Weight Room Warrior!

conan the adventurer
Cover art by Frank Frazetta

Crush your enemies! See them driven before you! Hear the lamentations of their women!

Sorry to go all Conan the Barbarian on you but that’s how I felt after my workout at the gym this morning. It was the sort of morning where I went above and beyond (though fortunately for everyone else at the gym, not with a broadsword).

Oddly enough, even though my sleep was spotty, I must have gotten more rest than the night before, because I was feeling pretty fired up by the time I got to the gym. I’d gotten my car back from the garage last evening, so maybe the return of my mobility helped.

Except for tomorrow’s ab and cardio work, this is the end of week 2 of my 5 week program. Depending on the workout, I rested anywhere from 60 to 90 to 120 seconds or more between sets. Here’s how Workout B played out.

Barbell Back Squat in Squat Rack

8x 135lbs/61.23kg
8x 145lbs/65.77kg
8x 175lbs/79.37kg
8x 175lbs/79.37kg
5x 185lbs/83.91kg (Bonus)

Barbell Close Grip Bench Press

8x 85lbs/38.55kg
8x 100lbs/45.35kg
8x 110lbs/49.89kg
8x 110lbs/49.89kg

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

8x 150lbs/68.03kg
8x 160lbs/72.57kg
8x 180lbs/81.64kg
8x 180lbs/81.64kg
5x 205lbs/92.98kg (Bonus)

overhead press
Photo credit: t-nation.com

Barbell Overhead Press in Squat Rack

8x 45lbs/20.41kg
8x 55lbs/24.94kg
8x 60lbs/27.21kg
8x 60lbs/27.21kg

Barbell Standing Curl

8x 50lbs/22.67kg
8x 60lbs/27.21kg
8x 70lbs/31.75kg
8x 70lbs/31.75kg
3x 80lbs/36.28kg (Bonus)

Overhand Grip Body Hang w/Shoulders Engaged (Bodyweight)

x30 seconds

Dead Hang (Bodyweight)

x10 seconds

I’m very happy that I got my back squats up to their target working weight of 175 pounds. I looked back at the original template, and my two warm up sets for this lift are actually slightly heavier than recommended. 135 pounds is just a good weight to start warming up at because it’s easy to slap a 45 pound plate on either side of the bar, lock them down, step under the barbell, and start lifting.

I didn’t want to have to supplement my squats with hack squats today, so I really, really tried to get my thighs as close to parallel to the floor as possible at the bottom of the squat for each rep. It’s more difficult than you might imagine (if you’ve never squatted) because balance is critical at the very bottom of the squat and as you start to stand up again.

It must have worked because I can feel the soreness in my quads and glutes whenever I stand and walk.

squatIn fact, I felt so good doing my squats that I decided to bump the weight up another 10 pounds and push out 5 more reps in a bonus set. Just a look ahead at next week since Week 3 calls for 4 sets of 5 reps per set, with the working weight for back squats at 185 pounds.

Close grip bench presses I kept at the prescribed weights, sets, and reps, focusing on making sure my triceps were being worked by keeping my elbows tucked in as much as possible and lowering the bar until it almost touched my chest before pressing it back up to the top of the lift.

Bent leg deadlifts were something else.

I did the usual sets, reps, and weights, but as I finished the final set, some song came through the speakers that I really liked. I can’t remember the words or music anymore, but it powered me up. I decided “what the heck” and took the weight on the barbell up to 205 pounds.

I’ve lifted heavier in a deadlift before, but not for a few weeks. I was pretty pumped, especially after my success with squats, and was surprised at how heavy the weight felt when I pulled it up off the floor. Not to be deterred, I still powered though 5 reps and then forcefully set the weight down with a satisfying metallic “clank”.

By the way, for next week, my working weight for deadlifts will be 200 pounds for 5 reps in the 2 final sets.

I momentarily felt a tug in my lower back and thought for a second that I’d “screwed the pooch,” so to speak, but then it passed and I moved on.

Next came the dreaded overhead press in the squat rack. On Fridays there aren’t as many people in the weight room as I find during the rest of the week, but a new (to me, anyway) woman came in right then. She was dressed in one of those highly colorful and patterned latex workout suits, which unfortunately did nothing for figure.

What surprised me was that she started using the “manual” leg press machine (I wouldn’t have pegged her for an “old school” type), the one where you have to disengage the “brake” by pressing up on the weighted plate, and then lock it into place again before you can release the pressure on your legs after the exercise.

overhead press
Photo credit: buffdudes.us

The leg press machine is just to the left of the squat rack, so I couldn’t help but notice her. Then, I tried my best to ignore the distraction and focus on my overhead press.

I may have improved slightly, but that last set and particularly the last few reps of the set were a struggle. I managed 8 reps for all 4 sets and decided to call it good.

Since all the weights for my barbell curls this week end in zero (50, 60, and 70 pounds), I decided to use the fixed weight barbells rather than use a bar from one of the weight benches and have to switch out plates.

Chase’s morning class was using some of those barbells at the other end of the gym, but they were lighter ones, so I was in the clear.

The warm up sets were pretty easy but the 70 pound working sets remained challenging. In spite of that, I decided to push it just a little further and picked up an 80 pound barbell. I figured I could knock out 5 reps just like I did for my squats and deadlifts.


This was at the end of my workout, and not only were my biceps exhausted, but so was the rest of me. 3 reps was all I could manage and I felt lucky to get that far.

My hour was almost up (glad I hadn’t planned on doing some extra hack squats) and I figured I had just enough time to do my “hanging” exercises. Hanging with an overhand grip and my shoulders engaged made for a very long 30 seconds. I was grateful for the 10 second dead hang afterward, but even that left my arms begging for mercy.

300When I was walking out of the gym, my t-shirt was not only soaked with sweat, but streams of sweat were running down the front of the shirt. My biceps had an incredible pump, and by the time I ate, showered, and was driving over to my son’s place to pick him up for work, I was really in a “crush my enemies” mood (probably not the best attitude to use in approaching the morning commute).

Right now, I feel just a touch of haziness which is probably my lack of a good night’s sleep catching up with me. My upper body, traps, delts, biceps, triceps, and lats are all sore. Standing up reminds me that I worked my quads, hams, and glutes, too. It was one of those days at the gym when I definitely had my “Rar!” on.

Now, I’ve got to settle down and get on with the rest of my Friday. I’ll try to suppress the urge to slay anyone.

Unless one can fail successfully, he will fail to succeed.

Rabbi Shraga Silverstein


6 thoughts on “Weight Room Warrior!

  1. Congrats James! Hope you keep sleeping well, there is nothing like a good night sleep!
    And don’t slain anyone even in your dreams! 🙂


      1. lol! Glad to know you slept well, that is the best medicine for the body and the soul!! Well with a good technique even a pen is good for that! Remember the Kubotan! Have a Blessed day James!


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