Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Training Log: Entry 630

ME upper

Wide grip bench w/chains
300x1 (New PR)
310x1 (New PR)

Notes: Ego got the best of me on that last set.  275 went up like air, so wanted to see what I could do.  If I really wanted to open it up, I know I had enough in me for a triple.  Just a great day for my strength, with a good pause on every single.  Weight was going down and up unevenly.  Left side might be weaker than the right.  Might perform some DB work, if I can get a decent set-up.  Think I may hit some 3 week cycles on my upperbody work, as I seem to be able to still maintain gains on this.  Could just be muscle memory trying to get back up to 365.

Strict press of 145

Notes: Used a wider than usual grip on this one (pinkies on the rings).  First time since ever that I've been able to grip that wide without shoulder pain.  Think all this wider grip work has been good for my shoulder development.  The raises may be good as well.

Band tricep pulldowns w/2 lights

Notes: Tried out my new average band, but resistance was lighter than the 2 lights, so just stuck with them for now.  Love how well this destroys my triceps without putting pain on my elbows.

Nuetral grip standing band rows w/light per hand

Notes: I'm a frickin' genius.  I discovered that I can eliminate the bands pulling my feet forward by setting the bands up in the pins opposite the side of the rack I'm standing on, and then using the foot of the rack to brace against.  Put a lot more emphasis on the movement and less on stability.  This is doing a great job of hitting my lats without affecting my lower back.  I might be able to cycle between this, t-bar rows, and DB works now.  So glad to have a new movement.

EZ bar curls w/65lbs

Notes: I'm cheating on the reps a little, but strict form is for chumps.  My arms are still fried by the time I'm done.  I freaking hate working my arms, but they're so tiny.

Trap bar shrugs of 225

Notes: Just wanted to test out my new straps.  Don't want to overload my traps too much.


Turned 23 yesterday.  Great birthday bounty.  An average jump stretch band, the EFS basic training book and hoodie, strong enough lifting straps from ironmind, and some money to help with my home gym.  Wife also made me a shirt and sign for the gym, both of which say "Shut up and Squat"  I got a keeper.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Training Log: Entry 629

ME lower

475x1 (New PR)

Notes: Form was ugly, and depth questionable.  Woulda passed some loose standards, but prolly not IPF.  My feet kept slipping in my powercage.  Either time for new shoes, or I need to clean out the area and get rid of some dust.  Decided to cut down the weight and go for depth on follow up sets, still slippery.  Quads were destroyed, and whole body was achey. Need to increase my cals.

Trap bar lifts on a block of 315

Notes: Stacked some tiles on top of each other to increase the ROM.  Found I still had some more left in the tank in my later sets, so just went for broke.  Might keep increasing the ROM while leaving the weight the same to improve my leg drive.

SLDLs of 225

Notes: I was gassed after this.  Very last rep was piss poor, and woulda injured me on a heavier weight.  Watch for that.

2 light+1 mini band pull downs supersetted with Hise Shrugs of 275

Notes: Abs were really fried from this.  Been a while since that happened.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Training Log: Entry 628

RE Upper

Bench press of 165+chains

Notes: Nothing major, gonna stick with this for a while.

2-board press of 225+chains

Notes: Looks like I still need to tone the weight down a touch here.  More pausing and less heaving this time.

Trap bar raises

Notes: Delts were fried so bad from this one.  This has become one of my favorite exercises for my shoulders.


Notes: Hit 30 within 4 sets, very nice.  Gonna try to get 40 in as few sets as possible now.

Band pull aparts w/light band supersetted with close grip EZ bar curl of 65

Notes: Moved my grip in closer on the band pull aparts to increase tension.  Gonna try 2 sets of curls at the end to get blood flowing for recovery, and possibly add some more size to my pathetic arms.


Shoulders are getting bigger and tighter.  Much less clicking and pain.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Training Log: Entry 627

DE lower

Speed box squats of 195+light bands

Notes: Finally tried fast negatives, and was amazed with the results.  It totally got my speed fired up on the squat, something I've been missing on my DE work.  It's not perfect for form practice, but that's not the intention of this movement.  This really brought a whole new light to my DE work.

Box squats of 275+chains

Notes: Had enough in me for that final six, but felt my form falling apart, and didn't want to risk it.  This completely fried my hips, and once I was done, I discovered my lower back had an insane pump to it.  Really loving this movement.

Band pull throughs w/light

Notes: After the box squats, had nothign in me, so kept the PC work light.  3 sets is still enough to fry me.  I'll increase volume as necessary.

Saxon side bends w/15lb DBs supersetted with neck harness work.

Notes: Same approach with the PC work.  When I need more volume, I'll get it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Training Log: Entry 626

ME upper

Wide grip pause bench (all weight w/chains)
295x1 (PR by default)

Notes: I figure since my shoulder is the weak link, I'm gonna start widening my grip in some of my training to get it stronger and better able to contribute.  Amazingly, this really got my leg drive going, which I can never get enough of.  Made sure to get a good pause in, and even said "press" on my last set to make sure I had it.

Strict press of 135

Notes: This was pretty easy.  Toying on adding weight or more reps next time around.

Band pulldowns w/2lights

Notes: Totaly fried my triceps.  Love how easy this is on my elbow.

Band nuetral grip horizontal rows w/ 1light per hand
2x15, 2x12

Notes: I didn't think I'd like this at first, but I really got some decent lat activation.  Focused on pulling with my elbows instead of my hands.  Actually toyed around with looping the bands around the outside of my elbow and using that to complete the row, to completely eliminate the hand issue, with decent results.  Might need to look into that further.

EZ bar curls w/65

Notes: A little cheating, but I just need the volume at this point.  Arms are so tiny, and biceps so weak.

Trap bar shrugs of 135

Notes: Getting some straps soon, so that I can do some real shrugs, but just wanted to burn out on my last movement.  My grip was the first to go, traps were fine.  Lots of popping in my neck, should find out what the hell is going on there.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Training Log: Entry 625

ME lower

Deadlifts (alternating Sumo and conventional)
405 3x1

Notes: Just used this as a form practice at this point.  Felt pulling in my lower back that seemed like it could be bad if I tried to break anything heavy off the floor.  Think I'm going to hold off on pulling heavy from the floor for a while, and just subin trap bar lifts, reverse band deads, and rack/mat pulls for the time being.  Been babying my lower back too much, and need to bring it back up again.

Trap bar lifts of 315 (assuming the trap bar weighs 45lbs)

Notes: Focused on keeping my arch.  Video taped my dead attempts, and found I still had too much rounding.  Going to use this to improve leg drive. 

SLDLs of 225

Notes: Decided the best way to get better at breaking off the floor was to do it a lot.  Went beltless with this to focus on keeping my back tight and developing the muscles.  High reps don't hit my back too bad, so there is less worry of injury.

Band ab pull downs w/2 lights and a mini supersetted with hise shrugs of 225
30/38, 30/19, 20/17

Notes: Can't wait to pick up those average bands.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Training Log: Entry 624

RE bench press of 155+chains

Notes: This confirms my thoughts, my supporting musculature and GPP just plain sucks.  Did my best to pause and ingrain good habits in my lifting.  Whole upper body blew up on me.

Board press
225+chains 2x4

Notes: With the RE work, gonna hafta tone down my poundages and work around the pre-exhaust principle.  It'll be good for me in the long run.  Was heaving the weight off the boards on the last rep a few times.  Watch for that.

Trap bar raises

Notes: My right delt is worthless, and this proved it.  All those dislocations made my anterior delt extremely weak, and it fries out easily on this movement.  Going to give my shoulders lots of work.

Pull-ups at bodyweight

Notes: Accomplished my goal, without bands no less.  I find the bands remove emphasis from the lats and place more on the lockout, which explains why it exhausts me so much considering my biceps suck.  Don't think I'll shave off a whole other set next workout, but can at least get as many reps in as I can.

Band pull aparts w/light

Notes: Just some pre-hab.


Still figuring out my schedule.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Training Log: Entry 623

DE lower

Speed below paralle box squats of 185+light bands

Notes: Set the box slightly below parallel.  Focused on not rocking back and getting maximal acceleration out of the hole.

Below parallel box squats of 275+chains

Notes: Now that I have those patio tiles, I can box squat with heavy weight instead of using all my plates to form a box.  Holy cow what a great movement.  Really made me focus on not rocking out of the squat, and keeping my glutes and hips tight on the way up.  I can see how this will be a very useful movement in my training.  Kept the weight relatively low, just because it's my first week back.

Squat stance good mornings of 135

Notes: Weight was very light, but haven't hit a good morning in a long time, wanted to play it safe.  Bent the knees a little and focused on keeping the arch the entire time.

Saxon side bends w/15lb DBs supersetted w/neck harness work

Notes: This really shredded my core.  Doesn't take much.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Training Log: Entry 622

ME lower

Bench press

Notes: My next bench grip was a dud.  The wider hand spacing placed too much stress on my shoulders and removed strength from my triceps, which are my strong point.  I think too many shoulder dislocations has ruled out anything wider than pinkies on rings for ME work.  I'm going to be putting extra effort into brining my shoulders up, with more hypertrophy work.  I'm also switching out DE upper early for RE upper.  I don't have any of the supporting musculature I used to for benching.  I'm also 15lbs lighter than my last attempt, so I should have anticipated this.  I'm finding my lockout to be about 2-4 inches off my chest.  Strength directly off my chest is still strong, so I guess I have pause bench to thank for that.  I'm gonna be avoiding training the flat bench as an ME directly for a while as well, to remove ego from the equation. 

Band tricep pressdown w/double lights

Notes: Lot easier on the elbows than skull crushers.

Trap bar lateral raise

Notes: 12,10,10

Notes: This always happens when I have a new toy, but I loved the nuetral grip aspect.  A lot easier on my shoulder than having my hands rotated.

Bent over BB rows w/135

Notes: Scrap this crap, not doing it again.  Hate this movement, get nothing from it.  Next time, power rows or T-bar.

EZ bar curls w/65lbs

Notes: Biceps are so weak.  Arms are getting tiny, need to get them some more hypertrophy.

Band pull aparts w/light

Notes: Just some pre-hab.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Training Log: Entry 621

ME lower

Powerlifting style squats
425x1 (New PR)
450x1 (New PR)
465x1 (New PR)

Notes: Had more in me, but didn't want to push my luck.  Pavel's 3-5 with the chains was a great pay off, as once I got out of the hole, I had no struggles.  Depth is right where I need it to be, but I'd like it an inch lower or so to be sure.  Low box squatting should help out on my DE days.

Trap bar lifts w/315

Notes: Weight was challening but managable.  Might actually increase the distance by standing on more pads.  I bought some patio rubber tiles that work great to dampen the noise and impact.  Felt my quads getting really recruited, and think this will at least help me recruit more leg drive into my pulling.

Band pull throughs w/light band

Notes: Man, fatigue kicks in on the end of the sets pretty heavy here.  Focused on locking out and squeezing my glutes at the end.

Band ab pulldown w/2 lights supersetted with Hise shrug w/225

Notes: Might put shrugs on this day instead of my upper, but just wanted to make up for yesterday's mistake with the shin scrape anyway.  Should be getting some average bands soon, which will really open up my possibilities.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Training Log: Entry 620

DE upper

Speed bench w/155+chains

Notes: Speed hasn't really left.  Chains really made this movement.  Thinking of going 3 weeks DE chains, 3 weeks RE straight weight, 3 weeks DE bands, 3 weeks RE, etc.

2-board press w/245+chains

Notes: Keeping volume really low this week as I re-adjust to the short rest times and high rep work.  Didn't really have trouble getting the weight up, but might scale the weight back 10lbs when I add another set.

Military press w/135

Notes: Gassed towards the end here.  Might belt up on this one next time.

w/mini band-10,6,6
no bands-3,3,2

Notes: My lats are lacking in volume, and I've made it a strategy to try to hit 30 reps in as few sets as possible on my pull-ups.  Used a mini band for assistance on the first few sets.  For some reason, I get more fatigued with band pulls than without them, don't know why.

Trap bar shrugs w/225

Notes: Scraped all the skin off my left shin setting up weights.  Managed 1 set before I decided to pack it in and clean the wound.  Was kinda grossed out when all the hair on my shin fell off in one clump, and took my mind off of lifting.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Father in law has a wii-fit.  It's amazingly fun, and kept me moderately active during my break.  Says I'm 199.5lbs, and thought my goal to gain 10lbs was a little screwy.

Did 5 sets of pull-ups off of a beam in the basement for 5-6 reps per set.

Been doing a few one handed push-ups here and there.

Been keeping up on my grip work.

Got a trap bar, two 45lb plates, and 2 clamps for $145 at a Play it Again sports.  I'm very happy.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lessons Learned

A good training belt is a great asset, as is proper form. When I first started the routine, my concerns about squat depth had me setting the pins in the power rack at my parallel height as a measurment. This lead to poor form, as the weight would be temporarily relieved on the pins, the immediately reloaded onto my spine, which caused my initial back injury in the early stages of the routine. This eventually led to my purchase of a training belt, which in turn helped me rediscover proper form, as it forced me to maintain my arch rather than good morning the weight up.

Training the deadlift and the squat every other workout is too stressful on my CNS and lower back, and requires such frequent deloading that it defeats any potential progress in my training. On the other hand, training the squat every workout provided me with enough resistance to steadily make increases on every workout without having to intentionally deload.

If I perform 4 sets of heavily triples with a new weight, it will prepare me for 3x5 of said weight on my next training session, if I missed my previous training weight by 1 rep.

I am easily able to make gains off of 3x5. 5x5 would be excessive with the weights I am currently training with.

Bent over rowing and lower back work in the 5 rep range can severly injure my back. Either the weights I’m handling are too heavy to safely use in that rep range, or (more likely) my lower back is weak and needs to be brought up with more hypertrophy and strength work.

The bench press requires more accessory work than can be provided through consistent benching if I am to make gains.

Chains are an oustanding training tool.

I was wrong about my initial impression with chin-ups. The less I focus on lat activation, the more lat activation I achieve.

TORSO STRENGTH IS CRITICAL TOWARDS INJURY PREVENTION. Once I included standing ab work back into my program, my injury rate during squats was significantly reduced.

Small weight changes maintain lifting momentum, but in terms of time spent training, it equals out in the end.

My bench grip has been too narrow due to cheap barbell construction, explaining my propensity towards strong triceps. I can scoot my grip 1-2 finger lengths out to really get some strength.

My hamstrings are inflexible. Without regular low box squatting, my ROM naturally decreases.

Rigidty of a schedule does not ensure gains. I was training maybe 2 times in a 7 day period on this routine, and still made fantastic gains.

I can still make gains on squats while running intensly twice a week.

I originally followed the program with this set-up

Day A:
Bench press

Day B:
Overhead press
Bent over rows

Early in the program, I sustained a back injury previously noted, and had to begin drastically altering the program. I toyed around with front squats and RDLs in the position of deadlifts, and ultimately settled on increased frequency of squatting. I added chains to aleviated pressure on my back at the bottom of the squat, and began utilizing them in other aspects of training. I had to remove bent over work to save my lower back, increasing my vertical pulling.

I included supplemental work consisting of these exercises

Hise Shrugs
Band ab pulldowns
Neck harness work
Band pull aparts
Face pulls
Triceps extenions

and trained my grip with the CoC grippers.

I went from a 4x5 squat w/315lbs to a 3x5 squat with 405+chains in the 6 month period.

I utilized principles of Stuart McRobert's "Lifting Momentum" by starting all weights off at a relatively easy level and continuining gradually upward until it got challenging.