Thursday, October 20, 2011

Deadlift Day

By Cristi Bartlett

It’s Sunday night. I’ve pulled my rocks glass out of the kitchen cabinet, filled it with ice, and excitedly poured my super fuel, Ketel 1, over the frozen blocks. It’s time. I’ve started my prep for my most highly anticipated day. Monday, that’s right, Monday. It is no longer the often dreaded first day of the week. In my life, Monday is actually no longer. The first day of the week is now referred to as dead-lift day.

My mind shifts to Monster Mode.

Simply put, Sunday nights may as well be December 24th and I have transported myself back to being 6 years old in Camden, North Carolina putting out cookies and milk for Santa. ‘Cause guess what people? Tomorrow, I dead-lift. I have waited my prescribed hiatus from the lift and now its time to load the bar and pick up the heaviness that is and put the shit back down, over and over again.

I am excited to say the least.

Upon waking up, I’m ready. I’m recovered from the previous weeks training, the vodka has taken its effect and my mind has shifted. I never know what my training session will consist of until I see Steel and I love that there is that element of surprise. I enjoy not knowing. Ultimately, it does not matter what he has planned for me to lift. There is nothing he can plan for me to do, that I cannot accomplish. By any means necessary, it will get done. That’s what monster mode is about. It’s a mindset.

Monster Mode Mondays (this is the only time I use the term Monday, when “Monster Mode” precedes it, THE ONLY TIME)

There is a certain level of arrogance that I must uphold on dead-lift day. It’s not a bad thing, so don’t go thinking I’m one of those overly cocky weightlifters because I am far from it. I fully understand the work that has to be put in, the hard fought repetitive efforts that have to occur, the sweat that is poured, the commitment to each training session that has to be sustained and all other factors that are associated with training; and I am obviously, more than willing to participate. Very simply, I am very confident in my dead-lift. I know that I will not be defeated. I trust in the training that I have endured and I am more than certain I am fully prepared for this moment.

It’s a dead-lift fanatic’s Christmas Morning, So Merry Dead-lift!!!!

I’ve met with the boss and he’s issued me my orders. Move this amount of weight this many times and then repeat it. Can I do it? Can I do it? Hmph, answer me this and you’ve got your answer. Does a bear shit in the woods?

Load the Damn Bar

At this point, nothing else matters. I’ve completely disassociated myself wit all external disturbances, any internal disturbances, excess noise and basically anything that has nothing to do with pulling massive amounts of weights from the floor. Everything else is moot. My one and only concern is moving the weight. Monster Mode is in full effect.

The weight is loaded, my mind is clear of any bullshit as I approach the bar. I am so overly confident in this moment that I am annoying myself. It has to happen though. I have to tell myself that I am a monster, that I am more than capable of pulling this weight, that I have the strength to move mountains. I have to believe that this weight is light, I have to believe that there is not a weight that I cannot crush. I just have to believe. I try to imagine approaching the bar whilst doubting my abilities to lift any given weight. I can’t. I have a hard time envisioning that. To be honest, I don’t even know what that means, doubt. I am a monster, I am capable and that is all I know.

The Lift is completed.
Again and Again.

Its over. I’m exhausted but I feel good. I had a goal to meet and I met it. I’m accomplished. Because of the residual soreness hanging around for the next few days, there will be a constant reminder of my victorious dead-lift day. Damn, that’s a sweet ass way to start the week. In 6 days I will begin my prep again. And in 7, there will be more dead-lifting.

My Monster Mode levels have returned to its ‘everyday standard’. And now, we regenerate.

Back to life outside the of the power rack. That is all.

Cristi Bartlett loves to deadlift. She is an Assistant Strength Coach at Penn. You can reach her at

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.