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Showing posts from 2011

Deadlift grooving and an Overhead Press PR

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For the past two days, we've actually gotten some snow up here in Canada, Oakville, Ontario to be specific.  Despite being late for Christmas, the snow is a welcome if inconvenient confirmation that winter is upon us.  Once it's impossible to see the grass, I start mentally counting down days until golf season opens again.  If we're lucky, we'll have to suffer through about 100 days of winter before diehards start braving the mushy early spring conditions on the links.

In the meantime, I've got some strengthening to do and today's snowfall meant most of the normal gym population at the Oakville YMCA would have an excuse not to show up.  Since this particular gym isn't stocked with competitive lifters, I actually prefer if it's mostly empty.  If you want to get stronger and you can't find a gym where there are other competitive lifters, it's better to be the only fish in the pond rather than a competitive fish in a non-competitive pond.  At least…

Squat de-load workout

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After polluting my system with all manner of Christmas treats for the past two days, I woke up today feeling like the Tin Man in need of oil.  While I feel like there is a certain amount of over-hyping going on over the whole gluten thing, I have to admit, when I don't eat tremendous amounts of wheat-based foods, it does seem like my joints feel better.  Whether it's the gluten or the general malaise and over-eating that comes with holidays with family, my body is looking forward to a few days of clean eating.

After reviewing my training log, I decided I'd lower my squat volume and take a de-load week.  I have a pretty high intesity deadlift workout scheduled for Thursday and my hips have been asking for a break the past two weeks so it seemed like a good time.  Turns out, my squat felt good today and I seemed to have re-discovered my squat groove.

I don't know about anyone else but there are days when my squat feels like my body is a bunch of giraffe parts and there …

Richard Talens has an effect.

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Richard Talens and Brian Wang are the founders of www.fitocracy.com.  To quote an article that included Fitocracy as one of 2011's most exciting NYC startups, "While in college, they realized they had to make a lifestyle change and thus became “addicted to fitness”. Inspired by their experience, the two built a platform that tracks workouts and turns personal fitness into a social game."

I have alot of fun at www.fitocracy.com logging my workouts to accumulate points, quests and challenges.  It gives an extra little bit of motivation to get me through tough workouts or even to the gym at all if I've had a tough day or I'm feeling a little tired.  According to the article mentioned above, the site is having that effect on a lot of people and over 1,000,000 workouts have been logged on the site since the inception of its current platform.

In addition to creating a tool and a community that motivates fitness minded individuals to get their workouts done, I experienc…

Christmas Eve Front Squats and Bench Pressing

After dealing with terrible traffic and super crowded malls yesterday, I was looking forward to today's workout in the hopes that the post-workout high would carry me through the remainder of today's shopping chores.

I re-introduced front squats as a solution to easing some of the shoulder pain I've been getting.  I'm hoping that limiting back squats to once a week will give my shoulders a bit of a break.  The front squats will also help with conditioning my upper back and fixing some quad weaknesses.

I started very slowly today but will look to increase the poundages in coming weeks as I get re-acclimated to the front squat groove.

Front Squats:  135x5x3 sets, 185x5x2 sets, 225x5x3 sets

None of the sets were difficult but I could definitely feel stress in supportive muscle groups that weren't used to being worked this way.

Bench presses didn't start off well with my shoulders threatening to bark up a storm.  As I proceeded through my warm up sets, things star…

Deficit deadlifts and no overhead press PR for me

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After taking last week off from deadlifting, I was looking forward to getting back into it today.  Today's plan was 5 sets of 2 off of an approximately 2" deficit (the width of a 45# plate).  Next week will be timed singles off the floor with a heavier weight and the week after that, 5 singles pyramiding up to a gym max and then another off week.

Deficit Deadlifts:  225x3, 315x3, 405x3, 495x2x5 sets.

The last two sets of 2 with 495 were tough.  I'll be honest and say that I do not enjoy heavy pulling at all.  It's my best powerlift by far but it's also the most uncomfortable (not painful) lift for me to do.  Sucking it up to do 5 work sets whether singles or doubles is as much a mental challenge for me as it is a physical one.  I'm now working at training volumes I used to use when I was successfully deadlifting much more weight so I'm expecting some nice PR's come February's competition.

By the way, I found this photograph taken by the meet photog…

Is it harder to get strong today?

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Smolov, Smolov Jr., Sheiko, 5/3/1, Starting Strength, Texas Method, Max Effort/Dynamic Effort, 5x5, German Volume Training, StrongLifts, etc, ad nauseum.  So many programs, so many choices.

Not to sound too much like an old timer but back when I started lifting weights in 1982, we started with 3 sets of 10 reps and added weight.  Simple linear progression.  Virtually every 'program' of the day was a variation of a linear progression. Sometimes 3's, sometimes 5's, sometimes 1's.  It wasn't very complicated and the talented lifters got real strong.  The rest of us got stronger too.

In the following video from 1989, Bill Cavalier was 44  and Dusty Caldwell, R.I.P. was 41.  Cavalier, one of the greatest deadlifters of all time, lifted as a light 198 lb class lifter and easily hoists 733 lbs.  Caldwell also easily completes a deadlift in the high 600's as a light 242 lb class lifter.  Cavalier's deadlift would be a top 10 deadlift even today based on www.po…

Doing the work

While the internet gives me a forum to share my experiences and to hold myself accountable (if it's written it's real), the internet is also a source of frustration.  Thanks to the internet and multitudes of forums and message boards, every kid that's read "Starting Strength", pored over www.westside-barbell.com, and memorized every article on www.elitefts.com thinks he's an expert because he can regurgitate things he's read.  Never mind that none of these kids have years of training under their belts and none have ever lifted anything heavy.  Coach Rip or Louis Simmons or Dave Tate says so and they repeat it like a mantra.

Equally as frustrating are the internet 'experts' that are so afraid of hurting themselves (are these the kids that grew up never having an unsupervised play date or never rode bikes all day knowing to be home before the streetlights came on?) that they preach "form over weight".  Again, never ever lifting anything he…

re-building the Bench Press and Squat adjustments

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I skipped thursday's deadlift workout, not totally intentionally but it got skipped.  My body took advantage of the extra rest to fully recover from the previous weeks' heavy squatting and pulling workload and things mostly felt better today on high-bar squat and bench press day.

I also brought a new toy to the gym, a new set of bluetooth stereo headphones.  The Motorola S10-HD bluetooth headphones have been on sale at a number of different stores and after dealing with cords and crappy sound from earbuds, I figured a bluetooth headphone set had to be an improvement.  Since I have an unusually large cranium, I have to wear the headphones upside down but they're still comfortable enough.  Sound is actually better than the earbuds I've been using because there's a better seal in the ear and I'm actually able to hear some bass in the music.  Not dealing with a cord is a huge improvement.  Because the headphones have a neckband rather than a headband, they're i…

Squat cluster singles

My planned squat cluster singles didn't go as planned.  It became clear very quickly that my lower back still wasn't recovered from last week's workouts.  I had to drop my weights very early in the cluster and was only able to raise them back up a small amount.  Did manage to do an extra two singles though.  Afterwards, along with my lower back, my calves were pretty trashed.  I guess all that unracking, setting up, and re-racking takes a toll.

Squats:  135x10x2 sets, 225x10, 315x5, 365x3, cluster singles (1" rest between singles) 405/415/415/405/365/365/375/375/380/380/380/380

I bumped up my "light day" work weight in the standing military press.  Felt good, glad that the fatigue affecting my squat workout didn't affect my shoulder pressing.

Military Presses:  45x10, 95x10, 135x5, 155x5, 155x5, 155x5

I also bumped up the weight used for barbell shrugs.  I guess progress on 2/3rds of my workout is still a net positive.

Barbell Shrugs:  315x8, 405x5, 455x…

Squat volume and Bench Press cluster singles

I clearly wasn't fully recovered from Thursday's deadlift workout.  Thought I could try powering through it but my first planned work set of high bar squats with 365 almost broke me in half.  I barely got through my second rep and actually thought I was going to dump it over my head.  I took that as a sign and dropped the weight back down to 315.  I finished with a set of 225x20 that I thought would be easy but turned out to be quite hard as my lower back fatigued far quicker than my legs.  I only did that because I wanted to cross of the "baby widowmaker" quest on www.fitocracy.com. If you're interested, you can join here.  It's a pretty cool site and I'll admit, it does motivate me to do a little more than I would normally do.

High Bar Squats:  135x10, 135x10, 225x5, 315x5, 365x2, 315x7, 315x7, 225x20

Next up were bench presses.  Warm ups went okay but my shoulders were not really happy with my first work set of 245x3.  I decided to do cluster singles (…

Deadlift day and breaking through a weight-loss plateau

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Despite my relative successes within the ongoing process of dropping my bodyweight from a high of 299 lbs in November 2007, I have struggled with breaking through a 'set point' of approximately 240 lbs.   In August of 2010, I managed to get down to 228 lbs  but yo-yo'd back up to 250 by January 2011.  I got back down to 231 lbs in August 2011 but yo-yo'd back up to 240 by the end of September.  I started monitoring my diet in earnest on November 1 and finally managed to break through my August 2011 low point with a weigh-in this morning of 230.5 lbs.    If one were tracking my body-weight over time as if it were a stock price, the 231 lb mark would probably be described as a line of support.   Finally breaking through is a big emotional victory for me and really allows me to visualize my goal weight of 205 lbs.

In addition to following the slow-carb plan described in Tim Ferriss' book, Four Hour Body, I'm also following an intermittent fasting meal protocol wh…

Unexpectedly good squat day

I guess last week's workouts must've done me good.  Today was heavy squats, light overhead presses, and barbell shrugs.  The squats felt great from the first warm-up set.  Like last week I was going to do 10 singles with 405 with minimal rest between each single.  I had no idea doing singles that way had a name but according to this article that ran on T-Nation, it's called a cluster set.  Who knew?

Anyways, I ended up doing the 10 singles in just under 12 minutes.  This workout, I just started my stopwatch when I started the first rep and stopped it after I had completed my last single.  So, when you figure in the time spent un-racking, lifting, and re-racking the weights, my average rest between singles was less than 1 minute.  I counted time differently last week, basically only timing the rest period at approx 1 minute but not counting the time spent actually under the bar.  After comparing the two schemes, I like the running clock version better as it does a better j…

Revenge of the Deadlift workout

Thursday's deadlift workout kicked my butt pretty good.  I've been profoundly sore--in a good way--but today was high-bar squat day, heavy partial squats, and barbell bench presses. Toronto Rex Powerlifting teammate Mark and Trish Boyle's garage gym was open today so I went over to get in a workout with Mark.  Mark and his wife Trish had recently returned from a multi-week trip in Europe that started with Trish's participation as a member of Team Canada at the IPF World Powerlifting Championships.  It was very inspiring seeing Trish lift via live video feed a number of weeks ago.

Mark complained that he was pretty de-trained after three weeks of sightseeing in Europe but he was game to get back into it.  It was good to get back in the garage where there are round, steel plates, chalk, no mirrors, and no bros.

I had planned on work sets of 365x3 reps for three sets but it was pretty instantly clear that my back was not yet recovered from Thursday's deadlift workout.…

Deadlifts and slow-carb diet adaptation

After 4 weeks, I'm starting to get used to the feeling of training on low carbs.  Since I usually have at least one meal before my evening workout, it's never actually fasted training but many times, I will have had less than 50 grams of carbs from low-glycemic sources from 1pm until my workout at approximately 8 pm.  My workouts usually last about 75 minutes and for the first 30 minutes or so--when I schedule my main full body lift (squats or deadlifts), I have a strange nervous energy.  After that, things start to hit a bit of a wall but if I keep the pace up, I'm able to power through the rest of the workout. So far, I haven't noticed much of a loss of strength with the 7-8 lbs lost so far.

Today was deadlift and heavy overhead press day.  I also worked in reverse lunges and pendlay rows.  Deadlifts were 5 singles with less than 2 minutes rest between sets.  I used 545 lbs and by the 5th single, I was pretty gassed.  Still, 5 singles with 545 lbs was the most volume…

Squats and Barbell Shrugs

After four weeks of following the intermittant fasting meal schedule (16 hrs off/8 hrs on) combined with a slow-carb diet, I'm finding that I've adjusted very well to training on low carbs.  I typically eat my first meal at 12:30 to 1:00 pm, eat again before training around 6:00 pm, and finish with a post-workout meal around 9:00pm.  My sole source of carbohydrates during the day, if any, are about 2/3 cup of cooked lentils or some vegetables like broccoli.  Surprisingly, I've found my energy levels to be very good throughout the process.  I eat one or two heavily carbed meals on saturdays and then resume the slow-carb eating by sunday evening.  All in all, I've managed to drop 9 lbs so far in my quest to get down to 205 lbs by next May 2012.

Today's workout was heavy squats, light overhead presses and a new exercise, heavy barbell shrugs.  For squats, I decided to do singles with short rest intervals, inspired by Jamie Lewis' Chaos and Pain program.  While he …

Squat volume day, bench presses, and some Chaos and Pain motivation

Bought an eBook today by Jamie Lewis.  He writes the Chaos and Pain blog and if you're easily or even not so easily offended, it's best you don't check it out.  On the other hand, if you want to get motivated to smash weights, he's strong like bull and will shame you into lifting heavy and often.  Anyways, I managed to get about a third of the way through the eBook (it's something like 368 pages) before I had to get to the gym to redeem my manhood.

Today was high bar squat day.  I would also have normally done my leg presses but the eBook shamed me into   skipping those and doing heavy partial squats instead.

High Bar Squats:  135x10, 135x10, 225x10, 315x5, 365x3x6 sets
Partial High Bar Squats:  405x5, 455x5, 495x3

Doing heavy partial squats with the high bar ride is much harder than the low bar, powerlifting carry.  The last rep of the last set was a vessel busting grind--mission accomplished.  I just need to continue to get my body to adapt to moving massive weig…

Deadlift de-load day and gym douchebags

After three weeks of heavy singles and doubles, this week was deadlift de-load day.  Worked up to 78% of my 1 RM and did two beltless sets of 5 and 4 reps.  These were hard since I rarely do more than 2 reps with work weight in the deadlift.

Deadlift:  225x5, 315x5, 405x5, 475x5, 475x4

Overhead press:  45x10. 95x10, 135x5, 160x5, 185x3, 205x1, 160x5

These went well.  First time over 200 lbs in a long time.  My diet to lose bodyfat and eventually compete in the 220lb weight class isn't filling me with weaksauce after all.

Reverse Lunges:  135x5, 135x6, 135x7

Still feel like a total train wreck doing these but the practice is paying off as I've been slowly able to increase repetitions without fear of falling over.

Finished up with two sets of face pulls, 35x20x2 sets.

My rant for the day:  Lazy, stupid, douchebags.  The set up at the Y has 6 half-power racks.  Each rack has places to hold weight plates.   Because the power racks intimidate people, they're rarely used.  Ins…

Squat and overhead press day

Knees and left hip were sore today and seemed like they took forever to warm up.  At first I thought the soreness and my apparent weakness in the squat was a sign that I might need to back off and re-ramp back up--especially when my second set with 405 amounted to only 1 difficult rep.  I decided to drop the weight to 315 to get some reps in with some speed.  Doing two sets of 8 helped me realize in my quest to strengthen my quads, I had totally forgotten to 'spread the floor' with my feet and engage my glutes.  No wonder the heavier sets felt hard, I wasn't fully utilizing my big ass.  Good learning experience.  I'll dial the weight back a bit anyways to give the knees a break and to give myself a chance to dial in my form.

Squat:  135x10, 135x10, 225x10, 315x5, 365x3, 365x3, 405x2, 405x1, 315x8, 315x8

Overhead presses were next and being volume day, just worked three sets with 135.  Felt harder than it should've but I going to use the excuse that two weeks of die…

Squat volume day and pain free bench pressing!

After my tribulations with not getting enough squat depth in my last workout, I decided to do my squats with a high bar ride instead of the traditional powerlifting low-ride. In addition to making it easier to get below-parallel depth, the increased emphasis on the quads should be beneficial.

High-bar squats:  135x10x2 sets, 225x10, 315x5, 365x5, 365x4, 365x3, 365x3

Not being able to get as much backside into them made them significantly harder than last Saturday's low-bar sets with 365.  Should make for some beneficial adaptation.  Back had to work pretty hard too since the weight wanted to crunch me up due to the bar resting higher on my shoulders.

Bench Press:  45x10, 95x10, 135x10, 185x5, 205x5, 225x5

This is heavier than I've gone for about a month.  My shoulders didn't hurt at all so I kept adding weight to a top set of 225.  I didn't want to push my luck so I stopped there but it was nice to see evidence of some progress with my 'rehab'.

Leg Press:  360…

Recovery enters the 5th year

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Strange but the month of November has more than halfway passed and it just hit me that I'm now in my 5th year of recovery from obesity.  November 2007 was the tipping point where I finally reached bottom and decided I needed to reverse my self-destruction.
Friends try to be nice and say things like, "you're just a big guy or you have big bones" but the reality was my  BMI of 44.1 was in either the "super obese" or "morbidly obese" range depending on which table you reference.  While it was true I still retained a higher than normal amount of muscle mass from my past powerlifting experience, the 'exploding head' feeling I got when I bent over to tie my shoes negated any rationalization I tried to use to downplay my unhealty weight gain.
It wasn't until I saw those pictures that it finally hit me that I needed to take immediate action.  Since that tipping point in November 2007, I have steadily made progress and have managed to maintain …

Deadlift day and more dysfunctional lunging

Conventional Deadlifts:  225x5, 315x5, 405x3, 495x1, 545x1, 565x1

These went pretty well, increased top set single for the third week in a row.  565 was slow but not a blood-vessel busting grind.  Only 30 lbs shy of my gym max wearing tennis shoes so things seem to be on a good track.  Next week's deadlift workout will dial back the top set poundage to approx 80% of my gym max (595) for two sets of reps.  If I can find a step platform that isn't broken, I'll do them from a deficit.

Step back lunges:  45x10, 95x10, 135x6, 135x5.  These continue to be horrible.  I lunge like a newborn fawn tries to walk.  It's pathetic really.  But evidence that there's a significant opportunity to correct dysfunction that will hopefully allow my two-legged exercises (squat and deadlift) to bust through their current plateaus.

Overhead presses:  45x10, 95x10, 135x5, 160x5, 185x2, 135x5, 135x5.  Didn't have any energy on these and my top set with 185 was a regression from my last …

Struggling with squat depth

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Tried widening my squat stance a few inches to try to get more glutes and hams involved and it didn't go that well.  Vivian was able to video my second set of 2 with 405 and my depth is borderline at best and it felt like I was going down as far as I could.
I dropped the weight for the next three sets and did 365x3 for 3 sets to try to get deeper.  A little frustrating since my squat depth has been progressively getting worse since last January 2011.
Jan 2011, OPA Provincials, I was heavier, 250lbs versus 235 lbs but I was able to get a lot deeper--not that I wanted to squat that deep in a meet, it just happened.

September 2011, good depth, definitely no room to cut them any higher.  Only problem was, I was trying to get deep, not cut it right at the 'break parallel' point.

I may have to go back to the high bar ride and narrow my stance a bit to where I was back in January 2011.    Anyways, with these form issues and the existing remedial strength issues, really not sure w…

Squat volume day

Almost turned today's workout into a, "I'll go tomorrow instead" but finally made it out the door.  Squat volume day which, in the context of my current plan, means a 5x5 with 365 lbs.  Same as last Saturday.  I also planned to do some bench pressing, light with high reps (for me) to slowly ease the shoulders into tolerating the movement.

Squats:  135x10, 225x10, 315x5, 365x5x5 sets.  This time they went much better than last week when I whined and bitched my way through.  I will admit that I set my iPod on the "metal" playlist instead the usual "electronica" playlist. I usually use the music as a distraction but avoid trying to listening to something will 'pump me up' because I'm by nature an anxious person.  If I let myself get too amped up for workouts, I find that I get burnt out very easy.  Today, I decided to let the music assist my workout a bit and listened to a playlist with bands like System of a Down, Symphony X, Alabama Thu…

De-load Deadlift day

Very short and simple workout today, conventional deadlifts, partial anderson squats, and overhead presses.  I'm still supposed to be in de-load this week so I kept the volume low on deadlifts, tried but failed to increase the degree of difficulty in the partial anderson squats, and kept the intensity low on overhead presses.

Deadlifts:  225x5, 315x5, 405x1, 495x1, 545x1, 545x1   These felt good, the second single with 545 was almost a grind but my rest period was under 180 seconds.

Partial Anderson Squats:  decided I'd try to do these the correct way and start the first rep from bottom position.  That didn't work out too well.  I simply couldn't get into position under the bar to lift even 225 off the pins set to approx half squat depth.  I ditched that idea and did the sets after 225 with a walkout and then a rest-pause on the pins at the bottom.  By doing that I don't completely disperse the stretch reflex but, for the time being, it's an acceptable comprom…

De-load week

Supposed to de-load this week because everything felt heavy last week and my SI joints are starting to ache.  Today was my third day in a row of doing some leg work.  I don't think I do the de-load thing exactly right.

Anyways, I did at least reduce the total volume in today's squat workout.  It was very short and simple.  135x10, 225x10, 315x5, 365x3, 405x2.  The 405x2 was easy although I could feel my SI joints barking when I walked the bar out of the rack and I could feel my glutes from yesterday's leg pressing and lunging.  Still, it feels good to handle the four wheels without stress.

Went straight to overhead presses and kept the intensity low, maxing out with 135lbs for 8,6,5 reps in three sets.  Finished up with high rep pulldowns for recovery since my lats were still sore from yesterday's barbell rows.

Tomorrow is planned to be a day off from gym after three days in a row but if my plans change, it'll be single leg exercises, and horizontal pulls for the…

Squat assistance day

Progress on the leg press continues, was able to handle last leg press workout's top weight much easier and went up to 7 plates a side (315lbs).  Just did 5 reps per leg but it definitely feels like I'm getting better at leg pressing.  While being able to do one leg at a time is a nice benefit, there seems to be a bit of a design flaw.  The individual leg sleds are mounted on two bars and when the loaded up, the bars flex and the sleds wiggle side to side.  It's not very noticeable at 4 or 5 plates a side but at 7, it's a significant distraction.  Not sure how much higher I'll be able to go, single-leg wise.  Hopefully when I have to leg press with the connector pin in, I'll be able to keep my hips down and lumbar flexion to as close to zero as possible.

My next exercise was to be reverse lunges but I had a hard time finding a bar.  Even though the gym was nearly deserted and has 6 half-racks, all of the racks but one appeared to be in use.  As I started to se…

I was a whiney douchebag today

Today's workout was squat volume day.  Thought I'd work up to work sets of 365x5x5 in the squat and then finish with light, speed bench presses if my shoulders were up to it.

Instead, I started my workout whining like a sissy.  It was so bad, I actually tweeted during my workout.  Tweeting during a workout is actually a sign that you're a douchebag.  Guilty.  Damn.

After my first warm-up set of 135x10:

@northernhiro tweeted: 1st warmup set of squats, holycrap, of all days to wake with a 45 yr old body #achesandpains
I took it again and felt a little better so I went through my normal warm-up progression, 225x10, 315x5. My first work set of 365x5 didn't feel great so I continued my douchey ways and bitched:
@northernhiro tweeted: At this point I'm questioning the wisdom of over-riding my orig desire to stay home. Training is not starting to pop at all.
Not surprisingly, my mommy didn't miraculously appear at the gym to give me my soother so I did my second set of 36…

Deadlifts, more overhead press progress and some deadlift analysis

Conventional deadlifts and overhead pressing:

Deadlifts:  225x5, 315x3, 405x1, 455x2, 505x2, 535x2, 535x2

The 505 represented approx 83% of my 1 RM, the 535 represented 88%.  All three sets were fairly fast and represented a decent amount of volume compared to previous conventional deadlift workouts.

Overhead Presses:  45x10, 95x10, 135x5, 165x5, 185x4, 195x2

The set of 185x4 was a rep PR, previous PR in this training cycle was 3 reps.  195 is the most weight I've handled in his training cycle so progress to date has been very good.

After the workout I decided to do some analysis of my previous limit and near limit deadlifts in my video library.  I timed lifts from initial pull to completion and from initial pull to the knees.  Lately when I've been missing deadlifts, I fail to get them off the floor with any speed so I wanted to see what I used to when I was stronger (and younger).  Video of my 622 lb deadlift from 1989 showed significantly more speed from the floor to my kne…

Assistance work day

Today was a bonus workout.  Vivian couldn't make it to the gym yesterday and wanted to go today so I got to get a bonus workout in today.  Tomorrow is deadlift/overhead press day so I decided to do squat and upper body pull work today.

Decided to start with barbell reverse lunges.  I can't remember the last time I did any lunges but I knew that I needed to add more unilateral movements to this phase of my training.  I was humbled by my horrible form and terrible stability.  I had initially expected to do my work sets with 135 since the bar and a wheel is the universal basic unit of weight room currency.  That plan went out the window as soon as I tried to do a set with 95 lbs and it felt hard.  Not heavy hard, but, "this movement feels very foreign" hard.

I ended up doing three sets of 12 reps per leg, alternating legs each rep.  By the time I was done, my quads were pumped and my glutes were cramping.  I was literally and figuratively lame.  Oh well, another exercis…

pre-Halloween squat day

Today's workout was scheduled to be heavy squats, heavy squat assistance work.  My work sets of 405x2 reps X 5 sets went well.  I seemed to get stronger every set and felt just about as fresh after set 5 as I did before I started the workout.  At the same time, it didn't feel like I could've done triples without the third rep slowing to a grind.  I probably should've taken that as a bit of a warning but I was enthused about seeing if I'd continue making progress on heavy quarter squats.

First set with 495 was a debacle because I set the safety bars one setting too low and got pinned.  I unloaded two plates per side and proceeded to barely Anderson squat the 315 so I could set it back in the j-hooks.  I re-loaded the bar to 495, raised the safety bars one setting and then proceeded to grind out a lame set of 3.  What the heck?  Last week 495x5 was easy.  This week it felt like the weight was crushing me and I just couldn't summon any limit power.  I rested and t…

Small sumo deadlift PR, deadlift assistance, and overhead presses

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Scheduled for today's workout were sumo deadlifts, partial Anderson squats, and overhead presses.  After missing with 515 lbs two weeks in a row, I decided today I would do the following sumo deadlift progression:
225x5, 315x5, 405x3, 455x1, add belt, 505x1, ?
Basically I was substituting my previous workout's single with 495 with a small PR jump to 505.  Pragmatically, it allowed me to add a quarter per side to get 455 and then another quarter per side to 505.  Easier than sliding another 45 on the bar.

All the warmup sets went well and I was feeling like I was starting to finally get the hang of the sumo deadlift.  I loaded the extra 25 per side and prepared to lift the 505.  It broke free of the ground slowly but I was able to stick with it and lock it out easily.   A 10lb sumo deadlift PR!  I rested about two minutes and decided to pull another single with the same weight.  This time the rep lifted off very slowly and crept past my knees in low gear.  I committed to stick …

iPhone 4s as training aid

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After being patient with my iPhone 3G for 3 full years and then some, I decided to pre-order the iPhone 4s.  It finally arrived last Friday and today was the first chance I had to take advantage of being able to video some of my work sets.

Luckily, @b3nbutty of www.manhavenproject.com was at the gym to do some light work prior to lifting in the 100% Raw Powerlifting World Championships in Orlando this weekend and I was able to shanghai him into being my cameraman for a couple sets.

Today's workout was scheduled to include 5 work sets of 405X2.  Hard enough to demand my attention but not so hard it would blast my CNS and keep me from working on correcting my form.  After the first set, it was evident that my new iPhone was paying dividends.  After reviewing the video, it looked like I needed to drop my squat another inch to make sure I was hitting IPF-legal depth.
Set 1 of 5, squats are a little high
I asked Ben to video set 2 and this set was a bit better.  I hit the safety bar on…

the Bruno squat test and leg presses

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Had an excellent time at the second UnitedLifters Powerlifting social last night at Emma's Back Porch in Burlington.  Lots of lifters, lots of interesting points of view and experience levels and everyone with a passion for strength.  Nothing better for motivating one to get off the couch and get to the gym for a scheduled session to blast some weaknessses.

Normally, I would start the workout with single leg leg presses but since the leg press was being used, I decided to squat first.  I had it in my head that I would to the Bruno squat test.  It's not really a test and Ben Bruno never intended it to be one for anyone but himself but after he posted a video of him doing a set of 225x35 no-no-no style (no belt, no wraps, no spotter), I thought I'd give it a shot.
Now, when Ben Bruno did his set, he did it after his workout so I'm taking some liberties by doing my set first but after seeing all the redonkulous single leg stuff he can do, I figured I needed a head start. …