Deadlifts And Who Turned Up The Gravity?

gravity machine
Image from DragonballZ: Goku training with a gravity machine

I know one of you out there did it. Get your hand off the controls or better yet, lighten things back to normal. My deadlifts were miserable, but I’ll get to that.

I’ve been avoiding doing cardio at the gym all week. Dark and cold outside, plus I’ve been staying up later than I should which makes me especially tired in the morning.

But today is a lift day, and I told myself that even if I felt half dead, I was still getting up by 4 a.m.

Actually got out of bed at 3:47 trying to be as quiet as possible so I wouldn’t wake the lucky souls still asleep in my house.

Had the usual coffee and water, but I wasn’t hungry in the slightest, so I didn’t eat a thing.

I had visions of a new deadlift PR dancing in my head, though I figured I’d be lucky if I matched last week’s bench press PR.

As often happens, my best laid plans tanked once I actually started working out, well, sort  of.

I pulled into the gym’s parking lot at about three until the hour and the lights were already on. The temperature in my backyard was about 18 degrees F, but my car said it was about 10. Brrrr.

Once inside the gym, it’s cozy warm, so time to get rid of the hoodie and get my A-game on.

Here’s the end of 3/3/3+ week for cycle 14.

Main Lifts 3/3/3+

bench press
Photo credit:

Barbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
3x 115lbs/52.1631kg
3x 135lbs/61.235kg
4x 140lbs/63.5029kg
2x 155lbs/70.3068kg (joker)
1x 165lbs/74.8427kg (joker)
1x 175lbs/79.3787kg (joker)

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

10x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
10x 165lbs/74.8427kg (warm up)
3x 210lbs/95.2544kg
3x 240lbs/108.862kg
4x 270lbs/122.47kg
2x 290lbs/131.542kg (joker)
0x 305lbs/138.346kg (joker) -failed rep-
1x 295lbs/133.81kg (joker)

Bench press warm ups were good, but that first working set at 115 pounds had me worried. So did the next two, although I was pleased to get 4 reps in the 3+ set at 140 pounds.

I wanted to at least try to match my bench press PR, and not only did I accomplish that, but it seemed just slightly easier than last week.

As you may recall, last week, I had a heck of a time lifting 175 pounds off my chest. I got the barbell above the top pins but couldn’t get the weight all the way to the top. I slammed the bar against the bench’s two vertical supports and used it as a guide to finish the rep.

Today, I didn’t want to do that since it felt like a cheat, so I muscled the weight all the way to the top. Mission accomplished for the bench press.

While all that was going on, three of the regulars were in and out of the weight room, but I guess Liz decided not to brave the cold weather. I noticed a few other familiar faces were absent as well, but then again, I’ve been out of the gym a lot lately.


On to deadlifts.

The warm ups went well but even the working weights felt pretty heavy. Getting that fourth rep in the 3+ set at 270 pounds was hard.

I really, really wanted to try for a 310 pound PR or at least to match 305, so I increased the weight to 290 for the first joker. I almost quit after the first rep but forced myself to do a second. Ugh, it was miserable.

I increased the weight to 305 and waited. I figured the key to lifting heavy is to give myself enough rest between sets, so I must have rested four minutes or more before attempting the second joker. I thought if I could get a single in, I’d increase the weight to 310 and muscle it up.

No such luck.

I barely got 305 a few inches off the ground and then dropped it again. It wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t even close.

Maybe I ran out of gas due to spotty sleep, or maybe I needed some food in me. Dehydrated? Maybe. There’s a thousand things that can affect your performance.

That was it. I was done.

By this time, all the regulars had left the free weight room and some guy I’d never seen before walked in and started doing some cable work.

I unloaded the barbell to 135, put the plates back, put the barbell on the pins, and finished unloading it.

Then I did my usual stretches. I was still miffed about not being able to lift heavier, and I debated back and forth whether or not I should give it another try.

I was that close to pulling my hoodie out of the locker when I said “to heck with it” (or words to that effect) and walked back into the weight room.

That guy was still there but otherwise the place was empty. I loaded the barbell to 135, put it on the floor, then increased the weight to 295.

The theory was if I could lift 295, then maybe I could lift 300. If I could lift 300, then maybe I could lift 305.

That was the theory anyway.

Since I had rested plenty of time, I took my position, tightened everything up, and pulled.

goku deadlift

Oh man, it was like the heaviest thing I’d ever lifted. I barely, barely got all the way to the top to complete the rep.

That was definitely it. I had nothing else to give. I was well and truly done.

Even now, hours later, I feel like I want to melt onto the floor. I can’t imagine being able to DL 305 pounds a week ago and do only 295 today.

So somebody out there was messing with the knob on Earth’s gravity machine. I’d appreciate it if you’d just leave it at the “normal” setting. I don’t need to work harder than I already am, thank you very much.

Okay, with the rant done, there’s always next week.

A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.

James Joyce


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