So I had a really good workout today. That is the slippery slope on which this begins. I felt good, I had some gains on a few lifts, and everything was going great. At that point my over-confident brain got in the way. Maybe it was the endorphin, or the pre-workout, or space aliens who knows….

All I know is that I had a solid plan going into the gym. It was a pretty basic day as workouts go, chest and triceps:

  • Incline Bench (2 sets- reverse pyramid)
  •  Flat Bench Press (2 sets-reverse pyramid)
  • Triceps Extensions (2 sets-reverse pyramid)
  • Reverse flys (4 sets-straight)
  • Ab wheel (2 sets)

I knew what I did for these exercises last time, so I had a good frame of reference for how hard I needed to push to show gains.

I cruised through the incline and the flat bench. Along the way, I made the executive decision that for the three key powerlifting lifts, bench press, squat and deadlift, I would add an extra set beyond what the program called for and do 3 sets instead of two. Since I do all three on different days, It was a good way to sneak in volume without crowding the workout. That part at least was not the issue.

Where I truly believe I f’d up was deciding to add 4 straight sets of dips. I felt good. I thought that now that I was good and warmed up from triceps extensions, why not?

Stupid me. I overlooked that bench press (of which I just did 5 sets across two exercises) works your triceps as well. Well, I did them. And they were great. I really pushed hard each set. By the time I got done, I knew it would end badly. My triceps were so pumped, it was hard to flex my arm, let alone try and touch my shoulder. By the time I made it over to grab a protein shake, my arms were a little shaky. I have felt this before. And I know that I will definitely feel this for at least three days and it won’t be fun.

I have crossed into acute over-training. Forget the chronic kind, where you push really hard for a really long program and you start getting sick more often, you stop sleeping good, and you just don’t feel right in general. I saw this a lot when I was doing crossfit. People who pushed so hard on a routine workout that they collapse when they are done, or are otherwise pretty much worthless afterwards while their body recovers form the shock.

I am all for pushing hard, don’t get me wrong. And you should have a little stiffness or soreness after a hard resistance training session. That’s a sign of improvement. However, unless you are a competitor in something, it’s not worth the risk of a mild case of Rhabdomyolysis,  or some acute training related injury. And I am not a professional at anything other than my day job.

Remember that, especially those of you just starting a program. Don’t get cocky. Stick to your plan. You developed it for a reason.



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