And sometimes something awesome happens right in front of us that gives us a fresh perspective. Here’s a story from Taylor, NF’s Chief Wordsmith:
For about 6 months now I’ve seen a guy in a wheelchair come into my gym. He comes with a physical therapist, and does a variety of assisted rehabilitation exercises. He usually uses low weight dumbbells or assistance bands. He can’t stand up, nor can he walk on his own, and it looks like he is rebuilding the coordination in his upper body as well.
This guy has been training along side me, while I usually am doing basic powerlifting movements. For the last 6 months, he’s been an inspiration…but last week, he reached an all new level.
You see, in my gym, it is rare to see people take big lifts to failure, especially a squat or deadlift (for the few people who do actually squat and deadlift). When I fail on a big lift, dropping heavy weight onto safeties, I definitely get some weird looks.
Last week I nailed a new 5 rep squat PR. It felt great, like I just beat an end-game boss. Then, as I’m headed for the water fountain after my set, I saw my rehab friend.
But this time he isn’t working with bands or dumbbells. In fact, the therapist isn’t even assisting him, he’s just coaching him. This guy was standing up out of his wheelchair, without help, for the first time in his training.
I have NEVER seen anybody work this hard. I watched him fight to lift his own bodyweight. I saw him struggle for every inch. I watched him put every last ounce of effort he had into his legs and posterior chain - and then some. He could have fallen flat on his face, sideways into the weight machines, or on to his therapist. In fact, I almost thought he was going to. But he didn’t. He won. It was by far the most inspiring and impressive feat I’ve ever seen.
In a way, it was more impressive than a 500 lb squat, a perfect human flag, or a sub 4-minute mile. And it was “just” his body weight. “Just” standing up.