After my spectacular stall on the squat last Thursday, I had originally planned to take the rest of the week off and restart on Monday, with 3 days off. However, I couldn’t keep myself out of the gym. Still a bit aching, but with 8 hours of sleep under my belt, I went to the gym in the afternoon to start my ninth-week workouts.
This time, as it was a Sunday afternoon, the gym wasn’t crowded like it usually is on weekday evenings. I took my time doing warmups to prepare myself for the squat: bar duck-unders, hurdle stretches, and a few other hip and glute stretches. I had wanted to do some foam rolling as well, but there isn’t any at the gym. I do have one at home (which I bought in the US on one of my trips), so I might do the foam rolling bit on my non-workout days. It would be kinda hard to bring the 1.5m long 10cm diameter foam roller with me on public transport, especially considering that I usually do my workouts after work! Hmm, maybe I can try doing workouts before work?
Back to today… as I read in some books, before I do any heavy lifting at low reps, I should start out with a few reps at weights lighter than my workout weight. Since today I was doing 5X5 squats at 105kg, I did 5 reps with 55kg, 3 reps with 70kg, and 1 rep at 100kg before I loaded the bar to 105kg. Then, I put myself under the bar, breathed deeply, tightened my core, then, with a lot of effort (and grunting), got 5 good reps! That brought a smile to my face and noted down my actual reps in my training journal. I was still feeling a bit tight, so I spent the next three minutes of rest stretching my hips a bit more. The second set was smoother, but no less grunting.
All the noise I was generating got the attention of a trainer, who got interested in what I was doing. I explained I was doing a 5X5 strength program, and he volunteered to spot me. It turns out that before he joined the (commercial) gym just two weeks ago as a trainer, he was working out in a “hard-core” neighbourhood gym. Looks like he was happy that he found a serious trainer compared to most of the gym goers who were mostly just “working out”. I was happy to have somebody spot me and help me get the bar back up in case I reach failure in a set.
On the third, fourth, and fifth sets, I was able to do them all to five reps! My spotter just touched my hips when he felt I was about to fail on the fourth rep of the fourth and fifth sets, but it was all me! I was so happy that I just had to jump up (once) at the end of the fifth set.
Next were 5X5 barbell overhead presses at 47.5kg, my third attempt at this weight. Unfortunately however, I wasn’t able to complete 5X5 but ended up with 5, 5, 4, 4, 4. My new-found trainer-spotter helped me squeeze out a fifth rep on my last three sets, so I can’t say it was a 5X5. According the Mehdi, the StrongLifts 5X5 program’s author, I should deload by 10% the next time I have a go at it, so next OH press workout will be at 42.5kg.
No such problem on the 1X5 deadlift (120kg). My form was good though my grip started to slip a bit and had to adjust my grip quickly before the last two reps.
Chinups (3 sets to failure) completed my strength session today. In contrast to my previous chinups (done in Adelaide with a neutral grip), this time, the chinup bar only allowed a supinated grip. I was able to do 15, 10, and 8.
I finished my workout by doing exercises on Level 5 of the Flatten Your Abs program.
Nutrition was quite good today. I tried to eat a bit more than usual to get energy for the workout, and it seems to have worked.
Eat right, train hard, and expect success!
It’s the end of my eighth week on my current mission, so it’s time for a mini-review of my progress.
|Date||Total Mass (kg)||Body Fat%||Fat Mass (kg)||Lean Mass (kg)|
Here are comparison pics between Days 0 and 56.
And here is my post on Day 28 for comparison.