Next week, we are going to start a 10-12 week cycle focused on the Olympic lifts. This weekend, our gym is hosting a regional competition, Despite getting ready for both of those, our coach put together a very interesting workout schedule this week.
Basically, each day, we did one of the power lifts in a 5533-max sequence. On Monday, it was back squats, starting at 70% and ending at 90%. I lifted a little bit lighter than prescribed for reasons I'll mention below, but it was still a demanding workout - both mentally and physically. Doing max reps - essentially going to failure - on that last heavy set is taxing.
After the back squats, we did a short and simple metabolic segment - 10 minutes of mostly light weights or body-weight work.
Tuesday, we did a similar workout with strict presses. The exception was that after failing in the fifth set, we then proceeded, with no rest, to do max push presses. I managed to get 5 strict presses and then 8 more push presses and my shoulders were not happy about that.
Then, another short workout after the strength workout.
The pattern has repeated all week. Wednesday was front squats. Yesterday was the bench press, but after failing on the fifth set, you did three assisted reps. I managed 6 reps before failing, and on the third unassisted rep, my arms simply collapsed. I was done.
Because I'll be skiing all weekend and I've worked out for six straight days, today is a rest day. The movement tonight is deadlifts - one of my favorite lists. But, trying to do max reps at 375 pounds would probably crush me for skiing this weekend, so rest is a good idea.
In the past month or so, I've been deliberately decreasing some of my higher weight efforts at the gym. I started with the testosterone supplementation in late May, and after years of having low levels, I was shocked at how much of a difference I felt in the gym. From June through September and even into early October, it seemed like I could get a PR every workout. But, gains like this have to level out after a while, and I have been trying to be smart about avoiding injuries. So, a little over a month ago, I made a conscious effort to dial back some of the heavier lifts. I plan to continue that through the month of December, and then go back to pushing the weights a bit harder.
I am trying to be conscious that I'm using the supplemental testosterone because I have a deficiency in my body otherwise. I'm not using it for purely anabolic reasons, with the goal of getting "huge" or outrageously strong. If that was my entire focus, I think I'd be overlooking the other benefits of the medication, and trying to get something else from its use.
So, backing off for a bit makes some sense, especially as I transition into ski season. After I've been on skis for six weeks or so, and the holidays are past, I'll go back to a more focused strength bias in my workouts.
This weekend, I'm training younger instructors at the mountain. The group that I'll be working with is apparently a dozen or so high school aged girls. I need to convey to them that what we do has value far beyond just their students, that doing it well helps the rest of the ski school in the future, and that a job that takes up your entire weekend for the entire winter is fun and exciting and worth doing well every single day. In many ways, teaching ski lessons to children is way, way simpler than teaching other instructors how to teach. But, I'm looking forward to the challenge. And, we got a fair amount of natural snow at the mountain this week.