Back to the Future…uh, Gym

Photo credit: shutterstock

I wasn’t ready for this morning to come. Over the weekend, I slept in very well, not getting out of bed until around 8 a.m. both days. So when I opened my eyes and looked at the clock, seeing it was nearly 4 a.m., I wanted to hide under the covers and go back to sleep.

But I didn’t.

I also felt like I wanted to hide from the sheer weight (for me) I was expecting myself to move this morning. My head wasn’t in the right place to lift until after my first cup of coffee and some time to wake up while reading the online comic strips.

It started raining over the weekend and it’s expected to rain off and on all day today. I like the rain. I find it very soothing. I especially like that it’s clearing the air of all the smoke we had to endure last week here in the Treasure Valley, thanks to a late-season nearby forest fire. I’m sure the firefighters appreciate it, too.

All of my trepidation regarding the gym was swept away by habit and once again, I found myself standing in front of the squat rack just after five this morning. It’s week four of my third five-week circuit, so weights go up and reps go down to four per set. Two Workout B sessions this week, so two opportunities to deadlift.

At the beginning of my workout, I didn’t have to rest much more than a minute or so between sets, but by the time I got to deadlifts, it was up to two minutes. By the time I got to the overhead press, it was longer than that. I started strong, but ended up feeling like I shouldn’t push it.

Here’s what happened.

Barbell Back Squats in Squat Rack

4x 160lbs/72.5748kg
4x 185lbs/83.9146kg
4x 220lbs/99.7903kg
4x 220lbs/99.7903kg

Barbell Close Grip Bench Press

6x 115lbs/52.1631kg
4x 135lbs/61.235kg
4x 150lbs/68.0389kg
4x 150lbs/68.0389kg

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Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

8x 135lbs/61.235kg
4x 185lbs/83.9146kg
4x 205lbs/92.9864kg
4x 240lbs/108.862kg
4x 240lbs/108.862kg

Overhead Barbell Press in Squat Rack

4x 65lbs/29.4835kg
4x 70lbs/31.7515kg
4x 75lbs/34.0194kg
4x 75lbs/34.0194kg

Standing Barbell Curl

6x 65lbs/29.4835kg
6x 75lbs/34.0194kg
5x 85lbs/38.5554kg
5x 85lbs/38.5554kg

Pretty much the standard exercise I planned out for this morning. My squats were as I feared…at heavier weights, I can’t seem to get down as low as when the bar is lighter. I tried continuing to squat down more after I thought I reached my limit, but I couldn’t manage to get my thighs parallel to the floor. I took what I could get and didn’t try for an extra set.

Close grip presses felt pretty good during the first set, so I did a few “extra” reps, but stuck to the program thereafter. Good thing too, because at a working weight of 150 pounds, that was as challenging as I wanted to go for 4 reps per set.

I really wasn’t looking forward to deadlifts. I remembered how tough it felt pulling the barbell off the floor last week, and this week the working weight is 15 pounds heavier. I decided to do an extra warm up set at a really light weight, just to let my body get used to the movement and to remind myself that deadlifts aren’t always arduous and punishing.

Then I launched into the regular progression. 185 pounds wasn’t bad, but I could feel the barbell pulling back as I lifted 205 pounds off the floor. I was worried about 240 pounds.

I guess I didn’t need to be worried though, because after an initial tug, the barbell came up off the floor. Mind you, I could see in the mirror that my face became immediately red thanks to the effort, but doing 4 reps in that first working set was manageable.

muscles used for a deadlift
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I waited nearly three minutes before attempting the last set to make sure I was sufficiently rested. The last rep of that final set felt a little harder than I expected but I still stood straight up with the barbell in my hands. Then I lowered it down with a loud, metallic “clank”.

Deadlifts wipe me out, so I was concerned about my overhead press and curls. Fortunately, the squat rack was free, so I did my presses there. Even the warm up sets felt hard and on my first working set, I was concerned I’d only be able to make three reps. Somehow I pushed up the fourth, and after resting, I was able to push up the final four reps for the last set.

With all the rest between sets I was building into the latter part of my workout, time was slipping away. I’d just make it out of the gym at the top of the hour by the end of my curls. Like I said, something inside told me not to push it. The weights were pushing me hard enough as it was.

I was glad I could do a few more reps with barbell curls than just the required 4. I really do think my biceps and forearms are getting bigger and stronger. I wish my delts and traps would follow suit so I could improve my overhead press.

I’ve been pretty indiscriminate about my eating for the past several weekends, so my body weight has crept up a pound or two. I’m not particularly worried as long as my pants fit, and I seem to have plateaued as far as my weight loss program is concerned. I am hoping though, that at least a little of the weight increase is in the form of muscle. I’ve been lifting some fairly respectable weights (for me) lately, and I’d like to see some results.

As an aside, I just want to remind everyone that this coming Wednesday is October 21st, 2015, the day Doc, Marty, and Jennifer arrive from 1985.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, in the film Back to the Future 2 (1989), Emmett “Doc” Brown, his teenage friend Marty McFly, and Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer (played respectively by Christopher Lloyd, Michael J. Fox, and Elisabeth Shue) use Doc’s flying time machine, which is a heavily modified DeLorean, from where/when they live in 1985 into the future because Marty and Jennifer’s future kids are in some sort of trouble.

back to the futureAnyway, when the film was made back in 1989, 2015 seemed a long way into the future. Now, it’s just a couple of days away. Here are 5 Ways to Celebrate Back to the Future Day. Facebook has a page dedicated to this once-in-a-lifetime event, and there’s even a JavaScript run countdown clock styled to look like the time machine’s settings display.

Google “Back to the Future Day” for more fun stuff.

The time-traveling is just too dangerous. Better that I devote myself to study the other great mystery of the universe: women!

Emmett “Doc” Brown


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