Update #6

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Update #5

I have not posted in a while, but plan on reporting updates more often.  My latest update of my one rep max progress was not good.  I struggled this past month:

  1. Trap Bar Dead-lift – one rep max is still at 280 lbs.  I had a terrible mental block this month on this lift.  I was unable to increase my max and in fact failed on each attempt to hit 280 again.
  2. Floor Press – one rep max still at 185 lbs.  I did manage to lift 185 but failed at 190.
  3. 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.  This is the only lift I succeeded in increasing.  This has been my least favorite lift during this experiment, but it has been my most successful.
  4. Dumbbell Shoulder Press – one rep max still at two 52.5 lb dumbbells.  This lift continues to be a disappointment.   I failed again on the 52.5 lb dumbbells this month.

This was definitely my least successful testing month.  I have been pushing hard all year to increase my strength and conditioning but a lot of things all came to a head last month.  I have not been doing very well with my recovery/sleep.  The last few months I have been going to bed much too late and struggling to wake up on time to train.  This has caused me to cut workouts short, postpone workouts and not be able to give my all.  I have also not been doing as well as I should with nutrition.  During the holidays both of these factors were ramped up quite a bit more.  On top of that I have been struggling with a cold the last few weeks that does not want to go away.  I am hopeful now that the cold seems to be winding down and the holidays are over I will be able to get back on track with all aspects of my training.  I am being cautious however as I have been noticing increased joint pain in my knees, back and shoulder.  These are all traditional trouble spots for me and I am concerned that too much low rep lifting could be the culprit.  I will give it another month on the current plan but if these issues continue I will be looking to alter my goals and training plan.  It is not worth pushing towards these goals if they are causing harm.  We’ll see how the next few weeks go.  Stay tuned…

Update #4

The most recent results of my one rep max progress:
  1. Trap Bar Dead-lift – one rep max up 10 lbs from last month; now at 280 lbs
  2. Floor Press – one rep max up 5 lbs from last month; now at 185 lbs
  3. Bulgarian Split Squat – one rep max at two 52.5 dumbbells plus 20 lb weighted vest.  I stayed put on this one.  I wanted to give myself one more month before attempting to increase.
  4. Dumbbell Shoulder Press – one rep max still at two 52.5 lb dumbbells.  This was a disappointment as I actually failed on the 52.5 lb dumbbells this month. I’ll try it again at my next testing day.

I am still on pace to hit all of my goals by next spring and am pleased with the progress I am making towards my strength gains.  I need to get more focused on my conditioning going forward.

Update #3

The most recent results of my one rep max progress:
  1. Trap Bar Dead-lift – one rep max up 10 lbs from last month; now at 270 lbs
  2. Floor Press – one rep max up 5 lbs from last month; now at 180 lbs
  3. Bulgarian Split Squat – one rep max at two 52.5 dumbbells plus 20 lb weighted vest.  Goal reached!
  4. Dumbbell Shoulder Press – one rep max at two 52.5 lb dumbbells

I am happy with my progress so far in terms of strength gains.

Rest week

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.

Disappointment in the Shoulder Press

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.

Update #2

Last week I tested my one rep max in my four core lifts again.  I had a successful week for three of the four lifts.

  1. Trap Bar Dead-lift – one rep max up 10 lbs from last month; now at 260 lbs
  2. Floor Press – one rep max up 5 lbs from last month; now at 175 lbs
  3. Bulgarian Split Squat – one rep max up 2.5 lbs from last month per dumbbell to two 52.5 dumbbells
  4. Dumbbell Shoulder Press – one rep max did not increase; still at two 52.5 lbs

I was obviously pleased with the three increases, but found the failure in the shoulder press discouraging.  I will write more about this in my next blog.