The Squat Nemesis Training Journal, Part 3
by Jared Smith
I am in day two of week three, and my body is definitely feeling it. I’ve never felt such an insane amount of delayed onset muscle soreness in all my days on this scorched earth! (Okay, that may be stretching it just slightly, but you get the point.) My numbers have gone up but not a tremendous amount. The most remarkable thing is my confidence level as it pertains to max effort lifts. The level of fear and anxiety over maximum poundage seems to have diminished for the most part.
There are some things that don’t happen often, and one of those things is me being distracted or so flustered by life that my training suffers. This week, however, my mettle was tested a little. Life will put obstacles in our way sometimes, and it is up to us to overcome them. It is difficult to put problems aside and do what needs to be done, but the work has to be done! (Sloan’s note: As my other friend, Puddin’, used to say: “Time to worship at the altar of the bench press, and forget all of that trifling crap that we call our lives for just a wee li’l bit!”) While some use the gym to forget about things that happened during the day or week, I like to use them as fuel. I will think about whatever it is that is plaguing my mind as I approach the bar and put in my earphones. I feel the weight atop my back as Chimaira plays in my ears. On this day, their song “Down Again” was my anthem and would aid the weights in setting me free from the worries of the day. The world may get me down, but in the dungeonous gym I am in control! It wasn’t the greatest session ever, but I felt as if I had not only beaten the weight, but also the challenges the world presented me with.
My legs are aching and mid/lower trapezius muscles are sore from the static contraction required to maintain the proper position when I squat. I have never felt too battered from a program, but as I near the end of these three weeks of hell, I feel a sense of pride. I’ve found that this program is geared far less for changing numbers or stimulating muscle, but far more about making one tougher mentally. I used to feel miserable when I had a day off from training. I’d sit at home and think of nothing but getting back to the gym. Don’t get me wrong, I still think about it, but I have learned that I should train so hard that my off days are appreciated, and it also allows me to appreciate the time spent with my “better half”.
Surviving the Grind
Since I’ve adopted a closer stance and grip on the bar, I’ve found that after multiple sessions, my triceps tendons are destroyed from the stretch overload throughout the week. To circumvent this problem, I’ve begun performing three sets of twenty reps for any variation of a triceps pressdown—this flushes plenty of blood into the muscle. Though not working wonders, this has seemed to aid in the recovery process. As for my legs, I have started doing low intensity cardio on a stationary bike post-workout to put some blood in my legs without causing any more muscular damage. Again, this is done to facilitate recovery.
The Home Stretch
As these three weeks wind to a close, I still attack the weights with tenacity. There is no time to slow down and no reason! I can see the finish line and I will attack it as hard as I can. If I never look at something and think “This probably won’t end well”, I’m probably not going after it hard enough! Onward I push with no apprehension or fears. I am ready to dominate the day in the gym, as well as anything else life is willing to throw at me—the weightlifting gods be damned!