5/3/1 Training Cycle Five: Deload Week Day One

Photo credit: shutterstock

I know. I’m a day late. I didn’t lift on Sunday because this was our weekend to have the grandkids. By 6 o’clock on Sunday morning, I was at my son’s house so he could go to work (his day’s off are Thursday and Friday). The kids were still asleep of course, so I laid down on the sofa for an hour and then got up and started puttering around.

The weekend was full of the sound of children’s laughter and playing, but all good things must come to an end, at least temporarily. Now it’s Monday again and time to apply myself at the gym.

As promised this week is a deload week. I’ve been feeling pretty beat up while lifting and after lifting lately, so I decided to program in a bit of “rest”.

I’ve only done one deload week prior to this and that was way back in January. I was still lifting four days a week back then, so I “deloaded” four times that week.

This week, it’ll only be twice.

I resolved to use the weight percentages recommended by week four on this chart, but forgot that it was a 5/5/5 scheme. So thus, I lifted the majority of my sets doing 10 reps instead of 5.

I woke up about a minute after 4 this morning feeling really loggy. Not sure the coffee did much good because I was still feeling puny and unmotivated when I got into the weight room. I thought to myself that it was good this was deload week. After today’s performance, I wonder if I’m getting stronger or weaker.

Deload Week, Day One

Main Lifts

Barbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg
10x 80lbs/36.2874kg
10x 95lbs/43.0913kg
10x 110lbs/49.8952kg (joker)
5x 125lbs/56.699kg (joker)
3x 135lbs/61.235kg (joker)

sumo deadlift
Photo credit: bodybuilding.com

Bent Leg Deadlift

10x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
10x 135lbs/61.235kg
10x 140lbs/63.5029kg
10x 170lbs/77.1107kg
8x 185lbs/83.9146kg (joker)
8x 205lbs/92.9864kg (joker)
5x 225lbs/102.058kg (joker)

Assistance Lift

Overhead Weighted Cable Triceps Ext

5x 90lbs/40.8233kg
10x 75lbs/34.0194kg
10x 70lbs/31.7515kg
10x 70lbs31.7515kg
10x 70lbs/31.7515kg

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

For my bench press, I managed 10 reps per set through 110 pounds, but could only manage 5 reps with a 125 pound barbell, and a mere 3 reps at 135. I had hoped to do between 5 and 10 reps for all my sets, but my arms were so tired by the last “joker” (I don’t know if I can call them jokers, but what the heck).

Two weeks ago, I did 3 reps with a 140 pound barbell, and three weeks ago, I did 4 reps at 135. What’s going on?

I’m hoping that trading intensity for volume just wore me down before that final set, although compared to the weights I see other guys bench for 10 reps, I’m downright pathetic.

bench press
Photo credit: returnofkings.com

For instance, Big Daddy (minus Hit Girl) was doing chest work at the gym today (after all, Monday is chest day), but I saw him bench 185 pounds for 10 reps. He increased the weight on the bar to 205 after that, but I didn’t see how many reps he did…probably 10, though.

My barbell was at 135 anyway, so I decided to do deadlift warm ups at that weight. Although the working weights are pretty light, 10 reps for the warm up set and then for 3 working sets left me out of breath and sweating. For the jokers, I did the first 2 at 8 reps instead of 10, and for the final joker, I only did 5 with a 225 pound barbell.

That’s pretty consistent with my deadlifts during “regular” weeks, and if I include the warm up set, I did 61 reps, which is pretty wearing.

After I finished deadlifts, I seriously considered just doing some stretches and going home, but I decided to throw in some triceps work for an assistance lift.

Then, I did my mobility and core work. I was dragging my sorry buns around the gym the whole time. Monday morning was not kind to me.

My hamstring on my left leg continues to bother me (if that’s what it is). Even just sitting here, every time I adjust my position in the chair, I feel “discomfort” in the area around my hip. I suppose this is where the hamstring attaches to my bones, but it’s getting really annoying.

Hope my deload week squats go OK.

Topic Switch

As you may know, I workout and write articles on this blogspot in an effort to maintain my health as I get older and to encourage others to do so as well. To that end, I read up on various methods and techniques people are exploring to improve the health of older people.

Elizabeth Parrish, Photo: singularityweblog.com

Occasionally, I come across folks who are either trying to slow the aging process itself or even to reverse it.

Which leads me to Elizabeth Parrish, CEO and founder of BioViva, who became a human guinea pig recently and subjected herself to gene therapy.

According to the MIT Technology Review:

The experiment seems likely to be remembered as either a new low in medical quackery or, perhaps, the unlikely start of an era in which people receive genetic modifications not just to treat disease, but to reverse aging.

GeekWire.com quotes 45-year-old Parrish as saying:

“I 100 percent believe that it will work, or else I wouldn’t have done it…I didn’t try to flame out in glory. The research shows that it should absolutely work.”

Here are some specifics from the GeekWire article:

One of BioViva’s anti-aging clues has to do with a protein called myostatin: Research suggests that genetically blocking the production of myostatin could help prevent age-related muscle loss.

The other clue has to do with telomeres, the stretches of DNA at the ends of our chromosomes that are thought to protect our genetic data from harmful mutations – much as the plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces keep them from unraveling. As we age, those telomeres become shorter, and the protective effect is gradually lost.

Do we have any reason to believe this therapy worked on Parrish relative to her telomeres? GeekWire states:

But when SpectraCell ran the same test on her cells in March, the telomere length went from 6,710 DNA base pairs to 7,330 base pairs.

The foundation said the lengthening implied that Parrish’s white blood cells had become biologically younger…


That’s debatable, however. For one thing, the findings haven’t yet been submitted for peer-reviewed publication. For another, the connection between a change in telomere length and improved cellular function hasn’t been nailed down. Human telomere length can vary widely, from less than 5,000 to more than 15,000 base pairs.

old man bicep
Photo: iStockphoto

This all seems like something out of a science fiction or maybe a horror story. Person lets herself be experimented on in a highly speculative procedure and turns into a monster seeking the brains and blood of young virgins, or some such nonsense.

No, that probably won’t happen, but it’s at least possible that this could either damage Parrish’s health in some way, or just result in no significant changes at all. As the article says, the conclusion that Parrish’s white blood cells having become younger is dubious at best.

And if she wants to maintain lean muscle mass, she might want to join a gym and start lifting, because we know resistance training will do that, especially with a person as young as Parrish. According to Futurity, Older Adults Who Lift Weights Live Longer. So get thee to a gym, Elizabeth Parrish.

I don’t think I’d undergo such a procedure unless there was a lot more evidence of its effectiveness and understood the potential side effect thoroughly. I suppose if my death was imminent and this were the only way to save my life, I wouldn’t have anything to lose, but as it is right now, I think I’ll just proceed with my own plan.

You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.

Beverly Sills


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