Everyone knows what the speed limit is on the freeway and we tend to stay relatively close to it. Certainly it is wise to stay within what your personal limits are while driving. Most of us can likely drive 75-80 mph and stay safe but once you step outside this range the risk starts to increase significantly. If you’re reading this and older than 21 you probably have an idea of what your alcohol limit is (and I’m not talking about driving anymore). At some point drinking “outside of your limits” becomes more dangerous, risky and often times regrettable. There are many other examples in our lives that we are well aware of our limits. Perhaps it’s with that special someone (i.e. girlfriend/wife) where you know if push just a little further, ask one more question, or point out one final time that you were in fact correct and she wasn’t, that the risk is much greater than the reward. Training doesn’t have to be any different than the rest of your life. Yes, getting comfortable with uncomfortable can be very productive but knowing your limits will ultimately pay large dividends.
I recently read Dave Dellanave’s new book entitled “Off The Floor: A Manual For Deadlift Domination”. It’s innovative, creative and insightful as well as simple. To put it simply myself, I thought it was great and you should check it out. One point that Dave hammers home time and again is training within your limits. I can’t stress how important this is and apparently neither can Dave. This concept applies to not only deadlifting but all of your training. Working within your limits will ultimately make you stronger, keep you safe and able to train with more frequently as well as operate as a human being on a regular basis. All of those things become more difficult when limits are constantly being pushed. To practice this method limit your reps to high quality only. If form is about to break down the set is over. Another way to think of it, don’t miss reps!!!!! As simple as that. Don’t miss reps. If you are unsure that the rep will be successful or even just a red-faced struggle, don’t do it. Either do another set in a few minutes or just wait until next time. I can remember Dan John talking about someone asking him how he got his high school kids so strong and he said if you look around the gym you won’t see kids missing reps. I think I’m quoting Dan John yet again but if you seek your limits you will find them. So, take a page from Dave’s book (pun intended), train within your limits and listen to your body daily. Train smart. We are all here to get stronger and better every day.
– Mike Baltren