A day’s less recovery than usual, but we’re good to go for the heavy monday 5×5.

We arrive and the gym is immediately insulting. My description of the following prompted my girlfriend to call me a “gym snob” – she’s probably right, but don’t we all find it annoying when we have a goal and a plan and someone else is using the squat rack? Every rack is taken by so-called “lads”. A lot of curling (for the love of God…) and much conversation is ongoing at each station. On my right, I notice a free spot and so head over and ask a fella who’s doing preacher curls nearby if he’s using the rack. He informs me he is and I stroll off and wait for another 5 minutes, all the while he’s standing in the rack, not actually exercising, but just looking at the weights with his arms crossed, occasionally picking on up and putting it down again. Next up is a tall, skinny individual who’s frankly lost, who after wandering around his rack a few times decides to call it quits and leaves the gym, having done some planks and a few press-ups. Eventually, we acquire an empty rack and realise there’s a 10kg and 2 5kg plates missing, as well as a 2.5kg. Where are they? God only knows (at this point). When we left the gym, I went on a mission and discovered the 10kg plate had migrated to the other end of the room as if by magic.

A few points from the unfortunately non-unique happenings of the day:

– If you have no idea what to do when you’re in the gym, go home. You are sucking up space required by people with goals. Go find a plan.
– If you’re training with no actual goal in mind, go home. Study, play chess, listen to music, play the accordion, collect stamps…or set a goal.
– Have some basic manners…if you take something, put it back where you found it – otherwise you risk being kicked in the nuts.
– Bicep curls in the squat rack…I promise…I will find you….and I will kill you.

Good luck.


Monday 5×5

The bench is missing from our rack – some oaf in a pink sweatshirt is using it. I’m not usually this judgemental, but he’s picking up weights, using them, then dropping them on the floor for someone else to pick up. On behalf of the ISE staff – go choke yourself. Anyway, no bench – first up it’s squats.

Sets all go to plan (though my 4th is admittedly shallow) but the 5th was spot on. Great depth, solid drive, confident, slow eccentrics – 5 reps I was genuinely happy with. Ross’ sets were much better than they have been – more depth (just shy of where he needs to be for test purposes) and a maintained drive with a smooth eccentric portion. He had psyched himself up (as had I) to a near tremor inducing level – more proof that some music, some strong ideals and some imagination can bring out an improved performance. I administered the same visualisation techniques as mentioned in the Day 12 post – further success!

Next up – bent over rows. I’m bored of saying it, but as usual, the progress was apparent and the technique successful. I’m going to pay more attention to this in coming weeks to see what can be tweeked.

Finally – bench press. It was a big day for myself, as it was a definitive marker in the regime. A week ago, 77.5kg was impossible for 5 repetitions. On Friday, it became possible, but it required a bit more rest after the 4th repetition. On day 13, it was possible without the exaggerated pause – a very clear gain. What’s more, I felt like I could’ve carried on lifting. Ross’ bench went to plan and he felt the same…re-testing the bench is going to be a treat.


Knowledge = Power

– Don’t bicep curl in the squat rack, I am deadly serious.
– No plan = no gym.
– No goal = no gym.
– Goal + Plan = Gym
– Motivate yourself in any way you can. Music, pride, history, self-deprecation – whatever.*
Gain Glory

* Grunting, shouting, swearing, slapping, yodeling = effective, but watch your surroundings. Trying it at Globo-gym = ban. Personally, I like to keep all of my motivation inside my own head – moving/shouting drain energy, plus it feels as though I have a ridiculous amount of tension just dying to explode from my body – the execution of the exercise feels like a very powerful release.


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