So, on Saturday, the iron won. That 50 LB barbell was not, I repeat not, going up as far as my collar-bone, let alone over my head, no matter how good my back felt. After the third failed attempt, I returned the barbell to the rack and got the lower-weight bar, and finished the session with that one.
I was philosophic. That’s only twice now I’ve had to either dump plates (bench press) or couldn’t even start the lift. At my age, with my problems, and since i don’t have a spotter, that’s not bad at all. If I’d had a spotter, then I might have tried to do at least one shoulder press. No safety back-up, no lift. I’ve seen what happens when people get the bar up and then lose control of it. No , thank you! The next morning I was appropriately sore, but nothing new hurt, so I didn’t injure myself the previous day. That’s very good.
If you are serious about lifting, a time will come when the iron will win. It happens to all of us. You might go very well one session, and then two or three later? Nope. That mass is not going to move, or is not going to return to the rack without someone else’s help. Or in my case, without very carefully tipping the bench press bar and letting the plates slide off one side, then repeating the process on the other side. (This is why I do not use a lifting collar or weight stop on the bar.) Ideally, I’d have a spotter watching for trouble and intervening before things to too rodeo. My world isn’t ideal.
Life’s like that. There are times we fail. Sometimes we can shrug it off, change tactics, and get it done sideways (higher reps with a lighter weight to finish the day for the same total poundage lifted). At other times, it just wasn’t going to happen. We don’t have the genetics, or we’re female (lower upper body strength), or have hit the limit of what sheer determination can accomplish. I’ll never be a public historian of the stature of David McCullough. I’d love to be. I’d love his income. It’s not going to happen. I’ll never be an opera singer, or a Prix St. George-level dressage rider. But I tried, and I learned, and I enjoy what I CAN do.
I’ll go back in a few days and try the iron again. For a very long time, forty pounds was all I could press. Then it was fifty. For a long time, sixty pounds was all I could bench. Now it’s eighty five, although I might be hitting a wall because of my back. Eventually, I’ll find my natural limit. But I’ll be in a lot better shape than I would have been otherwise.