Week 5 – Day 14B

Felt a bit groggy today.  Half cup of coffee picked me up a tad.  Squats were 10 times better than last work out.  Virtually no pain.  Some mental notes I took to try and replicate this again:

  1. Did not look at the mirror.  Surprisingly, this kept my core a lot more rigid.
  2. Tried to make sure that the bar was over my toes and I wasn’t leaning over to avoid putting stress on my lower back
  3. Pushed straight up, thinking about splitting the floor apart and engaging my hamstrings when I was coming out of the hole
  4. Controlled descent.

Walkouts are getting pretty heavy.  I feel as though tiptoe-ing the weight back onto the rack is a terrible idea and could possible injure my calves and or foot arch muscles (??)

Press was disappointing to say the least.  I managed to complete the first 2 sets, but buckled on the last 3.  I feel like my right arm is compensating for a weak left.  I read somewhere that performing dips helps with improving strength on the press.  I think I’ll wait until I deload once or maybe twice, if I happen to get there soon, before I start adding some accessories.  It’s a bit strange that I’m having such a hard time with this lift.  I was lifting up to 95 lbs before my 5 week break.

Deadlift was pretty easy still.  I blundered on the last rep and lost a bit of focus.  Definitely felt it in the lower back.  But other than that, the lift is still pretty easy.  One or two more weeks and I’ll most likely be resorting to alternate grip.

Warmups:

2 x 10 Shoulder dislocations

3 x 10 Leg swings

3 x 30 sec.  static Squat stretch

Squats:

5 x Bar

3 x 115

2 x 135

5 x 5 x 160

Walkouts:

2 x 10 sec.  x 250

Press:

5 x Bar

3 x 60

5/5/4/4/3 x 75

Deadlift

5 x 185

Warmdown:

2 x 15 sec. warrior lunge + twist

2 x 15 sec. butterfly

Foam rolled legs, upper back, lats

 

Week 5 – Day 13A

Squats were ok aside from the fact that my lower back was killing me.  I tried tightening my abs to alleviate the pain, it helped a little.  I feel like I’m hyperextending my back into a hyperlordotic arch when I get low.  I was reading earlier today that low bar parallel squats with an individual who has longer legs and a shorter torso puts more strain on the lower back due to my back being more horizontal during the lift.  I need to do some more research on this topic to find out the optimal way of avoiding lower back pain when doing these squats.  Anytime I incur pain on myself, I always want to stop and re-evaluate my form and possibly re do the same weight to avoid hurting myself further once I get into heavier weights.

Surprisingly, I stalled on the 4th and 5th set of my bench.  The bar today was different than the one I used on the previous A session.  The knurling was in a different place so I may or may not have been in my normal width grip position.

Rows are still fairly easy.  Maintaining a rigid body and white knuckling the bar helps a lot with stability on the lift.

Warmups:

3 x 10 Leg swings

3 x 30 sec.  static Squat stretch

Squats:

5 x Bar

3 x 115

2 x 135

5 x 5 x 155

Bench:

5 x Bar

3 x 65

2 x 85

5/5/5/4/4 x 100

Rows:

5 x 5 x 100

Warmdown:

2 x 15 sec. warrior lunge + twist

2 x 15 sec. butterfly

Foam rolled legs, upper back, lats

Week 4 – Day 11A

Today’s workout was fairly straightforward.  Was in somewhat of a rush since I a graduation ceremony to attend afterwards.  I ate around the time I left for work and downed about 6 oz. of black coffee on the road to get ready once I got home.  Had to wait some 12 minutes for a guy to finish his sets on the squat rack.  Squats were fairly easy, felt unstable for some reason today.  I didn’t have the same “tight” feeling I had compared to Monday’s session.

Bench was fairly easy as well.  I feel like I’m using different muscles on my left side compared to my right side when doing the positive on the bench.  I gotta have someone record me to see how my form’s looking.

Rows were easy.  Felt really good as I didn’t use much hip drive.  Lift was steady, quick and powerful only using my upper back and avoiding my chest from lifting up.

Warmups:

2 x 10 Shoulder dislocations

3 x 30 sec. static Squat position stretch, pushing knees out

3 x 10 Leg swings

Squat:

5 x Bar

3 x 95

3 x 115

5 x 5 x 145

Bench:

5 x Bar

3 x 65

2 x 85

5 x 5 x 95

Rows:

5 x 95

PWO Stretches:

Foam rolled the legs, upperback and lats

2 x 15 sec. Warrior lunge /w 7 sec. twist

 

Week 4 – Day 10B

Today’s workout definitely ties for the best workout yet.  Con Edison power outage forced me to go to the other gym in the area.  I got to stretch a bit more before my worksets as someone was using the squat rack when I got there.  I managed to work up a good sweat just from stretching alone and my body ended becoming very warm and loose.

Squats were amazing, no pain in the lower back.  The squat rack had the hooks lower than the other gym’s rack so I really got a chance to go underneath the bar and start with a really tight upper back which helped with stability a lot.  I set the safety pins to the perfect height- my hips parallel to the ground.  Stance was a bit wider than shoulder width and toes were pointed out.  I noticed when I was stretching before than when I did body weight squats, I would shift my weight towards my left leg.  This may be why my lower back has been strained on my left side (!!).

Presses were pretty hard today.  I gave myself ample rest for the 4th and 5th sets.  My forearms were really tight and burning by the last couple of reps on the last 2 sets.  I definitely noticed my back arching a bit to compensate for muscle fatigue.  Really happy I managed to finish the 5×5 though.

Deadlifts were easy.  And no back pain!!

I finished off the session with 3 squat walk outs of 225 lbs each and I foam rolled my legs and upper back.  In hopes of trying to replicate this amazing session, I’m going to take note of all the things I did differently today:

  1. Drank half a cup of coffee right as I was leaving
  2. Extra stretching
  3. Lower starting point on the squat for tight upper back
  4. Parallel squatting instead of ATG

Warmups:

3 x 30 sec. static Squat position stretch, pushing knees out

3 x 10 Leg swings

2 x 10 sec. Shoulder/Pec stretch

Squat:

5 x Bar

3 x 95

3 x 115

5 x 5 x 140

Press:

5 x Bar

5 x 5 x 70

Deadlift:

5 x 165

Walkouts:

3 x 10 sec. x 225

PWO Stretches:

Foam rolled the legs, upperback and lats

 

Week 3 – Day 9A

Frighteningly, excruciating pain.  That’s how I started my workout.  I decided to find a resistance band to do shoulder dislocations.  I ended up popping my right shoulder out.  Took about an agonizing minute which felt like eternity until my shoulder popped back in.  I waited until my shoulder pain subsided a little bit and actually started my workout.  Stupid?  Maybe.  But, I went through my workout as planned anyway.

I’m finally back up to 45 plate squats again.  I remember when I stalled on these the first time I ran through SL5x5.  The “feeling” of squatting properly was a bit wobbly.  Some reps in a few sets felt like I was straining my lower back too much, some felt like I executed perfectly.  I need to sort out a mental cue order and run in through my head over and over.  After squatting, I followed with 2 sets of 225lb walkouts.  This were pretty scary to do.  I had a hard time unracking the weight as I couldn’t lift the bar from the hooks.  Reracking was even more frightening as I had to do a calf raise to bring the bar over the hooks.  Really wished the gym had a power cage.  For $99 a month, you’d think they’d have one.  Can’t wait until I build my own home gym.

Bench felt pretty good.  Kept a mental note to myself:  tightening my core, upper back and most importantly squeezing the bar helped make the reps much easier and stabilized the descent and ascent of the bar.

Rows are still really easy.  Managed to scraped my left knee on one of the reps when lowering the weight to the floor.  The lingering scrape pain was a nuisance.

Warmups:

2 x 10 Leg swings

2 x 30 sec.  static Squat stretch

2 x 15 sec. Doorway pec stretch

Squats:

5 x Bar

3 x 95

2 x 115

5 x 5 x 135

Walkouts:

2 x 8 sec. x 225lbs

Bench:

5 x Bar

3 x 65

5 x 5 x 90

Rows:

5 x 5 x 90

PWO Stretches:

2 x 15 sec. warrior lunge + twist

2 x 15 sec. butterfly

Leg foam rolls

Thoracic ext foam rolls

 

Week 3 – Day 8B

Today’s workout was fairly tough for some reason.  I haven’t been accustomed to this kind of volume training since I switched from Stronglifts to Madcow a while back.  Didn’t feel like I was consistent on my form when squatting.  Tight upper back as usual.  Noticed that I was a bit more coordinated when I looked at the ground instead of the mirror (the mirror lies!)  I tried opening up my stance a bit and pointing my toes out a bit further.  This resulted in quite a good amount of depth in the squat- favorable to some, but for me at the moment, it wasn’t as beneficial as I transferred some of the depth load to my lower back by going butt up first.  As I mentioned from the Monday’s workout, this is probably the primary culprit to my lower back pain as I’m performing semi-Goodmornings.

Presses were a doozy today.  I noticed on my first workset that my wrists were buckling (terrible for the wrists), so I proceeded to correct my form making sure the weight wasn’t resting on my wrists.  Managed to hit my chin on the way up on one of the reps, proceeded to laugh to myself and quickly looked around to see if anyone saw my blunder.  The last 2 sets were the hardest.  By the time I finished my 3rd set, my lats and traps were really tight and burning quite a bit so I rested a bit longer between each set and managed to bang both sets out with fairly decent form.  I’m trying to avoid arching my back.

Deadlifts were still pretty easy.  Gym doesn’t allow chalk, but sneaked it and put some on my shins.  Unusual, but I had a bit of back pain when repping the set out.

I keep forgetting, but I need to bring my camera to a work session to really get a good look at my lift technique and form.

Warmups:

2 x 10 Leg swings

2 x 30 sec.  static Squat stretch

2 x 15 sec. Doorway pec stretch

Squats:

5 x Bar

3 x 95

5 x 5 x 130

Walkouts:

3 x x 10 sec. x 220

Press:

5 x Bar

5 x 5 x 65

Deadlift:

5 x 155

PWO Stretches:

2 x 15 sec. warrior lunge + twist

2 x 15 sec. butterfly

 

Week 3 – Day 7A

Had a fairly sickly day today- didn’t feel well all day, had no appetite and moreover I developed a headache, pounding in my left side of the head by the time I got back home from work.  Popped a Tylenol and went to the gym anyway and surprise, surprise…headache gone afterwards and felt much better.  My diagnosis of my condition for the day is that I didn’t keep myself hydrated throughout the day especially after downing a protein shake in the morning.

Pretty easy workout today.  Pain in the lower back subsided when doing Squats today.  I focused on maintaining strict form to avoid hurting myself any further.  Normally, I would go quite a bit lower than parallel when performing squats.  Today, I only went down to parallel and made sure that my rear end was going up in unison with my shoulders to avoid doing semi-Goodmornings.  In addition, I also made sure to suck in air into my stomach and keep my abs tight.  I read somewhere to imagine pushing the floor apart with my feet.  This helped with activating the glutes and keeping my core tight.

Bench is still pretty light.  Noticed that my powerlifter arch in the back has carried over.  I’m trying to perform the benches with a flat back to avoid excessive arching of my back, but it seems that my body defaults to having a minor arch no matter what I do.  In addition to this, when I tighten my upperback, my back naturally arches.  Between each set, I performed a PNF stretch bending over with my head between my legs and stretching my arms out to stretch my lower back out more.

Rows were light, but painful.  I need to research more into why I’m developing back pain from performing Barbell Rows.  Currently, I’m maintaining a very strict form to avoid cheating by jerking and/or using hip drive to pull the weight up.

Warmups:

2 x 10 Leg swings

2 x 30 sec.  static Squat stretch

2 x 15 sec. Doorway pec stretch

Squats:

5 x Bar

3 x 95

5 x 5 x 125

Bench:

5 x Bar

3 x 65

5 x 5 x 85

Rows:

5 x 5 x 85

PWO Stretches:

2 x 15 sec. warrior lunge + twist

2 x 15 sec. butterfly