As I am slowly approaching my target weight (only about seven pounds to go), Carley our trainer at Mustache Fitness and Barbell, has been encouraging me to focus on my upper body strength. Though I have seen progress since beginning last fall on my arm definition and strength, I am a long ways away from really considering myself strong.

Deadlift_illustrationLast week we did a one rep max test on my bench press. The last time we tested was around November, mostly because my focus was squarely on getting in half marathon shape. I clocked in around ~120 lbs in November. Last week I barely improved to 125. Not the progress I hoping for, and certainly not the progress he was looking to see.

Last night was a bench session in which I focused on my wide-grip, and narrow grip bench press. After a few warm up sets of 10 reps at lighter weights, Carley increased the weight to what felt comfortable in the 10 rep range. Confusingly, I was hovering right around 95lbs. Thats around 75% of my theoretical max, yet I was able to do 3×10 at that weight. Then, I experienced what I have been struggling with since starting weight training. I hit a wall and completely failed out at a weight I was pretty comfortable doing 10 reps at. On the fourth working set, my arms simply refused the weight and I was unable to do more than three. It’s like I instantly fall off a cliff and there is no recovering from it.

I know I just threw a bunch of numbers and sets and reps at you all. Take home message: My muscular endurance is absolutely garbage. The amount of time between sets I need to recover is incredibly long, much longer than a couple of minutes that is pretty standard. Last night was a pretty frustrating session and I know I need to get way more serious about weight training if I want to see any real gains.