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Monday, December 23, 2019

Happy Holidays

Overhead press - 190x9, 210x3

Bench press - 345x7, 365x3, then down to 345x5, 335x7, 355x2

Close-grip bench press - 320x6

Squat - 445x2, 465x3

Deadlift - 465x2

I had to reset the weights slightly on the bench press. Also move my grip a bit closer. Switched to a new gym and all the benches have these annoying hooks that the bar rests on, rather than the slanted pegs I've gotten used to. I press with a relatively wide grip, so it takes a bit more effort to clear the hooks when unracking the weight.

You wouldn't think that makes a difference, but it does - it prevents me from setting up right before lowering the bar to press. I don't like to ask for lift-offs because 90% of gym goers do it incorrectly. I.e. by shrugging the weight up and dumping it on you as you struggle to set your shoulders back into the position they just pulled you out of. Takes a lot of effort to stabilize the bar afterwards, also shakes you up mentally.

The hook position is not a problem with close-grip presses - more space for the bar to travel means enough clearance for the hooks.

Deadlifts are feeling pretty strong. The weights come up smoothly and I don't feel like my head is about to explode from the effort. Little to zero back strain too.

One thing I've been doing lately are leg presses at the end of every lower body workout (so twice per week). Sometimes I do progressively heavier sets of 10, sometimes one death-set of 20-25 reps with a fairly heavy weight. I like leg presses because I can add a ton of work for my legs without straining the lower back or shoulders. Quads are looking bigger and I'm making progress on the squat and deadlift.

Another exercise I've been using is the Romanian deadlift on the HammerStrength machine, as demonstrated by Paul Carter on T-Nation. Strap yourself in and do high reps (15-20), keeping tension on the glutes and hamstrings. Explode on the positive and lower slowly. I feel like these are contributing to the deadlift gains, along with leg presses.

Will do some heavy singles around the New Year.

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