Friday, October 9, 2009

Another lifting PR

OK, so it's easy to get a PR in the gym, mostly because there are so many different lifts you can do. But, last night's PR for a lift called the rack pull was very encouraging.

I haven't liked my recent scheduled Thursday workout, to be honest, because it seemed too easy. Last night, I decided to change it a bit, making it harder and thinking ahead to two of my goals for the winter.

My current best for the squat is 265 pounds and my best deadlift is 325 pounds. My goals for this winter are 315 for the squat and 405 for the deadlift. Those might sound like arbitrary numbers, but they are based on standard barbell and weight plate numbers. An Olympic barbell weighs 45 pounds. The plates that you add to the bar to add weight start at 2.5 pounds, and then go through 5, 10, 25, 35 and 45. There are 100 pound plates used by super strongmen and for things like leg presses where even mortals can push a lot of weight around. My gym has only one set of 100 pounders and they rarely get used.

So, the 315 pound goal for the squat is the bar plus three 45 pounders on each side. The 405 pound goal is the bar plus 4 of the 45 pounders on each side.

I started last night with alternating forward and reverse lunges, using a pair of 45 pound dumbbells. I did 6 sets of 3 reps each with long rest. Next, I did pistols - 4 x 10 on each side. I'm getting better at these week by week right now. They are basically single leg squats and I'm doing just my bodyweight with them so far. Balance alone is an issue for this lift.

After those two lifts, I decided to deviate from the planned workout. Next, I moved to the power rack for some squats. My current schedule has me doing front squats but no back squats. I started at 135 pounds and 5 reps. Then, 155 pounds and 5 reps. Then, 185 x 5, 205 x 3, and 225 x 2. I hadn't been above 200 for squats recently and the last two sets were tough. I've got a long way to go to get to 315.

Next, I did some rack pulls, which are partial deadlifts. Rack pulls are basically the upper half of a deadlift, so the toughest part of the deadlift - getting the bar off the floor - is skipped. I started at 245 and moved up to 335, which I'd done last week. This week 335 seemed easier than a week ago, so I tried 355 and nailed two reps. That's the most weight I've ever lifted for any distance and it felt pretty good. Rack pulls work on grip strength and lat strength and are helpful when getting ready for heavier deadlifts. Through the winter, I'll use them frequently to help get ready for that 405 pound deadlift.

Today, I'll do some upper body lifting and then I'm planning an easy 10 miler tomorrow.

I'll be thinking good thoughts for my friends Dr. Andy and Laurel Valley at their 100 miler this weekend.

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