So Ends Week Three of “Mutant Strength Training”

Jeri Ryan
Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine

I’m beat. I thought I slept pretty well, even though I woke up multiple times last night. I remember my dreams, or parts of them, and in fact, since I’ve been watching a lot of Star Trek: Voyager lately, my sleeping brain included actress Jeri Ryan as a “character” in my dreams (no, nothing like that…she was some sort of heiress who had been bilked out of her family fortune, and I was trying to find a way to catch the bad guys and restore her inheritance).

Anyway, I finally got out of bed around 3:15 this morning, remembering my wife had to get up at 3:45 (I figured I’d start the coffee so it would be ready when she struggled out of bed).

I was a little surprised (though I shouldn’t have been) that my weight had shot back up a couple of pounds. This was no doubt the result of my eating indiscretions the previous day, starting with a mid-morning bagel with cream cheese, and then a noontime foot long hotdog and small bag of Doritos (work hosted a free lunch for the crew).

So at about 4 this morning, I ate a banana for the carbs and by the time the gym opened, I was “carbed,” “coffeed” and “watered” up and ready to lift.

I headed immediately for the squat rack and was determined to do each and every rep to where my thighs would be parallel to the floor and keep good balance of the barbell across my traps throughout my routine.

As always, depending on the exercise, I rested anywhere from 60, to 90, to 120 seconds between sets.

Barbell Back Squat in Squat Rack

5x 145lbs/65.77kg
5x 165lbs/74.84kg
5x 185lbs/83.91kg
5x 185lbs/83.91kg

Barbell Bench Press

5x 125lbs/56.69kg
5x 145lbs/65.77kg
5x 160lbs/72.57kg
5x 160lbs/72.57kg

Barbell Bent Over Rows

5x 125lbs/56.69kg
5x 145lbs/65.77kg
5x 160lbs/72.57kg
5x 160lbs/72.57kg

Cable Triceps Extension w/Rope

8x 65lbs/29.48kg
8x 75lbs/34.01kg
5x 80lbs/36.28kg
6x 80lbs/36.28kg

Image credit:

Pull ups (Bodyweight)


Body Hang w/Shoulders Engaged

x25 seconds

Dead Hang

x10 seconds

For the most part, I didn’t push my luck in any of my lifts. My squats were good, which is important since I’ll be doing back squats at a working weight of 205 pounds next week, which is my personal best weight for hack squats in my 5×5 workout plan.

Given my performance over my 4 sets of squats, I felt I’d done good service for my legs and decided against any “extras” at the end of my morning lifts.

For some reason, my working sets of bench presses seemed more difficult than I expected. This might have been my fatigue showing, but I can’t be sure. I still completed all my reps, but the barbell was harder to get up after lowering it near my chest.

By the time I got to my barbell rows, I decided just to power through no matter what. Actually, I was also keeping an eye on the weighted pulley cable I needed for triceps extensions, hoping it would be unoccupied by the time I finished my rows.

Fortunately, that was the case, and this was the only exercise where I deviated from course. I didn’t add any sets but I did perform 8 reps for both warm up sets instead of 5, and for the fourth and final set, I did 6 reps instead of the required 5. The weight didn’t seem so heavy, even though I was looking at my reflection and seeing that I was keeping my elbows tucked in.

The area under the pull up bars became free right when I needed them, and I was pleased (though tired) to be able to finally, finally do 5 reps for the first 3 sets. In my 5×5 routine, this was the minimum requirement, and after months, I’ve achieved it for the first time.

hanging around
Photo credit:

Of course, for the final set, I could barely manage 3 reps, but it’s pretty much “sauce for the goose” at this point.

My pull ups obviously took their toll because I could only manage 25 seconds at my body hang with shoulders engaged, and a mere 10 seconds with my dead hang.

All that, and I still finished my entire workout routine in just about 45 minutes.

Except for my ab and cardio work for tomorrow, this ends week 3 of my first 5-week round of mutant strength training. Next Monday, the kid gloves come off as I tackle as heavy or heavier weights than I experienced (for the most part) in my previous 5×5 routine.

Here’s a preview:

Workout B

Barbell Back Squats

Set 1, 4 reps 160lbs/72.57kg
Set 2, 4 reps 185lbs/83.91kg
Set 3, 4 reps 205lbs/92.98kg
Set 4, 4 reps 205lbs/92.98kg

Barbell Close Grip Bench Press

Set 1, 4 reps 105lbs/47.62kg
Set 2, 4 reps 120lbs/54.43kg
Set 3, 4 reps 135lbs/61.23kg
Set 4, 4 reps 135lbs/61.23kg

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

Set 1, 4 reps 175lbs/79.37kg
Set 2, 4 reps 200lbs/90.71kg
Set 3, 4 reps 225lbs/102.05kg
Set 4, 4 reps 225lbs/102.05kg

Overhead Barbell Press

Set 1, 4 reps 55lbs.24.94kg
Set 2, 4 reps 65lbs/29.48kg
Set 3, 4 reps 70lbs/31.75kg
Set 4, 4 reps 70lbs/31.75kg

hugh jackman curl
Photo credit:

Barbell Curl

Set 1, 4 reps 65lbs/29.48kg
Set 2, 4 reps 75lbs/34.01kg
Set 3, 4 reps 80lbs/36.28kg
Set 4, 4 reps 80lbs/36.28kg

Yes, it’s “only” 4 reps per set, but especially with the deadlifts, this puts me back up to lifting over 100 kg. It also puts over 200 pounds across my traps, which is more than I’ve ever done in a back squat before, although equal to my personal best for hack squats at 5×5.

Just how strong am I and how strong can I get? I’ll start experiencing the answer in a few days.

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

Helen Keller


One thought on “So Ends Week Three of “Mutant Strength Training”

  1. James, why do you think you are waking up so often at night? I wouldn’t mind having dreams with Jeri Ryan too, but is it stress or what do you think is the cause? Hope you sleep better tonight!


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