Squat Monday: Orthotics FTW & Surprise PR

AS I SAID: it’s been a long time since I squatted on a Monday. It’s been a fair while since I squatted anything you might call heavy… and it’s been even longer since I’ve been able to do it with no pain. That’s why tonight’s effort is worth a technical PR.

I used my SBD knee sleeves for everything from 120 onwards, and only belted up for the final set. My equipment served me well… and so did my orthotics. I was surprised by this, as on previous occasions I had worn them they’d felt nothing but weird and wrong. Now, under a loaded bar, they seemed to actually be useful. They seemed to distribute more tension across both quads. They also forced me to use my toes differently to how I have been. I don’t know how much of this is engineered and how much is placebo but I’ll definitely stick with them for squats going forward: they all felt deep and strong.

After I’d rested, I actually felt like repping out something a little lighter, and dropped it back to 160. But I underestimated how beaten I was from the previous triple, and racked it after the first rep. My squat endurance has greatly diminished and this was, after all, my first serious squat session in months. Next week I’ll get some more reps happening.

Back to pressing on Wednesdays, and I’m looking forward to it. That’s something that hasn’t seemed to diminish; my bench strength. Overhead still sucks, but with the delt isolations I’m incorporating into my pull and press routines, that should improve. I know I’ve said that before… my OHP strength has been my biggest weakness, when my knees are behaving themselves. Previous routines have yielded small improvements, and I may have to accept that I will never have a strong overhead press. But benching is fun.

Squats w/axle
20 kgs x 8
70 kgs x 8
120 kgs x 5
160 kgs x 3
180 kgs x 3
*210 kgs x 3 w/belt PR

Overhand BB bent-over rows
100 kgs x 10
110 kgs x 10
120 kgs x 6

20 kgs x 20
20 kgs x 15
20 kgs x 11

*Upon further consultation with Gabor, for my final set I made a serious misload. I thought I was working up to 190, but he says my money set was 210 kilograms. Here’s what I do remember: I loaded 2 reds p/side for 120, added a blue for 160, then added greens for 180. I thought about putting the 5s on top of that, but then decided to swap out the lighter plates for more reds, making it 3 reds p/side… I don’t remember past that. So, if Gabor’s recollection can be trusted, and I loaded blues on top instead of greens… then I just hit what has to be a new personal record at that weight. This makes (before the first time my knees busted) 200 x 8 cambered bar, 230 x 2 cambered bar (the second time my knees busted), and now 210 x 3 axle/straight bar.

I hope he’s right.

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