If you are not familiar with the deadlift exercise for building strength and toning the core – check out the short Deadlift article on Wikipedia.
While dead-lifting 455 does not break any world records, it is something that I have been working on for over 6 years. It has been both a physical and mental challenge for me. The first breakthrough happened in early 2011 when I broke 4 plates (405) but for over a year I was stuck around that weight level.
Throughout 2012 I slowly inched my way to four and a quarter (455) by adding 10 pounds total at a time. From 415 to 425 then 435 and finally 445 I was moving slowly towards my goal week after week. Slight set-backs and time off prevented me from getting all the way to 455 and then after Hiking Camelback one day I injured my meniscus which put me out of heavy deads for a few weeks.
Then came my move to California, a new gym and a new mindset. On my long drive from Gilbert, Arizona to Santa Rosa, California I had some time to reflect on the direction of my life and my overall goals. A subset of these are my fitness and strength conditioning milestones. I focused very intently on being able to move 455 and minimized the incremental difference of 10 pounds in my mind.
After taking nearly a month off of heavy deadlifting, with the last heaviest weight only being 425, I walked into the Downtown Santa Rosa Powerhouse Gym with the intent to pull 455. With quick warm ups at 135 and 225 I moved to 315 and performed 5 reps. Normally I would go to 365, but I felt good and jumped right to 405. I blasted it up and was ready to overcome my deadlifting Goliath. I loaded up four 45 lbs plates and one 25 pound plate on each side of the bar for a total of 455 and chalked up my hands. With the power of positive belief in my mind, I grabbed on to the bar and thrust upward quickly getting the bar above me knees. With a little hitching, I got the bar into the completion position.
While there are a combination of reasons, why that day was the day for me, I truly believe that the primary reason is that I was finally ready in my mind to do it. While I was definitely physically capable prior to that point, I needed to mentally allow my self to pick up the weight. As great leaders say, “We will only do what we believe we can do, and therefore we need to work on our belief.”