Learned, or possibly re-learned, something new today and a third PR on the week. It was a very good day.

Skill:
Deadhang Pullups
3 sets @70% of max reps

Got 3 sets of 4 reps in this morning. Pretty cool, but man I just felt heavy hanging from the bar.  As Coach Erin pointed out, the programming this week has been “kind of shouldery.”

Strength:
Close Grip Bench
5 reps @60% – 130#
3 reps @70% – 155#
3 reps @80% – 175#
4 singles @90% 1RM -200# projected/210# Actual

OK. Stay with me here. This is going to get kind of convoluted.

So it turns out that close grip bench press is not the same as narrow grip bench press. I did not know this. Or it’s possible that I did and forgot it.  There was some discussion about whether or not I’ve been shown this before. At my advanced age, I tend to forget things, so I’ll accept that I have in fact been coached on this previously and I was suffering a brain fart this morning. Anyway, a narrow grip bench press, as the name suggests, means you move your hands in closer together than you would for a standard bench press. The bar still touches you high on your chest near your pectorals and should travel in a basically straight up and down path. Your elbows tend to flare out away from your body as you lower the bar.

A close grip bench press means that your hands are closer together than a standard bench press, but not as close as a narrow grip. The athlete is expected to keep the elbows in close to the body and lower the bar to a point further down their torso more towards their abdomen. This means the bar path has a bit of an arc to it.

During one of the early sets, Craig, with whom I was sharing a bar and bench, told me, “lower.” I didn’t understand what he meant. The bar had clearly touched my chest. There was no way to go lower. We talked it over and Coach Erin heard us chatting. She joined the conversation and  established that I was confused. I was doing narrow grip rather than close grip because I didn’t understand there was a difference. Once we got it all cleared up I was good to go, at least as far as the technique was concerned. Then there were the weight follies.

I had worked out the percentages the night before. My last documented 1RM for the standard bench press is 235#. That’s from last September. I knew that what I was interpreting as narrow grip was somewhat weaker than standard. I also haven’t had much luck matching old PRs/1RMs lately, so I based the percentages off an assumed 1RM of 220#. Hence the 200# projected 90%.

Craig agreed to follow my weight percentages for the morning. So we worked through the 60-80% lifts without issue. I didn’t check my book too closely or misread my own handwriting. I had it in my head that the 90% work should be done at 210#. So that’s what I did.

The lifts were heavy but pretty smooth and I got each one unassisted. It was only after the fact that I discovered I’d worked harder necessary. This definitely has me looking forward to the next 1RM test day for standard bench press.

Conditioning:
For Time:
Row 2000m

The only time I did a 2K row was in the DIRT competition back in February. I rowed a 7:32. I came into today with a BHAG of “let’s get under 7 minutes”. I had a more pragmatic secondary goal of, “let’s get in under 7:15”. I just wanted to be closer to 7 minutes as opposed to 7 and a half.

Didn’t get it. I was on pace until about 4 minutes in. I realized the pace was not sustainable and I allowed myself to dial back. I got too far off the gas though and by the time I realized I was behind, it was too far gone to recover. I came in at 7:28.

I have mixed feelings about that. It’s a PR and the third of the week, so I’m pleased. Any time you set a new personal record you have to appreciate and savor that. Still, I really expected more of myself and I don’t think the expectation was unreasonable. With more attention and a more closely managed pace, I think 7:15 is attainable. No big deal. We’ll get closer next time.

Don’t know about anyone else, but I really appreciated a “no-impact” METCON to close out my workout week. Really enjoyed a workout that wasn’t so physically jarring. I also appreciated the fact that rowing was programmed at all. It’s something I enjoy tremendously, but for logistical reasons is not programmed with great frequency. It was cool to see it on the schedule. Overall, this week’s programming has been as demanding as it has been rewarding. “Thanks” and “Way to go, Coach Hammer!”

Looking back, it’s been a really good week. First weight competition on Saturday. PRs on Monday, Tuesday and Friday? Yup. Definitely a good week. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

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