That went well.

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 5
    • bar x 5
    • 95 x 5
    • 135 x 3
    • 165 x 1
    • 195 x 1
    • 225 x 1
    • 235 x 1

So today was about working up to determine an every day max (EDM) for my bench press.

I haven’t benched pressed in months, and it showed.

First, the incline pressing did not hurt at all. My bench PR is 240, and I know I could have blown by that today, if not for a few things which I’ll detail below.

The 235 went up pretty well, and all things considered, I think it will make a fair EDM. So for the upcoming Strong-15 cycle well… if Wendler did 15# in 3 cycles, I think it’d be fair for me to aim for 245# at the end of the Strong-15 cycle. That will be a 5# PR, and I know I can make it a solid PR.

So what went wrong today?

First, I hate benching like this. When I max out alone, I use the gym’s half-rack/pyramid thing and just put a flat bench in it. At least the catch rails are high enough (low enough?) that if I do fail and have to set things down (or if things came crashing down) it wouldn’t kill me and I do have enough room to wiggle out. But the pegs… one set is too low, I’d be almost half-repping it just to get in position. The other set is maybe an inch too high. I can get things in and out if I roll my shoulders forward, but that really sucks because I can’t start in a tight position — I have to unrack, then settle in, way in, and if I can’t get it right, it sucks.

Second, my grip. When I started doing inclines, I pulled my grip in. I used to bench with my ring finger on the rings. When I started inclines, I set my pinky just inside the rings (so inner edge of ring touches outer edge of pinky). That worked awesome for inclines. Well today I took that same grip, but found as the weight got heavier, my arms in the bicep and elbow region especially, were hurting like crazy. It got to a point where it was almost a struggle to lift a cup of water to my mouth to drink!! That’s not good. Well, upon reflection, it’s the grip. The closer grip, tucking the elbows in, the bar coming lower on the chest… all these things ended up making a more acute angle at the elbow. Now put 200# of pressure on it, and it was like my bicep was a walnut in a nut cracker. Even now as I type this up, they are still hurting. So this took something away. I was mentally distracted, and it was causing enough pain that I think my body was saying “uh… hey stupid! pain! means stop!”. I felt in terms of the lift itself, things were strong and I could have done more… but the pain was too great.

So… I’ll chalk it up as a -10% day. And if EDM is about what you can do even on those bad days, well here we are. Thus why I’m being conservative and only aiming for 245 at the end of the cycle.

Anyways, going to take Friday off and hit it hard on Monday.