Adventures in cutting weight!

So, after 4 months of eating and training like a monster, I find myself signing up to compete in the 181 lb. class in a local powerlifting meet.  My problem is that I have gained 15 lbs. in the recent four months of my program and am sitting at a solid 190 lbs.  So, I did a little research and ran across a web site with a ton of information on tapering fluid/carb/sodium levels to lose water weight.  I chose two that I felt I could combine to easily lose the 9 lbs. I needed to lose in order to lift in my desired weight class: water and carb tapering.  Here’s how the prior meet week played out:

Sunday –

  • Drank 1+ gallons of water (the usual).
  • Ate everything I saw that wasn’t crap food.
  • Evening weight – 190 lbs.

Monday –

  • Went to the gym and hit the big 3 with extremely light weights.  I did 3 sets of 3 reps and called it a day.  I’ve had the best luck when I the big 3 with light weight, the Monday before a Saturday meet.
  • Drank 2+ gallons of water (includes coffee, protein shakes, and Red Bull).
  • High carbs.
  • Evening weight –  188.6 lbs.

Note: Not sure how I lost weight, especially since I was 190 lbs. last night.  


Tuesday –

  • Drank 2+ gallons of water (includes coffee, protein shakes, and Red Bull).
  • Cut carbs in half.
  • Morning weight –  185.6 lbs.

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  • Evening weight –  190 lbs.

Note:  Not too worried I am at 190 lbs., for some reason.  I feel like I’ll be good to go.


Wednesday –

  • 1 gallon of water (includes the water in the coffee and protein shakes).
  • Low carbs / High protein / High fats.
  • Morning weight – 186 lbs.

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  • Evening weight – 187.2 lbs.
  • After hot Epsom Salt bath – 185.6 lbs.

Note:  Disregard the sudden tanning of the feet.  Yes, I got a spray tan cause that’s how I roll.


Thursday –

  • .5 gallon of water (includes water in the coffee and protein shakes).
  • Low carbs / High Protein / High fats.
  • Morning weight – 184.8 lbs.
  • Evening weight – 183.4 lbs.

Note:  Today wasn’t as bad as I thought it was gonna be.  Other than a little dry mouth and the lower energy levels, I’m good.  I feel my brain is telling my body what the deal is and to trust the process.  Tomorrow is gonna stink, though. No food or drink after bed time, tonight!

drymouth


Friday –

  • No water after 3 AM.
  • Morning weight – 182.2 lbs.
  • 2 hours before weigh-ins – 181.8 lbs.
  • 32oz of Pedialyte/water concoction after weigh-ins.  Eat like a beast.
  • Evening weight – 187.4 lbs.

Note:  I actually weighed in a tad under, due to kilo conversion, but still made weight.  I immediately had a small protein drink, banana, and water/Pedialyte (50/50) mix, after I weighed in.  A couple of hours later, I went to AppleBees and demolished a huge plate of shrimp scampi linguine.  To finish off the meal, I ate the Triple Chocolate Meltdown.  All of the fluids and food slapped over 5 lbs. back onto my frame within hours of weighing in!


Saturday – MEET DAY

  • Morning weight – 184 lbs.
  • Continued sipping Pedialyte through the meet and ate my usual meet foods.
  • DOMINATED MY GOALS!


Conclusion

I’ll definitely use this method, again, if I ever need to cut weight.  Feel free to shoot me an email if you are thinking about going this route, and I’ll gladly answer any questions you may have.  There are ton of online articles about the pros and cons of  the many different water manipulation methods.  Just choose smart and choose something that works for you.  In my opinion, if your closer to a heavier weight class, just roll with that one.  I couldn’t righteously gain 7 pounds in a few days, without feeling terrible, so I decided to go the route I did.

 

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Post #shutupandmarryme2015 Training

Monday – Off

Didn’t get any training in due to being in Nashville, TN for wedding festivities.  Had a blast watching my brother-in-law get hitched, while spending time with family and new friends!

What a beautiful city. #nashville #tennessee #shutupandmarryme2015

A post shared by Adam Quattlebaum (@adamquattlebaum) on


Tuesday – Squats / Bench / Calves

Today was a GREAT day for training!  I hit two huge training PRs and even picked my openers for the upcoming powerlifting meet on October 17th.

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 140 x 6 x 1
  • 190 x 3 x 1
  • 230 x 3 x 1
  • 280 x 1 x 1
  • 320 x 1 x 1
  • 340 x 1 x 1
  • 370 x 1 x 1
  • 390 x 1 x 1 @ 9 RPE

Note: Squats were ridiculously on point, today!

Bench Press:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 5 x 1
  • 185 x 5 x 1
  • 225 x 3 x 1
  • 245 x 2 x 1
  • 265 x 2 x 1
  • 275 x 2 x 1
  • 300 x 2 x 1 @ 9 RPE

Note: Extremely pleased with my bench progress.  The only way I’ve come this far is by pressing EVERYDAY!

Sitting Calve Machine: 3 sets of 10 -12 reps


Wednesday – Squat Accessory / Upper Body

Paused Squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 5 x 1
  • 185 x 5 x 1
  • 225 x 3 x 3

Overhead Press:

  • Bar x 15 x 1
  • 95 x 8 x 1
  • 115 x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 8 x 1
  • 155 x 5 x 2

Shrugs:

  • 60 x 12 x 4

Dip Machine:

  • 180 x 15 x 1
  • 270 x 10 x 3

Thursday – Squats / Bench Accessory / Deadlifts

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 3 x 1
  • 185 x 3 x 1
  • 225 x 3 x 1
  • 275 x 3 x 1
  • 315 x 3 x 1 @ 8 RPE

Incline Bench Press:

  • Bar x 15 x 1
  • 135 x 12 x 1
  • 155 x 12 x 3

Sumo Deadlifts:

  • 130 x 7 x 1
  • 220 x 3 x 1
  • 310 x 3 x 1
  • 360 x 3 x 1
  • 400 x 3 x 1
  • 450 x 1 x 1 @ 9.5 RPE

Friday – Bodybuilding

My elbows were feeling a little tweaked from tucking them so tight during squats, so I decided to lay off from squatting and heavy pressing.  Instead, I repped a few “bodybuilding” movements and ended up getting in a pretty good workout.  My elbows felt fine, too.  Next week, I’ll tweak my squat set up in a way that doesn’t bother my elbows so much.

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Leg Press:

  • 90 x 10 x 1
  • 180 x 10 4

Leg Extensions: 3 x 10 – 12 Reps 

Lying Leg Curls: 3 x 10 – 12 Reps

DB Flyes:

  • 30 x 10 x 3

Note: Held the weights, at the top of the movement, for a few seconds on each rep.

One Arm Rows:

  • 35 x 12 x 2
  • 50 x 10 x 2

Close Grip Pull-downs:

  • 195 x 12  x 4

DB Lateral Raises:

  • 15 x 12 x 4

Face Pulls:

  • 100 x 12 x 3

Calf Raises:

  • 90 x 12 x 4

Sit-ups: 4 sets x 10 – 15 reps

Note: Performed the sit-ups on an exercise ball.

 

Weekly Training Review – 9/14

Monday – Squats and Bench

As I suspected, continuing with squats every day has made the weights feel a bit lighter.  Last week is when I actually picked back up on squatting daily.  Today, after taking two days off for the weekend, I hit 10 singles of 320 with ease (@ 8 RPE). Though they were singles, I felt I could’ve done more if need be.  Didn’t attempt it, though, because I am slowly going to drop the volume and up the intensity as meet time arrives.  Hopefully, I’ll be primed for a new PR on meet day!

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 5 x 1
  • 225 x 2 x 1
  • 320 x 1 x 10 @ 8.5 RPE (80% of all time max)

My bench has been steadily increasing, so I just continued with the usual.  After a few warm-up sets, I hit 265 for 3 sets of 3 reps with ease.  I felt I could’ve maxed today, but didn’t want to blast my shoulders too early in the week.

Bench Press:

  • 135 x 15 x 1
  • 185 x 3 x 1
  • 225 x 2 x 1
  • 245 x 2 x 1
  • 265 x 3 x 3 @ 8 RPE (Roughly 84% of all time max)

Note:  Some of this strength could be due to the fact that I absolutely murdered some pizza this weekend.  If I have ever carb loaded, it was this past weekend.

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Tuesday – Squat Accessory / Bench Accessory / Deadlift Accessory

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Paused squats:

  • Bar x 6 x 1
  • 135 x 3 x 1
  • 185 x 5 x 2
  • 225 x 3 x 3 @ 8 RPE (Roughly 56% of all time max)

Incline bench press:

  • Bar x 20 x 1
  • 135 x 8 x 1
  • 155 x 10 x 1
  • 185 x 8 x 1
  • 185 x 6 x 1

Conventional deadlifts:

  • 135 x 8 x 1 (Off 45 lb. plate)
  • 225 x 5 x 1 (Off 45 lb. plate)
  • 315 x 1 x 1
  • 405 x 1 x 1 @ 10 RPE (Roughly 80% of all time max)

Note:  Last set/rep was a slow one due to hitting all that volume on squats, yesterday.


Wednesday – Squats / Overhead Press / Upper Body

My training partner got a little snap action in his lower back; so I hit the squats solo, today.  Had no plan other than to work up to a heavy single.  Squatting everyday makes it difficult to hit a high number when going for a heavy single, due to lack of rest, but the work is still getting done.  That’s all that really matters in my case.

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 5 x 1
  • 185 x 3 x 1
  • 225 x 3 x 1
  • 275 x 2 x 1
  • 315 x 2 x 1
  • 335 x 1 x 1 @ 9.5 RPE (Roughly 84% of all time max)
  • 225 x 5 x 2

Note:  Last set/rep was a slow.  I could’ve hit more than this with ease, on Monday, but the fatigue of squatting everyday wears on me as the week moves along.

Super-Set

Overhead Press:

  • Bar x 15 x 1
  • 95 x 6 x 1
  • 135 x 5 x 1
  • 155 x 3 x 1
  • 185 x 1 x 1 @ 10 RPE

Calve Machine

  • 180 x 15 x 3

Single Sets (3 – 4 sets x 10 – 12 reps on each exercise)

Machine Rows

Face Pulls

Shrugs

Loaded dip machine


Thursday – Squat Accessory / Bench Press / Deadlift Accessory

Hit the Anderson squats pretty hard, this morning.  Though I’ve squatted all week, I felt pretty strong.

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Anderson squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 5 x 2
  • 185 x 5 x 2
  • 225 x 5 x 1

After tormenting my legs, I moved on to the bench press.  Hit a rep PR of 275 for 5 reps @ 9 RPE.

Bench Press:

  • Bar x 15 x 1
  • 135 x 8 x 1
  • 225 x 5 x 1
  • 245 x 2 x 1
  • 265 x 3 x 1
  • 275 x 5 x 1 @ 9 RPE

Note:  Not a big fan of rep PRs.  Honestly, I think they’re kind of dumb.  If I can do more reps than usual with a certain amount of weight, it means I need to hit a lower rep range and add more weight!  They do add a little motivation and gauge strength, though.

Once I was finished with bench, I worked on some rack lockouts to wrap up the workout.

Rack lockouts:

  • 225 x 8 x 1
  • 315 x 5 x 1
  • 385 x 3 x 1

Friday / Saturday / Sunday – Off

Taking these days off in order to attend my brother-in-law‘s wedding festivities.  

Beginner-Gym-Problems-Blunders-2

 

Post-Vacation Training Week

After taking a much-needed vacation, I returned to the gym and refocused my attention on the upcoming powerlifting meet in October.  For the past couple of weeks, I have held pretty good strength in both the bench press (shockingly) and the deadlift (my fave).  Unfortunately, my squat started to lag a bit.  I feel this happened because I stopped squatting everyday and cut it back to squatting only three times a week.  I will pick up daily squatting to remedy this.


Monday – Off

It was Labor Day, so I didn’t go to the gym.  I feel it’s important to spend time with family and friends on holidays. After driving back from Nashville, I hit the pool with my wife and pretty much thought about nothing at all.

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Tuesday –  Squats / Bench Press / Deadlift Accessory

I figured after four days of rest, I’d be able to lift some heavy weight on the squats.  Boy, was I was wrong!  275 felt like I had a small car on my back, so I just stuck with a 3 x 3 scheme with moderate weight.  Maybe tomorrow the weight will feel lighter.

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Squats:

  • Bar x 20 x 1
  • 135 x 10 x 1
  • 185 x 5 x 1
  • 225 x 3 x 1
  • 275 x 3 x 3

After squats, I moved onto bench press.  I felt I could’ve went super heavy today, but am trying to stick with certain rep schemes on certain days.

Bench Press:

  • Bar x 20 x 1
  • 135 x 10 x 1
  • 185 x 3 x 1
  • 225 x 3 x 1
  • 255 x 3 x 3

With the little bit of time I had left, I hit a few sets of deficit deadlifts off a 45 lb. plate.  I pulled the weight as fast as I safely could in a conventional stance.  Felt really good and strong!

Deficit deadlifts:

  • 135 x 10 x 1
  • 225 x 5 x 5

Wednesday – Squats / Bench Accessory / Upper Body

Started the workout with some squats and finished up with super-duper sets of upper body movements.  Squats are still not feeling strong; though I’m sure they’ll get there in about a week of solid daily squatting (minus the weekend).

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 8 x 1
  • 225 x 5 x 5

Leg Press:

  • 200 x 10 x 4

Note:  Hit the leg press, after squats, to get some hypertrophy action in.

Overhead Press:

  • Bar x 20 x 1
  • 95 x 10 x 1
  • 115 x 10 x 3

Tri-Set: Lat Pull-down / Face Pulls / Weighted Dips (4 sets of 10 -12 reps)

Super-Set: DB Shrugs / Standing Calve Raises (4 sets of 10 -12 reps)

Note:  Did not record the weights I used on the last few exercises because my preworkout had kicked in and I has some jammin music blasting in my headphones.

download


Thursday – Squat Accessory / Bench Accessory / Deadlift Accessory

Today’s training felt nice, due to all of the volume.  The bodybuilder in me loves volume training with moderate weight.  I started off with some paused squats and ended the workout with some block pulls.

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Paused Squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 5 x 1
  • 185 x 5 x 5

Bench lock-outs:

  • 135 x 10 x 1
  • 185 x 10 x 1
  • 225 x 5 x 1

Deadlift block pulls:

  • 225 x
  • 315 x 5 x 5

Note:  Pulled in a sumo stance for speed.  I felt really good after doing these!


Friday – Squat Accessory / Bench / Upper Body

Two words: Anderson Squats.  Tried these for the first time, today, and pretty much fell in love with them.  Started out the workout with them and ended with a tri-set of very random movements.  It’s amazing how much my workout partner and I can fit into one hour!

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Anderson squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 5 x 2
  • 185 x 5 x 2
  • 225 x 5 x 1

Bench Press:

  • Bar x 15 x 1
  • 135 x 10 x 1
  • 185 x 5 x 1
  • 225 x 5 x 1
  • 245 x 5 x 1
  • 265 x 3 x 1

Tri-set: Pull ups / Good Mornings / DB shrugs / Seated Calves (4 set s of 10 – 12 reps)


Very happy with the way this week played out.  I thought I would be worthless after 4 days of bachelor party activities, but I felt just fine.  Ready to rest up and watch some football over the weekend!

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Quick Summary on my Fitness Background

I’ve been into fitness most of my natural life.  Beyond simply being a very active kid, I really enjoyed the challenge physical activity presented to my body and mind.  I loved riding bikes and running, along with all of the things kids do (at least they did in the 1980s).  In 1992, I picked up my first loaded barbell.  I had a friend that owned a set of concrete weights his big brother left behind when he moved out of his parent’s house. We would do all kinds of exercises with what I’m sure was terrible form, while blasting Metallica on a tape player.  Yes, I said tape player.  I remember my first exercise being the “ez bar” curl.  We would work out in his father’s small garage no matter how hot or cold it was and loved every minute of it.

pro-power-bench-york-spinlock-vinyl-barbell-weights-set-50kg-1108-26-trendydoctor@13

I eventually talked my parents into letting me put a small weight set and punching bag in my bedroom (I had a huge bedroom).  I wish I had $1 for every hour I spent pounding those weights and beating the crap out of that Everlast punching bag.  See, at that time in my life, my family was going through a rough time.  Not to mention, the neighborhood we lived in was rough.  Fun for the kids in that neighborhood was to basically beat each other up.  I was a skinny weakling that brought nothing to the table, sadly.  These conditions fueled my workouts, though I stayed somewhat skinny well after we moved out of that neighborhood.

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I didn’t mind being so lean, though.  My hero was Bruce Lee and I figured if he could be such a bad a$$, while being so lean, then so could I. Well, it took an epic beat down by a guy way bigger than me to spark a new ambition.  I was 15 years old and felt like I could hold my own, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I had been heavily involved in karate and endurance training, up to this point, but none of that helped even the least bit when I found myself pinned by a big fat dude sitting on my chest and pounding my face in.  Beaten and broken, I went home.  I immediately gave up karate and focused my attention on changing my whole approach to training.  I did, however, still maintain a few strikes that would prove worthy in future street fights.  If I wasn’t getting in some real world practice, I was beating a punching bag I had hanging in the back yard of my parent’s house.

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I also switched from doing so much endurance training to focusing more on packing on quality mass.  Ignorant to the fact that steroids made (and still make) all of the guys in the magazines huge, I ate and lifted like a monster thinking it would make me as big as them.  I tried every supplement I could get a hold of, legally, and kept my head in the game.  I did this for a very long time, but still stayed about the same size.  Life eventually happened; but I made sure to make it to the gym at least three days a week in high school, in the military, and all through my crazy 20s.  Though I never truly reached my full training potential, due to bad lifestyle decisions, I still made it a point to do SOMETHING.  There were a few years where I just maintained what I had because I was working laborious 12+ hours a day and was on the road all the time.

time-running-out

I was 31 years old when I started to feel like I was really getting a hold of my true training potential; though discovered by accident.  By this time, I was married and had a schedule that was perfect for what I wanted to accomplish concerning training.  Not to mention, I was married to a very supportive woman who didn’t mind having a muscular husband.  It was at this age that I was diagnosed with suffering from severe sciatica.  If you don’t know what this is, it’s paralyzing pain caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerves in the lower back.  In my case, my sciatica was caused by random muscle spasms in my lower back.  I can’t describe to you how painful this experience is, and it would hit me at random.  It has to be what it feels like to have a knife stuck in your lower back, severing your nerves to the point that you can’t feel your legs.  These bouts of pain led me to seek medical attention.  It was through doing so that I learned these muscle spasms were occurring due to weak lower back muscles, not spinal issues.  This was great news, since spinal issues are not good, but I was bummed at the fact I had a weak lower back.  Not one to shy away from a fixable issue, I immediately started focusing on strengthening my weakness.

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I began researching strength exercises and totally changed my training routine.  I incorporated squats, deadlifts, and barbell bench presses into my normal training schedule.  I was a dumbbell freak, beforehand, and NEVER EVER did these movements.  It took me a great amount of time to learn how to properly perform all of these lifts, but luckily I had the help of some great mentors along the way.  The back pain eventually disappeared and my strength skyrocketed.  I got so strong that I entered my first powerlifting competition at 32 years old.  My first competition PRs weren’t much to write home about, but I was stoked.  I have since been in three competitions.  I go from being paralyzed from insane back pain to deadlifting 501 lbs. in front of a huge crowd.  That in itself is an awesome accomplishment for me!

Now creeping up on 34 years of existence, my strength is steadily climbing and I am over 15 lbs. heavier than I was when I was 31 years old (mainly lean muscle).  Though not a hulk, I’m far from the skinny dude I was as a teen.  I have also dedicated a great amount of energy attempting to motivate and inform people of all the positive rewards living a healthy lifestyle brings to the table.  Some of this energy is applied by maintaining my own blog and ghost writing for a fitness apparel company.  Though I am not too sure I could ever make the money I feel I need to by training people, in this region of the country, I have my eyes on obtaining NASM credentials.  At the very least, I could put some letters after my name in the articles I write and have a pretty piece of paper to hang on the wall of my future office with this venture.  I feel experience trumps paper in any field; though some may disagree.  Regardless of where God leads me in this pursuit, I will continue to feverishly work at my goals and never worry that I will not succeed in some way.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9

Meh Training Week

Last week was SUPPOSED to be the beginning of a 10 week training cycle that I was going to use to peak my strength in preparation for a powerlifting meet that will be held on October 17th.  Prior training has involved squatting and benching 5 days a week, while deadlifting once a week.  Day one and two went well, but the rest of the week would’ve been very upsetting had I expected every training week in my training career to go flawlessly.

Day 1 – Monday / Squats

Performed our typical squat warm-up and then performed the following:

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Squats:

  • Bar x 12 x 1
  • 135 x 6 x 2
  • 225 x 5 x 1
  • 275 x 3 x 1
  • 320 x 2 x 6 @ 8 RPE

Note: Rested 4 to 5 minutes after each set.

Note:  Seems like it took me FOREVER to get warmed up.  I honestly didn’t feel strong until my second set of 315, but finished the workout feeling really good about the first day.

Day 2 – Bench / Accessory movements

After my usual upper body warm-up, I hit the bench press with laser like focus!

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

BB bench Press:

  • Bar x 20 x 1
  • 135 x 10 x 1
  • 185 x 5 x 1
  • 225 x 5 x 1
  • 255 x 3 x 6 @ 8 RPE

Right around the 5th set, I was ready to move on!  Luckily, I only had to do 6.  When I was done with bench, I moved on to a quad set of the following movements:

  • Pull-ups (Close Grip)
  • Triceps rope push-downs
  • Face Pulls
  • DB Shrugs
  • Calves

Note:  I aimed for 10 to 15 reps on each exercise for 4 sets.  I do this to get some accessory work in and get the blood moving through the muscles.  I will not cut out accessory movements until roughly two weeks before the meet.

Day 3 – Deadlifts / Light Squats

Today was an eye opener, but not in a good way.  Against my better judgement, this workout was based on a percentage program that I used in the past.  It called for 6 sets of 3 reps with 405 lbs.  Unfortunately, I only got 1 of those sets in! At first, I was a bit discouraged; but quickly shook it off.  I dropped the weight down and at least made a workout of it.  

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

Sumo deadlift:

  • 135 x 10 x 1
  • 185 x 5 x 1
  • 225 x 5 x 1
  • 275 x 3 x 1
  • 315 x 3 x 1
  • 405 x 3 x 1 @ 10 RPE (CNS fried)
  • 315 x 3 x 1 Conventional
  • 315 x 5 x 1 Conventional

Low bar squats:

After some light squats for volume, I called it a day.  My CNS and lower back was disgusted with me!  I did, however, receive a really cool 1stPhorm water bottle in the mail.  Made me smile.

Day 4 – Bench / Accessory movements

Due to the assault that my body took during my failure of a deadlift workout, yesterday, my CNS and lower back was highly upset with me.  It had an affect on my entire day, yesterday, and I felt like complete GARBAGE in the gym this morning.  I figured since I got up at 4:50 AM (the usual) I’d better at least get up and get something done at the gym. Feeling like utter poop, I performed the worst workout I have had in a good while!

Exercise: Weight x Reps x Sets

BB bench press:

  • Bar x 15 x 2
  • 135 x 10 x 1
  • 185 x 5 x 1
  • 225 x 8 x 1
  • 275 x 1 x 1 @ 10 RPE
  • 135 x 12 x 1 Close Grip

Hammer Strength shoulder press:

  • 45 x 12 x 1
  • 70 x 10 x 1
  • 90 x 5 x 1
  • 115 x 3 x 1

Super-set

Dips:

  • Body weight x 10 – 15 x 5

Calve Raises:

  • 180 x 10 – 15 x 5

Needless to say, this was the absolute worse workout I have had in a while.  A bit frustrated, I have vowed to myself to never follow a percentage based program EVER AGAIN!  I will, however, peak in a manner recommended by Garret Blevins.  He recommends following a training method that works for you and then tapering/peaking two weeks out from a meet.  This is what I shall do!  As for the rest of this week………………

meh

Day 5 – Light Squat / Accessory movements

After a humbling week in the gym, I decided to take it easy on this last day.  I hit some light squats for reps and did the same for bench.  Left with a smile on my face!

Low bar  paused squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 6 x 3
  • 185 x 3 x 2

BB bench press:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 10 x 1
  • 185 x 5 x 2
  • 225 x 5 x 2

Well, this was not my best week of training; but not my worst.  I’ll make sure to eat a million calories, this weekend, and pick up my pride as I walk back in the gym on Monday!

 

 

How I Fixed My Bench Press

For years my bench press was a terrible lift for me.  Just a pure symbol of weakness.  This weakness always dumbfounded me because I felt I had a pretty good looking set of pecs on me and that the look should equal strength.  Not until about two years ago did I finally realize my bench press was weak for a number of reasons.  What follows are the reasons my bench was wizzy weak and what I did to strengthen it.

1. I wasn’t going heavy enough.

Due to the fact that my gym refuses to incorporate power racks and I didn’t have a training partner, I never even thought about going heavier than I comfortably could.  It really took the addition of a great training partner to give me the confidence to go heavier than usual.  Now, I feel a lot safer moving up in weight as the workouts progress. We’d still like to have a power rack, though!!

2. My approach was all wrong.

When I was a newbie, I just assumed a muscular chest made a strong bench press.  How could a workout consisting of 6 isolated chest exercises for 5 sets on each exercise to complete failure not build a big bench?  Well, for starters, that’s WAY too much volume for one body part (IMO).  All I was really doing was over training.  Had I been on some of the ol’ juice, I might have seen great results from this type of training.  All I really gained was a ton of soreness and absolutely no strength gains.  Heck, my chest size didn’t even grow much from this approach!

To fix the issue, after years of getting nowhere in the strength department, I studied the many videos of the elite and took pieces of information that I found useful.  One chap mentioned benching EVERYDAY!  After everything else failed, it was this approach that finally brought forth the gains in strength and size.  With the below program, which includes only the prime movements, I took my rep PR of 225 lbs. from 5 reps to 12 in just 4 weeks!  Not to mention, my chest is fuller than it’s ever been.

Monday – work up to a heavy double @ 9 RPE on the flat BB bench press

Tuesday – perform 4 sets of 10 – 12 reps on the incline BB bench press

Wednesday – perform 5 sets of 5 reps on the overhead BB press

Thursday – work up to a heavy single @ 9 RPE on flat BB

Friday – perform 5 reps of 5 sets on the flat BB bench press

These prime movements are how I begin my workouts on each of the mentioned days.  My accessory movements change, with every workout, but these prime movements stay the same.

3. I needed to find the technique that worked for ME.

Everything matters, when it concerns the bench. This is something I did not understand in the beginning.  While watching numerous videos on proper bench press technique,  I slowly molded my technique to match my strength and body type.  It felt like I was breaking in a pair of shoes or boots, honestly.  The entire process took over a year of steady focus on every aspect of my technique.  However, once dialed in, the gains came like a flood!

4. I needed to strengthen the correct accessory muscles.

My common belief, before my enlightenment, was that having a muscular chest meant you had the strength to back it up.  Well, in my case, that wasn’t a correct assumption.  What I needed to do was train all of the muscles involved in the bench press movement: chest, shoulders, lats, legs, etc.  Not only did I need to train them, but I needed to do so in a manner that didn’t take away from my recovery time and lead to over training.

anatomy

 

After my daily prime movements, I ALWAYS hit the supporting muscles.  I normally pick from the following movements and attack a couple of them in a super-set fashion (time saver) for roughly 4 sets of 10 – 15 reps:

I never go too heavy on these exercises, but do use moderate weight.  Also, I sometimes throw in a random exercise not listed for variety.  I really like the pump I get from these exercises and my inner bodybuilder absolutely loves hitting the muscles involved on a daily basis.  Yes, you heard it right, I hit these muscles everyday.

Note:  Heavy squats have helped increase my bench press by increasing the strength of my leg drive.

By shifting my entire approach and focusing on all of my individual weaknesses, no longer is the bench press a lift that I am not proud of.  Everyone has that one lift that seems to lag behind the others, but that doesn’t mean that particular lift can’t be impressive in it’s own right.  One must find what works for them and doing so takes self-education.  No one is going to hand over the keys to success in anything, so you have to stay hungry for the knowledge that will eventually lead to success.