Back in the Saddle

I could feel excitement building within me all weekend. Excitement and hope. On Friday, Michael had made a small comment about possibly squatting on Monday. It was the kind of comment that could have been easily missed, but I latched onto it like any powerlifter who hasn’t done a back squat in 6 or 7 weeks! And so, I cautiously hoped that the knee would continue to feel good. The knee felt decent on Saturday and even better on Sunday, and the excitement bubbled to the surface.

When I walked in the gym this afternoon, Michael said that I’d be doing squats and competition bench press! So exciting! But I still had to warm up and test the knee. I picked up a kettle bell for some goblet squats, squatted down, paused there for a second or two, then stood back up. No pain. Not even a twinge. I know that I was grinning like the Cheshire cat, because I haven’t been able to do goblet squats without even a twinge for several weeks.

1a. squats, high bar

warm up: 45 x 8, 95 x 5, 115 x 5, 135 x 5

Beginning with the last warm up set, Michael had me slow down my eccentric just a bit, to about 2 seconds. Since I haven’t squatted for a while, the slower eccentric will help me nail down my technique.

main event: 155 x 5 x 7 sets with my belt

We’re not worried about crushing the weight yet, so there will be a lot of volume. I don’t normally use a belt for such an easy weight, but I need to break in the new belt and get used to wearing it. There was the odd rep here and there which was too deep, not deep enough, or a little too forward, but it was so nice to get back to the squats.

1b. bench press, competition grip

warm up: 43 x 8, 75 x 5

main event: 85 x 5 x 8 sets

For the most part, I think these felt pretty good. Again, we’re not trying to test the weights right now; it’s all about nailing down the technique.

2a. bench accessory

75 x 5 stopping for a 2 second pause about 2 inches off my chest

regular bench press with the slingshot: 105 x 5 x 2 sets

The first set with the slingshot was crazy. The first rep couldn’t be brought all the way down to my chest and then the bar just ran away on me. Regrouped, reset, got the five reps but they were all over the place. The second set was infinitely better!

2b. pause squats with a 3 second pause

115 x 5 x 2 sets

The final rep of the second set was at least a 4 second pause. I rolled my eyes a bit as I waited for the ‘up’  command from my coach, but only because I know that he tends to prolong that final pause and I wasn’t having any trouble hanging out there.

In a way it feels like I really didn’t do much today, but I suspect that I will feel the effects of all that squatting volume in the next day or two or three. I don’t mind. I’m just glad to be practicing the main lifts again with my eyes focused on the upcoming competition.

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