The craziest thing happened this week: all of my lifts felt amazing! I typically have one day per week where I have a killer workout, but this week the wheels were rollin.’ After complaining about my five sets of seven last week, I killed 'em this week.

 

 

This Week's Training

I did have to improvise on Friday. I got in my ten sets of squats, which felt surprisingly easy. I even threw in a training max since the squat felt so good. Then it was time for the bench press. 

 

"I would rather take my time and hit every rep with decent form than butcher my technique, miss reps, or skip sets."

Breaking Muscle Shop

One mistake I made when choosing my lifts for this cycle was overshooting my training max on my bench press. Your training max should be around 95% of your competition max, as the competition max is something you hit after a deload – where you’re fully rested and ready to psych up. My ego got the better of me, and I chose a training max too close to my competition max. 

 

RELATED: Why I Always Hit a Daily Training Max

 

I figured this out about the first week, when my chest was torn to pieces from lifting so heavy – but nonetheless, I kept chugging along. My ten sets of bench last week were harder than expected, but I just increased my rest time to ensure I got all of my reps in.

 

This week was a little different. I got to my ten sets of bench (195lb x 3 reps) and soon realized this would be a grind. I’m big on having confidence under the bar versus grinding out a rep with janky form (I’m assuming), so I opted to hit ten singles at the same weight instead. Powerlifters are one-rep athletes, so I always choose more sets of singles than fewer sets of doubles or triples. It may not have been what I wanted, but when you work in a rep range or follow a template, changes must always be made to accommodate yourself.

 

Rest Intervals

I didn’t miss any bench reps, and I didn’t feel defeated. Speaking of missing reps, I’ve included my rest intervals below for one of my workouts to further elaborate on my training philosophies.

 

Let’s take a look at Friday’s bench press rest times:

 

  1. 60 seconds
  2. 60 seconds
  3. 120 seconds
  4. 120 seconds
  5. 180 seconds
  6. 240 seconds
  7. 240 seconds

 

Above is how long I rested in between sets of bench, and this changes every week. I don’t rest a specific amount of time in between sets. I rest as needed. Shorter rest periods have been proven to build strength and size. The one thing I don't do is miss reps in the gym. I never take a rep in the gym unless I’m 100% confident I will hit it. I never have to second-guess my abilities, and I have more gym confidence. 

 

RELATED: How to Use EFT to Overcome Challenges in the Gym

 

Therefore, I rest until I know I can hit my next set. I would rather take my time and hit every rep with decent form than butcher my technique, miss reps, or skip sets. Listening to my body has been the most successful strategy for me, but everyone’s bodies and training goals are different.

 

Here’s my meat and potatoes for the week:

 

Monday

Squat

135 x 5 (4 warm up sets)

185 x 3

225 x 3

275 x 2

230 x 9 (4 working sets @ 70%+ 10lbs)

 

Bench

135 x 5 (4 warm up sets)

175 x 3

165 x 6 (6 working sets @ 70% + 5lbs)

 

Tuesday

Deadlift

135 x 5 (2 warm up sets)

225 x 3

255 x 1 (9 singles @ 65-70%)

 

Pendlay Rows

185 x 5 (5 sets)

 

Wednesday

Yoga

 

Thursday

Squat

135 x 5 (4 warm up sets)

185 x 3

225 x 3

275 x 2

245 x 7 (5 working sets @75% + 10lbs)

 

Bench

135 x 5 (4 warm up sets)

185 x 3

175 x 5 (7 working sets @ 75% + 5lbs)

 

Friday

Squat

135 x 5 (4 warm up sets)

185 x 3

225 x 3

275 x 2

260 x 5 (7 working sets @80% +10lbs)

 

Bench

135 x 5 (4 warm up sets)

185 x 3

205 x 2

185 x 4 (8 working sets @80% + 5lbs)

 

Saturday

Rest

 

Sunday

Squat

135 x 5 (4 warm up sets)

185 x 3

225 x 3

285 x 2

275 x 3 (10 working sets @85% + 10lbs)

295 x 1 (training max for the day)

 

Bench

135 x 5 (4 warm up sets)

185 x 3

205 x 2

195 x 1 (10 working sets 85% +5lbs)

205 x 1 (training max for the day)

 

My training week flew by, and most days felt easier than weeks prior, despite being heavier. I did have to change my lifts on Friday, but the improvisation was necessary.

 

The first three weeks and first wave of Smolov are in the books. Next week I’ll be testing my max on the squat and bench, and who knows, might even test my deadlift max. Stay active!

 

Ryan Seaver is a novice powerlifter who found his love for the sport after six years of going to the gym religiously. Follow Ryan's journals to learn how to get started as a competitive lifter.

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