Showing posts from 2013

13 weeks out, day 1, bench press and rowing

Yesterday wasn't the last session of the year after all.  Since I won't be back  into the gym until Thursday, I felt it was too long to go in between bench press sessions so I went back to the gym to bench press and row on International Bench Press Day (also known as Steak and Cheese day or Monday).

I guess all the regular bros were taking this week off to prep for tomorrow's New Year's Eve festivities because the gym was pretty empty.  I figured they'd all be in to get that final pump for all of tomorrow's selfies (bottle service yo!) but maybe they're waiting until tomorrow afternoon.

Since this would be my last bench press session until Thursday, I decided to go heavier and take advantage of not being pre-fatigued from squatting as I normally do on squat/bench press days.  I worked up to a paused single with 320 and a miss at 325.  That's exactly what I was able to do back in November a few days before the meet where I pressed 330 so I guess I'm…

14 weeks out, day 3, low bar squats and deficit deadlifts and 2013 recap

Last session of 2013 and the end to a year that started off with much promise and ended with a bit of a fizzle.

Training consistency:

2011:  138 training sessions and 3 competitions.
2012:  124 training sessions and 3 competitions.
2013:  111 training sessions and 2 competitions.

Health issues, a cruise, and a death in the family all impacted my training consistency over the last 7 months of 2013.  I hit a raw PR total and raw Wilks PR in June and after that the only high points were a squat PR in November.  I was able to get back to a regular schedule in December so I'm optimistic that training will go well leading into Nationals the first week of April.

I maintained a bodyweight of between 250 and 255 lbs from January to September and then lost weight due to gallbladder issues.  The first drop from 253 to 241 was fast but I've slowly dropped down to 238 just prior to the holidays.  The weight loss wasn't problematic since I plan to compete at 231 in April but it took so…

14 weeks out, day 2, high bar squats and bench presses

The Y wasn't very busy tonight but there were enough globo gym goers that it made me wonder about something.  I read a lot of stuff on the internet that makes me shake my head, not because it's stupid (although a fair bit of it is) but because many of the ideas shared would've died a natural death in the pre-internet days.  In the old days before the internet, some of the weird ideas that permeate today's internet would've never been spread.   They would've started and ended with the guy that percolated the thought.

One thing I read, mostly by beginners, is that they don't want to use weightlifting shoes or belts or wraps or straps or anything that is used to assist the strength building process.  This despite the fact that they insist on using barbells and power racks.  At least the guys that lift rocks and tree trunks and odd shaped implements got that part consistent.  While I get what they're trying to do, philosophically, it doesn't make much s…

14 weeks out, Day 1, double pause deadlifts and pressing

Missed my normal training session yesterday because the gym was closed on account of the ice storm that savaged most of southern Ontario.  We were lucky in that we never lost power nor suffered any damage at the hands of ice-laden trees falling.  Neighborhoods just a few blocks south of us in older parts of the city were not so lucky.  Old trees fell left and right causing power outages and blocked roads.  So, no gym yesterday and an extra day of rest.

The other day, an article by Greg Nuckols ran on the T-Nation website.  The article was about a deadlift variation called double paused deadlifts.  Since Greg is a lifter and a coach whose recommendations I trust, I decided to implement them for my warm up sets.  My deadlift has historically been my best lift but I still feel like it could use a boost since it's been feeling heavier and heavier lately.

Because I was doing deficit deadlifts with about a 2" deficit, I tried to make the first pause right about 2" off the gro…

15 weeks out, day 2, low bar squat and bench press and Halifax donairs

It all started earlier this week when one of my facebook friends posted a link to the following onion-like news satire article:  Even though I'm not a native Torontonian, apparently I've lived here long enough that I've picked up on the idea that Toronto is the centre of the Canadian universe.  Acting like an ignorant American infused with Torontonian superiority (guilty of both charges), I commented that you can get donairs anywhere in Toronto.  It was then that I asked another friend from Truro, Nova Scotia what was with maritimers and donairs.  He explained that the "Halifax donair" was different than the donairs served pretty much anywhere else.  He pointed me to this Globe and Mail article that explained it well enough to get my mouth watering for a try.

Luckily I work near the Milton location of Halifax Donair and Pizza so I planned to go there today for lunch. I b…

15 weeks out, day 1, squat drop sets, rest pause bench press

I weighed 238 this morning.  That was a bit of a surprise since I weighed 239.5 on Thursday morning.  I guess I was in one of those 'whooshes' in the normal ebb and flow of weight loss.   Ideally I'd like to lose weight slower so as to not end up in the mid 220's by Nationals but I really don't have too much control over it at the moment. I'm eating as much as I can while avoiding eating in quantities that bring on gallstone attacks and apparently that means I'm losing weight at about a pound a week.  It's been 10 weeks since the first bad gallstone attack that I originally thought was the flu and my weight has gone from 253 to 238 (12 pounds came off the week of the first attack and never went back on).  I didn't put 2 and 2 together and figure out what was happening until after the second attack on November 6th.  Since November 6th, I've been free of any issues but I'm also eating less and I've lost 3 pounds since my last meet on Novem…

16 weeks out, day 3, squats and bench presses

We got our first big winter dump yesterday and I had to shovel the driveway and sidewalk three and a half times.  Too add to that, our new adopted rescue dachshund, Laverne, had some kind of PTSD reaction to the snow and would shriek and run around about every 5-10 minutes. She was originally a puppy mill rescue from Ohio so maybe the snow brought back bad memories.  This started in the morning and went on all night.  I slept on the couch to keep her company while Vivian tried to sleep upstairs.  She's a light sleeper so she didn't sleep through any of Laverne's panic attacks while I was able to fall asleep pretty quickly after each interruption. Needless to say, after a poor night's sleep and all the shoveling, I was pretty stiff this morning.

Since today was supposed to be squats, 5 sets of 3 with 405, I wasn't sure how the prior day's shoveling and lack of sleep would play out but things ended up going pretty well.  The first set was pretty awful but they g…

16 weeks out, day 2, deadlift and presses

I weighed 239.5 this morning.  First time since the fall of 2012 that I've been south of 240.  That's about 1.7 lbs less than I weighed for the meet 25 days ago.  So, even if I only maintain that pace, it puts me at 233 by Nationals, well within an easy water cut if necessary to make 231.

The other piece of good news (good in that it wasn't bad) was my ultrasound today confirmed there is something going on with my gallbladder.  I won't know until next week or so what my doctor thinks but at least it's been narrowed down to what I suspected.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it's something simple rather than sinister and that it can be managed with diet until after Nationals.

Tonight's session was overhead presses, deficit deadlifts, and bench presses.  Everything felt pretty good and I was able to increase volume with the deadlifts.  My back almost feels fully recovered from the last meet although my speed off the floor is still slower than I would like.  …

16 weeks out, day 1, squats and bench press

It feels really good to be getting in regular sessions the past two weeks.  So far I'm recovering well from the sessions and have been increasing session volume and intensity.  The Christmas break will come at a good time because I'll probably be due for some extra recovery days.  In the meantime, I've got 5 more training days to continue accumulating time under the bar.

Tonight was squat session number three in my current, 3 squat, 1 deadlift, session rotation.  My deadlift session on Thursday will fall 9 days after the last deadlift session, so right about on an every 10 day schedule. Since I'm alternating high bar and low bar sessions, tonight's session was high bar squats.  Rather than hit them with the drop sets, I just did straight sets of 5.  I did a total of 30 repetitions with weights 50% or higher of my 1 RM in the low-bar back squat.  The total number of repetitions over the three squat sessions starting on December 5th was 96.  Total poundage lifted was…

17 weeks out, day 3, squat and bench press

It feels good to get some decent training days in the same week.  I hope to be able to have some better consistency over the next 16 weeks because I've got a lot of ground to make up by Nationals.  Today's low-bar squats felt better than last week, I definitely recovered better from the three one-drop drop sets than the single four-drop drop set.  The triples with 405 moved much better and I was able to add a fourth work set. I'll add a fifth work set next week provided the bar is moving fast and then I'll back down to 3x3 with 415 the week after.

Bench presses didn't go as smoothly but I knew I needed to step up my overall weekly volume to off set the drop in bodyweight.  I'll start implementing more work sets next week.  Missing what should've been a fairly comfortable single with 315 was not expected.   My lats and triceps were just not gassed up enough to move the lift.  I'll probably drop the incline dumbbell presses and do more closer grip bench …

17 weeks out, day 2, squats and stuff

Instead of doing one 4-drop dropset of high bar squats, I decided to do 3 one-drop drop sets instead.  The goal was to extend the sets but also increase total volume.  This was a much better plan even though the three drop sets still kicked my butt.   I also had to deal with a killer lower back pump for the next 20 minutes.

After squats, I had enough gas in the tank to do some chins/lat shrugs, incline dumbbell presses, and dips. The dips felt really good, another exercise that I got away from doing that I really need to keep in the rotation.

High bar squats:  135x10, 225x5, 275x5, add belt, 315x5, drop set 1, 365x6 315x6, drop set 2, 365x5 315x5, drop set 3, 365x4 315x5

Chins:  7, 5, 4  plus three lat shrugs after each set

Incline dumbbell presses:  65x10, 80x10, 90x10, 100x6

Dips:  bwt x 9, 8, 8

17 weeks out, deadlifts and presses

Time is going to fly by so I figured I better start keeping track of it now.  17 weeks until Nationals meet week.  I'm actually a pound lighter than I was for Provincials two weeks ago so the cut down to 231 is going well.  I would like to be 228-230 the week of the meet so I don't have to mess with any water loading/cutting.  As of this morning I was 240 so my target isn't too far off.

Started tonight's session with overhead presses and worked up to an uncomfortable single with 225.  The weight wasn't in doubt but my stability was so I ended up pressing it slower than I wanted.  After a couple back off sets with 185, I moved to deficit deadlifts.

This was the first time deadlifting since the meet.  I need to get my deadlift back and since my speed off the floor was even worse than usual, I did the sets standing on a 45lb plate for an approx 2" deficit.  My top triple with 505 was not that tough but I could feel my back straining more than it should.  Basical…

Squats, bench press overloads, trying a new barbell row groove

I planned on getting in some decent volume with 405 in squat with my competition low bar groove but I wasn't fully recovered from Thursday's high bar squat drop set.  Weights that should feel light and move quickly didn't and my triples with 405 were not fast enough for my liking.  Although the session didn't go as planned, it was confirmation that the squat drop set from the session before was an unusual level of stress.

To jump start my bench press, I added sets with the Titan Ram.  I've felt like I've lost some lockout power as well as speed off the chest and the Titan Ram addresses both of those issues.   The Ram combines having to generate as much speed off the chest when the Ram is assisting the movement and having to lockout heavy weights.  I like it better than using bands because the Ram doesn't unload weight as in reverse bands nor does it steer you into a specific groove like a traditional band set up.

I finished up with barbell rows but used a s…

Training log entry, squats, bench press, chins

Today I saw a video posted by EliteFTS featuring a leg training session with Dave Tate, John Meadows, and Ben Pakulski.  In the video, they were doing yoke bar squats, drop-setted.  It looked pretty brutal so I thought rather than do 3x10 in the high bar squat, that I'd try a drop set instead.

The inspiration for my squat workout tonight
Instead of dropping by a plate at a time, I was only going to drop 25's on each side.  I haven't trained in a hypertrophy style in years so I wanted to avoid killing myself the first time out.  After I got to 225, I moved up in 50 lb increments until I finished my final warm up set with 325x5.  I added 25's to each side and prepared to start the drop set with 375.  I got 375x5, probably could've done 1 or 2 more but decided to drop after 5.  I took a 25 from each end and did 6 more with 325.  I got 6 more with 275 and 225 for a total rep count of 23.

After recovering for a few minutes, I thought I'd do a couple more straight s…

post-meet week, day 3, squats and bench presses

Since I number my training weeks starting with Monday, this is the last session of the post-meet week period.  The first two days felt pretty good but I deliberately focused on movements other than competition style squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.  Today, I did high bar squats and bench presses and it definitely felt like I was still in the post-meet hangover period.  Mentally I felt good and wanted to push some decent volume but the body wasn't quite right yet.  I still got in some good work but it's a good sign that I'll need to be patient.

Monday will be the 18th week out from meet week.  Based on what I'll need to lift the week of March 31, 2014, I'm going to spend as much of the 18 weeks on building up my ability to handle volume with 455 in the squat, 315 in the bench, and 545 in the deadlift.  Those poundages typically reflect a top double or triple.  My target by the end of the next 14 weeks is to be able to handle those loads for 5 sets of 3 in the s…

Training bodyparts

Back in the gym tonight to hit shoulders, upper back, hamstrings, and arms.  Still not doing the type of volume typical of a true hypertrophy program but considering what I've been doing, it felt like a lot of work.

For the next 5 weeks, I'll probably stay on a hybrid bodypart/movement split to focus extra attention on muscle groups that will need to be augmented in order to build my squat, bench press, and deadlift to new plateaus.

I found out my left arm is significantly weaker than my right arm.  No doubt that is impacting my bench press progress so I'll need to get that corrected.  The last time I spent any time doing 1 arm db overhead presses, I didn't have such a significant discrepancy between arms so I know it can be corrected.  As it is right now, I'll need to keep the weights pretty low until my left arm catches up.

1 arm DB press:  65x8, 65x6, 65x5 with left arm, 10 reps with right arm

DB rear delt rows:  72.5x10 x3 sets

Kirk Shrugs:  225x8x3 sets

Stiff …

Post-meet training and plans for the future

I'm still nursing the cold I picked up this past weekend but I wanted to get back in the gym and get started for my preparations for Nationals the week of March 31, 2014.  I'm still riding high after setting a squat PR and very motivated to continue the progress I've made with a lift that has always been a challenge.

For Nationals, I'll need to do two things to be competitive.  I need to drop another 4.5 kgs and I'll need to total at least 680 kgs.  Andy Childs has been the top ranked 40-49 lifter in the 105 kg wt class for as long as the CPU has had the 'classic' (IPF raw) division.  At this weekend's Provincials, he upped his own National total record to 680 kgs and truthfully, he had more in the tank.  At a meet in Alberta, another 40-49 lifter in the 105 kg class, Jean Derek MacNeil, totalled 652.5 kgs.   If I'm going to give either of those guys something to consider, I'll need to bring my "A" game.  To quote Matt Damon from the …

2013 Ontario Powerlifting Assoc 3-lift Classic Championships meet report

I can honestly say I had a great meet even though the numbers wouldn't suggest such a thing. My training in the last 8 weeks leading up to this meet was extremely inconsistent due to a variety of things but my goal for this meet was to get everything out of what I had and to learn as much as possible.

I spent Friday evening spotting and loading the bench press only competition and then supported Toronto Rex PL club teammates Trish and Mark Boyle while they competed in the Saturday Morning and Mid-day sessions.  Trish won Best Open class female lifter while Mark set a number of PRs.  Overall a great day for Mark and Trish!  After a quiet dinner I got to sleep ready for my 0530 hrs wake up call in preparation for the 0630 weigh-in for my session.

I normally only wake up that early if I've got a tee-time.  I tried to train in the early morning once but that lasted one day.  Needless to say, I wasn't feeling super confident as I waited for them to call my name to get on the sc…

Meet week, final session

Tonight was just an easy session of overhead presses, deadlifts, and bench presses.  Just enough to try keep my body on a schedule of regular effort instead of the previous weeks' schedule of intermittent training and lots of time off.   Tomorrow I hit the road to Ottawa and will be spotting the bench press championships in the evening.  Saturday morning and mid-day, I get to watch/support my teammates Trish and Mark Boyle lift.  My session is first thing in the morning on Sunday so I'll have plenty of time to relax and get in the competition mindset.  I'm not physically as prepared as I would've liked but everything feels good so I should be able to get everything out on the platform.

Overhead Press:  45x10, 95x10, 135x5, 165x5, 185x3, 205x2, 205x2, 185x3

Deadlift:  no belt, used straps,  315x3, 405x3, 455x3, 455x3

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x10, 185x5, 245x3, 275x3, 275x3, 275x3

Meet week, last minute squat and bench press priming

So I was washing my 12" kitchen knife and somehow I managed to cut my thumb.  It's just a regular commercial kitchen knife bought from a restaurant supply store but it's sharp and heavy.  It's so much larger than our other knives that I named it "Excalibur".  Until last night, I had managed to avoid giving it a taste of human flesh.  It was just a nick but the cut was deep enough that I needed to keep pressure on it for about an hour before it finally stopped bleeding.  In the grand scheme of things, it's a very minor wound but seeing as I have to hook grip some deadlifts in 6 days, it could be a complication.

It has sealed up pretty nicely after one day so I'm hoping I'll just need to wrap it with some tape on meet day.  It's also on the other side of my thumb from where the direct tension is and the direction of the cut won't be pulled apart so chances of me bleeding all over the platform are low.

Since I had to squat and bench press t…

1 week out, day 2, squat and bench press again

It feels like I'm cramming for a test for a class that I've chosen to take on a pass/fail basis.  With as poorly as I've been able to train for this meet all I'm trying to do this week is try to get my body ready to make an effort next Sunday.  I could just show up on meet day and take token lifts to satisfy the participation requirement and plan for Nationals but I'm genuinely curious to see what I can get out of this particular training cycle.

It would be ideal to have a great training schedule up until meet day but I'd be wasting an opportunity if I didn't see what some un-intended, very sub-optimal training will generate.  I thought the training leading up to my last meet was less than ideal but I knew it would be with our vacation plans.  I still managed to lift well enough to set some PR's so the reduced frequency over the final 6 weeks was enough in that case to maintain much of the work I had done prior.  This meet's training schedule was a …

1 week out, squats and bench press

What I'm not trying to do is some new program where you peak for a meet by training once a week.  Laid up with abdominal pain again, very similar to when I was sick for a week a month ago.  I'm pretty sure that it's a gallbladder issue.  In any case, it's putting the hurt on my training for the time being.  This last attack wasn't nearly as bad as when it happened a month ago but I still felt weakened in the gym tonight.  I'm a little bummed that I won't be anywhere near my best for the meet in 10 days because it's going to be a large meet, probably the largest Provincial Championship in the OPA in either ever or a very long time.  Including the bench only championship, there will be 5 full sessions over 3 days.  I can't imagine how big Nationals will be in March/April 2014.

Tonight I just worked up to a heavy single and called it a night.  Spending too many hours in a row in bed doesn't do wonders for stability and it just felt like pushing my…

2 weeks out, day 2, deadlift and pressing

Was planning on doing 5 singles in the deadlift tonight but my back was not super perky so I only did 3.  I managed to grab a bar with very inconsequential knurling so I only hook gripped one of the singles.  I'll have one more deadlift session before the meet to get things straightened out.

The overhead pressing done before the deadlifts was typically awful.  For some reason, overhead presses are a very uncomfortable lift for me.  Not that anything specific hurts, just that the lift feels uncomfortable.  It's probably due to not ever spending a lot of time doing standing military presses.  However, since it feels so awkward, it's probably a good idea to keep doing them.  In any case, they're a good warm up for deadlifts and they keep me from doing too much with my bench press.  Bench presses on deadlift day are 'supposed' to be a lighter day but since things have been feeling pretty good, without the residual fatigue from the overhead presses, I'd normally…

2 weeks out, day 1, squats and bench presses

Last week didn't go that well, I was only able to get in 1 training session because I'm apparently still not completely over whatever afflicted me 3 weeks ago.  Appetite is still down and I've only put back on 3 pounds.  I haven't had a full physical in a few years so I scheduled one for December 2.  It's entirely possible that 47 years of over-eating may just need to stop.  Either that or I could join the latest woo-bandwagon, go gluten free, and hope for placebo benefits.

With all that, tonight's training session actually went very well.  My top sets in the squat were 5 doubles with 405 and for the first time since I got sick, they actually felt like they moved with some speed.  I was also able to bench press 315 for three smooth, grindless singles so my bench press is coming back despite the drop in bodyweight.  With any luck things will be back to almost normal by November 17th.

Squats:  135x10, 225x5, 275x5 add belt, 315x3, 365x3, move to low bar and add w…

3 weeks out, day 1, squat and bench press

I took an extra day to recover from Sunday's squat workout because my lower back was still feeling the higher rep high bar squats.  Stayed with a high bar carry for more of my work up sets to save wear and tear on my elbows.  I've also been finding that my shoulders loosen up a bit more with the extra high bar sets.

Worked up to 405 for a triple and two doubles so I'm only a couple reps away from where I was before I got sick.  I'm pretty sure everything will be back to normal by the time the meet comes around.  Still, it feels like I haven't yet had the chronic adaptation to the workloads that generated my previous PR total of 660 kgs so I'm not sure if I'll set any PR's at the meet in November.  It feels like it'll be another few months before my body launches up to the next plateau.  If it does, it'll be good timing since Nationals are at the end of March.  In the meantime, I'll keep trying to move my work weights as fast as possible whil…

4 weeks out, bench press and squat volume day

Stuck with a high bar carry for my squats to save some wear and tear on my elbow and to change the groove slightly to hit the lower back and quads.  Kept the weight low but increased the reps.  By the end, my lower back was very pumped up, enough that I didn't have much left for barbel rows at the end of the session.

Worked the bench presses all touch and go rather than pausing them.  Just wanted to see if the change made a difference on how the various muscle groups fatigued.

Overall a good, basic session and got a decent amount of repetitions in.  It will be interesting to see how squats go on Tuesday since I'll be back to working up to triples.

Squats:  135x10, 225x5, 275x6, add belt, 315x10, 315x10, 315x8

Bench Press:  135x10, 185x5, 225x5, 255x5, 275x3, 275x3, 275x3, 255x5, 255x4

Barbell Rows:  225x6, 245x4, 225x6

4 weeks out, day 2, deadlift and bench press

Last week's flu and the weight loss that came with it was still in effect tonight.  Strength levels are down about 10%.  Hopefully I'll be able to make that back by November 17.

Used the hook grip for most of my deadlift work to build back some toughness in the thumbs.  I never seem to feel it in competition but in training, the hook grip is a pain, literally.  The main thing is to get used to the timing of the pull since the hook grip 'sets' a little differently than when I used the mixed grip.  Even though the weight used for the singles tonight was low, it was still enough to work on some form issues.

Felt pretty good considering my legs were still sore from Tuesday's squats and stiff legged deadlifts.  Bench is still a mess as the week in bed seems to have sapped both my tricep endurance and any and all speed off the chest.

Overhead Press:  45x10, 95x5, 135x5, 155x5, 185x3, 185x3, 185x2

Deadlift:  315x3, 405x3, 495x1, 495x1, 495x1, 495x1, 495x1

Bench Press:  a…

4 Weeks out, 1st day back from the flu

So, my "5 weeks out" training week was interesting.  Got sick Sunday night and spent the next three days in bed.  The fourth day I was still too sick to go to work but was able to spend a couple hours out of bed doing things like showering and eating.  When all was said and done, I was pretty much sick for a week and lost 12 lbs.

Can't remember the last time I had the flu like that.  It's been at least 20 years.  I know that because every employer in the last 20 years has required a doctor's note if one missed more than three days.  I never needed a doctor's note so I'm pretty sure I never missed four days of work in a row.  In fact, the last time I remember being that sick, I think I was living at home and my mom took care of me. This time it was Vivian.

I guess if something like that hits me every 20+ years, I can't complain.  Still, the timing wasn't ideal since I still have a competition in a month.  That's the thing about training, some…

6 weeks out, day 3, squats and bench presses at T-Rex gym

Had a rare chance to get to the Boyle's home gym for a training session with some of my Toronto Rex Powerlifting Club team-mates.   Mark and Kinnon are prepping for a meet in North Bay in a couple of weeks while Trish and I are working towards the upcoming OPA Classic Provincials.  Mark should also be lifting there once he makes a qualifying total at his next meet.

Since I usually train alone, it's always a good change to train with a group.  While the pace is slower, the intensity put into each set makes up for the extra rest.  The group dynamic also makes it easier to ignore the little aches and pains that can creep into things every now and then.  Lately more than ever, my joints have been achey.  I think it's due to a little elimination experiment I had been running until this morning.  About 6 weeks ago, my bottle of fish oil ran out and I decided to not replace it and see if I noticed any different.  I had been taking two tablespoons of oil in the morning on 6 of ev…

6 weeks out, day 2, no energy

Don't know if I'm fighting something off or just in a down period but I've been really tired even though I've been getting plenty of sleep and food.  Probably just tired because sometimes tired happens.  Rather than skip the session, I felt like I needed to get in some work since not every session is a breakthrough, throw the bar around, type of session.  Sometimes ya just gotta do some work and let things happen.

Started with overhead presses for no other reason than I didn't want to start right into deadlifting.  It's been a long time since the last time I did them so I just worked up to a pretty tough single. I should keep these in the rotation on deadlift day.  After that, my original plan was to do 5 singles with 545 but since I felt like a turd, I ended up working up to only 1 single.  It was still a chance to start conditioning my hook grip so my hands got a good workout.

Finished up with some low intensity barbell rows and some light bench press volume.…

6 weeks out, day 1 squats and bench press

My planned heavy triple ended up being a double in the squats and I missed 335 in the bench.  So, I'm right about where I was right before my last meet.  Since I have 6 weeks of training left, I should still be on schedule to improve my total.

Squats:  135x10, 225x5, 275x5, add belt, 315x5, add wrist wraps, 365x3, 405x3, 430x3, 455x2

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x10, 205x5, 245x5, 275x2, add wrist wraps, 295x2, 315x1, 335x0

7 weeks out, day 2, pulls and light bench press

My last deadlift session was August 29th so I was looking forward to getting back to it after so much time away from the movement.  I've got three deadlift sessions and two deadlift accessory left before the meet, so still time to grind out some progress.

Today was the deadlift accessory schedule, snatch-grip stiff-legged deadlifts followed by high rack pulls.  Despite the lengthy time between pulling sessions, I was able to come pretty close to the weights and volume used.  Bar speed was good.  Considering I've spent the previous two days helping move our office, I really expected to have more fatigue but today's session went about as well as I could've expected.

Snatch Grip Stiff-legged deadlifts:  225x5, 315x5, 365x5x3 sets

Rack Pulls (2" above knee): 495x5, 585x5, 635x5

Bench Presses:  135x10, 185x10, 225x10, 225x6, 225x6  all done with feet up on bench

I needed a 'light' day for bench presses so I decided to do them with my feet up and a flat back.  …

7 weeks out, day 1, squats and bench press

Last week's sessions have seemed to get me back on track after the two week hiatus.  I was able to increase the volume of squats and bench presses while still keeping total time in the gym to 55 minutes.  Not really sure where I'm going with this dimension of program density but it feels right so I'm going with it.

I keep track of sets, reps and % of 1RM used but I also pay close attention to bar speed and total time spent during the session.  I feel like when all the dimensions increase at the same time, that I'm nearly ready for the next plateau.  When things start to feel 'comfortable', that's when it becomes time to shake it up.

My main worksets in the squat, 405x3x6 sets were just about the best they've felt.  I'll probably increase the weight for next week's triples and increase the rest time between sets.

My main worksets in the bench press, 275x2x6 sets also moved very well.  I'll probably increase these to sets of 3 next week whil…

8 weeks out, squat and bench press

Squats and bench presses today.  Tried to use knee wraps for some overload work but after my first set, bagged the idea for today's session.  It's been over three years since I last used knee wraps and I did such a poor job wrapping my knees, I decided to table that strategy until I've had a chance to practice.   My SI joints were barking pretty loudly so I figured it best not to push my luck with a wonky back and poorly wrapped knees.

Squats:  135x10, 225x5, 275x5, add belt, 315x5, add wrist wraps, 365x5, 405x3, add knee wraps, 455x1

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x10, 185x5, 225x5, 275x2x5 sets

Barbell rows:  185x8, 235x5x3 sets

8 weeks out, back from Hawaii and back in the gym

Weeks 10 and 9 were unscheduled deloads.  Most of that time was spent in Hawaii where I had to travel unexpectedly due to the death of my Grandmother. Since I have many relatives still there and hadn't been back in 6 years, it was as much  family reunion as it was for all of us to honour the life of Grandma.

While sifting through her pictures and scrapbooks she left behind, my brothers and I learned things about her early life that I don't remember learning before.  Turns out she was born in Hawaii but moved back to Japan for schooling.  While there, she was introduced to my grandfather as part of an arranged marriage.  My grandfather's family had land on the Big Island so both came back after their wedding to settle in Kapoho.

There were interesting stories about living in Hawaii during the outbreak of WWII and the subsequent internment of my grandmother's brother simply because he was dressed too well.  Turns out he had just returned from Japan and because my grandm…

11 weeks out, day 2, deadlift and bench press

Today was heavy conventional pull day and I had 5 sets of 3 with 515 on the schedule.  Before the session, I reviewed my spreadsheet with all of my workouts from August 31, 2010 and I had never before hit 15 reps total volume with 80% of my 1 RM in a single workout.  I knew I hadn't trained the deadlift with as much focus as my squat and bench press but it was still a little surprising to see just how little volume I was doing.  Despite this, my top deadlift in competition still crept upwards 10 kgs over that period, proof that the deadlift is still my best lift.

Even though I hadn't trained the deadlift with the volume I scheduled myself to do, I knew it was well within my capacity and in the off chance it wasn't, well, that wasn't an option.  The fifth and final set was tough but not a grinder.  Afterwards, everything felt good so I'm pretty confident the foundation work I did in the 6 weeks prior was effective.  The end result of today's session is that I…