It’s been a while. It’s been almost 6 months since I’ve written about the bench. Sorry, bench press. I have no excuse. Well, I have one excuse: my seventeen day vacation to Cottage Hospital. From October through January I was benching light, trying to keep my strength while losing weight for climbing. Then I got pneumonia in February, went to the hospital and lost way too much weight. Now I’m 156 lbs and not so strong. Yesterday was my fourth day benching since getting released from the hospital. Things are not the same. The pulmonologist in charge of my treatment has allowed me to lift light so I’ve been doing sets of 20 twice a week on the barbell flat bench, close-grip and incline, some behind-the-neck shoulder presses and skull crushers. I’ve been increasing intensity fairly quickly, adding about 20 lbs each session, resulting yesterday in a set of 18 reps at 115 lbs on flat bench. I was going for 20 but failed at 18 reps making this the first set at which I went to failure and the first day I felt healthy enough to do so. Possibly it could be time to decrease reps and start building up weight. Rehabilitation is an intuitive thing, I believe. I’ll have to feel this one out slowly but I’m impressed with the pace of recovery so far.