Starting Week 5 of Circuit 3 and It’s All Heavy


Ugh! There’s a song that starts out, “I didn’t sleep at all last night,” and that pretty much describes me. I was dozing off Sunday evening and was prepared for a nice, long rest. And then I felt a bloody nose coming on (again). Took over 30 minutes to get it to stop bleeding, but by that time, the damage to my sleep pattern was done.

I went out on the sofa but no rest for me. Around midnight, it started raining, and I enjoy the sound of rain when I’m nice and warm under the covers. It was dark and peaceful, but not enough to lull me back into the realm of Morpheus.

I may have briefly dozed here and there. It’s tough to tell. But when my clock said something like 3:40 a.m., I figured I should get up. I was hit hard by the temptation to just skip the gym and try again tomorrow. But so what. Even if I fell asleep in that instant, the most I’d get was another hour to hour-and-a-half of rest.

As it turns out, everyone in the house had to be somewhere early, so I wouldn’t have gotten more sleep by staying put.

I dreaded facing the heaviest week in my five-week circuit on little to no sleep, but I figured I’d just do the “minimum” required and call it good.

I rolled up to the gym with a good five minutes to spare but it was open already. One of the young gals who does morning duty opens early pretty regularly.

I rushed inside and mercifully, the weight room was still empty. I got to the squat rack, which as usual (lately, anyway) was a mess, unloaded the barbell, placed it correctly in the rack, and loaded it up for my first warm up set.

Rest periods between sets were typical, and although each set only requires 3 reps, on the lighter weights, I tried to do more.

Barbell Back Squats in Squat Rack

6x 155lbs/70.3068kg
4x 185lbs/83.9146kg
4x 205lbs/92.9864kg
3x 230lbs/104.326kg
3x 230lbs/104.326kg

Barbell Bench Press

3x 155lbs/70.3068kg
3x 165lbs/74.8427kg
3x 185lbs/83.9146kg
3x 185lbs/83.9146kg

Barbell Bent Over Row

4x 155lbs/70.3068kg
4x 165lbs/74.8427kg
3x 185lbs/83.9146kg
3x 185lbs/83.9146kg

bench press
Photo credit:

Cable Triceps Extension w/Rope

6x 75lbs/34.0194kg
6x 85lbs/38.5554kg
4x 100lbs/45.3592kg
4x 100lbs/45.3592kg

Pull ups (Bodyweight)


Zercher Squats in Squat Rack (Bonus)

6x 155lbs/70.3068kg
6x 165lbs/74.8427kg
6x 170lbs/77.1107kg

Barbell Bench Press (Bonus)

8x 135lbs/61.235kg
6x 145lbs/65.7709kg
5x 155lbs/70.3068kg

For my squats, I decided to do an extra warm up set at a fairly light weight to prepare my body for what it would have to endure during the two working sets. My lower back complained from the very beginning, making me wonder if taking two days off from the gym was enough for me to fully recover.

Nevertheless, I persevered, although I must say that for all 5 sets, I could never get low enough to position my thighs parallel to the floor.

What did surprise me is the lift out and walk back at 230 pounds wasn’t as heavy as I anticipated. Yes, of course it was heavy, but I expected something more from the heaviest weight I’ve ever squatted (a new personal best).

I think my fatigue was having some effect, because even the lightest warm up set for my bench press was a strain. By the time I hit my working sets, I was doing all that I could to make sure I wouldn’t get pinned under the barbell. I found the “sweet spot” where I could lower the bar and still get it back up again. Not as close to my chest as with lighter weights.

Interestingly enough, the bent over rows seemed a little easier, although I still restricted my working sets to 3 reps each.

Triceps extensions were challenging at 100 pounds during my working sets. I’m sure I was working my delts just as much at those weights.

I was dubious about my pull ups but at the same time tempted to try 6 reps for the first set. I decided to play it safe to make sure I’d get the minimum 5 reps in for each set. The last rep of the last set was a killer.

zercher squats
Photo credit:

Because, regardless of the weight, 3 reps per set doesn’t take up a lot of time, I had plenty left at the end of my pull ups. So, squat rack being free, I decided to add some zercher squats. By now I’m not only running at a sleep deficit, but I’m worn down from my regular routine, so I went relatively light with the weights.

Even after zercher squats, I still had a bit of time, and figured I could use it to get in some extra chest work. I know I can do more reps at those weights, but after nearly an hour of pushing heavy iron around, I was whipped.

Although physically tired, I felt mentally lucid. The lack of sleep didn’t kick in until I got home and sat down for a while.

There’s not enough coffee in the world to help my thought process become normal on a day like today. I hope tonight will be more restful.

As the weather gets colder, the air gets drier, which likely is contributing to my recent bouts of nose bleeds. Time to break out the humidifier.

Interesting stories are never about people who make the right decisions.

Edda Burber


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