Week 3, foundation and a 3 plate widowmaker PR
Earlier today I was tagged to post a "workoutpout" picture. Since I don't really do selfies, the best I could do was crop a picture of me lifting something. As it happens, my face at the bottom of a squat is nearly indistinguishable from the face I make when I'm battling a bowel obstruction. So I posted that.
A fellow lifter asked what I was thinking at that point. Being too dimwitted to think of a snappy retort, I tried to answer truthfully. And it was surprising to me that I really don't think anything with much conviction at the bottom of a squat. Which is weird because the thought that goes through my mind when I'm on the platform and trying to pull a heavy deadlift off the floor is something like:
"DEAR MOTHER OF GOD!!!! WHY IS THIS SO HEAVY???????? PLEASE DON'T LET ME LEAVE THIS BAR ON THE FLOOR!!!!!!! PULL!!!! PUUUUULLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY'RE SEEING ME FAIL, PULL HARDER, PULL!!! PUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!"
That basically runs through my mind in the couple of seconds it takes to break the bar from the floor. It is literally panicked fear and survival instinct that allows me to start a tough pull.
I'm never certain it's going to leave the floor until it does.
As I thought of why a deadlift would incite a 'fight or flight' response and a squat wouldn't, especially since failing a squat is a much more precarious enterprise, I could only surmise that I fear being left behind more than I fear being smothered. I was never one of those toddlers that walked off on his own, in fact, I still have vivid childhood memories of that panicky fear when you lose sight of your mom in a store and you think you're on your own. So I guess that's why I'm more apt to not give up letting go versus trying to keep an immense weight from crushing me.
Anyways to make a long story short, my headspace was full of all kinds of pop psychology when I went to the gym tonight to squat. I hadn't been to the gym all week because I was dead tired and felt like I was on the verge of coming down with something so I certainly had no expectations of doing anything other than maintenance work. I was hoping to put in some decent work but my left hamstring was still irritated and I was a little frustrated that it wasn't getting better. Still, my warm up sets felt pretty good and when I did an easy set of 10 with 315, I immediately changed my plans from doing 5 sets of 10 to deciding to try a 315x20 widowmaker set. I'm pretty sure I had never done a set of 315x20 and if I had, it was so long ago that I couldn't remember. But, three plates is a pretty easy to remember milestone lift so I'm pretty sure I've never done it.
Aside from feeling especially good in my warm up sets, I figured that if there was a time for me to start beating on the squat with the same kind of fervor that I attack the deadlift, this was as good a time as any. So, I decided I'd do it. And I did. It was pretty hard but the limiting factor was my conditioning not my leg strength. It took about 45 seconds for me to remember to check my pulse but when I did, it was still 156. A minute later, it had only dropped to 138 and another minute later, 126. So it's pretty clear that I need to do some low intensity cardiovascular work in order to bolster my aerobic recovery capacity because my recovery after the first minute should be more like a 40-50 bpm drop, not 18.
In the training I had done for the past 8 months, I didn't do any work involving sets that took a minute or more. Because the vast majority of my work sets were 5 reps or less, average set duration was 30 seconds or less. So the energy systems used for a 20 rep set of squats were basically never taxed.
So overall, it was a pretty good workout for this phase of my training and it left me with some things that I'll need to incorporate into my training schedule going forward.
Squats: 135x5, 135x5, 225x5, low bar, 225x5, add belt, 315x10, 315x20 rep PR, 315x10
Leg press: 360x15x2 sets
Pulldowns: 150x10x2 sets
Adductor: 120x12x2 sets
Abductor: 120x12x2 sets