The New And Improved Chest Day

female weight training
Photo credit: Simplyshredded.com

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m transitioning all of my barbell work from fewer sets and more reps to strength training mode, which requires higher weight, less reps, and more sets. Specifically, I’m adopting a 5×5 routine or 5 reps for 5 sets.

Today is my chest day and the first formal day of my change over. I only have one barbell workout on Mondays: the barbell bench press. I’ve scheduled it as the first lift in my workout so I’m really fresh and ready for it. Everything else in my chest day routine is unchanged.

Previously, I was bench pressing 100 to 110 lbs for 3 sets, doing 8 to 12 reps between sets. Here’s what today’s workout looked like. Oh, I rested ~60-90 seconds between sets:

Barbell Bench Press

  1. 5x 120lbs/54.43kg
  2. 5x 120lbs/54.43kg
  3. 5x 120lbs/54.43kg
  4. 5x 120lbs/54.43kg
  5. 5x 120lbs/54.43kg

Cross Bench Straight Arm Dumbbell Pullover

  1. 14x 70lbs/31.75kg
  2. 11x 70lbs/31.75kg
  3. 9x 70lbs/31.75kg

Reverse Grip Dumbbell Incline Bench Press

  1. 12x 30lbs/13.6kg
  2. 8x 30lbs/13.6kg
  3. 7x 30lbs/13.6kg

Dumbbell Bench Flyes

  1. 15x 30lbs/13.6kg
  2. 14x 30lbs/13.6kg
  3. 12x 30lbs/13.6kg

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

  1. 15x 35lbs/15.87kg
  2. 14x 35lbs/15.87kg
  3. 12x 35lbs/15.87kg

After that, I did 25 minutes of cardio on the Elliptical and then headed for home to get ready for work.

For the modified barbell bench press, for the first 3 sets, I managed pretty well, but the last rep on sets 4 and 5 was pretty challenging. I was suddenly reminded that I didn’t have anyone there to spot me if I got into trouble. This means I may have to go just a shade lighter than I otherwise would for the sake of safety.

cross bench pullover
Photo credit: Schwarzenegger.com

Speaking of safety, initially, I tried to up the weight for my cross bench dumbbell pullovers to 80lbs but it was definitely too much because the weight started pulling me backward over the bench. I had to settle for my usual 70lbs but I managed to squeeze more reps out of the exercise than I did last week. I’ve only seen one other person do this sort of lift. I guess it’s not in vogue right now. I got the idea from Schwarzenegger.com.

I also felt like the bench press made my chest and triceps more tired than they would be if I’d gone with a lighter weight with higher reps and fewer sets, even though the total number of reps I did today was slightly less than I did last week at 110lbs/49.89kg. For tomorrow (back day) and Wednesday (leg day), I may have to perform my non-barbell exercises a little lighter to make sure I have the endurance to go heavier with the barbells.

I have to say that so far I’m pleased with my performance but tomorrow and Wednesday both involve two separate barbell lifts for each day.

One effect I anticipated was that the workout would take a little longer. It took over 30 minutes to complete my weight training and I barely had time left to get cardio in before I had to leave the gym at 6 a.m. I suspect back and leg day will take even longer. I may skip cardio on Wednesday and just add some ab work since I doubt I’ll have time for abs on Tuesday (I usually do “gut work” on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday). I can still pick up an extra cardio session on Saturday, so it won’t put me too far behind.

Fall seven times and stand up eight.

Japanese Proverb

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