Intuitive Lifting

My top form of exercise these days – and one of my favorite hobbies – is lifting. There are two main types of lifting: weightlifting (which refers to the Olympic lifts and is straight up insane) and power lifting. I am a power lifter which means I focus on three main lifts:

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Bench

About six months ago, I took a course that covered all the basics in lifting. We met three days a week and covered the main lifts along with some others (front squat, overhead press) and tons of accessory accessories.

Since the course has ended, I have started my own lifting program. I was sort of tired of constantly thinking about my maxes on the different lifts, having a spreadsheet that told me exactly what weights to use, and generally following a program that wasn’t necessarily what my body was in the mood for.

In Intuitive Lifting, I do 3 sets of 5 reps of every lift each week. Tuesdays, I deadlift and bench. Thursdays, I overhead press and front squat. Saturdays, I back squat and do the dreaded push press.

Each day, I check what my lifts were for the day before and think about what’s feasible that day. Most often, I try to improve. If my front squat last week was 85 pounds and I did 3 sets of 5, this week I’ll aim for at least one set of 90.

But sometimes I just have an easier week. If my body is grumpy, I feel like I never work up, I’m starving, I’m about to have my period, I’ll just do the same as the week before or drop my weight and have an easy week.

And I pause between each of the three sets to evaluate how my lifts feel. If I was aiming for 65 pounds with my bench but the first set felt insanely hard, I’ll drop it down to 60. Likewise if 65 felt great, I’ll try to add some more weight or add some more reps.

Lifting in this way has been great for me — I get to respond to my body and lift mindfully, while still getting the benefit of forward progression.



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