The Long Road Back: Day Two

leg pain from squats

Well, day three, actually. Yesterday, I went to the gym and did some light cardio, ab work and mobility work. While the duration and intensity of the cardio was technically light, my body didn’t think so, and my heart rate got up pretty high given what I was (and wasn’t) doing.

After yesterday’s ab work, my whole gut area is really sore, but then again, my whole body is really sore, indicating how out of shape I am.

So today I wanted to do a repeat of my main lifts from Sunday before last, using a bit more sense this time so I didn’t completely wreck my body. After today, I’ll start on 3/3/3+ week next Sunday at the same reduction of 25% of my prior weights. This is just to get my body back in the groove so I can start the long process of building up again.

There was only half a banana in the house this morning, so I had that plus my usual cup of coffee and glass of water before lifting.

I got out of the house in plenty of time, and only had to wait a minute or so before the gym lights popped on and the front doors were unlocked.

I got inside just behind Joe, who only uses machines, and had the weight room to myself. I had to make some adjustments to the bench press station to get it in shape, but once done with that, I was ready to lift.

5/5/5+ week after illness – 25% reduction from previous weights

Main Lifts

Barbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 80lbs/36.2874kg
5x 90lbs/40.8233kg
7x 100lbs/45.3592kg
3x 115lbs/52.1631kg (joker)
3x 120lbs/54.4311kg (joker)
3x 125lbs/56.699kg (joker)

wide stance deadlift
Photo credit:

Barbell Bent Over Deadlift

10x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
5x 140lbs/63.5029kg
5x 165lbs/74.8427kg
7x 185lbs/83.9146kg
6x 205lbs/92.9864kg (joker)
5x 225lbs/102.058kg (joker)
3x 240lbs/108.862kg (joker)

Except for one thing.

When I started my warm up set of bench presses, I noticed my right front delt was suddenly stiff and sore. I must have done something to it during overhead presses two days ago, but didn’t notice until now. If it affects me during warm ups, working sets and jokers aren’t going to be any fun.

Well, the working sets went the same as last time, but I decided to go a little lighter, making my max weight on the final joker 125 instead of 135. Of course I did 3 reps rather than just one, and I probably could have gone heavier, but I wanted to baby that sore delt and have something to work with next week.

I did better on the deadlifts than last time, but only just. I did the same weights, but managed 3 reps on the final joker at 240 instead of just 2. Like the bench press, I probably could have gone heavier, but my legs were still sore from squats 2 days ago, so I played it safe.

I should say that through all this, or most of it anyway, Chase’s little class (minus Chase who only works with them Tuesdays and Fridays) were the only ones to come into the weight room, and they were in and out. They were in long enough to see me do deadlifts, and since they had that pleasure on Tuesday, I couldn’t help but wonder what they thought.

Toward the end of my deadlift routine, tall, strong, formerly broken foot guy came in, but he stuck to dumbbell work for the most part. Didn’t go near the squat rack (no one did).

hamstring stretch

After that, I just did my usual mobility work and called it a day. Spent 45 minutes in the gym total. This is my third day in a row, and I plan to go back tomorrow for more cardio. Then I’ll rest Saturday (lawn work, honey-do list) and hit the gym again Sunday.

It’s slow going, but it’s nice to be back into the routine again.

Arguing about strength training theory is stupid, the reason I came up with 5/3/1 was that I wanted a program that eliminated stupid thoughts from my head and just let me go into the weight room and get shit done. I’ve been training for 20 years, and this is what I’ve learned.

Jim Wendler


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