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.

Accessories:
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.

Conditioning:
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.

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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.

Accessories:
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.

Core:
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.

Accessories:
DB Rows:  3x8x50
Chin-ups:  3/2/2

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

Core:
Elbow plank:  60secs + 30secs

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

Week13 – Day37B – Slow Down

Weight: 186.0 lbs 
Duration:  11:35am – 1:25pm ~ 1:50 min.

Well, it’s about that time.  Initial strength gains are slowing down quite a bit.  Taking quite a bit more rest time between sets on the core lifts.  I’m assessing whether or not I want to continue with SL or move on.  Madcow has been on my mind which would move me from workout-to-workout progressions to weekly progressions.  With weekly progressions, I can aim to break PRs on the 4th week of the cycle.  I can back off on my current weights and perhaps drop the current volume down by 15-20%.  This would give me some perhaps needed rest period before I start hitting 80%+ RM weights again.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×135 + 3×155 + 2x175 + 1×195 + 3x5x215

Last rep was a grinder.

Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise: 3x10x12
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x10x12

Squat definitely affected my ability to get through these.  They were a bit more difficult than the previous sessions’ workout.

Deadlift:  5×135 + 3×155 + 2×185 + 1×215 + 1×245 + 5×275

Definitely felt bad form on these.  I was lifting with my back once I got the bar up to my knee.  I felt disgusted doing the 5 reps because I completely knew my form was not good.  This is all coming off very negative, but knowing you actually have a problem is a great first step to figuring how to solve the problem.

Accessories:
Preacher BB Curls:  15×50
Incline DB Press:  10×45
Standing EZ Bar Curls:  12×40
Dips:  14/4/4
Seated DB Curls:  10×30
Pushups:  15/8/6

Dips were improved, but most likely due to it being B day a.k.a. no bench press.  Pushups were also improved for the first set, narrow arm positions.

Week13 – Day35B – Beefmode

Weight: 185 lbs ??
Duration:  11:45am – 1:02pm ~ 1hr. 17min.

Time recorded is from when I started the pre-workout stretches until I started my post-workout stretches.  The Shoulder Shocker felt hugely improved, weights felt light for the first 2 sets.  Usually, I’m dying at the end of the second set.  Weight on the scale was at 187 this morning!  Getting into freshly washed and dried jeans was pretty tough, haha.  Legs are getting too beefy from all this squatting.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×115 + 3×145 + 2x165 + 1×185 + 3x5x205

Went down pretty slow to control the bar and prevent tweaking the back.  This makes it quite a bit harder since I’m increasing time under the bar.  These are getting pretty heavy.  Getting close to the magical 225, 2-plate squat.  I think I may incorporate some back off sets, very similar to Madcow’s heavy day scheme or Wendler’s Boring But Big accessory.

Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise: 3x10x12
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x10x12

Able to get to the end of the second set without feeling dead.  Felt a huge improvement here.  Doing the cleaning movement, I’m using a more explosive pull to clean the dumbbells up instead just using all shoulders.  It is a clean after all.

Deadlift:  5×135 + 3×165 + 2×185 + 1×215 + 1×240 + 5×265

Supinated left, regular right.  Pretty heavy, kept the bar glued to my shins.  Not sure if I was rounding, but my low back wasn’t killing me afterwards.

Accessories:
Preacher BB Curls:  14×50
Incline DB Press:  10×50
Standing EZ Bar Curls:  10×40
Dips:  12/4/4
Seated DB Curls:  10×30
Pushups:  10/10/8

Cranked out some extra reps on the 50lb preacher.  I think once I get to 18+ reps on the 50, I’m going to jump up.  Went up to 50lbs on the incline db press.  These were pretty difficult, so definitely sticking to 50s for a while.  Dips are still improving, both in strength and endurance.  Pushups felt improved today as well.  Going to for 3 sets of 10 reps across next time.

Core:
Elbow Planks: 1min.

Burn, baby, burn.

Week12 – Day33B – Deload

Weight: 183 lbs
Duration:  10:55am – 11:55am ~ 1hr

My neck twinge and low back issues have gone away since they’ve cropped over the last 2 sessions.  I’m making sure to get a good warm-up in, jump-rope to start off, dynamic leg swings and Agile 8 as well as shoulder mobility work with the green band.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×115 + 3×135 + 2x155 + 1×175 + 3x5x195

These felt pretty heavy.  Definitely felt a lot of resistance trying to keep the arch in my low back and avoiding it from rounding.  Core strength plays a big part in preventing this.  Decided to knock down the top set scheme to 3×5 from 5×5.  I want to be able to continue progressing on the weight without killing myself.  With this, I can recover better, avoid injuries and technique breakdown.

Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise: 3x10x12
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x10x12

These felt a smidge easier than before.  No neck strain this time around.

Deadlift:  5×135 + 4×155 + 3×175 + 2×195 + 1×215 + 1×235 + 5×255

Pronated grip on the left, supinated, palm up, grip on the right.  Definitely felt pretty heavy today.  Of all lifts, I’ve never felt uneasy with the deadlift.

Accessories:
Preacher BB Curls:  10×50
Incline DB Press:  10×45
Standing EZ Bar Curls:  10×40
Dips:  11/4/3
Seated DB Curls:  10×25 (need to go up on these, pretty light now)
Pushups:  12/8/4

Bumped up the incline dumbbell press to 45 lbs.  Not bad, but did feel fairly heavy and struggled a bit on the last rep.  Dips were really strong, managed to crank out 11 reps on the first set, but was spent on the next two.

Core:
Elbow Planks 45 sec.

Week12 – Day31B – Tweaked

Weight: ??
Duration:  11:30am – 12:21pm ~ 1hr 10min.

And when things were going so well.

Squats:  5×135 + 5×155 + 3×175 + 5×195 + 3×195 + 5×185

Someone else was on the squat rack with 4 more sets so I decided to work in with him.  He was using high bar squat and had pretty impeccable form.  I didn’t want to inconvenience him so I decided to keep 1 45lb plate on and do a warm-up on that.  I proceeded to go completely off of my normal ramp sets.  It was at the point that I did my 3rd rep on the first work set that I felt something weird happen in the low back.  I’ve felt the same sensation before when I was doing plyometrics.  I got it checked out and X-rays didn’t show any problem and I was told to keep off activities with low back for a week and…it went away.  Bending over, currently, has a slight twinge that is very familiar, but not as aggravated compared to last time.  I may get it checked out again.  Suffice it to say I’ll probably warm-up considerably more to avoid this.  In addition, I need to work on more core to stabilize my torso and prevent it from falling forward.

Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise: 3x10x12
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x10x12

Instead of looking forward, I decided to, instead, look a bit down in order to put less strain on my neck.  These weren’t as bad as last time.

Deadlift:  5×145 + 3×165 + 2×185 + 1×205 + 1×225 + 5×245

Pretty easy.  Rested plenty between last 3 sets up to the work set.  The lower back tweak had subsided a bit more by this point.

Accessories:
Preacher BB Curls 10×50
Incline DB Press 2x10x40
Push-ups 10/10/6

Core:
Elbow Planks 45 sec.