Sometimes you have to fail to succeed

It has been almost a week since my 3+ of squats and nothing has gone quite right.
Flash back to Wednesday July 12th, it was a morning like any other. The rain that has plagued my area was holding strong as I got ready to go to a gym in the next town over. Working out in a new gym is always exciting and being faced with particularly heavy squats only added to the nerves.
Flash forward a couple hours, the gym is nice. It’s clean, it’s roomy, and nothing is rusty. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the gritty feel of my gym, but sometimes it’s just annoying to be covered in sweat and rust while struggling to load/unload the bar.

Warm up involved much more stretching than normal because there was actually a place to spread out and without getting covered in beach sand and grime.
Warm up sets went smooth as well, starting some 3×5 @95, 105, 115.
First set of 3@135 went great. My shoulder was still bugging me but I did manage to keep a tightness to everything throughout the entire session, which is a win.
Second set of 3@145 felt hard but still smooth. I focused a lot on leaving the rack, keeping my bracing and not rushing myself. I was feeling pretty confident about my final set.
Sadly my 3+@160 was a complete and total fail. Before I even left the rack it felt heavy, it felt wrong, my mind was screaming at me staaaaaahp but I plowed ahead anyway. My goal was 7 reps, I failed coming up on the 3rd. Crushed would be an understatement. Doubt clouded my mind until I watched the video. The bar was not quite low enough on my back and I somehow pushed it higher on the ascent on that 3rd rep. My torso fell forward so much so that I actually took a step forward once I got to the top thanks to momentum. I was irritable, cranky, upset, and pissed at myself. So I took a 5 minute break, got out of my head and tried again. I wasn’t sure how it would go, it still felt heavy, but the weight felt more secure on my back. I managed to knock out 7 more solid reps, so in the end I pushed 160 for just about 9 1/2 reps.

Lifting is more of a mental game than a strength one.

Perhaps it was a carryover of energy from the squats or maybe I’m just getting stronger, but my 5×10@155 deadlifts have never gone so smooth nor so fast.

From there I laid on the floor for a solid 8 minutes and ate my sour patch kids.

Tempo squats, walking lunges, front squats and box squats followed suit. The whole workout took over 3 hours but I got everything done. I hit a new PR on front squats 5×5@95, my wrist is finally getting used to them and feeling much better. It helps that I’ve stopped being stubborn and started using my wrist wraps more so if it hurts it gets wrapped. I’m hoping it will loosen up as it get used to the ROM, I have noticed a lot of improvement already, just some days are worse than others.

I should mention that this workout and completed with a friend, so I’m pretty sure some of the 3 hours was us goofing off. The squat fail has still shaken my confidence, though it really doesn’t help that my back is still bugging me. I made the classic mistake of hanging out with said friend for most of the day after the gym, which means I only ate a grilled chicken sandwich from Chick Fil A after the workout. I didn’t eat again till much later that night and by then I think it was too late. My body crashed, I felt like I was getting the flu and to this day I’m not back to 100%.

It took me almost a week to try and get my thoughts together on this workout. In hindsight the workout really wasn’t a failure, I still hit 3ish reps that first go and it was a technique/form issue not a strength issue. I know my muscles can do it, it’s just a matter of getting it done.

I’ve been taking this week off of cardio, though I have both benched and deadlifted since last Wednesday and while bench went fantastic, my deadlifts did not. Though I did hit a PR 5@205 on deads.

I’ll recap those later though. For now I’m just trying to prep myself for squats again. There is a certain nervousness that has never been there before and it’s going to be interesting come Friday.

 

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Deadlifts, treadmills, and OHP!

As you can tell, my titles have failed to get any more creative. I am also lacking in proper timing!

Saturday found me in a new gym once again, struggling with the unfamiliarity that comes along with it. Though this gym was nice, it lacked the gritty charm of my home gym. Plus no chalk allowed on deadlift day was somewhat of a turn off. 195 dead
That being said, I hit my 3+ day running. My first two sets of 3 @160 and 180 felt great. My 3+ mental goal was 8@195 but I ended up only getting 7. I feel like I somewhat gave up on myself in the process. Rep 6 felt rough, 7 went well but the bar was slipping from my grip, so 8 just didn’t happen. It was still a win in my book.
My 5×10 @115 squat felt great for the first 3 sets, number 4 was slow and 5 was torture. My back is still bruised.
For this entire workout, my neck was absurdly stiff and it definitely didn’t help my focus, but it wasn’t hurting so I kept chuggin along. I did a looooot of pull ups in an attempt to loosen it up, I can’t say it helped any but damn if my back wasn’t toasted by the end.
After squatting, came the superset of deficit deadlifts and goblet squats, keeping the weights the same (135 for deads and 40 for squats) I upped the reps to 8 and 10 respectively. It was hard, it sucked, I loved it when I was finished.
Next up came the lat pull down, naturally I threw that puppy on 100, grabbed the bar and moved to sit…which turned into me sort of hanging there. Apparently this cable machine runs on kilo’s not pounds. Moving it to 42.5 I cranked out 10 pretty solid reps for 4 sets. I repeated the same weight and reps for both cable rows and reverse grip pull downs.
I should also  mention that somewhere in here I attempted the glute ham raise. It was an epic fail. So epic I almost fell on my face. I’ve only used this thing three times before as they are horribly hard to come by in a commercial gym, so I’m definitely a little green around the gills when it comes to GHR.
Next on the agenda was another superset of hammer curls and incline curl. I followed the superset with some reverse curls and called it a day in the weight room.
This workout ended with 4 sets of 8 burpee long jumps and some serious stretching.

Sunday I was definitely feeling worse for wear. My neck was even more stiff and my body pretty much just felt like it got run over by a train. I took the lacrosse ball to my upper back and traps and flip flopped back and forth on whether or not incline treadmill work was a good idea. In the end, I wound up having pretty good run session and everything felt better with the rush of endorphin. I didn’t test myself for speed, never went above 6.5 but I did make it up to 9 incline, doing 1:1 intervals for 30s. Not too shabby at all.

Today was Overhead Press day….the only thing I can say is that while my reps aren’t going up, the one’s I do achieve feel easier and my form is improving.

I started this morning with an extra focus on stretching and warming up my wonky shoulders. My neck was feeling better but I usually approach my OHP days with a degree of apprehension.
My 3+ started with @55 and 65, they went pretty smooth all things considering. My 3+ 70 ohp@70 didn’t go badly, just didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I hit 3 but didn’t get a plus. I failed just at the top of my head. I’ll see how my 1+@75 goes next week before I decide to move forward with weights or just repeat this cycle a third time.

 

With OHP in the books, it was time for my 5×10 @70 bench. Honestly it has never felt so smooth. I pumped out my reps without missing a beat. Taking minimal rest time between each set and finished the 5th set just as strong as I did the 1st. It was insanely encouraging.
Face pulls came next, I upped my reps from 10 to 13 keeping the weight as 60. After that, I moved on to 5×5 incline dumbbell press and upped my weights from 30 to 35 and while sets 1-4 went fast, the 5th set was a bit of a struggle.
Then came my giant set of Arnold presses, lateral raises, and front raises. I did 5×5 of each, upped the Arnold presses to 20lb dumbbells but kept the other two at 10lbs. I did the first 2 sets with zero rest, the rest of the sets were a smidge longer as I began to peter out. I ate my sour patch kids and pushed through the wall.
I did some tricep push downs and moved on to my grip work and abs.
Hex bar walks with 15s holds at the end @155 went well. My forearms, core, and everything else was shaking from exertion. I did 20 steps w/ a hold out. Reset within 10 seconds, 20 steps w/hold back, minute rest, for 2 sets. I finished this off by adding two 5’s and doing 3 sets of holds @165 for 15-20 seconds.
Abs consisted of some random single sets and 3 sets of side bends with a 45 db. Oooh my obliques were burning here. I finished this off with a completely new to me move that I have since fallen head over heels in love with.
A single push press into overhead hold. I only went as high as 75lbs but holy guacamole were my abs working. The overhead hold forced my core to work extra to stabilize, my glutes got a little extra squeeze out of it and my lats had to remain engaged for the full 15 seconds that I held it up. These will definitely be making a reappearance every shoulder day and possible bench as well. It felt great to hold 75lb over my head, next time I’m going for 80.

That’s about it for me today, eating, resting, and rucking in the morning!

Until next time!

 

Get yo bench on!

Action breeds motivation and today I was horribly unmotivated. Then I hit the gym and now I am sore and unmotivated.

Nothing like a heat index of 90 degrees when your gym is literally a giant garage with no air flow.
Bench daaaaaaay bizzich! Warming up went good, starting with the bar and working up to a whopping 65lbs before moving on to my first working set of 80. First two sets of 3 @80 and 90 went good. My bench has started feeling much more consistent these last two cycles! Hard to believe I literally barbell bench pressed for the first time in my life 6 months ago. I struggled to hit 95 for 1 and now today I squeezed out 7@100. My last rep was kind of dodgy but the first 6 looked as solid as they felt. I walked around pretty damn happy with my progress.
I will also say that my 5×10 OHP has gotten better. I think I’ve come close to figuring out my hand placement. At the very least, with just the bar, my OHP form has improved greatly, for once I am almost looking forward to it next week Monday.
Bro stuff! I started with incline single arm dumbbell pressed! While it’s a mouthful to say, it does a number on my chest and core. I hit 4×6@30 which kicked ass. Lefty was huffing and puffing along so I enjoyed a couple sour patch kids between this and my giant set.
Pause Bench + DB Flye + Close Grip Bench = buuuuuuuuuurn! I love it. I did 5 reps of each and the increase of volume definitely adds a certain challenge.
Tricep work came next, I did some rope push downs and then single arm push downs and got them tenderloins aching.
By this point I was hot, exhausted, annoyed, and somewhat smelly. I ate the last two sour patch kids and settled in to do some hex holds.
Normally i would do some walks with holds but as much I didn’t want to give up, I have to concede to my body and my body was saying dude stop.

By this point I literally looked like I had jumped straight into the pool, which gave me the idea to actually go to the pool! I came home and changed into my bathing suit and took my ass to the pool…..only it was closed. Sad, sweaty, yet slightly amused, I walked back home and took a cold shower instead. My first time going to the pool this year and it was closed.

Such is life!

The rest of my day is pretty much going to be low key and silly! Laundry and chillin outside with a good book. Tomorrow is a ruck day and Saturday is deadlifts!!!!!! Deadlift day is favorite day of the week.

Until then!

Squat recap!

Monday morning was met with much trepidation and excitement, and then I got to the gym and almost turned around and left. It was insanely packed with everyone who got the idea to workout before the holiday….ironically that thought hadn’t occurred to me, my squats just fall every 8th day. Fearing the worse, as there are only 2 1/2 squat racks (one is a cage, but the barbell hooks seem to grow legs and wander off), I was preparing myself for a hefty wait before working out.
To my utter surprise it was chicken legs for day! Every single bench was taken, but not a single person was working legs. Not only was I able to walk right up to my favorite rack, but there wasn’t even anyone hanging around waiting until my very last set, and that was just phone guy. He likes to take 3 min rests between every single set of squats (from the empty bar and up).

Squats! My warm up sets and my first working set of 5@120 all went easy peasy, and then suddenly it didn’t. Slapping on some 45 plates, my 5@135 felt heavy AF. I was super slow and it just felt hard, I was starting to worry about my 8@150 goal. Taking a few minutes to get out of my head, I put my belt on and was primed and ready. Taking a big ol belly breath I unracked and to my sheer amazement, 150 felt no heavier than 135! I hit my first 5 reps at a good pace, took a few seconds and some little breathes before hitting rep 6 and 7, then digging deep to get number 8. While 7 and 8 felt slow, the video I took shows me remaining pretty consistent. The barbell kept a pretty good path throughout the reps and while there are things I still need to work on, I am stoked about how well it went.

5×10@155 Deadlifts followed suit. Since I have been working on grip, I have been shooting for double overhand grip on my 5×10’s for as long as possible. This usually means I hit 5-6 reps before the barbell starts to slip out. I did this for 4 sets, then switched to mix grip for the remaining reps. On my final set though I just did tap and go with a mix grip and successfully completed the 10 reps without pausing. Those last two reps were haaaaaaaard but it felt good.
After a quick break to wash the chalk off my hands and eat some sour patch kids, I worked my way through my bro stuff.

Starting with Good Mornings, I think I probably could have gone heavier than 65 but I’m still not 100% on these, maybe it was too light, as I really can’t say I felt it working anywhere but my upper back from pulling the barbell down (working on “bending the bar” in every lift now).
Box squats went almost as awkwardly as the good mornings did. In hindsight, I should have used the smaller box and just put a plate on top, instead I used the next size up which proved to be slightly too tall so I didn’t really get any depth. Next week I’ll improvise, so hopefully I won’t have to go scavenging for things.
Front squats are improving! They do still make my wrists twinge but it has gotten much better, I think I’ve finally figured out a grip that works for me. I did use my wrist wraps for these but it gets the job done so I’ll take it. I enjoy front squatting, even with my wonky wrists, I am always happy when they show up on my bro list.
My last squat of the day ended up being tempo squats. I was trying for 3:1:3 but it really ended up being more like 2.5:1:2. I had my phone on the bottom part of the rack so I could watch the stopwatch, I think next time I’ll use the timer countdown though as watching all the mili-seconds threw me off. I’m a simple person, the speeding little numbers were making me think more time had passed than it had.
Finishing off my day with 4×8@35 walking lunges and my legs were toasted. I got some good stretches in and called it a day.

Taking the 4th of July off was an impromptu decision as I had intended to go walking, but ultimately margaritas called and that was the end of that.

This morning however, possibly still tipsy from last night, I did run sprints for 20 minutes. I started off with 30s sprints into 5 push ups and a set of abs with 40s recovery. I did this for 4 rounds before focusing solely on sprinting. I ended with 20s sprints 30s recovery for about 8 minutes and then finished off with continuous push up and ab circuits until my timer went off. My sprint days are usually just thought up on the fly, I am trying to incorporate some push up and ab work into them as these are areas I am lacking in. I would like to see improvement in sprint time but frankly it’s not a focus for me at this point in time. I mainly do it because I think conditioning is important for my overall healthy and strength. I don’t want to be a marathon runner or even a 5k runner anymore, but that being said, I do still enjoy running and will continue to do so once or twice a week.

Tomorrow is bench day and the start of the 3+ days!

Until then!

Well Crap

I really need to work on these titles.

Yesterday started off interestingly enough. Up and at it at 4am all bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to start the day! Only I had absolutely nothing to do until 11am, my usual gym time.

My days are currently very oddly scheduled, I typically hit the gym at 11 after consuming some noms. Having spent the last 6 years always working out in a fasted state, it was strange to find myself eating prior to lifting. I can’t honestly say I see a difference one way or another though. Despite whether I eat or not, I have almost always used pre-workout before hitting the gym. I’ve tried everything ranging from ON, 1RM, Hyde and finally settling on Ghost Legend. I must say, Ghost is by far my favorite. Warhead Watermelon is so freaking amazing. It’s not too sour but packs a distinct punch.

OHP2

Overhead press, oh overhead press, why thou art so difficult?

Since I am still incredibly new to this move, I have been erring on the side of caution and repeating each cycle twice before increasing the weight. My workout consisted of 5@ 50 and 55 and 5+@60. Overall it did go well, though I did only get 6 reps on the 5+ because I lost focus. Funnily enough, I was meant to record my 5+ for the first time, but I forgot to hit the button before I started. My bad! I am on par with last cycle, so no real improvement other than it did at least feel easier.

My 5×10 bench was feeling rough AF, so I dropped from 75 to 70 after two sets. I decided I wanted to hit the 10 in one go rather than break them up into sets of 5 so discretion is the better part of valor (or so I’ve heard). The last three went pretty ok. I was alone in the heat so luckily no one heard me cussing.

Bro stuff was bro stuff. Face pulls and incline dumbbell press went off without a hitch. Kept the weight heavy and reps low for everything.
Arnold Press + Lateral Raise + Front Raise = The giant set from shoulder burning hell.
It was awesome. I am loving these super sets and giant sets, they bring a greater challenge and make the workout go faster.

On to the tricep work! Starting mid last cycle I added tricep work on my OHP day for a little spice, variety, and because I was seriously lacking in the chicken tenderloin of a muscle department. This was done with a little bit of cable work, both overhead tricep extensions and straight arm push downs. I know straight arm pd are more touted as back work, but in all seriousness, I feel them more in my triceps than anything.

I feel I should mention that yesterday was well over 90 degrees in my gym and by the time I had reached triceps I was ready to throw in the towel. The bro’s had started coming in in throes and their country music was just a bit too much for me to stomach. However conditioning, abs, and grip work was still on the agenda.

Conditioning was my ever so loathed burpee long jumps, I didn’t keep really track distance but I know I went until I damn near puked and kept my rest periods much shorter than I did on Tuesday. Amazingly enough it was cooler outside in the sun with the breeze.
Abs were just simple planks consisting of two rounds of 30s planks and one round of 20s side planks. What can I say? I absolutely hate doing abs.
Unfortunately I did call it quit on the grip work. After failing to hold my own weight doing hanging leg raises, I conceded to the sweat and went home.

Today brought another round of rucking! I’m still breaking in my new pack, it adds a whopping 47lbs to my person. Naturally I couldn’t resist temptation to attempt a pull up Ruckingwearing the ruck! I made it about two inches up before stalling. Needless to say I’ll be working on those now. It adds a bit of interest to my workouts and keeps me from stagnating.

This was a belated birthday present and I must say, it is absolutely priceless. This is the Rucker from GoRuck, as well as a 45lb plate custom to fit their line of packs. Prior to this, I attempted to make my own rig but it was incredibly uncomfortable and my SOC backpack was not really up to the job of anything beyond 20lbs. This pack is tested up to 400, though I will definitely not be testing that theory! Today marks the 4th time since it arrived that I have been able to break it in, and this was my second longest trek at 1.5 miles in 26min. Not terribly far, but I was stoked to have no back discomfort until after I hit the mile mark. As I do have very narrow shoulders, it does tend pull my them back, and the area in between my shoulder blades does get sore. I definitely feel like I am adjusting to the ruck, so that makes me happy!

All in all it’s been a pretty successful two days. Tomorrow is squats and I am beyond ready and excited for a 5+@150! I’ve come so far and this is a journey with no end in sight!

Until then!