Failed Sleep Hack Plus Weightlifting Hack

zercher squat
Photo credit: bodybuilding.com

My sleep hack tanked last night. My workday on Wednesday sucked so I had a couple of glasses of wine when I got home to unwind. However, this totally invalidated the sleep hack since the hack requires no alcohol consumption. I fell sleep early, slept for 3 hours, then woke up, got up, and went to the couch.

Figured I’d do the HTP-5 and RelaxMax late rather than not at all. Something must have worked eventually. I tossed, turned, and itched for a while, then the next thing I knew, it was 3:45 a.m. and time for me to get up…and I didn’t want to. Too bad it wasn’t a Saturday.

My back felt better, not perfect, but better than the previous day, so I stuck to my plan to do some lifting at the gym. I adapted my routine to minimize the pressure on my lower back but still tried to do the weights I had planned for Round 2, Week 3 of my “mutant strength workout”.

Rest periods were an average of 120 seconds. Here’s what happened with Workout A:

Barbell Zercher Squats in Squat Rack

8x 135lbs/61.235kg
5x 155lbs/70.3068kg
5x 175lbs/79.3787kg
5x 195lbs/88.4505kg
5x 195lbs/88.4505kg

Barbell Bench Press

5x 135lbs/61.235kg
5x 145lbs/65.7709kg
5x 155lbs/70.3068kg
5x 155lbs/70.3068kg
5x 165lbs/74.8427kg (Bonus)

Cable Low Rows

5x 135lbs/61.235kg
5x 145lbs/65.7709kg
5x 155lbs/70.3068kg
5x 155lbs/70.3068kg
5x 165lbs/74.8427kg (Bonus)

Cable Triceps Extension w/Rope Attachment

8x 60lbs/27.2155kg
8x 70lbs/31.7515kg
6x 85lbs/38.5554kg
6x 85lbs/38.5554kg

Pull ups (Bodyweight)

5x
5x
5x

cable low rows
Photo credit: gymper.com

Body Hang w/Shoulders Engaged (Bodyweight)

x35 seconds

Dead Hang (Bodyweight)

x25 seconds

I did zercher squats instead of traditional back squats to ease off of spinal compression, plus I figured the lower center of gravity couldn’t hurt either.

Funny thing is, I thought I’d have to go lighter than my desired working weight, since with zercher squats, you hold the barbell in place with your biceps rather than just resting the bar across your traps. But I worked up to 195 pounds and was able to do both working sets for 5 reps per set.

I did “cheat” somewhat and started off with a warm up set well below my planned weight of 155 pounds, but I thought it was better to test my back rather than throw it out.

It worked.

Since my back is supported by the bench for bench presses, I didn’t see a need to go easy. I managed the 2 warm up sets and 2 working sets as predicted and threw in a bonus set at 10 pounds heavier, still managing 5 reps.

I didn’t feel safe doing bent over standing barbell rows, so temporarily returned to cable low rows, using the same weights I originally planned. I felt the effort while sparing my back, and even did another bonus set at 10 pounds over my max for this week.

Triceps extensions also don’t really involve my lower back, so they went well and I was surprised at how well the pull ups went. Maybe I felt stronger because I had been using cable weights and sitting on a bench for my rows rather than doing standing rows. Who knows?

I had enough time to do my hanging exercises and was determined to do a full minute of combined hanging with shoulders engaged and my dead hang.

Not only were my traps, delts, and biceps punished, but so were my forearms. JR said that doing dead hangs would have “tremendous carry-over to other exercises,” so I’m giving it a shot.

Yeah, my back is a little sore, but no more so than any other weightlifting day.

I decided to not lift again until Monday. I mainly went back to the weights this week to preserve as much muscle as possible and I’m glad I was able to do so without further injury.

wired to sleep
Photo credit: mediasanctuary.org

However, I don’t want to count this as Week 3 of my 5 Week progression, so next Monday, I’ll start Week 3 all over again. Just think of it as an extended Week 3 session. This gives me more time to get some cardio in, which my normal week always limits.

As far as my sleep hack goes? I may put it on hold for a few days until I can adjust to getting my motivation back. I went for two nights and struggled before getting knocked out of the ring. Can I go for three or more next time?

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.

Dale Carnegie

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