The only exception to this article is if you’re peaking for a competition.
When you’re training daily in the gym, there’s no doubt that some days will be better than others both physically and mentally. It’s important to have a plan going into each workout – but some days you need to say “F*CK THE PLAN”, and throw some weight on the bar.
I see it far too often. People come into the gym, they slept great, ate well, feel good, and the bar is moving fast – yet they decide to “stick to the plan” and leave either pounds, or reps, or BOTH in the gym.
Don’t get me wrong, I value a good training program, and don’t recommend maxing out every workout you feel good. But honestly – if you’re not training for a meet and you feel like going heavy, GO HEAVY. Powerlifting is a strength sport – and at the end of the day, the only way to truly get stronger, is to do MORE WEIGHT or reps than you’ve done previously.
Example: This set was supposed to be 615×3.. I pulled 615×5. Why stop at 3 when I had 5 in me?
Let’s use another example: Your bench PR is 275 and you hit that 5 weeks ago. Yesterday you benched 260×5 which in theory puts you at a 299lb 1 rep max. Sure you can tell people your max is 299, but at the end of the day, the most weight you’ve ever lifted is STILL 275lbs.
Maybe you saw Pete Rubish doing pause deadlifts with 755 and want to try them. Go for it. Maybe you saw a guy benching with chains for the first time and you want to try it. Why not? Maybe you saw the NFL combine on the weekend and want to see how many times you can rep out 225. DO IT.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. I guarantee you’ll learn something, and as a result, become a better lifter.
Another thing that I think actually holds lifters back is being too technical with their training. Using fractional plates, calculating exact band tension, chain weight, using competition bars on every workout..etc. Sometimes it’s best to just throw a few plates on the bar, throw some bands on, and just GET STRONGER.
Most gyms don’t have calibrated plates, so when you load up that 550lb squat, maybe one side is 7lbs heavier than the other, but guess what – you’re still going to get stronger, and when you go to a meet with competition plates – the weight is going to feel better because the bar is even.
To sum it up:
On the days you feel good and the bar is moving fast – GO HARD, BE A BEAST, DO MORE REPS THAN YOUR PROGRAM SAYS, whatever. LEAVE NOTHING IN THE GYM THESE DAYS.
On the days where life kicked you in the knees and you feel like crap, the bar is moving slow, and you don’t want to train – do what your program says. This will ensure you put the work in and you are still progressing.
Lift heavy, stay strong.