Of Shoulders & Squats

Halloween isn’t a day that I usually go crazy over. We give out candy, although we get very few kids coming to the door. I will usually wear a costume of sorts if I am working the day. Since today is a day off for me, I decided to deck myself out in Wonder Woman gear for the gym this morning, including a tiara! If only I had Wonder Woman’s actual strength…

1a. Anderson squats, high bar

45 lbs x 10, 95 x 8, 115 x 8, 135 x 8, 135 x 8, 135 x 8, 135 x 8

I am seeing improvements on these every time I do them. Today was a PR for weight and also an increase in volume. The first time I did these a little more than two weeks ago, I couldn’t even get a single rep at 125 pounds; I barely got one rep at 105 pounds! Last week, I did three sets of eight at 125 pounds. The third set at 135 had some tougher reps towards the end. I felt like I was too upright at the bottom of the squat on the fifth or sixth rep, which made it feel tough to get out of the hole, and it felt like I was struggling to find the proper bar positioning for the final reps after that one. Michael said my bar positioning was still good though, so he didn’t drop the weight for the final set. I just had to make sure that I was using my normal squat positioning, and I think the final set was decent.

1b. bench press with the Swiss bar, touch and go

33 lbs x 10, 53 x 10, 83 x 10, 88 x 10, 88 x 10, 88 x 10, 88 x 10

I miss my competition bench press, and I’m not really enjoying how awkward the Swiss bar feels. I understand that there is purpose in changing things up and working areas that are lagging or lacking. That said, whenever my next competition may be, I will seriously cry if I do not achieve a bench press PR.

2a. barbell split squats

85 lbs x 10 each leg x 3 sets

The right knee was bothering me a bit, not truly painful but a feeling of displacement that comes and goes. It didn’t bother me much doing these split squats, but I still managed to have some issues with the left leg having a tougher time being forward and some balance issues with the right leg forward on the final set. I think I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the split squat. Even though there is the occasional balance issue or knee pain, the split squats actually aren’t all that difficult, but yet I cannot help but feel a measure of dread and fear as I set myself up for the next set. Perhaps that dread comes from the simple fact that my legs are already fatigued by the time I arrive at the split squats. The upper leg muscles are quivering slightly as I set myself up beneath the bar, and I can almost hear their silent screams for mercy as I step out of the rack and position a foot back. I hear the cries of my leg muscles, and I want to join their pity party, too. But there’s no crying in the gym. Or is that baseball? Does it matter really? I am not going to cry over split squats! I’ll save my tears for the bench press.

2b. chest supported rows

90 lbs x 10 x 2 sets

It’s kind of eerie just how clearly Michael can see what I am thinking. He told me to do chest supported rows. I took note of the two plates already on the…what do you call it?! Bar? Handle? I don’t know! Thankfully he said I could put my whole body into it. If he had wanted strict rows that would have been tough. I was honestly surprised to have finished 10 the first set, and Michael knew that I hadn’t expected to get more than 4 or 5. Somehow I always forget that he tells me I should be able to pull/row close to, if not as much as I can press. Since I am normally quite competent to bench press 90 pounds, there shouldn’t be a problem rowing it.

2c. flat dumbbell presses, focusing on using those chest muscles

25 lbs x 10, 25 lbs x 13

When my shoulders get fatigued, they tend to pitch forward. Sometimes my shoulders suck. Okay a lot of the time really. However, my shoulders are definitely stronger than they used to be, and they seem to recover well or quickly. Two weeks ago the right shoulder was in a fair bit of pain following dips, but it hasn’t been an issue for more than a week now. In fact, I’ve even been spending most of my nights sleeping on one side or the other, which is something that has been exceedingly rare for more than two years when my shoulders first presented with problems. You have no idea how happy I am to be able to sleep on either side consistently through the night and every night! My shoulders may not be perfect, but they have come a long way and are getting better all the time.

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