Alright, well today started with something a little different. I normally start fridays with overhead press but I realize I need to just go ahead and start bench pressing again since I should probably build up lifts I am weak on. However, taking care of multiple birds with one stone, I also decided to start using my axle again, and so I did bottom position axle bench presses, ranging from 123-178 for sets of 5, except for the last two sets where I reached 178 where I did 4 and 2 (failing the third rep on the last set). While not spectacular its a starting point, and its a better starting point than what I had last time. That being said, I did like the feeling of using the axle for bench pressing, and I do like my crude set up for this exercise in the rack. I just need to stick with this lift to make it better.
After this I moved on to Bent Over Rows in the rack, also done with the axle. This is where the axle started to show its real difficulty, as pulling motions are always a pain in the butt with this thing, but its what its supposed to do. I managed 123-168 for sets of 5, I'd have liked to have gone further but it was getting to the point of the bar starting to slip from my hand, so I'm going to have to spend time getting used to thick bar work again.
Then it came time for the main attraction of the day, the squat. Today I started with 215 pounds for 20 reps, which went rather well, not really running into difficulty until rather late in the set of 20, but even then all I needed was to break for air to gather the strength to go on. Then came 225 for 15. Normally the sets of 15 are the hardest, and while this was difficult, I managed to get to 10 way faster than I was expecting and from there, getting the final 5 isn't so bad. Then it was a matter of 230 for 12, 235 for 10, 240 for 8, and 245 for 6, with only big difficulty coming from the set of 6 as the top weight is starting to get towards territory thats actually a challenge to do for six reps, plus I'm already quite tired by the time I get there. That being said, I maintained great form the entire way through. I've been focusing on keeping my head up and leading the movement with my hips and its been making a big improvement. I'm not sure as to my actual depth but I am fairly certain I am around parallel (individual reps seem to be either a bit below or a bit above) but even so, I was noticing in the mirror that my rib cage does seem to be expanding again so this is at least going in the right direction.
However, I notice I take extremely long amounts of time between sets with these, and I wonder if thats just normal due to the sheer VOLUME of what I'm lifting or not. When I'm on my in between days, I don't take nearly as long, so I'm likely to think that this is just the extreme exertion of what I'm doing. But I have a feeling that I am probably SUPPOSED to rest less between sets and have a wider distribution of weight. As it is, I have everything bunched up, but I think thats smart for now, since I needed to build my skill back up with squatting, and because frankly my max squat isn't so huge that I can have a real big distribution in the first place. Still, I wish I could have it wider. Oh well.
After each set of squats I did pull overs with my chest expander, which for the most part is good but there are times when I expand my arms out sideways too soon and the cables end up touching my head. Oh well, not a big deal.
To end the session, I did my auxillary work in a circuit. 7 hanging leg raises, 5-7 squeezes on a captain of crush (today was 7 on #1, two sets of 5 on #1.5, then another 7 on 1), and neck presses with my fabled cables. I am now able to use four cables for this lift, which I think is pretty good for now.
All in all, I think a productive training day, I think it was a good call to just increase the squat poundages by 5 pounds today instead of 10, as its getting to the point where every set is a challenge and I can't breeze through it the way I could before. As it is, finishing the program out at 5 pound jumps will still be a huge increase over what I started with.