Week 5

Nov 19, 2012 – WORKOUT A (Squat, Bench Press, Barbell Row)

Squat
2×5 45 lbs.
3×5 75 lbs.
3×5 95 lbs.
5×5 120 lbs.

Bench
2×5 45 lbs.
5×5 90 lbs.
1×5 115 lbs.
1×3 135 lbs. (Tied PR)

Row
5×5 90 lbs.

Notes
Worst work out session in the 4+ weeks I have been following SL. I got to the gym late, didn’t make some guy was doing curls in the squat rack, so I took that time to try and stretch my shoulders. Been reading up on exercises to do, including the shoulder dislocators that Mehdi talks about. Spent about 10 minutes warming up and I was able to accomplish the dislocators without much trouble, just a slight bend in the right elbow. Unfortunately they were very painful to do. Make me wonder if I have another shoulder problem that prior to starting SL5x5.

With stretching out of the way, I did some back extensions before I headed to the squat rack. I did 8 warm up sets before getting to my work out weight of 120 lb on the squat. Even with an empty bar I was in excruciating pain. Not sure if this can be attributed to the stretching or not. I still had issues trying to get the proper grip and keep my hands, wrists and forearms in line.

I might have found a workable solution, maybe it’s the right one, I am not sure. I was able to grip the with little use of the thumb and keep the forearms in line with the wrist. This was the first time in 4 weeks I have been able to do this. Unfortunately the shoulder pain made squats very difficult tonight. Couple that with some right knee (ACL reconstruction in 2009) pain coming from my patella tendon and I did not feel good lifting at all. Even tried to get into a 3rd world squat and could not get out of it with the aid of the floor or pulling myself up.

Thankfully there were no issues with the bench press as I looked forward to that while doing squats. After a quick warm up I was able to do my work out weight of 90 lbs. I decided to try 115, which also was accomplished. I bumped it up again to 135 lbs., which could equal my PR to date. Like last time I was able to get 3 reps at 135 lbs. before I racked the weight. One more rep might have been too much, but I do see progress on the bench being made.

The rows also came easy tonight. I know I struggled with these just last week, but it’s my belief I was doing them incorrectly and rowing too high on my chest, instead of concentrating on hitting my xiphoid process, like on the bench press. If it were not for the continuing pain in my shoulders I would have bumped the weight up a few times and tried for a PR. I did not want to stay any longer than I had tonight, because the pain was really a downer during the entire time I was there.

I did spend 10 minutes doing dips, again unassisted this time and went with a 5×5. Only the last set got a big difficult, but I was able to get good extension in the dip and return to the starting position. It might be time to start looking at chins and pull ups being added.

Last great piece of news. Another SL Inner Circle user sent me a message. It seems we live about 10 minutes apart and he has offered to spend some time with me working on my form. That was the best news I came away with. I look forward to spending some time with him and getting some tips. Hopefully the pain I am having in my wrists and shoulders will be resolved with the help. Looking forward to meeting him.

Nov 21, 2012 – WORKOUT B (Squat, Overhead Press, Deadlift)

Squat
2×5 45 lbs.
3×5 65 lbs.
3×5 85 lbs.
5×5 125 lbs. (PR)
1×3 135 lbs. (PR)
1×2 150 lbs. (PR)

Press
5×5 75 lbs. (PR)

Deadlift
5×5 140 lbs. (PR)
1×3 160 lbs. (PR)
1×1 175 lbs. (PR)
1×1 185 lbs. (PR)
1×1 200 lbs. (PR)

NOTES
Following one of the worst days I had in the gym, I returned loaded with advice and tips on how to improve the problems I have encountered. What were the odds of another forum member on the SL Inner Circle living near me? Small, but as luck would have it I met Martin and he invited to give me some advice on my squats. I drove to his place and after the formalities, he provided some good advice and watched me perform a few squats.

I took that information, as well as about 30-45 minutes of video I watch of Mark Rippetoe. Lots of information in my head, but I was able to sort it out and I believe I made real progress today as I set 9 PRs (personal records), 5 of them on the deadlift!

After my warm up sets for the squat I was ready to do my 5×5 at 125 lbs. I have continued to have wrist and shoulder pain when doing squats. With the information I gained, I widened my stance and angled my feet out more. I also used a thumbless grip, which allowed me to keep my wrists in line with my forearms and relieve some of the wrist pain I had encountered. The shoulders still hurt, but I believe that is purely a flexibility issue and the more I work my shoulder the less they will bother me. I felt good doing 125 lbs., so I bumped the weight up by 10 lbs to 135 lbs. I was able to do 3 squats at that weight and still felt like I could increase the weight a bit more. I added another 15 lbs. for 150 lbs. and accomplished 2 squats. It all felt good and I moved on feeling good about how I squatted.

I didn’t warm up for the OHP (overhead press), but I had listened to a few words of wisdom from Rippetoe on the OHP. I was not doing it correctly and the bar was not moving straight up and back down. I did open my stance a bit and widen the grip a touch and kept the elbows vertical. Early last week I had struggled with 70 lbs. but today 75 lbs. was no problem. Again, hopefully it is the form that added to the success today. Then again, I think the day I did this last week was just an off day. Still much to learn about the OHP.

Much like the OHP, I spent even more time learning the deadlift from Rippetoe. He has an amazing amount of information that I was never aware of. So as I watched I tried to play back in my mind how I would perform the deadlift today at 130 lbs. Loaded the weight and the most notable change was the stance. I moved the stance so the bar was more over the middle of my foot, which required only a slight bend in the knees to have my shins touch the barbell. Even have the battle scars on my shins from barbell traveling up and down my shins and thighs.

I easily mastered 130 lbs. and decided to keep increasing the weight. I did 3 at 160 lbs, followed by 1 at 175 lbs., increased the weight again to 185 lbs and did one deadlift. My last lift would be 200 lbs. I loaded up the weight, took my stance and gripped the bar and made the pull. I was quite excited at what I had just accomplished!

Chances are I could have gone higher, but I still had further work to do, so I stopped. After I rested for a few minutes I did unassisted dips, 5×5 followed by 15 minutes of walking at 2.5 mph at a 15% incline. I left the gym pleased with this work out after a very disappoint work out on Monday. Still have more video to watch and I am looking to pick up Rippetoe’s book, Starting Strength.

Nov 23, 2012 – WORKOUT A (Squat, Bench Press, Barbell Row)

Squat
2×5 45 lbs.
3×5 75 lbs.
3×5 95 lbs.
5×5 130 lbs. (PR)
1×1 150 lbs. (PR)

Bench
2×5 45 lbs.
3×5 75 lbs
5×5 95 lbs. (PR)
1×5 115 lbs. (PR)
1×3 135 lbs. (PR)
1×1 145 lbs. (PR)
1×1 155 lbs. (PR)
Row
5×5 95 lbs.

Notes
Another strong day in the gym. I believe the squats are getting easier as the weight continues to increase, thanks in part to the adjustments I made in my last trip to the gym. The stance is a bit wider and more open, allowing the knees to push out easier, feeling more natural. The grip is now thumbless, allowing my to keep my wrists and forearms straight and I have a slight lean forward. These factors helped me achieve a two new PRs on the squat today, as I was able to do my 5×5 at 130 lbs. followed by a 1RM of 150 lbs.

I thought about continuing to add 10 lbs. to the bar, but the pain in my shoulder is really taking a toll. It doesn’t feel light tight muscles, but it might be tendonitis in the shoulder. It only hurt when I was squeeze my back together as I got under the bar. The actual exercise didn’t cause problems, but was still sore doing squats.

I made further progress on my bench today. I added 5 PRs to the mix with a 1RM at 155 lbs! The work weight of 95 was easy to get through with no problems. After that weight I did 5 reps at 115 lbs., 3 reps at 135 lbs before 1RM at 145 lbs. 155 lbs. It felt good to see I could bench that much so soon. I don’t ever recall a time I benched 155 lbs. Very good progress, but I can see I will start to have some struggles when I get to 135 lbs.

The rows were challenging. I was able to make it though all 5 sets with no problems. I believe my form to be adequate. I was going to watch some Rippetoe videos on the row before I left for the gym, but ran out of time. I feel as if my stance might be too far under the bar, but I did make it a point pull the shoulders and open the chest, while squeezing the shoulders together. That is where I hit a very sore spot. I believe it’s the pull exercises that are causing the problems in the shoulder, most notable in the rows and the dips I did.

All in all a great way to end week 5 and look forward to the weekend off before coming back strong on Monday. If I cannot stretch this pain out of my shoulder the next few days using Pete Egoscue’s book, Pain Free I might require a trip to the doctor. I don’t want to jump the gun here, if it is just stiffness or soreness associated with lifting weights. I was fairly active before I started this program 5 weeks ago and there was still an underlying pain in my shoulder. So that leads me to believe there is something else wrong.

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