On August, 13, 2016, I was hired by Natasha, a 30-year-old dentist who never touched a barbell in her life. Her goal was to put on some muscle size and strength and look like the fitness models you see in the magazines.
Of course, I told her to focus on the process and let the outcome take care of itself. As I discuss in my book The Elite Trainer, if you want to look like a high-level fitness model, you should aim for high-level performance feats, like to rep out on squats and deadlifts with a load equivalent to your body weight.
At 113 pounds, Natasha would need to rep out with a 35lb plate on each side of the bar. I showed her what those plates look like, then pointed beside them to the 45lb plates and said, "One day you'll even rep out with the big plates if you're serious about it."
"I can't deadlift that weight," she replied. "There's no way!"
"We'll see about that," I said.
Fast Forward to January 13, 2018
The new year brought Natasha a new personal record in the deadlift. She did the "big plates" after all! After getting 8 reps out on her first set with 135lb, I decided to take a video of her second set:
Natasha did one more set that day – this time with straps:
We'll stay at that weight for a while and work on technique, but the barrier has been broken. Big plates will now become a new normal when Natasha deadlifts.
Take-Home Message: 45lb plates may look daunting at first, but if you work hard consistently, you'll lift them. Put in the work… put in the time… and eventually you'll conquer those big plates!
To your success,
John Paul Catanzaro