The lone wolf strength trainer strikes again, this time with Plan B of the 5×5 strength training routine. Since it’s a national holiday and I have the day off, I decided, just like last Saturday, that I could take my time at the gym and even get in a cardio session after lifting.
Without further ado, here’s what I did. You’ll notice that, just as when I wrote about Plan A, I list the exercise, what I intended to do, and then what I actually performed. As always, I rested ~60-90 seconds between sets.
Close Grip Bench Press 5×5
Warm up at 115lbs/52.16 kg (the bar plus 2x35lbs)
Working sets at 125lbs/56.69 kg (the bar plus 2x35lbs, 2x5lbs)
10x 115lbs/52.16kg (warm up)
Barbell Hack Squat 5×5
Warm up at 135lbs/61.23kg (the bar plus 2x45lbs)
Working sets at 155lbs/70.3kg (the bar plus 2x45s, 2x10s)
10x 135lbs/61.23kg (warm up)
Barbell Bent Leg (Traditional) Deadlift 1×5
Warm up at 135lbs/61.23kg (the bar plus 2x45lbs weights)
Warm up at 165lbs/74.84kg (the bar plus 2x45lbs, 2x10lbs, 2x5lbs)
Warm up at 185lbs/83.91kg (the bar plus 2x45lbs, 2×25)
Working set at 205lbs/92.98kg (the bar plus 2×45, 2×35)
10x 135lbs/61.23kg (warm up)
7x 165lbs/74.84kg (warm up)
5x 185lbs/83.91kg (warm up)
Overhead Press in Power Rack 5×5
10x 45lbs/20.41kg (warm up)
Straight Bar Curl in Power Rack 3×8
12x 55lbs/24.94kg (warm up)
Finally, 35 minutes on the Elliptical which included a 5 minute cooldown at the end.
One of the intervening variables is that a trainer and her three young guy trainees came in and staged themselves right in front of me, sometimes blocking the mirror. I had to ask the trainer to move the bench directly in front of me further forward so some guy’s butt wouldn’t be right in my face while I was doing hack squats. It was kind of annoying.
Anyway, the close grip bench press and hack squats went just as planned, although I must admit, not having done barbell close grip presses before, it really challenged my triceps, especially during the last two sets.
The deadlift was what surprised me. Since this is 1 set for 5 reps, I programmed in several warm up sets, going progressively heavier each time. I based this on the last time I did straight leg deadlifts where my 5 rep max weight was 205lbs/92.98kg. By the time I got to my third warm up set at 185lbs, I knew 205lbs for 5 reps was out of the question. I was well rested from the previous night’s sleep, and while I was slightly distracted by the training class in front of me, I think the culprit was that I had already done two other barbell exercises. The last time I did deadlifts, it was my first and only barbell workout on the Saturday before I went to Portland, so I was completely fresh.
I knocked it down 10 pounds and did 5 reps at 195lbs which seemed plenty. I’ll work back up to 205lbs as the days progress.
I had planned to substitute Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Presses for Standing Overhead Presses, but the latter works almost the entire upper body and even the legs somewhat. The power rack was free for once, so I decided to go for it.
I did warm ups with the bar alone (45lbs) because I’d never done this exercise before. I got a little ambitious setting the working weight to 65lbs. It seemed to work out at first although I could tell it was challenging, but by the third set, I could only muscle the bar up for 4 reps. Swallowing my pride, I knocked the weight down by 10 pounds and finished the fourth and fifth sets.
I’d done 21s with the straight bar before, though not in the power rack, but to do 21 reps per set, the weight has to be pretty light. Since I was only expected to do 3 sets at 8 reps per set, I could go heavier. But how heavy?
Since the barbell was loaded to 55 pounds (yeah, I know, not much), I decided to do my warm up set with it. Worked out fine, so I bumped it up to 65 pounds which seemed just right to do 8 reps for 3 sets.
By then, like a piece of meat, I was well done.
Just like last Saturday, the first exercise, though challenging, didn’t make me out of breath or send sweat streaming down my body. By the time I got through the hack squats and deadlifts, all that had changed. I really did need 90 seconds of rest to recover from one set to the next, and that almost wasn’t enough.
I was so tired, I almost skipped cardio, but I realized that I needed to get that in since I wouldn’t have any time at all on weightlifting days. Workout B took just about 50 minutes, so on a normal weekday, I’d have to leave the gym right after putting the last weight down.
I don’t feel it so much in my legs but just about my entire upper body is sore right now, including my pecs, delts, triceps, biceps, and traps. Tomorrow, I’ll do abs and maybe lower back and get in another 35 minute cardio.
So far I’ve done workouts A and B once each, which is the trial run to shake the bugs out. Now that I know what to expect, I’ll hit plan A hard, or as hard as I can anyway, this coming Wednesday.
The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.