Every fourth week in my program, I test the major lifts* I’m doing to set new 1-5 rep maxes for the next phase. I also deload the secondary lifts. It was nice that the test week landed on the first week of spring break from school. I was able to get caught up on sleep and I also had a couple of days of maintenance calories. The combination of rest and food made for a successful test week.
*We switched out the standard powerlifting exercises to ones that I could progress on with a lower risk of injury.
- Last month: 105 x 2
- Now: 110 x 3
- All Time PR: 120 x 2 in July 2014
Hammer Smith Delt Press
- Last month: 45 x 3
- Now: 45 x 5
- All Time PR: 55 x 4 in Dec 2013
- Last Month: 140 x 2
- Now: 145 x 3 – New PR
- Last Month: 410 x 5
- Now: 500 x 5 – New PR. This one is significant for me since I had three quad pulls from August to January. This lift replaced squats and I started it in February hurt.
- Last Month: 200 x 3
- Now: 205 x 4 – New PR? I’m not sure. I think I have done 225 waaaaay back when, but I don’t know where the log book is right now.
Leg Extension (Ok, this is a secondary lift, so I didn’t test it last month, but since I’ve had so many quad pulls, I used this lift to get a feel for my recovery.)
- Now: 220 x 6 – New PR. (Actually did 220 x 7 this morning. Yay! It’s just been increasing steadily, but 220 feels heavy, so I’m working on adding reps now.)
I don’t know how long I’ve been in “contest prep” mode officially. Did that start in January or February? I don’t know . Some people (like my coach) keep track of these things, I don’t. I know I’ve been doing some version of a cut/maintenance cycle since last September and it became a bit more aggressive in February. Loss of strength was expected, but I like doing the unexpected. I was very pleased to see legs are recovering and holding their own, but was not happy about the bench press. I also wanted to see something more dramatic with the delts since I’ve been focused on bringing them up.
So, annoyed by what I perceived as negative data, I sent this information to Alberto (coach) last weekend. His reply was that “usually two lifts going up is a great pace”. I increased every lift over last month’s test and actually set 3 (4) lifetime PRs.
And I lost 3 pounds over that month. As of this morning, I’m about 4 pounds over my weight one week out from the last show. That makes me about 12 weeks ahead of schedule compared to my last prep, right? Ok. That’s good. I have more muscle, but let’s be real – I’m a 53-year-old, intermediate, female, natural lifter. I don’t gain pounds of muscle anymore. Ounces. Maybe a pound or two. The goal this time around is to improve conditioning without losing a bunch of what I’ve built over the last couple years. I hope to appear bigger, but I won’t be. Body composition will be different, though. (Fingers crossed)
So yeah, I guess things are going well.
Soon, we’re going to pushing the bod where it’s never been before. I’m not sure what to expect. I’m mentally preparing for a roller-coaster ride. I’m already experiencing and upsurge in mood swings. Yay hormones.
On a side note, the cortisol seems to be playing nice. That’s a relief.Let's connect! Follow me on social media: