I know I've said it before, but I'm gonna say it again: Arm Day is my LEAST favourite day!
But that means it's also so much more exciting when I start seeing gains on this day! Gains in something you love and doing exercises you enjoy is one thing, but when you start to see growth in an area you dislike and have to fight to progress in, that's something else entirely.
And it's something else again when the gains are in the one exercise I hate above all others: the bench press.
The bench press above is my first ever working set with the bar. Prior to this, as mentioned in previous posts, I have only ever done the bench press with dumbbells, so this is a big thing for me. The bar itself weighs about 20kgs, so it is no heavier than I have done with the dumbbells, but the mechanics of lifting with a bar and very different to any kind of dumbbell lift.
A bar is a long, static weight that is held above the body, whereas dumbbells are held in the hands beside the body. So while the weight and technique may be the same, there will always be a slight variation in the lift due to the nature of the object being lifted. Lifting with a bar also requires you to exert equal power through both arms, rather than separately lift with each arm at the same time. On a safety note as well, if you drop a dumbbell and it lands beside you, it's no big deal, but if you drop and bar, it's going to land on top of you!
Above my second set on the bench, and it weighed in at roughly 25kgs and, as you can see, I struggled with it. I attempted this weight last week with the 12.5kg dumbbells and very nearly failed out, so pushing through and attempting it again this week, and with a bar was huge.
So, the net result? I lifted it, but I'm not stable and I keep trying to compensate with my back rather than pushing through my shoulders. Pat performs his role as a spot superbly, helping me to correct the lift and finish the set, and, with this in mind, my bench press goal has changed in only one small way.
The weight remains the same, I want to be able to comfortably bench 25kgs, but I want to do it with a bar, not two 12.5kg dumbbells, and I want to be able to do it for six reps. I have benched 35kg for one set at my strongest, so 25kgs for six does not seem like an unreasonable ask for my body.
Arm day finished off with one arm shoulder presses. Now, you can do these standing up, one arm at the time, you can do them sitting on a bench, one arm at a time, or you can really get into it and put your body in a 'power position' (a pose that mentally and physically puts you in a better space to achieve) and smash out these bad boys. If you have been following me long enough, you will know which option I took. Pat sneakily Instagramed my back as I was doing this and I swear my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw it. Given we don't often see our own back (because it is, by it's nature, always behind us) we don't often pay much attention to it, but it is often one of the places where fat loss and/or muscle gain is most noticeable.
The framed BEFORE/AFTER photo is me on the Evolving Physiques Wall of Fame. The photo on the left was taken in 2013, while the middle picture (right in the frame) was taken in 2016 after my first transformation challenge with Evolving Physiques (I had done two at Goodlife prior to this). The photo on Pat's phone is a still from my one-arm shoulder press last night showing just how freaking amazing my back looks! I can honestly say that, for the first time, I'm really looking forward to doing my AFTER measurements and photos, because I can already tell that there's going to be impressive, noticeable gains.
Alright, that's me done for the night. I have filming for a pole competition tomorrow, so there may be some blog content late, or I might do some catching up on Sunday, but big news on deadlifts coming you way soon!
You don't find the willpower - you create it.
Me With No Apologies.