So I did bench press today solo.  It was the first time I slid under the bar for a number of weeks due to a painful shoulder and being out of town.  I was conservative with my game plan, not wanting to go over 185 pounds, slightly more than my body weight.  As expected I felt weak and my shoulder still was not very cooperative.

I set the meager goal of doing four sets of five reps at 185 pounds, something that would have been a piece of cake 6 months ago.  When even the first set felt relatively difficult I knew it was going to be a struggle.  So I successfully grinded through three sets.  On the final set I paused before rep four and had to struggle to get that one up.  I was laying there in the locked out position for a little while, hoping to regain some power to get the last rep completed.  Some guy saw me in this position and asked if I wanted a spot.  Of course I said “nah, it’s ok”

So I go down for the final rep and start moving the bar back up against gravity until it stops moving.  In the span of a millisecond I surveyed how close I was to the lower set of safety hooks and simultaneously thought about how incredibly stupid and embarrassing it would be for me to wind up with the bar on my chest after I waved off a spot.  I focused every remaining ounce of energy I had left to barely get the bar on the hooks.  The desire to avoid that embarrassment helped fuel that effort.

It’s disappointing that my pushing strength is so diminished.  The only course of action is to just keep working.