Ego Lifting can benefit you. Ego lifting is subject of much derision and rightful controversy, but, if used wisely, can be used to your benefit.
NOTE: I am not advocating for ego lifting. This article is for entertainment purposes and to address a relatively anonymous impediment to several lifter’s progress.
Every single lifter I have met is guilt of something: ego lifting. Ego lifting is rightly and roundly condemned in the fitness community for a variety of reasons ranging from douchebaggery to form breakdown. However, if we were to play Devil’s Advocate for the length of this blogpost, I will elucidate how ego lifting is good, actually. You’d better attach a trigger warning to this one.
Depending on your particular discipline–bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, etc–there is some benefit to doing supramaximal and partial lifts, and it doesn’t really count as ego lifting.
While bodybuilders might forgo partial lifts altogether, in favor of mind-muscle connection and controlled concentric-eccentric patterns; supramaximal partial loads can really bolster one’s muscular achievement.
As a lifelong natural lifter, who has dabbled in every gym discipline, partial and supramaximal loads are absolutely amazing get-out-of-plateau-free cards to have up your sleeve.
Furthermore, I am a believer in handling heavier loads translating into greater muscular gains — and not necessarily qualifying as ego lifting.
What is a supramaximal load?
It is a weight above your one rep max.
There are several ways to perform these lifts safely and in a controlled environment–and to great effect.
The first time I ever squatted 5 plates a side was from doing half pin squat singles as an accessory movement.
In three weeks, I started with 230kg and managed a rep with 270kg on the last session.
This exercise put a ton of size in my calves, in particular, in a very short space of time.
I could rack pull 800lb from the knees at a time where I struggled to deadlift 600lb for reps.
Needless to say, chasing an 800lb+ rack pull added a ton of size to my upper back, which I had thought was near its genetic limit.
Supramaximal lifts include:
-Partial pin squats
-Partial pin press
-Smith Machine Bulgarian Split Squats–these are, hands down, the best way to build your lower body, fast!
-Barbell rows with Body English
-Bands and chains
Let me reiterate: you should do these in a safe and controlled environment.
Always use power rack pins, belt, wraps, etc, wherever necessary.
These exercises are also taxing on the nervous system, so please use them sparingly–preferably on a one month on, two month off basis.
2) Psychological Confidence
One of the biggest gain killers I’ve seen in the gym is a lack of confidence.
Rest, nutrition, alcohol consumption aside; a lack of confidence really lets a ton of lifters down.
Several friends at the gym have reasoned their way out of bigger lifts due to fear of injury or consequence.
Most of the time, they are more than capable of hitting bigger weights, but they are subdued by psychological barriers.
One friend never squatted three plates in his life, but could squat two plates for sets of ten.
After psyching him up and spotting him on heavier sets, he was squatting three plates for reps in a couple of weeks.
He was very thankful for the confidence boost as he had never dreamed of tussling with those loads.
In my own experience, the biggest psychological barrier I ever had was to deadlift six plates.
I was SO CLOSE for 18 months.
I would be a matter of single digits away, but six plates itself was simply a bridge too far.
Then, I introduced new accessory movements in my program which strengthened my upper back; and, with the support of the entire gym psyching me up, when I actually lifted six plates for the first time, it looked like a speed rep–almost as if I had seven plates in the tank.
Now, ego lifting can easily kill your gains through injury. It also instills subpar motorn patterns and fails to form mind-muscle connections.
Form breakdown can also occur from ego lifting, posing problems down the line.
However, ego lifting in supramaximal or partial loads in a safe environment with proper form can enable you to deal with loads you never thought possible.
This, in turn, will carryover significantly to other exercises in your program.
I mean, who’s bigger: the guy that can bench 200lb for 8 with perfect form or the guy that can pin press 400lb for 8?
3) Training Hard
Another reason why people fail to tap into their full potential is because they undertrain–or, to quote Greg Doucette, “they train like pussies!”
You shouldn’t lift with your ego, but have some ego and lift bigger weights. Sometimes, too much focus is placed on correct form with requisite time under tension, mind-muscle connection, tempo, etc.
I assure you, you can get bigger by pursuing more aggressive progressive overloading.
I didn’t get to incline dumbbell press 130lb dumbbells for sets of 10 while natty by the letter of the lifting law.
No, this came about because I was determined to become the biggest and strongest guy in the gym–natty–against the odds.
I would have to psych myself up tremendously within.
I’m not much of a screamer or a grunter.
But my drive to outlift the enhanced dudes can be attributed to “ego.”
If other lifters would tap into their ego a little more, they would be able to make bigger gains than they thought possible.
They, and their lack of ego, are their own worst enemies in the gym.
Don’t lift with your ego, but with correct form. Use your ego wisely to your advantage.
Supramaximal loads, partial reps, and hard training all help you overcome psychological barriers you may have erected.
Of course, you should at least have some experience in the gym before unleashing your ego.
Learn correct form first, train for a number of years to forge efficient motor patterns, and learn periodization or self-programming before sprinkling in exercises to take your training to new heights.
Ego Lifting to Help Your Gains
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