Cycle Seven: The End of 5/5/5+ Week

Photo credit:

I hadn’t planned to lift today. I was going to wait until tomorrow, particularly since I lifted on Tuesday.

But sleep was spotty, my wife was snoring, and I said, what the heck and got up at 3:30 this morning.

I was planning just some light cardio, but after some coffee and a glass of water, I decided I was feeling pretty good. Added a banana to the mix for the carbs and quickly calculated my weights for cycle seven 5/5/5+ week.

The missus was still asleep when I left the house, and I pulled into the gym’s parking lot at about 3 til the hour. Only one guy was there who might use the squat rack, but more often than not, he does dumbbell and cable work.

I was the first one inside. Everyone else was still trying to keep warm in their cars and vans (not that it was that cold, maybe 55 degrees F).

I got to the squat rack, pulled in a bench, straightened out the weight plates so I had everything I needed, and got to work. I’d lifted just two days ago and I was a mess. I hoped I wasn’t making a bad week worse.


Main Lifts

Back Squat in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 95lbs/43.0913kg (warm up)
5x 125lbs/56.699kg
5x 140lbs/63.5029kg
6x 155lbs/70.3068kg
3x 165lbs/74.8427kg (joker)
3x 175lbs/79.3787kg (joker)
1x 190lbs/86.1826kg (joker)
1x 200lbs/90.7185kg (joker) Last performed two weeks ago

overhead press
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Overhead Press in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 60lbs/27.2155kg
5x 75lbs/34.0194kg
6x 80lbs/36.2874kg
3x 90lbs/40.8233kg (joker)
2x 95lbs/43.0913kg (joker)
0x 105lbs/47.6272kg (joker) -failed rep-
0x 100lbs/45.3592kg (joker) -failed rep-

Mobility Work

Hamstring stretch #1 30 seconds x2
Hamstring stretch #2 30 seconds x2

Quad stretch 30 seconds x2

I was a bit achy in the legs when doing my warm ups in squats but nothing too bad. In fact, throughout my routine, I noticed a complete absence in those tight hams that have been holding me back.

I was hoping not to get stuck under the weight. During my working sets, for some of my reps, my shorts were barely touching the bench before I started pushing back up out of the hole. For others, my butt firmly made contact.

The 5+ set was a struggle for the last few reps, but I made 6 of them total. I resolved to attempt just 3 reps for my first joker. I did it and thought maybe I could have done more, but decided to save myself for heavier weights.

I had another brain fade and thought if I could do a single rep at 200, I’d set a new PR. I’d forgotten I’d already did that 2 weeks ago. It was last week that I only did a single at 185 and failed the rep at 195. Fortunately, whatever was screwing me up last week was fixed today.

Thinking that 200 was my new PR, I got set up, did the lift out and walk back, and squatted down to the bench, planting my butt right down on top of it. When I pushed back up, I could tell my spinal mechanics were all wrong and I was putting a lot more stress on my lower back than I’d intended.

2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher
Photo: 2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher

Fortunately, months of heavy deadlifts have strengthened my back so I didn’t tweak the thing. Got the 200 pounds back up to the top, racked the barbell, and called it good.

Warm ups with my overhead press went fine, but for my 5+ set, I really had to struggle to make that sixth rep. Did a triple for my first joker, though it took a lot of effort, and a double for my second at 95 pounds.

Decided to go for broke, increased the weight to 105 and waited 2 1/2 minutes or thereabouts.

All this time, the weight room was practically empty. Just one guy there, who I call “bicycle guy.” He’s maybe in his mid to late-30s, rugged looking and pretty strong. He did a combination of dumbbell, barbell, and cable work. Didn’t even look at the squat rack.

A couple of women came in and out, and one of them used the Smith machine to do one-legged calf raises.

No one who squats ever walked in the place so I didn’t have to feel self-conscious.

I pulled the 105 pound barbell off the rack and rested it against my chest. Felt heavy as heck. Tried to push it up. Nothing. Barely got if off my chest. Tried again. Still nothing.

OK, so I lightened the load to 100, but I must have been too worn down by then. My hands were trembling which is a sign that I’m tapped out. I failed the rep at 100 pounds as well.

I pulled the plates off the bar and made sure the rack was organized. As I was walking out of the weight room, big, tall, strong, formerly broken foot guy walked in. I looked back, but he settled in on one of the benches for some dumbbell work. No squats for him today, apparently.

After that, all I had time for was some stretches, and again, my legs were trembling when I tried to work on my hams.

This is about the best I’ve done or close to it, so at least my workout wasn’t the disaster it was on Tuesday. I won’t lift again until Sunday probably. Coming up on a three-day weekend, so not sure how that’ll affect things.

Haven’t seen or been beaten up by Kasey the Killer Chiropractor for a long time now. Whenever he’s around, we’ve got the grandkids, and whenever we’re free, he’s out-of-town.

old man bicep
Photo: iStockphoto

The other Sunday, my friend Tom, who’s about my age, said he noticed some changes in my musculature, even when I wasn’t flexing, which is reassuring. My son David usually is just trying to impress me with how much bigger and stronger he is than me (and over 30 years younger, too).

When I had a longer recovery time, my bench press and deadlifts were miserable. I only allowed 48 hours recovery time when I started lifting today, and I performed near or at my maximum limits. What is that saying?

The longer I train, the less and less shit I do. The less shit I do, the stronger I get. The more I emphasize recovery, the stronger I get.

-Paul Carter


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