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Thread: Bizarre routine? Working around mental limitations.

  1. #1
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    Bizarre routine? Working around mental limitations.

    I've got some kind of mental issue that keeps me from doing heavy weight. Maybe it's not so weird, I don't know.

    I think I'll never know what my 1RM max is on bench press, because I can never do heavy weight w/o building up to it. I just don't get it, and it also affects my routine. The lowest I like to plan to go on reps is about 8....which ends up, for example, with me doing....say....8/195#, 8/210#, 8/225#, 8/240#...then as many as i can do at 255#...usually 5 or 6...and then down again at 8 (or fatigue) reps of each until I get back to 210#.

    Obviously it's pretty easy going until I get to around 225#, but It just seems like the only way I can feel confident that I'm really lifting as heavy as I can. *Additionally, if you're taking notes, this sometimes puts me doing 6-7+ sets*

    So far, no injuries or anything (I've actually gotten around my typical shoulder issues this way), and I am getting stronger. When I first started about 7 months ago, I was doing pretty much the same routine, except I'd start from 150# or 165# and peak at 195#...or maybe 210# if I felt good that day. lol. Also, if it makes any difference, I do this (in addition to flys, etc) on monday and friday, and exclusively on a machine (just further proof of my mental madness).

    Comments...concerns??

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Crimea River; 05-02-2010 at 11:20 PM. Reason: spelling/clarification

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sidior's Avatar
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    After your 255 set why not jump it to 285? I don't even think you asked a question....
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Jay1's Avatar
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    If you really want to get strong, stop using machines for main lifts like bench, start using barbells and get a good spotter. After you get used to free weights, start going down to 4's, 3's, 2's (a week of each) and then try a new max once every 2-3 months. If strength becomes more of a concern, read up on things in the powerlifting section and study the Westside Methods.

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    Well (re: why not go up to 285)....I wasn't sure if maybe I was doing too many sets, to begin with.

    Like I said...it's actually been ok for me, and I am gaining a lot of strength, so I guess I may have known the answer to my "question" already. It was just something I was wondering about since I started this routine.

    I do plan to eventually start doing more freeweights, though, if not at least because the max on the machine I use *is* 255.

    There is a guy I work with who claims he wants to start going to the gym, too, though, so we'll see. I partly like machines, anyway, because I know I can try to do as much as possible and not have to rely on someone else to "rescue" me lol.

    Thanks for the responses

  5. #5
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Unless you just HAVE TO know what your actual 1RM is, or unless you are a PLer, I don't see why you absolutely must perform a 1RM... A heavy triple or reps in the 3-6 range is plenty heavy enough for most other purposes.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    Unless you just HAVE TO know what your actual 1RM is...
    I don't. lol. I might work around a few things and try it one day, but I'm not really that worried about it.

    As long as I'm making the gains I'd like to, it's not that big of a deal. It's just one measure of success....and another is running out of weight on the machine I'm using...even if it's not really that much anyway.

    Thanks for the input!
    Last edited by Crimea River; 05-03-2010 at 08:16 PM. Reason: spelling, redundancy

  7. #7
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    Well....I finally started doing some freeweights, and I still haven't found a 1RM, but I know that what ever it is, it's got to be a lot higher now.

    The last time I tried with freeweights was a couple of years ago (which includes about a year where I couldn't hardly get to the gym at all) and I did 165# about 12 or 15 times, but couldn't get over 200# at all. The other day, though, I started out doing a few sets of 185# (8/8/7), then went up to 205# (5 or 6), and then was still able to do 225# once.

    It's not exactly powerlifting numbers....but I was pretty F'g proud of myself LOL

    I still like doing machines because I know that no matter how tired I am, I can always try at least JUST ONE MORE....even if after I start going back up with it I get stuck after moving only an inch!!!

  8. #8
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crimea River View Post
    I still like doing machines because I know that no matter how tired I am, I can always try at least JUST ONE MORE....even if after I start going back up with it I get stuck after moving only an inch!!!
    That's called training at (or close to) failure and is not recommended, at least not too often.
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  9. #9
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    Really? Well....*****....

    Just in case this was news to anyone else.....care to elaborate?

    Thanks!

  10. #10
    Senior Member RebelDogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crimea River View Post
    ...
    So far, no injuries or anything (I've actually gotten around my typical shoulder issues this way), and I am getting stronger. ...
    Sounds good to me. But I'm just a newb. I'd say this is the important point.

  11. #11
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crimea River View Post
    Really? Well....*****....

    Just in case this was news to anyone else.....care to elaborate?

    Thanks!
    Training to failure takes you out of that "hormonal zone" that is optimum for muscle growth. You want to train hard, but not too hard, and certainly not too easy. A rep or two short of failure seems to be optimal. Of course we all hit failure from time to time, but it's important not to do it too often.

    Training to failure also makes it harder to recover by creating deeper inroads. Without recovery there is no growth.

    Lastly, Sensei brought up the point that if you train to failure all the time, your body will get good at it and try to reach failure sooner. I find that an interesting concept, don't you? Since training too close to failure stalls my lifts very quickly, I believe he is on to something.

    The High Intensity gurus advocate training to failure and beyond. But they go on to recommend inserting more and more rest days as you go along so you can recover. Pretty soon you will be training very few sessions a month and that goes against our goals of getting bigger and stronger. The more often you can train a lift and recover from it, the more progress you will make.

    I hope that starts to answer your questions.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member RebelDogg's Avatar
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    Hey, nice post Off Road. I've never heard that before. Good info.

  13. #13
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    And I continue to learn from guys like offroad and sensei
    thanks boys

  14. #14
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    It absolutely answers my question. Thanks!

  15. #15
    Guerrilla Journalist Steve Colescott's Avatar
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    Just use the power rack and you may be able to get by without a partner but still get the benefits (such as increased neuromuscular activation) of a free weight bench and squat.

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