Week20 – Day57B – Breakthrough

Weight: 181.3

Weekend was amazing- really got me hitting the ground running for the week, maybe even for the rest of the month!

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×150 + 3×195 + 2×235 + 5×270

I abbreviated the warm-ups and it seems like it may have given me some extra gas in the tank to finish out the top set of 270.  This also meant that warm-up weights had bigger jumps from warm-up set to warm-up set.  No heavy grunting, tried to keep all the air in as much as possible to maintain rigidity in my core.  I think this also helped.

Press:  5xBar + 5x5x70

Wobbly, not really from the lack of shoulder pressing strength, but rather keeping the entire trunk and core solid to keep balance.  The press was still pretty difficult, however.

Deadlift:  5×135 + 3×175 + 2×205 + 1×235 + 5×275

Have to really make sure I’m not rolling the bar down my knees, especially the left knee cap.

Dips:  10/6

Week19 – Day55B – Spring Time

Weight: ??

The scale is 5 feet away from me and I forgot to weigh myself again, doh!  Weather is absolutely gorgeous outside.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×150 + 3×175 + 2×205 + 1×235 + 5×265

Top set was tough.  Rested for 5 seconds after 4th rep and emptied the tank on the last rep.  I think I made it down to at least parallel.  The weight on the upper back made it very difficult to keep the torso upright.

Press:  5x5x65

These were difficult.  I bounced reps from the bottom of the lift to take advantage of some bounce out of the hole.

Deadlift:  5×135 + 3×175 + 2×205 + 1×235 + 5×270

Alternating grip, pretty difficult.  Rolling the bar down over my knee cap is killing them.  Will need to read up on this.

Dips:  10/9/5.5/5/5
Wide-Grip Pull-ups:  2/2/2/2/2

Treadmill Intervals
1min warmup 3.0spd
30 sec 5.0 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest
30 sec 5.5 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest
30 sec 6.0 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest
30 sec 6.5 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest
30 sec 7.0 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest
30 sec 6.5 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest
30 sec 6.0 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest
30 sec 5.5 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest
30 sec 5.0 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest

Week19 – Day53B – Determination

Weight: 181.8

Weight is dropping.  It’s easier to bend down and pick up things off the floor.  Strength seems to be ok.  Definitely felt the impact most last session from the lack of eating.  It all comes down to planning everything out, cooking included.  Decided to hit the gym after work instead of super early in the AM.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×150 + 3×175 + 2×205 + 1×225 + 5×255

Loud exhalation on the 3rd rep.  Couldn’t rerack the bar properly the first time walking the bar back in on the top set.  Made a point to only go down to parallel.  Used a bit more quads with a slightly narrower stance.  I was particularly determined to get 5 reps on these.  Biggest difference between today and previous session’s squat was that mind set.

Press:  5x5x60

These got hard.  Shoulders fatigued very easily.  Lock felt a bit queasy on the right shoulder especially when I was grinding it up.  Bar was rolling back into my wrists.  Used a false grip.

Deadlift:  5×135 + 3×175 + 2×205 + 1×235 + 5×265

These were good, no lower back strain.  Alternating grip- pronated left, supinated right.

Dips:  12/7/5/4/4/3
Wide-Grip Pull-ups:  3/1/2/1/2

Treadmill Intervals
2min warmup 3.0spd
2 x 1min 5.0 spd + 1min 3.0 rest
30 sec 5.5 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest
30 sec 6.0 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest
30 sec 6.5 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest
30 sec 7.0 spd + 30 sec 3.0 rest

Week18 – Day51B – Back!

Weight: ??

It’s been about…a week and a half since being in the gym.  Getting acclimated to the new place and breaking my routine has cost me some gym time.  I should be back into the swing of things moving forward.  The time away from the gym was certainly refreshing.  It happened at a good time since I was planning on taking a light week to rest myself relatively soon anyway.  I dropped down 5lbs on the Squat from my last work weight, increased on the OHP- it’s still light- and stayed at 265 on the Deadlift.  I wanted to do some hill sprints right next to my building, but I was running short on time to get to work, so I skipped it.  

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×150 + 3×175 + 2×195 + 1×225 + 2×255 (1)

Went for 255 on the top set, but managed a measly 2 reps.  It felt as though there was significant forward lean on the Squat.  Didn’t feel up to rep’ing anymore than the two.

Press:  5x5x55

Pretty easy still.  Wobbly.

Deadlift:  5×135 + 3×175 + 2×205 + 1×235 + 3×265 (1)

Grinding the shins pretty roughly on these.  I seem to be banging my left knee cap on the way down.

Dips:  10/6/5/4/5
Wide-Grip Pull-ups:  2/2/2/2/2

Pull-ups were a bit better, I went for 2 reps on each set.  The second was always not full ROM.  The dips weren’t bad, right chest was working a bit harder again.

Week17 – Day49B – OHP

Weight: 187.4lbs

Made the move to start doing over head presses today.  It was certainly very easy, but still worked the upper back on the contraction at the top of the lift.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×150 + 3×175 + 2×205 + 1×225 + 5×255

I was pretty intent on getting 5 reps on the top set.  No more stalling!  I primed myself to get the 5 reps and focused on getting there no matter what.  Whether or not my body responded to this priming or I’m actually just stronger or a bit of both, I’m not entirely sure.  In my mind, getting ready for the lift mentally is as much a factor as the actual movement itself.

Press:  5x5xBar

Did empty bar over head presses today.  Wobbly for sure.  Didn’t feel any bothersome pain at the top of the lift.

Deadlift:  5×135 + 3×175 + 2×205 + 1×235 + 5×265 (1)

Not sure how I feel about when I did these.  Used alternating grip.  Left hand pronated, right hand supinated.  I don’t think form was there.  Forgot to use mental cues to rip the bar off the ground and push my feet through the ground.  I’m going to mark this as a stall and do the same weight next time to see if I can pull with better form.

Dips:  8/5/5/3/4/2/3 (30)
Wide-Grip Pull-ups:  2/2/2/1/1/2 (10)

Went for 30 total reps on the dips and 10 total reps for the wide grip pull-ups.  Dips were a bit better.  Still using my right chest a bit more than my left.

Intervals 0.5:0.5 @ 3.0spd / 5.6-5.9 for ~6.00 minutes

Went for a run on the treadmill to do some intervals.

Week17 – Day47B – Party

Weight: 188.2 lbs

Busy during lunch so I couldn’t head out to the gym, so I decided leave work a bit earlier and go after.  Gym was insanely packed.  I’ve never seen so many people in a gym at one time.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×135 + 3×150 + 2×75 + 1×195 + 1×205 + 1×225 + 3×255 (1)

Couldn’t reach 5 reps.  The reps were very controlled going down.  Maybe TOO controlled, as in I was going a bit too slow.  Ideally, movements should try to be done explosively, but I’m too afraid of increasing stress on the knees if I drop too quickly.

Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise: 3x6x15
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x6x15

Shortened rest periods between sets made these harder.

Deadlift: 5×135 + 3×165 + 2×185 + 1×205 + 1×225 + 5×260

I’m still progressing pretty well on these.  The jump from the 225 to 260 may be a bit much, so I should probably re-do the poundage on the ramping warm-up sets.

Dips:  10/8/6
Wide-Grip Pull-ups:  2/1/1

Pull-ups were harder today.  My right shoulder was also not too happy about them.  Dips felt good.  The first set is usually rocky as I try to stabilize my core so I don’t swing during the exercise.

Week16 – Day45B – Short & Sweet

Weight: 186.0 lbs

Nice and succinct work out.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×150 + 3×175 + 2×200 + 1×225 + 4×250 (1)

I’m usually aiming for 5 reps on these.  Couldn’t get the last rep out.  First stall at 250.

Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise: 3x6x15
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x6x15

A bit more difficult than last time.

Deadlift: 5×135 + 3×165 + 2×185 + 1×205 + 1×225 + 5×255

Strained low back a bit after the first two sets.  The rest of the sets were good.  Top set felt strong, didn’t feel like I was rounding the back.  Stance was fairly narrow.  Kept the bar about halfway point on foot.  Having my feet too far forward, I think, has attributed to me rounding my back in the past.  Alternating grip on the top set.

Dips:  10
Pushups:  2×20
Wide-Grip Pull-ups:  2/2/2

I enjoy these shorter post core lift accessories.

Treadmill: 5 minutes – alternating 30 sec. @ 2.8-3.2 spd / 30 sec. @ 5.6-5.9 spd

Didn’t know where the stationary bikes were so I hopped on the treadmill again.  Strides felt better.  Increased active intervals speed from 5.5 to between 5.6 and 5.9 speeds.  Still felt pretty comfortable with this, but then again I only ran for about 5 minutes.  Regardless, I enjoy doing intervals much more than steady state running and I think probably healthier for my knees in the long run- less time under impact is always good for me.

Week15 – Day43B – Out of Order

Weight: 191.4 lbs

Three gentlemen were using the squat rack doing quarter squats.  So, I went ahead and started doing my shoulder movements.  Finished, but they still weren’t.  What to do, what to do?  I went ahead and did some incline dumbbell presses and high rep dumbbell rows.

Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise: 3x8x15
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x8x15

Incline DB Press:  3x8x45
DB Rows:  2x15x40

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×135 + 3×155 + 2×175 + 1×200 + 1×225 + 5×240

These were absolutely brutal.  I was spent after the 4th rep on the top set, but I really didn’t want to stall again so I grinded out the last rep.

Deadlift:  5×135 + 3×165 + 2×185 + 1×205 + 1×25 + 5×250

These were pretty difficult today.  My ramp percentages jumped a bit more than usual.  I felt like I was expending too much energy doing the warm-ups.

Dips:  10/10/4
Chin-ups:  2/2/1

Sticking with dips and chin-ups for the accessories.  I get the most bang for the buck regarding many body parts being worked with these.  The only thing missing here is some more ab and lower body accessories.  I think I can get away with forgoing lower body accessories with the heavy squatting and deadlifting.  More ab work would definitely help though.

Treadmill: 10 minutes – alternating 30 sec. @ 3.2 spd / 30 sec. @ 5.5spd

Decided to start doing a little conditioning post everything.  I took this one from Jim Wendler’s 52-question Q&A in his 5/3/1 program.  Treadmill isn’t really my cup of tea, but I have yet to find a decent hill around me (and near work).  I adapted this one and extended the “sprint” intervals from 10 seconds to 30 seconds.  The same goes for the rest periods- 10 to 30 seconds.  It’s a bit of a hassle to constantly raise and lower the treadmill speed every 8 second or so.  Calves got sore pretty quickly.

Week15 – Day41B – Biggy Biggy Biggy

Weight: 190.0 lbs

I’ve never been this heavy before.  190lbs is certainly a sight to see on the scale.  Good? Bad?  I’m not sure yet.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×135 + 4×155 + 3×175 + 2×195 + 1×215 + 5×235 + 5×115

Had some bit of forward lean on the last 2 reps of the top set.  I was trying not to look straight ahead as it would have put my neck in an awkward position relative to my body.  Instead, I tried to focus lower on the wall in front of me.  Most squatters tend to look up to keep their chest up- I used to do this as well.  However, this put my neck in a bad position.  With this in mind, keeping my neck in line with my spine proved to have been difficult in trying to maintain my chest and torso upright.  More core is definitely engaged when I position my neck this way.

Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise: 3x6x15
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x6x15

15 pounders were pretty grueling.  Took about 1 to 1.5 min. rests after the 2nd set.  Paused briefly between the lateral raises and shrug-clean-half presses to give myself a brief momentto get over some of the fatigue build up.

Deadlift:  5×135 + 3×165 + 2×185 + 1×205 + 1×25 + 5×250

Used the belt on the top set.  Alternating grip.  All the sets felt much better than before.  Definitely didn’t feel as though I was rounding as much.  No significant lower back pain after the reps, so that’s good news.  One thing I’m not too happy about is banging my knees up on the ascent and descent.  I’m trying to keep the bar close to my body, but at the same trying not to slide the bar down my leg.  I used a stance an inch narrower on each side and moved my arms closer in to keep them perpendicular to the floor.  I think this certainly helped so I will make sure to remember this cue when deadlifting next B session.

Incline Bench:  3x5xBar + 3x8x85
DB Rows:  3x8x50
Chin-ups:  3/1/1
Incline DB:  3x8x45

Did similar push and pull accessories for today.  I think I may swap a few of these for some more shoulder accessories and perhaps some low back strengthening.

Elbow plank:  1min. 10 sec.

Tough doing these today, whole body was a shaking.

Week14 – Day39B – Butterflies

Weight: 186.4 lbs

It’s been more than a full year since I last lifted my near to my current poundages.  Coming into today’s session, I had a bit of the butterflies and anxiousness that comes with squatting my 225 lbs.  Looking at my logs over the last 2-3 years, I’m definitely appreciative and happy with my current gains.  I endured very taxing and completely exhaustive sessions where I was pushing myself to the very end.  Those nights were ended pretty much in delirium.  This time around, I’m being a bit more proactive and listening to my body a lot more.  Some say that “overtraining” is a myth, some say to avoid it all costs.  I personally do agree that training too hard consecutively, even between rest days, had a strong impact on recovery and my overall well-being.  My motivation to go to the gym waned as I anticipated having to lift to complete exhaustion.  With my history in mind, I have been approaching my strength training with a primary focus on protecting my health.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×145 + 3×165 + 2x185 + 1×205 + 5x225 + 8×115

Did a single set of 5 at 225 lbs.  Performed a backoff set of 8 reps using close to 50% of the top work weight.

Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise: 3x6x15
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x6x15

Increased the weight on the lateral raises as well as the shrug-clean-press from 12 to 15 lbs.  It was difficult, but not terrible.

Deadlift:  5×135 + 3×165 + 2×185 + 1×205 + 1×225 + 5×245

I’m not sure how I felt about these…  I narrowed my stance a bit and it felt a bit better.  Getting from the knee to the lockout seems to be a struggle.  I feel like my shoulders are rising at a faster rate than my lower body which is causing me to engage my lower back, round and do a good morning.

DB Rows:  3x8x50
Chin-ups:  3/2/2

Didn’t really have a plan on what accessories to do today.

Elbow plank:  60secs + 30secs

I’m lasting much longer on these, so good news!