Comparing Week 3 in the Current Circuit with Last Circuit

hugh jackman curl
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It’s midweek for circuit 3, week 3 of my mutant strength training routine and time to check in and see how I’m doing.

Sleep was a little spotty. I woke up at about midnight and decided to head for the sofa. I was feeling restless and didn’t want to disturb the missus. Anyway, I must have fallen back to sleep because I remember dreaming. Woke up again at 1 and then again at 3. Finally got up around 3:40 a.m. but I sure didn’t want to. This would have been one of those mornings that, if I didn’t have a schedule to keep to, I could have slept in way past 4.

That pizza I had last night felt like it was still sitting in my stomach and I regretted eating so much. I’ve got to get back to my normal eating routine before I out-eat my workout and start gaining too much fat weight. Muscle! I want muscle!

Anyway, one banana, one and a half cups of coffee, and a glass of water later, I was in the gym facing the squat rack. This is my only Workout B this week and that means heavy (for me) squats and deadlifts, plus the ever-problematic standing barbell press.

Rest went anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes depending on the degree of difficulty of the lift and my level of fatigue.

Barbell Back Squat in Squat Rack

5x 155lbs/70.3068kg
5x 175lbs/79.3787kg
5x 200lbs/90.7185kg
5x 200lbs/90.7185kg

Barbell Close Grip Bench Press

5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
5x 135lbs/61.235kg
5x 140lbs/63.5029kg
5x 140lbs/63.5029kg

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlifts

5x 165lbs/74.8427kg
5x 205lbs/92.9864kg
5x 225lbs/102.058kg
6x 225lbs/102.058kg (Bonus rep)

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Barbell Overhead Press

5x 60lbs/27.2155kg
5x 65lbs/29.4835kg
5x 70lbs/31.7515kg
6x 70lbs/31.7515kg (Bonus rep)

Barbell Standing Curls

8x 60lbs/27.2155kg
6x 70lbs/31.7515kg
5x 80lbs/36.2874kg
6x 80lbs/36.2874kg (Bonus rep)

Zercher Squats in Squat Rack (Bonus)

2x 185lbs/83.9146kg
8x 155lbs//70.3068kg

The squats went pretty much the same way as they did on Monday. I tried to get as low as possible, remembering the various techniques taught in the Kelly Starrett book, and almost succeeding in getting my thighs parallel to the floor before feeling the tug in my lower back.

Close grip presses were also pretty successful. The working weight of 140 pounds for 5 reps was just the right degree of difficulty, letting me feel the effort in my triceps and making me generate effort to get the bar closer to my chest, then be able to push it all the way up again.

Deadlifts. I was dreading the deadlifts but kind of excited at the same time. I definitely felt it as I pulled 205 pounds of metal off the floor for my second warm up set.

Then I put two big wheels on each end of the bar for my working weight of 225 pounds. I made sure to rest a full 2 minutes before making my attempt.

As always, the hardest part is getting the barbell off the floor at this weight. Once I was standing and gripping the bar, I managed the required 5 reps, though it took something out of me.

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I rested another 2 minutes or slightly more to make sure the second and last working set went well. It went so well in fact, that I pulled out an extra rep, though getting completely vertical required some extra “umph”.

Having done a tad bit more on the deadlift than I intended, I hoped I hadn’t made myself so tired that I’d fail in my overhead press at my working weight. Remember, 70 pounds is the working weight for week 3 of the previous circuit, so I haven’t improved any here. In fact, as I look back in my log, I see that after doing 2 working sets of 5 reps per set, I did a bonus set at 75 pounds for 5 reps.

I also didn’t increase the working weight for my standing barbell curls either. Since I was doing weights that all end in zero for this lift, I used the fixed weight barbells. My working sets of curls look pretty good when you consider that I did 8 reps for the first warm up set and 6 for the second rather than the required 5, but on week 3 of the last circuit, I did 8 reps for both warm up sets. Beyond that, I did 6 reps for both working sets, and a bonus set at 85 pounds for 4 reps.

So my one “bonus rep” for the second working set today doesn’t really amount to much.

On the other hand, for the second Workout B for week 3, circuit 2, I didn’t do anything extra after my formal routine was over. For Workout B on that Monday, I did a bunch of bonus sets plus one set of zercher squats, lifting 185 pounds for 3 reps, and then body hanging exercises after that.

Am I getting weaker rather than stronger?

My first set of zercher squats today was also at 185 pounds but I only managed 2 reps. I didn’t get the barbell set right in the crook of my right elbow and it slipped as I was lifting. Maybe doing heavy (for me) barbell curls right before zercher squats made my biceps too tired to support the weight (though I managed 3 reps of z-squats after curls last round).

I re-racked the weight, pulled the poundage down to 155 and tried again, managing 8 reps and getting low in the squat, though still feeling the tug in my lower back at the bottom of the squat.

buff dudes zercher squat
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I only had 2 or 3 minutes left on the clock and decided to call it a day.

I was feeling pretty satisfied until I compared today’s performance against the same week in circuit 2. That said, my working weights for squats, close grip presses, and deadlifts is just a bit heavier and I’m managing the required reps, I’m just not squeezing in much in the way of extras.

And I have decided to pull back just a tad and not try to completely exhaust myself, so being more conservative in my approach to strength training may ultimately contribute to the longevity of this workout scheme rather than burn me out. All I can do is keep moving forward and see where it all takes me.

Oh, some good news. My son David says he’ll be able to rejoin me in the gym toward the end of this month. Looking forward to having a partner or at least a workout companion again.

You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.

Charles Chaplin


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