Felt a little sick lately (coughing, runny nose), but still trained as much and as hard as I could.
Here's a recap of this past week:
Bench Press: 315 lb x 10 x 3, 365 lb x 2 (2RM)
On Monday I did a bunch of paused bench presses with 315 lb for 10 sets and 3 reps a piece:
I'm getting a lot of practice with paused reps, so I think I'll be OK for the meet.
On Friday, originally I was planning on 370 lb for 2 reps, but after not setting any PRs so far this week, I decided to play it safe and go for 365 lb instead.
You'll notice in the videos that I'm using the crappy spring collars instead of my Ivanko COT-1.25. And there are no fractional plates on the bar. Usually I put on a couple of fractional plates to the bar before adding the 45s. Those collars weight 1.25 lb each, so the combined additional weight is 2.5 lb. I normally throw on 2.5 lb of fractional plates to the bar (so the total weight before the plates is 5 lb) so that my numbers look nicer.
365 lb felt pretty easy to be honest, and I'm going to try 370 lb x 2 this upcoming Friday.
Missed Squat PR's
On Wednesday I wanted to front squat 370 lb x 2, which would have been a 2RM, but after the first rep I felt a sharp pain in middle of my back, along the right side. After this, I stopped squatting.
I felt pain whenever I twisted my torso or took deep breaths. This pain persisted the next day, but it dulled quite a bit on Friday.
On Friday, I wanted to low bar squat 500 lb x 2, but missed on the 2nd rep:
I didn't feel that the mishap that I suffered from Wednesday had anything to do with missing the rep, but more like I felt tired after the first rep.
For squats, I'll just work on hitting my sets and reps and a moderate weight with speed from now on, and save any PRs for the platform in June.
Of all the lifts...I'm worried about the deadlift the most. Mainly because of using a hook grip with a weight that I'm not accustomed to, and I don't train the deadlift very often.
I'm aiming for 550 lb in the competition.
I have deadlifted 550 lb before with straps, and my best with a hook grip is 540 lb. However, last Friday, I couldn't even deadlift 530 lb.
My pain tolerance for my thumbs is higher now, from a combination of deadlifting with a hook grip, and doing L-sit chin ups with a hook grip. I hope the pain tolerance will be high enough.
I think they might be using a deadlift bar during the competition. Apparently that makes it easier lift the bar off the ground (hence, getting a bigger deadlift) because the bar is not as stiff (ie. whippier). Or something like that.
For my deadlift training, I'm just going to work up to a heavy-but-non-grindy single with a hook grip, and do few sets of 3 afterwards. Nothing special really, but hopefully I end up pulling 550 in June!
Belted Bench Press
I used to wear a belt when I benched, mainly just for the hell of it. I mean, I have a belt, might as well wear it right?
However, I stopped wearing a belt for bench presses because I didn't see the point, and sometimes the buckle would pop open as I inhaled into my chest making my stomach temporarily slimmer.
But after reading this Q&A by Jennifer Petrosino, it made me re-think and reconsider wearing a belt again.
The reverse grip bench press touches the body quite low (below the sternum/upper abs) compared to a regular bench press. When I wear a belt, I can reduce the range of motion because my gut is pushed up and out (meaning, the top part of my gut - below the sternum or upper abs area - sticks out more). I haven't measured it or taken any pictures, but it looks like I get about an inch less range of motion with a belt. I'll look into this further in the future and maybe write a post, but it does seem to work in reducing ROM without the need to have a insane arch.
Also, I'm working on breathing into my belly to make it stick out more before unracking and lowering the bar.
I think with the combination of wearing a belt, and breathing into my gut making it as huge as possible, my ROM will go down, and my bench press numbers will go up.