Chasing a PR? You may have already made one.

by Ryan Wagner

Welcome back, Motus crew.

I’m back from summer vacation and the blogs are rolling out once again. So, let’s get back into the swing of things.

I have an anecdote for you. Let’s talk about deadlifting.

For those of you that follow Motus, you’ll know that I’m not exactly a huge fan of PR’s (personal records) – maximal lifts. Lifting heavy enough that you’re bumping up against 1 or 2 rep maximums means that the risk is rising as well. Now that’s not to say that injury is imminent (it’s not), but it does mean that you’re starting to even out that risk versus rewards balance.

Earlier this week, I deadlifted more than I have ever lifted in my entire life. I did 15 total reps of conventional deadlift, in four sets, of 265. For me, that’s a lot of weight.

But here’s the thing: I didn’t think much about it when I did it, but walking home, I realized that I had never moved that much weight in all my 31 years on this rock. Pretty cool, I thought.

So, what can we learn from this? And how can you apply my experience to your own program? I think that there are two ways of looking at this:

On Motivation

You know what’s fun about weightlifting and fitness in general? It’s that you may not realize that the small gains you make may actually be PRs themselves. Maybe not PRs in the traditional sense – those huge lifts that you’ll promptly upload to YouTube – but the small wins that you later realize were history making. In other words, progressing in health and fitness doesn’t always have to be measured in the traditional ways.

An example: Let’s say you’re an aspiring runner. Maybe you’re working towards your first ever half marathon this Fall, but you’re running into some challenges. Shin splints, plantar fasciitis, whatever it may be. However, when you take a fresh look at what you’re done, you may be surprised. You may be so focused on hitting that 13.1 mile mark, that you aren’t appreciating what you did yesterday. Maybe your last run of 4 miles was actually a record for you. You may have never run that much in your entire life! That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

On Lifting

Those prized “gainz” come in many forms. For a lot of guys it all comes down to size. But getting bigger only comes with lifting more weight, and more volume. So, when you start tracking your lifts (you’re doing this, aren’t you?), you can compute your weekly volume. And if this goes up, even if just by a little, then you’re headed in the right direction. You may not look any different in the mirror just yet, but the numbers don’t lie. If the volume keeps growing, so will you. So that measurement of volume may actually be a personal record.


Here’s the thing – summertime can often result in induced laziness, that desire to sit by the pool and not do a whole lot of anything. But you may still be making progress, you just need to be open to seeing the real gains.

By Ryan Wagner

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Chasing a PR? You may have already made one. by