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Destroying strength PRs at just 178 pounds, and I can’t explain how.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


45 pound plate

The final workout of last week (Friday’s back/biceps/abs workout) was a good one, but I was feeling weak for the very first time this year. As I stated in Saturday’s blog, I decided that I wasn’t going to read too much into a single day where I was feeling sub-optimal.

On Saturday morning I was still feeling a less than 100%, but I still managed to break my personal record on the timed opening 3 mile mountain biking leg at Wekiwa. The rest of that ride was pretty spectacular, too.

So yesterday I mentioned that Lisa came home from Las Vegas with a bad flu (she’s feeling much better this morning, by the way!), and it was looking like I picked up whatever was ailing Lisa (slightly sore throat and a little congestion, but nothing serious–yet). The question was, would the flu take hold of me, or would I be able to shake it off?

Which brings us to yesterday’s leg workout.

I was feeling good at workout time, and was not experiencing any of the weakness that I felt at Friday’s workout. After seven straight weeks of adding weight to every exercise, I knew my leg workout was going to be a huge challenge. The weights I used for last week’s leg workout (every exercise) are the heaviest weights I’ve used since late 2009/early 2010.

Yesterday I added weight to every exercise for the eighth week in a row, and that includes +10 to my squats and +10 to my lunges…

…. and I hit my target reps on every exercise. Wow.

After almost a decade of tracking my diet, strength, health and overall fitness, surprises have become exceptionally rare. Well, color me baffled. I honestly don’t understand how this is happening. I’ve been in a caloric deficit for almost two months, I’ve been borderline overtraining with no days off, my body weight this morning is just 178.4 pounds, my last body fat reading (Sunday) is 6.9% and I’m lifting significantly more weight than I was lifting at 200+ pounds!

Obviously I’m feeling very good about this, but there’s one potential problem in the back of my mind: The weights I squatted and lunged with yesterday are both well past the weights that have caused my chronic lower back pain to flair up in the past. I didn’t feel any back pain while I was training yesterday, but I did feel some pain in the hours that followed. This morning my back, thankfully, feels perfectly fine. My problematic lower back is my one and only concern–especially because I’ll be adding +10 pounds to both of those lifts again next week. 🙂

Just typing that last sentence knowing what I lifted yesterday seems surreal.

Bring it on!

John Stone Fitness Comments

12 Responses to “Destroying strength PRs at just 178 pounds, and I can’t explain how.”
  1. That is kind of crazy John. Could you have just gotten ‘lazy’ (if I could use bigger quotes I would) with your lifts prior to this cut and now that you are going 110% your strength is just gaining like crazy?

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  2. You’re just getting that old man strength. /trollface

    Seriously though, it’s great that you can still expect to be better than you were before no matter how long you have been going at it.

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  3. Are you comparing the same rep range? ie…4 sets of 20 reps now versus then? If so, maybe your endurance/cardio improvements are what is causing the difference.

    If i tried to do a set of 20 rep squats to the point I was failing on the last rep, i’d probably puke.

    If rep range isn’t equivalent,then it is hard to compare.

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    • Yep, same reps, same workout. The key to the 320-rep leg workout being effective is that you reach muscular failure, or come very close to failure, by the final rep–especially on the last couple of sets.

      Can’t be cardio related because I’ve never stopped a set for cardio reasons.

      Muscular endurance improvements are a possibility, however in some cases I’m squatting and lunging more weight for 4×20 reps than I have for 12 reps at a higher body weight (although still nowhere near my personal bests at lower rep ranges).

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  4. Maybe it’s your body/genes/hormones finally realizing ‘OK guys! We’ve been through this crap before and you know he’s for real and isn’t going to quit so GET MOVING!’

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  5. I think your showing that training is cumulative, it is not a 3 month thing, it is a 9+ year thing. Congrats, please be careful with the back, you are so close to your goal.

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  6. John, have your upper body exercises gone up consistently as well? I experienced something similar last year when I started sprinting every single day. During this time, I increased weight on lower body exercises every single week as well. I hypothesized that my intense cardiovascular workouts contributed to this phenomenon. I suspect the same may be true with you. I think you came in with the thought that your weight training would support your biking activities. But I think your intense biking activity also had a positive impact on your weight lifting.

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