Ending 5/5/5+ Week in Cycle Eleven and What the Heck Happened?

Credit: sleepingresources.com

I thought I was going to do better today. Turns out, I didn’t even do as well as I did last week.

Let me backup a bit.

We have our grandkids with us this week. Somewhere in the middle of the night, I heard my 15-month-old granddaughter crying. It only lasted a few seconds, then she fell back to sleep. But then I couldn’t fall back to sleep.

A bunch of random occurrences kept me up past when I wanted to go to bed last night, so maybe not enough sleep is the culprit.

Then there’s lifting fasted.

I had planned just to do cardio today, but as I was checking my numbers for tomorrow, I figured what the heck. I’ll lift today just because I can.

Maybe that was a mistake. I didn’t even think about eating, well I did briefly, but it was too late by then.

I pulled into the gym parking lot with time to spare. Waited in my car 4 or 5 minutes, then I approached the door just as McKenna turned on the lights.

I walked into the weight room and claimed my favorite bench press station. I had to fix it as usual, since the weight plates were all messed up.

I finally got it into good shape and was ready to work. Here’s what the end of lifting for cycle 11 was like. I didn’t cover myself in glory.

Main Lifts 5/5/5+

Barbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
5x 105lbs/47.6272kg
5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
5x 125lbs/56.699kg
2x 135lbs/61.235kg (joker)
2x 145lbs/65.7709kg (joker)
1x 155lbs/70.3068kg (joker)

Photo credit: ironmanmag.com.au

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

10x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
10x 165lbs/74.8427kg (warm up)
5x 195lbs/88.4505kg
5x 225lbs/102.058kg
5x 245lbs/111.13kg
3x 255lbs/115.666kg (joker)
1x 265lbs/120.202kg (joker)
1x 270lbs/122.47kg (joker)

For the bench press, my warm up sets felt fine but right from the first working set, the weights seemed unusually heavy. After my first 5 rep set, I told myself I still needed to ramp up and as the weights got heavier, I’d adapt. I’d be fine.


The last rep at 115 pounds was tough for the second working set. I hoped I’d be able to go past 5 reps for the 5+ set.

I didn’t.

Going back in my log to my last 5/5/5+ week, I only made 5 reps in the 5+ set using a 120 pound barbell. I went 5 pounds heavier and still only made 5 reps, so maybe that’s an improvement anyway. I probably should have kept the weight at 120 until I mastered it. My performance in the jokers was pretty much the same as 5/5/5+ week in the prior cycle, but today, I did 1 rep at 155 for the last joker rather than 150.

But that’s compared to the previous cycle. Compared to last week, I’m going backward.

Last week, I did 3 reps with a 135 pound barbell but today I only did 2, and that was my first joker set. Last week, for my final joker, I did a single at 160, but today, I only went up to 155. What the heck? I was hoping the last joker would be 165 today, which is my PR for the bench press.

Okay, on to deadlifts. I hoped to redeem myself doing DLs.

Last 5/5/5+ week for the deadlift was when I got those weird bumps on my hands while working out, and as a result, I only did 1 joker set for DLs before calling it quits. That was a triple at 255 pounds.

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

Last week, for my final joker, I did a single at 280 pounds. Today, I wanted to shoot for 285 or maybe even 290.

My 2 warm up sets felt fine. I increased the weight on the second warm up set by 5 pounds and it went okay.

I knew I was in trouble by the time I did my first working set. I didn’t expect it to feel that heavy. When I lowered the barbell back to the floor, it wasn’t even. I felt off-balance somehow.

The second set for 225 felt too heavy. I didn’t expect just 225 pounds to be so difficult.

For the 5+ set, I barely made the fifth rep with a 245 pound barbell. I couldn’t believe it.

I almost quit right then and there, but I decided to see how far I could push myself, even though I didn’t want to. It was like my energy was sucked out of me.

The triple I did for the first joker set felt insanely difficult, especially that last rep. For the second joker, I could only do a single at 265 when last week for that weight, I did a triple. For today’s final joker, I struggled as hard as I could to pull 270 pounds up for just 1 rep, while last week, I did 2 reps at that weight.

What the heck?

I feel like I worked really hard at the gym this morning, but the comparison between last week and this is astonishing. Where the heck did my strength go?

Two weeks ago, for the final working set of deadlifts in 3/3/3+ week, I did 5 reps, same as today. But I did a triple at 260 2 weeks ago, while today I only did a single at 265. My final joker 2 weeks ago was a single at 275, 5 more pounds than I was able to manage today.

Let’s go back two cycles, 6 weeks ago, to cycle 9 for 5/5/5+ week.

If I compare my bench press then to now, I did 2 reps at 135 pounds 2 cycles ago, the same I did today. My final joker back then was a single at 140 and today it was a single at 155, so that part’s an improvement. For my 5+ set 2 cycles ago, I did 5 reps at 120 and today it was 5 at 125.

For deadlifts, I did 5 reps at 245 for my first joker and today I did the same thing for my 5+ set. For both then and now, I did a triple at 255, and 6 weeks ago, my final joker was a single at 260 pounds.

I'll be back
Image: gymaholic

So I’m stronger than I was 2 cycles ago, but not as strong as last week. Go figure.

In fact, the only thing that seemed to have gotten better this cycle was my back squat. My overhead press as you may recall, was a disappointment.

In a last ditch effort to make sense of all this, I went back in my log to cycle 7, the cycle right before I got sick. I just concentrated on the working weights for 5/5/5+ week:

Barbell Bench Press

5x 105lbs/47.6272kg
5x 120lbs/54.4311kg
5x 135lbs/61.235kg

Barbell Bent Over Deadlift

5x 185lbs/83.9146kg
5x 225lbs/102.058kg
6x 245lbs/111.13kg

I was definitely benching better, doing 5 reps at 135 rather than 125, and for deadlifts, I was able to do 6 reps at 245 instead of barely 5.

Not sure what’s going on. Maybe I needed a deload week, but I’ve already started this cycle so I’ll have to see it through. Hope next week is better than this one.

The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.

Mark Caine


4 thoughts on “Ending 5/5/5+ Week in Cycle Eleven and What the Heck Happened?

  1. Sleep, eat, and expect a little less of yourself…you are supposed to be rebuilding from an extended illness, not going for the gold.

    Still, I understand. I keep forgetting not to push for one more square foot of weeds, at the expense of hip flexors, and stress induced nausea!


  2. The more I read the more I believe that the time between workouts is the key to progress, especially as we age. Too soon is just as bad as too long.


    1. Well, it was only a day too soon, and I’ve done that before with good results. Like I mentioned above, I really think it was lack of sleep. Even with a cup of coffee under my belt, my body was just too tired.


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