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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Kill Your Inner Bro

I finished the short bench press cycle with a 380-lb. single. Pretty happy with this, as it is an improvement over my most recent test single (370) and also because the cycle wasn't going all that well, i.e. I didn't expect much from it.

The last "rep" workout was all over the place. I was supposed to do a few sets of heavy triples, then the weights weren't moving right, then I managed to recover at the very end of the workout.

One reason I hate programs with preset weights/percentages is the lack of options on a bad day. If I'm supposed to hit 315 for 3sx5, but only get 3-4 reps on the first set, it totally messes with my mind and I feel like I'm failing. I usually try to force the reps, which is the lifting equivalent of beating your head against a wall.

The correct solution would be to knock the weight down to something doable for five reps and try to get 3x5 with that, then maybe go a little heavier on the accessory work. Alternatively, lower the weight way down and do paused bench presses. Rationally I'm aware of this, but sometimes it's hard to stifle your inner meathead and train in a productive way.

E.g. on the weak rep day I did:

315x2 (last warmup, already knew something was off)
325x2 (was supposed to be my first working set of 3)
335x1 (because if 325x3 didn't work, 335x3 surely will)
340x3 (out of nowhere, felt lighter than 315)
350x2 (absolutely unnecessary)

The smart way would have been to lower bar weight to something I could actually lift:

325 x 3s x 3

Which would have equaled an extra 1,000+ lbs. of workload and better quality reps.

I need more of this and less of the above. It's a very useful lesson I learned from reading about the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and Mike Tuscherer's blog. RPE 9 is always RPE 9, whether you have 300 or 350 on the bar.

In spite of screwing that up, the one-rep test went fine:

355x1 (felt like I had two, but curbed my enthusiasm)
380x1 (much stronger and more explosive than 370 was a couple of months ago)

This may be my last cycle and one-rep test in 2018. Over the next 3 months I'm back to irregular training, mostly sets of five.

Wrapped up the cycle with some moderately heavy squats and deadlifts, done on the same day. I squatted 455 for two reps and pulled 445 for a single - both below my working weights, but heavy enough to matter.

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