12 weeks out, day 1, bench press and eccentric only training

Missed deadlift day yesterday on account of the polar vortex and some car trouble with Vivian's car that had us waiting on call for a tow truck.  The weather was such that the call came at 8:30, right at about the 300 minute estimate on waiting time when Vivian made the original request to CAA.  Turns out that they sent a truck that only did dead battery calls and her particular issue required a tow truck.  That call eventually came at approx 0800 hrs the next day.  Needless to say, we didn't make it to the gym but instead caught up on some episodes of "American Horror Story, Coven".  Great series.  Can't wait for next season.

Staying on schedule, tonight was bench press day and I had planned on doing some overload work with the Titan Ram.  When I got to the gym, Dr. Mike was there doing some deadlift work.  He's always interested in seeing how my training has been going so I gave him the run down of the past 6 months and my meet prep plans for Nationals in April.  In between his sets he watched my bench presses and after my second set with the Titan Ram, he suggested I try some eccentric only reps.  He had noticed that I wasn't stable enough on set up and my bar path was inconsistent.

He coached my set up and lifted off/spotted some eccentric reps with assisted concentrics and then some eccentric-only singles.  By the end, I definitely felt much more stable and in control.  I did three triples with 255 to reinforce the groove and also work on concentric speed.  After the third set, Dr. Mike said that he thought I was good for 405 and that I should try an eccentric rep with an assisted concentric.

I was a bit skeptical since I've never done an eccentric only rep with 405 but I trusted his judgement while hoping that nothing broke.  Strangely, it didn't feel extremely heavy in my hands and while not easy to control the descent, it didn't come crashing down to my chest--something I thought could easily happen.  On the assisted concentric rep, I couldn't tell how much he was helping but more importantly, I didn't feel any specific strain anywhere.  It felt like my whole body had participated in the lift.

As I sit here typing up this workout about 90 minutes after the fact, I can feel my back and my lats, two areas Dr. Mike was cueing to stabilize the eccentric portion of the lift.  It was a very eye-opening experience since I would never have thought to try an eccentric only lift with 405, a weight that was 122% of my current 1 RM.  Dr. Mike thought that I had it in me to do a touch and go rep with 405 and that the only barrier was mental.  That was a very thought provoking idea and a good kick in the pants to make sure I'm not putting limitations on myself because of a lack of imagination.

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x10, 185x5, 225x5, 255x3, 275x2, 295x1

Titan Ram bench press:  all reps paused, 315x3, 335x2

Eccentric only bench press:  335x2 with assisted concentrics, 335x1x3 sets

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 255x3x3 sets

Eccentric only bench press:  405x1 with assisted concentric

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