Bench Presses, Deadlifts, and Arguing with Gravity

Bench Press
Bench Press

I had planned to make Thursday my lift day but since Monday and Tuesday I was too tired to get into the gym to do cardio and I was up early today (for some reason), I decided to lift a day early. No guarantee that tomorrow I’d be getting up before four in order to lift, so strike while the proverbial iron is hot.

I really wanted to make some new PRs today. I had visions of benching 175 and doing a 305 pound deadlift. Would my body cooperate?

I had coffee and water but wasn’t feeling like eating anything, so I went to the gym fasted. Pulled into the parking lot at five before the hour, but the receptionist gal (not McKenna) opened up shop a few minutes early.

Joe got in first, but he was the only one. I claimed my bench press station, which was more or less in good shape, got rid of my hoodie, and got to work.

Things didn’t go quite as I wanted, unfortunately.

5/3/1+ Main Lifts

Barbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
5x 120lbs/54.4311kg
3x 145lbs/65.7709kg
2x 150lbs/68.0389kg
1x 160lbs/72.5748kg (joker)
1x 170lbs/77.1107kg (joker)
0x 170lbs/77.1107kg (joker) -failed rep-

300 pound deadlift
Yeah, that’s me doing a 300 pound single rep deadlift. Hah!

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

10x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
10x 165lbs/74.8427kg (warm up)
5x 230lbs/104.326kg
3x 250lbs/113.398kg
3x 275lbs/124.738kg
2x 290lbs/131.542kg (joker)
1x 300lbs/136.078kg (joker)

Bench press warm ups went OK, but 5 reps even at 120 pounds was a little challenging, especially the last rep. Same for the next two working sets. I had planned for the jokers to do 1x 160, 1x 170, and then 1x 175 for a new PR. As you can see, I didn’t make it.

The first joker set was doable, but the second was really hard. I almost didn’t complete the rep, and that told me I didn’t have 175 in me today. I thought though, that I could do another rep at the same weight.

Didn’t work out. I could hardly get the barbell off my chest, got it racked on the lowest pin at my right but missed the one on the left. I thought I was going to get caught under the bar at first, but I managed to lift the left side of the barbell just high enough to rack it.

Well, that was humiliating.

I got up and racked the barbell on the highest set of pins, deloaded the bar to 135 and set it on the floor.

By this time, there were a gaggle of people in and out of the weight room including strong, bent over guy, tall, strong, formerly broken foot guy, bike guy, and firefighter guy.

Added to the mix was “I curl in the squat rack” guy and a few other regulars.

Kind of crowded.

I went through the warm ups and as usual, they knocked the breath out of me.

Working sets were doable but the 1+ set was at 275 pounds, and that sort of weight is usually a joker set. Oy.

I really, really wanted that PR. I planned for the jokers to do 2x 290, 1x 300, and then 1x 305. Again, things didn’t go the way I wanted.

deadlift chalk

I actually did manage to do 2 reps at 290. Last week I could do only one rep, but the previous week, when I made my 300 pound PR, I did two.

I rested for what I thought was long enough and then made the attempt at 300 pounds.

I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. The weight came up incredibly slow, slower than it did last week. I kept pouring on the effort and forced myself to complete the rep, but it was a near thing. It was difficult enough to tell me that 305 wasn’t in the cards today. In fact, it convinced me that I should make next week a deload week.

I seem to need to deload more frequently lately. Bummer.

Part of the issue I think is the weights really go up on 5/3/1+ week, so my working weights are pushed right up against what I normally do for jokers.

Okay. Perspective. I matched my current PRs for both main lifts so I’m not doing horribly. In fact, I caught “curl in squat rack” guy watching me for that last 300 pound deadlift. Maybe he was impressed or maybe he thought I was crazy. Who knows?

Checking back a couple of cycles in my log, I am getting stronger, but it’s a painfully slow process.

But I am getting stronger.

I was talking to a guy at work a little while ago. He’s in his early 40s and has some shoulder damage but has generally been athletic most of this life.

We were talking about my workout and at one point he asked how old I was. I told him I was 62 and he was authentically surprised. He guessed I was somewhere in my mid-50s. Personally, I think he’s being generous, but maybe he thought a 300 pound deadlift was out-of-bounds for someone past 60.

I'll be backAs difficult and as frustrating as workouts and slow progress can be, I have to keep saying, this stuff really works. You just have to keep at it and keep challenging yourself.

Sure, there will be days when you fail a rep or can’t lift what you try to lift, but you’ll get it next time. Determination works.

Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all you want.

Jim Rohn


2 thoughts on “Bench Presses, Deadlifts, and Arguing with Gravity

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