an old dog might be learning a new trick

Whatever bug got into me the past week seems to be leaving and my strength and energy levels are coming back. Today's workout was a marked improvement over wednesday's struggle.

Significant sets were:

Squat: 375 (80% of 1 RM) X 3 reps, 395 X 2 sets of 2 reps All felt strong and powerful. Kept the volume low to ensure no relapses of whatever had been ailing me earlier.

Along with working with a new squat stance set up (feet pointed straighter ahead rather than turned out), I've been concentrating on a new power cue. Whereas in the past, I've simply concentrated on coming up chest first out of the hole in the squat, the last three workouts I've been concentrating on just raising my hips, Rippetoe-style. Since your body won't let you dump the weight over your head, your chest comes up naturally.

I had no impression of what this might do but I figured what I had been doing wasn't working very well so I had nothing to lose. Three sessions and 44 reps with 80% or more of my 1 RM later I think the results so far have been very interesting.

My quads are sore. For some reason I had thought that cue would cause more hip extension recruitment--Rippetoe calls it 'fixing hip drive'--but when I think about it again, I realize that the cue, for me, is all about knee extension--the hip extension acts in coordination with the knee extension to keep from dumping the weight over one's head. I think in my case, my sequencing was poor, causing me to use both knee extension and hip extension or hip drive inefficiently.

While I always knew my quads were weak in relation to my hip extensors, I never thought I wasn't fully recruiting them in the squat because all I've really ever done for my quads is squat and they're more developed than my hamstrings. I guess I've been wrong and I think 30 years into my weight training life, I might've learned something!

I'm going to give this a good run and see what happens. My squat has always been a weak lift and if I'm on the right track, improving my sequencing and improving quad recruitment should result in the ability to squat more weight.

And related to the 'old dog' part of this post title, as I was leaving the gym with Vivian, I remarked to her that I liked the hot, humid weather we've been having as it feels good on my joints. I described it as walking through a jacuzzi. I can remember even as recently as last year never enjoying hot, humid weather. I think it's a sign that I'm old! Now I get why seniors like to vacation or retire in Florida or Arizona. Aside from reduced risks of slipping and falling on ice, the heat must feel good on their bones too.


  1. Give it 6 or 7 years. The pain has only begun!


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