I'm cutting the last week of my planned strength block. My right AC joint has been hurting, and I want to focus on getting it healed & strong again. I think I tweaked it doing bench presses during my hypertrophy block. It's mostly been fine since then, but it's been hurting this week and I really want it to be solid by the time I start racing.
So, I feel like that's a solid decision. It's a good time to switch my focus to on-bike gains, and put the barbell stuff into maintenance/prehab mode.
But I didn't feel good ending the block on that note... until I started looking at the numbers.
I'm pretty happy with that. I've managed to trim down a bit without losing the mass I built during the hypertrophy block. My waist got trimmer, I dropped ~4#, and everything else got stronger.
I feel a bit silly, but I managed to put together a workout that made it pretty difficult to quantify progress.
I pushed my deadlift from 165# to 235#. That's pretty clear. But box jumps and pull-ups are harder.
I can feel how much stronger the box jumps are. I don't have a proper plyo box, so I'm jumping onto a 16'' bench. However, over the course of the last 6 weeks, I've jumped from farther and farther away onto the bench, and felt stronger and stronger doing it.
And the barbell complex I've been doing now feels like a warm-up at 85#.
Ditto for planks, farmer walks, and Jefferson curls. The objective loads haven't changed, but the RPE has gotten steadily easier.
So, I feel really good about the progress I've made, even if I can't really quaitify it. The proof will be in how the on-bike training shakes out.
When I started this block, I was noticing a lot of fatigue & some discomfort in my low back, and that's now completely gone. (I credit the Jefferson curls & farmer walks.)
And my body weight has dropped from 198# to 194#, so I'm down four pounds in 6 weeks, which is fine. (I'm watching my waist measurement and my weight, so as long as I'm getting leaner, I can deal with the number on the scale not being what I planned on.)
I did not supplement with protein for this block. I added more fat than I wanted during the hypertrophy block, and I that got in my head a bit. I probably traded some strength gains to get leaner, but the strength gains I did make were plenty.
Aside from that, I just kept to my normal diet: minimal sugar, protein at breakfast, etc.
The Cyclist's Training Bible lists target loads for some fundamental exercises as a guage of progress:
- squat: 1.3 - 1.7 x BW
- leg press: 2.5 - 2.9 x BW
- step-up: 0.7 - 0.9 x BW
- seated row: 0.5 - 0.8 x BW
- standing row: 0.4 - 0.7 x BW
At the moment, I'm well below those targets. So I've got something to shoot for.