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Showing posts from 2014

2014 Training recap, progress in the gym but not much to show for it on the platform

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After hitting a milestone squat widomaker PR last week, I decided to take the rest of the year off to let all the aches and pains (not related to the squat workout) recover.  Holiday bulking has only resulted in about a 3 lb weight gain so that's not too bad for about 3 weeks (from the start of one company holiday party to now) of mostly ad libitum eating (yay pasta, pizza, hamburgers, chocolate, beer!).



Looking back at my training recap from 2013, it's a little discouraging that there has been so little objective competition progress:

Competition Goals and Results for 2013:

Squat:             240 kgs     actual 222.5 kgs (November 2013)
Bench Press:  160 kgs     actual 155 kgs  (June 2013)
Deadlift:         295 kgs     actual 285 kgs  (June 2013)
Total:             695 kgs      actual 660 kgs (June 2013)

Since I didn't hit any of my 2013 goals in 2013, I kept them the same for 2014.

In 2014, I didn't hit any of those competition goals either.

Squat goal:  240 kgs
I was…

Week 3, foundation and a 3 plate widowmaker PR

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Earlier today I was tagged to post a "workoutpout" picture.  Since I don't really do selfies, the best I could do was crop a picture of me lifting something.  As it happens, my face at the bottom of a squat is nearly indistinguishable from the face I make when I'm battling a bowel obstruction.  So I posted that.


A fellow lifter asked what I was thinking at that point.  Being too dimwitted to think of a snappy retort, I tried to answer truthfully.  And it was surprising to me that I really don't think anything with much conviction at the bottom of a squat.  Which is weird because the thought that goes through my mind when I'm on the platform and trying to pull a heavy deadlift off the floor is something like:
"DEAR MOTHER OF GOD!!!! WHY IS THIS SO HEAVY???????? PLEASE DON'T LET ME LEAVE THIS BAR ON THE FLOOR!!!!!!! PULL!!!! PUUUUULLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY'RE SEEING ME FAIL, PULL HARDER, PULL!!! PUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!"
That basica…

2nd week training recap. Foundation building

Another week of training in the books.  Work on a wider stance squat is going pretty well, I'm still working with relatively light weight but the groove feels pretty good.  I switched back to my Crain's Power Shoes because they have less of a heel than my Adidas Power Perfect 2's.  The only thing I'm dealing with is some irksome tendonitis at the origin of my left hamstring.  I don't know which muscle it is exactly in the 'hamstring' complex that's being over-tensioned but the attachment at the ischial tuberosity is pretty tender and I'm not sure why.  I don't remember any specific incident where it felt like it tweaked but it just sorta built up to where it just doesn't want to loosen up in a reasonable amount of time.  I guess I'll try massaging it out and seeing if just goes away.

Earlier this week I tried the 8x8 set/rep scheme in the squat and it was interesting.  I've never done that one before and it's a bit of a mental b…

1st week post-meet, everything feels normal again

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This week of training is over and things finally started to feel normal by today.  I was able to get in 5 times during the week.  Mostly just getting in some volume and working through some post-meet soreness.  The last couple workouts I've been working on a wider squat stance to see if it'll will help keep my torso more upright.  Today I worked with the wider stance and flat shoes and it felt pretty good with a light work weight.  I can definitely feel different muscles working so at the very least, it'll be a nice change of pace.

I also spent this week looking through some old powerlifting stuff I had saved from my first competitive period.  I found a program from the first state meet I entered back in March 1988.  Looking at the lifter list, it was amazing just how much powerlifting has grown over the years. Back in 1988, powerlifting in California was dominated by two federations, the USPF and the ADFPA (the precursor to the USAPL).  One might've thought that power…

1st week post-meet, slowly getting back into it

Today was supposed to be an AM and a PM workout but I'm still too sore and too tired to get in for the PM workout so it was just some light hip hinge stuff this morning and some accessory work.

Snatch grip stiff legged deadlifts:  135x10, 185x10, 225x10x5 sets

Parallel grip chins:  5, 5, 5

Hoist crunch machine:  70x12, 70x12


1st week, Post-meet, bench press

It was back to the routine today.  AM workout and then starting the repeating cycle of laundry and food prep.  I still have more bodyfat to cut before I can start training at a caloric surplus so I'll probably be on calorie restriction for another 8 weeks or so.  After I get down to my target of 215 or so, I'm going to try to maintain between 215-220 for another 4 weeks before slowly building back up to an "end of day, fully food and drink bloated" 230-233.  Assuming I can get there with more muscle than I currently carry in that same state and weight, I should be stronger.   We'll see.  That's at least 6 months away and right about when I'll probably be competing again.  If, and that's a big "if", I don't make multiple rookie mistakes again, maybe I'll get those PR's I should've gotten last weekend.

It wasn't hard to get out of bed this morning but it was hard to lift weights.  I'm still pretty sore from this weekend…

2014 Ontario Classic Provincials, Day 2, full meet, 105 kg wt class, M1

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My lifting yesterday did not meet my expectations but looking back, it's easy to see why that happened. I simply made a whole bunch of n00b mistakes.  My training had gone so well that I made the mistake of trying too many things at once.

In no particular order they were:

cutting weight unnecessarily in order to chase a Wilks numberdoing the bench press only meet for 'fun'basing my attempt selection on what my training suggested and ignoring what I actually brought to the platform on meet day
At Friday's bench only meet, I weighed in at 102.4 kgs without doing anything to cut water or artificially lower my weight.  Thinking that I could drop another few pounds for a better Wilks score for Saturday's meet, I spent some time in the steam room and whirlpool earlier in the day on Saturday and ended up weighing in at 100.9 for Saturday night's full meet.  My reasoning was that since I was lighter, I only needed to hit a 660 total to hit the 400 Wilks score that I w…

2014 Ontario Classic Provincials, day 1, bench press only

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Today was a long day.  It started at 0500 hrs when I got out of bed and ended at about 2030 hrs when I left teammate Chris in the capable hands of fellow teammates Mark and Trish while I drove home to get some rest for the full meet tomorrow night.

Since I was comfortably below the 105kg wt class limit for the first time ever, I decided to lift in the bench only Championships.  The last time I lifted in a bench only meet was sometime between 1989 and 1992 when my training partners and I used to lift in the single lift meets held at Venice Beach.  Back then I lifted in them because it was fun to lift at Venice Beach, I was (and still am) a terrible bench presser.

I weighed in at 102.4 kgs at approximately 0645 or so and waited until it was time to start warming up.  I don't need a lot to get ready for bench pressing so most of my warm up consisted of talking to other lifters that I haven't seen in a while.  Truthfully, talking with lifters I don't see very often is one of t…

Meet week, last session, light bench press

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I got my final session in tonight and now I just get to concentrate on resting until the bench press competition Friday morning and my three-lift session on Saturday evening.

Everything done tonight was just to keep things moving.  Three sets of three with 275 in the bench  was enough to keep the rust off without actually impacting my recovery capacity.

The meet this weekend is going to be huge for a Provincial Championship.  Last year's Classic Provincials was big but there will be approximately 50 more lifters in this meet.  The immense size of this meet reflects the growth of the popularity of unequipped powerlifting competition.  The size of this meet is even more impressive when one considers the Ontario Powerlifting Association has qualifying totals for their Provincial Championships.  While they're still relatively accessible if one is in one of the age group categories (sub jr, jr, masters), to qualify as an Open competitor requires some decent lifting approx a 364 w…

Meet week, squat openers

I weighed 226 this morning so everything is back to pre-Las Vegas status.  If I can hold that weight for Saturday then I'll need to hit a 665 kg total in order to reach my goal of a 400 raw Wilks coefficient.  A 665 total isn't out of the question but it will require me to improve all of my lifts by an average of 5 kg each.  My training has certainly suggested that I have that in me but it'll all depend on what shows up on meet day.

Tonight I worked up to my approximate squat opener.  It moved fine but I mis-grooved it so it slowed more than it should've.  It never felt heavy so it should be good to go for Saturday.  At the very least, 215 kgs or 473 lbs is a weight that if I can't do it on a platform, I'm perfectly happy being sent home early.

Looking back at my last three weeks of training (one of which was actually spent on vacation not training), if I were to change things for a future meet prep, I would leave the last three weeks (instead of two) for heav…

Meet week, bench openers

Vivian and I got back into the AM workout schedule this week.   It's actually good timing because the weigh-ins for the bench press competition on Friday are at 0630 hrs.  I'll be lifting sometime after 0830 hrs so, in all likelihood, I'll have been awake a good 3 hours or so before having to lift.  That should be more than enough time to feel fully ready to go.

This morning, however, was a slightly different schedule. My alarm goes off at 0530 hrs and I'm at the gym lifting by 0615 or so.  I was taking the first of my two singles with my expected opener somewhere around 75 minutes after waking up.  Taking that into account and the self-lift-off, I considered these to be about the most sub-optimal conditions short of being sick on meet day.  Since I got the two singles nicely, I won't need to change any plans for Friday morning.

After bench presses, I did some higher rep weighted dip work and finished with some isolation work for the shoulders.  Tomorrow I'll w…

1 week out, day 3, just trying to stay fresh

Just got in a quick workout to keep things fresh for next weekend's meet.  Did three triples with 74% in the squat and then finished up some with chins and some machine crunches.

Remaining schedule until the meet will be bench to opener tomorrow, squats to opener on Tuesday, light bench on Wednesday, and light squats on Thursday.  Basically trying to keep things moving but keeping volume low so there is no appreciable recovery stress.

Squats:  135x5, 135x5, 225x3, low bar, 225x3, add belt, 315x3, add wrist wraps, 365x3, 365x3, 365x3

Parallel grip chins:  5, 5, 5

Hoist crunch machine:  90x10, 90x6, 90x6

1 week out, Day 2, bench press and deadlift

It's exactly one week out from the bench press only portion of the Provincials.  In past years, I've never entered the bench only competition because I've never been light enough to make weight for the 105's two days in a row.  I'm not a very good bencher but I thought it would be fun to get an extra competition in next weekend.  Since I've been working with an increased training frequency I don't expect to be too adversely affected by maxing out two days in a row in the bench.

Tonight I worked up to my planned opener of 330.  It was an easy paused single even after paused doubles with 295 and 315.  I finished up with a couple fast sets of 5 and then some weighted dips in order to keep my triceps from feeling left out during these peaking weeks.

I also worked up to my approximate opening weight for the deadlift for two singles.  The bar moved as well as I can ever remember going back over the past couple years.  I'm definitely looking forward to next Sa…

1 week out, peaking singles, squat and bench press

Sunday's squat singles did a good job of getting my body out of vacation mode and back into meet-peaking mode because things felt good tonight.  I was going to work up to a top single of 485 but shut it down early because I was feeling little back spasmy feelings in my upper glutes/lower back. It was probably a result of having to shovel the driveway for the first time this year earlier this evening.   Even still, 465 and 475 moved well and everything seems to be rounding into 1RM form nicely.  It'll be nice to compete as a 105 kg lifter without having to cut any weight and I'm expecting to peak right up to meet day versus previous meets as a 105 where I peaked a week out and then tried to hold on to as much as possible while I cut 7-8 lbs.

Bench press singles went well too.  My top single of 340 is the most I've handled in a meet peaking situation ever so I'm confident I'll hit at least 155 kgs for a new 105 kg wt class PR.

Squats:  135x5, 135x5, 225x3, low ba…

2 weeks out, vacation deload and meet peaking begins

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It's been an interesting 8 days.  From Saturday to Thursday, Vivian and I had a great vacation in Las Vegas. I was able to get in a couple workouts in the hotel gym early in our vacation but since they didn't have any barbells, it was machine and dumbbells only.  We did a ton of walking and managed to hit most of the eateries that we had targeted in our pre-vacation research.  We even saw someone famous while out for dinner at the Wicked Spoon buffet in the Cosmopolitan hotel and casino.


In addition to The Wicked Spoon, we also dined at Naked City Pizza, featured on Drive In's, Diners, and Dives and Ronald's Donuts, considered by many to be the best donuts in the city.  Both lived up to their billing, in fact we ended up making a special trip to visit Ronald's Donuts a second time.  Apparently many of the varieties of donuts at Ronald's are vegan but you'd never know from a quality or price standpoint as they were uniformly amazing and there was no premium …

3 weeks out, Day 5, squats and bench press

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Last training day before vacation and I'm glad to be done with it.  I had to cut squats short because my back wasn't loosening up but bench presses went well.  I'm looking forward to a week of recovery before the last week of training.

Squats:  135x5, 135x5, 225x5. low bar, 225x5, add belt, 315x5, 365x3, 365x3

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x5, 135x5, 225x5, 275x3, add wrist wrap, 295x3, 295x3, 295x3

Parallel grip chins:  5, 5, 5

By this time tomorrow evening, Vivian and I will be in Las Vegas and will have already made a stop at my favourite burger joint ever, In N Out Burger.


3 weeks out, Day 4, deadlift and bench press

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I didn't sleep well last night so I skipped the morning light squat workout.   I also knew that I had to deadlift up to heavy single tonight so I figured I might as well let my back rest as much as possible.  My plan for tonight was to do some heavy singles, working up to a top set with 585.

Everything felt pretty good and my three top singles of 545, 565, and 585 reached my goals for the session.  Since I haven't pulled anything heavier than 545 since the last meet in June, I wasn't completely sure 585 would be there but it was.  585 in the gym usually means I'm good for at least 605 in a meet so unless something changes between now and November 29th, I'll probably open with 250-255 kgs and jump to 275 kgs for my second.

I finished up with some touch and go bench presses to make up for some of the volume I skipped on Monday and Wednesday.  Tomorrow morning I'll hit my last light squat workout and some more bench presses.

Deadlift:  315x5, 405x3, add belt, 49…

3 weeks out, Day 3 bench press, trying to get to the deload

I definitely feel like I'm in a slight over-reaching phase.  The lifts feel tough and there's just a hint of ache that wants to intrude and attenuate bar speed.  I was able to work up to a paused single with 335 again but the bar moved very slowly.  I never felt like I was going to fail the lift but I had no speed off the chest.  Instead of doing back off sets with 295, I decided to do touch and go sets with 275.  After two sets of 5, I shut it down.  I was starting to feel the lifts in the joints not the muscles so I took that as a sign that I should stop.

I just need to get through three more workouts and then I'll have almost an entire week of active recovery (lots of walking, a couple or three sessions in a hotel fitness center, and food and beverages) to let things get right again.  Once back from vacation, I'll have a week to hit some heavy singles to re-accustom my body for the meet.  I hope I'm able to control my appetite while I'm away so that I don…

3 weeks out, Day 2, AM deadlifts, PM squats

This morning's session was very abbreviated.  Everything felt super tired so I took it easy and tried to loosen things up.  Once the light snatch grip deadlifts finally did the trick, I worked up to an easy triple with 455.  I was going to do 3 sets of 3 but the first set was well grooved but felt just stressful enough that I decided I would quit while I was ahead.  I had planned on using next week's vacation as a deload but it seems that the previous month's work is making the choice for me.

Before this evening's session, I watched my Toronto Rex Powerlifting Club teammate Trisha Boyle lift in the IPF Open Worlds in Denver via internet stream.  She had a fantastic meet, setting competition PR's in all three lifts and the total.  She also broke her own Canadian total record by 17.5 kgs.  I had hoped her performance would inspire my squat workout but there wasn't anything in the tank.  I worked up to a single with 455 and some back down sets and shut it down ear…

3 weeks out, Day 1, Bench press and my weight loss plan

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After posting the in progress pics yesterday, a few people were curious about how I've been going about losing weight.  I'm old and a bit of a skeptic so I don't do anything really novel.  None of the fad diet stuff that's going around except for a month of mostly compliant Whole 30 to start because Vivian was doing it.

I say mostly compliant because that Whole 30 plan is super restrictive.  Among other things, no dairy, no artificial sweeteners, no legumes.  Well, I needed to continue using whey protein powder (that is artificially sweetened) because my budget could never afford to fuel my 100% of my protein demands with actual meat.  Especially not this year when meat prices have gone through the roof.  And I rely on a steady diet of lentils because they fill a role as both a carbohydrate and a protein source, plus they're filling.  After that first month, Vivian went back to a lower carb atkins-like approach that has worked well for her in the past so I was able…

4 weeks out, Day 6, deadlifts

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Since I've finally dropped below my last weight plateau of 229 lbs and have been weighing 226-227 in the morning, I decided to take some progress pictures.  I rarely ever take 'progress pictures' because I don't lift weights to look a certain way (no style points given in powerlifting) but I did have some pictures from last fall (Sept 2013) when I weighed about 255 and I wanted to see the difference.

255 lbs has been the upper limit of my typical bodyweight the past 4 years.  It has usually bounced from about 235 to 255 depending if I had a meet where I needed to be 231 or if I wasn't particularly careful about what I ate.  I haven't been below 228 on a regular basis since probably the late 1990's so my current fat loss plans have been unusually successful.   I started making an effort to drop bodyfat on August 1 when I weighed 245.  Since then I've lost 18.5 lbs and more importantly, have either gained or maintained strength in the three powerlifts (sq…

4 weeks out, Day 5 bench press and monthly review

October was another good month of training.  I got into the gym for 32 training sessions and increased total volume and average intensity in both the squat and bench press.  Total volume for the deadlift was lower but the average intensity was higher.   The main reason for that was eliminating the sumo deadlifts in order to concentrate on conventional deadlifts for the upcoming meet.

Squats:

Sept:  264 lifts, 91015 lbs, avg intensity 344.8/69.5%
Oct:   279 lifts, 100935 lbs, avg intensity 361.8/72.9%

Bench Press:

Sept:  398 lifts, 101740 lbs, avg intensity 255.6/74.1%
Oct:   435 lifts, 116070 lbs, avg intensity 266.8/77.3%

Deadlifts:

Sept:  212 lifts, 81400 lbs, avg intensity 384/62.2%
Oct:   171 lifts, 68185 lbs, avg intensity 398.7/64.6%

In addition to increasing training volumes and intensities, I was also able to continue to reduce my bodyweight from 231 at the beginning of the month to a new low of 226.5 as of this morning.  I haven't been 226.5 lbs or lighter in a non-weigh…

4 weeks out, Day 3 bench press and Day 4 squats

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Wednesday morning's heavy bench presses went exactly like last Wednesday's heavy bench presses.  That is to say, I felt under-recovered from Monday's bench presses and Tuesday night's heavy squats.  I will probably switch up the order of bench press workouts next week or the week after we get back from Vegas in order to put more 'fresh time' under heavy weights in an attempt to peak for the meet.  For now, I'm okay with it since the slight fatigue isn't spilling over to my joints.

This morning's light squats felt rough as they have been the past few weeks but the bar moved well and there was no lingering soreness.  I almost went to the gym tonight for heavy deadlifts before I remembered that I had moved heavy deadlifts to their own day on Saturdays.  I will gladly go to bed an hour earlier and take advantage of extra recovery time.

So, one weekend, Vivian needed to shop for some hair products so we went to one of those stores that sells beauty suppl…

4 weeks out, Day 2, AM deadlifts, PM squats and a rep PR

In the morning, snatch grip deadlifts and conventional grip deadlifts felt hard.  It wasn't that the weight felt heavy, just that the sets felt like they were more tiring than usual.  Because the morning session was more difficult than I expected it to be, I was not sure how the evening's heavy squat workout would go.  I had two plans when I got to the gym tonight, if things felt good, work up to a top set with 455 and try to set a new rep PR (455x3).  If things felt tired, I would just do sets of 5 with 405.

While there were a few random aches that went away during warm ups, things did feel good enough that I decided to stick with my original plan.  I got my new rep PR with a set of 455x3, backed it up with another double with 455, and feel pretty good about being able to set a new competition PR in a month.

AM:

Snatch grip deadlifts:  225x5, 225x5, 315x5, 365x5, 365x5, 365x5

Deadlifts:  415x3, 415x3, 415x3

Barbell shrugs:  315x6, 315x6, 315x5

PM:

Squats:  135x5, 135x5, 225x…

4 weeks out, Day 1, bench press rep PR

My bodyweight seems to have plateau'd at 229 the past two weeks but training has been going well and I feel strong.  It also feels like I'm getting leaner while remaining the same weight so I'm not too concerned that the weight isn't coming off too slowly.  I tightened my lever belt one setting two weeks ago and it's significantly looser now despite the same scale weight so something good is definitely going on even if it's wildly unrealistic to think I'm losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time.

After last week that felt like a recovery week, I decided that I'd see if I could set a new rep PR in the paused bench press with my work weight of 295.  Fortunately, things felt great on my warm up sets so I gave it a shot.  Last Monday, I did 6 sets of 3 with 295 and all of the sets moved fast and in a tight groove so I decided this week would set the stage for a new progression.  I felt like I was good for a set of 5 so that was my goal this morning. …

5 weeks out, Day 7, squats

8 workouts in 7 days felt like a much easier workload than 8 workouts over 5 days which isn't really surprising.  If I knew I had the schedule flexibility to get to the gym every day, I think spreading everything out over 7 days is a very doable loading scheme. I didn't even remember than I had deadlifted yesterday until I was halfway through my squat work sets this afternoon.

So far with almost 8 weeks into a higher frequency training schedule, my joints feel good and I have only needed to use ibuprofen once.  At least this early in the process, I'll take that as a good sign that the workload isn't too much, too soon.  Of course the real test will be if my Wilks score goes up at my next meet.

Squats:  135x5, 135x5, 225x5, low bar, 225x5, add belt, 295x3, 345x3, add wrist wraps, 385x5, 385x5, 385x5, 385x5

Seated cable row:  140x10, 150x10, 150x8

Hoist crunch machine:  90x10, 90x8, 90x6


5 weeks out, Day 6, deadlifts and bench press

So, when I recapped my bench press volume after yesterday's workout, I guess I jumped the gun because I ended up bench pressing today after I got my deadlifts in.  I would normally deadlift Thursday evening but I had to move them till today because I had an online fantasy basketball draft Thursday night (priorities yo!).

Turns out, I might stick with this schedule instead because deadlifts were much better without the having any residual fatigue from squatting in the morning.  Now that golf season is basically over, our weekends have much more available gym time.

Last week, I did 6 singles with 515 and the last single was just slightly out of form.  Today, I did 6 singles with 525 and all 6 were good.  I stopped at 6 instead of doing a 7th or 8th because I could tell subsequent singles were going to be sloppy and I didn't want to end on a bad note.  The work with singles is definitely getting my deadlift back in shape, my start is already much better after only two weeks.

Afte…

5 weeks out, Day 5 bench press (yesterday)

Forgot to diary yesterday's AM training session but it was actually a pretty good one.  The previous weeks' high frequency bench press training had left me with some hints of shoulder joint over use but by yesterday it was pretty much back to normal.  I think 6 sessions in 5 days is too much for me with the volumes I was using but 3 sessions in 5 days is apparently a good recuperative schedule.  I'll try to see how a 4 session week goes next week.

The previous 'high frequency/high volume' week was 120 lifts, 31445 lbs, avg lift 262 lbs/76% of 1 RM.
This week was 85 lifts, 23045 lbs, avg lift 271 lbs/78.5% of 1 RM.

At this point, they're all just numbers since I don't have a read yet on how any of this frequency/volume/intensity will carryover to competition PR's.  I am very happy that my work set strength levels haven't dropped during my drop in bodyweight from 245 to 229 over the past 80 days.  Since strength levels have usually dropped in the p…

5 weeks out, Day 4, squats

My back was very stiff this morning and it took forever to loosen up so I basically did the bare minimum for my squat workout.  I won't be deadlifting until Friday evening or Saturday so hopefully the extra recover time will allow everything to get back on track.  I think this week is a pretty good sign that squatting 4 days in a row probably isn't a workable plan while I'm still on a calorie deficit.  I think I could do it farther out from a meet when I can keep the intensity lower but being only 5 weeks out, I've got to push the intensity up from here on in.  On the plus side, I was 229 lbs this morning so I'm still on pace to be comfortably below 231 by the end of November (provided I can keep things under reasonable control while in Las Vegas for 6 days two weeks out from the meet).

Squats:  135x5, 135x5, 225x5, low bar, 225x5, add belt, 295x5, 295x5, 345x8, 345x8

Leg raises:  20, 15

5 weeks out, Day 3 bench press

Last week's experiment with higher frequency and volume is showing its effects this week.  Since I'm on a slight calorie restriction and I can't eat my way out of the workload, I skipped this evening's squats.

AM:

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x5, 135x5, 225x5, 265x3, add wrist wraps, 295x3, 320x2, 320x1, 320x1, 295x3, 295x3, 295x3

Weighted dips:  bwt x 10, 45x8, 45x8, 45x8

Parallel grip chins:  6, 6, 5

5 weeks out, Day 2, AM deadlifts, PM squats

My morning deadlift session started out slowly but I was able to get into a groove and got in some good technique work.  I find snatch grip deadlifts extremely challenging even with weights that are only about 60% of my conventional deadlift 1 RM.  After snatch grip deadlifts, finishing up with some conventional grip deadlifts feels like doing a rack pull because my torso is much more upright.  So far it's been a good combination for 'light day' deadlifts.

My evening 'heavy' squat session felt really good.  The bar moved fast and the work sets this week were easier than they were two weeks ago when I first started with this loading progression.

AM:

Snatch grip deadlifts:  225x5, 225x5, 315x5, 365x5, 365x5, 365x5

Deadlifts:  415x3, 415x3, 415x3

Barbell shrugs:  275x8x3 sets

PM:

Squats:  135x5, 135x5, 225x5, low bar, 225x5, add belt, 295x3, 345x3, add wrist wraps, 385x3, 425x3, 425x3, 425x3, 405x3, 405x3, 405x3

Weighted back extensions:  65x10, 65x10

Hoist crunch m…

5 weeks out, Day 1, bench press

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After 8 sessions in 5 days, it felt good to take 2 full days to recover for this week's lifting.  The only 'exercise' type stuff I did all weekend was yesterday when Vivian and I took a 5 km hike on the Red Hill Trail in Hamilton, Ontario.  It was a good walk and although my back doesn't like walking much, it felt good in the legs.


This morning's workout was bench press only so I didn't worry about having a stiff back.  I was curious to see how things felt after last week's 6 bench press sessions.  Fortunately, everything felt good and I was able to do everything I had planned to do and maybe a little more.

My work sets with 295 all moved well and I was able to increase the weight on weighted dips without any extra strain in the shoulders.  The only change I made was substituting parallel grip chins for hammer curls in order to take some direct stress off my elbow flexors.  Overall it was a good session and I'm looking forward to heavy bench press day W…

6 weeks out, Day 5, bench press and squats

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get my squatting done this morning because my back was pretty stiff from last night's deadlifts.  To give it some extra time, I did my touch and go bench presses first.  Because it was a good 24 hrs since my last bench press session, the fatigue from the previous morning was gone but I started to notice just a hint of strain in the shoulders.  That doesn't completely shock me since I had 6 bench press sessions over 5 days but I'm definitely not going to repeat that next week.  Next week, I'll switch to 4 sessions over 5 days and see how things feel.  My muscles can manage the volume but I need to be mindful that my joints are recovering as well.

After bench pressing, my back felt better so I ended up getting my squats done.  After two weeks in a row of 4 days in a row squatting, I was pretty happy with how everything felt.  My back held up pretty well, in fact it seemed to be less achy during the last two weeks than previous …

6 weeks out, Day 4, AM squats and bench press, PM deadlifts

Today was pretty tough.  Really felt some fatigue for the first time this morning when I squatted and bench pressed.  I think part of that was because my last bench press and squat session was just 10 hrs earlier.  And since I also bench pressed in the morning yesterday, I ended up bench pressing three times in a 24 hr period.  That was pushing it but I wanted to see how I would react.

In my evening session, instead of doing three sets of three with 505, I did singles with it instead.  The start of my deadlift needs work and I figured doing a bunch of "first reps" would be more helpful.  However, I wasn't able to do 9 singles, the 6th one grinded up so I stopped there.  6 singles is definitely harder for me than 3x3 with the same weight.

AM:

Squats:  135x5, 135x5, 225x5, low bar, 225x5, add belt, 295x3, 345x3, add wrist wraps, 365x3, 365x3, 365x3, 365x3

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x5, 135x5, 225x5, add wrist wraps, 265x5, 265x5

PM:

Deadlifts:  225x5, 315x3, add b…

6 weeks out, Day 3, AM bench press, PM squats and bench press

This morning, heavy bench day went very well.  Even though it was my third day bench pressing in a row, the bar moved fast and I even increased my volume of work reps.  Just to push the "high frequency of shorter workouts" thing a little further, I also bench pressed this evening after my squat session.  Again the bar moved well and there was no apparent fatigue from previous sessions.  I have reduced my accessory work for both squats and bench presses since the increased frequency of the main lift sessions is acting as accessory work.

Tomorrow morning is 'light' squats and another 'light' bench press session.  In the evening, I'll hit deadlifts for the heavy session of the week.  So far the higher frequency is being tolerated well but it hasn't yet been two full weeks.

AM:

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x5, 135x5, 225x5, 265x3, add wrist wraps, 295x3, 320x2, 320x2, 300x3, 300x2

Lateral Raise:  35x6x3 sets

Rear delt raise:  45x10x3 sets

Hammer curl…

6 weeks out, Day 2, AM deadlifts and bench press, PM squats

Whatever cold symptoms I had the previous three days seemed to have started to go away so instead of taking it easy today, I ended up pushing things pretty good.  Since I squatted four days in a row last week (80 total work reps), I decided I'd try to bench press every day this week to see how things felt.  The goal will be to increase my weekly volume of bench press work reps from about 80 to 100.  I also added a little volume to my morning light deadlift workout and added in some light bench presses.

For the evening heavy squat workout, I had intended on working up to a double with 455 but ended up singleing it instead.  Still managed some good work reps at higher intensities though.  Tomorrow morning is heavy bench press day so I'll be interested to see how it feels to bench press three days in a row.  In the evening, I plan to get in about 20-25 reps of medium intensity squats.

AM:

Snatch grip deadlifts:  225x5, 225x5, 315x5, 365x5, 365x5, 365x5

Deadlifts:  add belt, 415x…

6 weeks out, Day 1, bench press

We had our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and I stopped logging food and drink items consumed at 4000+ calories and 500+ grams of carbs.  I probably ended up somewhere slightly north of 5000 calories for the day, most of them consumed after 5pm.  I did feel pretty awful with a +9lb bloat from my morning weight check.  Thanksgiving is no time to practice moderation but in hindsight, gorging myself that much probably wasn't the best idea. After weeks of eating between 2500-3000 calories and generally no more than 200 grams of carbs, yesterday's feasting sent my digestive system into emergency mode.

I have been fighting a minor cold for the past three days, probably a sign that my training volume and nutrition were not ideal so the caloric excess should help to right some of that.  I'll be mindful of my training volumes going fowards so as to avoid any more signs that I'm not recovering 100%.

To that end, I significantly limited my bench press work today and tried to place…