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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Something's Gotta Hurt

I'm done with sets of five on the bench press. Last two workouts went:

315x5-320x5-325x3-325x4, and
315-320-325-330, five reps on all except the last set with 330 lbs. (4).

Triples started out okay: 325x3-330x3-335x2.

I usually don't get much pectoral soreness from bench pressing, but at the start of this workout I was really sore and under-recovered, so I didn't push it.

Overall I'm feeling strong and confident right now, but we'll see. I'm dialing down the overhead pressing as the benches get heavier, just a few moderate sets. The weird shoulder pain I had in the heavy phases of the last cycle is mostly gone. In almost twenty years of lifting, I've never had shoulder and knee pain until the last few months. I guess something's always got to hurt.

Squats went well, worked up to 475x2 regular, 375x4 paused. The good rack is always taken and I squat in the shitty one almost exclusively. Paused squats now feel very strong for some reason.

Deadlifts felt great this time round. I pulled 465x3 easily (might be some sort of PR) and felt good for at least one more. Hit a 485 lb. beltless single, which is easily the most weight I've ever pulled without a belt, and followed it up with a moderate 505 lb. (belted) single. Next time round I'll shoot for fewer reps and heavier singles.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Sweet Split

Past two weeks I have kept an erratic lifting schedule due to some time off over the weekend. Something like lift for five days in a row - rest for five days - lift for three days in a row. My ideal training split is:

Sunday - heavy bench and medium shoulders
Monday - light squat and pulls
Wednesday - inclines and light bench, heavy shoulders
Friday - heavy squat or deadlift (alternating)

This split ensures optimal recovery and even lets me get in some extra (light) exercise on the off days. I expected that lifting 5 days in a row would destroy me, but to my surprise I found that I was recovering fine (although I did cut down on the accessory work). Would not recommend it for optimal results tho.

Still powering through the bench press workouts on schedule. But I'm no longer doing sets across with the same weight. Instead, I figure out a minimum weight for the set/rep scheme for the day, e.g. 305 lbs. for 6 reps. Then based on how I feel, I either do something like 305-310-315 for sets of 6 (if feeling strong), or stick with 305 x 3s x 6, or some combination thereof.

Last two heavy days I worked up to 315x6, followed by a fourth bonus set of 320x5 (one day), then 320x5 with a bonus set of 325x5. I won't be able to keep up the bonus sets throughout the program, but will try to squeeze one in whenever I feel energetic. Shoulders are feeling fine - knock on wood.

Followed this up with behind the neck press, standing, of 185x4. I can now press 185 lbs. standing pretty consistently. Still making (painstaking) progress on inclines, around 5 lbs. every 2-3 workouts. Did a seated BTN press of 205x3, which I am quite happy about.

Banded bench pressing is tough as hell, but it's a new movement, so I can still make progress from workout to workout. It's only been a few sessions, but already I feel like I'm faster and more explosive at pressing without bands.

Deadlifted on Day 4 of the five-day stretch and my lower back was definitely not fully recovered. Still did 465x2, then singles with 485 and 505, which wasn't bad. Squats felt a little off, and I squatted in the shitty power rack so getting the bar off the hooks was way harder than it should have been. Top set was 455x2 and I decided to call it a day.

I'd be really interested to see how far I can take this simple yet brutal squat/deadlift progression. My training schedule will be all messed up from September onward due to work, so I won't find out.