Starting Another Week, Progress Report, and Weird Stuff Part 2

rogue gym
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Most people look forward to three-day weekends and national holidays but I find them chaotic and difficult to manage. True, I am a creature of habit, and I hate deviations from the norm, so that’s most likely my problem.

It didn’t help that on Saturday morning, my long-suffering wife got into her twenty-five-year-old van and tried to start it only to discover that the engine wouldn’t turn over.


We managed to get it towed to our favorite garage on Sunday morning but it will receive love and attention only this morning. That means to get to my workout at the gym yesterday, I had to borrow my son Michael’s car for an hour or so.

Since yesterday was Labor Day, the gym opened at 7 a.m. instead of 5 which is well and good. Couldn’t make it in on Sunday because of transportation issues plus having the grandkids over.

Today, I had to bail on my typical cardio session because of transportation issues plus getting the grandkids ready for daycare.

Yesterday started my eleventh cycle in 5/3/1 strength training. Of course my progress was interrupted a few months back by an encounter with a particularly nasty cold plus nose surgery and recovery, so I’m not as far along as I previously projected.

So how am I doing? Here’s the deal.

3/3/3+ Main Lifts

Back Squat in Squat Rack (raw)

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
3x 115lbs/52.1631kg
3x 135lbs/61.235kg
5x 145lbs/65.7709kg
3x 160lbs/72.5748kg (joker)
3x 175lbs/79.3787kg (joker)
2x 185lbs/83.9146kg (joker)
1x 195lbs/88.4505kg (joker)

overhead press rippetoe

Overhead Press in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
3x 70lbs/31.7515kg
3x 80lbs/36.2874kg
4x 85lbs/38.5554kg
2x 90lbs/40.8233kg (joker)
2x 95lbs/43.0913kg (joker)
0x 100lbs/45.3592kg (joker) -failed rep-
0x 100lbs/45.3592kg (joker) -failed rep-

Assistance Lifts

Bodyweight Bench Dips w/legs ext
x10, x10, x10, x10, x10


Bodyweight Captain’s Chair Leg Lifts
x10, x10, x10, x10, x10

Like most of my recent sessions in the weight room, I had to take the good with the bad.

The good is that back squats seem to be coming along quite well. True, my last joker set wasn’t any heavier than it’s been the past few weeks, but I’m getting down lower and maintaining proper form at heavier weights. Next week, I’ll try a 200 pound barbell just for giggles.

On the other hand, the overhead press isn’t progressing well. Well, that’s not exactly true. On my 3+ set, I finally could do 4 reps at 85 pounds instead of 3, and I could do 2 reps at 95 pounds instead of 1, but I failed to complete a rep with a 100 pound barbell, and in fact, I failed on 2 attempts.

I was awake, fed, focused, and determined and I still couldn’t lift the bloody thing.

You win some and you lose some. There’s always next week.

I had time on my hands and in spite of my weakness in the overhead press, I still felt like I had gas in my tank, so I decided to do an assistance lift, in this case dips using a bench to strengthen those ever lagging triceps.

I should mention that during my squats a couple of really young guys came into the weight room. One looked to be about 16 and the other around 19. They could have been brothers but who knows?

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They concentrated on chest and triceps work for about 35 minutes or so and then they were gone. I pretty much had the weight room to myself most of the time. No regulars were around, but you expect an eclectic crowd in the gym on a holiday.

The very interesting thing was that except for those two teens and the folks at the front desk, I was probably the youngest person in the gym.

Really, it looked like a geriatric ward. The only people working out, either on weight or cardio machines, looked to be between 65 to 85 years old.

I guess all the younger folks were still asleep, hung over from partying, or on the road traveling for the holiday.

Only we older folk were at the gym doing what needed to be done. Yay for us.

Now about those funny blisters I got all over my palms when I last lifted. Turns out there’s more to this stuff.

First off, the day before that incident, I had an outbreak of blisters or ache on the back of my neck. It was annoying, but I didn’t think much of it and certainly didn’t connect it to the blisters on my palms. I also noticed the same blisters on the bottom of my feet. By the time I did, they were already healing, just like the stuff on my hands.

The really bizarre thing was that my son Michael contracted the same thing, only worse, and about a day behind the eruption of my symptoms. He also got it on his face under his mustache.

Mine is all but gone and his symptoms, though worse, are also slowly healing.

Michael works full-time and goes to university full-time so we barely see one another. How we both got the same strange symptoms when we didn’t have any contact during that period of time is strange.

He doesn’t workout, but his job does require a lot of physical effort, and he said his symptoms showed up when he was working.

I have no idea that this means, but if the spots don’t come back, I’ll be happy. I lifted yesterday and worked up a sweat but no spots. Nada. Nothing.

I'll be backHas this happened to anyone else? I’m curious about what it might be and why my son and I shared the same symptoms. This hasn’t happened with anyone else in the family. I touch my grandkids a lot, especially the 14 month old and they’re fine.

Oh, one more thing. I checked back in my workout log and discovered that I’m roughly in the same shape I was in Cycle Six in early March 2016. Recovery is slow but it’s happening.

The hardship of the exercises is intended less to strengthen the back than to toughen the mind. The Spartans say that any army may win while it still has its legs under it; the real test comes when all strength is fled and the men must produce victory on will alone.

Steven Pressfield


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