My Evil Plan is Working

Photo credit: visionaryathletes.com
Photo credit: visionaryathletes.com

In spite of some rather odd karmic events today, I actually had a really invigorating workout. Unfortunately, my son overslept and so he didn’t join me and discovering he overslept made me late for the gym.

Fortunately, the weight room was still empty when I got there so I claimed my usual bench and got things set up. It’s another progressive overload day meaning that I increased the weight of all of my lifts by a small increment again. Let’s just say I got mixed results.

Before continuing, here’s what happened. As usual, I rested ~60-90 seconds between sets.

Barbell Hack Squat 5×5

8x 135lbs/61.23kg (warm up)
5x 175lbs/79.37kg
5x 175lbs/79.37kg
5x 175lbs/79.37kg
5x 175lbs/79.37kg
5x 175lbs/79.37kg

Barbell Close Grip Bench Press 3×5-8

10x 115lbs/52.16kg (warm up)
8x 130lbs/58.96kg
8x 130lbs/58.96kg
8x 130lbs/58.96kg

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift 1×5

8x 135lbs/61.23kg (warm up)
8x 155lbs/70.3kg (warm up)
5x 185lbs/83.91kg (warm up)
5x 205lbs/92.98kg (warm up)
5x 210lbs/95.25kg

mutant strength.
Photo credit: Bodybuilding.com

Barbell Overhead Press 5×5

8x 45lbs/20.41kg (warm up)
5x 60lbs/27.21kg
5x 60lbs/27.21kg
5x 60lbs/27.21kg
5x 60lbs/27.21kg
5x 55lbs/24.94kg

Straight Bar Curls 3×8

10x 55lbs/24.94kg (warm up)
8x 75lbs/34.01kg
8x 75lbs/34.01kg
4x 75lbs/34.01kg

Body Hang (Body Weight)

x20 seconds

I increased the working weight of the hack squats by 10 pounds and it worked out pretty well. I really felt it those last three sets, though, and was pretty drained by the time I finished the fifth set.

For the close grip bench press, I was going to keep the weight at 125lbs and just do 8 reps instead of the 6 per set I did a few days ago, but I figured, what the heck. Managed the increased weight (only 5 pounds) for a full 8 reps per set for all 3 sets. Glad this exercise doesn’t require 5 sets, though.

Even as I was doing my warm up sets on the deadlift, I was mentally debating how heavy to go for my working set. I briefly thought I’d go up to 215lbs, but after doing my last “warm up” at my previous personal best of 205lbs, I didn’t want to push it, so I caved in and only increased the weight by 5 pounds.

Still, it’s the heaviest I’ve ever done a deadlift for 5 reps (or for any reps for that matter), so it counts as progress.

After the deadlifts, things went downhill a bit. I increased the working weight for my overhead press by 5 pounds but by the third and fourth working sets, I could barely push the weight up all the way for the last few reps. So for the last set, I took 5 pounds off and and still just barely finished the last set at 5 reps. I’ll have to work on this one next time.

Same goes for the barbell curls except I didn’t reduce the weight on the last set. Instead, I could only manage 4 reps instead of the full 8. All try again at the same weight next time to see if I can complete them as required.

hanging from pull up bar
Photo credit: menshealth.com

Even though I was still running late, I decided to do 20 seconds of a hanging exercise I found at the Men’s Health website (the link points to the text article and a short video).

Actually, I did this exercise yesterday on my ab and cardio day and engaged my shoulders rather than hang completely limp for 20 seconds. Today, I was totally out of gas by the end of my routine, so I just let myself hang by my arms like a wrung out dish cloth for 20 seconds and called it good.

The reason I added this brief exercise to my over all workout is because…

Hanging from a pullup bar offers a long list of benefits, he says. For one, it decompresses your spine which decreases your risk of back injury and helps correct your posture.

But especially because…

“That makes them great to do in-between or after compressive exercises like sitting, running, squatting, or deadlifting,” he explains.

Hangs also improve overhead exercises like pullups, chinups, and presses.

I was definitely ready to go back home by the time I finished “hanging around.” When I got home, I struggled even to pull my t-shirt off because the sweat was making it stick to my skin. When I finally got undressed, I realized just standing there that I was slightly trembling.

I feel fine now besides being a little tired and slightly sore, but pouring as much energy into my workout as I could kind of drains me for a bit. I guess that’s the idea. Burning all the calories and tearing down all the muscles so my body can rebuild itself stronger and leaner than before.

I compared today’s progress to my first “plan B” workout, which was nearly three weeks ago, but that was an 8 a.m. session and my performance is better later in the morning. Then, I revisited my first “plan B” workout done at 5 a.m. which was just about 2 weeks ago and was encouraged. The gains aren’t huge, but they’re there. I’m stronger, or at least I’m lifting heavier weights now across the board. The only question is how far can I keep increasing the weight before I hit a wall.

evil planI experienced some of that “wall” today with the shoulder presses and barbell curls, but I’ve contended with similar limits over the past few weeks and so far I’ve surpassed them. Here’s hoping I can keep up the trend.

My body weight has been stable at about 193 pounds and change (87.5 kg or roughly 13.8 stone) for the past three days even on a somewhat restricted diet, but my “skinny jeans” fit fine and I’m looking better in a t-shirt all the time. Hard to tell what the fat loss/muscle gain trade-off is though, at least in the short run.

All I can do is stick to the plan and see where it takes me. So far it seems to be working.

Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.

Malcolm Gladwell

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