Day 16 (Part 1) – Lame times

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Bill Starr 5x5 Intermediate Programme
Tags: , , , , ,

Today was shite and good and everything in between. I’m a bit pissed off but anyway, here goes.

Ross napped ’til late (having slept very little the night before in order to fill in some paperwork that will never be read) and awoke feeling pretty crap. He hadn’t eaten much and wasn’t in the mood to train. Regardless, he went ahead with it. I’d had a good day – well fed, well watered and a decent sleep.

We get there and begin warming up (total body joint loosening, some gentle dynamic stretching and a few plyos) until a rack becomes free. By this point, seeing as our arrival was late, we had 30 minutes to complete our workout…not something we deemed possible.

We began with the biggest load of the day – Squats.

We were thoroughly warmed up and I felt all was going to plan. Beginning the squats was easy – I felt completely in power. Then, we hit a bump in the road that turns absolutely everything on its arse…

Ross is hits his 4th set (usually completed with relative ease) and gets to rep number 3 and can’t complete another rep – stopping just above parallel on rep 4, letting the safety bars catch the weight. This is weird. We spoke about it and he lets me know he’s not feeling it today at all. Keep in mind this is a dude who after being ill for 3 weeks stepped outside of his door on his first day of return to exercise and decided he’d run a marathon just for kicks – having never ran one before. “Giving up” isn’t an option – especially in a set that doesn’t go anywhere near maximum (15kgs less than the max  rep set of that day).

So what are the likely issues?

– Diet (barely eaten today, barely eaten over the weekend I’m told)
– Sleep (deprived + still in a drowsy state)

However, even at that, he can normally at least last until the final set. As such, we’re keeping an eye out – I’m thinking an illness may be looming around the corner.

I managed through and reached my final set. After some psyching, it was go time…

Rep 1 – Spot on
Rep 2 – Spot on
Rep 3 – Not perfect, but in bounds
Rep 4 – Spot on
Rep 5 – Did not reach parallel

Now, this pissed me right off. The overall set was solid, but being shy of an “excellent set” on the last rep made me want to throw a horse into a furnace. What’s worse – I thought I’d done fantastically until Ross told me about that last rep. I felt I’d performed an excellent set, whereas the last rep made it “OK” at best. Not something I was content with. To me, this indicated the value of having a training partner…my bets is I leaned further forward so as to take more weight on my back than in my legs – compensation, a cardinal sin and a technical blunder. Usually I’d complete another rep in order to make up for it, but my legs were genuinely hammered.

This issue made me take a look at my squat technique in more detail. I’m quite sure I have very poor thoracic extension (and general thoracic flexibility) as an old injury often causes my back to go into spasm if I over extend. This made thoracic extension flexibility drills dangerous for me…unfortunately, it’s just something I had to avoid or else I wouldn’t be walking for a few days. The resulting change means I have a less than perfect posture when squatting – lessening the weight I can shift and putting extra strain on my back/hips. Not ideal. To remedy this, I’m putting the tennis ball to good use. Time to start smashing my back with some myofascial release (rubbing your muscles with stuff – aiming deep into the muscle). While I’m at it, time to see a qualified physio…

Ross carried on to do a few reps at a reduced weight, but he wasn’t performing anywhere near optimum at all.

We  intended to carry on with the session, but ran out of time…
We’ll be back tomorrow to complete Day 16’s work.

Remember though – technique can always improve, but you absolutely have to work to the best of your ability within the technical abilities you DO have. What are you going to do otherwise? Just not exercise? The only way you’ll improve a technique is by doing that technique more often, as best you can, with a way of pointing out where you’re going wrong – mirrors, coaches, training partners, etc.


Day’s findings:

– Training partners can give you a real insight into your performance.
– Eat, sleep and be merry.
– Keep track of time…
– Technique can ALWAYS improve – do what you can, when you can and never sell yourself short.

Had I not discovered that last rep was off, I’d be as happy as larry at the moment. Instead, I’m sitting here thoroughly pissed off at my performance. I’m rectifying this on Friday in a vicious format.


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