Another personal training night for me and getting to work with Sam. Tonight was all about the squat and getting me primed for my next pulling workout with Sam by targeting a lot of hamstring movements. The one takeaway from my training tonight is that speed is going to be one of my limiting factors in the short term, and probably on all of my lifts as I try to break through plateaus.
Like usual, I started by warming up my hips. I’m really starting to notice that once I hit a few ankle/calf stretches that my depth gets much lower and I can achieve it much more comfortably. I’ll probably try to hit more ankle mobility stuff at home in between training sessions to see if I can improve this. We didn’t waste any time, so once I was warmed up we went from ramping fours and threes right up into singles around the 270 mark. I nailed 270 although I felt like I was on my toes the whole time instead of driving from my heels. We put 280 on the bar and it pinned me. Sam and I both knew something was up.
The cause of the problem wasn’t (and in my opinion, still isn’t) totally obvious, but this same sort of thing happened last time. It was 280 pounds. Sam and I both know that I can squat 280 pounds. It’s nothing new to my body. I squatted 270 cleanly just a a couple of minutes prior. So what gives? Well, the fundamental problem is speed. Squatting 270 I was able to keep moving through my typical sticking point because I was quick off the bottom. With 280, I got into the hole and had no speed to break the sticking point. We dropped to 275, which I nailed. Neither of us were surprised. Then we went back to 280 and I hit that too. So how could I have possibly failed at 280 the first time, but two sets later I can hit it?
We’re hypothesizing that the training I do on my own when I’m not with Sam might be interfering. Now, typical situation like this is going to be a trainer saying “don’t do anything on your own, buy more time from me”. But I’m not about to buy more time. And Sam isn’t pushing me to buy more. We’re thinking that when I’m trying to leverage high volume to practice technique that I’m actually training my body to get comfortable at a certain weight. So 10x10x135? Yeah, sure it’s a whole bunch of volume. Yeah it feels awesome on my legs. Yeah I can practice my technique… But I needed that scare of 280 on my back and the failure to really get my body to say “oh shit, let’s kick it into gear”. So with that said, I’ll be sticking to more sets but lower reps until we prove this theory.
After the high weight stuff, I hit sets of 6 and sets of 10. Sure, those were hard, but my volume squatting 100% absolutely helped with that. After all the squatting, Sam decided to be nice and help me annihilate my hamstrings. I mean, I was borderline in tears after this. I got strapped into the glute ham raise machine (with a band on, since I’m a pussy) and did that for a few sets of 15. After the first set my hamstrings were basically done, so set two and three were a nightmare. But the next exercise was laying on my back with my feet on a big yoga ball, and rolling my feet to my ass while keeping my torso inline and off the ground. I did three reps of this and felt like my hamstrings were being sawed off. I was almost in tears trying to get the second and third set of this done… But hey, that’s what big eating and foam rollers are for, amiright?