This update is my last on the strength program I’ve been following this past year. After a year of working on low rep/one rep maxes my body and my mind have had enough. I will be moving my focus the next few months to my conditioning. I’ll continue strength training but the emphasis will be more on conditioning. I do not plan on doing any one rep maxes for a while.
- Trap Bar Dead-lift – Success! My goal last March was 300 lbs. My one rep max is up 10 lbs and now stands at 300. I have mixed feelings on this as I felt like I could have done more but my back was bothering me that morning and I decided not to push it. I think it was the right choice, but 300 moved pretty well and made me want to do more.
- Floor Press – Fail! My goal was 200 lbs and I finished at 185. This was very frustrating as I had been improving each month on this when suddenly I hit a wall and just couldn’t move forward anymore. I felt pretty good going in that day, but I just could not get past 185 lbs.
- Bulgarian Split Squat – Success! I surpassed my goal from last March. My goal was two 52.5 lb dumbbells plus a 20 lb weighted vest. I finished with a one rep max at two 52.5 dumbbells plus 20 lb weighted vest plus a five lb wrist weight on each wrist. I matched my personal record from the last couple of months but did not try to move forward.
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press – Success! I surpassed my goal on this one. The goal I set last March was 52.5 lb dumbbells. I ended this challenge with a one rep max now at two 52.5 lb dumbbells plus a three lb wrist weight on each wrist. I pushed hard to get a five lb wrist weight on each wrist, but just couldn’t do it.
Overall, I am very pleased with the progress I made this year. Of the four strength goals I set last March I met one, surpassed two and fell short of the fourth. I learned a lot, including when to make adjustments and changes. In my next blog I will write about some of the changes/corrections/adjustments I had to make to keep this strength program going. I plan to change my strength training over the coming months to include more variety and volume while putting the emphasis of on conditioning.
This month’s update of my one rep max progress was better than last month. I worked on my technique and tightened up my form and was able to improve.
- Trap Bar Dead-lift – one rep max is up 10 pounds and now stands at 290 lbs. I have been struggling lately with terribly sore knees and pain in my lower back. I know there are many things contributing to these including having little cartilage and no ACL in my left knee as well as arthritis in both knees. I also have a history of back issues. But I realized last month that the Trap Bar Dead-lift is putting extra stress on my knees which is causing me to use bad form contributing to my back issues. I shortened the range of motion last month by lifting off some scrap wood and noticed the pain in my knees was greatly reduced. I will be constructing some blocks to lift off of soon because I think without this I would have to abandon this lift. I will write more about this in the future.
- Floor Press – one rep max still at 185 lbs. I did manage to lift 185 but failed at 190. It felt harder this month than last; my form was not very good.
- Bulgarian Split Squat – one rep max at two 52.5 dumbbells plus 20 lb weighted vest plus a five-pound wrist weight on each wrist. Since I surpassed my original goal, I decided to stay put with this one. It was tough, but I felt that I could have done more.
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press – one rep max now at two 52.5 lb dumbbells plus a two pound wrist weight on each wrist. I worked on my form and technique this past month and I am cautiously optimistic that I am on the right course. I have thought that in the past with this lift so we shall see.
It felt good to make some progress this month. I am pleased that I was able to identify some issues, make adjustments and get back on track. I plan to write about some of these adjustments in the near future.
Sometimes it is necessary to take a break and or back off a bit. Sometimes those breaks/back off weeks are planned. Sometimes they are not.
A couple of weeks ago I had a back off week planned. Typically I have been still lifting and doing my conditioning on those weeks. But I normally lift much lighter and reduce the sets. I work on form and conditioning. During this back off week I didn’t lift at all and it wasn’t in the plan at all.
I missed the first day of the because we were away. No problem, I figured I would just pick it up on Tuesday. But Tuesday I slept in and woke up with a sore back. Wednesday arrived and I got in some conditioning. I slept in again though and only did half of what I was planning. I got some extra conditioning in that evening though at my son’s soccer practice (I am one of the coaches). Thursday I got in another conditioning workout but Friday and Saturday were off days.
In the past I would have been very upset that I didn’t get my workouts in. But I realized that sometimes you need those weeks. Sometimes your body is trying to tell you to slow down and rest. I am quite certain mine was telling me that. I suffered that week through some back issues, late nights and headaches.
After a week of backing off on my workouts, chiropractic adjustments and rest I was able to get back to my normal workouts last week and am feeling better. An important lesson to always remember is to listen to your body. It will help you in the long run.
Last week I saw an increase in three of the four lifts I am currently working on. As detailed in my previous blog post the trap bar dead-lift went up by 10 pounds, floor press went up by 5 pounds and the Bulgarian split squat went up by 2.5 pounds.
Unfortunately that streak ended last Friday when I did the dumbbell shoulder press. Last month I worked up to 50 pounds and hoped to move up to 52.5 pounds. That did not happen. I started with 40 pounds, moved up to 45 pounds for my next two sets and then got ready to match last months 50 pounds. As I got the dumbbells into position and attempted the lift it became obvious quickly that it wasn’t going to happen. The weights moved up about half way and then came right back down. I was angry and disappointed but knew there was no need to try again. It just wasn’t there on this day.
Sometimes in weight lifting this is how it goes. It is important to know when you have it and when you don’t and on this day I didn’t have it. I opted to regroup and try again next month. It isn’t worth pushing too hard and ending up injured.
It was a tough way to end what had been a successful week of lifting. But I know my limitations and knew it wasn’t worth getting hurt. I’m happy about the success I had last week and although disappointed I couldn’t even match my previous personal best, let alone improve it, am pleased with my overall progress.