Day 5 – Bench/Row

Posted: May 6, 2011 in The Ramping Method

Today was the 3 rep Bench/Bent-over rows session.

Full workout was aimed as follows:

Bench press – 3 rep maximum
Bent-over row – 3 rep maximum
Single leg squats – 8 reps, 3 sets
Single leg Romanian Deadlifts – 8 reps, 1 set (would have been 3, gym closure)

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The session was a big step-up from last week – a lot less frustration.

Bench – some lovely gains here. I managed to shift 85kgs 3 times (that’s my old one rep max, 3 times) compared to last week’s 2 reps. Ross managed 2/3 reps @ 90kgs (his old 1RM) which isn’t a gain from last week, however this was yet another session where he turned up under-fed and dehydrated. If this happens again, I’m going to kick him square in the balls. I adjusted my grip for a couple of sets following the max effort to match the power-lifting style made popular by the likes of Dave Tate. I found the wide grip placed a lot of pressure on my shoulder (an old injury) and as such don’t believe it to be the safest method for myself. I may never lift a complete true maximum in the bench press due to this, but I’d rather that than tear a rotator cuff. That said, I’m currently working on my shoulder mobility (evidently poor) which I feel may actually alleviate this issue.

Bent-over row – no sauna gym = less sweat = better grip. I also focus a lot more on gripping the bar as tightly as I could and feel I lifted much more powerfully…yet another rep showing the value of grip strength. I shifted 95kgs 3 times and managed the 100kg twice, narrowly missing the third rep. Ross started showing technical failures around the 85kg mark (his last fully managed set). However, those numbers in themselves are obvious gains – 5kgs above the old 1RMs moved 3 times (though 87.5 and 97.5 would likely be possible) – time constraints prevented us from investigating further.

With 15 minutes left, we hammered on with the single leg squats. We’re not maxing out on these, shifting only 12,20,30kgs in each set – these are as usual escalating with time as we learn the movements. These exercises will be taken a lot more seriously in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, we only managed one set before gym closure. Our own time keeping letting us down…

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The Knowledge:

– It’s only been a week, we can’t be sure if our regime is effective just yet, but we’ll find out over the coming weeks/months.
– If you put crap in you get crap out. If you put nothing in, you get nothing out. (Take that as “you are what you eat” but it can’t be applied to both diet and effort…and much more)
–  Grip strength is essential to maintaining a strong connection between your muscles and the object you’re attempting to move. Additional grip work can make all the difference if it’s a weakness. You may not even be aware that it’s preventing you from progressing – think while you train. When you’re Deadlifting, are you struggling to move the weight or hold it?
– Additional grip work can be performed with weighted pull-ups or specific equipment. (Search grip strength equipment for a whole host of examples, but Captains of Crush have been recommended to me in the past – cheers Abdulla)
– Make sure you’ve got plenty of time to complete your training session…

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