Rule of Thirds in weightlifting

How to see your workouts through the lens of the rule of thirds.

Coach Stevie

6/13/20232 min read

I am 3 weeks out from my national powerlifting competition, and my coach had programmed for me to do my opener and second attempt for deadlifts. I was so excited. I ate really well the day before, went to bed early so I could get plenty of sleep, mentally prepared, and hyped myself up for the workout. Everything was going well, until I hit my first heavy single of 190. It moved SO SLOW, I couldn't believe it. I got it up, but it was much slower than I liked. I immediately though "uh oh." But I sent the video to my coach and he told me to "go again, grip it and rip it." So I did. It moved much quicker, it was still clean and overall a beautiful lift.

After that, my next heavy single was 205 pounds. A number I've only ever hit once before. I knew I'd get it because of how much progress I'd been making.

I step up to bar, I'm thinking to myself all the cues my coach has told me. I line the bar to be over the middle of my foot, take a whiff of smelling salts, latch my lever belt, grip the bar, think "up into my shins and back" pull and.......nothing. It doesn't budge. I stand up, unlatch my belt, walk around for a second to gather my thoughts and step up to the bar again. I do everything again, grab the bar, pull, and STILL no movement. I'm so upset.

I send the video to my coach with the text "tell me what to do. I've hit this before. " And I have. November 2022 I had hit this same weight before.

He responds with some helpful words, I go again, and it still doesn't budge. Now I'm really upset. I drop the weight to 200, go through my routine again, and THAT doesn't budge either. I'm devastated. All these thoughts are running through my head and I'm thinking, "how am I supposed to hit the numbers I wanna hit in July if I can't even hit these numbers today???" Freaking out. I text my coach again and he says " Maybe you just don't have it today, AND THAT'S OK TOO."

Those words helped a lot. After that text, I immediately thought of a video I saw of Alexi Pappas talking about some advice from her Olympic coach.

“When you’re chasing a dream, or doing anything hard, you’re meant to feel good a third of the time, okay a third of the time, and crappy a third of the time. If the ratio is roughly in that range, then you’re doing fine. So, today was the crappy day along your dream chasing. If the ratio is off and you feel too good all of the time or too bad then you gotta look at if you’re fatiguing or not trying hard enough or pushing yourself.”

After watching that clip and reminding myself that today is just the crappy third, I lifted my head and completed my workout. I know that today was just an off day and that when nationals is here, I'll be hitting bigger numbers and feeling better.