Monday, April 12, 2010
It's a funny thing, pride--one of those strangely dichotomous things that is at once a wonderful thing and a horrible one. One person's source of pride might seem ludicrous to another. Pride can motivate a person. After all, on some level, pride is part of why we bathe every day and wear clean clothes and brush our teeth and hair. We want to look at least remotely presentable. Taking pride in our appearance and our work ethic and our other good qualities helps us to be good, productive citizens. Pride in ourselves can motivate us to eat better, to be active, to continue to learn instead of becoming stagnant in our professions. It makes us stronger, smarter, faster, more graceful than we would be without it. Pride in our homes helps motivate us to keep them clean and tidy. Pride certainly is not always a bad thing.
I have realized, though, that pride has not always been a good thing, either. Granted, it has done all of the things mentioned above, but I think that in some ways it has hindered me as well. As strange as it might sound, sometimes we need to take a step back and objectively evaluate where we stand. We need to look at where we are, not where we want to be, and assess our strengths and weaknesses and address them honestly, not trying to be more than we are, no matter how desperately we might want more. For what seems like forever I have been struggling to do a pullup and a pistol. Some form of assisted or partial pullup or pistol has been a part of my workout for well over a year now. I have wanted so desperately to move closer to these goals that I have pushed myself to take bands away too early or perform a particular movement any way necessary to get a momentary sense that I am accomplishing something. Recently I started Pavel's Fighter Pullup Program. It uses a ladder program to increase reps and can be used, with bands, to bring one closer to a pullup if they can't yet accomplish one. It works by building on a person's three or five rep max. Before starting it, though, I had to honestly assess my three rep max and my five rep max. For once, I cast my pride aside, and although I felt like a total loser, I chose what in my eyes was the path of the physically weaker individual and started the program with one more assisting band than I really wanted to.
That was five days ago. Already I am humbled by my own stupidity. In those five short days I have finally managed to begin to feel the groove of the pullup. I've finally begun to feel the full-body tension I have been trying to learn to generate for the last 6 months. And I finally feel like I might actually be making progress.