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 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.

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 28 – Day 78B

Squats:

2 x 5 x Bar
5 x 145
3 x 175
2 x 205
1 x 235
4 x 265

Stalled.  My form was horrendous by the 4th rep.  My back was nearly parallel to the ground, trying to lift the bar up out of the hole.  Surprisingly, back felt fine, no soreness or pain at all.

Press:

2 x 5 x Bar
5 x 65
3 x 75
2 x 85
5 x 95

Noticed that bar position was towards my fingers on the right hand to compensate for weight and therefore put more of the load on the right arm, felt it in the wrist.

Deadlifts:

5 x 155
3 x 185
2 x 215
5 x 245

Pretty easy still.  Used overhand-underhand grip.

Accessories:

5/4/2 x BW Pull-ups – Felt a bit stronger today on this exercise.  Right shoulder was definitely feeling weird because of my injury.

Week 23 – Day 64A

Squats:

5 x Bar
5 x 135
3 x 155
2 x 175
3 x 5 x 195

Squats were really good.  Narrowed my grip width and made a really tight shelf for the bar to sit on.  Upper back was definitely getting worked more than usual.  Breathed into my stomach.  Split the floor apart, had a fairly wide stance.  Box squatted again.  I think I’m going to continue box squatting.  Had no back pain.  I’m just not sure if I’m going down enough.

Bench:

2 x 5 x Bar
5 x 55
3 x 75
2 x 95
3 x 5 x 120

Bench was pretty easy.  Narrowed my grip and tucked my elbows.  Arched back sufficiently and pushed my legs into the ground to put the load across my upper back.

Rows:

5 x 95
3 x 5 x 120

Pretty easy.  Pulled into my lower chest / abdominal area.

Accessories:

11/4/3 x BW + 7.5 – Banged out 11 reps on the first set.  Pretty fatigued on the last 2 reps

3 x 10 x 10 Reverse crunch – Not too bad.  Core endurance has definitely improved since I’ve started doing core.

Week 21 – Day 60A

Squats:

5 x Bar
5 x 145
3 x 175
2 x 205
3 x 5 x 240

Squats were pretty difficult in the end.   I felt very comfortable with the warm-up sets and my form felt very tight on the work sets.  Even though I finished all three sets, I think I’m going to stay on the same weight.  I leaned forward quite a bit on the last rep of the last set and did a good morning, so I definitely want to make sure I don’t go heavier without making sure my form is up to par.

Bench:

5 x Bar
5 x 85
3 x 105
2 x 125
4/4/3 x 155

Bench felt heavy.  Keeping the weight stable definitely added another dimension to the lift.  PL arch definitely helped with stabilizing the press.  Squeezing the bar also helped a lot.  I was much more conservative because I was a bit wary of not being able to finish and having the bar end up on my chest.

Rows:

5 x 95
3 x 115
2 x 135
3 x 5 x 150

Rows were pretty easy, but I think I’m beginning to jerk again.  It’s much, much easier to cheat on this lift so I think I’m going to want to definitely get ample rest between work sets and make sure there is minimal hip movement.

Accessories:

16/7/6 x BW Dips – The conservative benching I had today definitely gave me a boost on the dips.  But with that in mind, I think I’m going to start performing weighted dips, starting with 5 lbs next workout and going up by 2.5 lb increments.

3 x 45 sec. Plank – These were so so.  I noticed that my core would droop as the fatigue set in.  I made sure to keep a rigid body and avoid doing this.  It helped engage my core much more and put less strain on the lower back.

4/7/4/8 + 4/7 – Added another half round of 4/7 because I still had plenty of gas left.  My stamina was surprisingly lengthier than usual.

Week 11 – Day 31A

Starting this week and forward, I’ve decided to lower the volume from 5×5 to 3×5 on the Squat.  Generally, on the SL5x5, I would go until I deloaded twice on the Squat before I dropped the volume, but I find that my extreme exhaustion and the longer amount of time spent resting is hindering my ability to move ahead on the program as a whole.  Ideally, I want to complete a workout within the hour max.  Lately, I’ve been spending more than 1.5 to nearly 2 hours.  This is inefficient and only detrimental to me making further progress.

Squats felt very heavy.  I think part of the heavy feeling can be attributed to my switch to 3×5, mainly being a mental psyche out to myself.  Dropping the sets made me think that Squatting will be easier.  I managed to finish the set, but I felt some lower back pain after my last set.

Last set of bench press surprised me quite a bit.  Up until now, I’ve been struggling a fair amount with the lift.  One thing that I changed between my bench now and my bench in the past- powerlifting arch.  I was getting extremely frustrated, so I decided to go back to my powerlifting arch setup that I used before that I had great success with (PR of 3×155, highest I’ve ever gotten on the bench).  The last set was a joke when I arched.  I definitely felt my upper back being utilized more and it helped with my balancing issue, overloading my right arm.  The reduced squat volume may also have helped with muscle endurance.

Rows were difficult.  I missed doing the lift in the past 2 workouts.  I found myself jerking and becoming more upright on the last couple of reps.  I still haven’t decided if I should stay at 135 at improve form or move on.  I also didn’t do warm-up sets which was probably not my brightest of ideas.

Dips were much easier and I managed to bang out many more reps compared to last A session.  Reverse crunches were fairly difficult on the last set.  I think I will begin to incorporate some interval training cardio post workout.  A brief 15 min. HIIT on the tread or better yet, outside while the weather is still nice should do the trick.

Warmups:

3 x 10 Shoulder dislocations

3 x 10 sec. Doorway pec stretch

3 x 10 Leg swings

3 x 20 sec.  static Squat stretch

Squats:

2 x 5 x Bar

5 x 135

3 x 185

2 x 205

3 x 5 x 230

Row:

5 x 5 x 135

Bench:

2 x 5 x Bar

5 x 65

3 x 85

2 x 105

5 x 5 x 120

Accessory:

Dips:

9/6/5 x BW

Reverse Crunches:

3 x 10 x 20lbs

Week 6 – Day 18B

Over all a very good workout.  No pain in lower back when doing the squats.  I focused a lot on form for the press and made sure I was pressing straight up and not forward and up.  Deadlifts were fairly easy.  Used chalk on my workset and the lift felt like a breeze- had no grip failure.

After 2 more weeks, I’m sitting steady at around 170-172 lbs.  I’m fairly happy with this, but my body fat percentage shot up and I can feel most of it around my mid section.  I’ll have to ease up a bit on the carb intake, I think this may be the reason why I have excess fat gain.  My thighs are considerably thicker and larger than when I first started.  Even my loose pants are slightly tight fitting.  My goal for the next 2 weeks is to try and get up to 175 lbs and stay under 20% body fat.  I’m getting to the point where I no longer don’t really know what to expect workout to workout.  The lifts are getting considerably heavy.  I’ve never done this much volume at this amount of weight for any of my lifts except for Deadlifts.  I will be very pleased if I can reach 225 lb squat without a deload.

Bodyweight:  171.5 lbs

Body Fat:  20%

Warmups:

3 x 10 Shoulder dislocations

3 x 10 sec. Doorway pec stretch

3 x 10 Leg swings

3 x 30 sec.  static Squat stretch

Squats:

2 x 5 x Bar

5 x 120

3 x 140

2 x 160

5 x 5 x 180

Walkouts:

10 sec. x 230

10 sec. x 250

Press:

2 x 5 x Bar

5 x 5 x 65

Deadlift:

5 x 145

3 x 165

2 x 185

5 x 205

Warmdown:

1 x 15 sec. warrior lunge + twist

1 x 15 sec. butterfly

Foam roll

 

Week 5 – Day 15A

Good workout today.  Squats are getting tiring.  Managed to overcome the bench press hump and finished all sets @ 100 lbs.  I was able to replicate my Wednesday squat technique fairly well today.  My hammy’s and glutes were definitely engaging a lot to keep my torso upright as much as possible.  Noticed that looking up slightly helped keep my torso fairly more upright.  Visualizing the lift definitely helps.  2-step mental cues on the positive:  “Chest up”, “Split the floor”.

Bench press was really good today.  My upperback was very tight against the load.  Again, white knuckling the bar helped stabilize my lats and traps.  I felt very fatigued after the 4th set.  I thought I wouldn’t be able to crank out the last rep, ended up grunting a little on the last 2 reps.  Rested quite a bit for the last set and banged it out; I was pretty happy about it.

Rows are still fairly easy.  I noticed that grip strength improved a LOT when I wrapped my thumbs around my index, middle and ring finger instead of just my index finger.

I weighed myself this morning and was sitting at around 170 lbs.  That’s 20 lbs gained in a month’s duration.  I’ve only gained roughly 3% body fat according to the fat caliper, most of which is around my belly area (no more abs!).  I’d like to see how much I can gain maintaining this 6-8 meal day diet per day.  It’s pretty exciting to think about progress I’ve made in another month’s time.

Warmups:

3 x 10 Shoulder dislocations

3 x 10 sec. Doorway pec stretch

3 x 10 Leg swings

3 x 30 sec.  static Squat stretch

Squats:

5 x Bar

5 x 115

3 x 135

5 x 5 x 165

Walkouts:

1 x 12 sec. x 215

Bench:

2 x 5 x Bar

3 x 65

2 x 85

5 x 5 x 10

Rows:

5 x 5 x 105

Warmdown:

2 x 15 sec. warrior lunge + twist

2 x 15 sec. butterfly

Foam rolled legs, upper back, lats

 

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