5/3/1: Ending Week Three in Cycle Five and Ready to Deload

Photo credit: theboxmag.com

I’ve had a terrible time getting to the gym this week. I’ve been spending a lot of evenings at my son’s house helping him get it ready to sell. It’s been a long process and we’ve got a long way to go.

Because of this, I’m getting to bed much later than usual, and that makes it really tough to get up in the morning. Besides my lift day on Sunday, I’ve only gotten in one cardio and core work session a few days ago.

But then my wife said she wanted to go to the gym with me this morning (she said that on Tuesday as well, but she was too wiped out to accompany me when the time came), and I really, really wanted to lift today, so I sucked it up and got out of bed at 3:50 a.m.

Actually, last night, I got to bed by nine, so it wasn’t too bad. I did go over to my son’s place, but not for too long, and I mainly played with my granddaughter and chatted it up with my son.

It was really warm this morning, about 58 degrees F outside at 4:30 when I looked at the temp. Actually nice for summer and a tad warm for spring.

The missus and I pulled into the gym’s parking lot at about a minute til the hour and we were standing at the door when the receptionist gal opened the joint up. Just the two of us plus Joe, so no one was competing with me for the squat rack.


I haven’t had much time to work on stretching out my hamstrings, so I lamented my ability to do anything reasonably heavy let alone challenging in my back squats.

But I figured, what the heck.

When I got to the rack, it was a mess, and I spent the first 5 minutes or so just cleaning it up. Then I pulled a bench in as usual, and started my warm up sets. Here’s what happened.


Main Lifts

squat rack
Photo credit: mensfitness.com

Back Squat in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 95lbs/43.0913kg (warm up)
5x 130lbs/58.967kg
3x 150lbs/68.0389kg
3x 170lbs/77.1107kg
2x 175lbs/79.3787kg (joker)
1x 175lbs/79.3787kg (joker)
1x 175lbs/79.3787kg (joker)

Overhead Press in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 70lbs/31.7515kg
3x 80lbs/36.2874kg
3x 90lbs/40.8233kg
2x 95lbs/43.0913kg (joker)
1x 100lbs/45.3592kg (joker)
0x 105lbs/47.6272kg (joker) -failed rep-

Mobility and Core Work

Hamstring stretch #1 with box
30 seconds x2

Hamstring stretch #2 bent over
30 seconds x2

Kasey the Chiropractor Core Work

Bodyweight Captain’s Chair Leg Lifts
x15, x12, x10, x10, x10

When I saw that my 1+ set for squats was at 170 pounds, I figured I wouldn’t be able to do it. Last week, I only did one joker, a single rep at 165 pounds because of leg pain. The week before that, I managed a single rep at 180 pounds, but failed reps at 195 and 190 pounds.

So my left leg is getting weaker or my hamstrings are getting tighter.

squatting to a bench
Photo: Livestrong.com’s YouTube channel

Warm ups went OK and even though I could feel a little “burn” in my left leg’s ham pushing up out of the hole, the working sets were pretty manageable. In fact, on the 1+ set, I handled 3 reps well.

But I wasn’t going to be stupid. I thought I’d increase the weight gradually in my jokers and see how far I could go.

Not very far, as it turns out. I only increased the weight to 175 pounds for my first joker and barely made 2 reps. I decided to keep the weight where it was, realizing I wasn’t going to finish week 3 of this fifth cycle in glory, and just keep doing singles. That last joker set for 1 rep was particularly hard, and for a second, I thought I was going to dump the rep.

OK, that’s squats for now. On to the overhead press.

That also went fairly well. The 1+ set was 90 pounds and my PR is only 10 pounds heavier. But I managed 3 reps for that set and 2 for my first joker at 95 pounds. 100 pounds is always “if-y,” sometimes I can do it, other times I can’t. Today, I did a single and although it was tough, I felt good about it.

Good enough to increase the weight to 105 and hope for a new PR.

But that didn’t work so well. I stalled less than halfway up, lowered the barbell to my chest, and pressed up again. Same result. Today wasn’t the day for a new PR.

At least I did better in my back squat than I expected, given my nasty hamstring problem, and I continue to match the current PR in the overhead press.

While I was in the squat rack, I kept looking for tall, strong, formerly broken foot guy, since he usually needs the squat rack on Thursdays. I was also keeping my eye on the clock, since he usually shows up at around 5:30, but I didn’t see him. Later on, I saw that he was doing cardio in the main area of the gym, but he never came into the weight room.

Big Daddy and Hit Girl showed up and did a lot of biceps work. Liz was there as usual, and a few other people came and went.

No one used the squat rack after I was done with it.

By the time I was finished, I had just a little over 20 minutes before I’d have to leave the gym, go home, and get ready for work. I decided to skip assistance lifts and move right to stretching out my hams.

hamstring stretch
Photo: breakingmuscle.com

Kasey told me to get a chair or box, put one foot on it, and lean forward while steadying myself by holding onto something. I did both legs for 30 seconds each, then switched to another ham stretch I saw on the web (the floor is not the goal), doing that for 30 seconds. Then I “rinsed and repeated” a second time, just to work out the kinks.

At home, my wife has some sort of knobbed roller I use on the knots in my hams, but I didn’t have that with me. Time was passing rapidly, so I went on to my usual Kasey the Chiropractor core work.

I looked around for my wife and she was doing ab work, so I got on one of the captain’s chairs and did the same. We finished up pretty much at the same time and then left the gym.

One thing I forgot about is when it’s warm outside, it gets hotter inside the gym. I don’t know if they haven’t turned the AC on yet or what, but the place was steaming. I’d rather be a little cold because my body heat will keep me warm enough during a workout. All those bodies moving around made the gym toasty to the point of discomfort.

Welcome to summer in Southwestern Idaho.

I am definitely going to take a deload week next week. I’ve already got it programmed out and punched into my workout log. Much lighter weights and higher reps. Hopefully, I can hit the gym a bit more often and focus on stretching out those hams so I won’t be stuck in back squat hell forever.

Now, several hours after squatting, my left leg’s a bit sore in the expected area, but nothing horrible.

I’m lightening up next week. Hopefully when I start cycle 6, I can come back even stronger.

The speed of your success is limited only by your dedication and what you’re willing to sacrifice.

Nathan Morris


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