9 weeks out again, Bench press testing

Due to an apparent need to accommodate more lifters than expected, the powers that be decided to re-schedule the date of the Ontario Powerlifting Association's Classic Provincial Championships to December 15 and 16th instead of the originally scheduled November 24th.  Nothing like having to re-jig a training schedule right when the lifting is starting to get heavier.  On the plus side, I have three more weeks to get better at the lifts.  On the minus side, the meet is now very close to Christmas and alot of sub-junior and junior lifters are now finding the meet conflicts with exam schedules.  I'll be curious if the date change results in fewer lifters being available to lift.  That would be a shame since this is the first standalone Classic Provincial Championships.

With all that being said, I had an exceptionally good bench press session tonight.  If I were prone to the hand-wringing over good workouts and bad workouts that tends to trouble some newer lifters, I'd scour my life for anything that I had done differently:

  • Thankgiving weekend = full bloat
  • ate two foot-long meatball Subway sandwiches for lunch
  • listened to Alabama Thunderpussy instead of Amon Amarth during the workout
  • been eating alot of pumpkin seeds 
  • had a bit of a stomach ache during the workout (see item #2 above)
  • 9 training sessions over the past 5 weeks--lots of recovery time
Alas, too many things have changed and any one of them or some gordian combination of them might have been the reason.  Or...none of them mattered one bit.  That is probably the best answer.  Training sessions might be good, bad, or indifferent.  What matters is where progress over time trends.  I've seen crazy stuff on the internet where newbie lifters say the time to ditch a program for something more 'advanced' is when they are unable to add weight every workout (the fabled linear progression).  

There is more to evaluating a training session than simply recording the weight and repetitions.  The quality of the repetition matters.  Rarely is anything involving strength training going to be a single factor problem and I'll never understand the desire for so many to try to reduce it to such.  Just about any time one reviews a successful lifter's training past, inevitably it comes down to putting in the time with consistent effort and a desire to get better.  It's not program magic or BCAA's pre or post or peri workout or carb manipulation or any one single thing.  It's doing a lot of things with an eye towards quality and consistency.

So rant over.  With an extra three weeks of training, I decided that I'd test my bench press a bit.  I worked up to my normal work set of 3 with 295 and then singled to a training max.  315 felt very comfortable and 325 was easier than expected.  I missed 330--a bit of a surprise since 325 moved so smoothly but I'm not complaining.

I added the Titan Ram and did a triple with 335 and a single with 355 before dropping down to 315 for a final triple.  These were the heaviest weights I've handled with the Ram so far.  Hitting the Ram sets before doing my bench press volume definitely allowed me to attack the overload sets with less fatigued muscles.

I dropped down to 260 (80% of 325) for a set of 5 and then 245 for a set of 4 but by then my shoulders and triceps were shot from the singles and the Ram work.  I finished up with dips and two sets of high rep power flyes.  Felt great to hit the bench press muscles with heavy weights and some extra volume and the best thing is, no pain.  I'm really starting to thing 341 (155 kgs) is a good possibility for December 15/16.

Bench Press:  135x10, 185x10, 225x5, 255x3, 275x3, 295x3, 315x1, 325x1, 330x0
add Titan Ram:  335x3, 355x1, 315x3
Bench Press drop down sets:  260x5, 245x4

Dips:   10, 9, 8

Power Flyes:  35x20, 35x15

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