THE FIRST PLATE

I’m still fresh from my “victory” of achieving a 1pl8 bench in under a month. 1pl8 is netspeak for 135lbs: a 45lbs. bar and a 45lbs. plate on either side.

My first bench press session had a top set of 105lbs. for two reps, if you’re simply comparing weight on the bar, that means I put 30lbs. on my bench press in 23 days.

I count from 95lbs. because those reps were much cleaner. When I say I’ve never benched before, it’s because I never benched to the standard I’ve learned these past few days. I benched flat-backed, feet anywhere, maybe my butt came up. I don’t know, it was a mess, and I’d hit the wall at 95lbs. and give up.

So, to me, I put 40lbs. on my bench press in 23 days. This post is going to deal solely with this workout.

Friday, August 17 (Day 18)

Bench Press

  • 50×5
  • 55×4
  • 85×3
  • 95×2
  • 100×1
  • 110×1
  • 115×1 @ 3 RIR

I upped the volume on my warm-ups a bit because I felt the bigger jumps in weight were “shocking” me a little too much, and I had a difficult time calming down between them.

I took a long rest between 110 and 115, about 8 minutes. My elbow was bothering me from the day before (likely due to poor squat form) and I felt “twitchy,” my mind was telling me to go but I just don’t like to start a set from a hyped-up place.

After I finished the 115lbs. it was decision time. I had four options:

  1. Stay at 130lbs and do more volume (either another rep or more drop sets)
  2. Increase to 131lbs, following the plan I’d been using the whole week.
  3. Increase to 132lbs, because 130 felt so easy.
  4. “Fuck it,” and try 135lbs. I have two days to recover, and all next week to increase by 1 pound per day to hit my goal before the end of the month.

Fuck It

  1. 135×1 @ 1
  2. 115×3 @ 2
  3. 105×4 @ 3

I kept my drop sets the same intensity from the last workout. I think moving forward, I’ll keep the idea of maintaining intensity on the drop sets.

I haven’t decided on the progression scheme for them yet. The simplest thing to do is just slap a fiver on them every week or two. Like if I feel I could have really gotten 5 reps or more on Fridays, next week add 5lbs. That kind of thing.

The top set is the most important to me but I need more volume to prevent me from stalling than just the top set. I’ll skip drop sets on days I feel particularly run down.

My whole mindset about my workout changed after getting the 135: I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I felt so good I didn’t want to risk anything to ruin it.

Squat

  • 45×8
  • 95×3
  • 135×2
  • 155×2
  • 185×1 @ 1

I cut warm-up volume for Squat considerably compared to the last workout. My legs wake up easier, and I felt I’d done enough to de-rust my form to be safe doing this lift.

My major problem after doing the 185 set is that my lower back felt tender, despite setting up correctly. I considered not even going for a top set increase.

Fuck It

  1. 200×1 @ 2

The one came up slow, but I was careful with my back positioning and I didn’t feel it at all during the rep. What I was mindful of instead what what my knees tried to do.

They didn’t cave, but if I had gone for those two reps in reserve, they would have been super dirty.

I don’t know if I want to incorporate Squatting every day after Benching, but I think at least twice a week could be good. If I did 5lbs every day next week I’d be squatting 2pl8 though, which is terribly tempting.

Exercises

I divide my workouts into two categories:

  1. Training
  2. Exercising

Training is the thing I’m actively working to improve. In this case, I’m training the Bench Press. I’m considering training the Squat, also.

Exercises are things I do to stave off muscular imbalances but are not important enough for me to feel badly if they do not progress. I’ll still try, but I don’t care.

If I’m doing cardio for fat loss, it’s exercise. If I’m preparing for an event, it’s training.

I decided on this day to keep my training vlogs about the training, and stopped recording my exercises.

Overhead Press

  1. 45×5
  2. 55×5
  3. 65×5
  4. 75×3
  5. 85×2
  6. 65×5
  7. 65×5
  8. 65×5
  9. 65×5

Really don’t know what I wanted to do here. I stalled at 85lbs. before I started benching every day and here I was again. I decided to just get 5×5 volume at 65lbs.

Maybe I’ll try 5×5 at 70lbs next week, with only a form warm-up beforehand. I should be physically warmed enough from benching and squatting anyway.

Lying Leg Curl

  1. 30×12
  2. 55×8
  3. 55×8
  4. 55×15 (AMRAP)

Having done Overhead Press I felt like my legs had enough rest to do some hamstring work, to help keep my knees in check.

This is basically the format I should be doing the Overhead Press in, too, except I won’t do an AMRAP set.

I just want to do sets of 8-12 on leg curls. Not decided on progression for this either. I’ll just try 60 next time and if I can’t get 8, I’ll revert to 55 for that workout and go for reps, I suppose.

Assisted Chin-Up

  1. 85×5
  2. 105×5
  3. 115×5
  4. 130×2
  5. 115×3
  6. 110×7

I intended to do a 5-rep test with this, but after I couldn’t get the 130×5 I realized I actually beat my 130×1 by a rep anyway. So I decided to just do two drop sets.

I think since I’m not training any pulls I should train this with a greater volume focus than intensity. Maybe try 115 for a top set of 9, since I got eight total reps at that weight in this workout and have two days of rest to adapt.

Keep the warm-up volume to something manageable, I do want to practice form on this exercise also.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

  1. 5×15
  2. 10×15
  3. 12.5×12
  4. 12.5×8
  5. 10×14

I decided that when I got less than 9 reps, I would drop the weight and do an AMRAP. I need to pay more respect to my lateral deltoids.