Bench is Improving

My bench is improving… I think.

warmed up with some full bench up to about 275, then hit a three board with 315 or so.

2-board: 315×3, 335×3, 345×2

full bench: 315×3

I tried to do some extensions, but my elbows weren’t feeling it. Maybe it’s the board press, or maybe it’s the prodigious alcohol consumption this week, but I just let that dog sleep.

I’ll just consider this a deload week and bring the volume back in next week. You can’t let things get you down, you have to keep chugging along.

Bench is Improving

Real Meet Preparation Training

Well, tonight was definitely just one of the ‘punching the clock’ days. I’m not sure I should have dropped deadlifts from my meet after all. Like Phil said, just to keep my form right. I also need to take more warm-up sets before my work sets. I went right from 405 to 455 when I should have taken a few more warmup reps or sets.

conventional deadlift: 315×5, 405×3, 455×1, 425x2x5, 445×6 That’s probably a PR at six reps in the deadlift.

I was going to do one set of heavy rack pulls and then safety squat bar lunges, but I just didn’t feel up to it to do lunges, and I’ve never felt right doing rack pulls. I feel like I’m not getting my hips in the right place and I’m going to stiff-leg every rep and hurt myself. Maybe I’d be better off doing a single set of full rnge deads against bands or chains.

leg curl: 120×6? I was just messing around. I might throw in some heavy leg curls but I’d rather just cowboy up and do GHR’s.

speed bench: 205x4x3 These felt super fast at both hand positions. I usually use three hand positions when I do my speed work, but with only four sets it doesn’t add up right, so I use narrow and wide.

log press: 205×5, 0 I tried to rest-pause these but I didn’t get as many reps as I’d wanted. 20 pounds was just too big a jump in one week, but when you’re feeling froggy you need to leap.

one arm dumbbell overhead shrug: These sucked, but I tried to make them work anyway. I think it might be an alright exercise, but I’d need to do higher reps.

reverse cable curl: 6x2x8, 7×8

I need to get back into the groove of real training again. The last couple weeks were fun, but in retrospect, I should have stuck to a more purposeful training schedule to stay on track for the next meet.

Real Meet Preparation Training

Medical Adventure and Something I Hate About Weights

After my recent back problems, I decided I’d go see a ‘real’ doctor and get it diagnosed and fixed. Instead, I went to a chiropractor. Now, let me explain. First, for all the idiots I’m sure read my blog, the air quotes around the word ‘real’ indicate that was a tongue-in-cheek comment and I do regard chiropractic as a legitimate treatment modality. Second, he wasn’t the kind of chiro I’ve seen in the past, he kind of reminded me of me, if I were a chiropractor. He’s an Active release Therapy practitioner as well as some other modalities I had never heard of, but suffice to say, he’s very into treating soft tissue and not just subluxation.

I left feeling pretty good, and with a recommendation to use the treadmill on a high incline instead of the bike. I found I can’t work very hard at all on the treadmill without my peroneals and ankles hurting like hell. So I gave up after about 20 minutes and started stretching. I don’t know if I’m just too heavy (read: fat) or if I need new shoes or what, but there was definitely a great deal of discomfort. I don’t know what I’m going to do: disregard my chiro’s advice and use the bike or find something else to do, maybe treading water.

When I was stretching, I ran into a friend of mine I haven’t seen in a while. He’s lost a lot of weight and is looking pretty good. That was welcome, and I enjoyed talking to him. Then, things turned for the worst. First I tried to convince him to join our club if he was serious about hitting the iron. Then there was a little exchange where he was being self-deprecating and said he was too small or something to that effect. Then his friend said “Just show them how you’re throwing up 85’s on the incline.” Now, this irked me for several reasons. It just seemed like a really petty, insecure scenario. Not to mention that I don’t find that feat particularly impressive.

Then, as I’d mentioned powerlifting (I’m always trying to get people, anybody as all really, into the sport and onto our team.) he asked how much I could bench. Being a powerlifter, it’s easy to say “I hit 331 at my last meet” I told him that, and I emphasized that that wasn’t a particularly good lift.

I do that every time I tell people about my lifts and I don’t do this solely for self-effacement. I do it because it’s true and because I’m trying to play down the image of that as a heavy weight. I want people to get stronger, make progress and drive me even further in return. One of the reasons people don’t make any progress in the gym is because they have no concept of what strong or heavy means. They spin their wheels for months and years on end, never increase their strength and look the same forever. This friend of mine is too concerned with trying to cut fat, but looking at him, he’s “skinny-fat” and has no wheels (worse than mine). He needs to put on some muscle and make his weight workouts harder and more metabolically intensive if he wants to reshape his body.

Anyway, that same friend of my friend got to talking about this guy he knows who does something like a 390 bench at 185. I of course was a little skeptical, but I was optimistic to find out the kid’s information so I could contact him and get him into the club. He added something like “I’m sorry, but I even think he could outlift you, in your weight class.”

Now, I wasn’t offended because if he can really bench that much he would indeed outlift me. It was the way he said it like it was some personal affront to me. What was there to be sorry about and why the hell would I be offended?

One of the few things I genuinely hate about this weight lifting thing is the smallness everyone seems to have. Everyone has such an ego and acts like their lifts or physique are some kind of reflection of their value as a person. It doesn’t really matter. I asked if the guy used a bench shirt or was unequipped. He replied “He used it in training to work up to that.” What a load. It’s possible but highly improbable that he would actually do that. It also makes his lift more easily plausible if it was equipped. The connotation was that the lift (and thus the man) was somehow less because it was equipped. Who cares? Why all the ego?

As it turns out, I Facebooked the guy and his lifts look legit, so I’m trying to coerce him into lifting with us. Cross your fingers.

Medical Adventure and Something I Hate About Weights

Punching The Clock Again

Nothing special about tonight’s training. Good thing this is a deload week.

wide box squat: 225×3, 275×1, 315×1, 365x2x1, 405×1, 425×1, 445xmiss

GHR: one set of 8

sumo RDL: 135×15

barbell preacher: 75×12, 75×10

SSB Hise shrug: 240×12, 290×12

I should have put nickels on instead of dimes for that last single, but whatever. It was a good attempt I just need to get my form squared away.

Punching The Clock Again

“Good” Cardio Session with a literary Conor-Attack featuring more swearing than usual and a Mega Hottie

I showed up at the rec and there were a couple Chatty Cathy’s perched on my usual bike. I adapted and overcame and used the other bike. It had some kind of space-age screen like I was piloting a god damn intergalactic starship. I enjoyed that at first, what with the bright lights and buttons, but pretty soon I was pissed, what with the bright lights and buttons. Then, the heart monitor wasn’t working. I’ve noticed the heart monitor doesn’t work on many of the machines that get the most traffic, which pisses me off. Most people ignore the heart rate anyway and use the calorie counter, which is flagrant bullshit. Anyway, the Chatty Cathy’s were two moderately overweight women in their mid-to-late-20’s I’d guess. They were talking about their plan to lose weight, which I couldn’t help but overhear. Needless to say, I have doubts about the efficacy of their gameplan. Especially after they rode the bike with absolutely no intensity, then ambled away at a molasses-in-January-like pace to take a lap. Don’t get me wrong, I wish them the best, but to paraphrase Louie Simmons, you’re either predator or prey. Sometimes you need to sack up and bust ass to get the job done.

Anyway, I kept up a workrate between 150-160 watts for 30 minutes, which is about a 60% improvement in workrate and a 50% increase in duration. So, fuck yeah for me. I was sweating and straining pretty hard. Which reminds me, the guy on the other side of me, away from the Cathy’s, was doing some kind of sprints or something, because he would ratchet up the resistance as high as it would go so it was essentially an alternating unilateral leg press, then he’d do something else ridiculous for a while.

I got some good stretching in too. I really nailed my tricep stretch and switching to the one arm bicep stretch did a much better job. It occurs to me I forgot to do the wrist flexor stretch, but I suppose you can’t win ’em all. I’ve been really hammering my supine bridges and bird-dogs. I’m making sure to really hold the top of the bird-dog and using a slow eccentric.

That’s another pet peave of mine, people butcher the bird dog. It’s a great exercise, but people do it badly. First, they use lumbar hyperextension to get range of motion. You can see this pattern at 45 seconds in the video, notice the young lady’s lower back. Then they fail to execute the movement purposefully: with a hold at the top, contracting the quads to help inhibit the hamstrings, flexing the glutes, bracing the abs to keep a neutral spine and using a slow eccentric.

I hopped on my scale, fully expecting my weight to be hovering just outside the 275 limit, but I’m right around 265. This surprised me because:

  1. I started using creatine again, about 10 grams a day, so I fully expected that to put on some initial water weight.
  2. My average daily energy intake the last few days has been a touch over 4000 kcals. That seems like an awful lot.

Whatever, I guess I shouldn’t complain. Maybe I’m doing the Holy Trinity, getting stronger, gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time. Go me.

“Good” Cardio Session with a literary Conor-Attack featuring more swearing than usual and a Mega Hottie