Today was my final heavy bench day with near maximal weights on the bar until I get on the platform. I was pleasantly surprised by how natural my setup and execution felt today and the reps seemed to come and go very well. I am happy that I am comfortable with my bench so I can focus on making the final necessary preparations to feel good on the squat and deadlift. Today’s training went as follows…
- Stretch and Warm-Up
- Bench Press
- Bar x5, 135×5, 185×5, 225×3, 275×3, 295×1, 315×1, 335×1, 350×1 (3 board)
- Dips – 3 Sets (15, 12, 12)
- Lat Pulldown – 2×15
- Cable Ab Pulldowns – 2×20
- Hammer Curls – 2×10
Aside from a minor slip up with 335, my reps were smooth and felt easy. At 335 I finally hit my sticking spot and was beginning to fight through it when I let myself get out of the groove and the bar slipped up above my shoulders and head. With my spotters help I fought through the spot but know it wouldn’t have gone up without help. I’m not discouraged by this though and just reinforces the importance of the technique improvements I have made since my last meet. While resting and rolling out after my session, I had some time to ponder my current injury situation and think of things I have changed and improved on since gaining my nagging injuries during this prep cycle and beyond. I thought I would put together a little list to kind of spell out what I have learned. (Disclaimer: I in no way claim to be an expert. I speak from my personal experience and what I have observed about myself and my body. I welcome constructive criticism and comments about anything I post.)
Things I learned from my first nagging injuries in meet prep.
- Shortening your warm up or skipping it entirely will set you up for failure. Whatever time you save by jumping into a workout will end up being doubled by the time you spend rehabbing the injury you WILL end up getting.
- Your muscles might be stronger but your joints still take the same beating. Learning proper technique and moving the weight the right way will save you down the road. I used to be able to shoulder press 90lb dumbbells for reps on OHP during high school. I can get 75lbs up there on a good day now. Years of just throwing the weight up really tore up my shoulders. I almost guarantee you this is why I’m having issues with my pinched nerves in my rear delts during low bar squats now as well.
- Don’t get discouraged. Powerlifting, Strongman, Weightlifting, Bodybuilding, etc… are all mental sports just as much as they are strength sports. I have to say, these last six weeks have been some of the least encouraging weeks I have had in my young powerlifting career. That being said, I understand that there will be bad times. If I could go back to the beginning of prep and say something to myself it would probable be to relax and not forget the work I have already put in. I have hit the numbers, I have foam rolled, stretched, researched, learned, and experienced way more than six weeks can take away from me. No matter what I do in two weeks when I step on the platform I will guarantee you it is my very best.
In the end, I can only control that which within my control. There is no point in micro-managing my own body and training in the hopes of a miraculous transformation which clears up all the little things that haven’t gone my way. I will do what is necessary to give me the best opportunity to succeed and continue that until I weigh in a week from this Friday morning. It is all too simple to look at your current situation and feel disappointed in yourself, wanting to go through a massive clearing house and changing everything you do. Here is a tip, most of what you are doing probably isn’t wrong. You’re not as screwed up as you think. Take a second to look back at what got you here, take a deep breath, and figure out where you went wrong. Fix those little things, recover, and carry on. Until next time!