Fitness Log 2013-10-23: Press (PR!!!)


  • Warmup: 45 lbs x 5, 65 x 5, 80 x 5, 95 x 3, 110 x 2, 125 x 1
  • 142.5 lbs: 5, 5, 5 (5RM PR)
  • 152.5 x 1, 157.5 x 1, 162.5 x 1 (PR!!!)

Awesome day for the press!

The 162.5 1RM PR was a long time coming.  I hit 160 way back almost a year ago in November 2012.  Since then, my press regressed and I not only failed to hit 162.5 or 165 with multiple subsequent attempts but couldn’t even reproduce the 160.  Adding 2.5 lbs is a modest gain but it is a big deal given that earlier in the year, my press was in regression.  It is a great feeling knowing that I was able to identify and resolve problems with my programming that turned this ship around.  The 162.5 went up pretty smoothly and I wouldn’t be surprised if I could hit 165 on a fresh day.

142.5 also is a new 5RM PR.  At this point, I’m basically grinding out 3×5 at 5RM weights.  I’m debating if I should increase my press frequency either by flipping the press with the bench — 2 days press, 1 day bench compared to the current 2 days bench, 1 day press — or by alternating bench/press/bench with press/bench/press each week.  I managed some great gains on the bench simply by focusing on the bench but this had zero transfer to the press.  It would be interesting to do the opposite experiment to determine if focusing on the press transfers over at all to the bench.

Over the summer, I came up with a hybrid Texas Method + standard linear progression approach that worked spectacularly well for the bench:

  • Tuesday: 3×5 followed by singles up to a heavy max — go for PR.
  • Friday: 5×5 with optional AMRAP on last set of 5.
  • Each day, add 2.5 lbs to the weight used for the prior sets of 5.

The idea here was:

  • Start with a typical 2-day a week 3×5 linear progression as base (Starting Strength or Greyskull Linear Progression).
  • Turn one day into a Volume Day by doing 5×5 — more volume = more gains.
  • Turn one day into an Intensity Day by doing heavy singles up to a new PR attempt — heavy singles get the mind and body used to the weight and are psychologically good for the soul.
  • As the rep weight gets heavy, it is appropriate to drop the 3×5 on the Intensity Day.

This grew organically from a standard 3×5 progression when one day I was like “gee, that 3×5 just seemed to like too little work — I’m gonna throw in a couple more sets” and the next workout I was like “gee, I feel like going for a new one-rep max.”  Getting the new max made me happy so I repeated it and hit a new max, and again, and again.

This worked great while I was doing it but I decided to spend some time dedicating the two days a week to alternating bench with overhead press.  I’ve since switched to three days a week with two days devoted to a proper Texas Method bench and one additional day for overhead press (i.e. Texas Method Light Day).  I’m now considering switching this around or alternating to get more overhead press work.

Here are some programming ideas I’m considering:

  • Hybrid Program With Press Focus
    • Monday: 5×5 press
    • Wednesday: 3×5 bench
    • Friday: 3×5 press followed by press 1RM attempt.
  • Hybrid Program With Alternating Press/Bench Focus
    • Monday: 5×5 press/bench
    • Wednesday: 3×5 bench/press
    • Friday: 3×5 press/bench followed by press/bench 1RM attempt.
  • Volume & Intensity For Both Bench/Press
    • Monday: 5×5 bench followed by press 1RM attempt.
    • Wednesday: Do something light?  Or rest?
    • Friday: 5×5 press followed by bench 1RM attempt.

I’m leaning towards the press focus program just as an interesting experiment as I mentioned earlier.

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