Bench Day found me in good spirits and having slept in until late morning. I drank my protein and trundled over to the gym to confront the iron. More below the fold.
- 20 minutes on the elliptical
- Leg curls and extensions, with the weight increased once more
- Leg Presses, though only 3×10 at 405, rather than the higher volume from last week
- Back extensions, 3×10 at 305, with special attention to smoothness and form
- Benchies! I went with higher weight and 3 rep sets this time, doing standard reps (no stops on the chest) with 275, 275, 295 narrow, then 315 middle, then 315, 315 wide. I imagine that I’ll need to stay with the higher weight if I’m to prepare for some sort of run at a good max.
- Pendlay rows, sets of 3 for something like six or seven sets with 225. Long term goal is to be able to pull 315 with good form, but that’s a ways off.
- Butterflies–I was able to significantly increase my weight for this one, simply by changing the way I get the weight into position. Semi ashamed to say that I only happened upon this trick after watching a Jay Cutler video. Not that I have anything against Jay…it’s just that I should have thought of this without anyone’s help. Life is harder when you’re dumb, I suppose.
- Reverse flies–Staying the same, but this is more a form and full contraction move, whereas the rows really show the muscles the weight. I think doing these is helping my shoulder conditioning. That, and doing shoulder dislocation stretches at least twice a week.
- To close, I did some cable arm curls and extensions, just because arms are important to have when hoisting things, too. And for vanity. Can’t forget the vanity.
After action report: Short of deadlifts, nothing seems to make me feel as strong and accomplished the next day as these Pendlay rows. My whole back just feels formidable. I have also noticed that I’m getting a lot less tweaking out of my knee joints of late. I think that my knees are finally starting to get into condition. Are they perfect? Far from it. I’ve done some damage to them, and they’re always going to be creaky. That said, they are certainly bearing up well under the workload. Of everything about my physique, I think that my hips, thighs and glutes have benefited the most from my workouts in the last five months. My thighs are palpably different than they were. In my youth, I had thighs of almost disproportionate girth, and they were solid as fence posts. In recent years, they had become flabby. They still have a ways to go, but they are far harder than they were, much to the danger of my trousers. Although I’m not skinny, or a fitness model, or even particularly groundbreaking in my strength numbers, I’m not unhappy with the results so far. Good stuff is happening under there. Productive stuff.
On the Nutrition Front: Due to a few little dietary complications I have to consider, it’s sometimes hard for me to consistently take in as much protein as I’d like, especially for increasing strength and changing body composition. I’m a big guy, and taking in hundreds of grams of protein in a day is a challenge, even if you don’t have to watch your meat intake, as I do.
I’ve been hesitant to get involved with a lot of supplements, and have thus far only taken a shot of hydrolyzed collagen protein as a bolster before workouts. Well, I’ve decided to try whey protein in my shakes and see if that will improve my recovery times and results. I have just begun to use EAS 100% Whey powder, and thus far I’m pleased with the palatability, at the least. I got the vanilla, since I think it’s easier to mix it with a variety of different things. I usually have fruit smoothies every day or two anyway, so I figured I could just dump some protein in, and that would be easy. In point of fact, it HAS been easy so far. The EAS stuff tastes fine, mixes well, and has not caused any weird gastric reactions. It is reasonable in price, and if I see an improvement in energy, recuperation, and results, I’ll keep at it, since it’s available at the big box store I use. I’ll keep you in the loop.