Week two, cycle 10 of my 5/3/1 and I was focused on improving a few things from last week and keeping the rest going forward. I don’t see any reason that I can’t make my goal lifts by the end of the year but I don’t want to get too overconfident because I am finding out quickly that sometimes the weights win. Isn’t gravity amazing? This week is starting off right, nothing to hold me back and in a mental state where I feel confident.
Monday 8/31/2015 – Squat
345×5 ~ 402 1RM
Today’s lifting results were a shock to me. I felt great on all of my warm-ups and felt strong during my main lift and then it just fell apart. I know better than to try something different during my main lift but I sometimes don’t learn from my mistakes like I should. I was trying to limit my depth and in doing so I was not focusing on resetting myself at the top of the lift. The 5th rep was fine and when I got to the top I didn’t take a long enough pause, didn’t brace myself like I should have, and dropped down and started up too fast. At about half way my butt started up faster than my shoulders and I dumped the bar. It wasn’t a graceful bailout but I didn’t get smacked by the bar or anything this time. I was pretty disgusted with myself and will forever sear this mistake into my memory. The lift felt pretty good and I have no doubt I had at least 7 reps in me. Next week will be focused on the proper lift as my body has adapted and I won’t worry about limiting the depth. I guess I am being lazy by trying to shorten the range of motion when I have no real issues going deeper. As I am often reminded “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I also forgot to record this workout and I really meant to do it.
245×8 ~ 310 1RM
After last week’s success I was hoping more of the same but knew in the back of my mind that I was looking at a 4 lb. increase in my rep max on one of my weaker lifts when a more modest 1 or 2 lb increase is probably more likely. The warm-ups were strong feeling and just a touch of soreness in my elbow but nothing to limit my lift in any way. On my final set the first 7 reps were strong and the 8th went up without too much difficulty and my attempt at 9 came to a halt about mid ascent and I had to lower it back down. I feel good with the lifting results and am confident about next week. The video is posted above.
Thursday 9/3/2015 – Press
160×4 ~ 181 1RM
Another uneventful press day with some concentration on better hip movement but still not perfect. I did try to keep upright a bit more and I think it is better; it isn’t like I am bent over in a rowing position but I feel I could be more upright. I will keep working on my posture and my hip motion. I don’t feel I lean back like some and it feels very uncomfortable if I do. I will try to exaggerate the lean next week during the empty bar warm-up and maybe one of the heavier sets. Again, I shouldn’t change things mid-workout and I will decide based on how I feel during the first warm-up set. No spectacular lifting results but nothing to be disappointed about. I do find it amazing how the arms and shoulders just come to a dead stop on failure and there was no coaxing another rep out of them. Check out the video above.
Friday 9/4/2015 – Deadlift
430×7 ~ 530 1RM
After last weeks deadlift disaster I was looking for redemption and my only regret is that I forgot the video. I moved through the warmups pretty easily today and focused on just stepping up and lifting and not thinking about the weight and it worked better than expected. I often hear about not overthinking and just lifting the bar and I can see where there your mind can limit you when you think too much. My first 5 reps were strong, the 6th was a bit off and the bar wasn’t as close to my legs as it should have been but it felt good regardless. I dug deep to get the 7th rep in and my legs were on fire, my chest was straining, my eyes were fighting for focus and the last rep was a success. I fought a bit with lockout but nothing that would be considered a struggle. The eccentric portion was a bit fast but mostly because I needed to breathe. I felt awesome and vindicated and sat down and sucked in as much air as I could. I also walked out of the gym like a very slow Gumby. New PR.
One thing I focused on was keeping my hips up. What I saw last week was a tendency to shoot my hips up before actually lifting the bar. This seems like no big deal and what happens is the tension in your hamstrings never develops and you lose one of the strongest muscle groups for the lift and rely on back and glutes only. The cure for this malady is pretty simple, don’t squat your hips down. Walk to the bar, bend over and grab it while keeping our legs stiff, lower the hips only enough to where your shins touch the bar and STOP. When you set the arch in your back don’t drop the hips, just leave them alone and set your back. The key is to not move once you are set as it is very easy to let the hips drop as you set your back arch. Arch without moving the hips and your arms and shoulders will go into a tighter position with the chest up.
A good week overall and I am not too disappointed in my squat because I know what happened and I can prevent it next week.
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