Phano's Training Journal 13

Today was my first day of training chest alone and I was actually feeling up to the challenge of not having a spotter. I began with flat bench press to get things going.

5/28/02 Tuesday-chest

Today was my first day of training chest alone and I was actually feeling up to the challenge of not having a spotter. I began with flat bench press to get things going. I put on 135 and banged out 15 easy reps. Then I put on 185 for another 10 reps. Finally, I slapped on 225 for another easy 10 reps. At this point, I thought I was warm but I really wasn't. It takes a lot more for me to get warm than it has in the past. I guess it's because my muscles are stronger now. For my first actual exercise, I performed flat dumbbell presses. I grabbed the 100s and banged out 12 easy reps. Man, what an improvement from last week. Next came 110s for a set of 5 solid reps and then a set of 4 reps. I think I rushed into these sets prematurely without watching my rest time. It's hard for me to gauge my rest time since I'm training on my own now. I guess I'll have to train with my wristwatch on again. For my final set, I dropped back down to 100s and completed only 5 reps. A disappointment, I might add.

Next came incline dumbbell press. Using 85s, I performed two sets of 8 reps. Not too bad but I was already tired. Damn, I'm getting too old to train like this. Next came machine bench press, one of my favorite exercises because all I have to do is push without worrying about controlling the weight. Using 160 lbs, I banged out a set of 9 reps and then a set of 8 reps. Now it was time to do some high cable crossovers, or so I thought. Some jackass was doing set after set of crossovers and doing them wrong. What a fucking joke! So I went to the pec deck machine to perform a set of butterflies. Using 160 lbs, I managed only 6 reps but they hurt like a bitch! Now that jackass had left the cable crossover machine, I could do my set. I set the pins at 60 lbs per side and banged out 15 reps. I wanted to do more and I felt completely drained. It was time to call it quits….for now.

5/29/02 Wednesday-back

Much to my delight, my chest was pretty sore today and I know that the soreness will get worse with time. Today was my back day and I was really looking forward to deadlifts, believe it or not. I arrived at the gym at 9:00 PM, my old time, with trance music blasting in my ears and motivation afire. I began the workout with front pull-ups doing only 2 sets of 10 reps. I just wanted to get the muscles warm a bit before I started the real work. Next came barbell rows using a medium and overhand grip. I put on 135 and performed light sets of 15 reps and then 10 reps. Next came 185 for 10 reps. I then put on 225 and banged out 12 reps. I felt as if I was in a groove on this set and the reps just seemed to come fairly easily. So for my next set, I increased the weight to 245 and banged out 8 reps. I could have done a few more but you know how much of a stickler I am for form. Next came seated cable rows using a v-bar grip. I set the pin at 140 lbs and banged out 12 easy reps. Next came 160 lbs for 10 reps. And finally, I set the pin at 180 lbs and banged out 6 reps. Yeah, my back was pretty fucking pumped and there was a tightness that wouldn't go away.

Now that the rowing motions were done, I felt it was time to really kick my own ass. As I made my way towards the deadlift area, thoughts of how heavy I wanted to go started reverberating in my mind. I started with 225 and 10 easy reps. Then came 315 for 6 more easy reps. Next came 365 for another 6 reps. As I was too lazy to take the 25s off the bar and reload it with 45s, I just stuck on additional 25s to make it an even 415 lbs. Pretty damn lazy, eh? As I tried to psyche myself up for this lift, I knew that if I got the first one up, then the rest would be fairly easy if and only if I managed to get in the groove. I ended up performing 9 reps total. Not too bad for training by myself. I think I could have gone 455 but I don't want to risk any type of injury at this point. I'll just save 455 for next week.

Now that I was nearly destroyed, I felt as if I should perform some pulldown movements. I started with curl grip pulldowns and set the pin at 140 lbs. I performed 10 reps here. Not too bad but I could tell that my back was nearly shot. I then increased the weight to 160 lbs where I performed 6 solid reps. I couldn't have budged that bar one more inch after completing the 6th rep. For my final exercise, I performed one set of front pulldowns using a fairly wide grip. I set the pin at 120 lbs and banged out 10 reps. I couldn't feel my back anymore so there was no point in performing an endless number of sets. So I just left.

5/30/02 Thursday-REST

5/31/02 Friday-REST

6/1/02 Saturday-shoulders/traps

I usually don't train on Saturdays, as you all know, but today was an exception. Since I took Thursday and Friday off, I felt an extreme desire to train. Today was shoulder day and I even decided to throw in some trap work in there since back training takes long enough already. I started this day with standing dumbbell side laterals as a warm up. I grabbed the 15s and performed 15 reps. Then I grabbed the 20s and performed another 15 reps. Finally, I grabbed the 25s and performed my last warm up set of 15 reps. My delts were already pumped after only 3 pre-exhaust sets.

Next came behind the neck press, my mass builder. I slapped on 135 and banged out 12 reps. Next came 185 for 9 reps. For my work set, I used 205 and managed 6 reps. Not too shabby, if you ask me. I'm improving little by little each week so I'm happy. Now it was time to do the ultimate shoulder exercise that will test the mettle of any lifter, standing dumbbell side lateral drop sets. Using 20s, 15s, and 10s, I performed a drop set of 10 reps, 10 reps and 10 more reps, respectively. This was actually pretty easy so I decided to go up in weight for my 2nd set. For my 2nd set, I used 25s, 20s, and 15s and the 10 rep scheme once again. I got to the 6th-7th rep on the last drop set with the 15s and I swear those dumbbells felt so fricking heavy! Somehow, I managed to dig deep and finish my set. My delts were so pumped that I couldn't even raise my arms to my side. I felt extremely wide but unfortunately, this was all in my mind.

Next came t-bar rear delt laterals. Starting with 45s, I banged out 10 warm up reps. Next came 50s for 15 reps and then 55s for 12 reps. My rear delts were tight and burning. I was getting an unbelievable pump! Next, I decided to do seated rear delt laterals. Using 55s, I managed 15 reps. I then increased the weight to 60s and still managed 12 reps. At least I know where I stand next time. Now I made my way to the machine shoulder press to really focus on my delts. I set the pin at 180 lbs and banged out 8 reps. I think I prematurely went into my 2nd set because I was only able to get 4 reps. I dropped the weight down to 150 lbs for my last set and managed 7 reps. Yes, I believe I definitely was training too fast. Now that shoulders were toasted, it was time to hit the traps. I grabbed the 100s to perform standing dumbbell shrugs using straps. I performed 3 sets of 15 reps all to positive failure. Next came upright rows, one of my past favorite exercises for the traps. I started with 95 lbs for 10 reps. Then I increased to 115 lbs for 10 reps. I finally went up to 135 lbs for 6 reps. All in all, definitely an excellent workout! I wish all of them were like this.

6/2/02 Sunday-arms

Ok, arm day is my least favorite day of them all. Why? It involves training two body parts and frankly, my attention span is very limited which makes training more than one body part a difficult task. Not to mention, it requires spending a little more time in the gym than normal. Regardless, I had a job to do and I wanted to do it right. I began today's workout with a little warming up on the bike and biceps, as usual. I started with standing barbell curls using a medium grip. For my first set, I used just the bar which weighs 45 lbs for 15 reps. Then it was 95 lbs for 10 reps. Finally, I put on 115 for 8 reps. My biceps were already pumped all to hell! What's strange about my biceps pump is that my forearms get pumped just as much if not more than my biceps do. I haven't quite figured out why yet but this could account for my forearm size.

My next exercise was e-z preacher curls using the steep side with a narrow grip. I put on 70 lbs and banged out 12 easy reps. Next it was 90 lbs for 6 reps to positive failure. I knew I could have done better so I decided to give 90 lbs another try but with a spotter. I managed 8 strong reps. It's amazing how much having a spotter helps both mentally and physically. Next came standing alternating dumbbell curls, one of my favorite past exercises. For my first set, I used 50s and managed 14 reps. For my second set, I used 60s and managed a grueling 10 reps. These hurt like a bitch but it takes a certain kind of mentality to withstand the pain and to go to failure.

My final biceps exercise was 1 arm preacher curls using the steep side of the preacher bench. I used a 45 lb dumbbell and managed 6 reps per arm on my first set. On my second set, I used the same 45 lb dumbbell and only managed 5 reps per side. Once again, I think I went prematurely. I need to keep track of my allowed rest time and take full advantage of it. I also need to keep telling myself that I'm not trying to finish my workouts in record time and I need to take full advantage of rest. Big weights equal big muscles! Now it was time to do some triceps work. Fortunately, this won't take long.

I begin with dips using only my bodyweight as a warm up. I performed a set of 20 reps and then a set of 15 reps making sure to stretch in between sets. Now it was time for my mass builder, close grip bench press. I load the bar up with 185 lbs and banged out 10 easy reps. Next came 225 for 8 easy reps. For my final set, I used 245 lbs for 8 reps. The bar just seemed to fly off my chest and into a groove making the set seem easier than it really was. I know it can be frustrating for a lifter to not be able to find that groove and the zone. If you can't find it, keep trying because you'll stumble across it someday. I promise.

For my final exercise, I performed reverse grip triceps pushdowns using an e-z bar. I set the pin at 200 lbs and banged out 2 sets of 10 reps to positive failure. That was all for me that day.