Accessory work and the benefit of keeping a training log

It's been 8 weeks since I started training on the schedule I last used in 1992.  Back in 1992 I used this schedule to set PR's in both the bench press and deadlift.  It was the result of distilling my previous 8 years of training and represented what I knew to work best for me at the time.  The years between 1992 and my 'comeback' to fitness in late 2007 had largely erased my memories of the protocol.  In addition, all of the new training information available nowadays, sheiko, smolov, GVT, Texas method, Starting strength, 5/3/1,  etc. etc, had displaced what memories I had left with many different time-tested programs.  The only thing was, they weren't time tested for me.  Not to say they didn't work, they all do to an extent.  What they didn't have, was years of tweaking and adjusting so that the programs worked best for me, not the average cross-section of avid strength trainers (or elite, hand-picked athletes, depending on which program one were to follow).

squatting at the 1989 USPF East Beach Open
My training program was designed for one lifter by one lifter, me.

So far, the past two months have gone very well.  Going back to my old program, one that I adapted for me and me alone, has really been an eye-opener.  After training again for the last 5 years (in November), I didn't think there would be much left that would lead to significant, noticeable differences but my new/old program has really left me feeling like I'm starting over in a very good way.

The number of workouts a week and the intensity and volume of the workouts seem like a perfect fit (as they should).  Each week, I am ready and enthusiastic about hitting my heavy bench press and squat/deadlift workouts.  The accessory days feel like restorative workouts that prime the pump for the next week's heavy sessions.  Even though I just turned 46, it feels like there are changes to my body composition occurring and so far, the progressions in training volumes seem to corroborate what the mirror is suggesting.

The big take away to all of this is that training logs are very important.  They document the experiments that didn't go well and they also leave clues for tailoring experiments that do.  I was lucky that I was diligent about keeping a training log back in the day and even luckier that my tendency to pack rat led to the retention of a 1992 training log from the best training period of my life to date.

As for today's accessory workout, it felt perfect.  Hard enough that everything had to work but not hard enough that it'll make recovery difficult for next week's heavy sessions.   I increased the weight in the explosive snatch-grip romanian deadlifts and I was able to really feel my hips activate.  It'll pay off big for my pull and squat when I can get my hips to pull their weight instead of over-relying on my erectors and hamstrings.

High Bar pause squats:  135x10, 225x10, 275x5x3 sets  all un-belted

Bench Press:  135x10, 185x10, 225x8, 225x8, 225x7

Snatch Grip Romanian Deadlifts (tempo: use explosive hip drive):  135x20, 185x15, 235x12


  1. amazing photo!

    if powerlifting was still sponsored by beer companies it would be a thousand times cooler :(

  2. yup, the things we took for granted in the 'good ol days' lol


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