Week 6 – Madcow5x5 – Day 17C

Weight:  176.8
Body Fat:  11.9%

Squat:

5 x 135
5 x 160
5 x 190
5 x 225
3 x 265
8 x 190

Accidentally did 5 more lbs than I was supposed to.  I’m pretty happy that I’m progressing still.  No stalls yet, luckily.  2 more weeks and I’m back to 270.  At my current weight…265 is 1.5 x bodyweight.  Glad to be back here again.

Bench:

5 x 70
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 120
3 x 140
5 x 100

Form felt very inconsistent.  This was probably the case because I didn’t like what I saw on film when I reviewed my technique after each set.  From the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like I’m using full ROM.  Every article I’ve found on the net praising they have the correct way of benching have always emphasized not lowering the bar past elbows parallel to the bench. I’ve also read that you should tuck your elbows when pressing.  Now when I do this, I have to lower the bar from around face level to the top of my stomach or lower chest.  This then seems to turn into more of a shoulder workout than a chest workout.

Rows:

5 x 70
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 120
3 x 140
8 x 100

The triple felt heavy.  I made a note to tighten my entire body when pressing to avoid using hip drive.  I’ll have to post my video to get other people’s opinion, but I think I may be using a little hip drive.  I also lifted my chest up.

Accessories:

Weighted Dips – 12/9/6 x BW:  Was a bit disappointed.  I want to get to 3×20 reps before I add weights.  I’m focusing more on hypertrophy at this point in my workout.  These are, after all, accessory exercises.

Barbell Curls – 8×40, 8×50, 6×55:  Not bad, last set was pretty damn hard though.  Noticed that my left elbow wasn’t tucked in like my right elbow.  I think I need to narrow my grip a bit.  Seems like the bar is shifted to the left a bit.

Tricep Extensions – 8×40, 8×45, 7×50:  1 rep improvement from last week.  I was pretty scared that my right shoulder would pop up on the 7th rep.  I’ll stick with these weights again.

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Week 6 – Madcow5x5 – Day 16B

Squat:

5 x 135
5 x 160
5 x 190
5 x 190

Not bad.  I think I may have rushed a bit too much though and did the negative way too fast causing my left side to lean forward.  Other than this little tidbit, the rest of it was pretty breezy.

Press:

5 x 55
5 x 65
5 x 75
5 x 85

Not bad.   Again, used a wider grip than shoulder width.  From what I remember reading from the Stronglifts archive on proper Overhand Press technique, I recall Mehdi mentioning that I should re-position my elbows forward after each rep.  I believe this was a method to ensure that my elbows didn’t flare out and to engage the shoulders much more.  This made the lift a headache for me because re-positioning my elbow forward would mean that my forearms would come to out to an angle and not perpendicular to the floor.  Doesn’t this reduce power transfer?  Lately, I’ve been avoiding the repositioning of the elbow forward all together and just trying to press straight up and down making sure my forearms are perpendicular to the floor.  I’ve also widened my grip.  Seems to be helping.

Deadlift:

5 x 155
5 x 190
5 x 225
5 x 250

Not bad (there seems to be a pattern here…).  These weren’t bad.  Ended up using alternating (pronate-supinate) on the remaining 4 reps of the 3rd set; my grip was failing me and I didn’t want my back to round because of it.

Accessories:

Situps – 32/26/17:  Basically did as many as I can in 1 minute.  Pretty exhausted by the third set.

Pullups – 4/3/3:  Fairly pathetic…  Going to do chin-ups.  Google’d rippetoe and pull-ups and came up with a search result where rippetoe suggests use of the chin-ups as it engages pretty much the same back muscles and lats, but puts more stress on the biceps.  Who doesn’t want that?

Week 6 – Madcow5x5 – Day 15A

Squats:

5 x 130
5 x 160
5 x 190
5 x 225
5 x 255 (belt)

Surprised I wasn’t as tired as I expected after the 4th set.  Back definitely rounded on the top set.  Learning forward a bit too much and going a bit too low.

Bench:

5 x 70
5 x 85
5 x 100 (really good set)
5 x 120
5 x 135

These were pretty easy.  Third set was the perfect set.  From what I remember, I think instead of lowering the bar to my chest, I simply lowered it straight down and straight up.  My grip wasn’t wobbly, the bar was comfortable resting at the base of my palm.  This made the 5 reps ridiculously easy.  I couldn’t replicate the grip on the 4th and 5th set unfortunately.

Rows:

5 x 70
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 120
5 x 135

Not bad.  I have to post my video to see if I’m doing these properly.

Accessories:

Weighted Situps – 25xBW, 17×10, 16×10, 12×15:  Not bad.  Decided to do until “failure” on each set.  Slow and steady preferred on these to get the abs burning.

Week 5 – Madcow5x5 – Day 14C

Weight:  177.4
Body Fat:  13.8%

It’s been about 4 weeks since I’ve started tracking my weight and my body fat percentage. It doesn’t seem like I’m moving much.  Arms feel a bit bigger than before.  I think accessories can attribute to this.  Legs feel pretty much the same, pretty thick and beefy (makes it really hard to use the calipers).  I’ve also started using Livestrong’s MyPlate feature where I can lookup and record what I’ve eaten, etc.  It’s much nicer than fitday, another website I used a long time ago when counting calories.  From the looks of my food intake from this past week, it seems like I’m hovering around ~2000-2200 cals per day.  Although, I did notice that I was sort of getting away with a bit too much carbs and not enough protein.

Squats:

5 x 125
5 x 155
5 x 190
5 x 220
3 x 255 (belt)
8 x 190

These weren’t bad at all.  The triple was actually not too bad, definitely tough getting out of the hole.  I wish I could have recorded, but unfortunately, my camera’s SD card ran out of memory (‘effing bummer).  I did notice on my earlier sets though that going too deep caused my back to round and I felt the strain on my lower back.  I remedied this with the remaining sets and no back pain!  This definitely helped me out on the 8 repper.  Usually after performing the last 8 rep set, my back feels very strained.  I made sure that I rested adequately before doing the last set and making sure to keep everything tight so as to avoid cranking the weight from the lower back.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 115
3 x 135
8 x 100

Not too bad.  Experimented with a bit of a wider grip than last week and it sort of helped.  On the way down I had my elbows fairly close to my body and then when I pressed up, I flared them.  I also noticed that when squeezing my glutes and tucking my feet underneath me that I engaged my core a lot and really made my upper back rigid.  This also helped preventing my back from going into a hyper lordotic position.  Normally, I would simply just arch from my lower back, but today I felt like I was arching my entire back, thereby relieving the strain on the lower back.  It was a bit wobbly on a few reps, but work between the left and right arm seemed fairly even and I was happy about that.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 115
3 x 135
8 x 100

Not bad, the ramp weights are really light.  The triple was definitely heavy.  I feel like its quite a bit more difficult to become stronger on this lift compared to the other lifts.  The other lifts incorporate the entire body while the row focuses on the upper back and lats.  Stalling on this lift will definitely come much faster relatively comparing it to other big lifts like the squat or deadlift.

Accessories:

 Dips – 8xBW+5, 8xBW+5, 6xBW+5:  Not bad.  Missed 2 reps on the last set.  My right triceps felt like they were doing more work than my right.

Barbell Curls – 8×40, 8×50, 8×50:  Wasn’t too difficult.  Felt my right biceps get a bit more swollen than my right.  I’m truly puzzled why my right arm is dominating most of my lifts more than my left.  Going to try for 40-50-55 next week.

Tricep Extensions – 8×40, 8×45, 6×50:  Not bad, felt pretty even between my arms.  Last set was definitely pretty heavy.  I think I’ll stick with this set-rep weight ramp for next week.

Week 5 – Madcow5x5 – Day 13B

Squats:

5 x 125
5 x 155
5 x 190
5 x 190

These were really easy.  Not much to point out.

Press:

5 x 55
5 x 65
5 x 75
5 x 85

Not bad.  A bit difficult.  Right triceps were working a bit harder again.

Deadlift:

5 x 155
5 x 185
5 x 215
5 x 245

Not bad.  Did touch and go on the first set.  Banged my shin up in the process, so that’s a no go.  Back was a bit more strained than last week.  I think I rushed it a bit.

Accessories:

Sit-ups – 33/13/11:  Used a 20lb dumbbell counterweight.  Actually worked quite nicely.  Feels as though my lower abs are being focused more than my upper abs.  Can’t complain.

HIIT – 4-7-4-8-4-7:  Legs were feeling tired.

Week 5 – Madcow5x5 – Day 12A

Squats:

5 x 125
5 x 155
5 x 190
5 x 210
5 x 250

These weren’t bad, definitely heavy though.  Decided to use the belt.  My grip width was a bit narrower today, really had a very tight upper back.  Instead of hyperextending my back into a lordotic position, I instead, adjusted my torso posture so that it was leaning forward a bit while keeping the weight centered over my feet.  I felt this engaged my core much more.  Despite the fact I’m doing a semi good morning, I think I’m going to perform squats in this manner from now on.  Putting my lower back into a hyperlordotic arch isn’t doing wonders on my back.  I just have to make sure that I don’t lean too far forward and end up rounding my back.  Weight on heels, lift toes up and chest up should be good enough preventative measures to keep me balance and squatting with decent form.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 115
5 x 130

These felt great today.  Shrugging and engaging my traps and lats helped create a very stable and firm platform to press from.  Didn’t feel wobbly like my previous bench sessions.  I think I realized the problem with my right arm doing too much work.  I noticed that when I press, sometimes my right trap relaxes causing my right shoulder to drop more than I want to.  Keeping a tight upper back prevents this from happening.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 115
5 x 130

Not too bad.  Felt a bit heavier.  Noticed I was lifting the bar a bit faster on the left side on a few reps.  Grip width felt a bit more awkward than usual.

Accessories:

Weighted back hyperextensions – 10xBW, 10x10lbs, 8x15lbs:  Put the weight behind my head.  Made this feel a bit more difficult than usual.  And as always, these were killing my knees.

Weighted sit-ups – 10xBW, 10x5lbs, 8x10lbs:  Used the decline bench and set it to the lowest decline angle (I wanted it to be flat, but it wouldn’t it unfortunately didn’t go down all the way).  I think I’m going to stick with situps from the floor.  Noticed I was arching my back when doing these on the decline.

Week 4 – Madcow5x5 – Day 11C

Squats:

5 x 120
5 x 150
5 x 180
5 x 210
3 x 250
8 x 180

Not bad.  Didn’t use the belt again.  Found myself leaning forward a bit on the 8 repper- felt it in the back afterwards.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 80
5 x 100
5 x 115
3 x 130
8 x 100

Still unstable on the lift.  Right side was working harder than the left on a few.  Nailed the lift on a few others.  One thing I changed up was to shrug and engage my traps.  This helped me tighten my lats immensely.  The hard part about pressing that I seem to keep messing up on is that when I try to squeeze my shoulder blades together, on the way up on the press, I seem to disengage the tightness in my right lat.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 115
3 x 130
8 x 100

Seemingly harder than before.  I’ve reduced my hip jerking movement so I can isolate the work to my upper back and biceps.  Controlled pull up, I think, is the best way to get the most out of this lift for what it’s intended for.  Jerking the bar up to my chest seemed to take away from the lift.  This definitely made it a bit harder.  I also focused on squeezing my shoulder blades together.

Accessories:

Dips – 3x8xBW:  These were considerably easier than before.  No pain in the shoulders afterwards also.  As opposed to going straight down and up, I instead followed my shoulders down.  So, from the side I would lower myself until I reached about 90 degrees between my forearm and upperarm then press myself back up.

Barbell Curls – 2x8x40, 8×50:  Easier than the previous week’s curls.  I think I might go ahead and do 40/50/50 next time.  Glad I’m progressing.  Woot big biceps!

Tricep Extensions – 8×35, 8×40, 8×45:  Easier than the previous week’s extensions.  I’m going to up the weights on this as well and do 40/45/50 the next heavy day.

HIIT – 4-7-4-8-4-7-4-8 @ 1min:30sec. intervals:  I think the intervals I was doing before involved 1.5min:1min. intervals instead.