The past couple of weeks have been pretty monumental for me. On top of a crazy busy work schedule, I hit two new PRs, one for my squat and the other for my deadlift. I didn’t plan on either of these things happening, and to be quite honest I never really put much stock in trying to set new records for myself or go for a 1 Rep Max. A lot of people who lift weights live and die by their 1RM, that’s just not me. As long as I feel like I’m stronger and I can see in my log book that I am progressively lifting heavier weight, I’m usually okay with that. Something got into me this week though (could be all the carbs the Easter Bunny made me consume). The need to push myself farther than ever came so organically, I couldn’t resist the urge to just go for it!
My first PR was on Leg Day last week. I had every intention of completing the same Heavy Leg Day I’ve been doing the past few weeks because I’m seeing great results from it and the rest of the Push/Pull/Leg split I’ve been doing.
In my head, I knew I was going to start with 175 lbs for my giant drop set of wide squats. Squatting that much weight was new to me, I had only attempted to complete 5 reps at that weight once before during the final weeks of the $100k Challenge. I say “attempted” because the last rep was almost a disaster and certainly qualifies as a “fail” in my book. As I was coming back up from my last rep, the bar slipped down my back in what seemed like slow motion, to the point where I couldn’t roll it back into position. I was just stuck in this weird bent over position with my arms sort of pinned uncomfortably behind me. I’m SO glad Justin was there to grab the bar before anything unfortunate happened. BTW, I recommend a squat rack or a buddy on days where you attempt push yourself to new limits!
Anyhow…back to the good stuff, my PR…I did reluctantly start with 175 despite last week’s failed attempt. I was nervous and a little scared to be perfectly honest. Justin was out of town, so it was just me and the squat rack! To my utter surprise, I finished my first set with no problems whatsoever and with an ease that was equally surprising. I was so taken aback at how easy it was I whipped out the video app on my iPad and recorded another set at 175 just to make sure I was completing all my squats correctly. I’ll be honest, I’m not totally comfortable posting this video here, but I’m going to do it anyways. Just know that I am completely embarrassed!
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The second set felt as good as the first, so I just kept going at 175 for all 5 sets! I felt like Super Woman afterwards. I remember just a few short months ago that 155 lbs was a huge challenge for me. How far I’ve come!
On a side note (I have to switch into my bitch-mode for a sec!)…Before any of you who know their way around a squat rack put their little “coaching” hats on…I know I am facing the wrong way, and I know the squat should be in front of me, not behind me. Taking the video was unexpected, so instead of recording five reps of my ass as the focal point of the video, I made an executive decision to face the other way. For those of you unfamiliar with how to use a squat rack, I would not recommend loading and unloading any amount of weight in any manner that requires you to walk backwards into it. It’s just not safe.
Enough of that! Let’s move on to my next PR….Deadlifts! I’m not a huge fan of deadlifts. I’m always scared I’m going to hurt myself. Plus, they are kind of a brut and manly exercise. If you have ever seen someone really going for a heavy deadlift, they are usually grunting or yelling with an uncomfortable intensity, and to be quite frank, once they actually lift the bar, they look like they are about to poop themselves! Regardless of the stigma I place on the exercise, I still try to incorporate them into my training. It’s one of the few lifts that truly force you to use your entire body to perform and are great for building overall strength and core stability.
Again, following the same Push/Pull/Leg split I’ve been doing was the plan of attack this week. So on Tuesday, I would open with deadlifts shooting for 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps. Here is the full workout…
I always like to start my deadlifts at the same weight I finished my squats from the last Leg Day. (I have no idea why I do this, I’ve just always done it that way.) So I knew 175 was weight I would go for. I learned from my new squat PR that when you’re having a good day, your having a good day, so when I lifted 175 for 10 reps with ease, I threw another couple plates on and went for 195 for another 10 reps. Even though Justin was in the gym with me that morning I kept my mouth shut and decided to not let him know I had just het a new PR at 195. I didn’t want anything to break my concentration because I wanted to go even bigger…215 lbs! I really wanted five reps, but I was done after two. It felt like my hands were splitting apart, it was crazy. Bottom line though, I lifted 215 pounds off the floor with nothing but my own strength and determination. That’s over 150% of my bodyweight. That’s pretty damn cool in my book….and I did it twice for two sets. Yay for me!
I have no idea if the weight that I lifted the last couple of weeks is “good” but I do know that it felt great and I am beyond proud of all the progress I’ve made. I love that I can still go into our gym and surprise myslef and push myself farther than I ever imagined. Lifting weights is so much fun!