Never Fail Training Weights with Donnie Thompson

Posted on 16 Jun 2015 21:41


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Donnie Thompson aka SuperD aka Mr. 3000 recently published a YouTube video emphasizing just how crucial it is for a lifter to never fail a lift.

For those of you who do not know, SuperD really is one of my favorite lifters. How many guys do you know who have been ELITE with their performance who have the humility to call themselves a “has-been?”?

Although I do not agree with this, you absolutely have to respect someone who is willing to describe himself this way! SuperD has talked about mental preparation and dealing with failure in this video.

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of what Mr. 3000 has to say, I will link you to the video.

SuperD-#NeverFailTrainingWeights Video

Never Fail a Training Weight

SuperD is using his own personal anecdotal experience when discussing lifting maximal end weights. In 2010 he failed his squat attempt with the safety squat bar and he has a lot to learn from that mistake.

Here’s what I think: You must challenge yourself to lift big weights, but it should be within reason. I think SuperD’s mental checklist of the viability of a weight is very sound: you should be worried about missing the lift but deep in your heart you have to know that you can nail it. That is crucial. What this means, in practicality, is that if you have been working with weights in the low 400s you shouldn’t hop over directly to 500 and attempt that lift. You should work up to say in the mid 400s which is new ground and yet it is close enough for you to feel that confidence that you can get the lift.


What is really commendable is the difference in attitude SuperD expresses. Have you ever noticed how gun-ho powerlifters are? A lot of them reek of overconfidence but Donnie has described how he used his failure to learn how to do the lift better. That is what is most important about failing: you must be willing to learn from your mistakes. Because SuperD did this, he was able to dominate the same weight when he attempted it the second time.

I want to make something very clear. I do not think failing a lift is really bad. It happens. There are lots of factors that can cause you to miss a lift. When we don't compete we don't have an event where we can push the envelope. So failing is OK in my books. But it cannot be because you went for broke on a weight that was extremely unrealistic. It has to be within reason. If you have been dominating the 400s in your deadlift then try 500 and you fail it is fine. But, getting carried away or being over confident in your abilities and attempting 600 and failing is ridiculous. There is nothing to learn from that other than "I lifted a weight that was too heavy for me". On the other hand, failing in the first scenario with 500 or the low 500s might teach you that you need to build up some more volume in the upper 400s before you attempt this new weight range.

That is why failing a lift has its benefits. It gives you an insight into things you need to change in your workouts. But you won't fail if you don't step outside of your comfort zone. So this is a bit of a vicious circle. However, the key is to play conservative and work within reasonable load increases and if you fail you must learn from your failure.

Lastly, what I absolutely love about this article is Donnie's emphasis on preparedness. Eric Troy has talked about this in his Getting In The Zone (FLOW) Series. The whole idea is to prepare mentally for a big lift and get aroused to lift that weight up!

I have discussed more about turning a failure into a success “on the platform” in this video:

How to Turn a Bad Strength Workout into a Good Workout

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