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Showing posts from January, 2014

9 weeks out, day 3 squat overload work

After seeing the impact of incorporating eccentric only bench presses for the last 4 weeks, I decided to implement the same protocol to my low bar squat session.  I have wanted to try eccentric only squats for a while but hesitated because re-setting the bar between reps is such a pain.  Seeing how they are helping my bench press, I decided the time spent breaking down the bar and re-setting it would be well worth it if they worked on my squat as well as they worked on my bench press.  As it turned out, the time spent stripping the bar and re-loading it was just about the perfect rest interval between eccentric only reps.

I did the same thing I did for bench presses, work up to a heavy single and then start with eccentric only reps.  After the eccentric only reps, finish up with full ROM doubles.  Since I had never done these before, I ramped up with a sub-maximal weight for the first eccentric only rep.  The top work reps with 525 were hard but felt surprisingly good.  After the ecce…

9 weeks out, day 2, bench press overload work

Good bench press session tonight.  Feels like the overload work via the Titan Ram presses and the eccentric only work are making a difference.  While working up to my Titam Ram press weight and the eccentric only work, the single at 315 moved so fast that I decided to skip 330 and attempt 335.  I fully expected it to go but it stalled high off the chest.  330 would've gone for sure but 335 will go next week.  Either way, I wasn't real concerned since those reps were mainly preparation for the overload work.

The Titan Ram presses and eccentric only work is getting better every week.  It's still a challenge to unrack the weights while staying tight but the reps themselves are getting better and better.  Afterwords the full ROM work with 295 for 5 sets of 2 moved as fast as 285 did last week.

I tried some JM presses to hit my triceps with some extra work but my left elbow doesn't like bending past 90 degrees.  Kept getting a twinge like my funny bone was getting hit so I…

9 weeks out, day 1, deadlift

After taking a day to deload my squat volume last week, it was time to deload my deficit deadlift work just a little.  Instead of doing 5 singles with 545 from a 2" deficit, I only did 3.  The only hiccup was getting a bloody nose on my second warm up set.  It's been so cold and dry that nosebleeds have been a weekly occurrence.  It was a bit of an inconvenience to head to the locker room to attend to the nosebleed but it didn't spring any more leaks so that was nice.

Not wanting to press my luck with the nose, I skipped my leg press assistance work and did wide stance squats instead.  Since this session was a deload of sorts, I used the wide stance squats to stretch out my hamstrings and adductors.  After some dumbbell hammer curls, I finished up with two sets of 20 back extensions.  Between the wide stance squats and the back extensions, my hamstrings felt nice and loose and pumped at the same time.  The back extensions felt so good, that I should probably finish off al…

10 weeks out, day 4, squat and bench press

Last week I was reminded of the need to balance listening to your body with pushing through and doing work by a fellow lifter, Keith Old. Keith competes in the M2 age group (50-59) and is as strong as an ox. I've been following his training at his blog for a while now.  He was nice enough to drop a comment on one of my training sessions that said,

"I find that doing this every now and then can actually help. Sometimes it is working out how to get the job done eg 3 sets of 4 = 12 reps but when you get to the gym your body says sorry today you are going to do 6 sets of 2. Still the same volume just done in a different way. Our minds can be stronger than our bodies at times so sometimes it pays to listen to our bodies. so long as you don't give up it will happen."

So, while last week, I listened to what I thought my body was saying and shut it down early.  Today, I decided to push through and get in the volume I needed.  My back was still feeling a bit wrecked but I adju…

10 weeks out, day 3, squat deload and deadlift assistance

My tired back caught up to me today and I ended up de-loading my squat session.  I minimized my warm-up progression hoping to save energy for at least one good top set but there just wasn't any tightness in the hole so I singled what I had hoped to double or triple.  A terribly grooved back off set with 405 was the final sign that I needed to shut it down and start recovering for Sunday's high bar squat session.  On the plus side, 405 is feeling as comfortable as it has ever felt and I can crap-form it up if necessary.  However, since using crappy form just puts extra stress on parts that obviously need extra time, there was no point in grinding out terrible squtats.

Next week I'll deload my deadlift day a little to allow for a better low bar squat session later in the week.  My deadlift assistance work, stiff legged deadlifts, felt pretty good so I added an extra set to make up for the reduced squat volume.  The good thing so far is there is just fatigue, no chronic aches…

10 weeks out, day 2 bench press and bench press overload work

Good bench press session tonight, increased volume and intensity of both the full ROM bench press work and the overload work (Titan Ram presses and eccentric only bench presses).

325 went up fast enough that I did not expect to fail with 330 but it should go next week.  The overload work felt pretty good and the finishing doubles moved nice and fast.  I had enough energy left at the end to do an extra set of bar dips as well.  Assuming nothing breaks down over the next 9 weeks, the adaptation to the work I'm doing should project to no less than a 150 kg bench press in competition and at 105 kgs.

Bench Press:  all reps paused, wrist wraps at 285 and above, 135x10, 185x5, 225x5, 255x3, 285x2, 315x1, 325x1, 330x0

Titan Ram Bench Press:  345x2, 365x1, 370x1

Eccentric only bench press:  380x1, 380x1, 365x1

Bench Press:  285x2x5 sets

Dips:  10, 8, 7, 6

10 weeks out, day 1, deficit deadlifts

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Over the weekend Vivian and I bought a spinning bike so we could get in some extra interval cardio work without going to the gym.  I haven't used it yet but Vivian's been on it a couple times.  I am looking forward to using it and improving my recovery rate.

In the meantime, I'm still trying to keep my pace up in my workouts since that's my only exercise at the moment.  As I get closer to the meet and work sets get harder, I'll need to take longer rest periods between sets and I'll lose some of the benefit of working at a quick pace.  That's when the interval work should help keep my work capacity high enough so that I can maintain enough volume to encourage adaptation.

I increased the deficit deadlift work weights but only got 5 singles with less than 90 seconds rest between them.  The weight used was approx 85% of my non-deficit 1 RM so the volume was pretty good.  Next week, I'll bump the the weight another 20 lbs but increase my rest periods to try…

11 weeks out, day 4, high bar squats and bench press

My back was a little more creaky than usual today.  It's usually a little sore but I consider that just 'old age' sore.  When it's acting up a bit, I also get tingles down my legs and into my feet.  Today was one of those days when it acts up and never feels comfortable.  I decided not to push it and deload my squat volume a little bit since I want to be able to give a good effort on Tuesday for deficit deadlifts.

Despite lowering the volume by a third and the intensity by a little, I still felt like I got in some good work.  It finally feels like I'm starting to exorcise the squat-morning from my high bar squat.  Lately I've been feeling the high bar squats in my thighs and glutes instead of my lower back and hamstrings.  This can only lead to good things with both my competition squat and my deadlift.

Although the average intensity and total volume was actually up a little bit, I reduced the work load at the top of my bench press session today.  I spent mor…

11 weeks out, day 3, squats and deadlift assistance

Strange session but a good one.  Felt a bit under recovered from deadlifts and bench presses the previous two days but in a good way.  Still, I didn't know what to expect tonight since my squat session on Sunday wasn't that great.  Unfortunately the only rack available faced a mirror but I took plenty of mental snapshot selfies for the "I love myself" spank bank so I had that going for me.

Low bar squats ended up going far better than I would've expected.  For as creaky and somewhat sore I felt prior to the workout, my squats felt very strong.  The bar moved very well and there was no hint of how I felt earlier in the day.  I was able to get my top work set of 425x3 for 5 sets.  The 15 total reps with 425 was more than double the amount of work I was able to do last week.  None of the sets were grinders.  Not sure if it was just a good day or a sign of a new plateau.  Next week I'll bump up my triple weight if 425x3 moves as fast as it did tonight.

After squa…

11 weeks out, day 2, bench press

Yesterday's deadlift work didn't leave me too sore to bench press today so I was able to do everything I had planned to do.  I'll be curious to see if there is any 2nd day DOMS tomorrow when I'm supposed to squat and do some deadlift assistance work.

Similar to last week's session, I started with full ROM bench press, progressed to overload work with the Titan Ram, increased the overload with three eccentric-only singles and finished up with 4 sets of 2, full ROM.  Overall, everything felt really good, even the bar dips at the end.

Bench Press:  all reps paused for all sets, 135x10, 185x5, 225x5, 255x3, add wrist wraps, 285x2, 315x1

Titan Ram Bench Press:  335x2, 350x2, 365x1

Eccentric-only bench press:  375x1. 375x1, 375x1

Bench Press:  275x2x4 sets

Bar Dips:  10, 6, 8

11 weeks out, day 1 deadlifts

The other week Matt Gary of Supreme Sports Performance & Training posted in his facebook group a chart of his 2013 training sessions.  The chart showed the number of sessions per month for the squat, bench press, and deadlift.  After seeing his training frequency and consistency, I decided to make my own chart.

2013 TRAINING DISTRIBUTION(Number of training sessions/lift/month)MONTHSQUATBENCH PRESSDEADLIFTTOTAL SESSIONSJanuary109413February129313March89413

12 weeks out, day 3, high bar squats and bench press

Today was supposed to be sets of 5 with 385 in the high bar squat but for some reason I didn't have the fighting spirit.  It wasn't that the weight felt heavy or that I didn't have the strength, it was something different that doesn't happen very often.  Instead of the strain of a tough set feeling welcome and comforting, it felt threatening.  Not that I was on the verge of injury, I wasn't, it just seemed like my body decided without my input that it was going to flee instead of stay and fight.  I could've tried to get some adrenalin going to over-ride the reaction but I decided, since I'm 12 weeks out, that I'd just lower the weight and finish out my prescribed volume.

Maybe there was some nagging pain that I wasn't picking up or maybe it was just a bad day.  Either way, stuff happens.  Finished up with some bench pressing, nothing noteworthy, just some volume with an average intensity of 73% of my 1 RM.

Squats:  all high bar, 135x10, 225x5, 295x5…

12 weeks out, day 2, squat and deadlift assistance

Squat and deadlift assistance work was on the schedule for tonight. I switched to low bar earlier in my weight progression and that seemed to do the trick as my main work sets were much better than last week.  I was a bit concerned that yesterday's bench press work would leave my shoulders tight and result in extra stress on my elbows but I didn't feel tight at all.  Considering the extra eccentric-only work, I'm pretty happy that I've apparently managed to spread the stress around enough to not have any residual soreness.

After low bar squat work, I did three sets of squat walkout/lockouts.  I worked up to 565 and it definitely felt heavy.  Strange feeling with those overload walkout/lockouts.  The fatigue after the set was much less specific but more profound.  That tells me that I need to spend more time with them to condition my body to accept heavy weights on my back and de-sensitize what feels like a full body stress response.

Squats:  135x10, 225x5, switch to lo…

12 weeks out, day 1, bench press and eccentric only training

Missed deadlift day yesterday on account of the polar vortex and some car trouble with Vivian's car that had us waiting on call for a tow truck.  The weather was such that the call came at 8:30, right at about the 300 minute estimate on waiting time when Vivian made the original request to CAA.  Turns out that they sent a truck that only did dead battery calls and her particular issue required a tow truck.  That call eventually came at approx 0800 hrs the next day.  Needless to say, we didn't make it to the gym but instead caught up on some episodes of "American Horror Story, Coven".  Great series.  Can't wait for next season.

Staying on schedule, tonight was bench press day and I had planned on doing some overload work with the Titan Ram.  When I got to the gym, Dr. Mike was there doing some deadlift work.  He's always interested in seeing how my training has been going so I gave him the run down of the past 6 months and my meet prep plans for Nationals in …

13 weeks out, day 3, squats and bench press

Today's session was high bar squats, bench presses, and some back work.  My lower back was not very happy but I was able to get through the squats with some decent volume.   Not sure yet if the high bar squats will have more carryover to my deadlift than my low bar squat but I'm going to keep them in the program until I'm 6 weeks out from the meet.  The groove is just different enough, even with the same stance width, that my low bar squat days tend to feel a little rusty until I'm a set or two into the work sets.  However, the potential benefit to quad strength and the reduction of wear and tear on my elbows makes them more than worthwhile.

Not much else to say about today's session, it was just one of those days where I did some work but nothing felt completely excellent.  On the plus side, my knees, elbows, and shoulders are all pain free so I can't really complain.  Just gotta keep training, losing weight slowly, and set some PR's in April.

Squats:  al…

13 weeks out, day 2, low bar squats and deadlift assistance

Most of the time I don't notice evidence of my age when I'm training.  In fact that's one of the good things about it.  Sometimes, however, I do feel like a 47 year old man fighting with the weights.  Tonight was one of those nights.  It wasn't as bad as it can be but the 'spring' was definitely not in my step. I suspect the round of indoor golf Vivian and I played on New Year's Day was the culprit.  My back doesn't like rotational stuff very much and I usually feel a bit rickety for a few days after a round of golf.  I could've popped an extra strength advil or two but I'm trying to save the magic until closer to the meet since it tends to encourage me to push too hard and under-recover--something very different from over-training which I almost never do since I generally don't train enough in a month to do that.

I've changed my training schedule slightly from three days a week to four.  The goal is to push harder on individual days and…