So I’m two months into the program, and things are continuing to go pretty well.
Mentally, I’m a little bit more beat up. Stress is definitely higher right now – with trying to get A&C completed, the gym continuing to grow, pushing the training and keeping the home life in check, recovery doesn’t feel as good this month as it did last month.
Physically, I can’t complain too much. As I mentioned before I’m trying to get my hips lined up better, and part of that process includes some pretty intensive stretching. Well, that’s caught up to me a bit. So after chatting with Bill this evening, I’m going to back off the long-duration stretches a bit, allow the tissue to heal, and replace them with some mobilizations courtesy of Mike the Intern.
Anyway, here are the results of the 2nd cycle:
Week 1 – 285×5 (no belt)
Week 2 – 300×8 (belt)
Week 3 – 315×6 (belt)
With all the stretching I’ve been doing, the squat technique feels a little hit-and-miss. Luckily, the key sets have been pretty good overall. I’ll be interested to see how things feel as I back off the stretches and move into the mobilizations for a few weeks.
Week 1 – 215×8
Week 2 – 225×6
Week 3 – 240×4
For really only benching hard for the last month or two, I’m not displeased with these numbers.
Does my bench still suck? Sure. But it’s sucked worse, trust me 😉
While it doesn’t really pertain directly to my bench, my upper back strength has gone way up. My chest-supported row and chin-up numbers are steadily climbing, so I anticipate a nice carryover to my bench stability and numbers in the near future.
One other thing I dropped from this cycle that I need to add back in is some sort of direct tricep work. I feel a lot stronger and stable when I have this in the programming, if for no other reason than I’m more stable in the upper portion of the lift.
I can’t even sugar coat this – my deadlift did not go as planned. I played around with very low rack pulls to see if that would allevaite the issue, but it felt pretty darn unnatural.
Now rather than whining about this and taking up knitting as a new hobby, I’ve got a multi-pronged approach to get it fixed:
– I’m going to get an international-level IPF level lifter to watch my technique later this week.
– I’m going to get some very specific soft-tissue work done to my upper right glute.
– The mobs should help this, too.
The big question now is, what’s next?
First off, I’m going to enjoy this down week and the fact that I don’t have to train hard for a few days!
My game plan (as of right now) is to back off on the long-duration stretches and see where I’m at and how my body feels. If I feel good in the next 7-10 days, I plan to run one more cycle of 5-3-1. At that point in time I actually have a whole week off from IFAST, in which time I’ll do a true unload week with some active recovery.
I think the next big step is to finally employ some of Mike Tuscherer’s stuff from his Reactive Training Manual. I love the 5-3-1, but my goal is to hit some specific numbers with regards to the powerlifts, and I feel like a more powerlifting specific program will get me there a bit quicker.
I’m getting off topic with this a bit, so I’ll save that discussion for a future blog.
Regardless, this program has definitely helped me get back into the game – I love the consistency and predictability of the program, and it’s definitely one I would recommend to anyone looking to get stronger.