Fit Report – May 24th, 2017 – 5×5 Workout A

So today’s post is a day late, but only because the workout is also a day late. I meant to get to the gym yesterday, but work ate into my lunch break and I didn’t get time, so today it was. I didn’t want that extra day, since I’d already had one from the holiday on Monday, but what can you do.

Anyway, today’s workout came after a day and a half of commuting by bike again, so I was all prepared IMG_5473for squats to suck. Which they did, to be sure, but no more than usual. I was able to do the full five sets at 210 lbs with no real problems, resting between sets from two and a half minutes after Set 1 to three minutes after Set 4.

Next workout will be back up to 215 lbs on squats, the weight that I failed out so miserably on before deloading. My legs aren’t as tired right now, so maybe it’s doable. Time will tell.

Bench press was a different story today. Still trying the wider grip, and it’s showing just how much I was relying on my triceps to push the weight up before. I was trying to match my previous personal best today, but I just wasn’t able to do it. I did three sets on my own, and they were tough, but I managed. The last rep of that third set was hard, though, so I asked another gym member to spot me for the fourth set. With a bit of help from him I managed to get the fifth rep up, but since I didn’t do it on my own I’m not counting it as a complete set. Same with the fifth set, I needed his help on the last two reps, so I’m only counting three. Hopefully I can progress on this next time.

Barbell row was rushed today. I had to wait for a rack to do squats at the beginning of the workout, so I was rushed for time by the end of it. Therefore form went out the window. I would have liked to wait longer between sets on barbell row, but still, I managed the five sets with the time I had left, and just managed to get back to work on time.

Friday will be back to the gym for Workout B, where hopefully I’ll improve my overhead press, and I’ll be trying for a new personal best on deadlifts. See you then.

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Fit Report – May 17th/19th, 2017 – 5×5 Workout A/B

Oh look, another two for one post, and this one’s even a day late from the second workout. Even though I’ve been off this week, it’s been a super busy one, always on the go. The kids sure do keep you busy, but at least I got time to get in my workouts, even if the blog posts are late.

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Let’s start with Wednesday (the ‘today’ on the left, since I’m too lazy to do a new screen grab with the proper date on it).  Back up to 200 lbs on squats, and no problems with them. Again, that could be due to a lack of daily cycling, although I did tow my daughter in the bike trailer up a hill to swimming twice this week (so much work).

It was also my second time doing bench press with a wide grip, and I didn’t seem to have any problems with it. Next time will be back up to my personal best of 140 lbs, so fingers crossed that I can manage it.  I’m still managing to keep up to bench press with my barbell row at this point, but the barbell row is definitely getting tough, especially while trying to maintain proper form.

As for Friday, another day of squats, up to 205 lbs. I’m going to miss the mid-morning workouts next week when I go back to work. No lineups for the squat racks, no pressure to get out of them quickly. We’ll also have to see how it goes Tuesday after biking in to work again.

Overhead press didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but I wasn’t surprised. 105 lbs would have tied my personal best, but it seems that I wasn’t up to it yesterday. I managed three full sets, but the last rep of the third set took all I had, so I knew that the fourth set wasn’t going to happen. Only two reps, but after a bit of a wait I at least managed three reps on the last set. They really are my least favourite of the five exercises.

Deadlifts went well. I did the full set at 235 lbs, tying my personal best. No problems at all. Next time I’ll be going for a new personal best at 240 lbs, so again, fingers crossed.

See you back here on Tuesday.

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Fit Report – May 12th/15th, 2017 – 5×5 Workout A/B

So yeah, Friday was a bit of a busy day for me. Trying to wrap some stuff up at work before taking a week off. Absolutely no time to write up a blog post, even though I did work out that afternoon. And of course with me being off now, I’m working out in the morning to leave as much of the rest of the day free and uninterrupted. So let’s get started on the combined post, shall we?

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Friday was my first Workout A since being sick, so of course it meant deloading. Like I did Wednesday, I didn’t deload quite as much as the app told me to, to no ill effect. Kind of glad for the deload, for a couple of reasons. But first, squats.

Squats went well enough on Friday. Unlike the last time I deloaded, my legs weren’t killing me after my first workout back, so I didn’t have any real problems with them. Just enough rest between sets to make them manageable, and done. Today’s squats were just as easy, even with the added 5 lbs, probably because my legs weren’t tired from a bike ride to work. I may bike to the gym on Wednesday, since it’s mostly downhill on the way there. We’ll see.

Here’s where the deload started to come in handy. It allowed me to try the wider grip bench press technique that I mentioned a little while ago with a lower weight. That let me get a feel for it and see if I could do it, without having to worry about failing. Turns out that it’s a little bit harder for me to do it that way. Afterward, I could definitely feel it in my pecs in a way that I couldn’t with the narrower grip, so I think this is a good thing going forward.  As for the other good thing about the deload, it allowed me to even out the weight on my bench press and barbell row. I didn’t like having the barbell row be lower than the bench press, because I still worry about shoulder impingement. This way my back muscles should keep pace with my chest.

As for today, overhead press was back up into the triple digits, and tough. At 100 lbs, it took everything I had (and a bit longer wait time before the last set) to get the last set out, but I managed it. The knurling on the bar is different at the Goodlife by home, so I wasn’t entirely sure I had my grip width the same as I usually do, but it was close enough. Pretty sure the next workout B is gonna suck for overhead press, as I’ll be trying for 105 lbs again, which is the most I’ve ever successfully completed.

Deadlifts were easy enough today at 230 lbs. Nothing really to say here. I’ll be back up to my top weight next time though, and going for a new PB the time after that.

See you Wednesday for Workout A.

 

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Fit Report – May 10th, 2017 – 5×5 Workout B

Well then, sad to say that this is only my second workout post in the month of May. In my last post I mentioned wanting to get in a workout because I thought I was about to get sick. Wouldn’t you know it, I was right. It hit me on Wednesday and hasn’t really let up until today. Aches, fever, hacking cough. To tell the truth I still have a bit of the cough, but it was finally down to the point today where I was sure I wouldn’t have a coughing fit while trying to lift a couple hundred pounds.

Sadly, it seems like any time I’ve started making progress this winter/spring, some illness has come along to derail it. Joys of having a kid in kindergarten, I guess. I can’t really remember having a cold/flu season that’s hit me so hard in years. So yeah, since it’s been over a week since my last workout, I had to deload this time. Still, I didn’t want to drop down as far as the app wanted me to, so I made some adjustments. I dropped 20 lbs on squats, 10 lbs on overhead press, and 10 lbs on deadlift. I’d like to get back to where I was relatively quickly, and dropping the weight as much as it said seemed like too much.

That being said, I managed today’s workout without too much trouble. Minimal coughing, although my IMG_5392breathing and heart rate seemed a bit ragged. I’ve biked to work the last three days, so my cardio isn’t completely shot, but the effort still got them going.

Squats went well enough at 185 lbs. I waited between two minutes and three minutes for the sets, increasing as I went. I probably could have done it with less wait time, but I wanted to kind of ease back into it.

Overhead press at 95 lbs was doable. I did the same thing as with squats, starting at two minutes of wait time and working up to three. The last rep of the last set was tough, but I think I’ll have no problems increasing to 100 lbs next time.

Deadlifts at 225 lbs went well, too. According to the app I should have dropped a further 15 lbs from them, but I wanted to stay at big boy weight at least. No problems at that weight, and I should be back to trying for a new personal best in a couple of weeks.

The plan is to be back in on Friday for Workout A, always assuming the cute little plague rat doesn’t bring something else home from school to challenge my immune system.

See you then!

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Fit Report – May 1st, 2017 – 5×5 Workout A

I should start with the caveat that I didn’t bike into work today. I was up off and on most of the night with a sick toddler, and I think I’m starting to come down with whatever the kids have myself. That, combined with the cold and rain this morning, and I just didn’t feel up to 12 km of getting cold and wet.

I figured I needed to get into the gym before whatever I may be coming down with got the better of me. Work out while I can. I really don’t want to have to deload again while I feel I’m making progress.

IMG_5332On the plus side, not biking in meant my legs were fresher for squats. I’m back up to 200 lbs, which I managed with little to no problems. Just a matter of enough wait time between sets (between 2:30 and 2:45 today).

I was a bit nervous again about bench press, since I was going for an entirely new weight (140 lbs), outside of the rack. Very pleased with the result, though. I managed to do the first four sets all on my own, but the last rep of the fourth set was a bit tough, so for the fifth set I got one of my coworkers to spot me. I managed it all on my own (at least that’s what he tells me) so I can count this as a new personal best!

As a side note, he also mentioned that my grip on the bar during bench press is pretty narrow, and that I might want to widen it out. Not sure if that’ll make things harder or easier, but he probably knows what he’s talking about. I’ll recheck the Stronglifts 5×5 website for his take on grip, and go from there. Maybe I am doing it wrong.

Barbell row is starting to feel tough again. I decided at this weight I need to be doing a warmup set again, so I did one just to get loose. I managed all five sets just fine, with wait times between ninety seconds and two minutes after each set.

Hopefully I’m still well enough to get back to the gym on Wednesday. If so, see you then.

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Fit Report – Apr. 28th, 2017 – 5×5 Workout B, Video Edition

Back at it for only my second workout of the week, sadly. Wednesday I got busy with work and ended up with a shortened lunch break, not enough time to hit the gym. I went out and had lunch with a friend yesterday, so today is the day.

Things started off well enough with squats. The usual, tough but doable with enough rest between sets. IMG_5320Back up to 195 lbs now, so it’ll be 200 lbs next workout.

I was hoping (small hope, I try to be fairly realistic about my goals, workout-wise) that I could set another new personal best today on overhead press, but it wasn’t to be. Today was my first ever attempt at 110 lbs, and let me tell you, when you get up to your upper limits, adding five pounds makes a huge difference. I managed one complete set at 110, but just barely. It took everything I had to get out the last rep, and consequently I had nothing at all for the next set. I couldn’t even manage one rep. I decided to drop back down to 105 lbs(hence the image saying 105), and managed 3 reps of that for the second set. After a three minute wait I managed a full set on the third set, but that was about as good as it got. Four reps and three reps for the last two sets.

I’m disappointed that I couldn’t continue with 110 lbs, to be honest. Usually I can at least get partial sets for all five with a new weight, but not this time. Perhaps if I hadn’t pushed it quite so much trying for five reps on the first set I could have done more? Might be worth checking out next time.

On to happier news, though. I did manage to set a new personal best on deadlifts – 235 lbs! Here, see for yourself.

It was definitely a strain, and my grip kept threatening to give out on me, but I did it. A few seconds of rest between reps four and five to readjust the grip and get ready, and it’s done! If I can keep adding weight on deadlifts, in two more Workout Bs I’ll be at 250 lbs, which is kind of a milestone. Here’s hoping.

Have a good weekend, everyone. See you back here on Monday for Workout A.

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Fit Report – Apr. 24th, 2017 – 5×5 Workout A

And just like that, we’re back into the territory of personal bests.

So glad I manually deloaded the squats last week instead of letting the app do it. It means that I can give my legs a break and still make progress elsewhere. So while squats were at a lower weight again today (190 lbs, no problems there with two minute breaks between sets), I was able to continue uninterupted with my bench press and barbell row.

And yes, progress was made in the face of a daunting new challenge! Bench press outside of the rack!

I really needed to movIMG_5292e out of the squat rack for bench press because I was just taking up too much time on equipment other people are waiting to use, and I don’t want to be that guy. In that spirit, I did my squats today and moved out to the bench press area to begin that segment of my workout. I was a bit nervous, to be sure. This was going to be a new high weight for me(135 lbs – 45 lb plates on either end of the bar), and I wouldn’t have the catch bars to roll the weight off of me if I failed a set. Still, there are always lots of people around, and always someone who could spot me/rescue me if I needed help/got pinned.

Anyway, I made myself be brave and went for it. I made sure I gave myself lots of time between sets (2:30 after the first set, 2:45 after the second, 3:00 thereafter) and I was able to do it. So woot! New personal best! Go me! That and no pressure to vacate the rack during bench adds up to a win in my books.

Barbell row was barbell row. I did it fairly quickly (as I was running out of time), and while my form probably wasn’t perfect, it was good enough. Starting to notice it’s becoming more difficult with the added weight, so going forward I’ll likely have to wait longer than the default ninety seconds between sets. Not just yet, though.

Back in Wednesday for Workout B. See you then..

 

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Fit Report – Apr. 21st, 2017 – 5×5 Workout B

Today was meant to be my third attempt at 215 lbs on squats. I knew going into the workout that I was going to fail it and have to deload (my legs are just that tired), so I cut out the middleman and just went IMG_5287ahead and deloaded them myself. Back down to 185 to give them a bit of a break. At that weight I was able to do them with only about two minutes between sets. I really should have done the 215, taken the fail, and deloaded next time, but honestly I really just wasn’t up to the strain of it.

At least this way I saved some energy for overhead press. Up to 105 lbs today, and I’m happy to say that I completed the full 5×5 for a new personal best! I went with Wednesday’s technique, waiting the full three minutes between sets right from the get-go, and waiting an additional thirty seconds between sets four and five. It was hard, but not as hard as the last reps of some previous sets. Not looking forward to 110 lbs next time, but I’ll take the progress!

Deadlifts went pretty well too. Since hitting 225 lbs last time (two 45 lb plates per side – big boy weight!), I’ve lowered my incremental increase to 5 lbs per workout. That means today was 230 lbs. Tough, but in no danger of not doing it. It also ties my previous personal best (twice) for deadlifts. Next workout will be 235 lbs, which would be a new record for me if I can manage it. Fingers crossed!

Time for a weekend to let my body recuperate. See you again Monday.

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Fit Report – Apr. 19th, 2017 – 5×5 Workout A

Yup, the cycling is definitely catching up with me. What’s weird is that after Monday’s tough squats and bike ride home (into the wind, again), my legs actually felt pretty good yesterday morning. They seemed to have energy, and the bike ride in to work felt pretty easy. The fact that the wind was behind me may have had something to do with that, though. The ride home last night was, of course, into the wind again, and this morning’s ride in wasn’t nearly as nice. My legs felt tired and sore, and I was pretty sure they were going to affect my workout.

Affect it they did. I managed to fail a set of squats right out of the gate. Only four reps the first set, so not a great start. After that first set, I only waited three minutes instead of the five the app recommends after a IMG_5278failed set (I work out at lunch, and have limited time). Still, I surprisingly managed the full five reps for sets two and three. Sets four and five were back to four reps, however, so a bit of a mixed bag.

I have a feeling that I’m probably going to fail 215 lbs a third time, which shouldn’t be surprising given how much work my legs are getting now. Hopefully not, but if it comes to that, I’ll manually deload the squats rather than letting the app handle it. For some reason it wants to deload all your exercises if you fail one of them three times, and I don’t need to deload the others if they’re going along just fine.

Happier things, now. With the appropriate (read: full) wait time between sets, I managed to do all five sets of bench press at 130 lbs. Last time I didn’t wait long enough and was out of gas after the fourth set. This time I had enough in the tank, and managed the sets without too much difficulty. Hopefully this strategy will pay off next time when I’m at 135 lbs, which will tie my personal best on bench.

Barbell row went well enough. I’m back up to 125 lbs with them, and they’re easy enough that I’m only waiting 90 seconds between sets. My form is still pretty good, too, so no concerns there.

Back in for Workout B on Friday. See you then.

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Fit Report – Apr. 17th, 2017 – 5×5 Workout B

Good thing I had all that extra time from the long weekend to rest my legs. Wouldn’t want to fail a set…

Oh wait, I just did.

Yup, even with 5 days off from the gym and three off from cycling (with the exception of this morning’s ride in to work) I wasn’t able to finish all five sets. Tantalizingly close, as that that failed rep was the last rep of the last set. I really thought I could do it. Hoped I could, anyway. The last rep of the fourth set was much like the last rep in Wednesday’s video; a lot of effort to complete. Even waiting 3:15 between sets four and five couldn’t get me there, unfortunately, so it’ll be a rehash of 215 lbs when I go back in on Wednesday. The last time I did 215 lbs I was able to do it, and the 220 lbs that followed, so I’m guessing fatigue from cycling has something to do with it.

IMG_5275Aside from that one hiccup, the workout went well. Waiting an appropriate amount of time between sets of overhead press (2:45 after the first set, 3:00 every set thereafter) allowed me to complete 5×5 on them. So now I’m tied with my previous personal best on them, and I’ll make yet another attempt at 105 lbs next time.

Deadlifts went pretty well, too. Back up to ‘big boy weight’, 225 lbs. I’ve been increasing my deadlift weight by 10 lbs per workout since I deloaded a few weeks ago, but from this point I’ll go back to 5 lb increments. No sense in getting ahead of myself. I think I’ve figured out the problem I was having before with my grip on them. The first rep today I was getting some pain in my fingers of my left hand, but with a little positional adjustment it went away. I think the bar was just resting too much on the pads of my fingers and not enough in the space behind the knuckles. Anyway, hopefully that’s sorted now, and won’t be a problem in the future.

See you again Wednesday for Workout A.

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