Posts tagged 5x5

Max-testing week is always fun.

New deadlift PR: 305#. Finally broke the 300 pound barrier!

Bench press 1RM is still 125#, which isn’t surprising because the shoulder injury in January kept me away from benching for a while.

Current theoretical power-lifting total is therefore 655.

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Squat PR this morning! 225!

Worked up to a new single-rep max on back squat this morning. Got to the gym by 6am, which is an okay time for this gym. It’s awesome at 5:30am but crowded by 7am. (In constrast, this weekend at 8am it was gloriously quiet.) Warmed up on a cardio machine briefly, did my hip mobility work and my ankle mobility work religiously as ever, then started with some light squats. Then the ramp-up:

1x205 (PR right there)
2x225 (the first wasn’t deep enough in the judgement of my lifting coach, so I did it again)

I’m pretty sure that a more aggressive ramp-up starting at 195 next time will get me 230. Maybe even more. I was right on the edge. What was crazy was how I felt at 205. I knew I was blowing right on past my previous PR of 200 even. Yay legs!

And yay 5x5 lifting program! It worked really well for me this time around.

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Workout logging.

I have continued 5x5ing. I held the squat weight at 185 this entire week to work on some technique changes: more consistent depth and some visual target changes aimed at helping me get better back extension. I experimented a lot with the visual targets I use while lifting. Today I tried meeting my own eyes in the mirror and staying locked the whole way down and up again. It was very effective. Though also disconcerting: on the 4th and 5th reps of each set my face turns really red.

Failing at the overhead press at 75, as usual. That weight is a sticking point for me. I failed on the bench press today at 110. Deadlifts at 265, no sign of failure in sight.

My legs are crazy strong right now. Well, maybe not in absolute terms but they’re the strongest they’ve ever been for me.

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Friday was classic lifts workout A in the ultra-boring but ultra-effective Five by Five program:
5x5 back squat @ 180# (sweaty)
5x5 bench press @ 95# (easy)
5x3 deadlift @ 235# (easy)

This took an hour and a half, including all the warmup and mobility work. Warming up for the squats in particular takes me about 5 sets at increasing weight all on its own. And no matter how much I warm up, right now the fifth set of squats at the full working weight is always much better than the first. I move better.

There’s a meet in San Jose in October that I think I’m gonna aim for. This time I won’t injure my shoulder the day after I pay the entry fee. Really this time for sure.

65x5, workout log, strengthblr,

In which I log a workout or two.

Monday: minor rollback on weights after last week’s rest.
5x5 back squat @ 170#
5x5 bench press @ 90#
5x3 deadlift @ 225#

5x5 back squat @ 175#
5x5 OHP @ 65#
5x3 power cleans @ 100#

Squats easy as far as leg strength goes. The challenges are with endurance (making it through that fifth rep with good form) and upper back strength. Also, my shoulders are really starting to feel abused. Definite calluses and I was thinking this morning during that fifth set that they feel bruised.

OHP is easy at 65lbs, impossible at 75. Such a massive cliff for me.

My sleep and diet have been utterly horrible in the past week & a half. I’m commuting into San Francisco by train for a new job and my schedule is still disrupted. I’m lifting at 6 in the morning, for instance, which means I go to bed at 9:30pm which is hard. It’s like moving two time zones eastward, only my husband is still on west coast time.

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The 5x5 report.

5x5 back squat @ 185#
5x5 OHP @ 75# fail
5x3 power cleans @ 115# didn’t even try

My left shoulder started acting up in the second set of overhead presses. My upper trap started cramping up. Very painful. So I bailed on the lift and did some stretching and low-trap activation work, trying to get the shoulder to let go of itself. This is lingering fallout from my pec minor injury back in January: the trapezius is compensating for weakness elsewhere and really wants to overwork itself. I have to consciously keep it from activating on a lot of lifts. Today, man, I failed. Or something. Sometimes I just accidentally sleep on my left shoulder and wake up with it a mess all day.

These are the days when I am aware that I’m closer to 50 than I am to 40 now.

Anyway, the back squats were awesome. I blasted through the sets. Excellent depth, excellent drive upward. Felt great. The wild thing is that my previous measured single rep max is 200#. I am so going to blow that away! And with a much higher quality squat, too.

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Last two 5x5 workouts

5x5 back squat @ 180#, failed at 4th rep of 2nd set, got at most 3 reps from the next sets
5x5 OHP @ 75#, failed in the third set
5x3 power clean @ 110#, bailed early from exhaustion.

A weak workout overall. I was tired going into it because my Thursday had been exhausting for unusual reasons.

5x5 back squat @ 180# crushed, last set was the best set
5x5 bench press @ 95# solid
5x3 deadlift @ 225# easy

And that with a hangover from two margaritas last night while watching one of the stupidest movies I have ever seen, Underworld. Yes, I am a lightweight. But it does highlight the importance of rest & recovery time.

65x5, workout log,

In which there is logging.

5x5 back squats @ 170# in the books
5x5 overhead press @ 75# not in the books, oh man, total failure from the 2nd set on
5x3 power cleans @ 105# in the books

Tinkering with my breathing on the squats. Trying to release a little breath at the bottom of the squat immediately before driving up. I dunno about that. Might have to practice it on the warmup sets.

I don’t drop those cleans on the floor afterwards, by the way. 105 is still light enough to be caught easily and placed down. I guess I have a thing about not dropping weights if I am at all capable of putting them back down under control.

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5x5 Day Six

5x5 back squat @ 110
5x5 overhead press @ 55
5x3 power clean @ 75
sled pushes up & down the sidewalk, running, 2 plates on
much slower sled pulls, same weight

The squat weight is still in the “not exactly inconsequential, but so light that I am freely tinkering with my technique” category. My foot position is wider and my ending position is much lower than it was last time. I am concentrating on conquering once and for all that little inward twitch my right knee does. Another thing I’m doing to work on that is adductor rolling with a barbell. This is exquisitely painful, like foam rolling only, you know, with a barbell. So it’s hardcore. (Also effective.)

Sit down on the floor with the leg you’re not rolling extended and the leg you’re about to roll bent at the knee. One end of the barbell goes at your extended foot; rest the other end on your bent leg. Roll until you find the spot that makes you yelp. You can shift the point of the barbell that rests on your leg up and down to make it more or less intense. Use the junior bar if the big one is too much. ‘Cause I’m warning you, this is ouchy.

Sled pushing is a fantastic metcon. It meets all the requirements of a good metcon: low skill threshold; easily scaled in multiple dimensions; gasses you out hard; the failure mode when exhausted is directly related to exercise performance not technique; you won’t kill yourself by dropping the sled on your head. (Example of a disastrously bad choice for a metcon: the barbell snatch.)

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