Ending 3/3/3+ Week in the Current Cycle and Doing Better

southwest airlinesIt’s been a crazy week. My wife’s van is still in the shop so she’s been taking my car to work. My son David also goes to work really early, so it’s been up to me and my other son Michael to manage my two grandkids in the morning and get them to daycare.

Fortunately, Monday was a national holiday, so Michael and I only had to go through this routine Tuesday and Wednesday. I took the missus to the airport yesterday for her flight to California so I get my car back for the rest of the week.

To work out on Monday, I had to borrow Michael’s car but I was able to take my own rig this morning. David’s off today, so I don’t have any kid duties.

Remember last week while doing bench presses and deadlifts, I got those strange little sweat blisters or whatever they were all over the palms of my hands? I lifted on Monday and they didn’t return. When I woke up this morning, they were completely (finally) healed. Good news.

So what was I going to face today?

Everyone was asleep as I got ready for the gym. I didn’t feel hungry, so I only had water and coffee inside my gut when I left home. Got to the gym’s parking lot a bit early but only had to wait a short while since McKenna the receptionist likes to let us in a few minutes before the hour.

I was the first one to get into the weight room and my favorite bench press station was a mess. I had to rearrange a lot of weight plates and then hunt down a few more before I was ready to work. Joe was there using the weight machines and Bicycle Guy started out warming up on a cardio machine before beginning his lifting.

I noticed a new guy, probably in his early 20s, doing chest and shoulder work with dumbbells, but he was long gone by the time I was in the middle of my deadlift routine. Big, tall, formerly broken foot guy came in as I was setting up for deads and actually acknowledged me. A couple of “guy nods” goes a long way.

Here’s how 3/3/3+ week ended.

3/3/3+ Main Lifts

Barbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
3x 105lbs/47.6272kg
3x 120lbs/54.4311kg
5x 125lbs/56.699kg
3x 130lbs/58.967kg (joker)
2x 140lbs/63.5029kg (joker)
1x 150lbs/68.0389kg (joker)
1x 155lbs/70.3068kg (joker)

bench press
Photo credit: bodyworks24.com

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

10x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
3x 205lbs/92.9864kg
3x 225lbs/102.058kg
5x 245lbs/111.13kg
3x 260lbs/117.934kg (joker)
1x 270lbs/122.47kg (joker)
1x 275lbs/124.738kg (joker)

I’m actually pretty proud of myself. Doing the 3+ set for my bench press, I did 5 reps with a 125 pound barbell. I know that probably sounds pathetic to most of you, but it’s a sign of real improvement to me. The really good news was that I did my final joker set performing a single at 155 pounds, 5 more pounds than last week’s joker.

Deadlifts also seem to be improving. The weight didn’t start feeling heavy until my second working set and I did 5 reps at 245 pounds for the 3+ set. Last week, I quit after my first joker because of those goofy blisters on my hands, but since they didn’t make a reappearance this morning, I kept going.

Did a triple at 260 pounds for my first joker set, a single at 270 for my second, and I went for broke and managed a single with a 275 pound barbell for my third and final joker, 5 pounds more than my max post-recovery.

I went back in my log to last cycle’s 3/3/3+ week. The max I did for my final joker on bench presses was 2 reps at 140 pounds, and for deadlifts, I did my last joker set performing a single at 265, 10 pounds lighter than I did today.

Then I went all the way back into my log to see the last 3/3/3+ week’s performance before getting sick. That was in Cycle Six in the last week in May, or about 3 1/2 months ago.

For my bench press. the 3+ set was with a 135 pound barbell and I did 4 reps as opposed to today’s 3+ set performing 5 reps at 125 pounds. Last May, I managed a single at 155 pounds and failed the rep at 165 and today I managed a single at 155, so my current performance is getting closer to my pre-sick/surgery days.

For deadlifts in Cycle Six, my 3+ set was 5 reps at 235 pounds and today it was 5 reps at 245, a definite improvement. However back then, for my jokers, I successfully did a double at 275, failed the rep at 290, but managed a single at 280 pounds, so I’m still lagging behind there, but again, I’m slowly getting closer.

At the rate of progress I’m making, I’m hoping to be back at pre-sick/surgery levels of performance in another month. Well, here’s hoping.

I should have next Sunday morning all to myself, so there’ll be nothing to stop me from starting 5/3/1+ week in the current cycle. Looking for improvements in my squat and overhead press.

2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher
Photo: spscgym.wordpress.com 2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher

Meanwhile, after I finished my main lifts today, I felt pretty washed out, so I just did my mobility work (which I forgot on Monday) and called it quits. It was nearly 6 anyway, so time to go home and get ready for work.

Because of transportation problems, I haven’t been able to do a single cardio session this week, which is a bummer, but that also means I got in plenty of recovery time between lifting on Monday and today. I wonder if that’s part of what improved today’s performance.

Beats me. I guess I’ll find out starting next week.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

Henry Rollins


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