Finishing 3/3/3+ Week and Still Doing Well

overhead press
Photo credit: imgkid.com

After taking a couple of days off from work (but not working out), I had to stare at the clock for several seconds before I realized that 3:45 a.m. meant I needed to roll out of bed, not only to get ready to hit the gym, but because it’s Thursday and I need to go back to my day job.

I remember dreaming and I don’t remember getting up in the middle of the night, so I must have gotten adequate sleep for once. Good thing. I require a working brain and body today.

One cup of coffee, one glass of water, and one banana later, and I was ready to get to my final day of 3/3/3+ week. Here’s how it worked out this morning.

3/3/3+

Main Lifts

Overhead Press in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
3x 55lbs/24.9476kg
3x 65lbs/29.4835kg
4x 70lbs/31.7515kg (3+)
2x 80lbs/36.2874kg (joker)
1x 85lbs/38.5554kg (joker)
1x 90lbs/40.8233kg (joker)

Rack Pulls in Squat Rack

5x 155lbs/70.3068kg (warm up)
3x 175lbs/79.3787kg
3x 220lbs/99.7903kg
5x 230lbs/104.326kg (3+)
2x 255lbs/115.666kg (joker)
1x 280lbs/127.006kg (joker)
1x 285lbs/129.274kg (joker) PR

Assistance Lifts

2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher
Photo: spscgym.wordpress.com 2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher

Bent Leg Deadlifts (5×10) 10x 155lbs/70.3068kg

10x 155lbs/70.3068kg
10x 155lbs/70.3068kg
10x 155lbs/70.3068kg
10x 155lbs/70.3068kg
10x 155lbs/70.3068kg

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press (5×10) 30lbs/13.6078kg

10x 30lbs/13.6078kg
10x 25lbs/11.3398kg
10x 25lbs/11.3398kg
10x 25lbs/11.3398kg
10x 25lbs/11.3398kg

Core Work

Leg Back Raises
Lx10, Rx10

Leg Side Raises
Lx10, Rx10

Alternating Arm/Leg Raises (Bird Dog)
10x each side

Standing on One Foot
30 seconds each side

My overhead press remains pretty challenging. For my 3+ set, it was all I could do to get the barbell over my head for that fourth rep. After that, I knew I’d have to settle for doubles or singles which is exactly what happened. I almost didn’t get an 85 pound barbell over me but after a false start, I succeeded.

I was hoping I’d still be able to do a single at 90 and I did, but it was a near thing. No way would I have been able to handle 95 pounds. Maybe next time. I’d hate to stall here for too long.

rack pulls
Photo: bruteforcestrength.com

Rack pulls, on the other hand, were to die for. Actually, I was surprised that I found the warm up set feeling at all heavy, but that’s what warm ups are for. As I progressed through my working sets and into the jokers, I got into the rhythm of lifting.

I intended to lift 255 pounds for 3 reps, but the bar was sitting too far back on the supports in the rack and when I lifted the second rep, I hit the bar against one of the pins and it knocked me off my stride, so to speak.

Not to be deterred, I increased the weight to 280 pounds, 5 more pounds than my PR from last week. Oh my but that was heavy. I pulled and the barbell came up ever so slowly. I kept the pressure up and managed to stand and then put the bar back down with a big, weighty “clank”.

I figured I’d take a chance and go for another single at 285 pounds. I can see now that my goal of doing rack pulls at 300 pounds is going to take a while to achieve.

I rested almost 2 minutes between sets and then made my attempt.

I sucked in deep breaths, took my stance, squatted down, gripped the bar, set my lats, tightened everything up, and pulled.

Again, the barbell started to come up off the supports, but the motion was very slow. I kept pulling, kept going through the action of standing up, inch by inch, and then I was standing completely erect with a 285 pound barbell in my bare hands. It’s the heaviest thing I’ve ever lifted. New PR for me. Yay!

I remember a couple of weeks ago when I set a new PR in rack pulls, I didn’t want to do anything afterward because I was so wiped out.

I felt better this time. Sure, it was tiring and I was certainly sweating by then, but I felt confident to go on.

I proceeded to assistance lifts and set the weight for deadlifts at 10 pounds heavier than last week. Here’s where I really started sweating and breathing heavy between sets.

I guess I should pause to set the scene.

When I got to the gym this morning a few minutes before 5, the lights were already on and the doors were unlocked. This was because there were workmen present doing the remodel job. I was afraid for a second that there was already action in the weight room, but receptionist gal hadn’t turned the lights on in there yet.

deadlift
Photo credit: westcoasttribe.com

I put my gear by the squat rack and then ran back to the desk to ask her to turn on the lights just as Don walked in. Fortunately, it didn’t seem like he wanted to use the squat rack, so I was free and clear.

By the time I was doing deadlifts, the place was getting full. Shaved head guy and his daughter took the only 2 bench press stations, so I used the incline bench press station’s barbell and plates to set up for deadlifts.

Everyone around me was doing bodybuilder style lifting, and for once, I was the only strength trainer in sight.

In spite of being tiring, I completed the deadlifts OK. It was about a quarter to the hour and I wanted to finish assistance lifts and my core work in a hurry.

That wasn’t happening, though. I was so tired that I really needed a full 2 minutes rest between sets of dumbbell shoulder presses just to recover. I tried 1 set with two 30 pounders, and although I completed the 10 required reps, I could tell I’d need to lighten up. The final 2 sets using a pair of 25 pound dumbbells was tough enough. That triceps head on my left arm kept wanting to give up.

My triceps continue to be a limiting factor, and I wonder if I need to work in some specific triceps exercise for one of my assistance lifts. I’ll revisit that next week.

When I finished assistance lifts, I walked my tired body out of the weight room, grabbed a mat, found a vacant area of floor, and went into Kasey the Chiropractor’s recommended core exercises.

According to Kasey, core work isn’t ab work. Apparently, there’s a bunch of very small muscles that go all around the body that support larger muscles. If those muscles are weak, the larger muscles take over. If you can make those little muscles stronger, it will improve athletic performance, including strength training.

I guess this is why instead of Kasey recommending back extensions, sit ups, and crunches, it’s a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t (apparently) work the abs or lumbar muscles.

I started out doing 5 reps of each exercise for both sides of my body and am now doing 10. I’ll increase this to 15 reps next time…well, all except for standing on one leg, which I do for about 30 to 40 seconds depending. I still tend to want to fall over and sometimes have to briefly touch my foot to the ground or grab onto something because I wobble.

This is supposed to improve my balance so I guess we’ll see.

stand on one foot
Photo: prevention.com

Unfortunately, a quick Google search doesn’t yield the specific muscles Kasey was talking about, so I can’t describe what I’m doing or more particulars on the desired result.

I can say that I finished 3/3/3+ week. I’m now over halfway through my second complete circuit of 5/3/1 strength training since I finished personal training in December and rebooted my program.

My lower back is still pain free and I’m slowly getting stronger (very slowly in some areas). More cardio, mobility, and core work tomorrow and then rest on Saturday (well, rest from the gym…I’m sure the missus will fill up my “honey-do” list).

Next Sunday, I start week 3 of circuit 2, which is 5/3/1+ week. We’ll see what I can do with back squats and bench presses then.

We constantly talk to ourselves. We can choose to be our own best friend by telling ourselves positive thoughts, or our own worst enemy by repeating negative thoughts.

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

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