Training is just as mentally demanding as it is physically. Some workouts just seem to impossibly long and endless. Sometimes you walk a squat out expecting to hit 5 or 6 and that first rep feels like you are lucky if you get 2. There are endless situations where you are going to mentally need to push yourself ten times further than you think you are physically capable of. This is where it’s important to bite down, push yourself, and grind through the rest of it.
When and How to Grind
Grinding through a workout or a few sets requires a massive amount of mental push in order not to quit. When the weight feels like you’ll never get the programmed reps, it is time to get gritty. Not every single set is going to fly up and feel easy and to create a change, you need to be able to stress the body. Without difficulty, your body is never going to be able to adjust to anything.
This is the part where I tell you to suck it up and push through. Sets and workouts will suck from time to time, but that is okay. How far you are willing to push yourself will largely determine how far you can go in your training or competition. The best athletes aren’t always the most gifted, but they are always the ones pushing themselves harder than anyone else in training. First one in, last one out. Sometimes it’s just like that.
When Not to Grind
If you are in physical pain, then you should probably stop doing what is causing the pain. For me, if my shoulder is hurting on squats, I will adjust my grip to where it is little to no pain at all. Pushing through pain is stupid as it gets and will likely lead to injuries down the road. If you need ibuprofen in order to recover from a workout, then you really need to re-evaluate your mentality.
You aren’t being soft if you have an injury and back off from doing anything that causes pain. You are being smart and prolonging your career. Don’t try to push through a pain that doesn’t go away. If you wait until you are a 100%, you’ll basically never workout, but when there is pain accompanied by weakness, then it is time to take a bit of time off. If it is a slight pain then, by all means, keep lifting, but if it is affecting how you lift or feels debilitating, take a bit of time off that area.