Continuing to explore ways to press that don’t kill my shoulders….
Wendler 5/3/1 program, cycle 16 (mark 2), week 3
- Work Set – Bench Press (working max: 225#)
- 2x5x45 (warmup)
- 1x5x170 (work)
- Assistance – Bench Press
- 2 x 8 x 135
- 3 x 8/9/8 x 125/105/105 * swiss bar
- Assistance – Pull-ups (band assisted)
- 5 x 6 x BW
- Assistance – Stuff
- Flat Bench DB Flies
- JM Press
- Hammer Curls
- 3 sets, 8-15 reps, enough weight to make it hard; on 3rd set immediately drop weight and keep going to failure
- sled drags
- 8 runs, 75 yards each
- 75# on the sled
- 20 seconds rest every other run
- attach sled around hips, walk forward with large, purposeful strides
- Foam Rolling
No PR today, but it is progress along the continuum. It was interesting that I found myself very mentally into each rep, really focusing on form. Somehow today I really “locked” in terms of foot placement and leg drive. No it’s not pulling my feet back towards my ears and arching into a ball… my feet are “out in front” and pressing up and back. But Rippetoe seems to advocate that and screw it…. if that’s what it takes for me to get leg drive and decent arch without lifting my butt off the bench, so be it.
In between sets I found myself looking in the mirrors, imagining myself lying on the bench and going through the motions. I’m watching my arms, where my elbows go, tucking them, where things travel, where the bar should then end on my chest, etc.. No question the greater elbow tuck is welcome to my shoulders. In fact…. someone left a Swiss Bar at the gym (I think another patron, and the gym just has it on permanent loan). It’s been there a while and today it hit me to try it. Just like the prior squat session, when I did my assistance benching I didn’t care about weight or reps all that much, rather that I wanted to treat it like a “clinic” with every rep being under scrutiny. After a couple sets and then more examination of form in the mirror, I thought screw it — try the Swiss Bar because of how it positions the hands thus the arms/elbows.
I’m glad I did.
I like it and may well keep using it for my assistance pressing, to help emphasize anterior delts and triceps, and less shoulder stress.
That said, it was a little awkward. It balances very different in the hand, but it’s managable. I will get used to it. Also, the bar is 35# instead of the 45# of traditional olympic-sized bars, and the weights used will reflect that. So 125# on the swiss bar is a 45# plate on each side.
I also thought about switching away from JM Press to Dips. but thought better of it. I need the higher reps, I need to grow my triceps, and I need more bench-based pressing to help emphasize other aspects, like the leg drive and a solid foundation. Dips won’t give me that…. at least, not until I get much stronger.
Anyways, while it wasn’t a PR day, I think it was a good day in terms of the things I learned.
But next session…. deadlift…. I can and will set a true PR.