The “Can’t Get Stronger Fast Enough” Blues

Woman doing squats
Photo credit: Breakingmuscle.com

I slept better last night and woke up first at about 3:25 a.m., then I dozed, woke up and finally got up at about 10 til 4.

I felt achy and kind of uncomfortable, probably something left over from not feeling really great yesterday, but I knew I was ready to lift again. The missus seems to be getting over her cold or allergy attack or whatever it was, so she was up and getting ready for work when I headed out to the gym.

I joined the usual suspects at the main doors of the gym and we waited until 5 when the receptionist gal opened up. No one was there who lifts free weights, so I didn’t even have to rush for the squat rack.

Of course, a few minutes later, stooped over guy came in, but he uses the Smith machine for squats (and he really squats heavy).

I pulled a bench into the rack and got set up for back squats. Here’s how Wednesday morning got started.

5/5/5+

Main Lifts

Back Squat in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 95lbs/43.0913kg (warm up)
5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
5x 130lbs/58.967kg
6x 140lbs/63.5029kg (5+)
5x 150lbs/68.0389kg (joker)
3x 160lbs/72.5748kg (joker)
3x 170lbs/77.1107kg (joker)
2x 180lbs/81.6466kg (joker)

Barbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 95lbs/43.0913kg (warm up)
5x 100lbs/45.3592kg
5x 120lbs/54.4311kg
6x 130lbs/58.967kg (5+)
3x 140lbs/63.5029kg (joker)
1x 150lbs/68.0389kg (joker)
1x 150lbs/68.0389kg (joker)

Assistance Lifts

barbell rows for batwings
Photo credit: t-nation.com

Barbell Bent Over Row (5×10) 125lbs/56.699kg

10x 125lbs/56.699kg
10x 125lbs/56.699kg
10x 125lbs/56.699kg
10x 125lbs/56.699kg
10x 125lbs/56.699kg

Cable Triceps Pushdown w/Rope (5×10) 115lbs/52.1631kg

10x 115lbs/52.1631kg
10x 115lbs/52.1631kg
10x 115lbs/52.1631kg
10x 115lbs/52.1631kg
10x 115lbs/52.1631kg

Core Work (3×10)

Leg Back Raises
Lx10, Rx10
Lx10, Rx10
Lx10, Rx10

Leg Side Raises
Lx10, Rx10
Lx10, Rx10
Lx10, Rx10

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

Standing on One Foot
30 seconds each side

squats
Photo credit: bodybuilding.com

The warm up sets went fine and I was tempted to go beyond 5 reps when warming up with the 95 pound barbell. I thought better of it and decided to save myself for working sets and jokers.

I actually did better with my squats than last time. I went through the working sets, doing 6 reps on the 5+ set, then moved on to the jokers, incrementing the weight 10 pounds set over set.

I did a full 5 reps with the 150 pound barbell, but only 3 on the next 2 jokers at 160 and 170 pounds respectively. Finally, I set up the barbell to 180 pounds and matched my PR of a few weeks ago doing 2 reps. But since last Sunday’s 3 joker sets were all 3 reps using a 150 pound barbell, I felt better just matching my PR. I’ll try to take it up next week.

Bench presses didn’t go so well. I went through the warm ups OK, but the barbell started feeling heavy in my second working set at only 120 pounds. On the 5+ set, I did 6 reps rather than last Sunday’s standard 5, but that sixth rep was hard.

I managed 140 pounds for 3 reps, but could only press 150 pounds for 1. At the halfway point, I could feel my triceps trying to give up, and had to really motivate myself to get past being “stuck”. The same for my final joker set. I can’t even get back up to my PR of 160 pounds for a single.

Meanwhile, stooped over guy put six 45 pound plates and two 5 pound plates on the Smith machine for a total of 270 pounds. I don’t know how much tension the machine’s bar pulls, but if it’s a standard 45 pounds, then this guy squats 325 pounds for multiple reps using a bench as a target.

Yikes!

Later, I watched him bench press, and he warmed up with a 135 pound barbell cranking out reps like a machine. He doesn’t look like much, but stooped over guy is strong.

I did my assistance lifts as expected, keeping the cable triceps pushdown so hopefully, I can eventually get past my plateau in the bench press.

It was getting late, but I totally skipped the gym yesterday because I wasn’t feeling all that hot (my cardio is falling behind again), so I didn’t want to blow off the Kasey the Chiropractor exercises.

I’d worked up quite a sweat by this time and was dripping on the mat as I was working through my sets. When I tried my “balancing act,” I sucked compared to 2 days ago. Of course, I wasn’t that great then either. Balance isn’t something I’m good at.

Bench Press
Bench Press

I checked back in my workout log for week one of the last cycle and I only managed a single bench press at 150, same as today. That means I’m probably not getting any stronger, at least with this exercise. Hope the assistance lifts will fix this. There’s always next week.

One more lift day. Tomorrow, main lifts are the overhead press and rack pulls. Let’s see what I can do with those.

By trying, you may fail others. By not, you fail yourself.

Anonymous

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2 thoughts on “The “Can’t Get Stronger Fast Enough” Blues

  1. I know you really like going to the gym or you wouldn’t get up at that hour and head out so often. I also know you have read Rippetoe’s book and Wendler 531′.Both these people write that older lifters need more recovery time,especially for sqts and deadlifts. Just something to think about.

    Like

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