Front squats and bench presses

Hard to believe it's been 15 days since the last time I front squatted or bench pressed.  While not completely planned, the time off has had one benefit, my left shoulder has felt pretty good in everyday activities.  That is to say, it hasn't woken me up in the middle of the night or ached while driving to work every morning.  Hopefully, resumption of my bench pressing activities, even at once a week, won't cause those aches and pains to re-occur.

After feeling strong, if lacking endurance, during Wednesday's workout, I didn't expect I'd feel like I'd need to take it easy today so I went with my normal plan of working up to a heavy front squat single and then following up with 2-3 back-off work sets.   The plan went well as I was able to increase my repetition volume and also work up to my previous 1 rep max in the front squat of 305x1.  I actually felt like I had 315 in my but 305 was my planned top single (10 lbs more than my last top single 15 days ago) so I left some in the tank for next week.  I followed up with two work sets at 255 lbs, hitting 5 and 4 reps.  On my last set, I actually lost the 4th rep at the top and had to half-zercher  carry it into the pins.  That momentarily tweaked my shoulders so I called it a day for front squats.

Front squats:  135x10, 185x10, 225x5, 255x3, 275x3 (rep PR), 305x1 (tied previous 1 RM), 255x5, 255x4

I moved to bench presses next and while my shoulders didn't feel 100%, they still felt better than they've felt in a long time.  I did one set of 2 at 275 and then two back-off work sets with 245.  My shoulders felt good enough to do 5 and 4 reps with that weight.  I'm still a long ways off from what I can bench press when things are healthy but for the first time in a long time, it feels like my shoulders are starting to feel like they'll withstand and respond to a decent amount of bench pressing volume.  When I feel like they'll hold together for a multi-rep set (5-8) at a decent weight, I'll know they'll allow me to work doubles and triples with 90+ weights.  At the moment, they've felt okay for 1 or 2 reps but they feel like they shut down due to fatigue after that.  The sets of 4 and 5 reps with 245 were the first in a long time where it felt like everything held together as some degree of muscular exhaustion started to set in.  Whether due to adaptation from my overhead pressing or just a result of some extended rest, I'm not sure.  I'll know next week when I'm due to bench press again.

Bench Press:  45x10, 95x10, 135x5, 185x5, 225x3, 255x3, 275x2, 245x5, 245x4

While I was bench pressing, a kid was doing half squats to a box.   Although he was only doing about 155 lbs, he was hammering down on the box hard enough that I could feel the shock through the floor.  In addition to creating small earthquakes in the gym, the shock of dropping onto the box was causing his entire spine to buckle.   I debated internally whether or not I should say anything but after the third set of such abuse, I decided to say something.  I could tell immediately from his reaction that the first thing he's gonna do is post on some internet forum that some meathead told him box squats are going to hurt his back.  I don't know why I don't just keep my mouth shut.


  1. Craig, I saw a lady today doing half squats with a pad on the bar that was bigger that the throw pillows on my couch. I could tell that she was barely holding the bar because her fingers were opening and closing during the reps. I said nothing and I also feel bad, but I have also learned my lesson. I once had someone ask me for advice and then be agitated when I gave it.

  2. If you ever want to help someone with technique you have to package it very carefully. Appeal to what you think they want and never come across as criticizing, because once they're on the defensive there's no way you can help them.

    To help the young kid you could try something like "have you ever tried this paused variation? it's wicked for building explosive jumping power...etc" then demo it with a massive weight.

    Can't save everybody - good on you for trying Craig!

  3. Good morning Craig!
    It’s been a while since sending a reply to your posts. I’ve followed them and it appears as though you’re on track for your competition. Awesome!
    A couple of things before my winded post …. The chalk? Clean up your space! Every minute you spend training matters. Make sure the next person can do the same. As for the In-N-Out Burger fail in Las Vegas … sorry. There’s a In-N-Out up the street. I’ll gladly go there for you and you can live vicariously through my experience.
    Wanted to let you know that we attended the SPF Ironman Classic Pro/Am in Knoxville. What an awesome experience! For those who have never attended a meet and are involved in the sport you should make the effort to go to ANY Powerlifting meet. This was my third. Nothing inspires more than to watch these athletes. Months and years of training come down to 1 minute on the platform.
    My son competed on Saturday and finished with a 2100. This is a personal meet best for him. Me? I acted as head bit** and loved every minute of it. In those two days I was able to meet, and spend time with, Shane and Laura Sweatt, Jesse Rodgers, Louie Simmons, Dave Hoff, Jason Fry and many others. It’s impressive to witness the camaraderie that exists between all of the athletes. Shane Sweatt graciously acted as my son’s handler on Saturday. Again, what a great experience that was.
    Hope this raises the hair on the back of your neck knowing that you’ll soon be on the platform and that every training day you’re putting in matters.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Big T! I read your son's and other's reviews of that meet, sounded like an amazing event! 2100 lbs is an amazing amount of weight.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

SBD Lever belt review -- TL DR; it's good, very good.

New shoes reviewed, Adidas Drehkraft to replace my Adidas Power Perfect 2's

Indochino suit review, Part I: Chronic iron overload presents a challenge for online made to measure suits.