old school gym
Photo credit: visionaryathletes.com

I took a day off of work just to rest up. Haven’t been sleeping well. Plus with my wife and daughter out of town for a few days, the place is nice and quiet. It’s good to have some self-directed time on my hands.

I was debating whether or not to go to the gym, and if I did, what to do there. I skipped the gym yesterday to try to rest up that darn left thigh. I had to go up and down stairs at work yesterday, something I don’t find particularly strenuous under ordinary circumstances.

These aren’t ordinary circumstances. My thigh b*tched and complained at me each step of the way up. The hand rail became my friend. I really need to see Kasey the Killer Chiropractor and get this straightened out.

I think I saw something on a TV commercial about the Golden Corral last night that, when I contemplated it this morning, made up my mind for me.

I hate and detest places like the Golden Corral but my parents really think it’s good eating. On those few occasions they’ve talked me into going to one, the joint impresses me as a monument to gluttony and obesity. Just thinking about the such an establishment makes me feel 5 pounds heavier around the middle.

Plus, my eating habits haven’t been the best of late.

Yeah, I talked myself into working out.

And since I did, I figured just like last Friday, I’d test my rack pulls. Only this time, I wouldn’t be a moron. I’d lift first and do cardio afterward.

Since I was going pretty late in the day for me (8:30 a.m.), I was a little worried about how crowded the place would be. On the other hand, most people would be at work, so maybe I’d get a break.

No such luck. The gym was packed. Lots and lots of older people and women with kids (the gym has a wee day care for the little ones during the day). Saw a couple of younger guys, but mostly older folks and what I assumed were housewives with pre-school age kiddos.

I saw Chase working out, and later, he was training a kid in what looked like some form of boxing. Remember, when Chase was in Hawaii, he trained train with UFC fighter BJ Penn at his academy, learning boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I guess one of the types of training Chase offers is in martial arts, at least with young ones. Maybe I’ll make that suggestion to my grandson’s Dad.

I also saw Big Daddy doing some sort of biceps routine (no Hit Girl…I assume she’s in school). Doesn’t Big Daddy ever leave the gym?

Anyway, the squat rack was free so I claimed it and got to work. Decided to call my first 2 sets warm ups and the rest working sets, doing whatever I felt I could do. Here’s the result.

rack pulls
Photo: nailsworthstrengthandfitness.co.uk

Rack Pull in Squat Rack

10x 155lbs/70.3068kg (warm up)
10x 205lbs/92.9864kg (warm up)
5x 225lbs/102.058kg
5x 260lbs/117.934kg
3x 275lbs/124.738kg
1x 290lbs/131.542kg
1x 300lbs/136.078kg PR

Oh yeah! Who’s the man? Who’s the boss?

The warm up sets didn’t feel heavy but at 10 reps each, they put me out of breath. There was only one older guy, and I mean older than me, wearing a sweat shirt, sweat pants, and a ball cap doing chest and back work on plate weighted machines near me when I started out. A young guy, who looked really fit and was particularly strong in the upper body, came in and did some bodyweight work.

I got to my working sets, which went more or less just like last week, although I set them just a tad heavier set over set.

Finally got the barbell up to 290 pounds and pulled a single. For a second, I thought about making it a double, since it came up quicker than I expected, but I thought I’d save myself for my final set at 300 pounds.

I did a new PR with a 295 pound barbell for 1 rep last week. 300 pounds is only 5 pounds heavier, but sometimes that 5 pounds makes all the difference.

I must have made myself rest almost 3 minutes between sets. A few more guys were in the weight room now, mostly older men. I faced the barbell, bent my knees, gripped the bar, took my stance, and tightened everything up.

For the first second or two as I pulled on the bar, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stand up all the way, but surprisingly, not only did I do the lock out but it didn’t seem to take as long.

Mind you, those last few inches to standing fully erect were brutally hard, but I did it. I stood there looking at my reflection in front of me in victory and grimacing like a vicious idiot. I told that miserably heavy barbell exactly what I thought of it by dropping an f-bomb: “F*ck*r!”

I hadn’t actually meant to say it out loud, but testosterone and ego got the better of me. I noticed in the mirror, one of the older guys had stopped whatever he was doing and stared at me. I wasn’t sure I’d said what I had to say loud enough for him to hear all the way at the other end of the weight room, and figured maybe all that moaning and groaning I did getting that barbell to come up might have attracted his attention.

Or maybe he was just really impressed. I wanted someone to be. 300 pounds is no joke, particularly for me.

rack pull
Photo: practicalstrengthfortrainers.com

The weight came down with a big, loud clank, and then, feeling pretty exhausted, I started the (what seemed to be) long process of deloading the bar and putting everything back in place.

Later, when I got home, I looked up last week’s performance in my workout log. Here it is:

Rack Pulls in Squat Rack

10x 135lbs/61.235kg
5x 205lbs/92.9864kg
5x 225lbs/102.058kg
5x 255lbs/115.666kg
3x 275lbs/124.738kg
1x 295lbs/133.81kg

Pretty similar, except today I did one more set than last week and, of course, I made a new PR. Yay me!

After rack pulls today, I decided to do some gut work.

Weighted Cable Ab Crunch (5×10)

10x 130lbs/58.967kg
10x 145lbs/65.7709kg
10x 155lbs/70.3068kg
10x 165lbs/74.8427kg
10x 175lbs/79.3787kg

That’s when I noticed one of the young guys, the one doing bodyweight work, had his kids in the gym. Seriously, this guy could do bodyweight chin ups and pull ups all day long it seemed. He lifted each of his two boys up (one at a time) and had them do a few pull ups just like dear old Dad. I looked over and saw Big Daddy grinning at them and noticed I was, too. There are days I’d love to bring my 7-year-old grandson into the gym so he could watch me workout.

I guess it’s a guy thing.

After I was finished with crunches, I hopped on the elliptical for 35 minutes (30 minutes cardio and a 5 minute cooldown) and started sweating like the proverbial pig.

Since my heart rate was already elevated, it jacked up to the 150 bpm range pretty quickly and stayed there for 30 minutes. My recovery after the 5 minute cooldown wasn’t as good as on cardio and core only days (usually gets down to the low 120s, but today, it only dipped down to 131 at the end of 5 minutes), but I felt fine.

To round things out, I did my Kasey the Chiropractor core work and when I was done, I looked at the clock and saw I’d been in the gym 75 or 80 minutes.

When I was leaving, I saw a guy named John, one of the receptionist guys (probably a manager, actually) who used to work weekends at the front desk. We shot the breeze for a minute or 2, then I headed home.

Photo credit: wordswithlisbeth.com

The day was bright and cold, but I was so overheated, it felt great. Time to figure out what else to do with my day.

Since the rack pulls seem to be working out, I may make them a permanent part of each Friday’s routine. I can do them and still get some cardio in. Sounds like a winner. I’d been looking for a 300 pound rack pull. Today I found one. Now on to the deadlift.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

Henry Rollins


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