Learn To Strain

Learn To Strain

Learning to STRAIN

Do you know what straining is? Do you know what it looks like? What it feels like? What it sounds like? And in some cases what it smells like?


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary Defines Strain as the following:

Strain (verb):

  • To exert (oneself) to the utmost
  • To make violent efforts

Use: Strain to a Point; to go BEYOND usual, ACCEPTED, or proper limit or rule.


One of the biggest flaws or downfalls I usually see in lifters and athletes ranging from all experience levels is being afraid of pushing the envelope.  When it comes time to give the max effort on anything whether it’s dealing with weights or anything else requiring the maximum effort, is they stop when it gets “too hard” or “too heavy”.

Now don’t misinterpret this at all, there’s a time and place to NOT completely grind through all lifts and not everything needs to be strained. BUT that time and place is not every day!

Feeling the struggle of a heavy bench stuck 4 inches above your chest or forcing to push your hips the last couple inches in the deadlift creates confidence in your lifts.

Fighting your opponent through Iron man drills on the mat when you haven’t had a break from sparring in 45 minutes creates confidence.

Finishing your last 3 rounds of Foul Pole to Foul Pole sprints on the baseball diamond and not half-assing them creates confidence.

Not giving up studying for your exam the next day when you’ve studied the last 8 hours straight and all you want to do is sleep creates confidence.

So when you quit early and not give it a fighting chance, especially when the bar hasn’t made a reverse movement in its path or you know you still have the energy to give it your all this practice or the day, you just accepted failure.

So when it comes time to challenge yourself in competition, whether that’s a powerlifting platform, baseball diamond wrestling mat or class room. LEARN TO STRAIN. Feel what it is like to struggle through some tough times. Learning these struggles while in a non-win/lose scenario teaches you where your limits are when it comes time. Most of the time when people start to learn their straining points and find out where their limits actually are, its much further past what they originally thought it was!

Of course, be SMART with this, strain to the point of MAXIUM effort but DO NOT strain to the point of injury. You may ask “how will I know?” The answer to that is simple, your body NOT your mind will tell you. It takes time to learn how to properly strain, but its best to start now.



-Dylan Spina


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