One of the things I like about weightlifting is that you can measure your progress in single digits.

I pressed 185 lbs 6 times last week, and I did it 7 times this week.  I have gotten better.

I pressed 185 lbs and waited 60 seconds before doing it again.  This week I only waited 45 seconds.  I have gotten better.

My arms are 1 inch bigger around.  I lost 2 pounds.  I swung the kettlebell 3 inches higher.  GETTING BETTER.


See what I mean?  inches, seconds, pounds, reps, sets  – it all becomes a game of single digits.  You can watch yourself incrementally, mathematically improve.  All very appealing to the meticulous, calculating mind.  Also a treat for the OCD crowd.


Monday was chest & tri day.


dumbbell press (2 min rests):  50 x 21, 60 x 15, 70 x 10, 80 x 6, 90 x 5, 80 x 6, 70 x 8, 60 x 15, 50 x 17

pec dec (30s rests):  120 x 13, 9, 8, 7, 3

2 hand dumbbell extension (30s rests):  70 x 15, 7, 2**, 5, 2

rope pressdowns:  120 x 6, 5, 5


notes:  I was running late, so brief cardio before and after, maybe 10 min before, 10 min after.

Once again climbing the ladder of dumbbells.  The weight keeps steadily going up every week not because I am gaining muscle every week, but because I am establishing the mind-muscle connection, getting used to the demands of this exercise in this way.

Whenever someone is new to lifting, or has been on a break, their weight goes up steadily.  5 pounds a week with no stopping is pretty normal.  That doesn’t mean it lasts forever, don’t think for a second you will be benching 400 pounds in your first year.  You aren’t Superman.

this isn’t you


No, your weight is going up steadily because your mind is “learning” how to use the muscle you have to its fullest extent possible.  You are finding your potential, so to speak.  Once the progress slows down to a crawl, and you are lucky to put 5 pounds on your bench every other month, THEN you are growing muscle and your potential has increased.  Then you start to measure your progress in terms of “one more rep”.


So during this “neural adaptation” phase at the start, be grateful for the steady progress, and focus on keeping good form.

so, I am adapting, and the weight is rising.  I couldn’t do more than 4 reps with the 80s two weeks ago, and this week 6 reps, then 5 more with the 90s.  Very exciting!  The 100 pound dumbbells are almost within my grasp!  It’s an awesome moment when a guy gets to use the 100 pound dumbbells, whether he is a featherweight or a lardbutt, he gets excited.  I can’t wait…

oh yes… you will be mine…



When it was time for triceps, I experimented with the rest-pause.  Normally it is 30 seconds but I was eager to go on my third mini-set, and I jumped back in after 20 seconds.  My triceps failed fast!!  At first I thought I was just running out of gas, but on my next miniset I waited the full 30 seconds, and felt MUCH stronger, finished out the macroset.  See what I mean about a game of single digits?  10 seconds meant sooo much to my muscle recovery, every inch counts, it is a constant struggle to overload yourself in a constructive way every time.


two handed extensions


So the extensions hit the long head of my triceps, then I did some pressdowns to hit the lateral head, but by that point my arms were pretty dead.  so I kept it slow and tried to squeeze them out.


See you later!