Training for Powerlifting at Planet Fitness (Iím not joking!) - Page 2

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Thread: Training for Powerlifting at Planet Fitness (Iím not joking!)

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default My Wifeís Birthday Weekend

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    Quote Originally Posted by K.Diesel View Post
    The plan is to go in tomorrow, and do some goofing around with pressing and rows. Starting on Sunday/Monday, a lot of the fluff gets cut out for 5 weeks. I know - I’m at Planet Fitness, so it’s all fluff. But really, I’ll be doing much fewer movements as I go into the meet (November 14).
    So... the above referenced “tomorrow” was Friday, October 2, which was also my wife’s 41st birthday. I had managed to convince myself that I would still be able to get in the gym and squeeze something in, but it didn’t happen. But after eating a lot of calorie dense, high protein foods over the weekend, I was ready to get in there yesterday. This was also at a PF on my mother’s side of town, since we were having dinner there yesterday.

    Sun. 10/4 - weighed 211.2 lbs upon waking (-0.4 lbs from last week)

    Smith Machine Pause Squat
    - paused for a 2-3 count at the bottom of each rep

    bar/5, 5
    320+/3 - started using belt
    360+/3 @9 RPE - started using mouth guard
    360+/2 @9 RPE
    360+/2 @9.5 RPE

    Smith Machine Squat


    I essentially did a normal set of squats as a back-off set for the pause squats.

    Smith Machine Sumo DL - standing on 2 stacked 25 lbs plates (each leg)

    270+/5 - started using Versa Gripps. My low back didn’t feel so good at this point.
    360+/1 - started using belt.

    I aborted this experiment after one rep with 4 plates because I didn’t like how my lower back was feeling. I haven’t had any trouble with it doing conventional DL on the Smith machine, so I don’t know if it’s my back angle while doing sumo, or something else. But it’s no big deal. I haven’t pulled sumo in several months - maybe longer - and I just wanted to see how it might work on this setup. I’ll stick with conventional. When I can get back to real DL from the floor, maybe I’ll try sumo again.

    Smith Machine Romanian Deadlift - Versa Gripps and belt both sets


    Prone Leg Curl Machine


    105/10 - started using mouth guard
    drop set: 150/7 + 135/3

    As I’ve mentioned in a previous log entry, I love this machine and I wish the PF closest to me had one.

    I switched my work schedule so I could surprise my wife and take her out this morning to conclude her birthday weekend. I’m also going to take advantage of not having delivered mail for 2 days, and go to bench press and do more upper body work in a few hours.
    Last edited by K.Diesel; 10-05-2020 at 04:05 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default 2nd Good Day In A Row

    Wow - I was off work for 2 consecutive days AND trained on both days. I havenít done that in a long time. So long, that Iíve forgotten how much of a difference it is to train multiple days without delivering mail before either session. I could get used to this again. 😁

    Mon. 10/5

    Smith Machine Pause Bench Press - held a 2-3 count pause in the bottom of each rep

    bar/12 - no pause on these, just getting loose
    210+/5 - started using mouth guard
    255+/2 @9.5 RPE - that rating means Iím pretty sure I could have done the double with 5 more lbs

    Smith Machine Bench Press
    - some had a slight pause, others were touch and go, mouthguard all sets

    200+/6 @10 RPE
    Smith Machine Barbell Row


    230+/6 - started using Versa Gripps
    250+/6 - started using mouth guard
    270+/8 - cheated the last 2 reps with a bit more body English, but not sloppy

    Smith Machine Standing Overhead Press


    90+/8 - started using mouth guard
    105+/5 @10 RPE
    85+/6 @10 RPE

    Torso Rotation Machine

    70/20 left + 20 right

    120/25 left + 25 right

    Rear Delt Machine



  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default A Literal Pain In The Neck

    Todayís weigh-in: 211.6 lbs (basically unchanged)

    My plan after Monday was to rest 2 days, train at PF on Thursday, rest 2 more days, then train at my brotherís with a real barbell today. Unfortunately, my teenage daughter had a serious asthma attack, and ended up being admitted to the hospital on Thursday morning. Fortunately, she was home by late Friday night. We had to juggle some things at home (this isnít new for us), and I planned to train after work on Friday, then keep the plan for today.

    On Friday morning, I woke up with a pain in my chest (sternum), as well as a pain at the base of my neck that seemed to radiate up and down my spine, as well as across the back of my shoulders. I took some non-opioid pain relievers and went to work, delivered my route, and went to the gym with plans for Smith machine deadlifts, RDL, presses and either rows or pull downs. Hereís how it went:

    Fri. 10/9

    Smith Machine Deadlifts (standing on 2 stacked 25 lbs plates)

    90+/6 + 6 RDL
    180+/5 - started feeling a little more aching in my neck
    270+/2 + 2 - used alternating grip, and took maybe 5-6 deep breaths between doubles
    320+/2 - started using mouth guard, pain in my neck started flaring up more
    370+/2 - started using Versa Gripps, double overhand grip
    420+/1 - started using belt
    450+/1 - seriously thinking about quitting here
    475+/1 - convinced myself that it wasnít that bad
    475+/1 - wanted to go up to 500 in plate weight, but it felt like I was pushing off of my toes on the previous set, so I repeated the weight

    After that last set, I stripped it down to 270+ with the intention of doing 1-2 sets of RDL. Then I sat down and looked at the video of the last few sets. By the time I got up, my the back of my neck and shoulders were so achy and stiff when I moved that I said forget it, and stripped all the plates off. I thought that maybe some machine presses might not be too bad...

    Hammer Strength Incline Press

    60 per side/10

    90 per side/3 - aborted mission

    I donít think the presses hurt my neck any worse. But I felt like I wasnít able to generate much force for them, and decided to call it a day.

    So the good thing is that I got some decent deadlifts in. The bad thing is that I may have made a problem with my neck worse. Remember, I donít know why it hurts in the first place.

    I also realize that Iíve been burning the candle at both ends for far too long. I didnít work yesterday. My wife and I went to a local bodybuilding show, and I ended up going to sleep at 9:30 pm last night. I woke up around 10 or 11 am this morning. I actually feel well rested for once.

    I wouldnít describe my neck and shoulders as painful this morning and afternoon, but stiff. Iím not going to chance anything by putting a real barbell on my back, or arching into a competition style bench press. So rather than train at my brotherís, Iíll go to Planet Fitness shortly and do some machine work, followed by using their massage bed and/or chair. With just 34 days until the meet, I hope this isnít anything major.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default Sun. 10/11

    As I said in my last entry, my original plan for Sunday was heavy squats and bench presses with a real barbell in a real rack. Instead, I did this at Planet Fitness:

    Sun. 10/11

    Hammer Strength Row Machine
    - these have an underhand grip

    50 per side/15
    80 per side/10
    100 per side/7 - started using Versa Gripps
    120 per side/10 @10 RPE - used mouth guard

    Hammer Strength Incline Press Machine

    50 per side/15

    80 per side/8
    100 per side/8 @10 RPE - used mouth guard

    Torso Rotation Machine

    105/25 left, 25 right

    Hammer Strength Crunch Machine


    50/20 - took 2-3 deep breaths after rep 11, then did the final 9

    Leg Extension


    175/15 - used mouth guard

    Iím not sure if I hit RPE 10 on the leg extensions. I know it burned, but I might have been able to push past it. I felt a quick, sharp pain in my chest (just left of sternum) around rep 7-8, and by the time I got into the hardest part of the set, I was shaken enough that I decided to stop. I was going to do leg curls, but between the neck/shoulder pain I still had (not as bad as Friday) and that new, sudden chest pain during the last set, I called it a day. However, I did make good use of the PF hydro massage bed. My neck, shoulders and back felt much better afterward.

    Looking ahead:

    I went to my doctor on Wednesday for my annual physical, albeit a few months late this year thanks to C19. My blood pressure was borderline high for the first time that I can remember. Because my wife is a stroke survivor, we have a blood pressure cuff at home, and Iíve been keeping track of it every day since. Sometimes, it has been normal, and sometimes it has been higher than it was at the doctorís office. I got a lot of blood work done yesterday (not just for that), and weíll see what comes back from the lab. But as for the meet - I only have a little less than 4 weeks left to train for it. I donít know what Iíll be able to get done between now and then, but Iím going to make the best of it and have fun with it.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default One Month To Go!

    Wed. 10/14

    Work: 10.25 hours, 9 miles, 19,619 steps, 7 floors climbed

    Smith Machine Pause Squat - 2 count pause squat at the bottom of each rep

    270+/4 - started using mouth guard
    320+/4 - started using belt
    400+/2 @9.5 RPE - meaning I could have done the set w/5-10 more lbs, but doubt I could have done another rep

    Hamstrings already felt like balloons. I was ready to tap out.

    Smith Machine Squat
    - done like normal, went right in with belt and mouth guard

    400+/3 @9 RPE
    360+/6 @8.5 RPE - meaning it felt like a 9 when I did it, but looks like an 8 on video. Iíll split the difference and adjust the rating

    Smith Machine Romanian Deadlift
    - standing on 2 stacked 25 lbs plates

    270+/8 - started using Versa Gripps
    360+/9 @8.5 RPE - same reason as the last squat set

    Calf Press - done on Hammer Strength Leg Press

    230/10 - quick, pump reps
    230/10 - moderate speed reps
    230/10 - 2 or 3 second negative, hold for a second at bottom, explode to top, hold for a second at top

    All this got done in less than an hour, including talking to a guy who asked me about the upcoming meet and how he could attend, as well as coordinating some things with my wife who was training at the same time. Still, it felt like I did a lot. Iím so glad we had steak for dinner tonight.

    The plan is to train bench and upper body tomorrow, then ďrestĒ 2 days (still delivering mail though) followed by training all 3 lifts on a real barbell at my brotherís house on Sunday. 🤲🏾🤞🏾

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default This Might Be Working...

    This might be working...

    Peace everyone! I have 2 sessions to log in here. Iíll try to keep it succinct in an effort to keep anyone who reads this from tapping out before the end of the post.

    Thu. 10/15

    Work: 10 hours, 9.2 miles, 20,074 steps, 10 flights climbed

    PLANET FITNESS *reminder* I donít count the weight of the bar on the Smith machine, so I just record the weight of the plates and a + (i.e. 90+ looks like 135 on a normal bar, but itís not really here)

    Rear Delt Machine - all 4 Smith machines were in use when I arrived, so I started here

    110/10 x 2 sets

    Smith Machine Pause Bench Press
    - stayed as tight as possible with a bar on my chest for a 2-3 count on each rep

    bar/10 (actually, no pause on these)
    90+/5 - started doing pauses here
    210+/3 - started using mouth guard
    240+/3 @10 RPE
    260+/1 @10 RPE

    Smith Machine Touch & Go Bench Press

    270+/1 @9.5 RPE
    270+/4 @9 RPE - started using Titan Ram
    270+/4 @9.5 RPE - the ď.5Ē means I donít think I could have doubled this, but I could have finished the lift with 5 more lbs.
    230+/3 @10 RPE - took the Ram off, went back to lifting raw here
    200+/6 @9.5 RPE

    Smith Machine Barbell Row

    230+/6 - started using Versa Gripps
    260+/6 - started using mouth guard
    280+/6 @9 RPE
    280+/6 @10 - calling this a 10 because I think I cheated too much on the last rep or two

    Smith Machine Standing Overhead Press - if I was an inch taller, I wouldnít be able to do these

    rest-pause set: 100+/9 + 2 - short rest here, just 5 deep breaths after 9 reps to failure

    Took the time to stretch pecs, delts and lats after lifting. Probably should get back into this habit.

    Sun. 10/19 - Training With Real Weights!

    Woke up weighing 211.2 lbs. About an hour later, I happened to step on the scale again (it was still on the bathroom floor), and I weighed 210.2. Thereís no way I urinated 16 ounces between weigh ins.

    After 3 weeks, I FINALLY got back to my brothers house. I almost didnít make it today, just because I felt like a train wreck when I woke up, even though I slept more last night than I have any night this week. Itís just accumulated fatigue from work, lifting and life. After a few hours of eating and sitting around, I felt good enough. I didnít get to his house until 5:30 pm though. Considering the hour+ drive back, having 2 children with me, etc, I decided early that I would skip bench this time. I feel somewhat confident in that lift, meaning that I think the training is carrying over fairly well, based on how things went 3 weeks ago. But I hadnít deadlifted a real bar since my first visit 5 weeks ago. So hereís how it went...


    185/3 - started feeling those hamstrings again, especially the right one. Still sore from pause squats.
    335/1 - started using mouth guard
    375/1 - started using wrist wraps
    410/1 - started using belt
    475/1 @9.5 RPE - calling it .5 because I donít think I could have doubled this, but it wasnít a 10
    505/walkout and hold at start position for 10-12 seconds

    Three weeks ago, 455 felt like it was crushing my skeleton and insides, even though the weight was moving. Tonight I never felt like I wasnít in control of the weight. I felt a little bit of soreness on my right/lower back, but nothing like the last 2 times I squatted here. Iíll take it!


    135/2 sumo + 3 conventional - I hadnít tried sumo on a real bar in forever. Didnít feel right. Mission aborted.
    315/1 double overhand + 1 over/under - started using Versa Gripps. Stayed with alternating grip for the rest of the sets.
    385/1 - started using mouth guard
    435/1 - started using belt
    500/1 @9.5 RPE
    500/1 @9.5 RPE

    The last time I deadlifted here (5 weeks ago), I felt like I was on the verge of looking like a Mortal Kombat fatality pulling 455. I left my brotherís house today confident that Iíd be deadlifting 5-something at the meet.

    None of this is close to PR territory. But in mid-March, over the final 2 days before gyms in Maryland closed for Covid, I squatted 500, benched 300 and deadlifted 530. I didnít do any notable training for more than 3 months, and when I went back to the gym in late June, it was Planet Fitness. If I can put up numbers at/around my pre-Covid-closure numbers at this meet, Iíll feel like this experiment has been successful.

    4 weeks to go...

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default Video From 10/18 - Squat & Deadlift (REAL WEIGHTS!)

    As I mentioned in my last entry, I left my brotherís house yesterday feeling optimistic about my prospects for the meet. Hereís the video from my squat/deadlift session. I topped out at 475 on the squat and 500 on the bench, weighing 210-211.

    Right now, the plan for this week is to train twice between tomorrow (or today at this point) and Friday at PF, then back to his house on Sunday.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default Keeping Up With My Wife

    As I said in my last entry, I planned to train twice between Tuesday and Friday. My wife - former powerlifter, now stroke survivor - has really been inspired to try to reverse some of her health problems since we attended a local bodybuilding show 2 weeks ago. She trains at Planet Fitness also, and still wants to get stronger along with transforming her body. One day in the last week, she went to another PF that I hadnít been to yet. Itís on the same street as our normal one, just about 20 minutes farther up the road. She wanted me to see this one, so I went along with it. I havenít slept much since Sunday, so rather than try to kill myself in the gym last night, I just did her full body workout with her.

    Work 10/20: 8.5 hours, 7.7 miles, 16,882 steps, 8 floors climbed

    Note: the machines here are the ďPrecorĒ brand. Our normal gym has Life Fitness, except for the Hammer Strength machines. I mention this because either I really am getting stronger quickly, or the weights on the Precor machines are ďlighterĒ than their Life Fitness counterparts that Iím used to.

    Seated Overhead Press Machine


    150/14 @9.5 RPE - used mouth guard. To my prior point about how these weights felt ďlighterĒ, I never take a bigger jump from set 2-3 than I do from set 1-2. I was just under shooting by so much, I had to fix it for the work set.

    Pulldown Machine


    200/15 @9.5 RPE - used Versa Gripps and mouth guard

    Seated Row Machine - Iíve never been on one angled like this. Not sure if I liked it.

    70/3 + 120/2 + 100/10 - trying to feel this thing out
    160/13 @9.5 RPE - used Versa Gripps and mouth guard

    Chest Press Machine

    45/5 + 80/10 - settled on the neutral grip rather than pronated

    150/12 @9.5 RPE - used mouth guard

    Calf Press - on the plate loaded leg press machine

    180+/15-20 (I lost count and didnít record it)

    Leg Press - same plate loaded machine, but the seat, foot pad, angle and safeties are all different from our normal PFís leg press

    540+/4 - felt heavier than I expected, so I decided to shut it down and use this for the work set
    540+/10 @10 RPE

    Prone Leg Curl​ - Iíve mentioned that I really like this machine. Iím glad they had one. My wife did some ab stuff instead of these.

    105/15 @8 RPE - Iím still having some odd feelings in my hamstrings, so I didnít go overboard with these.

    Overall, I think this session was a good idea. After Sundayís squats and deadlifts, it felt (last night and today) like some active recovery work. Iíll plan to go harder with some Smith machine stuff tomorrow and/or Friday.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default Fri. 10/23 - Short & Sweet

    Planet Fitness in Baltimore City is open continuously from Monday morning through Friday at 10pm, then 7am - 7pm on weekends. I didnít get home from work tonight until after 8pm, so I knew Iíd have to try to cram a lot into less time than I wanted. Hereís how things went...

    Work: 9.5 hours, 9.0 miles, 19,432 steps, 6 flights climbed

    *Reminder* - on Smith machine exercises, I only list the weight of the plates, and the bar is represented by ď+Ē. Thereís a label on the machine saying the bar equals 20 or 25 lbs (I donít remember), but I donít trust it.

    Smith Machine Squat

    bar/6 x 2 sets

    310+/3 - started using mouth guard
    340+/2 - started using wrist wraps, first time using them at PF
    370+/2 - started using belt
    450+/2 @9.5 RPE, heaviest squat at Planet Fitness so far

    In terms of controlling my depth, this might have been the best session Iíve done either at PF or at my brotherís. I tend to go extra deep on squats, which is better than struggling to hit legal competition depth. But I would prefer to stay tight and remove some ROM to make my squat more efficient. Hopefully, I can keep this going at my brotherís over the weekend.

    Smith Machine Bench Press

    bar/10 (maybe more, I lost count)

    210+/2 - started using mouth guard
    230+/2 - started using wrist wraps
    260+/2 @9.5 RPE
    drop set: 260+/2 + 230+/3 @10 RPE

    Seated Dual-Handle Cable Row - these sets were actually alternated with BP after the 230+ set

    130 (whole stack)/8 @10 RPE

    The weight on this stack was deceptive. Iíve rowed much more than 130 on several machines, so maybe the number on this stack means the resistance for each hand. I donít know, but it feels like it worked well enough as a substitute for the Smith machine barbell rows I ran out of time to do.

    The entire workout was done in 1 hour 15 minutes. 22 days to go until the meet.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default 10/26, Short & Sweet, Again

    starting strength coach development program
    I got off work early yesterday because I had an appointment with an optometrist. Not only did I walk less than I normally would, I ended up training in contacts for possibly the first time ever. It has been so long since the last time I wore contacts, I donít know if Iíve ever lifted in them, and Iíve been in the gym for about 16 years now. I wonít be wearing them everyday, but not having glasses in the gym can be helpful, especially wearing a mask.

    Work yesterday, 10/26: 6 hours, 6.3 miles, 14,185 steps, 9 floors climbed
    Work today, 10/27: 11.5 hours, 10.2 miles, 22,076 steps, 8 floors climbed

    Mon. 10/26

    NOTE: on Smith machine exercises, I only list the weight of the plates with a + to represent whatever the bar adds (i.e. ď90+Ē looks like 135)

    Smith Machine Deadlift

    180+/3 x 2 sets
    270+/3-4 - I donít know how I forgot the number of reps I did by the time I went to write it down. Old man problems, I suppose.
    340+/2 - started using mouth guard, as well as alternating grip
    430+/1 - started using Versa Gripps
    460+/1 - started using belt
    500+/1 + 1 @9.5 RPE
    On that set, I did one, stood up to take a breath, and started setting up a second rep. I was recording the set, and I noticed someone walk over and stand right in front of my phone. So I asked him to move, and went back through my set up. It was about 30-40 seconds between reps. Thatís not enough for me to call it 2 sets, but too long to call it ď2 repsĒ, so Iíll count it like a cluster of 2 singles.
    450+/3 @9 RPE - did the backoff sets double overhand with the Versa Gripps
    450+/3 @9.5 RPE

    Smith Machine Barbell Row

    230+/8 - started using Versa Gripps
    270+/6 - cheated a little more than I would have liked on these, but Iíve seen worse
    230+/10 - cheated some of these too, but that was by design

    Hammer Ab Crunch Machine

    5 sets total, 10 reps each w/30, 50, 70, 60, 40

    Did this in just under an hour. I only plan to deadlift one more time - twice at the most - before the meet (November 14), and that will be with a real barbell.

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