Belly Off 2008, week 2, day 2

I had a lot of fun in the gym today. Yesterday, I was thinking about how glad I was to be back lifting again. Today just reinforced that feeling.

The thing that made it so fun was that I didn’t add any weight on any lift. Today I concentrated on improving my form without worrying about having to struggle with more than I could handle. As a result I was still incredibly tired but really upbeat the entire time. I was still smiling on my walk home.

Here are the numbers. I did all four in a row with no rest then repeated three times.

Dumbbell Snatch (8×20, 8×20, 8×20)

Last week I thought I knew what I was doing but today I know that I was way off. I did a lot of experimenting with hip drive and now I think I got it. Maybe. Who knows? I might figure something else out next week. On the second set I hit a groove and the weight felt really light. The last set was a joke. It felt like it didn’t weigh anything at all.

I definitely need to increase the weight next time.

Ranging Squat (10×95, 10×95, 10×95)

Formwise, I think today was the best I’ve ever done here. By any objective measure I’m still way too high at the bottom but for me this was about as good as it gets. I felt like I actually hit parallel.

I felt like that but I don’t think I did. I believe that if you think you’re parallel then your not. If you think you’re below parallel then your parallel. Etc. I think you get the point. The mirror lies is all I’m trying to say.

Nevertheless, this was a big step forward for me. My back was straight and my abs were tight on every single rep. I didn’t feel too much back pain either. There were a couple of close calls but nothing that made me worry that I couldn’t finish the rep.

I really like the larger splits that this lift calls for. I was practically squatting sumo style on that last set and it felt really good. I’m thrilled to actually get all three done this time without worrying about hurting myself. I probably need to experiment more with the wider stance. I think there’s something to it.

In the past I would have a good day of squats and then convince myself to jack up the weight. I’m smarter now, though, so I’m not. I might go up 5 pounds next time but that’s the absolute max. I’ll probably stick with 95 for a set or two and see if I really feel good. Slow and steady. I’ve got to get that through my head.

One Arm Dumbbell Press (10×35, 10×35, 10×35)

These felt a lot easier today. I guess this was the point where I realized that I actually made strength improvements from last week. When you’re constantly adding weight you don’t really think about it as much. At least I don’t. I just think, “I’m working my ass off just like last week and I’m still weak.” Or something like that. Reps were really easy. My balance on the right side was also much improved.

Time to think about adding weight here.

Dumbbell RDL w/row (10×25, 10×25, 10×25)

A little worry here because I felt a little back pain on these sets. Nothing to stop me but, as I think I’ve made clear, any problems back there set off my panic button. I did manage to go below my knees and keep my back straight this time so there was a little improvement. Still a little concern, though, so I’m going to be hesitant about adding weight.

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