2" elevation dead-stop deadlift 5, 5, 5, 5, 3, 1, 1, 1, 1
Close grip bench press 5, 5, 5, 5, 5
For the deadlifts, I pulled 150 kg for 3 sets of 5 broken repetitions no problem. I bumped it to 160 kg for the set of 3, and could have done 5 again had the bar had any grip at all. For the sets of 1 I did 170, 180, and 190 kg, respectively. Considering no belt, a 2" elevation, and a bar with no chalk or grip, this is far and away the easiest this weight has ever felt for me. And my back didn't slip until the last set (which is why I didn't continue on). Realistically, I think under ideal circumstances I could have lifted 210 kg tonight. Not sure what is directly responsible for this increase in strength, but I like it.
The bench press was equally satisfying. I haven't done close grip in a while (about a 14" separation), so perhaps this isn't a fair evaluation of improvement. However, I did my last set of 5 at 110 kg (242 lb). I used to struggle getting 5 repetitions with 215. The only thing I can think of is that the elevated handstand pushups I've been using the last few months have made my triceps a lot stronger.
Whatever the reason, I'm hoping this is a trend that continues...
Judson and I also did some amazing sightseeing, including Venice, St. Mark's Cathedral, and lots of gondolas. I wanted to run to the top of the bell tower at St. Mark's Square, but the Italian guard was having none of it... "lift only!"
Heading back to Leiden early in the morning, given that the increasingly heavy snowfall does not prevent my return.