At our Lifto De Mayo competition this weekend, one of our most challenging workouts had bar muscle ups for the Rx division. There were a few female teams where neither teammate had gotten their first muscle up yet.
Dan S. was judging for one of these teams. Before the event started, the two ladies said “Oh we can’t do muscle ups, so we’ll just be waiting around!”
Dan said, “You’ll be surprised what you’re capable of. Give it a try and see what happens.”
One of the women went for it. It took lots of attempts, BUT… she got her first ever bar muscle up with three seconds to go in the event! Tears were shed, high fives were given, and memories were made.
What if she hadn’t tried? What if she had believed her own words: “I can’t do it.” She would have missed out on that amazing experience — one of the highlights of the entire competition. And she almost talked herself out of it. Props to Dan for the pep talk!
We hear stuff like this all the time in the gym:
“I’ll never be able to do a pull-up.”
“I don’t want to try double-unders, I know I’d never been coordinated enough to get those right.”
“I could never do (insert any movement here).”
More often than not, these sorts of limits are 100% self-imposed.
Perhaps some people just genuinely don’t think it’s possible for them. This person is making the assumption that they are physically incapable of getting strong enough to do this movement or skill. Everybody has a theoretical ceiling of physical fitness, through their own genetics and environment, that they can get to. VERY, VERY few people ever get close to their full athletic potential. You’d have to look to the absolute pinnacle of a given sport or specialization to truly say “This person literally could not get any better at what they’re doing.” Maybe Usain Bolt running the 100m sprint would be close. Maybe Michael Phelps winning a million gold medals — maybe he actually hit his genetic potential.
You and I — we are nowhere near our full potential in the gym. This should be an exciting prospect for us! We have so much room to keep improving, if we want to. If we let ourselves. If we don’t talk ourselves out of it. If we get out of our own way.
So let’s change that dialogue. Instead of saying “I could never do that,” let’s say “I’m not there, yet.” It’s OK if that movement or skill isn’t a priority for you at the moment. So say that, instead of “I could never do it.” Your words and thoughts are powerful tools.
Stop building arbitrary, self-imposed barriers for yourself.
Your coaches believe in you. Your Sabertooth community believes in you. The missing piece is most often you!
If you want to get that first pull up, you can. It will likely take some serious work and dedication. It might take a long time to get there. It might take some extra help from your coaches. The first step is saying “I can.”
You are capable of amazing things. You are stronger than you think.