Week 4 in my first 5 week “mutant strength” weightlifting rotation starts today with Workout B. Oddly enough, the part of me that hurts the most post-lifting are my biceps. I expected other parts to hurt instead, given that I’m back squatting 205 pounds for the first time and back to doing deadlifts at 225 pounds.
I don’t know if I’m a “mutant” yet. Probably not. But here’s what happened earlier this morning at the gym. Depending on the exercise, I rested anywhere between 60 to 120+ seconds between sets.
Barbell Back Squat in Squat Rack
Barbell Close Grip Bench Press
Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift
Barbell Overhead Press
4x 70lbs/31.75kg (bonus)
Barbell Standing Curl
5x 80lbs/36.28kg (bonus)
Body Hang with Shoulders Engaged
Official Weight and Height:
190.75 lbs/86.52 kg/13.62 stone — 74.75 inches/189.865 cm
I slept off and on last night, so even after coffee, I still felt kind of “loggy” when I was approaching the squat rack at 5:01 a.m. I woke up a minute before my alarm was set to go off, so by the time I got my brain halfway organized, I didn’t have time to eat any pre-workout carbs, so I just started lifting empty.
I did remember to step under the barbell far enough to lift it while balanced on my traps. Even my first warm up set felt heavy, probably due to fatigue, but making myself generate the effort woke me up quickly enough.
I was pretty amazed when I loaded the bar to 205 pounds, rested it on my traps and then began to lift it off the pegs. As I stepped back to get into starting position, I could see the barbell “tittering” left, then right. I focused on holding it steady and started my first of two working sets.
I made an effort to get as low as possible, and stopped when I hit the point where balance was being compromised. This was still with my thighs at near parallel to the floor, but I’ll have two more days this week to get better at managing squats at this weight.
I remember a time when the thought of putting over 200 pounds of barbell on my traps and balancing it there was too intimidating to contemplate. I’ve avoided back squats for a long time because of this. Now I’m actually doing it…I’m squatting at about 15 pounds over my body weight.
That probably isn’t particularly impressive if you’re one of those people who can squat 1 1/2 to 2x their body weight, but in all reality, this is the start of my fourth week doing back squats, and that on week one, day one, my heaviest back squat was 115 pounds for 10 reps.
I was surprised at doing 135 pounds for my two working sets of close grip presses. My triceps don’t seem to be getting any larger or more firm, but they must be getting stronger, along with my chest. I’m pretty sure I’m holding my elbows in during the entire lift, but I’d need someone to spot me to be sure, since I can’t see my reflection when I’m on my back.
Deadlifts were the single biggest challenge for today, particularly muscling 225 pounds off of the floor. I’m worried about week 5 since the working weight is 235 pounds, 10 pounds more than I’ve ever deadlifted. Yeah, the deadlifts themselves were challenging, but getting into starting position is the worst part.
For the second working set, as I tried to pull the barbell off the floor, for a second, I thought gravity wasn’t going to let me. I’d better start getting stronger before next Monday…well, Wednesday, since my Workout B progression is set for Monday (today), Friday, and then next Wednesday.
The overhead presses surprised me a little. I approached them exactly as planned, and while the two working sets required a little extra push, I still had enough left in me (and time on the clock) to get in a third, bonus working set.
Barbell curls felt light enough that instead of doing 4 reps per set, I got in 5. When I got to my working weight, I kept waiting for my arms to tire enough to where I could only get 4 reps in, but that didn’t happen, Instead, I continued with 5 reps and got in an extra working set at the end.
That’s probably why my biceps are so sore.
With less than 10 minutes left before my time was up, I did my 30 seconds of active body hanging and then 15 seconds at a total dead hang, just to stretch out my arms and spine.
Post-workout, I’m feeling beat, more from not enough sleep than the actual exercise. My sore biceps better mean I’m growing a serious pair of “guns.” I’ve been testing my quads every I get up out of my chair, using my legs to push me to a standing position rather than pressing my hands against the chair’s armrests.
Oh yeah, I worked my quads.
My lower back felt those deadlifts, and it hasn’t bothered me for many weeks. It still isn’t hurt, but I can tell I put it under a strain.
This week and especially next will tell the tale if I’m able to exceed my previously established strength levels.
Wolverine mode on!
Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.
–Leonardo da Vinci