In spite of not getting a lot of sleep last night, I think I did pretty well at the gym this morning. Not that I was thrilled to check the clock and see it was almost 4 a.m. and time to get up. I knew only coffee would get me in shape in time to hit the squat rack by 5.
Today starts week 5 in round 2 of my mutant strength workout routine. The weights go up to record levels, but all I have to do is perform the lift for 3 reps per set.
Yeah, that’s all.
I’ve been slowly going through Kelly Starrett’s and Glen Cordoza’s massive tome Becoming a Supple Leopard and so far, it all addresses what I need to do to improve my lifts. I’m convinced that if I can apply these methods to my squat, I’ll see a dramatic improvement.
Problem is, I can’t see my body the way the photos in the book are shown. I’m going to have to do my best to copy movements as they’re described in the book. This is probably better done with lighter weights, so I won’t give a concerted effort until next week, when I enter week 1 of round 3 of my workout. Weights are lighter and reps go up to 10 per set.
Still, I’ve currently been attempting to follow some of Starrett’s suggestions in achieving a neutral spine right before a lift, but I know the minute I start my squat or deadlift, I’m probably screwing up again.
Be that as it may, here’s what I did this morning, however imperfectly. I rested around 120 seconds between sets and sometimes longer, particularly on the heavier deadlifts.
Barbell Back Squat in Squat Rack
Barbell Close Grip Bench Press
Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift
3x 250lbs/113.398kg (Bonus)
Barbell Overhead Press in Squat Rack
Barbell Standing Curls
Body hang with shoulders engaged (Bodyweight)
Dead hang (Bodyweight)
I tried to keep in mind everything I’ve read in Starrett’s book about squatting while in the rack, but I still forgot to spread my knees out and couldn’t get my thighs to full parallel without feeling like I was losing my balance. It wasn’t a complete loss, but I felt I could have been more effective.
And while I did my 2 working sets at 220 pounds each for 3 reps, I decided that for Monday, pushing it up to 225 pounds for a bonus was too much to ask.
Close grip presses went pretty well. Even lowering the bar closer to my chest than I felt comfortable yielded positive results. For 3 reps at least, I was able to push the barbell back up each time.
My starting weight of 205 pounds for deadlifts seemed intimidating this morning and it felt just as challenging. I was dripping sweat by the time I was done with my second “warm up” set at 225 pounds, and wondered if I’d lost my mind when I increased the weight on the barbell to 245 pounds for my two working sets.
But once I got the barbell up off the floor, even realizing that my form was probably needing correction, I could do the 3 reps for each set, not easily to be sure, but I could do them.
Then I figured “what the heck” and added 5 more pounds.
I spent over 2 minutes resting and assuming a good posture with a neutral spine before attempting the bonus.
Oh yeah, I really felt it pulling that much weight off of the floor, and I had to struggle to make myself lower the barbell close to the floor and then lift again for each set.
I didn’t know how many reps I would do, but I managed a full 3 and then set the barbell back onto the floor with a loud, satisfying metallic “clank”!
I was feeling pretty spent at this point, huffing and wheezing and dripping sweat all over the floor.
Nevertheless, since the squat rack was empty, I did my overhead presses there. 80 pounds as a working weight was really tough, and on that first rep, I wasn’t sure I could get the barbell up over my head. I pumped out the full 3 reps per set, but it felt touch and go for a while.
I used fixed weight barbells for my curls. The two warm up sets went fine, but I was surprised at how heavy the working weight of 90 pound barbell felt when I did my 3 reps. I barely got the curl completed on the final rep for each working set.
This stuff is really heavy (for me).
After curls, I had about 5 minutes left and decided to do some “hanging around,” but my arms were so tired, that the amount of time I could do body hanging was severely limited.
When I was done and I looked around, everyone who had been lifting while I’d been in the weight room was gone. I’m the only one who lifts anywhere near a full hour. The others either transition to cardio or just leave.
It felt like a minor victory walk as I stepped back into the main part of the gym and headed for the door. I know there’s a lot I need to improve upon, but that doesn’t change what I’ve accomplished so far.
I’m not writing this only to feed my ego. I’m just an ordinary guy. But if I can find my limits, bend some and break others, so can you.
The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he’s dead.