Bench Press

10 10 2013

Even with chronic fatigue, bipolar depression, and chronic back pain, I’ve been able to do just a bit of weight training. I used to be into bodybuilding (never competed, just like working out) and powerlifting. After all of my conditions got worse, I ended up 80 lbs lighter from at my heaviest, although I had some extra fat at that point. (No steroids)

Now, all I have to do is one or two sets within a certain rep range, which is different for each muscle group, and not put too much intensity of effort into it, and because of anabolic rebound, I’ve been gaining some muscle. It has taken me a couple of years to design a program around my back, and that doesn’t fry my nervous system and exhaust me. I started out with just walking, grippers, and calf raises, and have gradually added things. I’m at my limit, if not slightly over. A gluten free diet has helped me. I have my bad days where I can’t do anything. My endurance is still almost non-existent, but I can do things that are within a narrow window.

I have a goal of increasing my bench press by 100lbs in a year. It’s my weakest exercise, but that doesn’t mean it can’t improve. I’ve been working on biceps, forearms and calves just because I can, and it doesn’t take too much energy. So I gradually added chest, back, shoulders and triceps, for the most part only doing one submaximal effort set each, every 3-4 days. That’s all it takes, for now anyway. 100lbs on my bench press is only a little more than what I used to use on my second warm-up set, so it’s not a big deal. But in a way, in my condition it is a big deal. So we’ll see how it goes.

I’m just starting to get to the point where there are a tiny bit of endorphins secreted during and after “working out”.  That alone is worth it because it’s a bit of an anti-depressant. It also gives me something physical to work towards, although I’ve been improving for a few months now. Sometimes one or more things stagnate while others improve. As long as something is improving, I have to be satisfied.

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