Finished Week 4 Like A Boss

zercher squatAs I write this, I’m feeling tired, sore, and satisfied. The tired is a muscle tired that results from an exceedingly good workout at the gym (for me, at least).

Due to a change in my afternoon schedule, I’m not able to give my son David a ride to and from work today. That gave me extra time at the gym (not good for curtailing volume, alas) to push myself a little bit. As it turns out, I did bonus sets, higher weights, and even added some Zercher Squats to today’s routine.

It was a blast.

Rest times were the usual between 60 to 120+ seconds depending.

Barbell Back Squat in Squat Rack

4x 160lbx/72.57kg
4x 185lbs/83.91kg
4x 205lbs/92.98kg
4x 205lbs/92.98kg

Zercher Squat in Squat Rack (Bonus)

4x 135lbs/61.23kg

Barbell Close Grip Bench Press

4x 105lbs/47.62kg
4x 120lbs/54.43kg
4x 135lbs/61.23kg
4x 135lbs/61.23kg
4x 135lbs/61.23kg (Bonus)

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

5x 175lbs/79.37kg
4x 200lbs/90.71kg
4x 225lbs/102.05kg
4x 225lbs/102.05kg
3x 235lbs/106.59kg (Bonus)

barbell curls
Photo credit:

Barbell Overhead Press

5x 55lbs/24.94kg
4x 65lbs/29.48kg
4x 70lbs/31.75kg
4x 70lbs/31.75kg
4x 75lbs/34.01kg (Bonus)

Barbell Standing Curl

8x 65lbs/29.48kg
6x 75lbs/34.01kg
5x 80lbs/36.28kg
5x 80lbs/36.28kg
4x 85lbs/36.28kg (Bonus)

Zercher Squat in Squat Rack (Bonus)

4x 135lbs/61.23kg
4x 135lbs/61.23kg

Body Hang w/Shoulders Engaged

x30 seconds

Dead Hang

x10 seconds

As you can see, at the end of my usual back squats, I didn’t up the weight and try for another set. Instead, I inserted a set of zercher squats, which are amazingly awkward to get used to. I had to deload the entire barbell to move it lower on the squat rack, just to get into position.

Then, figuring I should start light, I loaded it up to 135lbs/61.23kg, tucked the bar into the crook of my elbows and lifted.

I’m going to have to watch the videos again because I don’t think my form was spot on. Nevertheless, I was able to squat lower than I usually do on back squats. Somebody forgot to mention that the sensitive skin on the inside of the elbow gets abused and your biceps are going to get bruised.

Oh well…minor battle wounds.

muscles used for a deadlift
Photo credit:

The close grip presses went OK and I decided to go for an extra set here as well. I figured since I had the time, I might as well go for broke. Nothing to lose and everything to gain as long as I didn’t become completely stupid about it.

Next were the deadlifts.

The warm up weight of 175lbs/79.37kg wasn’t particularly challenging, so I threw in an extra rep, but after that, I played it by the book. At this point, I was getting so hot, I almost pulled off my t-shirt. But then my reality check arrived and I realized I wasn’t participating in a barbell/gym wallpaper photo shoot. The shirt (wisely) stayed on.

Then I approached my bonus set. I’ve been mentally “practicing” deadlifting 235lbs/106.59kg for days and watching a bunch of videos of guys doing incredibly heavy deadlifts, just to psych myself up.

Focusing on my best Incredible Hulk “RAR!” inside my head, I bent over, grabbed the bar, and pulled.

And it came up along with a really loud groan from the back of my throat.

Once I was standing, I knocked out 3 reps and called it good.

Yeah! I can do this!

However, doing the extra set cost me access to the squat rack. Another guy got there first. Fortunately, I can do overhead presses using the barbell at the weight bench I was already positioned at, just loading the bar and putting it on the floor.

I did 5 reps instead of 4 on the first warm up set but afterward performed my usual routine. Then, for the bonus set, I upped the weight 5 more pounds and was able to do 4 more reps, though the last 2 required a pause and extra push near the top.

shut up and trainCurls went the same way except I increased the number of reps for both warm up sets, then did the usual 2 working sets. For the bonus set, I also increased the weight by 5 pounds and was still able to do 4 reps.

I might have to re-evaluate the weights for next week since I lifted my working weights for overhead presses and curls for today’s bonus sets and did 4 reps rather than next week’s required 3 reps.

But we’ll see.

After that, I decided to give zercher squats another whirl since the squat rack was free by then.

This is when I bruised my biceps I think. I did 2 sets of 4 reps each rather than 3 and I know my legs got a really good workout. No, I’m still not a “mutant” yet. But if I can keep this up through next week, my heaviest week ever, and then enter the second round of 5 week training, who knows how much stronger I will get.

Getting back to inspiration, recently, Eddie “The Beast” Hall set a new world’s record for deadlifts, pulling up an incredibly massive 1020lbs/463kg. I can only deadlift about 23.03% or less than one-quarter of that weight for 3 reps.

I’m never going to become the “beast” that Hall is nor would I ever want to, but it is inspiring to know that human beings can become stronger than we could ever imagine.

Here’s a short video of “The Beast” killing a barbell set at just over half a ton. Enjoy.

Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.

Theodore Vail


3 thoughts on “Finished Week 4 Like A Boss

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