I had the opposite problem this morning than what I’ve been experiencing for the past several days. I fell asleep OK, but woke up way too early. I think I remember looking at the clock by my bed around 11 p.m., falling back to sleep, and then waking up again sometime past 1. After that, it was a long, slow march of minutes and hours as I tossed and turned but couldn’t return to the realm of Morpheus.
This is a problem, not only because too little sleep screws up my early morning performance in the gym, but because sleep is one of the essential ingredients in muscle recovery and building strength.
Finally it was around 3:35 a.m. and close enough to 4 to justify me getting out of bed. I actually didn’t feel all that bad, especially after a cup of coffee, but the real test would be when I started lifting.
I went through my entire early morning wake up routine and still had time to burn before leaving for the gym. Finally decided to head out at a quarter to the hour and got there 5 or 6 minutes before opening time.
I saw the receptionist gal go inside just as I was pulling up, but this one doesn’t like to unlock the gym doors until 5 a.m. on the dot. I stood outside with several of the regulars for a couple of minutes, none of them being weight room people, and when the lights came on and the doors were unlocked, I went inside, hung up my hoodie, and headed for the squat rack.
Here’s what Monday morning looked like.
Overhead Press in Squat Rack
10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
4x 70lbs/31.7515kg (3+)
2x 85lbs/38.55535145kg (joker)
1x 90lbs/40.8233133kg (joker)
0x 90lbs/40.8233133kg (joker)
Bent Leg Deadlifts
5x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
5x 185lbs/83.9146kg (3+)
3x 205lbs/92.98643585kg (joker)
3x 225lbs/102.05828325kg (joker)
1x 245lbs/111.13013065000001kg (joker)
1x 255lbs/115.66605435000001kg (joker) PR
Rack Pull in Squat Rack (5×10) 175lbs/79.3787kg
Overhead Press in Squat Rack (5×10)
Alternating Leg Raises
5x each side
Alternating Leg Side Raises
5x each side
Alternating Arm/Leg Raises (Bird Dog)
5x each side
Standing on One Foot
30 seconds each side
I was pretty disappointed in my overhead press. Oh, I did OK, but I was hoping for yet another PR, either by increasing the weight to 95 pounds or being able to do 2 reps or alternately 1 rep for 2 sets using a 90 pound barbell, last week’s PR weight.
As you can see, that didn’t work out. I barely got the 85 pound bar over my head for 2 reps and the same for lifting a 90 pound bar just 1 time. I tried a second single but stalled halfway up. This is one lift where I’m not going to advance very quickly.
Deadlifts were another story. I was setting up my warm up weight on the barbell at 1 of the 2 bench press stations when shaved head guy and his daughter walked in. I could tell by the expression on the guy’s face that both he and his daughter wanted to bench at both stations side-by-side, but I beat them to it, fortunately (for me).
The weight didn’t feel particularly heavy until I got to my final working set at 185 pounds. I kept increasing the weight 20 pounds at a time and pulling sets at 205, 225, and then 245, the last for only 1 rep.
I checked back in my log for last week, and my PR was 3 reps with a 235 pound barbell, so I’d already beaten that by 10 pounds this morning. But my all-time PR at deadlifts was 250 pounds. True, when I lifted that heavy, I totally screwed up my lower back, but so far, no strain or pain, so I thought I’d give my new knowledge in spinal mechanics a try and increased the weight on the barbell to 255 pounds.
This is the heaviest thing I’ve lifted in all my life as far as I know. I took several breaths, set my lats, got everything tight, and then tried to stand. It was heavy and it was slow, but I was actually able to stand up straight, pulling 255 pounds off of the floor.
And I didn’t get hurt.
Assistance lifts were almost an anti-climax except that rack pulls really tired me out, especially since I was already fatigued from my main lifts.
I increased weight for the “boring but big” rack pulls another 10 pounds over last week, and while the weight was very doable, it was also very taxing, requiring that I rest a full 2 minutes between sets.
This was burning up a lot of time, and I didn’t want to skip out on my dumbbell shoulder presses again.
But I had to. When I was done with rack pulls, all 4 of the benches normally used by folks working with dumbbells were occupied. I briefly considered standing dumbbell shoulder presses, but sitting provides more stability, and lifting dumbbells over my head while standing plays hell with my sense of balance.
I was in the squat rack anyway, and I thought I’d just make overhead presses an assistance lift, working only with the 45 pound barbell. I thought about putting a little more weight on it, but I was pretty fried and figured I’d play it safe.
Good thing, too. Those last 2 of the 5 sets wore me down to next to nothing.
When I finished, I still had a few minutes left, but instead of the usual stretches, I thought I’d do some work suggested by Kasey the Chiropractor when the missus and I visited him yesterday for our weekly (now moved to every other week) adjustments.
First off, Kasey was able to make a few parts of me “snap, crackle, and pop,” but not many. This time, I tried to relax as much as I could to give him a better chance to work his craft with me. That’s not easy knowing that the whole procedure is going to hurt.
He did manage to declare victory at the end by getting multiple pops out of my neck. Ouch!
Kasey gave the wife and I a set of exercises we could do at home to “reprogram” our nervous systems, whatever that means. Here’s a partial list. Look at figures 15 and 16 on that site. Also, here’s a YouTube video of another of our exercises.
Anyway, the first one has me on my hands and knees. Then I lift one leg up bending the knee at a 45 degree angle and pointing the bottom of my foot to the ceiling. I bring it down but not quite all the way and repeat (not sure how many reps to do so I settled on 5 for now). Then I repeat with the opposite leg.
The second is similar except that I bend at the hip lifting my bent leg out to the side (like a dog whizzing on a fire hydrant). Do one leg and then the other (see the link to the video I posted a few paragraphs up).
The third is alternating between lifting the left arm and right leg, and then right arm and left leg.
In some ways, the final exercise is the hardest: standing on one leg for 30 seconds. Kasey said when we get good at this (I still need to stand near a counter or wall in case I “wobble” and fall), he’ll have us do it with our eyes closed.
I don’t know why all this is beneficial, but I’ll take his word on it for now. The references to all of this are online, so it seems legit.
As a little treat for my readers, I thought I’d post a brief YouTube video of bodybuilding legends Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno working out together. I saw the video months ago, but it was embedded in Facebook and I didn’t know how to make it appear in WordPress (I’m pretty sure I just offered up the link previously).
It’s always enjoyable to see Arnie and Lou working together and mugging for the camera.
A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.