Some major gains were had Monday night at the YMCA and at Degage. Experiences at the one often inform those at the other, as I mentioned recently, and Monday was no exception.
At the YMCA I beat my own record of reps at the higher weights, which was a welcome event after weeks of seeing no obvious progress. Better still, this success came at moments when I met up with my sticking points and was finally able to push on through.
Sticking points are just that: places where you get stuck and can't get the bar past that point, usually when you're repping out. Strength has something to do with it, as does technique, but they're a bugger either way. Aside from the times when I'm out of power and can't get the thing off my chest, my sticking point usually happens midway up--I'm strong enough to hold the bar there until I'm rescued, but I can't do much else.
A remedy for sticking points involves setting yourself up at a Smith machine or other cage that can hold the bar where you want it. I've set it at the midway point, loaded the bar to 130 or so, and slammed that thing hard until suddenly realizing that I've been growling in public and probably should stop. The idea is that next time you're doing a complete lift at lesser weight, you won't hit an impasse.
Monday, after several reps at higher weights, I hit my sticking point;
said, through clenched teeth, DON'T. TOUCH. IT. to Greg, my spotter;
got my back muscles in gear and
pushed that baby up.
The whole thing seemed to take a really long time, like I had decided to nap while holding lots of weight above my chest. But it also felt almost effortless once I knew how to get the right muscles activated. I'll reap those rewards for some time, because that type of intensity will certainly increase my strength and train my muscles to wake up at just the right times.
At the homeless shelter, too, I hit an impasse and pushed through. I'll tell you about it soon.