Tag Archives: bench press

This is my last post on this site…….I’ve moved!


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Joe “Ironman” Norman

 


2012 APF Single-Ply Nationals


Yesterday’s meet day started out like every other meet day. I got to the meet early, set my stuff down, got my rack height and went back to the warm-up area and rested. I was in the second flight so I was able to get a good 45+ minutes rest before I needed to get warmed up.

I planned on opening with 959 lbs. so I planned my warm-ups as follows:

Warm-ups
Bar x 5
Bar x 5
145 lbs. x 3
145 lbs. x 3
235 lbs. x 3
465 lbs. x 1 – Start briefs
665 lbs. x 1
845 lbs. x 1 – Start suit

Everything was going well, until the last warm-up. On the way up the injury I suffered a few weeks ago in my right arm reoccurred. I felt something pop in my elbow join with shooting pain going down my forearm and up my bicep. Pissed off and discouraged, I was going to drop my opener, but my handlers convinced me that I should stick to my plan, deal with the pain and stay with the opener. I agreed and figured that we could re-access the situation after I opened. Here’s the video of my opener. I don’t have any more videos because I told my wife to forget about filming, that it was going to be a bad day.

As you can see by the video, I had absolutely no speed out of the hole that I usually have. I was so worried about my arm that I couldn’t concentrate on squatting. My plan for the competition was to open with 959 lbs. then go straight to 1,060 lbs. to try and get the all-time highest single-ply squat. After that opener, my handlers and I decided that it was best to take more of a conservative jump, so I went to 1,019 lbs. On my second attempt, I set up with the bar a little higher on my back to try and help the arm out a little, but as I descended, my arm just couldn’t keep the weight in place and it dropped a little on my right side. This caused it to shift and threw me off balance a little. I tried to compensate but when 1,000+ lbs. starts to move one way, 255 lbs. of muscle and bone just isn’t going to stop it, so I shook my head for the spotters to grab it. I passed on my third attempt.

Squat
959 lbs. – Good
1,019 lbs. – Miss
Passed

At this time, I was ready to throw in the towel. I was pissed off and my arm was hurting.  As I sat there with a frozen bottle of water on my arm, we had to come up with a new plan for the rest of the competition. My plan was to take a token bench and deadlift and call it a day, but my handlers had much more in mind. They knew how much I trained for the meet and that even with the injury I could possibly put a nice total together.

The plan we came up with for the bench was this. Ice the arm as long as I could before the bench started. Warm-up raw and find a relatively easy raw opener, then put on one of my larger shirts so it would not be so hard to touch and see what weight I could push up within the pain limits of the arm.

The Bench went like this:

Warm-ups
Bar x 5
Bar x 5
135 lbs. x 3
225 lbs. x 1
315 lbs. x 1
405 lbs. x 1 – Start shirt
455 lbs. x 1
495 lbs. x 1

Bench
315 lbs. – Good (Raw)
551 lbs. – Good
600.7 lbs. – Good

On my last warm-up I was able to bring the bar within a one board to my chest so we decided that another 50 lbs. would make it touch, that’s why we went to 551 on the second attempt. The opener went easily. On my second attempt I was able to touch pretty well and push it up pretty hard. I left my belt unbuckled so the shirt could ride up and make it easy to touch. The only issue I had was at the lockout. When I bench, I get a good blast off my chest making my press more of a “throw up and catch” style. The bar comes up fast and I have to kind-of catch it at the top when it gets to lockout. This causes the bar to drop down hard on the arms at lockout.  I felt another pop in my arm again as I caught the weight and it took everything to not let the arm drop. It may have actually dropped a little but it wasn’t enough for the judges to red light me. At that time I was ready to pass my third, but my handler again said it looked like I had another 50 lbs. or so left in that arm so he convinced me to keep going. For my third attempt I decided that I needed to slow the weight down and not pop so hard of my chest, horse it up in a way, so I wouldn’t have the lockout hit. We readjusted the shirt and rolled the sleeves up as high as we could to get the sleeve pressure off the elbow joint. I also buckled my belt this time to keep the shirt from riding up. This time it took longer to touch but I was able to push it up slower and locked out slower. My lockout wasn’t the prettiest thing but I was able to get two white lights.

My plans for the deadlift were to open with 622.7 lbs. then try and push it over 700+ lbs. With the arm we had to change those plans as well. My handlers and I figured we would let me warm-up and see what the arm could take, then figure out an easy opener. We also decided that I needed to switch my grip. I normally deadlift with my right hand under and left hand over the bar; if I were to try and pull with the injured arm under, it would have hurt it even more.

Here’s how the deadlift went.

Warm-ups
225 lbs. x 1
225 lbs. x 1
315 lbs. x 1
425 lbs. x 1
515 lbs. x 1
565 lbs. x 1

Deadlift
600.7 lbs. – Good (Lowered form 622.7)
650.2 lbs. – Good
705.2 lbs. – Missed

The overhand grip with the injured arm didn’t affect the deadlift very much at all. I was able to hold the bar without pain. The only issue I was having was switching my grip. When you train and compete for thirteen years one way and in switch something, it is just awkward to say the least. The first two attempts came up pretty easily but on the last attempt I floated the weight out in front of me and just couldn’t get it back in position.

Despite all the madness of the day, I ended up with a 2,209.9 total, my third highest personal total in single-ply gear, so I can’t complain. Also, going in to this meet I was under the belief that there was a $500 cash prize for winning your weight class. To my surprise, they did not give out money for winning your weight class, only the best lifters in the raw and single-ply division got cash prizes, $1,000 for each. My total was enough to win my class and take best lifter in the single-ply division. So I got to come home with $1,000 in my pocket. I owe it all my handlers for keeping me from quitting, for pushing me throughout the day and for coming up with back-up plans for the bench and deadlift.

I guess if there is any moral to this story it would be:  Don’t give up, don’t quit! You will be surprised what you are capable of when you fight through adversity and misfortune.

I spent 13 weeks training for this meet, got injured two week before it, re-injured on warm-ups, but with the help of my friends I was able to make a bad day into a good day. I may have not hit the goals I set out for but the day turned out well considering the situation.

P.S. I bought everone dinner for helpign me so much.

GO MOVE SOME METAL!

teamjaxfl@gmail.comhttp://www.youtube.com/Teamjaxflhttps://twitter.com/#!/MonsterSquathttp://www.facebook.com/MonsterSquathttp://about.me/joeironmannorman

Comments and questions are always welcome.


Week 12 – Max Bench Came With A Little Irony


Wednesday was max bench day the last week before the meet. This was supposed to be one of the easiest max bench days but it came with an ironic ending. I will get into the irony in a minute; first here are my sets and reps.

Bench
Bar x 10
Bar x 10
140 lbs. x 5
140 lbs. x 5
225 lbs. x 5
225 lbs. x 5
275 lbs. x 5
315 lbs. x 5
315 lbs. x 5
315 lbs. x 5

That’s it! Pretty easy right? Notice, no others exercise?

Now for the irony.  On our way to lunch that day, two of my co-workers and I were talking about a team building lunch that was coming up next week and that I would be missing it do to the meet. The lunch will consist of pizza and bowling. I told them that even if I were able to go, I wouldn’t be taking part in the bowling that close to a meet. I don’t like risking any kind of injury when I’m so close to a meet.

That night, we were short on spotters and the only other two training partners there were getting in their bench shirts. Needless to say, I was the only one available to hand out. Everything went well, until one of their last sets. When my partner went to bench 600 lbs., he pushed the bar back toward the uprights. I had to grab it, pull it out and up to get it in the rack. At that moment I felt something pull in both my biceps and forearm.

It’s been a day and half since and my forearm still hurts but my bicep feels better. There was no black and bluing so it’s not a tear. Yesterday, I was able to do my speed squats with a wrist wrap around my forearm, so I’m sure I will be able to squat at the meet. Ice and my electric stimulator machine for the next 10 days and hopefully I will be able to put in a bench and deadlift at the meet.

While I’m here this was last night’s Light squat workout:

Squat
Bar x 5
Bar x 5
140 lbs. x 5
140 lbs. x 5
140 lbs. + Peach Bands x 2 x 8 sets

Band Hip Rounds
4 sets x 15 reps x Gray

Shin
4 sets x 15 reps x Small Black

GO MOVE SOME METAL!

teamjaxfl@gmail.comhttp://www.youtube.com/Teamjaxflhttps://twitter.com/#!/MonsterSquathttp://www.facebook.com/MonsterSquathttp://about.me/joeironmannorman

Comments and questions are always welcome.


Week 11 – Max Bench


Last night’s workout was my last heavy bench day before the meet. Following the previous two weeks, the plan was to try and keep the weights the same but drop a board. Two weeks ago was three board, last week two so this week was one board presses.

I felt a little uncomfortable, seeing that I wanted to get up to at least 700 lbs. but we didn’t have enough spotters. There were enough spotters to spot the weight but no one to hold the board. Also, when going up that heavy, I like to have a three-man hand out. Jordon, our youngest but one of our biggest members, did a great job handing out the weights up to 600 lbs. After that we had to tape the board to my chest for the last two sets.

Being my last heavy week, I also decide to take my warm-ups a little differently. My thoughts were to take light weights for high reps for multiple sets, enough the get stretched out and get the blood flowing in my arms and chest. Then shirt up and take large jumps to limit the heavy sets and save my energy for the heaviest sets.

Bench
135 lbs. x 10
135 lbs. x 10
225 lbs. x 10
225 lbs. x 10
410 lbs. x 1 – Start shirt – 4 board
495 lbs. x 1 – 3 board
610 lbs. x 1 – 2 board
660 lbs. x 1 – 1 board
700 lbs. x 1 – 1 board (near miss)

Incline Bench Press
135 lbs. x 10
185 lbs. x 10
185 lbs. x 10
185 lbs. x 10

Floor Triceps Extensions with Kettlebells
45 lbs. x 10
45 lbs. x 10
45 lbs. x 10
45 lbs. x 10

Triceps Pushdowns with Rope
100 lbs. x 10
100 lbs. x 10
100 lbs. x 10
100 lbs. x 10

Overall the workout went well. I was pleased considering the spotter shortage. 700 lbs. came off the board pretty easily. It was my right arm that failed, so I will tweak the shirt next time to give it some more help.

GO MOVE SOME METAL!
teamjaxfl@gmail.comhttp://www.youtube.com/Teamjaxflhttps://twitter.com/#!/MonsterSquathttp://www.facebook.com/MonsterSquathttp://about.me/joeironmannorman

Comments and questions are always welcome.


Week 10 Speed Day


Being three weeks out from the meet and having to incorporate both speed squat and bench day together, I decided to do something a little different.  To take it easy I decided to do all the exercises with bands.

Squat
2 sets x 5 reps x 1 Super Heavy
8 sets x 2 reps x 1 Super Heavy, 1 Heavy Black

Seated Hyperextensions with Bands
3 sets x 15 reps x Gray
1 set x 15 reps x Heavy Black

Band Hip Rounds
3 sets x 15 reps x Gray

Shin
4 sets x 15 reps x Small Black

Bench
2 sets x 5 reps x Mini Black
9 sets x 3 reps x 2 Mini Black

Push-Ups
3 sets x 15 reps x ½ Peach Across Shoulders

Triceps Extensions
4 sets x 20 reps x Light Black

In theory, my plan to use only bands to take it easy sounded great, but I will tell you this; I felt like it. When I got home from the workout, I was beat but I wasn’t too sore. It was a nice change.

GO MOVE SOME METAL!

teamjaxfl@gmail.comhttp://www.youtube.com/Teamjaxflhttps://twitter.com/#!/MonsterSquathttp://www.facebook.com/MonsterSquathttp://about.me/joeironmannorman


Week 10


I’m very pleased with this week’s heavy days. I’m right on target for the meet. I like to set goals for myself each week that I feel will maximize my efforts leading into a meet, and as for this week, I hit all of them.

4-3-2012 – Max Squat Day
This week for the squat was my last heavy top-end weight workout. I find that Band-Assisted squats are the best for this. These are a great way to get your Central Nervous System (CNS) ready to handle the monster weights. My goal for the meet is 1,060+ lbs., so I wanted to unrack and hold more weight than that prior to competition. This way when I get to the meet and attempt my goal, my body and CNS will be ready to handle the weight.

I set my goal for this week’s workout to 1,100 lbs. bar weight (top-end) with about 80-90% of my max in the hole. This translates to approximately 250 lbs. of help from the bands. My workout went as follows:

Band-Assisted Squats
260 lbs. top, 10 lbs. hole
350 lbs. top, 100 lbs. hole
460 lbs. top, 710 lbs. hole
550 lbs. top, 300 lbs. hole
660 lbs. top, 410 lbs. hole
770 lbs. top, 520 lbs. hole
860 lbs. top, 610 lbs. hole
930 lbs. top, 700 lbs. hole
1040 lbs. top, 790 lbs. hole
1110 lbs. top, 860 lbs. hole

Leg Extensions
120 lbs. 3 sets x 15 rep

Leg Curls
100 lbs. 3 sets x 15 reps

4-4-2012 – Max Bench Day
Today’s bench workout is the second week in Lester and my plan leading into the meet. Last week was three board presses so this week I dropped a board and went to two boards. The goal in this plan is to try to keep the weights the same but drop a board each week. Next week will be one board presses.

I was pretty pleased with this workout. I was able to go up to 700 lbs. again. This week it didn’t feel like I was holding a house in my hands.

2 Board Bench Press
135 lbs. x 5
135 lbs. x 5
225 lbs. x 5
225 lbs. x 5
315 lbs. x 3
365 lbs. x 1 – Start board
455 lbs. x 1 – Start shirt
545 lbs. x 1
610 lbs. x 1
710 lbs. x 1

Floor Press with Bumbells
80 lbs. x 3 sets x 15 reps

Close Grip Four Board Press
225 lbs. x 10
275 lbs. x 10
325 lbs. x 10

GO MOVE SOME METAL!

teamjaxfl@gmail.comhttp://www.youtube.com/Teamjaxflhttps://twitter.com/#!/MonsterSquathttp://www.facebook.com/MonsterSquathttp://about.me/joeironmannorman


Week 9: Max Bench


As I said in my last bench press post, Lester Estevez and I decided on a new bench program leading into the meet. This week was shirted three boards to a max.

The plan for today was to get at least 6 working sets in the shirt. Now to get close to my goal weight for the meet (675+ lbs.), I did multiple sets for each warm up set, then shirted up and took a big jump. As the weights got heavier, the jumps got smaller. I was very pleased with the outcome.

Warm-Ups
Bar x 10
Bar x 10
135 lbs. x 10
135 lbs. x 10
225 lbs. x 5
225 lbs. x 5
315 lbs. x 3

Start Boards and Shirt
445 lbs. x 1
545 lbs. x 1
585 lbs. x 1
635 lbs. x 1
660 lbs. x 1
700 lbs. x 1

Flat Bench Dumbbell Press, Wide
70 lbs. x 12
70 lbs. x 12
70 lbs. x 12

Triceps Pushdowns with Thick V-Bar
80 lbs. x 12
100 lbs. x 12
110 lbs. x 12
110 lbs. x 12

One more thing about my workout, my cousin-in-law, Melanie, is an AdvoCare rep. For the past few weeks she has been sending me supplements to try. Now, I’m not much for taking supplements, but I figured I’d try them and let her know how they worked. Today I tried their O2 Gold along with their Rehydrate product. She informed me to take 2 O2 Golds 60-70 minutes before my workout and I should feel some good strength effects. So I did. I will tell you this, the warm-up sets were feeling heavy and the first two sets in my shirt felt heavy, but, about an hour or so after taking the O2 Gold, the heaviest sets felt great.  This has me convinced; I’m going to have to pick up a bottle for the meet.  If you want more details about their products, you can find Melanie on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/melanie.churchwell, she would be glad to help you.

GO MOVE SOME METAL!

teamjaxfl@gmail.comhttp://www.youtube.com/Teamjaxflhttps://twitter.com/#!/MonsterSquathttp://www.facebook.com/MonsterSquathttp://about.me/joeironmannorman


Another Saturday Light Day Workout


Normally Team Jax likes to split up our light days into two days, one for bench and upper back and one for legs and lower back.  Due to member’s schedules, we are sometimes forced to do both in the same day. When this happens we like to limit the number of exercises to just a few for each major body part.

For the next few weeks leading into my next competition, the weights on my light days will be very light. I need more to go over the motions on these days and to save my energy for the heavy days.

Today’s workout went as follows:

Box Squat with medium bands
140 lbs. for 10 sets x 2 reps.

Bench Press
185 lbs. for 10 sets x 3 reps.

Cambered Bar Good Mornings
225 lbs. for 4 sets x 8 reps.

Band Hip Rounds*
Light band for 3 sets x 20 reps.

Lat Pulldowns with Fat Bar
220 lbs. for 4 sets x 10 reps.

Kettlebell Bent-over Rows
80 lbs. for 4 sets x 10 reps.

Straight Bar Bicep Curls
70 lbs. for 4 sets x 10 reps.

*I have no idea if the Banded Hip Rounds has a proper name or not, so I gave this exercise one of my own. What this exercise consists of is this. Take a light band and anchor it on the bottom of a bench or power rack. Take the band and stretch it out in front of the bench or rack. No take a chair and place it about four feet in front of the band. Stand behind the chair, on the same side of the band. Place the band over your foot and hold onto the back of the chair. Using you hip to start the motion, kick your leg up and out around the side of the chair until your knee lines up with the side of the chair. It’s almost like doing a knee raise but out to the side. This exercise works the hip flexors like you won’t believe.

GO MOVE SOME METAL!

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Wide Grip Bench Press


With some advice from Lester Estevez, I decided to abandon the bench routine I was doing (see previous bench post). Even though my left shoulder, which had surgery a few years ago, has healed and is much stronger, the workout was too much for it. The new plan is to get in  my shirt next week for three boards to a max.  The following week, shirt to a max on a two board and the next after that a max to a one board. The last week will put me two weeks out from my next meet, so the following week will be shirt to an opener and the last week before the meeting light.

As for today, we decided to do something we haven’t done for a long time, wide grip bench press (raw). I was pretty please with the outcome. As most people know, I am no bencher. My raw bench is onky 385 lbs. Sad, I know, but today I was able to go up with triples to 340 lbs. and press out 370 lbs. for a single.

The workout went as follows:

Wide grip bench press
135 x 5
135 x 5
225 x 3
225 x 3
270 x 3
320 x 3
340 x 3
370 x 1

Incline bench press
135 x 10
185 x 10
225 x 9

Behind the head cable triceps
80 x 15
80 x 15
80 x 15
80 x 15

Front dumbell rotator cuff raises
10 x 15
10 x 15
10 x 15
10 x 15

Cettle bell shrugs
80 x 15
80 x 15
80 x 15


Meet Prep Bench Presses


Monday night Yury and I did the Team Sampson’s bench routine. It consists of sets of two reps to three boards, shirted. Top weight should be close to a Max, then two drop sets. First drop set should be close to a second attempt for two reps, with the last set two reps to a one and a half board with an opener weight one rep.

135 x 10
225 x 8
305 x 3
365 x 1 – start three boards
410 x 2 – start shirts
500 x 2
560 x 2
620 x 2
660 x 2
615 x 2 – two board
600 x 1 – one and half board

This workout was pretty hard. I used my larger single-ply Inzer Rage. I’m saving my tight shirt for the meet, besides its good to train with less help. We did a lot of reps over 600, but we got through it. My left shoulder was dragging a little but I think it will come along by the meet in April. It felt good holding heavy weights in my hands again.
This got me thinking about my squat training. I plan on switching things up a little in the next few weeks by wotking some heavy doubles. This will give me some needed endurance.