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Yesterday’s leg workout was insane; New strength personal records.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


As I close in on the end of my 2012 cut, I am continuing to carefully monitor my strength and energy. For several reasons, I knew yesterday’s leg workout was going to be an important litmus test along those lines…

The squat and deadlift area of my home gym.

The squat and deadlift area of my home gym.

First of all, last week’s leg workout (click the link for the actual workout I’m doing) was outstanding in every regard. I set strength personal records for my body weight on every single exercise, and it was truly one of the most challenging and grueling workouts I’ve ever done. Besting last week’s performance was going to be an incredible personal challenge.

Also, I was a little concerned about my sometimes problematic lower back. I knew I was going to be adding 10 more pounds to my squats (this is the 10th straight week in which I’ve done so), and the weight I’m squatting right now is significantly greater than weights that have caused my lower back to flame out in the past.

Finally, over the weekend I worked a total of more than 20 hours doing manual labor out in the yard… and I did that yard work after performing 45 minutes of cardio on both mornings.

While the deck may have seemed stacked against me, I was actually feeling really good as my workout time approached. Part of the reason for that is I went to bed on Sunday night shortly before 9:00 PM, and I slept until 7:00 AM. I needed every last second of that sleep.

On the pre-exhaust sets (4×20 leg extensions, 4×20 lying leg curls) I added 5 more pounds to each exercise. I reached muscular failure on the final two sets of leg extensions (20/20/18/17), but hit my target reps on the lying leg curls–both new strength personal records.

It was time to squat. I slapped on another 10 pounds over last week’s record-breaking weight, and prepared for battle.

Set one: 20 reps.

Set two: 20 reps. I have no idea how I got the last three reps up. I barely remember them.

Set three: 17.5 reps. My legs gave out halfway up the 18th rep, and I was saved by the safety bars.

Set four: 15.5 reps. I started to feel the all-too-familiar clamping pain in my lower back as I struggled to complete the 16th rep, and let the bar go.

I truly gave everything I had, and I set a new personal record. Because I didn’t hit my target reps I won’t be adding weight to my squats next week, but I’m determined to increase my reps.

Finally, after all that, it was time for lunges. I used the same weight as last week (I reached total muscular failure on the final set last week), and managed 20/20/20/18 before my legs gave out. That’s three more reps than I was able to do last week, and a new personal record.

Clearly my strength is showing no signs of abatement, especially since that incredible workout took place the day after two long days of difficult manual labor.

I’ve been training seven days per week while in a caloric deficit for almost 10 straight weeks now, and I truly can’t explain where all this energy is coming from. I should be burnt toast right now, but I feel outstanding. The only thing I can figure is that my ultra-clean diet, my careful attention to proper rest & recovery, my positive attitude and the tremendous amount of momentum I’ve built over the past 10 weeks have combined to keep me centered in that elusive sweet spot.

One slight downer note is that my lower back and my left shoulder are hurting this morning. Actually my left shoulder (which is not my “bad” shoulder) has been hurting since Saturday morning when I woke up–probably from Friday’s workout. I don’t want to overstate the pain: neither the back or the shoulder pain is serious, just annoying and definite red flags.

My body fat reading this past Sunday was 5.9%, and there’s a chance my cut could be ending this coming Sunday. That said, if my strength continues to hold out for the rest of the week, I think I’ve got at least another week left in me. 🙂

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