Sunday Strength 4/7/13 (w/ Bonus Couch Time)


In my quest for lean superhero-ness, I’m following the Wendler 5/3/1 strength training program. Twice a week, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym in our Converse to lift heavy stuff and work on skills. (If you’re new to strength training, here’s a great overview of what all the lingo below means.)

Madeleine Albright: My New Favorite Badass

I’m about a quarter of the way through Madeleine Albright’s memoir Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948, and it is… wonderful. Moving. Educational. Beautifully-written. Infuriating. All the things I love in a good read. Her deconstruction of how Czechoslovakia was pushed and pulled in the 1930s is the best I’ve read for helping me to understand the nuances of the negotiations among France, Britain, Germany, Russia, and Czechoslovakia — and the personal stories about her family help put it all in a human context. (Have any of you read her other books Madam Secretary or Read My Pins? Share in comments, if you have!)

I had to stop reading to hit the gym for some barbell meditation — but I got back to the couch as soon as I could to immerse myself in more adventures in the darker days of the twentieth century. Here’s what was happening with my body; my brain was somewhere between the bottom of a back squat and 1939…

5:00 treadmill: started at 3mph and increased speed every minute t0 4 mph

Instead of stretching, we’re changing up our warmup to focus more on gentle movements that mimic what we’re doing in our workouts. We spent about 10 minutes just moving around:
air squats
arm circles
straight-leg march


Back Squat
5 @ 65% of max =100#
5 @ 75% of max = 120#
max reps @ 90% of max = 130# – I did 8.
volume set: max reps @ 65% of max = 100# – I did 15.

Bench Press
5 @ 65% of max =80#
5 @ 75% of max = 90#
max reps @ 90% of max = 105# – I did 4. Disappointed!
volume set: max reps @ 70% of max = 85# – I did 11.


2 rounds:
11 overhead squat, 45#
body rows 5 + 5
11 overhead press, 55#, 45#


Did you have a lazy Sunday or was it a training day?

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  • Casey says:

    I listened to the audio recording of Prague Winter a few months ago, read aloud by Madeleine Albright herself. I was surprised that her narration was somewhat flat and monotone considering she was often talking about her own life, but it was still FASCINATING. I had no idea she was born Czech! The stories about the villages that were razed were stories I had not ever heard before, but were chilling and really helped explain the Czech mindset during the war. The ending seemed abrupt to me; I’m not entirely sure the last disc was present in the audio version I checked out from the library. If you can remember, please write your thoughts about the ending because I may need to check the *book* out of the library to actually finish the story. Great choice – glad to hear about someone else enjoying it!

  • KellyBrown says:

    I actually met her at a luncheon that a networking group of mine in Chicago put on a few years ago right when Read My Pins first came out. I got the opportunity to chat with her for about 10 minutes and I have to say that she is one of the coolest, most engaging and wittiest women I’ve ever met. I read her first book and cannot wait to read Prague!

    • Mel says:

      Wow. That is totally awesome. Lucky you!

      I stayed up way too late last night reading more of Prague Winter. It’s SO good.

  • Petra says:

    Still doing Wendells eh? Love it. I’m still doing Starting Strength but now that I’m trying to make more gains I occasionally play with 2 x 7s or other progressions. How often and how much do you try increasing weights? Sunday was a hike with the pup for me plus a little rock climbing. I did my weights Saturday instead : )

  • Steph says:

    Just started Wendler’s 5/3/1 myself! Excited to see how it improves all my other lifts too. Gotta get my total up 🙂