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Monday, February 12, 2018

Get a Grip

In highlights this week:

Bench press - 315x5 followed by 325x5, then 330x4

Deadlift - 455x3

Standing BTN press - 165x5, followed by 155x5

SlingShot bench press - 340x6

Squat - 445x3 and 455x3

Moving my grip closer doesn't seem to have affected my bench press much. I guess I'll see a difference if I work up to decently heavy weights. Shoulders feel better, but recovery is slow.

Deadlifts were flying up this week - I didn't use a belt on any of the sets. 455x3 might be a beltless PR. That probably doesn't count for anything since I can't remember ever trying 455 without a belt before. Wanted to try 465x3, but I also want to leave some room for progression next week.

Had a decent SlingShot workout. 340x6 is a goal I've probably hit before, but this time I pre-exhausted with incline bench presses. I hate inclines with a passion and suck at them. The plus side is that I can increase the weight or reps every time I do them, so I can trick myself into believing it's progress. I moved my grip in on all pressing exercises and it feels fine, although sometimes I don't feel as solid under the weight as I used to be.

I should probably also move the bar a bit higher on squats to spare the shoulders.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Don't Stop Believing

Yet another lifting restart. The plan right now is to make some time for regular training from May to maybe September. The rest of the year is 100% up in the air - literally.

Bench press 325x5, 340x2 - wanted a triple there, but this is okay

BTN press, seated - 185x5, followed by 175x2sx5

Deadlift - 455x2 - could have done a third rep, but my hip was twinging and I decided to cut it short.

Squat - 445x2, preceded by 420x5

A while ago I swore a pact with myself not to deadlift from the floor ever again. That lasted about a month, after which I went right back to full-range pulls, which have led to injuries countless times before. Because, you know, full-range movements are important, brah. Never mind that "full range" for this particular lift was determined by plate manufacturer's convention, not one's own leverages (like in the bench press and squat). So I guess I'll keep pulling from the floor until injured again.

After years of wide grip benching, the weights are starting to stall. Part of it is due to a lack of regular training, which is to be expected - no one sets PRs by lifting 3 weeks on - 2 weeks off. Part of it is due to shoulder pain (AC joint), which I've read about often but never experienced before. I think switching to a closer grip for a while (middle finger on ring, so not really close) will help me get rid of the pain and strengthen my triceps, so when I'm able to train regularly and widen my grip again I will see some gainz. Sets of five only until I can get some continuous training in.

Another thing I'll do is SlingShot press every other week instead of every week. SlingShot reps aren't "raw", but they still add up to a considerable amount of very heavy volume on a weekly basis. Also done with a wide grip, which equals more stretching of the shoulders with weights over my max. The SlingShot is a great tool and has done good things for my bench press, but it is possible to overdo it, especially when training irregularly.

Or maybe I'm just old and run down and my bench press is doomed no matter what. But I still haven't raw benched four plates, so I have to keep believing.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Lifting in the Time of Cholera

I came down with a nasty bug right after New Year's, so didn't do much lifting. Only managed to squeeze in two sessions between starting to feel human again and my departure.

Squat 455x3, paused 365x3

Bench press 345x2x2, 325x5 in same workout

Standing BTN press 175x5


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Medical Leave

A few lifts in the new year:

Squat 475x3, paused 380x3

Bench press 350x2, 330x4, SlingShot 365x4, 360x4

Deadlift 465x3

Seated BTN press 195x5

Looks like I've caught some sort of nasty virus to ring in the new year. About to travel for work through January and February, so no lifting.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Holiday Heaves

Deadlift 440x4 and 450x4

Bench press 340x4, SlingShot 335x8

Squat 465x3, paused 370x3

Back was hurting pretty badly after the most recent deadlift workout, and my left foot was going numb too. Thankfully my back is fine, but I did find massive trigger points in my piriformis and IT band. I've been using a foam roller and everything feels much better now. Added some stretching/yoga poses into my morning warmup routine too.

Other than that I think I could have pulled about 5 pounds more and should have gone with 345 on the bench press, but I was trying to hit more back-off sets (which I did, 2x4 with 320).

I'm currently reading Now and On Earth by Jim Thompson, which Coach sort of reviewed a while ago. It's okay, but nothing like the other books I've read by the same author. Thompson was infinitely better at noir-type stuff and I don't quite know what to call this book. I guess in the 1940s this sort of writing passed for "edgy", from a modern perspective it just seems unnecessarily disjointed.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Volumization

Lifts in the past week (volume focused):

Deadlift 425x5 (no belt)

Bench press 335x4, SlingShot 345x5

Squat 445x5, paused 365x4

Press behind neck standing 155 x 2 sets x 5, seated 195x3, 175x5

Looking back, 2017 has been one of my best years strength-wise. Training has been haphazard and I wasn't able to follow a regular program, but I retained a decent amount of strength and posted some good numbers in the 3-5RM range. With some more consistency I'm pretty sure I could have equaled my best ever bench press and deadlift poundage and done a five plate squat.

Still doing a lot of constant-tension bicep work (mostly machines and cables) and tricep exercises with bands (e.g. band+cable pushdowns). It's a little easier on the joints (elbows are giving me trouble again) and produces a really great pump.

Friday, December 8, 2017

In Brief

Some highlights from the past week or so:

Deadlift 465x3

Bench press 330x4, with SlingShot 370x3 (not in same workout)

Squat 440x5, 370x3 paused

My December travel got canceled, so I will now have enough time to run a full 6-week power training cycle before the next trip. I don't feel like I lost too much strength this year, and I was pretty happy with the results I got from the cycle I ran this summer, so I'm pretty excited about this.

Bodyweight is consistently around 220, in spite of very sporadic training. I would prefer to stabilize it at 215, but all my pants still fit fine and I'm not overly concerned about it.