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To get you up to speed - this is about our Bench press training prep we do twice a week at the Metal Militia compound, Adirondack Barbell Club, Glens Falls, New York. Why? Well, because we are both training for the April 15th, 2006 APF Bench Wars which is held at the Fort William Henry Resort in beautiful Lake George, New York.
We are here to tell you that the weights and the intensity have been EXTREME every workout. It seems like every Friday night we kill ourselves in a fun and sadistic sort of way. Each Friday there is about 10 of us who show up for bench shirt workouts. Now, as you have already read in part I of this series, I re-tore my pec.
On our third workout I got an easy 520, and the following Friday's workout I got 500 for 3 reps but that was when I heard it, an uneasy crunching sound in my already torn pec area. I heard the sound on the first rep, but still did 2 more. I was upset that it happened but I rested for two weeks - no training at all, nothing, and I changed shirts for a tighter one, same single ply but a tighter fit.
On my return week back - I went up slowly with my numbers and did NO raw benching for warm-up... well one set with 135 for 5 and then raw 3-board presses with 225 and 315, then put my shirt on. Bill Crawford was able to assist me as he was done prepping for the Arnold - more about that later. Bill told me: only singles; which I talked over with him and totally agreed.
No more high volume rep sh!t when the weight gets heavy. After two weeks of relaxing I came back on the first day, with my shirt on and did 315 for 3 without touching, then went to 405 for 2, second rep hitting the groove; 455 for 1, and then 505 for 1. Nice! - No problems; all my sets actually felt good, strong and went up fast.
The following week was even better with two PR's in the gym - Bill was hyped and really pushed me. We did the same warm-up as above and then my numbers went as follows: 405 x 2, 495 x 1, 525 (PR) for 1, 545 (PR) x 1 and then I gave 585 a ride! I got the 585 half way up and had I been in the groove would have gone all the way up. Wow! Did it feel good!
Here's a few of my workouts:
First: Dynamic/Yoga Warm-up. (Yes, I do a running style Dynamic warm-up with yoga moves and static stretching for my warm-up.)
Friday 2/03/06 - WOW what a day - PR 520
- Bench press with shirt: 315 x 3, 405 x 3, 495 x 2, 520 x 1 (PR)
- Rack Lockouts (8 hole) up to 405 x 3
- Shoulder Lateral Raises 3x25x20
- Tricep Rope Pushdowns 4x150x8
- RAW Bench Press with 4 boards up to 405 for 3.
- RAW Bench Press with 3 boards up to 315 for 3.
- Shoulders: Side Lateral Raises 3x30x15
- Back: Pulldowns-to-the-front 4x180x8
- Biceps: Hammer Curls 4x45x6
Missed. We were both sick.
- RAW Bench Rack Lockouts (8 hole) up to 425 x 3
- Front Plate Raises 3 x 70 x 8
- D.B. Shoulder Shrugs 3x125x10
- Tricep Rope Pushdowns 4x150x8
- Shirt Day (Re-tore my pec)
- Shirt: 315 x 3, 405 x 3, 495 x1, 505 x 3 Rip! And it wasn't my shirt that went "rip."
Monday 2/24/06- Friday 3/3/06- Friday 3/10/06
Did not workout - Just did some light stretching; RELAXED PEC
Friday Shirt Day - My Return Back...
- Raw Bench: Bar x 5, 95 x 3, 115 x 3, 135 x 3, 185 x 1, 225 x 1
- Shirt: 315 x 2, 365 x 1, 405 x 1, 455 x 1 Done!
- Front Plate Raises 3 x 50 x 12 (hold two 25 pound plates)
- D.B. Shrugs 2 x failure reps
- One-arm Cable Triceps Pushdowns 5 x 80 x 8
We decided to increase the load slowly and see what happens on each rep; how I feel and if anything tries to rip again. I had to try to take it as far as possible today as I put too much work in not to try and do the meet if I could.
So, it went like this:
So far so good, no pain and no noise either. But no more Monday Bench work - I need more recovery time.
- Warm-up (Changed warm up - NO full rep Raw Bench - only on boards) 3 boards up to 315 and then shirt...
- 3 Boards: 135 x 3, 225 x 3, 315 x 1
- Shirt: 315 x 3, 405 x 2, 495 x 1, 525 x 1 (PR), 545 x 1 (PR), 585 x miss!
- Wow! Way cool - I did 545 and gave 585 a ride, didn't even feel that heavy.
Still every time I bench, when the load keeps increasing, I get a little nervous. I can't help it, its there, no matter how hard I try and block it out. Bill and Sebastian and many others at the compound feel I have the strength for 600. We'll see. Whatever happens at the meet, everything will be a PR no matter what numbers I do.
Yes, Curtis just might get that 600 at this meet. We'll see. Myself, I have been sick for what seems like an eternity and missing a whole lot more workouts than I would like. Which, by the way, I have only started to feel halfway decent in just the past 2 or 3 days.
Our training days have been pretty much like I've listed but they have now changed due to my being sick & I am just trying to get in as much as possible. The main days are Monday's, which have been our auxiliary days for bench press, and Fridays are the main benching day with shirt work.
Monday: Chest work (no bench shirts), shoulder work, triceps work and calves.
Tuesday: Leg day
Wednesday: Back and biceps day and abs and calves
Friday: Chest work (bench shirt day), some shoulder and triceps work.
Saturday & Sunday: off
- Bench Press with 4 boards up to 215 for 1.
- Bench Press with 3 boards up to 185 for 1.
- Lateral Raises 3x35x6
- Back Pulldowns 4x100x8 (this is a super heavy stack)
- Biceps Straight Bar Curls 45x10,55x10,65x8,70x8,80x6-8
- Biceps Hammer Curls 30x6,35x6,40x6
After that I did:
Missed again, but figured if I took the day off along with the weekend I would be OK for next week. WRONG!!!
- Bench Press with boards
4 boards up to 205x2
3 boards up to 185x2-3
4 boards up to 185x5-6
- Dumbbell shoulder press which I ran the rack - meaning it went like this:
1x40x6,35x to failure, 30x to failure, 25x to failure (there is no rest in that set). Rest for about 1.5 minutes then I repeated the whole process again.
- Shoulder lateral raises 3x25x8-10
- Triceps pushdowns 4x140x6-8 (this is a pretty heavy stack)
Then I moved on to:
WOW what a day. I was so incredibly sick this day - I had laid down to take a nap as I was running a very high fever with the shakes, I woke up not feeling much better, but at least not shaking anymore. I just could not miss anymore days so here is how it went:
Bench press with shirt went like this: 165x4 (easy), 185x4 (easy), 205x4 (easy), 2x225x2 (personal record). It is totally amazing that I actually managed to get a PR on the day that I was so incredibly sick - go figure.
We are back to my benching with boards day which went like this:
- 4 boards: 155x5, 185x5, 195x5, 205x4, 215x3, 225x2
- 3 boards: 135x5, 155x4, 2x185x2-3
- After that all I did was triceps pushdowns 4x140x8,10,12,15
- Bench press: 165x4, 185x3, 205x3, 225x3, 230(PR) x2, 235(PR) x2
- Front delt bar raises 45x8,55x8,60x10
- Seated rows for back 2x 160x15
- Single arm triceps pushdowns 35x15, 45x12, 2x50x8
Bench with shirt. I always put my shirt on at 165 so this is how it went:
Rack lockouts where you do each weight for 3 reps and immediately more weight is added and you continue to go up till you cannot move the bar then the weight is pulled off to a weight of 135 and you immediately repeat it. That would be considered 1 set.
My progression went like this 135x3, 155x3, 175x3, 195x3, 205x1 and then I repeated it and I was done.
- 4 board 155x4, 185x4, 205x3, 225x3, 230x2
- 3 board 135x4, 155x3, 185x3, 205x1
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press 25x12, 30x10, 40x8, 2x45x6
- Shoulder Front Bar Raise 55x8, 2x60x8,10
- Biceps Hammer Curl 30x12, 35x10, 40x6
Back to the board pressing on the bench again.
After this I moved on to some back, shoulder and arm training.
Well here is another incredible bench shirt day.
- Bench Press: 165x4, 185x3, 205x3, 225x2, 250(PR) x1
You should notice that I said my goal was to hopefully get 250 at the meet. Well, it is looking like I will be getting more than that if I can get my head and technique straight - I still have some issues with this sometimes. Curtis just wants to get his opener and 545 on the second attempt, everything after that, he says, is icing on the cake. We have a couple more weeks till the meet: a de-load day and an opener day...
Well that pretty much covers several weeks of benching with the Metal Militia. A personal note: we are enjoying living in the area. Twice now on the way to Friday training we've seen a Bald Eagle. Once flying around and the second time he/she was sitting in a tree right next to the road.
We were able to pull over on to the side of the road, roll down the window and get an EXTREMELY close up look at it - WAY COOL! We'll be back in a couple weeks with Training at the Compound Part III "The Final Chapter - Meet DAY!" and more workouts and pictures.
Arnold WPO Bench Update...
If you were at the Arnold and had a chance to watch the BIG numbers Benched then for sure you had a blast! Record attempts expected and done at the World Record Bench Bash and the WPO Super Open Championships. Our friends Zane and Sandy Mclausin and their daughter Little Evil were given an invite to do the Arnold WPO bench bash for cash... Cool!
Little Evil almost benched 100. Our friend Bill Crawford did a 521 and almost derailed Kennely who did a 526 at the meet. Bill got the second biggest bench in the WPO Super Heavyweights with a second place check.
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