Ending Another 5/3/1+ Week and Killing It at the Gym

4am
Photo credit: YouTube.com

Okay, “killing it” is a relative term. I’ve lifted heavier than this in the past, but this is the heaviest I’ve lifted since my recovery from the evil cold and nose surgery.

But let me back up a bit.

We brought our grandchildren home rather unexpectedly yesterday afternoon. The other Grandpa had some sort of medical issue and we agreed to keep the kids. My son, the kids’ father, is still out-of-state, so it’s just me, my wife, and the two children.

I only say that to explain that after taking care of them and getting some alone time last night, I didn’t get to bed until 9:30 p.m. That’s not particularly late for most people, but I needed to be up by 4 a.m. to get to the gym by 5 so I could lift.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t that difficult. I felt pretty good. Woke up before the alarm and just enjoyed the warmth and comfort of lying there. Then got out of bed and got moving.

I had the usual coffee and water plus some yogurt, then headed out to the gym. I got there in plenty of time and had to wait in my car for a few minutes. I was walking toward the doors when McKenna, the receptionist gal, turned on the lights and unlocked the place.

Joe got in before me, but he’s well past 70 and only uses the weight machines. I headed into the free weight room, spent a few minutes fixing my favorite bench press station, and then got to work.

Here’s how 5/3/1+ week ended this time.

5/3/1+ Main Lifts

bench press anatomyBarbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
5x 110lbs/49.8952kg
3x 125lbs/56.699kg
3x 135lbs/61.235kg
1x 145lbs/65.7709kg (joker)
1x 150lbs/68.0389kg (joker)
1x 155lbs/70.3068kg (joker)
1x 160lbs/72.5748kg (joker)

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

10x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
10x 155lbs/70.3068kg (warm up)
5x 215lbs/97.5224kg
3x 235lbs/106.594kg
3x 260lbs/117.934kg
3x 265lbs/120.202kg (joker)
2x 270lbs/122.47kg (joker)
1x 280lbs/127.006kg (joker)

First off, my final joker for the bench press last week was a single at 155 pounds, and the last joker for my deadlifts was a single rep at 275, so I’ve beaten them both by 5 pounds today.

I went back exactly four months to the day in my workout log, which is May 15th, to check my progress. That was cycle six, 5/3/1+ week.

My working weights for the bench press back then were:

5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
3x 130lbs/58.967kg
3x 145lbs/65.7709kg

As you can see, I’m still lagging behind there. On top of that, four months ago on that date, I made my last PR on the bench press doing one rep with a 165 pound barbell. I did a single today at 160, so I’m not that far behind.

On May 15th, my working weights for the deadlift were:

5x 205lbs/92.9864kg
3x 225lbs/102.058kg
5x 245lbs/111.13kg

mutant strength.
Photo credit: Bodybuilding.com

I’m actually lifting heavier in my working sets today, so you might think I’m ahead of the game. But also on that date four months ago, I made my last PR for the deadlift doing a single at 295 pounds. I’ve never been able to match that since.

Today, I was happy to do one rep in the final joker set with a 280 pound barbell. I should say that it briefly crossed my mind to try for a second rep, but I figured I wouldn’t push it.

Although I started out in the weight room alone, it became crowded fast.

Liz was the first to join me and she toggled between the flat and incline bench press stations just lifting the bar.

Some young guy I mentioned before came in and did some dumbbell work. Bicycle guy was actually doing lightweight squats in the squat rack but not getting his thighs parallel to the floor. Eventually, he pulled a bench in the rack with him, but he never went past 100 pounds or so.

Firefighter guy was in and out and Big Daddy showed up.

Man-who-curls-in-the-squat-rack showed and yes, he did curl in the squat rack. He has the most erratic program I’ve ever seen. He sat on the bench of the other bench press station facing the bar and did seated overhead presses. He alternated with some dumbbell work but still sitting on the bench press bench.

I was just glad people gave me my space when I was doing DLs. It’s really annoying when you’re mentally preparing to lift a really heavy (for me) barbell and someone walks too close to you.

By the time I got into my joker sets for deadlifts, I was resting 3 or 4 minutes between sets to get my breathing under control and to hopefully give my muscles and CNS enough recovery time. By the time I was done with my main lifts, there wasn’t a lot of time left. I was pretty whipped anyway, so I just did my mobility work and left.

stay hungry
Photo credit: beastmotivation.com

The real “work” however is the recovery in-between lifting days. You don’t get stronger by actually lifting. You get stronger by letting your body recover after lifting.

I’m happy my old body is starting to return. As I’ve said before, I’m not 100% back to where I was before illness and surgery kicked me out of the gym, but it seems to be getting better week over week.

I’ll keep pushing and see how far I can take this.

It always feels heavy. You just get stronger.

Jordan Feigenbaum channeling Greg LeMond

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2 thoughts on “Ending Another 5/3/1+ Week and Killing It at the Gym

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