My Fridays are not always enjoyable days, but today was a pretty good day. I’ve had an ongoing headache since the handstand push-up rib tweak on Wednesday morning. The pain in my trap is significantly less than it was yesterday, but my neck still feels tight and a little sore. Neck mobility is better than yesterday…not normal yet but improving. I’m sure that I’ll feel even better tomorrow. However, I don’t think my coach is going to let me start off on my head for the handstand push-ups anymore!
1a. front squats, with knee sleeves
warm-up: 45 x 8, 75 x 6, 95 x 5
main event: 125 x 4, 145 x 4, 160 x 4, 170 x 4
The front squats felt pretty good today. Michael didn’t ask me to do a slow eccentric (thankfully!), but I generally descent a little slower with the heavier weights anyway. The sore trap wasn’t an issue. Michael did say that I could use my belt for the final set, even though a belt really wouldn’t help much for a front squat, since it is typically the upper back that collapses. And so, I opted not to use my belt. I figured that my belt is still new enough that I need to get used to the different feel, so I didn’t want to mess up my heaviest set by throwing in an unfamiliar variable.
You know what…I kind of think that 170 pounds for 4 reps was a PR, and it is getting closer to my best single rep at 185.
1b. incline dumbbell press-single arm
15 lbs x 15 each, 20 lbs x 15 each, 25 lbs x 17 each, 34 lbs x 5 each, 29 lbs x 9 each
Michael had me do these one arm at a time today. I think that was because of the soreness I am experiencing.
2a. snatch grip deadlifts, with straps
115 x 8, 165 x 8, 185 x 7, 185 x 6
165 x 7 touch and go
I was to work on keeping my shoulders back and down and everything tight. Honestly, I’m not sure if it was easier to reset each rep or hold the tension with touch and go. Scratch that…I think it was easier to reset each rep. Sometimes I find it easier to keep the tension constant, but I think the wider grip made it more of a challenge to keep the shoulders in the proper position.
2b. toes to bar
x 6 slippery hands, x 12 with chalk, x 8
x 8 hanging knee raises, exhaling on descent, x 7
As much as I might groan a little when Michael tells me to do toes to bar, I have to say that I think my technique is definitely improving. With freshly chalked hands, I was able to equal my previous PR of 12 touches. I really would have liked to eked out another rep to break that PR, but my lungs were working overtime just to get the 12. But, my swing feels a bit smaller, more controlled, and I think my core is engaging more than it used to. Of course, that’s all just my opinion and what do I know.
Week one of the new program without back squats is complete! Only 5 more weeks to go! But really, who’s counting? Okay, so I am counting, but this first week was a good one. So, I tweaked a rib doing a handstand push-up requiring an unplanned trip to the chiropractor and oodles of pain. Call me crazy but it was worth it to realize that I am making good progress with the handstand push-ups!
I did have a moment of panic last night as mentally rehashed what Michael said I would be doing today and realized that he hadn’t mentioned deadlifts. I had to shoot him a text asking about it, even though I was supposed to be going to sleep, because I know I would have kept thinking about it anyway. He made a joke today about removing bench presses and deadlifts from my program, too, which really wasn’t very funny, even if I knew that he was only teasing. Strangely, Michael never seems to want to remove laterals or chin-ups from my programs.
And here is an example of how my brain operates:
As I am thinking about Michael taking away my back squats and joking about taking away my other lifts, I cannot help but hear the poem Alligator Pie in my head. If you aren’t familiar with it, Alligator Pie is a poem written by Dennis Lee and published in 1974. As a Canadian kid, I grew up with Alligator Pie. Here is just a piece of the poem:
Alligator pie, alligator pie
If I don’t get some,
I think I’m going to cry!
Give away the green grass,
Give away the sky.
But don’t give away my