Stop Chasing Plates

Zach Homol

This article is very hard for me to write due to the simple fact that I can be a “Plate Chaser” from time to time. What’s a plate chaser? A plate chaser is the guy who goes in the gym each week and expects to set a new 1 rep max PR on a specific compound movement prescribed that day. Taking 90lb jumps (yes, “plates” are 45lb plates) Instead of TRAINING, he would rather MAX OUT each workout - Not going through the recommended programming, often cutting out sets and reps to hit a bigger number that day. A plate chaser is often driven by his ego. Sometimes he wins, but most of the time he fails.  Trust me when I say this, I say it from experience: You can only go so far “chasing plates”.

Look, I get it. We all want to set a new PR every single time we go into the gym. 99% of the people reading this article want to be the best that they can be. Who doesn’t want to be the strongest guy in their gym? I can tell you this from experience - If you want to be the strongest guy in your gym, state, country, or WORLD you must put your ego to the side and TRAIN. It’s human nature to lift with ego. If I see CoryG doing 6 plate T bar rows you can bet your ass I’m going to go for 7 plate T bar rows next back day!  Or when Coach Myers sees me doing weighted planks with 200lbs on my back the very next day I’m going to see him on Instagram doing 205lb weighted planks! It’s just in our blood, we as humans who have the competitive nature want to be the best. This is a drive that we should NEVER lose. However, we need to know where to place it in our TRAINING.

Not every day in the gym is going to be a career day. Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. The majority of our training should be just that - training. Working day in and day out on our weaknesses so when the day does come to MAX OUT, we are prepared!  Chasing plates and lifting with ego is a recipe for disaster, both mentally and physically. Straying from your programming will not only effect your workout that day, but the following days and weeks to come. When your programming is structured to max out on a specific week, it has built your body up to withstand the workload of that day. Cutting the programming short and “chasing plates” is going to leave you prone to injury and mentally frustrated. In my opinion, being mentally frustrated about not accomplishing a lift is just as bad, if not worse, than being injured.

Lifting weights and becoming stronger is a long ball game. There are times when results come fast, and other times where we seem to be stuck at a certain weight for months. It’s all part of the sport. Continue to figure out your weaknesses and focus on the areas that need extra work.  Stay true to your programming, giving 110% each day. Keep your ego at the door and in due time you will set your next PR! “Don’t go chasing plates!” (TLC voice-Don’t go chasing waterfalls - haha).

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