This afternoon I had my first workout of the year. Instead of doing a StrongLifts 5X5 day straight through, I opted to substitute some speed work on both squats and deadlifts.
As before, I did my foam rolling at home before proceeding to the gym. There, I started by doing my mobility/stretching work. For speed work, I tried to follow one of the exercises in Maximum Strength, which recommends 10X2 at 50% of one-rep max (1RM). I don’t actually know my 1RM, but estimated based on my last 5X5 workout (5 reps at 115kg). Using this calculator, I ended up with around 65kg, so that’s what I loaded the bar to. As each set was relatively short (2 reps each), I only used a 30 to 40 second rest between sets. The feeling was certainly different from the heavy squats I have been doing; I was able to go deeper and just focused on my form and trying to go up as quickly as I can.
For my barbell overhead press, I went back to 5X5. The reason for this is that I was due to increase my loading to 50kg, which is a nice, round number 🙂 After doing progressively heavier warmup sets, I did my first set of 5 reps; quite heavy, but not too bad. I rested 2 minutes. By the second set, my shoulders were feeling the effort already, and on my fourth set, I really strained to finish my fifth rep. I even felt a slight strain on the right-hand side of my lower back as I tried to get past the sticking point and to lockout. I took a bit more time before my fifth set (3 minutes), and nailed my last set of 5! No strain on my back on that last set either!
For deadlifts, it opted to do speed work again. I did 8X2 at 75kg, with 30 to 40 seconds rest. Again, I tried to focus on form by moving through the hips, squeezing the glutes, and keeping my back straight. One thing I noticed is that my second reps seem to be better in form compared to my first reps. Sometime, I’ll have to ask somebody to take a video of how I do my deadlifts (and squats) so that I can analyse them better.
Lastly on my weight training program, there were chinups. My previous best over three sets was 34; this time I was able to do 37 (17, 11, and 9)! I think the lighter loading today on the deadlifts (which impacts the back, even the lats, heavily) may have something to do with it. Anyway, I’m not complaining as I set another PR there!
I followed those up by doing a new set of exercises from the Flatten Your Abs program’s Level 6. One of the exercises (Supine Hip Extension [One Leg]) was especially difficult to do. You lie supine with your shoulders on a swiss ball and your feet square on the ground. You raise one leg so that it’s straight, and then do something like a one-legged squat! I started with my left foot on the ground (my non-dominant side), and I fell off the ball a few times! Once I tried the right side, it was a little bit easier and I was able to find out how to get my muscles to coordinate themselves so that I don’t fall off. The book did warn that it’s a difficult exercise. I think I’ve found a new nemesis (remember the prone bridge on swiss ball?)
Nutrition today was good, though there was a delay in my fourth meal after my gym session took longer than planned. I think I should just go earlier next time if possible!
Eat right, train hard, and expect success!