Starting Week One of Circuit Three and Still Not a Mutant

mutant strength.
Photo credit: Bodybuilding.com

I’d love to get more into the books Becoming a Supple Leopard and Strength Training Past 50 but work and other projects have been dominating my time lately. I don’t just want to review them, I want to learn from them and let them shape my workouts. I need some help.

Today is day one of week one of my third circuit in my mutant strength training. It’s been an interesting journey so far.

Since last week’s super heavy (for me) week, I thought I’d take advantage of going lighter to work on my form this week. Today, I especially wanted to focus on my squat and bench press. To that end, I dragged a bench into the squat rack with me so I could practice getting my butt low in the squat.

I started out the morning not seeming to need a lot of rest between sets, maybe 90 seconds, but by the end, I was waiting over 2 minutes between even pull ups.

Here’s how my day started.

Barbell Back Squats in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg
10x 135lbs/61.235kg
10x 160lbs/72.5748kg
10x 175lbs/79.3787kg
10x 175lbs/79.3787kg

Barbell Bench Press

10x 115lbs/52.1631kg
10x 125lbs/56.699kg
10x 140lbs/63.5029kg
10x 140lbs/63.5029kg

Barbell Bent Over Row

10x 115lbs/52.1631kg
10x 125lbs/56.699kg
10x 140lbs/63.5029kg
10x 140lbs/63.5029kg

triceps extensions
Photo credit: insidefitnessmag.com

Cable Triceps Extension w/Rope

10x 55lbs/24.9476kg
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg
10x 75lbs/34.0194kg
10x 75lbs/34.0194kg

Pull ups (Bodyweight)

5x
5x
4x

I decided to start out my squats with a very light warm up set…just the bar or 45 pounds. I positioned the bench behind me so I’d be able to lightly touch down with my rear at the bottom of the squat and not trip over the darn thing (the bench, not my butt) when I was actually trying to lift some weight.

I got under the bar and stood up, marveling at how light it was. Finally, something in the gym that’s easy.

But I was in for a surprise. With a mere 45 pounds resting across my traps, I figured squatting would be a snap. However, I got lower and lower and still couldn’t completely “sit” on the bench. At the bottom of the squat, I didn’t so much feel it in my lower back as I do when I’m squatting with a heavy barbell, as I did in my thighs and a sense of almost losing my balance.

My form has got to be off somehow, but I don’t know what’s going on.

Well, I still had four more sets planned.

But on each subsequent set, I still couldn’t get as low as I wanted. I’d always hit that “barrier” of nearly losing my balance, only with weight on the bar, I could also feel it in my lower back.

Although the weight is rather moderate, doing 10 reps per set does take its toll and I was breaking a sweat by the time I’d finished in the squat rack.

bench press
Photo credit: imgbuddy.com

I had my choice of benches to use for presses, but I made sure to return the bench I was using in the squat rack first.

My goal for the bench press was to get the barbell as close to my chest as possible without getting trapped under the weight. This was more or less doable for the 2 warm up sets, but I really had to struggle with my working weight, and inevitably didn’t get the bar as low as I did before.

I had a similar experience with bent over rows. My goal here was to stay as bent over as possible, and to avoid using my legs to assist the lift. Again, doable for the warm ups, but a struggle with the working weight, particularly for a full 10 reps per set.

Even triceps extensions were troublesome for those last couple of reps for both of my two working sets. My triceps better start growing after this.

At this point, I’m nearly exhausted. I could feel it in my first set of pull ups. I still made 5 reps, but it was harder than I expected. Interestingly enough, after waiting over 2 minutes trying to rest, the second set seemed a little easier. I rested about 150 seconds before attempting the third set and while I started strong, by the time I got to the fourth rep, I didn’t have one more left in me.

I was feeling a little puny, so I decided not to push it. No bonus sets, no bonus zercher squats, not even hanging exercises (which I did on Saturday).

I walked out of the gym feeling a bit shaky. I was hoping I’d recharged enough over the weekend to really nail the gym, but I was glad just to complete the scheduled program, realizing that I still have problems with my squats.

I’ve got to figure out my squats. I’ve got two more days this week to work on them before the weight goes up again. Something needs to start to click.

The other thing that needs to change is my weight and my waistline. I’ve been stuck between 190 and 193 pounds for three months or more and that number must get smaller. I know it’s only a matter of losing another 5 to 7 pounds, but I’m beginning to feel like a fat cow, especially when I’m in my “skinny jeans”.

hugh jackman
Hugh Jackman at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con

According to Comicbook.com, Screenrant.com, and a number of other sources, actor Hugh Jackman hinted at his role in the next (his last) Wolverine movie: “Old Man Logan”. I don’t have much familiarity with that incarnation of the Wolverine, but this trying to get “old man strong” (based very loosely on one of his workout routines) isn’t as easy as he makes it look. Of course, Jackman is 46 years old (he turns 47 on October 12th) and I’m 15 years older, but there’s got to be a way for me to dial all this in better.

I suppose the following quote is particularly appropriate for today.

Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.

William Feather

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