max effort

Thursday, May 29

Max Effort Bench

The big movement on Thursday was two board press vs doubled light bands for max one. I worked up to 355 for a single. I don’t know how much the bands added at the top, but I do know that I first used 50 lb dumbbells to anchor the bands, and they picked up a little and bounced on my first rep, which I immediately racked. I can say that 355 with the bands felt heavier than 405 at the top. It was heavy. I felt really good about that lift.

After that I did singles of 315 for a long pause. It’s not what Jesse had programmed for me, but I felt like I really needed to work on some pauses for the meet I’m doing on June 7.

See-saw presses followed, and that went well. In fact, all of my accessory work went well. It was just a really good day. I want to remember that feeling when things don’t go well.


Tuesday, May 27

Max Effort Squat

So, I screwed up when I was looking at my program. I started out doing my dynamic day. That was a bunch of squatting with a safety squat bar with no hands. After I finished I went to see what was next, and I realized my mistake. There was nothing to do but do the right training.

I did deficit deadlifts against light bands. After I got hurt in February my deadlift dropped by almost 150 pounds. I seriously couldn’t believe how much strength I had lost. Deadlift has been the slowest lift to come up for me, and I spent a good bit of time angry when I realized how much I had slid back. I went from pulling close to 600 to struggling with 450, so it was a big deal when I pulled 495 from a deficit against a band today. A really big deal. I kicked the platform away afterward, slapped a couple of 10s on the bar, and pulled 515. I won’t lie and say it was easy, but it came up. That’s huge for me right now. I feel pretty sure I could pull 535 if I weren’t dead from a full squat session already, and that gives me hope that I’ll actually get up over 550 at the meet. I really want that number. It also gives me hope that I’ll be up to 600 by the end of the year. The strength is a little slow coming back, but it is coming back.

I followed up with stiff-legged sumo deadlifts, but that was it. I was just out of time, and I had to get home to shower before I met my next client.

Even though I screwed up, it was a good day for me. 515 is hardly some great number, but a month ago I could barely pull 60 pounds less, and that makes me think I have another 20 or 30 pounds I can get back in the month I have left, and when your numbers are this low, you need every extra pound possible.

Friday, May 23

Max Effort Bench Day

This thing will kill you if you let itI’m still trying to shake off this deep and abiding exhaustion I’ve had since I got sick. The cold has passed, and most of my congestion has disappeared, but, damn, I am just beat. Still, nothing to do but push through it and grind it out.

The main movement today was floor presses against bands for a three max. I set up my Monster Mini short bands so that they had right at 80 lbs of tension at the top. I actually took the trouble to get a scale and find out how much tension they added. I worked up to 325 for three. I barely got up the third rep. Honestly, I was a little worried at the very top. I didn’t have a spotter, and the pins were set below chest level, so it would have sucked pretty hard to get stuck like that with bands pulling the bar down. But I powered through the last rep. so all was well. After that I took off the bands to do as many reps as possible with 325. I got six reps. 325 + 80 from the bands for three reps: I’m pretty happy with that.

The accessory work wasn’t so bad except for the three hundred reps of pulldowns. Dude, Jesse loves that volume work. At 250 reps of 180 I was blown. I went ahead and moved on to the straight bar curls. Now I feel stupid and weak for not grinding out the last 50, but I know at the time I was just tired and hurting. I can’t do that crap again, though. No one gets better without doing the work, and I have age and genetics working against me. All I have is my willingness to work harder than the guys competing against me. If I don’t do the work I don’t have anything.

Oh, in other news I ripped another pair of shorts today. Powerlifter problems.

Wednesday, May 21

Max Effort Squat Day

I was supposed to train yesterday, but I was too tired. I guess it’s the end of this bad cold I’ve had. Regardless, I could barely keep my eyes open, and I knew that any training I did would be more than half-assed, so I took the day off. I’m still pretty tired today, but it’s better than yesterday.

My main movement was safety squat bar good mornings for a max 3. I worked up to 285. My problem with heavy good mornings is that I feel like I start to cheat by dropping my hips so I turn it into a half squat. It’s hard to fight that urge. I see other people struggle and hitch and curve their back a lot. That’s not my problem. It feels weird. Anyway, my form felt like it was breaking really bad at 285, so I stopped there.

Then I had to do 80% for as many reps as possible. I don’t know how many reps I did. I just lost count. 12? 15? Something like that. I stopped more because I felt my form breaking bad again. This was followed by one good morning and one squat for as many reps as possible at 50%. I think I did something like 25 for 145. Honestly, it wasn’t my form or legs or back that was giving out. I just couldn’t breathe. Congestion, exhaustion, and simply shitty conditioning all came together to wipe me out.

The rest of my accessory work was mostly fine. Stiff-legged sumo deadlifts got hard after 10 reps. Again, I was just running out of steam and had a hard time catching my breath. 275 never seemed that bad for the weight itself. Everything else was ok, though I was mostly going through the motions at that point.

Overall, I don’t think it was a bad day. I’m just tired. I think the heavy good mornings were decent.  I should be back to 100% after the weekend.

Thursday, May 15

Max Effort Bench

The source of my defeatI’m suffering from a pretty bad cold, so I was worried that today was going to suck before I even went to the gym. Nailed it.

Today was pin presses for max three. When I did 315 I knew I was in trouble. It was heavy, and it shouldn’t have been. In February, before I got hurt, I was doing this same exercise for 385. I didn’t expect to hit that since I’m still working back up, but I did expect to get to 345 at the very least. That didn’t happen. I hit the wall at 325. I got the third rep up to lockout, but barely. I tried 330, but all I got up was two. The entire time my head was screaming. It was hurting from congestion already, but all the pushing just elevated the headache to a new level.

Disappointed, I moved on to my other exercises. See-saw presses went ok with 50s, but that’s still lame. I was supposed to do pulldowns, but two kids were alternating between sorta using the pulldown machine and just sitting there talking. I didn’t feel like messing with them, so I went to the assisted pullup machine and offset my weight by 100 lbs. I did not get my specified 300 reps. I churned out 100. By then my head just wouldn’t let up even when I finished a set. I called it a day after that and came home.

This is the first time since I’ve started working with Jesse Burdick that I just quit in the middle of my training session. I feel pretty crappy about it. At the same time, just sitting here looking at this screen makes my head hurt, so I guess it makes sense. It still sucks, though.

Man, what a shitty day.

Tuesday, May 13

Max Effort Squat

My main movement for today was Anderson squats. I was supposed to use chains up to a one rep max, but I only have about 50 pounds of chains. Instead I used short Average bands from EliteFTS and kept adding weight. This was only the second time I had ever done Anderson squats. The first time was worse than embarrassing. I maxed out at 335. I just couldn’t figure out how to get set up at the bottom of the squat. I could easily set up at the top and come down, rest the bar on the pins, then squat back up, but starting off at the bottom was just killing me. I guess I got better because I worked up to 425 + bands for this session. Better, though not great. Even so, I was exhausted by the time I finished.

The accessory work was sumo stiff-legged deads, low back extensions, and abs. I’ll admit that I half-assed the abs. I was just beat by the time I was finished. By the end of the day my entire body was sore. Seriously, I’ve never been so sore from any kind of squat. I take that to mean I’m doing something right.