Friday, April 15, 2016

Press PRs: Three and One Rep Maximums

I missed the Press double @ 217.5 on Monday, so I decided to try again today... and what to you know, I got a TRIPLE for my troubles!
So, why not try for a new 1RM PR, while I am it? Don't mind if I do!

Upset that I failed on 217.5x2 4 days ago, I wanted to try again.  Rep 2 went up easily enough that I decided to go for 3... and GOT IT!

An impromptu 3RM at my previous 1RM meant I HAD to go for a 1RM PR, right?  Heck yes it did! Loaded 245 onto the bar (accidentally) did some quick math, realized my mistake (I wasn't getting 245 tonight, no way), and put 235 on, instead.  It was a perfect weight... just enough grind to be barely possible, without the doubt that I might have been able to do more - the perfect attempt at a true Max Single!

It was a good day for Press!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

22 Squats for 22 Veterans

According to some statistics, 22 veterans take their own lives every day.  I am taking Untamed  Strength's Alan Thrall's challenge to do 22 bodyweight squats to raise awareness of this stat.  I am putting the end of Five Finger Death Punch's video for "Wrong Side of Heaven" at the end of the video to make this a bit more valuable than a simple act of slacktivism, so please watch it all the way to the end.

I hope you will like and share this video.  I am hoping you'll go to Alan's channel and like and share his video, and subscribe too, if you like his content.  Check out Five Finger Death Punch's powerful music video, as well.

Thank you to all those have served, are serving, or are family of those who are serving.  God bless you, and God bless The United States of America.

*As a student of one of the best political science statisticians in the country, I have to acknowledge that I know the 22 stat is pretty far off the mark.  But it doesn't matter, so please don't comment about it.  The point is clear: even 1 a week is far too many, if the reason is they didn't get the help they need, and should have had access to.  I am okay with this statistical error, if it helps.  You should be too.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Majorly Frustrated

On August 27th, 2015, this happened.
I have not been pain-free for a full 24-hour period since. I have considered the possibility that I may have herniated a disc, or something like that.

If you have read my recent posts, you know I took quite a while off, then tried to get back to it, had more pain, so I dropped Squats, DLs, and Cleans, to focus on Bench and Press. After over a month of this, I added them back in with a MASSIVE deload. There has been discomfort from time to time, but nothing to make me think this wasn't something that I couldn't live with... until today.

I will back up to a week ago: I learned that my city was going to have a powerlifitng meet. Most of the "local" meets are over an hour away (the one I competed in back in 2012 was 3+ hours away), and so the prospect of having a local meet got me excited. I knew I wouldn't be ready to compete in it this year, but the idea of it rekindled the desire I have to compete again in the near future, so I decided to see how heavy a moderately heavy feeling set of five would be on the squat. I got up to 245 and felt fine, but decided to not push it further. That night, I had some discomfort, but nothing alarming or out of the ordinary. That was Tuesday. Today, I tried for 3 sets of 5 at 250, but after a single set I was in quite a bit of pain. I skipped the other two sets, did some light DL (1×5@215), with no real increase on pain.

I think it may be time to see a doctor.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Well, rehab is going much better than expected, but not as well as hoped.  My back has been in significantly less pain than normal, but there is still some discomfort while doing lower body exercises, and for a short while afterward.

Starting Squat, DL, and Cleans at 135, 185, and 95 pounds respectively, and then only going up five pounds each workout with Squat and Cleans, and ten pounds with DL, is INCREDIBLY boring.  The temptation to jump more is immense - almost irresistible - but the idea of hurting myself further is abhorrent enough to keep me to be rehab regimen.

One thing that used to make me feel better, but has actually only made things worse in recent months, is cracking my back.  The feeling - nay, the FEENING to crack  my back is constant and nigh on unbearable.  I have only given in a couple of times in the last several weeks, and I think that may also be contributing to the diminished pain (the resisting, not the few times I've given in)... but the need and compulsion to crack my back has not ebbed even remotely.

Bench 3x5@260 went ever so slightly better than expected (I got a sixth rep on the third set - it was a grinder, and my shoulder hurts now, though), so I anticipate going through with my planned deload on Press: starting 3x5+@175 tomorrow.  We'll see how it goes.  I will probably work my way up to a 200# single for an OWU, just to keep the joints and muscles accustomed to the heavy weight.

Monday, February 22, 2016

REALLY Slowing down; Press Failure

I got five reps on the first set of Press at 195, but sets two and three saw only 3 and 2 reps. I gave serious thought to going for 195 again on Friday, but I think I may deload (maybe to 175?). I think my desicion will be heavily influenced by my performance on Bench. If Bench does not stall, my ego should remain sufficiently intact enough for a 20lb deload on Press. However, if I stall on Bench, too, I may feel the need to prove something, come Friday. I know - I am nuts.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Slowing down; Micro loading.

Squatting hurt less after 140 and 145, and Power Cleans didn't hurt at all. But this morning I woke up with a lot of lower back pain, but it is hard to tell if that was more from Squats and Cleans yesterday, or weird sleeping positions last night/this morning.

My break-neck speed, progressing through Bench and Press, has slowed down considerably. I went to micro loading press last week, and went to micro loading bench this week. The planned weight for my last bench workout was 260, but OWU at 265 (I was planning a second heavier OWU, but decided against it) felt really heavy, so I went to 257.5, just in case. It felt heavy, as well. Sleep, diet, adding lower body back in (albeit ridiculously light), or other factors I can't think of could have contributed to it, but whatever the reasons, I don't want to push it so I am going to just take it easy with microloading.

I am back to hating the squat - mostly because my inflexibility causes me pain while squatting and I feel silly squatting such light weight - but I am looking forward to getting my DL numbers back up. With the 300lb Bench goal in the bag, I am itching to push Squat and DL past 400 and 500 respectively... I will have to make an extra effort to keep patient and not let myself push too hard or too quickly, so I can stay as healthy as possible. I must avoid all 1RM tests in Squat and DL until my work sets are to 375 and 475 respectively, I will never jump more than 5 pounds in the squat or 10 pounds in the DL, and I will begin micro loading much sooner than I normally would.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

[sigh] Will the pain ever go away?

I squatted.  It was light... like 135 pounds light... and my back hurt the next morning.  Not a lot, AND the heating pad I have been using nightly broke a few days ago, so that could be it... but I am still very unhappy.  We will see what tomorrow brings when I squat 140, and DL 185.

Bench and Press continue to improve.  Tonight I did 200x4 on Press which is a HUGE PR!!  The planned workout was 3x5@192.5, but - as usual - I am an ADD riddled fool, so I threw 200lbs on the bar and tried for five.  I failed, and that failure (plus some bad form in set 2, and insufficient rest before set 4) caused me to miss rep five in the final work-set, but I am still counting tonight as a win.

I went back down to the planned weight of 192.5 and got 5, 5, and 4.  I am going to continue micro-loading to 195 next Press day and see what happens.

*BONUS* I had very little pain between my shoulder blade and lower neck/upper back/spine, where I had LOTS of pain last press session.  This is VERY encouraging!!

Still doing five pound jumps in Bench - not micro-loading yet.  I got 3x5@255 on Saturday.

Here is a video of today's Pressing:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Another Long Overdue Recap - Special Bench Bro Edition

Well, with the low-back/sciatica/herniated disc/whatevertheheckitmightbe pain still persisting, I have taken Squats, Deadlifts, and Power Cleans out of my program completely - for now, at least.  I will never abandon them completely.

I was using them as an excuse to not work out at all for too long, losing lots of hard gained strength (again), and it just wasn't okay.  I tried working through it, and finally just gave up.  Now, I am hitting upper-body six days a week (pushing movements three days a week, alternating between Bench and Dumbbell Bench one day, and Press, Dips and Shrugs [not technically a pushing movement, I know] the other; and pulling movements three days a week, alternating between chins and curls, and chins and rows), resting on Sundays.

As a result, my strength in all of these movements (except for rows, which I am taking easy and slowly due to its reliance on low back muscles being recruited to maintain a neutral spine) are getting strong very quickly.  In a fairly short period of time, I was able to reacquire all the strength I lost from my most recent hiatus.

I have now surpassed those previous strength gains and set some pretty satisfying PRs - the biggest of which is one of the Big Four 1RMs I have been chasing for almost a decade: Bench Press 300# 1RM!!!  (The other three being Squat 400, DL 500, and a Bodyweight Press.)  I can't put into words how stoked I am to finally knock that off the list!

I got two PRs on Press as well: 190x5 and 215x1.  190x5 was pretty difficult, but 215x1 felt a little easy.  I don't know what my current bodyweight is, but I imagine it is between 240 and 250, so it will still be a while before I hit that one.  Who knows how long it will take for Squat and DL to even be tolerable, much less ready to hit PRs.

Enough rambling - here are some videos: