Week 4 – Madcow5x5 – Day 9A

Squats:

5 x 115
5 x 140
5 x 180
5 x 210
5 x 240

Was a bit hopped up on the pre-workout.  Decided not to use the belt on the last set.  Butt rose a bit faster than shoulders on the last few reps of the top set.  Raising chest and driving hips really helps with cranking the weight up once I get out of the hole.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 105
5 x 115
4 x 130 Stall

Disappointed to say the least.  I don’t know what the deal is with my bench.  Over at ironstrong, I’ve found another individual, johnnyboy, who seems to be exhibiting similar problems as I am on the bench.  The feeling I get when I lower the bar to my chest is that the bar shifts to the right, in turn, causing my right elbow to go down farther than it has to thereby causing my right arm to exert more effort to press the bar back up.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
5 x 130

Still fairly easy.  Definitely felt my shoulders and biceps working a bit harder when I kept my hips static.  I did this by lifting the bar without acceleration.  I noticed that when pulled the bar off the ground too quickly that I was actually using a bit of hip drive and momentum- this shortchanges the amount of work my shoulders get.

Accessories:

Weighted Situps – 12xBW, 12×10, 12×10, 12×15:  A bit easier than the previous situp session.  Was pretty fatigued 2/3 of the way into the last set though.  Abs got pretty sore an hour later once coming home.

Weighted hyperextensions – 10xBW, 10×10, 10×15:  Not bad, again this bothers my knees quite a bit.

HIIT – 9min, 2 sets:  Was pretty spent after 2 sets.

Week 3 – Madcow5x5 – Day 8C

Weight: 178.8
Body Fat:  15.3%

Squats:

5 x 120
5 x 145
5 x 175
5 x 205
3 x 240
8 x 175

The ramp up sets are killer before the triple.  Definitely much more volume compared to SL5x5.  The triple wasn’t too bad.  The 8-rep felt rushed- felt like my knees were going forward a bit much.  Overall, though, I’m fairly happy.  I reviewed my form after each set and they were acceptable to me.  My back was hurting a bit though.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
3 x 130
8 x 95

Not too bad.  I tried to employ the proper techniques that Dave Tate mentioned in his “Bench Cure in 6 Weeks” video.  First off, the arch was uncomfortable.  I’ve used a powerlifter’s arch before and it’s definitely not pleasant and watching me using it makes me cringe a little.  I think my best set was my 8-repper.  I didn’t arch my back as much.  I actually tried pushing my lower back into the bench so as to avoid overextending my back into a hyperlordotic arch.  Now as for the actual upper body lifting part- after watching myself, I definitely think form needs to get cleaned up.  My forearms look like they’re not perpendicular to the ground and that right there causes loss of power transfer because the weight is not balanced in my hands.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
3 x 130
8 x 95

Still pretty easy.  One thing I noticed though was that my hips were moving a bit on the 8-repper.  Definitely need to avoid this.  Strict Pendalay rows means no movement of the knees or hips at all.

Accessories:

Dips
12/8/5 x BW – Pretty difficult.  Noticed on the video that my left arm wasn’t going down as far as my right arm.  Probably might explain the imbalance of fatigue between left and right arm.

BB Curls
8 x 40
8 x 45
8 x 50 – Decided to ramp instead of doing 40 lbs straight across.  Surprisingly managed to finish all three sets.  Made sure I rested well between each set.

Tricep Extension
8 x 35
8 x 40
8 x 45 – Not bad, though, I think I may be giving myself a bit more credit.  The last rep felt like a half rep since I didn’t go all the way down to where my elbows were 90 degrees.

Week 3 – Madcow5x5 – Day 7B

I had family over for dinner so I was a bit late to the gym, so I ended up having to rush the workout.  No situps or cardio post workout.  I had also eaten a bit before going to the gym so I was definitely feeling bloated.

Squats:

5 x 115
5 x 145
5 x 175
5 x 175

I’ve noticed that my workouts have been pretty exhausting, even on light days.  Last time I ran Madcow, I wasn’t as fatigued by this week, but then I remembered that previously I had used Madcow, my 4th week PRS were considerably no where near what I’m doing now.

Press:

5 x 55
5 x 65
5 x 75
5 x 80

Read somewhere that my grip width should be about 1-1.5″ wider than my shoulders.  Definitely felt awkward, I normally tuck my elbows so from the mirror, my hand grip was wide but my forearms were at a 45 degree angle with my elbows tucked into my waist.  Definitely feeling heavy again.

Deadlift:

5 x 145
5 x 175
5 x 205
5 x 230

Lightweight!  But, seriously, these weren’t bad at all.  I used the hook grip on the 3rd set and alternating, left-right, supinate-pronate, grip.  On the lighter weights, I tried for pulling as hard as I can and as fast as I can.  But, what I notice when I do this is that I straighten my legs out too early, therefore leading my back to do the work on the second half of the positive.  This issue, more than anything, is most likely to do with problems coordinating full body sequential movements when exploding from the lift.  Much props to olympic lifters, moving hundreds of pounds in a blink of an eye.

Week 3 – Madcow5x5 – Day 6A

Squats:

5 x 120
5 x 145
5 x 175
5 x 205
5 x 235

Not too bad, definitely took my time between the heavier sets.  I’ve gotten lazy with recording myself, but I think it’s about time I start doing so.  I felt fairly comfortable with my form today, no lower back pain at all.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
5 x 125

Felt more comfortable with my form today.  I didn’t tuck my elbows in as much.  My left elbow flared a bit much on one of the reps.  But other than that, the weight still feels relatively light.  Can’t wait to get that plate up there again.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
5 x 125

These were still pretty easy.   As usual, lift off ground and accelerate towards chest.

Accessories:

Weighted Situps: 10xBW, 10×7.5, 10×10, 10×10 – Not bad, felt the burn more in my hip flexors.  I think I need to curl into my knees.

Weighted Hyperextensions: 10xBW, 10×10, 10×15 – Pretty easy, but my knees were killing me.  Felt like they would snap backwards from the counter-balancing.

HIIT: 10 minutes – Feeling sluggish on the HIIT.  My peak heart rate was at 189 bpm, definitely out of running shape.

Week 2 – Madcow5x5 – Day 5C

Weight: 178.2 lbs
Body Fat: 12.3%

Squats:

5 x 115
5 x 145
5 x 175
5 x 200
3 x 235
8 x 175

Not too bad.  Definitely easier than last week’s heavy day.  I think my recovery’s improved a bit.  I’ve been eating pretty well this week as well too so that may have contributed.  The last 8 rep is deceivingly difficult.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 80
5 x 95
5 x 110
3 x 125
8 x 95

Again, I’m using my right arm and lats more than my left arm.  I think my right elbow is flaring out which is causing the load to be placed on my right arm.  I need to find people who have the same problem and figure out what they did to fix this.  Otherwise, the lift was still medium to easy difficulty.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
3 x 125
8 x 95

Stupidly easy.

Accessories:

BW Dips, 8/8/7 – Pretty easy.  Technique improvement:  turn wrists inward towards body to alleviate stress on the shoulders and put entire load on the triceps.  Basically have arms  as close to the body as possible.

BB Curls, 3x8x40lbs – Not bad.  Definitely burning a bit more on the last set, but not as bad as last week’s heavy day.

Tricep Extensions, 8×35, 8×40, 6×45 – Ramped weights, triceps were spent by the 6th rep on the 3rd set, but otherwise still pretty easy.  I think in due time, my stamina will improve on this lift.

Week 2 – Madcow5x5 – Day 4B

Squats:

5 x 115
5 x 145
5 x 175
5 x 175

These were about average, maybe a bit on the difficult side.  I don’t think my legs are recovering quite as well as I expected even with the drop of weight.

Press:

5 x 45
5 x 55
5 x 65
5 x 75

Pretty easy.  Form was a bit off when descending and repositioning elbows forward.

Deadlift:

5 x 145
5 x 175
5 x 195
5 x 225

Pretty easy.  Did touch and go on the first rep, it was too light for me, so I focused on explosion from the bottom of each rep and performing them in quick succession.

Accessories:

3 x 30lb Crunch machine – Using the machine felt very awkward.  The back padding wasn’t stationary so I felt like I was losing workout efficiency.  I’m going to go back to old fashioned sit-ups on light days.

3 x 2 x BW Chin-ups – These were very hard.  Felt slightly light headed after first set.

Week 2 – Madcow5x5 – Day 3A

Squats:

5 x 115
5 x 140
5 x 170
5 x 195
5 x 230

These were pretty hard.  I felt some soreness pain from my quads near my knees when going heavy on the last set.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 75
5 x 90
5 x 115
5 x 125

These were alright.  Felt like I was, again, using my right arm more than my left.  Felt the burn in the right triceps.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
5 x 125

These were particularly easy.  Again, made sure that I slowly lifted bar off ground and then exploded upwards to my chest.

Accessories:

Weighted Sit-ups:

12 x BW
12 x BW + 5

Second set was difficult.  Was cheating a little when sitting up by using momentum.

Weighted Hyperextensions:

12 x BW
12 x BW + 25
10 x BW
10 x BW

Not bad, my knees were hurting when doing them with weight.

Week 1 – Madcow5x5 – Day 2C

Squats:

5 x 115
5 x 140
5 x 170
5 x 195
3 x 230
8 x 170

Squats were feeling heavy already.  Used the belt on the triple.  My legs were still pretty sore from the previous day.  8 rep set was easy, but fatigue settled in on the last 2 reps; had to push hard.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 75
5 x 90
5 x 105
3 x 125
8 x 90

Bench was pretty easy.  Noticed that I was lowering the weight towards my lower chest instead of higher up like I usually do.  I was also trying not to use a powerlifter’s arch to get more muscle recruitment from my chest and triceps.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 75
5 x 95
5 x 105
3 x 125

Rows were very easy.   I narrowed my grip a bit, pinkie next to the knurling on the inside side.  I slowly pulled off the ground and then accelerated the pull quickly as I lifted up to my chest.  Pulls were a breeze and everything was good except I forgot to do the 8 rep set after my triple.

Accessories:

Barbell Curl:

8 x 40
8 x 50
8 x 50

Haven’t done these in a while so I eyeballed my starting weights.  I haven’t trained for hypertrophy since I last did Madcow so stamina was definitely lacking.  Had a good amount of fatigue by the 4th rep of the last set.  I’m going to stick to 40 lbs for all three sets for now.

Tricep Extensions:

8 x 30
8 x 35
8 x 40

These were easy.  I loved doing these when I did Madcow in the past and I still love them now.  I get a good pump and my triceps feel huge!  Very brotastic.

Dips:

7 x BW
5 x BW
5 x BW

These were pretty hard.  I messed up the order of the accessories.  I should have started with these then bb curls then tricep extensions.  Doing 2 tricep exercises back to back sucks.

Current Body Stats

Weight: 175.8 lbs
Bodyfat:  12.6%
Lean Body Mass: 153.5 lbs
Basal Metabolic Rate: 1873.5 calories
Maintenance Caloric Intake (assuming relatively light activity 1-3 days workout a week): 2623 calories
Cutting Caloric Intake (-10%): 2360.7 calories

Macronutrient Requirements (based on cutting caloric intake and 5 meals per day):

Protein:  192g, 38.4g per meal
Fat: 154g, 31g per meal
Carb: 118g, 24g per meal

Surprisingly, after using my new (and free!) fat calipers, I discovered that I’m at 12.6% body fat.  Quite a big difference from my previously calculated 21% body fat.  This makes more sense considering I can somewhat see my top and middle 2 ablets.  I’m going to try and cut down to around 8-9% bodyfat.  I think some extra cardio after workouts is due, so I’ll include some light running after each workout.

Week 1 – Day 1A

Today starts my first day of Madcow5x5.  This is after being on a 2 week hiatus due to vacation.  I’ve started the program with the following stats.

Squat:  5 x 254
Bench: 5 x 135
Row: 5 x 135
Press: 5 x 85
Deadlift: 5 x 250

Due to being out of the gym for a while, I decided to match these PR numbers in week 6 instead of week 4 of the program.  All the weights have been calculated in a spreadsheet I downloaded from the Stronglifts website.

I just got back from the Philippines this past Sunday so I’m still experiencing jet lag; definitely not helpful with getting proper sleep and more importantly proper recovery.  Hopefully my body can get back into the swing of things by next Monday so I can have the mental focus to get these lifts going.  I’ve also ordered some extra supplements that will hopefully help me break preexisting plateaus.

Aside from the whey protein I’ve been scarfing down, I’ve also purchased a tub of the pre-workout supp, White Flood, as well as the intra-workout supp, Purple Wraath.  I’ve dabbled with these two about a year ago when I was actually also running Madcow at the time and they helped me wonders- especially the pre-workout.  I’ve also ordered a 2000g tub of ON creatine monohydrate.  I don’t think I’ll be touching these supps until week 3 or 4 depending on how fast my body acclimates itself back into prime lifting condition.

With the conclusion of my Stronglifts regimen, I’ve managed to break and reach many PRs.  Here are final program stats:

Squat:  3 x 270 PR
Bench: 2 x 165 PR
Row: 5 x 165 PR
Press: 4 x 97.5
Deadlift: 4 x 290 PR

I’m extremely happy with these numbers, especially my squat.  I never thought I’d be able to rep even a single of my 1.5 x BW, but I managed to get 3!  I was also very impressed with my deadlift early on.  This was before I even had a lifting belt.

Here’s today’s workout:

Squat:

5 x 115
5 x 140
5 x 170
5 x 170

Pretty easy.  I looked up to change things up a bit and noticed that I engaged my glutes much more when looking up than when looking in the mirror.  Mental focus is definitely heightened and not seeing yourself makes it so that the body needs to “feel” the lift, resulting in better engagement of my posterior chain.

Press:

5 x 45
5 x 55
5 x 65
5 x 75

Pretty easy.  Made sure elbows were in front of the bar before lifting.  Pushing elbows out while simultaneously exploding from the chest up helps with making the lift easier.

Deadlift:

Felt unusually heavy.  I was struggling with my grip on the second to last workset.  Switched to alternating for the last set.

Accessories:

3 x 12 x Situps – Pretty easy first two sets.  Third set was a bit more difficult as my abs fatigued very easily.