Starting Circuit One Week Three of My 5/3/1 Reboot

dark weight room

I stayed up a little late last night, so I didn’t want to get out of my warm and cozy bed at 6:45 this morning. But I knew if I wanted to be ready to go to the gym by 10 of 8, I’d better move my buns.

Good thing too, because there was freezing fog out and not only did that impair visibility but it put a thin layer of ice all over the roads.

We got to the gym at 8 on the dot and the missus unexpectedly hopped out of the car and headed for the door. I guess she assumed the place was open, but Bryce got there a minute after we did, road conditions being what they were.

Just the missus, me, and another guy who’s a bodyweight man were there when the doors were unlocked, and I headed straight for the squat rack. Since I figured this was my heaviest week, and since I wanted to sit deeper into the hole in my squats, I set up the safety bars. They were just low enough to not get hit by my barbell when I went all the way down and sat on the bench I’d pulled in with me.

As it turned out, I haven’t improved in sitting all the way down with weights much heavier than 130 to 135 pounds, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Here’s what happened.


Main Lifts

Back Squat in Squat Rack

8x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 95lbs/43.0913kg (warm up)
5x 130lbs/58.967kg
3x 145lbs/65.7709kg
3x 160lbs/72.5748kg (1+)
3x 185lbs/83.9146kg (joker)
2x 205lbs/92.9864kg (joker)
1x 215lbs/97.5224kg (joker)

bench press
Photo credit:

Barbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 95lbs/43.0913kg (warm up)
5x 110lbs/49.8952kg
3x 125lbs/56.699kg
3x 135lbs/61.235kg (1+)
2x 145lbs/65.7709kg (joker)
1x 155lbs/70.3068kg (joker)
1x 155lbs/70.3068kg (joker)

Assistance Lifts (5×10)

Barbell Bent Over Rows

10x 125lbs/56.699kg
10x 125lbs/56.699kg
10x 125lbs/56.699kg
10x 120lbs/54.4311kg
10x 115lbs/52.1631kg

Dumbbell Bench Press

10x 50lbs/22.6796kg
10x 50lbs/22.6796kg
10x 50lbs/22.6796kg
10x 50lbs/22.6796kg
10x 50lbs/22.6796kg

Core Work

Bodyweight Captain’s Chair Leg Lifts

x10, x10, x10, x10, x10

Bodyweight Roman Chair Back Extensions

x10, x10, x10, x10, x10

Captain's Chair
Captain’s Chair

Bodyweight Bar Supported Squats

x10, x10, x10

As I was setting up the squat rack, only the auxiliary lights were on in the gym, making it almost impossible to see. I wasn’t anxious to try doing squats in the dark. Fortunately, by the time I had the bench pulled into the rack and the safety bars in place, the lights popped on and a few seconds later, so did the music.

Game on.

Squats started well enough and although there was a good effort to it, I managed to put my butt on the bench at 130 pounds for 3 out of my 5 reps. I was hoping for all 5 but it didn’t happen. I did well enough getting within about an inch or so of the seat at higher weights, that is until the barbell got past 200 pounds. Although I set a new PR for squats (post-personal training), I didn’t feel confident enough to go down more than about an inch and a half above the bench.

It is what it is, at least for now.

I looked around and noticed shaved head guy was in the gym, along with Don and a gal, one of the regulars, but I don’t know her name. True to form, I was finished with my squats after nearly 30 minutes in the rack and Don split not much longer after that.

I set up my bench press hoping for the best but knowing it would be a challenge.

Got the bar all the way down for all my reps through 135 pounds but after that, only very close to the chest.

And just like squats, when I got to my heaviest weight for the bench press of 155, I really hesitated about getting the weight too far down. I had considered going as high as 160 pounds to set a new PR, but knew that wasn’t doable today. I settled for 2 sets at 155 pounds for a single rep each and I wasn’t proud of either one of them.

I had hoped I’d be able to handle a little more weight for my assistance lifts, and increasing the barbell to 125 pounds for bent over rows started out well enough, but I started to get really fatigued. By the third set, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do 10 reps for sets 4 and 5, so I reduced the weight for the fourth, and reduced it again for the fifth. Nice pump in the lats, though.

For my “boring but big” dumbbell bench press, I continued using a pair of 50 pounders. It was touch and go for the last 2 sets, but I made all 50 reps without reducing the weight.

It took me over an hour just to finish my main and assistance lifts, but my wife was still working out, so I had some time to do core work. I figured I could handle captain’s chair leg lifts again, and just for giggles decided to superset them with back extensions. I treated this like assistance lifts and ended up doing 50 reps total for both.

bodyweight squat

The right side of my right kneecap gave me just a touch of trouble on a couple of my squat reps, so I thought I’d stretch things out with some bar supported bodyweight squats. Noticed the knee a bit on a few of these reps too. I only did 3 sets so as not to push things, and besides, it looked like the missus was ready to leave.

We spent a total of 75 minutes at the gym. It was dark and grey outside when we arrived, and white and grey outside when we left.

The missus has roped me into seeing her chiropractor, and I figured a 30 minute appointment wouldn’t hurt. She raves about this guy and I’ve never been to a chiropractor in my life, so this will be interesting. Part of me thinks I’m going to hate it, but you never know.

As I was writing this, it occurred to me to Google “powerlifting and chiropractic”. I opened up the first several search results.

The Pretty Strong site has the “sub-title” “Powerlifting, Feminism, & Chiropractic Philosophies,” so they apparently think all that goes together.

In fact this article’s author credits powerlifting and chiropractic care for treating her (no name but it seems as if a female powerlifter wrote this) sclerosis. I won’t quote from too much of the write-up, but it ends like this:

I understand that the sport of powerlifting may not be for everyone, but strength training for the sake of having a strong healthy spine should not just be for powerlifters, strongmen, olympic lifters, etc. When I get out of chiropractic school, I fully intend on designing my practice around the health of the whole body, but the foundation of wellness is simply this… Clear the nerve interference & strengthen the muscles that support the spine. Our bodies are amazingly wired structures that have an innate purpose to survive, but subluxations and muscles usually don’t correct and strengthen themselves.

Sounds like my kind of chiropractor.

chiropractic spine

Next up was ISIS Chiropractic Centres which believes chiropractic treatment is ideal for powerlifting and weight training related injuries.

Of course, the entire article reads like an advertisement:

The reason being that we understand and specialise in biomechanics of the whole body, not just the pelvis, back and neck. We also specialise in ligament, tendon and muscle injuries which means that we are ideally placed to help you with your problems and also help you prevent injuries and help you reach your potential.

This looks like a chiropractic office organized around providing specific services to weight trainers and powerlifters, but the take away is that, like the previous article, chiropractic care can have a positive effect for powerlifters.

I found a discussion at Reddit that in general, was very positive about chiropractic care for weight training injuries.

Last, I discovered a very brief article at chronicling chiropractic adjustments for competitive powerlifters, guys who squat in the neighborhood of 1000 pounds, or about 453 kilos.

It is no easy task to adjust these behemoths, since doing side posture on most of these athletes feels like you are climbing on top of a large tree lying on its side and trying to rip the bark off of it. No doubt that adjusting upwards of over 200 patients a day can be quite physical, especially when most of the patients lift cars for fun (and you think I am joking). Take a second and draw an image in your mind of men who wear size 80 jackets and measure 50 inches shoulder to shoulder. Most people just stare, others just run away; I usually just laugh.

old man powerlifter

The article, written by David Ryan, BS, DC, did mention that Larry Fagan, age 60, pulled a 600 pound deadlift, and that there were lifters at the event (the International Powerlifting Association’s World Championships in Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 15-17, 2001) as old as 80.

It seems, at least based on my brief survey of this information, that heavy lifting and chiropractic care go hand in hand. I’m also encouraged about the mention of 60 and 80-year-old powerlifters. It gives me hope.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.

Mary Anne Radmacher


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