When you or I go to the gym our goal, no matter what it is, should be to get better.
Whether we’re powerlifting, training for an endurance competition, or just trying to get into better shape, we should all want to progress and get better in some way.
If we lack this attitude, we will come up short of our goals and not progress like we hope to.
That’s why we should make it a goal to set a new personal record (PR) every time we hit the gym.
Let me explain…
It doesn’t have to be getting a new max in a lift, like the squat or bench press, but just doing something better than you did last time. If we do then that means we hit a PR, no matter how small of an improvement it may be.
It could be running a mile 5 seconds faster, increasing your general mobility, or doing one extra rep in your sets for an exercise. Whatever it may be, hitting a new PR every time we hit the gym will move us closer to training with more intensity, enthusiasm, and allow us to accelerate faster to hit our goals, by giving us the momentum we need to grow and progress. I know as a whole, our progress is not strictly linear, but this way, we feel like it is which gives us positive encouragement and feedback to giving our best effort.
I’ll use myself as an example.
Take a look at the video above.
That’s me deadlifting 425 pounds for a triple without a belt (I’m 5’7” and 185lbs by the way). For some, that’s warm-up weight, but for me, that’s a new PR, and it has been quite a journey to get here.
A few years ago, during college, I severely strained my lower back (I am guessing my quadratus lumborum from its location), which caused me to herniate a disc in my lumbar spine. I had intense, sharp pain and dealt with sciatica for months and months that made me take a lot of time off from training with the barbell.
I hated this, since I love it so much, which caused me to prematurely come back before a full heal, causing me to re-aggravate the injury, bringing back all the initial symptoms and pain.
This gave me quite a bit of frustration, as you might guess. But, looking back in hindsight, it was a blessing in disguise. The reason is because it made me truly take a step-back, and start over to re-think what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, and why (check out my post about your “why philosophy” HERE). I had to experiment with different training styles, be open to new perspectives and methods, and do a ton of research and experimentation to rehab my back into shape, in order to move functionally without pain.
It has been almost three years exactly since the injury happened, and I am finally at a point where I feel almost to my normal self before the injury.
What has accelerated my progress, especially in the past few months, is the idea to hit a PR every single time I hit the gym.
I can’t claim this idea because it is not mine, but instead it is from a person I follow and look up to.
His name is Mark Bell.
For those of you who do not know, Mark is very famous in the powerlifting and strength training world by creating the famous Slingshot, owner of Super Training Gym in Sacramento, California, as well as being strong as hell and bench pressing 800 pounds, squatting over a 1000 pounds, and deadlifting over 700 pounds all equipped. Mark has also dealt with an assortment of injuries, like tearing his pec twice, and knows a thing or two about coming back from injury.
One of his mottos that he follows is to “hit a PR every time he hits the gym”. He has said himself that it is probably a significant reason why he has come back so strong from his injuries, especially after his second pec tear.
This has also influenced him to do the things necessary to rehab his body, recover better and lift correctly at the right pace, and progress without major injury.
I can relate because that is what I have done too, especially after hearing Mark’s story (others too, like Elliott Hulse and Omar Isuf, and studying people like Kelly Starrett). I have had to alter my training style, reach new perspective and attitudes on keeping my body in good shape, and doing my best to hit some sort of PR every time I step in the gym.
This mindset has elevated my enthusiasm, passion, and excitement I have about lifting, and training in general, I think, that has not been higher than it is right now. I literally cannot wait to go back to the gym and train, even though it may be a de-load week to heal up. Even then, I’m practicing my lifts, working on mobility, and trying to improve — hit a PR — in some way.
Doing the little things too, like stretching, foam rolling, mobility work, rehab style exercises, and so forth, is also less of a dread (well, only sometimes, but I it’s easier because I know how valuable and important it is).
This has made me advance toward my goals at a much more rapid pace, and given me the important lesson to keep my discipline high, especially outside the gym, so what I do in the gym is successful.
I love it, and I am so thankful for this whole process and what is to come.
So, I challenge you to hit a PR for yourself every time you go to the gym. The gym is a place for us to grow, so let’s start acting like we want to by giving our best effort to set a new PR for ourselves every time.
I guarantee you that you will be challenged, but you will feel so much better once you start to progress with more efficiency and effectiveness with this new attitude to hit a PR every time. And, best part, is it will probably reignite your passion to be the strongest you can be, and not only achieve your goals, but smash em’.
Let’s hit a PR everybody!
Who’s with me?