The Long Road Back: Week Two, Day One

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I finally feel I’m getting somewhere. No, I’m nowhere near what I used to be, but I’m doing better than I expected.

The key right now is not to push too hard. I don’t want to extend myself so far that I’m stiff and sore for a week after lifting. So no assistance lifts this cycle. I’m considering this a recovery cycle. If I can do OK through 3/3/3+ week and then 5/3/1+ week, then we’ll see about setting the bar higher during my joker sets.

First things first.

I was feeling lazy this morning, it being Sunday. I turned 62 years old yesterday, but as a family, we tend not to make a big deal out of (adult) birthdays, so everything was low key.

I wanted to get up at six but since I didn’t have to be at the gym until eight when it opened, I could afford to laze around.

Of course, I couldn’t force myself to say down after about 6:15, so I turned on the coffee and started reading the Sunday comic strips online.

I was feeling a little peckish, so I had a light breakfast of two scrambled eggs and matbucha (I love middle eastern cuisine).

Bright, sunny summer morning outside. I headed out the door and to the gym. I thought I was going to be late but Bryce, the Sunday morning guy who opens up, was a little later. Fortunately, only Liz was there waiting, and she doesn’t squat, so all went well.

Turns out Bryce’s chronic lateness in opening up is due to the fact that the only night he gets to go out late is Saturday evening. Must be tough to be a young guy and have to be someplace early Sunday morning.

But he unlocked the doors and by the time I got to the squat rack, he’d flipped on the lights. Liz walked in a few minutes later, but our paths didn’t cross.

Here’s how I started my Sunday morning on week two of the long road back.

Adjusted 3/3/3+ Week

Main Lifts

why women squat

Back Squat in Squat Rack (raw)

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
3x 100lbs/45.3592kg
3x 115lbs/52.1631kg
5x 120lbs/54.4311kg
3x 125lbs/56.699kg (joker)
3x 130lbs/58.967kg (joker)
3x 135lbs/61.235kg (joker)

Overhead Press in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
3x 50lbs/22.6796kg
3x 60lbs/27.2155kg
6x 65lbs/29.4835kg
3x 75lbs/34.0194kg (joker)
3x 80lbs/36.2874kg (joker)
3x 85lbs/38.5554kg (joker)

After lifting, I did some gut work and my usual stretches before leaving the gym, but lets talk about those lifts.

I had to make some minor adjustments to the squat rack to get it ready for my routine, but then I was ready to go. Warm up sets went OK, but going all the way down into the hole with my thighs parallel to the floor and then pushing back up does require a lot of air, and by the end of those sets, I was breathing heavy, but only for a minute or so.

Last week, my heaviest working set for squats was 6 reps with a 110 pound barbell, and the heaviest joker was 3 reps at 125. My 3+ set today was 5 reps at 120, and I was wondering just how heavy I could go on the jokers. I was shooting for 135, or two big wheels, one on either side of the bar, but I expected I’d only be able to manage 1 rep.

First joker went fine, but on the second joker at 130 pounds, I banged the barbell against one of the safety bars and it threw me off. Almost didn’t make the rep. I started to worry that 135 might be pushing it.

I loaded the bar, waited until I got my breath back, and then did the liftout and walk back for the last joker.

The first rep went really well and I ended up doing a triple at 135. I thought about going heavier, but this is train not strain cycle, so I stopped myself.

overhead press rippetoe

By this time, a few other people were filtering into the weight room including a young woman I’d never seen before. She left to do stretches and didn’t go back in until I was done. No one seemed interested in squatting, so I was good to proceed to overhead presses.

The working weights were pretty light relative to my previous levels, but I was concerned about that stiff left anterior delt. I did my warm up set and didn’t feel a thing. No stiffness, soreness, or limited motion.

I got to work on my main sets.

Did 6 reps on the 3+ set at 65 pounds, which isn’t particularly heavy. I went easy on the jokers, first using a 75 pound barbell, then moving the weight up to 80 pounds. Last week, the heaviest joker I did was 3 reps at 80. How much more could I do? I increased the weight for the third joker to 85 and still pumped out 3 reps. It wasn’t easy, but easier than I would have predicted.

I thought about upping the weight to 90, but just like squats, I decided to play it safe.

It’s not so much about what I can do when lifting, but how my body responds hours and days later.

As I get up from a seated position now, I can feel it in my quads, glutes, and lower back. No tweaking, just soreness, like my body’s been worked. I can also feel those delts, and particularly the left one. Go figure.

I’d have to say that in spite of the lighter weights, it was a good workout. I’m looking forward to a full week of working out between cardio and lifting.

This week, my son has his kids, which means my wife and I have them too. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, I’ll be responsible for getting them to daycare around 7 a.m. before I head out to work, which means I need to be home from the gym before 6 when my son leaves (my wife has to be at work by 5:30).

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That means lighter, shorter cardio sessions. I’ve programmed my lift day for Thursday when my son will be off, so I won’t have a time crunch that day. At some point, I’ll need to do longer cardio sessions again to build up my stamina, but that’ll have to wait.

It’s been eight weeks since I set my last PRs. That’s a long time. Can’t wait to build up to those levels again, and then exceed them.

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.

Erma Bombeck


2 thoughts on “The Long Road Back: Week Two, Day One

  1. Nice going. I am going to try something different myself this week. It’s something I did years ago and seemed to work ok, but again I was younger then, I am older then that now. I will sqt and DL on the same day and do one or two accessory lifts, like a curl tripcep pull down. The next WO I will press and BP and do either a pull down or band assisted chin. I will take at least two days between WO’s ,depending on how recovered I feel and my schedule. I am also trying to get a one mile walk in on days I am not going to lift.


    1. Doing squats and DLs on the same day sounds like a killer. Be careful.

      Since I only lift two days a week, I try to use the other four days for cardio, usually on an elliptical machine. Starting out light at 20 minutes cardio with a five minute cooldown added on, just to build my stamina up. Seems to be working. Today, my heart rate didn’t get as high and at the end of the cooldown, it was lower than it got last week.


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