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Showing posts from August, 2014

13 weeks out, Day 2, squats, bench press, last day in Boulder

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I headed over to the Y for a last workout before I fly back to Ontario.  My back was especially tight, almost as if my first workout as a 48 yr old was gonna be different than back when I was 47 two days ago.  I tried to loosen up during my squat warm ups but my first workset with 315 was still reasonably painful so I shut it down.

After some leg extensions and leg curls, I did my touch and go bench presses with 225 and some pulldowns to finish.  I had planned to do face pulls but my back just wasn't happy with any kind of pull in the transverse plane.

The workout itself was unremarkable but while I was stretching my hip flexors and rectus femoris, I had the strangest thing happen.  I was doing some contract/relax stretching and although I wasn't contracting very hard, all of a sudden it felt like a rubber band snapped in the front of my right hip and it felt like the broken end of the rubber band retreated down my thigh.  It didn't hurt but it was such an unusual sensat…

13 weeks out, Day 1, sumo deadlifts and bench presses at Iron Warrior Gym

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Travelled down to Iron Warrior Gym for another deadlift and bench press session with Vartan. Instead of starting with bench presses, we started with deadlifts in order to alternate which movement got the 'fresh start'.  I had hoped to work up to a heavy single in the sumo deadlift but the bar wasn't moving very fast.  What was supposed to be my last warm-up single felt bad in the hips and heavy on the back.   I tried making another 5 kg jump but just couldn't get any pressure from the start so I didn't try to break it off the floor.

I finished up with some conventional deadlifts to work on speed and by the end, they started to feel okay everwhere but my lower back.  It's probably a good time to work in some extra recovery time for my hips and lower back.

Like deadlifts, I planned to work up to a heavy single in the bench press.  Things went pretty well until my last single with 345.  It hit a sticking point and while I was grinding through to lockout, my feet …

14 weeks out, Day 3, high bar wide stance squats, bench press, and stuff

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Boulder, Colorado is a very unusual place but in a good way.  I love it here, always have, but it really is a shock to the system if you ever travel here from just about anywhere else in North America.  Almost everyone you see is in what appears to be in excellent physical condition and people are always out doing exercise-y things.  It's really hard to settle down for a day of couch potato duty when you're always seeing people running, biking, driving Subarus with roof racks for bikes/snowboards/paddleboards/kayaks, etc.

So, on that note, I decided to head to the local YMCA to get in more exercise so as to not feel like a complete stranger.  On the way to the Y, I probably saw about a hundred people riding bikes on the 5 miles of country road between my parent's house and the Lafayette YMCA.  All kinds of bikes, full aero bar types with fancy aero helmets and all the tight clothing to older folks riding upright hybrid bikes.  Seeing all these people getting their VO2 max …

14 weeks out, day 2, bench press and sumo deadlifts at Iron Warrior Gym, Englewood, Colorado

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I got to train at an excellent gym today (8/22/2014).  Prior to flying out to Colorado to visit my family, I contacted a fellow lifter that, prior to today, I only knew through Facebook and Fitocracy.  I knew he lifted at a killer strength training facility in Denver so I wanted to try to get out there if at all possible. Vartan was gracious enough to host me as a guest at the gym where he trains.  It was about a 45 minute drive in light traffic from my parent's house in Boulder and worth every minute.

The gym is called Iron Warrior Gym and it's the first time I've had occasion to train in a facility like this.  Unlike the poor compromises that most globo gyms make in order to sucker as many people into joining but not actually using the facilities, Iron Warrior Gym is all about providing the equipment that serious lifters want and need to use.

While we were there to bench press and deadlift, I did spend some time trying out some of the stuff that I haven't tried befo…

14 weeks out, Day 1, squats and bench press

This was my last session before travelling back to Boulder to visit the folks.  I'm hoping to get to a gym once or twice while I'm home but it will still be a nice deload after some good weeks of training.

High bar squats felt pretty good today.  I ramped my triples up and then back down rather than doing them straight across.  My top triple with 405 might've been a high bar 3RM PR but I'm not sure since I don't really keep track.  The weight felt good though.

After the five triples, I thought I'd give a set of 235x48 a shot.  235 because that's my bodyweight, the lowest I've been since right before Nationals in April and 48 because I turn 48 in 6 days.  I won't be able to try the 235x48 in Boulder because I'm not bringing my belt or squat shoes so I thought I'd try it tonight.  Yeah, that wasn't a good plan at all.  Trying to do it after my work sets quickly proved it wasn't going to happen so I bailed after 20 reps.  Maybe I'll…

15 weeks out, Day 3, squats, bench press, sumo deadlift

Volume day went pretty well.  My decision to work with a lighter weight in the sumo deadlift was a good one as I was able to get through some work sets to reinforce technique without having to grind through any reps.  Bench press is still in the post PR valley but it should come back soon.  I have some extra rest days planned starting late next week because I'll be visiting the folks in Boulder, Colorado.

High Bar squats: 135x5, 225x5, 275x5, add belt, 315x5, 365x3, 365x3, 365x3, 365x3, 365x5

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x5, 185x5, 225x5, 255x5, 285x5, 285x3x4 sets

Sumo deadlift:  225x5, 315x5, 365x6x3 sets

15 weeks out, Day 2, bench press and sumo deadlifts

After the past two weeks of bench press PR's and near PR's, I decided to dial the intensity down a little and start a new ramp back up.  Used 295 as my work weight and managed a total of 20 paused reps over 6 sets for some decent volume.

Sumo deadlifts continue to feel better every week.  I used 475 for two sets of 3 as my top work sets.  They felt much better than when I tripled 475 a couple of weeks ago.  Finished up with two more sets of 5 with 405.  A couple more weeks and I feel like I'll be able to lift without thinking as much. When that happens, I'm going to start using a belt as well as incorporating short rest period singles with heavier weights.

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x5, 185x5, 225x5, 265x3, add wrist wraps, 295x4, 295x4, 295x3x4 sets

Sumo deadlift:  225x5, 315x5, 405x5, 455x3, 475x3, 475x3. 405x5, 405x5


15 weeks out, Day 1 high bar squats and touch and go bench press

As heavy as everything felt on Sunday, things were back to normal today, as they almost always are.  I guess I'm just in weekend mode on Sundays and the body doesn't want to work the same way unless it's at a meet.   I decided to work up to a heavy single in the high bar squats and then back off for my work sets.  Whereas my triples with 365 were slow and almost grindy on Sunday, tonight my last warmup triple with 365 was fast and easy.  I did a single with 405 and a single with 425 before back off triples with 385.  The 425 was a pretty tough single but it was only 10 lbs less than my high bar max and the technique today was much better.

I've been training without knee sleeves while my current high bar 1 RM was done while wearing Rehbands.  I don't know if I get much more than 10lbs out them but they do make a difference both in rebound and in comfort.  I've just been too lazy to want to deal with trying to keep sleeves clean and unsmelly during the summer.  …

16 weeks out, Day 3, squats, bench press, sumo deadlift

As usual on Sundays, everything felt heavy.  Still highbar squatting because my left elbow isn't pain free yet but my quads need the work so it's probably a blessing in disguise.  Tried going a little wider in the stance but I have no power out of the hole that way so I moved my stance back to my competition width.

Bench presses moved slow but I probably wasn't fully recovered from Thursday's session.  Next bench workout is lighter weights for touch and go sets so everything should be recovered and good to go by the time a heavy workout comes around on Thursday.

Sumo deadlifts were cut short because my legs were done from the squats earlier.  I think I'll need to dial back the work weights on these to 365 and treat them like speed work or something.

Highbar squats:  135x5, 225x5, 275x5, add belt, 315x5, 365x3x5 sets

Bench Press: all reps paused, 135x5, 185x5, 225x5, 255x5, add wrist wraps, 285x4, 285x4, 285x3, 285x3

Sumo Deadlift:  225x5, 315x5, 405x3, 405x3

16 weeks out, Day 2, bench press and sumo deadlifts

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After last Thursday's touch and go bench press PR, I decided to work up to a heavy single one more time this week.  I'm finally in the process of cutting some bodyweight--that plan that I intended to do right after Nationals in April.  Well, 3 months later, I'm finally embarking on the process.  I was motivated because Vivian started the Whole 30 thing.  In order to support her, I am going along with it mostly.  I'm still having whey protein shakes and eating peas and corn for additional carb sources but I'm otherwise following the restrictions on the types of things that I typically eat in quantities of 1000-1500 calories per day.  Because I've cut out pasta, rice, donuts, fast food, french fries, etc, I'm dropping weight without much effort.  Since I don't expect to continue getting stronger while dropping 10-15 lbs or so, I figured I should get one last testing week in before the possibility of weight loss affecting my strength levels.

I had joked ea…

16 weeks out, Day 1, high bar squats, bench presses

July was a good month of training.  Even though I missed a week from a gallbladder attack I still got in a lot of volume at a good intensity.  I started tracking the number of lifts each month for the squat, bench press, and deadlift at the beginning of this year.  I count any lift at 50% of my current competition 1 RM as long as it's a variation of the back squat, bench press, or deadlift (includes stiff legged and sumo deadlifts).  I didn't count eccentric only squats and bench presses or bench press reps done with the Titan Ram.

I started doing this based on the volume and intensity guidelines in the various Sheiko routines.  I wasn't intending to synthesize a 'sheiko-like' program, I just wanted to track volume/intensity and see if it correlated with increases in my competition 1 rep maxes.  So far it hasn't been real definitive but July was by far the most monthly volume for the bench press of any month this year (343 lifts, 74.4% avg intensity).  I'd …