It was a good and bad way to end the lifting portion of the first week of the tenth cycle of my strength training program, but let me back up a bit.
I started having car troubles late last week. The darn thing got harder and harder to start. It was the final straw to get me to take it into the shop. I’ve been putting off that oil change and I knew I was due to get my brakes checked as well.
Good thing. The battery was dying which is simple, and the oil change is easy and quick, but the metal on metal brakes is nothing to laugh at and neither is the bulging seal around the transmission fluid pan.
So due to transportation problems, I didn’t get a cardio session in I had scheduled. Fortunately, I got the car back yesterday afternoon, and it was in fine shape to get me to the gym this morning by 5.
I got a good amount of sleep last night but I must have been snoring because when I woke up, I found the missus asleep in the living room. We’ve been having a lot of fires in Idaho and Oregon and the smoke has been out of hand. The result is I’m congested a lot.
Anyway, when I got up, my wife went back into the bedroom to salvage her sleep, and then I started my morning routine. Coffee, water, and yogurt later, I get to the gym just about a minute early.
The lights popped on and the doors opened as I was getting out of my car. I reached the weight room, selected my favorite bench press station, organized the weight plates, which this time around, weren’t too messed up, and got to work.
Here’s what happened next.
Main Lifts 5/5/5+
Barbell Bench Press
10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
3x 130lbs/58.967kg (joker)
2x 140lbs/63.5029kg (joker)
2x 145lbs/65.7709kg (joker)
1x 150lbs/68.0389kg (joker)
Bent Leg Deadlift
10x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
10x 165lbs/74.8427kg (warm up)
3x 255lbs/115.666kg (joker)
You’ve noticed I did only one joker set for deadlifts. I’ll get to that.
I felt the discomfort in that pesky left front delt through my 2 warm up sets and into my first working set. The 5 reps felt heavy on the second working set, and 120 pounds was still too heavy for me on my 5+ set to do any more than 5 reps. That’s exactly what happened last 5/5/5+ week, though I did up the weights a tad for my first 2 working sets.
The first 3 jokers were exactly what I expected except I thought I’d do 2 reps at 130 pounds instead of 3, which is a plus.
After my third joker, I decided to go for broke and try a fourth using 150 pounds. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I hit a point halfway up where I nearly stalled, but quickly pushed past it and completed the rep.
The bench press is my worst lift. It takes me months and months to get any traction and increase weight and strength, so I’m kind of pleased by the results.
The deadlift was a whole other story.
Between sets during my bench press, I noticed these little bumps forming on my fingers and hands but only on the palm side of my hands. They were actually increasing in number as I continued to workout.
I was kind of freaked by this. It’s never happened to me before and I had no clue what was going on.
I proceeded to set up for deadlifts and put the 135 pound barbell on the floor.
Liz and Bicycle Guy had been working out in the weight room but as I got ready to do deads, Big Daddy came in, too. Firefighter Guy came in part way through my deadlift routine.
So I did a warm up at 135 for 10 reps and decided to do a second warm up set at 165. That made me sweat and breathe heavy which is pretty usual.
First working set went fine and the second working set felt a tad heavy at 215 pounds for 5 reps. The third and final working set felt brutally heavy for 6 reps. In fact at the fourth rep, pulling up 240 pounds was darn hard and I was thinking that maybe I wouldn’t make it to the sixth rep.
I did, but man I was at the wall.
But that was for 6 reps. Heavier weights with fewer reps would be okay, or so I thought.
First joker was at 255 pounds, and I was planning a second at 265 and my third and final joker at 275.
Didn’t happen, but you know that.
That first rep was insanely difficult. Not as hard or as slow as 285 or 295 pounds, but by the third rep, I knew I was out of gas. Also, the bumps on my fingers and hands kept increasing in number. I had so many on my left hand that is stung a bit when I made a fist, and certainly when I gripped the barbell.
For me lifting is as much mental as physical. Not only do I have to have the strength and stamina, especially for deads, but my mind has to be in the right place. I have to focus my attention on nothing else except lifting.
The funny, annoying bumps on my hands were enough of an unwanted distraction that it put me off my game. I called it after the first joker and felt pretty disappointed about it.
After that, I did some gut work, my usual mobility work, and called it quits. I still managed to spend slightly over an hour in the gym, and I felt like I worked hard, so it wasn’t a complete waste.
Now about those bumps on my hands. I went home, sucked down a protein drink, entered my numbers in Google calendar, and then looked up what they could possibly be.
As with any search for medical info via Google, the results at first were either useless or terrifying.
However, as I kept looking, I noticed that my bumps were shrinking. They are still there, but a lot less annoying.
I think I found out what they are. They’re called sweat blisters. Apparently sweat pores can get blocked when exercising and when they do, your sweat forms under the skin. When you stop sweating, they shrink down.
My hands sweat a lot when I lift, so it’s a plausible explanation, and I didn’t get these bumps anywhere else on my body.
The question is, why this time? It’s never happened before. Also, will this happen again? Hope not.
Well, that was 5/5/5+ week for cycle 10 and I didn’t end it in glory. Well, that’s not exactly true. Did better on bench presses and worse on deadlifts. Last week, I did a single at 270 pounds. I really wanted to do 275 today. Guess there’s always next week.
At least I got my car fixed.
The squat – particularly the proper low-bar kind that lets you use so damned much weight – is the real life equivalent of being bitten by a radioactive spider or getting caught in a gamma bomb explosion, by far the best way for you to become as close to superhuman as possible.
— Gary Gibson