275 lb. bench press. Lifetime PR set. Goal met. Huzzah!
My previous best bench was 255 set back in July 2015. I don’t remember for sure, but I bet it wasn’t even a solid 255. But today? Solid.
I wasn’t sure how I wanted to work up, given all my arm and shoulder pain issues. My planning went conservative and I was going to do singles of: 195, 225, 245, 265. I figured 265 was still a PR, kept things conservative, and wouldn’t kill me. But I allowed myself to call an audible depending how things felt.
Warm-ups went fine. 195 went up solid. 225 went up solid. I kept telling myself that the descent will be slow — it’s how things have evolved for me. But then touch and explode! Drive the heels in, press up and back hard. With the 225 going up so well and easy, I had no qualms about taking 255. It was somewhat also the mental approach of yesterday: match the PR, then blow it away. 255 went up well, actually surprising me a bit as to how well it went up, so I knew 275 was in the bag.
Trouble is, with the 255 set my pain started to flare up. My arms (biceps, forearms, elbow “pocket”) were starting to ache hard. I put it out of my head. Just get psyched up, shut out the pain, and drive. I knew I had the strength, I was not feeling any instability or weakness from the pain — just the pain itself. So well, the pain will fade. I’ve been working for months for this, so I was willing to accept a little pain for a lot of gain.
275 went up well and clean, which I was really happy about. Only thing I didn’t like? It was over so quickly! I didn’t have time to just relish the moment. But it had to be. As I descended, it was properly slow and controlled, but I could start to feel the pain eeking through. Touch. Press! Lock-out. Rack. Quickly. Because I knew I was going to be in a world of hurt, and as soon as I let the adrenaline die down, oh yeah… suck. I stayed in the gym for a bit, just letting my arms hang and ache, then massaging, rolling, doing what I could to bring down the pain.
Some will say it was stupid, and maybe so. But I’ve been working for this, I knew it wasn’t going to be anything more than “superficial” pain (i.e. I wasn’t feeling the instability or really risking problems). And I also knew this would be the last heavy bench I did for some time — because I’ll be resetting and starting a new program/cycle, so I’m taking the moment. 🙂
Very happy. I mean, it’s “2.5 wheels”, and with my next (major) goal being 315 well…. it doesn’t seem so far away now. Should be do-able in 2017.
Submaximal work works. The 275 felt strong and who knows — I very well could have ground out something more. Most of my bench work tho? Lower weight and reps. I mean, last week was 240 for 7, the week prior 225 for 10. Yeah, part of me would like to have had a cycle of working up to some heavier singles to get used to it because it is a different groove. But yeah man — submax work works. Basically, don’t worry about testing your 1RM. If you’re progressing, you’re getting stronger.
- Bench Press
- bar x whatever
- 95 x 5
- 135 x 4
- 165 x 3
- 195 x 1
- 225 x 1
- 255 x 1
- 275 x 1 (1RM PR)