Elbows Up!

“Elbows up! Make sure you’re keeping those elbows up!”
I can barely hear John over the sound of my lungs gasping for breath. It’s a little after 6:30 in the morning and I’ve already been up for two and half hours, and here at the gym getting my ass kicked for the last hour. I finish my 20th squat, set the bar back in the rack and look over my shoulder.

“Good, 15 seconds” I think to myself.

I work hard at slowing my breathing, trying to take in slow steady breaths. Just as I hit the right rhythm my time is up and the squats start again.  I’m got one minute to nail out 21 front squats with just the bar for weight.  At first this was easy, but now shit is starting to go wrong.

“Don’t go too hard, you’ve got to walk at work today” “Your wrists really hurt, you should put the bar down” “You can’t do this”

I’m fighting against self doubt and I’m not sure I’m going to win.

I said at first this was easy.  The workout didn’t sound too hard. One front squat per minute for thirty minutes. Perhaps that doesn’t make much sense, so I’ll break it down for you.

Minute one: 1 Front Squat @ #45
Minute two: 2 Front Squats @ #45
Minute three: 3 Front Squats @ #45

Continue this pattern for thirty minutes, or until you don’t pull off the prescribed number of squats. Sounded easy enough. I blew through the first ones, but now, now I hurt more than I have in long time.

“Elbows up!” “This is where interesting things start to happen”

25th minute now. I set the bar down after 12 and quickly stretch out my wrists. They hurt and I want to cry out in pain, but nobody else is so I keep my mouth shut. I grab the bar and try to move fast.  I just barely make it.

3 seconds rest.

Minute 26: The pain is unbearable. I try to hold the bar with my arms crossed. No luck. Time runs out. I did 16 squats in the 26th minute.  The wheels fell off and I’m cooked.

There’s no waiting for the soreness to come, it’s here now. This is what I came for.  Sweet pain and suffering. Salvation.

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