Week 31, July training recap

As expected, July was a good month of frequent training.  With no scheduled trips, holidays, or special occasions, I was able to get to the gym 17 times. It felt good to push the volume up a bit and by the end of the month, I could tell I was getting just to the point of needing to back off.  Next week will be a deload for recovery and then hopefully another 4-5 weeks of solid training.

I have been almost exclusively squatting high bar without my knee sleeves since November.  Since January, I had only squatted low bar twice, the most recent time in June with knee sleeves.  I decided to work up to a top single this month just to see where things were and I was pretty surprised to find I had made significant progress.  In June, I had worked up to a triple with 435 but since it was the first time handling anything heavier than 405 since November, I stopped there.  This month, I decided I'd push my top triple higher and then go further based on how solid I felt.

I ended up matching my top triple with 455 except that I left one or two reps in the tank and after doubling 475 (also a PR), I loaded up 495 for a single.  I had gotten 495x1 in the gym exactly two times in my life before this month.  Once about 7 yrs ago when I weighed 280 and was still dropping weight after becoming middle aged obese and once about 3 yrs ago at the end of a pre-meet peaking phase.  This time, weighing 235 and without peaking or trying to conserve energy beforehand, I hit 495x1 for two sets.  Since this felt like an "every day max" rather than a peaked, max arousal lift, I am optimistic that when I do start the pre-meet peaking phase prior to November's meet that I'll almost certainly be primed to surpass my competition best of 496 lbs.

set 2 of 495x1

Lifting summary for the month:

Squat:  13 sessions, 267 work reps, 71.2% average intensity

Bench Press:  9 sessions, 243 work reps, 77.2% average intensity, also included 275x9 rep PR

Deadlift:  9 sessions, 165 work reps, 68.2% average intensity

For deadlifts, I have been alternating between deficit and from the floor deadlifts.  For both types, I have been accentuating the eccentric phase so that the tempo is 0-1-3-0 for sets of 3.  Meaning, fast as possible concentric, 1 count hold at the top, 3 count eccentric to a soft touch/hold for a count, repeat 2 more times.

I've been doing them this way for two reasons.  One, the plates are 12-sided so if you let them down to rest fully, they rock or roll out of position so multiple rep sets are impractical.  Two, I've found that controlling the eccentric by mimicking the concentric phase positions really helps strengthen the concentric phase.  Sure, one doesn't have to worry about the eccentric phase in competition but in training, where this particular phase of my training is based on building the lift not training the competition lift, I'm taking advantage of the benefits of training the eccentric phase of the lift.

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