Ending Cycle Eleven with Another Matching PR

essential oils
Image: doctorshealthpress.com

They say you have to take the good with the bad and I guess that’s true, however it’s still pretty frustrating. I’ll go into that more in a bit.

I woke up this morning pretty close to four, so I must have gotten a good amount of sleep. I did wake up once in the middle of the night when my grandson started crying. He got an ear infection on Monday and it’s still with him. I’m not sure my son’s idea of treating it with essential oils is working so well, although according to this website, there is some clinical evidence that such oils do “suppress or kill a number of common bacterial and fungal strains.”

Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

So I got out of bed at about ten until four and fumbled around in the dark. Had my usual coffee, water, and yogurt to get the pump primed. Felt more awake than yesterday when I hit the gym and did cardio and ab work. Time to chase some more PRs.

Since the new receptionist likes to open really early, I managed to pull into the gym’s parking lot at about eight until the hour. She popped the lights on five minutes early and I was in like a shot.

I claimed my favorite bench press station, managed to rearrange everything so that it wasn’t such a dog’s dish, and got to work. Here’s how the lifting portion of my 11th cycle through 5/3/1 strength training went.

5/3/1+ Main Lifts

Barbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
3x 130lbs/58.967kg
2x 140lbs/63.5029kg
2x 145lbs/65.7709kg (joker)
2x 150lbs/68.0389kg (joker)
1x 155lbs/70.3068kg (joker)
1x 160lbs/72.5748kg (joker)
1x 165lbs/74.8427kg (joker) -matched PR-

jackman skull crushers
Photo credit: Hugh Jackman/Instagram

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

10x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
10x 155lbs/70.3068kg (warm up)
5x 220lbs/99.7903kg
3x 240lbs/108.862kg
2x 265lbs/120.202kg
1x 275lbs/124.738kg (joker)

Bench press warm ups felt fine but that first working set seemed heavy for 5 reps at 115 pounds. I checked back in my log and I’ve lifted that weight for 5 reps before, so nothing new there.

I made my way through the other two working sets and started in on my jokers. To be honest, I wasn’t feeling all that strong, so I didn’t hold out much hope that I’d do anything better than I’ve been doing the last few weeks.

I did 2 reps at 145 and 150 pounds respectively, but only a single at 155. I knew I could do a single at 160 and after I did, I went for broke and upped the weight on the barbell to 165 for an unprecedented fifth joker set.

Admittedly, I didn’t quite get the barbell all the way down to my chest, but it was close, and I struggled to get the weight all the way back to the top. Amazingly, I managed it, and I’m calling this a match to the PR for the bench press I set on May 15th, almost five months ago.

I’ll have to see if I can duplicate that one next week.

While I was doing all this, Liz was on the other bench press bench, using just the bar and alternating with dumbbells. Meanwhile, bicycle guy, who was all over doing chest and back work, settled in on the incline bench press station and was knocking back 10 reps with a 135 pound barbell, something I can only dream about.

I set up for deadlifts and went through my warm ups. The first working set went pretty well, but the next 2 seemed heavy. I got 240 pounds up and down 3 times but that third rep was difficult.

I could only get 2 reps in the final working set at 265 pounds but that was one more than I needed for the 1+ set.

I wanted my jokers to go 275 pounds, then 280, and finally the coveted 285, but as you can see, I didn’t make it that far.

I felt like I waited a good long time between sets and I even left to refill my water bottle once. By this time, Liz and bicycle guy had left the weight room, so I had the place to myself.

mutant strength.
Photo credit: Bodybuilding.com

I set myself up for the first joker and lifted.

It felt astonishingly difficult and I barely got the weight all the way up. I could tell by how hard it was that this was my first and last joker of the day for deadlifts. I really didn’t have anything else in me, and certainly nothing that would get 280 pounds off the floor.

I did my stretches and didn’t regret my decision. I did regret not being able to do heavier deadlifts this morning, but I knew it was smart not to try for more.

I walked out of the gym an hour after I got there, feeling a mixture of success and defeat.

As I said above, I last did a 165 pound bench press on May 15th, the next to last week I worked out before the deadly cold and the more deadly nose bleed took ahold of me and made me stop going to the gym for a month.

That was also the day I pulled a single rep deadlift at 295 pounds, a feat I haven’t been able to duplicate. On the same day, I did 2 reps at 285 pounds, while post-recovery from cold and surgery, I haven’t been able to DL 285 even once.

Checking back in my log, last week, I did one rep at 280 and 2 weeks ago I could barely do 270. On the previous 5/3/1+ week, I did a single rep bench press at 160 pounds and a single rep deadlift at 280. It’s important to note that I also did a double at 270.

It feels like I’m getting weaker at deadlifts or at least I’ve plateaued.

I looked back in my calendar to May 15th, my really big PR day for bench presses and deadlifts, to see what my working weights were. It was also 5/3/1+ week in cycle six.

For the bench press they were:

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

That’s almost the same as I lifted today, except the 1+ set was a triple at 145 pounds, 5 pounds heavier than today. Today’s first joker set was 145 pounds and I only managed 2 reps.

For deadlifts, the working weights were:

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

That’s a lot lighter than I lifted today. Today’s 1+ set is 20 pounds heavier than the 1+ set on May 15th. Could I be lifting too heavy in my working sets for deadlifts? That would explain a lot.

deload with arnoldI’m considering a couple of paths. The first is just keeping my working weights for deadlifts next cycle the same as this cycle and see if that makes any difference. Maybe I’m overloading myself too quickly and exhausting myself by the time I hit the jokers.

The other thing is that I could schedule in a deload week. I kind of hate to do that. I only use deloads occasionally, but maybe I just need more recovery time.

I’ve got a few days to ponder all this.

I’m really trying to get stronger. I wonder what’s holding me back?

Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.

Jack London


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