Don’t Stop Believin’

It was a little weird knowing that I wouldn’t be doing deadlifts today, since I did my heavy deadlifts on Wednesday; however, I was excited for today’s last heavy bench day. I like the bench press, I really do, but it is where I feel the weakest and that perceived weakness insinuates itself inside my head. My technique has improved quite dramatically over the past year, and I am definitely getting stronger and more confident with my bench. I probably just think about it too much. Going into today’s training session, I knew that a PR attempt was quite likely to occur, and I was excited for it…and a little nervous. Ask me if I want to attempt a squat PR and I’ll say yes pretty much every time. Ask me the same for the bench and I will want to say yes out of stubborn pride and bravado, although I will be mentally questioning my ability to succeed. Even when I am reasonably confident that I have the strength for a bench PR, my technique is still “hit or miss” sometimes. I can know that I can press the weight, but then I’ll completely mess up by lowering the bar to the wrong spot or forgetting to use my legs or my shoulder will slip or something, then the press feels like more of a grinder than it should and that little voice inside my head says, “Knew you’d blow it!” Most of the time my second reps are better, but I don’t always get second attempts at the heavy weights. And sometimes I do!

1a. bench press-competition grip

43 x 8, 70 x 5, 85 x 5, 95 x 3, 105 x 3, 115 x 1,

120 x 1 This was okayish. My shoulder slipped and the bar path wasn’t necessarily the greatest, but it had decent speed. Michael asked if I’d like to do it again or go up for the PR attempt right away. I opted for a re-do, because I’d really like to nail my technique on the heavy reps for once.

120 x 1 This was much better. More solid and I think my technique and bar path were pretty good. I would say that this was my best ever rep at this weight, even better than my last competition press of 121. 3 pounds!

And then the uncharted territory…125 pounds. Michael gave me a little pep talk, and I tried not to think about anything but bringing the bar down to the right spot and squeezing it tight. It was a good rep, equally as fast as the second rep at 120, and I think bar path was okay, too. It certainly didn’t feel as tough as the 121.3 felt at the last competition, and that makes me feel a little more confident about my bench attempts for this competition. The current Provincial record is 126.5, and I want it! Until tonight, I wanted that record but felt that it was questionable. I can do it!

band pull-aparts between sets

1b. squats-low bar, without sleeves…nothing crazy, just going through the motions

without belt: 95 x 5, 135 x 3, 165 x 3

with belt: 185 x 1, 185 x 1

2a. chest-supported rows

16 kg kettle bells x 12, x 8

2b. dumbbell curls

Michael told me to use whatever I wanted for these. He should know better than to give me carte blanche like that, because I’m sorely tempted to take the easy, little weights, but maybe he does know me better, because I also hate to disappoint. Instead of grabbing the 5 lb dumbbells, I grabbed the 15s.

x 15ish, x 10ish…kind of lost count during both sets

3a. TRX rows x 20

3b. face pulls with red band x 18

And just like that the peak is done. The heavy weights have been lifted and now I deload and rest and eat. On Tuesday, we will do a little mini-meet to just go through the motions. I seem to do better when I perform things often. Wednesday will be…I don’t really know except that it won’t be anything terribly taxing. Then that’s all she wrote until the competition!

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