Bench Press, Deadlifts, and Fit to Fulk

Decided to take a bit of a break on bench presses tonight and instead of doing paused reps with 295/285, I used 275 and did all the reps touch and go.  Basically I wanted to keep the volume up but reduce the intensity as a form of working deload.  That plan worked out pretty well, I was able to get in some good volume and a good number of repetitions.

This week was week 3 of a 4 week deadlift rotation where week 1 is based on 3-5 singles with something 90-95% of my gym 1 RM, week 2 is 3-5 sets of 5 reps with 85-90% of my gym 1 RM, and week 3 is 3 singles using the hook grip.  Week 4 is a no deadlift week and then the cycle resets starting with week 1 loads.

My goal for tonight's deadlift session was to work up to one heavyish single.  Sort of like a mock meet but at a much, much lower intensity.  The real goal is to start conditioning my thumbs for the hook grip while giving my back a bit of a rest going into the non-deadlifting week.  Tonight I worked up to two beltless singles with 495 and a belted single with 545.  The hook grip felt great and speed on all the reps was good.  My back was a bit twingy at lockout which is a sign I need to get more diligent with stretching my psoas/rectus femoris.

Speaking of diligence, I decided to take a 'progress' picture (or whatever the opposite of that is).  I'm not one to take many 'selfie' shirtless pics but it does help with objective assessment.  Not surprisingly, rather than bulking up, I have managed to fulk up.  That is, I fat bulked rather than muscle bulked.  Unlike teenagers and douchebros that are trying to gain weight and manage to get fat instead, I just got fat because I like to eat and diligence with staying on an eating strategy is not one of my strong points.

Fit to Fulk
When I took that picture in May 2010, my goal was to get down to 215 lbs.  That never happened.  That was as low as I got and then proceeded to slowly gain weight--mostly bad weight based on the photographic evidence until I got to the point where I am today.

When I originally dropped from 299 to 240, that was easy because I was eating huge amounts of fast food at every meal and not exercising at all.  Making very simple changes resulted in a huge reduction in caloric intake as well as increasing my energy output.  Getting from 240 to 228 was more challenging and thus I was not successful in maintaining it.  Going from 228 to my current 250 over the past 3 years was mostly a matter of eating an extra 4-8 non-home cooked meals a week.    Gaining the weight wasn't all bad as my lifts have increased over the past 3 years but not enough to justify it either.

So my goal, once again, is to lose the fulk while hopefully retaining as much of the strength as possible.  I'm pretty good at failing when it comes to weight loss goals but I'll take it a day at a time.  Today was a good day.

Bench Press:  all reps touch and go, 135x10, 185x10, 225x5, 275x7, 275x7, 275x6, 275x5, 275x5

Deadlift:  all reps with hook grip, 315x3, 405x3, 495x1, 495x1, add belt, 545x1

Barbell Shrugs:  405x10, 405x10

Kirk Shrugs:  225x6, 225x6, 225x6

EZ bar curls:  95x6, 95x6, 95x6   super-setted with standing overhead tricep extensions
Standing Overhead tricep extensions:  95x8, 95x8, 95x8

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