Week 36: A Minor Major PR and A Major Minor PR
Got two PRs last week and set out to grab two more this week. On Monday, squat day, I found my easy victim in a 110 kg/242 lbs ass-to-the-grass close-stance Manta Ray squat. Perhaps it is just bodybuilding nostalgia, but a high-bar Olympic squat is still in my book the most pure way to squat and seeing that climb into the voids of old competition stance PRs is somewhat dear to me. 110 kg/242 lbs was a snap. 120 kg/264 lbs was stiffer, but there was still a bit of air in it. Decided to leave it at that, a 10 kg/22 lbs PR. I haven’t failed a squat since 20 May and am really finally beginning to see the light that Mike tried to let me unto in a comment back in February last year. Not failing lifts is a huge psychological advantage and an important part of not plateauing. My squat work has never felt better and I constantly feel I have more in me. This is of course herecy as far as Westside methodology goes (max effort = go to failure), but I just can’t argue with my own gut feeling at the moment. Perhaps I will later, but right now I want to embrace the Iron God That Never Fails His Reps. This requires a lot of sensitivity to when strength levels have improved to the degree that the old PR will yield easily, and might mean not going for PRs on the same exercise all that frequently, but so far the dividends are more than worth it. If you follow this god, you don’t attempt new PRs, you smash them with confidence (most of the time anyway, reality check…). Sounds like I am now a follower of Yoda, doesn’t it… “do or do not…there is no try…” [wav courtesy of YodaJeff’s Yoda Page].
Wish I could say the same thing for the bench. I’m too lazy to go back to count the numerous times I’ve failed at 105 kg/231 lbs after punching up 102.5 kg/226 lbs back in November 2004. That’s the definition of a habitual rut right there. There’s more reasons for this never-ending Tibetan plateau of sorts, but a tradition of failure now appears to me to be one of the prime reasons. If you’ve failed a weight 15 times, what is the likelihood that you will make it when you go at it for the 16th time? Psychologically speaking, the chances are close to null. Or then I just haven’t watched enough Dr. Phil. If you look back at the recent RAW meet video (8.1M), you see 95 kg/209 fly up like putty with 105 kg/231 lbs suddenly appearing overwhelming. I knew I had the strength then, but it just was a no show. Typical.
Don’t know why Wednesday saw me select the bench press for yet another 105 kg/231 lbs attempt when I could have wiped the rack with some much easier old PR. I had a headache and was bursting with gas on account of having cooked green pea soup with ham earlier in the day like a good stay at home dad should (three hours in the oven, and this is the reward??). I did the usual jumps towards 105 kg/231 lbs, but instead of going straight into it from 95 kg/209 lbs, I did a feeler with 100 kg/220 lbs. Not surprisingly, it flew up. More surprisingly, so did 105 kg/231 lbs. I paid extra attention to all the details - getting shoulders in under me, heels down hard into the floor to shift the weight unto the traps, squeezing the bar tightly, not flopping the descent by going too fast… etc etc - and up it went without too much trouble. The descent didn’t quite hit where it should, but still. I then did a stupid thing by failing on 107.5 kg/237 lbs twice (was close to choking myself on the first attempt as I hadn’t noticed that the right safety pin was set one notch too low). Be that as it may, but I know I have that weight in me right now if I can just hit it with good technique. Now I just need to convince my body.
Here’s the video (4M). Next week I will be embarking on a new periodization program while starting to diet down for the virtual meet. This means no more PRs for most of what’s left of 2006. More on that soon.
Monday, 4 September 2006: ME Squat
worked up to 1 @ 100 kg/220 lbs (belt on)
1 @ 110 kg/242 lbs
1 @ 120 kg/264 lbs (PR)
GHR: Got 3 reps before a major cramp hit my left ham
Reverse-hyper: 12,10 @ 40 kg/88 lbs
Band crunch against upright: 10,12 reps with 2-5 second holds @ light band
Upper body cable turn: 15 @ 40 kg/88 lbs (reeaaallly sloooow)
Wednesday, 6 September 2006: ME Squat
worked up to 1 @ 85 kg/187 lbs
1 @ 95 kg/209 lbs
1 @ 100 kg/220 lbs
1 @ 105 kg/231 lbs (PR)
2x0 @ 107.5 kg/237 lbs
Metal iso-lateral seated row: 2x6 @ 35 kg/77 lbs per side
Wide-grip pulldown: 8 @ 13th (65 kg/143 lbs?)
Standing face pull: 9 @ 8th (40 kg/88 lbs?)
Metal cable preacher curl: 8 @ 3rd (15 kg/33 lbs?)