Squats & Bench

Mondays are the beginning of the work week, but they also happen to be the second last day of my work week. Tomorrow is my Friday; however, today was absolutely a Monday. The work day was exhausting, draining, frustrating. I could have easily gone on a homicidal rampage or curled up in a dark corner to cry. But I survived, as did everyone around me. The best part of making it through a day like that is knowing that I get to go to the gym and lift some weight.

1a. squats, high bar with knee sleeves

warm up: 45 x 6…balance the bar while Michael loaded 95 pounds and then 5 reps, 135 x 5

main event: 155 x 5, 165 x 5 x 6 sets

Last week I had a few issues with depth, but there were no depth problems today. I think, for the most part, I was fairly intentional about slowing down my eccentric. Michael reminded me early on to use more speed and power out of the hole. Slowing down the eccentric probably messes that up for me to some degree, but I think I got faster as the sets progressed. For the most part. My bar path was good. There was a rep or two that pitched forward a little, but I managed to pull it back. Michael took video of one set to show me, and I was impressed with the bar positioning, bar path and depth!

1b. bench press, competition grip

warm up: 45 x 6, 65 x 5, 85 x 5

main event: 90 x 5, 95 x 5 x 5

While I don’t have time to look back through blog posts right now, I just took a minute or two to flip through my training log to see if I had many notes about my bench press. There weren’t really a lot, likely much more in my blog posts; however, I did notice that even as recently as last October that my bench press has struggled. By struggle I mean a lack of consistency and issues with anything and everything. There were several comments about a lack of breathing. Lots of comments about losing a shoulder and/or tucking my shoulder blades. Using my legs. Staying tight. Gripping the bar hard. My bar path was everywhere. I haven’t done a lot of regular bench pressing since last October, but I am finally feeling like my bench press is dialed in. My bar path is so much better, more consistent, smooth and even. My shoulders aren’t moving around. I’m using my legs, and I think my breathing is better (although I’m sure there is always room for improvement with my breathing!)

2a. bench press with sling shot, competition grip

115 lbs x 5 x 2 sets

The start of the first set was a little shaky with the adjustment to the slingshot, but I settled in quickly.

2b. chest-supported rows

70 lbs x 10

Okay, I admit it. When Michael put the weight on for the rows, I expressed some dismay. He said it was what I usually use, and I was skeptical. But I got the reps and it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected. In fact, I did more reps at that weight than I did the last time I did chest-supported rows, and I definitely made note that the previous set was tough. Oh that accessory work!

 

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