Maximum Effort

From the film Deadpool (2016)

I’ve been watching the film Deadpool (2016) with my son David a lot lately. It’s probably his favorite movie in the whole world, mainly because it aligns really well with his already demented sense of humor. I think his goal is to watch the film so many times, he memorizes all the dialog.

Which brings me to the title of today’s blog post. Deadpool says “maximum effort” a lot in the movie, maybe 3 or 4 times. I thought about it a lot when I was lifting this morning, especially doing overhead presses. You’ll see why in a minute.

My wife and David got home from a trip yesterday afternoon. I’d been “batching it” for about four days, which means eating a lot of junk food and feeling my jeans get tighter around the waist.

I’ve also been slacking at the gym. I’ve only been 2 times this week. No cardio at all. Of course, I didn’t feel well Monday and Tuesday. I lifted Wednesday, but was really tired on Thursday morning so I slept in an extra hour.

This morning, I woke up with a headache and for a moment, considered not going to the gym. But it’s a lift day, my last opportunity this week. I pulled myself out from under the covers and got a cup of coffee.

Coffee, water, and a bowl of yogurt later, I was driving to the gym. I walked up to the doors just when the lights came on. The receptionist gal unlocked the place and I was the first one in. The squat rack was mine.

I pulled a bench in as usual, and then spent about 5 minutes rearranging the weight plates and searching for a pair of 35 pounders to round things out.

Finally got set up and started my warm up sets for my back squat. Here’s how the end of cycle seven went.

Cycle Seven, 5/3/1 Week, Day Two

Main Lifts

squat and squat complex

Back Squat in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 95lbs/43.0913kg (warm up)
5x 135lbs/61.235kg
3x 155lbs/70.3068kg
3x 175lbs//79.3787kg
1x 190lbs/86.1826kg (joker)
1x 200lbs/90.7185kg (joker)
1x 210lbs/95.2544kg (joker) PR

Overhead Press in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 70lbs/31.7515kg
3x 85lbs/38.5554kg
3x 90lbs/40.8233kg
3x 95lbs/43.0913kg (joker)
0x 100lbs/45.3592kg (joker) -failed rep-
1x 100lbs/45.3592kg (joker) -failed 2nd rep-
0x 105lbs/ (joker) -failed rep-
1x 105lbs/47.6272kg (joker) PR (previous PR of 100 made on 3/17/16…PR of 95 pounds on 3/3/16)

Everything went fine for my back squats. Warm ups were good and I plowed my way through the working sets OK, doing 3 reps for my 1+ set. I probably could have done 2 reps for the first joker, but I was shooting for a new PR and I wanted to save some. Did a single at 200 for my second joker, just 5 pounds under last week’s PR.

Finally put 210 pounds on the barbell. I was determined to plant my butt right on that bench. I had put the safety bars in place when I started the working sets. Got under the bar, did the lift out and walk back. Then I squatted down into the hole. That was the easy part.

Getting back up wasn’t so easy. About halfway up, I felt myself about to stall. I kept pushing up, watching my face get really red in the mirror. But I kept moving up and up and finally, I made it. Hello new PR.

There wasn’t that much doubt I could do a single at 210 pounds, although it was harder than I expected. A PR in the overhead press is another story.

overhead press
Photo credit:

I’ve been chasing 105 pounds for a couple of months at least. It’s always just a bit too heavy, thanks to my lagging triceps. I wanted that PR. Here’s where “maximum effort” comes in.

There were only two regulars in the weight room with me. Bicycle guy and another guy who’s pretty heavy set, always wears a sweat jacket, and is only in the weight room to do limited range of motion cable work. He’s sometimes chummy with strong bent over guy (who doesn’t come to the gym on Fridays), so I suspect he’s got a background in strength training. He parks in the disabled spot, so something’s going on with him that I can’t see.

Anyway, after heavy set sweat jacket guy finishes with his cable work, he goes out into the main area of the gym to do machine weights and finally some cardio. Bicycle guy was in and out of the weight room as he likes to mix up barbell, dumbbell, and machine weight work.

No one wanted the squat rack. By the time I was into my main lifts for the overhead press, I had the place to myself.

I kind of surprised myself on my first joker set. I did 3 reps at 95 pounds. As far back as 3 cycles ago, I have only done 2 reps at that weight. I felt encouraged.

That is until the second joker when I failed the rep at 100 pounds. Damn. No, I had the gym to myself and enough time if I didn’t care about doing an assistance lift. This wasn’t going to stop me. I grabbed the bar, muttered “maximum effort” to myself, and then tried again.

maximum effort

I heard myself making little growling sounds as I pushed the barbell up. I was doing that at 90 and 95 pounds and kept on doing it with my successful and failed jokers.

Good first joker. Bad second joker. The heck with it. Good third joker. Made a single. Tried for a double, but that didn’t work. There’s a certain benefit to getting p*ssed off at the barbell. I increased the weight to 105 and waited 2 1/2 minutes to rest.

And failed the third joker at 105.

No. I didn’t care what it took, I was going to get that PR and I was going to get it today. I don’t think I waited that long. I was just going to do it. Grabbed the bar. Took several deep breaths, “maximum effort,” put my chest up to the bar, and did the lift out.

“Maximum effort.”

I pushed up, almost, almost stalled but kept on going. One more big push and the barbell wobbled up over my head. One end got up before the other but finally I was standing there with 105 pounds completely over my head. Yeah. That’s 2 new PRs in one day, baby!

I tried my best to control the weight coming down, rested it on my chest, and racked it.

Nobody was there to see my victory but then they wouldn’t have recognized it anyway. Strictly speaking, 105 pounds isn’t that much. Plenty of guys and gals can press heavier. But I’ve been going after this one for a long time and at last, I got it.

Not sure if I’ll be able to match it next week, but at least it’s on the books. Something must be getting stronger.

Now, back to the regular routine. Put the cardio back in. Stop eating like an idiot.

I don’t notice it when I’m sitting down, but when I stand up and move around, I can feel that just about everything is sore. It’s a good sore. Heck, when I was lifting the barbell on my back for squats, I could tell my traps had thickened up some. Even my forearms are sore.

Stuff is changing, really slow, but it’s changing. Seven cycles done and stuff is changing. Time to pour on the juice. Maximum effort.

deadpool grow it

Oh, one more thing. I tried to find a semi-relevant quote from Deadpool (besides “maximum effort,” but almost everything he says that’s quoted on would be offensive to almost everyone (although I’m having a hard time not laughing out loud reading them all). Here’s the best I could some up with.

Oh, before that. One last thing, I promise. The featured image up top? Obviously, I wanted to include something about Deadpool (and it looks like I ended up including a bunch), and there’s so much to choose from. That one made me laugh the most.

Okay guys, I only have twelve bullets, so you’re all going to have to share!

Deadpool (played by Ryan Reynolds)


2 thoughts on “Maximum Effort

  1. Some days you just don’t feel like going to WO. As long as I get my two lift days in I feel like I am doing ok. I did two sets of Saftey bar sqts Thursday, 190/5 then a second set of 6. I have been reading my book by Books Kubick.,and think I will keep this weight for the next few wo’s. He calls it stabilizing . I think you convinced me to watch the Deadpool movie th,is weekend.


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