How heavy should I lift?

Feeling is always the goal, but when we lose or lack the ability to feel, numbers become a tool to relate to the world. When you begin training, you lack direct feeling because your sensory system is overloaded.

At the start, everything is new – you have to remember where the bar is in the gym, much less your start position for a lift. This makes the situation temporarily overwhelming and this is why we help prescribe weight, time and volume. This creates the ability for you to start to feel.

As your “athlete age” (the time spent doing a task) increases, you develop feeling, when a position can’t be held any longer, or a time interval can’t be met without accommodation. In a general physical prep program like our GPX classes – the goal is ultimately feel. The weight on the bar, the number of reps, the cadence of the workout – matches your intensity. This is where life-long fitness happens.

We want our athletes to be co-conspirators when we ask “what’s your plan today?”. You shouldn’t be robot always dependent on percentages, you should develop a feel for your body and then that tells you how heavy to make a given movement or moment. Maybe you slept 4 hours last night. Maybe you had a second glass of wine. How does that impact feeling? Then you aren’t dependent on a watch, band or phone – but you actually develop a connection with your body, rather than a purely transactional relationship.

Numbers provide concrete feedback, but they don’t tell the story of your whole self. This is the difference between a 3 rep max and a heavy set of 3 reps. One is dependent on previous experience related to an abstraction (3 rep max), one is dependent on your feeling (heavy set of 3). Both are valuable in the right context, feeling tells you which one. It’s why we ask you how you feel, not just what is on the bar.

Superior learning means reduction, not complexity. Learning when the 3 rep max is relevant and when a heavy 3 is the right move. 

Autonomy, not dependency. OPEX Founder and Fitness OG – James Fitzgerald once asked, “when did fitness become the business of creating dependent relationships?” 

Subvert robotic fitness, reclaim your body.