Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bench presses

Yesterday's workout was 7x1 heavy bench presses, followed by this:

Rep scheme of 21-15-9, done for time:
Handstand push-ups

I have never been very good at bench presses.  Even when I was lifting on my own (this was when I was still focusing most of my training on running long distances), I did lots of squats and deadlifts, and less upper body pulling or pressing work.  My main thought, at that point in time, was that lifts that made my legs stronger would help me with my running and skiing, but upper body lifts would not help as much.  I didn't ignore upper body lifts, but I gave them less focus.  I would frequently use an upper body gym session as something to do when I was too tired to do more important stuff, like squats or deadlifts or sprints.  But, when I did upper body work, bench presses were usually part of that workout.

Along the way, I did manage to make some progress in the bench press, and I eventually got to 175 pounds.  I tried 185 a few times and never came close.  The gym where I was lifting at the time had no 2.5 pound wheels, so trying 180 wasn't an option.

When I started doing CrossFit just over two years ago, I stopped lifting on my own most of the time.  In the latter part of 2010, I went to CF 18 times and lifted on my own another 8 times.  In 2011, I went to CF 108 times and lifted on my own another 21 times.  This year, I've gone to CF 120 times and lifted on my own only 9 days.  So, my percentage of lifting workouts done on my own has gone from 31% for a partial year, to 15% for last year to 7% this year.  Those numbers are only relevant because I tend to bench press on my solo gym days away from CF a lot more than we do bench press at CrossFit.  This means, even fewer bench press days in the past couple years.

I also injured my shoulder late last February and the recovery has been somewhat slow.  But, in the past 6-8 weeks, it seems that the shoulder is doing a lot better.  Bench presses are no longer painful.  Until two months ago, I hadn't lifted over 95# in the bench press in quite a while.  But, then, I had a workout where I surprised myself by getting to 125#.  In another, I got to 155#.  So, last night, I had no idea what to expect.  So, I simply started at 125# and kept adding weight:

125, 135, 145, 155, 165, 175 (tying my old PR and it felt easy), and 185 (fairly easy).  We were about out of time but my lifting partner said I needed to do one more rep.  I got conservative here and tried 190.  I struggled a bit, but got it.  I am pretty sure I can do 200 pounds right now, if I do fewer total reps on the way to that number.  Considering how sore I was, getting a PR made me feel great.

For "Diane", I made some adjustments.  Instead of the prescribed 225# deadlifts, I opted for 185#.  I can't do handstand push-ups, so there were a few other options - band-assisted HSPUs, stinkbugs, barbell strict press, dumbbell strict press, etc.

I opted for 2x30# DB strict presses and finished in under 5 minutes.  My previous attempt at this workout had been in May and I was way faster this time, but I'd changed some parameters.  Overall, I think it was a better effort.

Tonight is 15 minutes of "work your weakness" aka "pick your poison".  I will probably do 5 burpees, every minute, on the minute, for 15 minutes.

After that, some running, box jumps and ball slams - a fairly fast workout that should challenge the lungs more than the the muscles.

Tomorrow is a rest day.

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