayyy back in the day, was that 99.9% of the time a missed lift isn’t because of a lack of strength but that you just haven’t quite figured out HOW to lift that weight yet. And, that is exactly why heavy singles are important. Even if you miss or fail a lift you think you should’ve made, at a minimum you’re learning HOW to lift heavier loads and that too is making you stronger.
It’s best to always approach a heavy single phase with a plan and/or strategy and a positive mindset. If things do not go as planned, you must remember, improvement and gains are not lost. Acceptance of where you’re at is what will take you where you want to be.
Don’t bring additional weight to the bar. Keep your mind clear, blinders on, and your focus on the ONE simple task in front of you!