Day 151: Squat Stall

Day 151

Two days after my personal best squat, it was time to go at it again.  My whole back and legs have been aching for the past two days, so I didn’t know what to expect today at the gym.

It was quite a busy day for me at work and after.  The traffic on the road wasn’t as heavy as previous (an increasingly rare occurence), so I had enough time when I arrived at the mall (where the gym I go to is located) to pick up some greeting cards that I plan to send off overseas.  I have to mail these early tomorrow as it is another packed day of work activities.

Arriving at the gym a bit later than before, I did some stretches to prepare for an attempt to increase my 5X5 squat record.  Today (like the previous workout), I wasn’t able to perform my usual hurdle stretches as the gym I go to doesn’t have a squat cage and the single squat rack doesn’t have pins below waist level.   I could then only do hurdle stretches on the Smith machine, which was again occupied by somebody doing some exercise without actually needing to do it there.  Arrgh!

I loaded the bar for a total of 105kg, took some deep breaths, placed myself under the bar and unracked it.  For some reason, I felt the bar was heavier today.   I squatted down and with some difficulty, got one rep, but on the second rep, I couldn’t make it back up from just above the bottom position, so I was forced to place the bar on the side supports.  I couldn’t squat the bar back to my starting level as it was resting at a low point and the weight was already too heavy, so I had to raise the bar one side at a time using one pin at a time, until it was high enough for me to squat under it and squat it back up.

I tried for my second set; same result, followed by the same slow routine to get the bar back in position.   I tried again and again until I got to my fifth set, but never got over one rep.  I felt a bit angry at myself, but realized that the perhaps my legs haven’t quite recovered from my previous squats.  I was still feeling some pain when I try to stretch my left hip near top/inside of my thigh.  Doing a sub-maximal HIIT run last night probably didn’t help either.  Suffice it to say, I was disappointed, but vowed to be back!  I may need to cut back on my HIIT if I feel I’m not recovering enough, as my focus on this phase is strength.

There were no such problems with my bench press (5X5 at 70kg), hang cleans (5X5 at 55 kg), and pushups (3X5 at 25kg).  All of these progressed compared to my previous workouts, so that gave me some consolation.  After my StrongLifts 5X5 workout, I then did Flatten Your Abs core training.  Partly to let me be happier with todays workout (as I wasn’t too happy with my squats, as you can tell), I threw in three sets of ten of single-legged squats in between my core exercises.  I was able to complete the single-legged squats (and it brought at smile to my face), but it also confirmed that my left leg was the weak link in today’s squat attempts.

I should have a few days to let my legs recover.  I’ll make another attempt at 105 kg either  Sunday or Monday!

Eat clean, train hard, expect success!

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Day 151 - Front Day 151 - Back Day 151 - Side
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6 thoughts on “Day 151: Squat Stall

  1. Wow Ron, well… don’t get discouraged by the squat “stall” that’s just the way back squat is!! sometimes it has to do with your bodyweight (if you’re lighter, squat requires more effort.. don’t know why!).. also HIIT must be tiring your legs, why don’t you try a LISS CARDIO session before your squat days, maybe that will help… also… mmm… you can try like strength exercises (complementary) but hey! 105 are not easy!!!…. great workout Ron… you’re looking huge! give us some stats!

  2. Hey Ron – you’re going to stall eventually, especially as it takes time to build strength. Don’t give up though – your strength will continue to improve, and soon this barrier will seem like nothing! (But I know, the day after, this is probably all clear to you anyway;))

  3. Hi Celina, thanks for the advice. I also think the HIIT may be affecting my recovery, so I might try LISS next week and check if there is any difference. I also just got some new books from Amazon (including Maximum Strength by Eric Cressey) and will be reading it over the weekend to see what tips I can get to improve my strength even if I’m not following the Max Strength program yet.

    I’ll post progress comparison pics on Sunday (Day 56 of this current mission) together with some stats.

  4. Hi Mark, yes, I know it was inevitable that I’ll stall sometime. But no, I’m not giving up. It’s not a failure as long as I keep trying. I’ll find a way!

    Thanks for your support!

  5. Hi Ron, after I posted my comment I remembered something, since you’re looking technically for failure, I couldn’t avoid remembering how my team mates (the ones with a Bulgarian coach) they used to look for the 100% daily, their PBs everyday, so, reaching the top weight of the day, they lowered the weight for example, 10 kilos and tried 3×3 or different sets according to their coach’s opinion… Personally, I reached my best results in squats by doing lots of reps on the 80%, 85% and 90%, for example, if my workout sheet showed 4×2 on the 85% of my squat, I tried hard to do 2×4, in one of those I did 8 reps with my 87.5% which of course wasn’t that percentage anymore, so, I think you can try those options.. and I’m sure you’ll get great results.. you’re doing great anyway!!

  6. Pingback: Day 154: M2 Eight-Week Review « My Transformation

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