Second only to the squat in the most fundamental movements of humans, is the almighty deadlift: AKA picking heavy shit off the ground and putting it down. This lift is animal and definitely a measure of manliness.

The Ritual

Ritual-san-juan

Shoes off, earphones in. Last week was rack lifts and sub-max explosion sets, today is max-day, so I throw on the weight belt. After adding the last of the weights to the barbell, I step back to take it all in. The idea is to get my mind ready for what’s to come, to make the weight seem larger than life so I don’t hold back a single Joule of energy when it’s go-time.

Yes, brain, you will lift this shit off the floor, the weights are set, and there’s no turning back. Sometimes I sit on it, sometimes I rock it with my foot, either way it helps me prepare for the state of mind transition that’s about to take place. When I feel I’ve recovered from my warmups, I put my favorite lifting song on standby…

… This song is reserved only for my max. It is the catalyst necessary to cross the threshold between civilized human being to savage brute. I do some stationary hopping and take some quick, shallow breaths because I’m about to unleash the animal from within. Once I hit the play button, the transformation begins. As I rock my head to the rhythm, all thinking starts to vanish as I attempt to breach the recesses of my lizard brain.

Adrenaline courses through my veins as it transfers all mental energy into the physical. I attempt to activate every possible neuro-muscular motor unit through numerous forms of flexing at variant intervals. Transformation finished.

grip

I rush over to the bar and set my rags over the site of my hand placement as I always do with weight over 365lbs. Although they don’t assist in the lift, they’re thick enough to prevent my callouses from tearing, but thin enough to allow me to remain intimate with the weight. I hike my shorts up for maximum range of motion, and plant my feet in their approximate positions under the bar.

To reach my final foot placement, I grind my feet against the padding of the floor, feeling each micro crevice in the material through my socks until I’m satisfied. I hover my hands just above the bar where the rags are, carefully centering my hands in the proper position and clench my fists. I’m still expending resources to stay in my savage state. My hands grind the rags against the bar; I can feel the grooves in the carvings of the barbell, the intimacy I referred to earlier. Then I shake the bar, propagating waves of madness across the Earth.

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Earthquake

With this I can get a better sense for the weight, feeling the individual parts vibrate. Each component is separate, yet they are one, it and I are one. My favorite part of the song approaches…

Go Time

This is it; this is what I train for. I pinch my shoulder blades together, look myself in the mirror across the room, and tuck my chin in…blast off.

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NASA

The bar bends, the weights point outward, but there’s a pause. Like a space shuttle launch, a tremendous amount of power is being pumped into the system for an extended period of time just to accelerate from the takeoff pad. Once the weights finally leave the ground, a lot of my energy is sapped, yet I drive on.

I see people turning their heads in my peripheral as I’m leaving the floor, so I must be groaning but can’t tell; I can’t even hear the music blasted in my ears or see directly in front of me. Failure is never an option, especially with the audience now present; I’ve worked too hard for this moment.

I press on, but now my vision returns. According to the mirror across the room, my face is flexed and red and my teeth are displayed like an ape. Finally I lockout, and look down at the plates with great pride. I’m better than I was yesterday. Fuck yeah. Lightweight.

Read More: 3 Reasons You Should Lift Weights