Week6 – Day15B

Weight:  178.0 lbs

Changing up the posting format…again!  The wall of text doesn’t look very appealing to me when I flip back through my posts, so I’m going to break it up by exercises.

Duration:  11:03 – 12:07

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×55 + 3×75 + 2×95 + 5x5x115

Squats were great today.  My shoulder cooperated a little bit better.  I made it a point to bang through the empty bar and warm-up ramp sets.  The warm-up sets should be done fairly quickly and the time between sets should only be time to increase weights and add/remove plates.  I think the shoulder was feeling much better since I moved the bar up a bit, pretty much high bar and resting on the traps.  Kept the elbows up to lock the bar in place, but it didn’t feel great with the bar riding up towards the back of my neck.  I’ll have to do some more shoulder mobility work, I need to get my low bar grip back!

Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise:  3x8x12
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x8x12

Shoulder shockers were definitely exhausting.  I managed to find 12lb dumbbells!  I used those to increase resistance a bit on the shoulder shockers, they were getting a bit easy.  Because of the nature of these exercises isolating smaller muscles and they’re not really compound movements, I definitely understand getting fatigued a lot sooner.  I might try some empty bar overhead presses as warm-up next time.

Deadlift:  5x115 + 3×135 + 1×145 + 5×165

Man, do I love me deadlifts.  The pulls still felt pretty light.  Time to video record some of these pulls to ensure my form is on point!  Not looking for any herniated disks or sore lower backs.  I was trying to keep the bar on my shins as much as possible.  I leaned back a bit when pulling as if I was going to hurl the bar backwards over my head.  I feel like this helps me engage the hamstrings more and to avoid transferring the entire load onto my low back aka back rounding.

Preacher BB Curls 10×40
Preacher EZ Bar Curls 10×40
Seated DB Curls 10×25
Tricep Rope Pulldown 15×30
Tricep Extensions 15×35
DB Fly 10×15

Doing preacher curls using a regular straight barbell was definitely different.  Good different, in that it felt like it worked the biceps a bit more than using the EZ Bar.  Dumbbell flies were bothering my right anterior delts on the positive.  I’m going to lay off these or drop the weight on it.  Other than that, the arm isolations were good.

Week6 – Day13B

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×65 + 3×85 + 5x5x105
Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise:  3x10x10
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x10x10
Deadlift:  3x95 + 2×115 + 2×135 + 5×155

Standing BB Curls:  10×40
Preacher EZ Bar Curls:  
DB Fly:  10×10
Incline DB Press:  10×30 + 2x10x35

Duration:  1 hour

Weight:  175.6 lbs

*will add notes later*

OK!  So, yesterday’s session was good.  When doing squats, I payed particular attention to my grip à la the following video by Mark Rippetoe:

The grip was definitely still bothersome to the shoulder.  What I’ve been doing to alleviate the pain in the shoulder was to have some flexion in my wrist.  But, for the purposes of ensuring proper form, I sucked up the small bit of pain and straightened my wrists out.  Definitely noticed a big difference in the tightness of my upper back.  Shoulder shockers weren’t bad.  The upper back work from the Squats definitely fatigued my shoulders a bit.  The work is definitely getting easier, but I don’t like sticking to the same weights over and over.  For the routine itself, I think I want to work my way up to 45 plates.  Luckily, the gym also carries 35 lb weights, so I might increase the weight soon.  Increasing the weight on the dumbbell portions is a bit intense, I’ll have to see if there are 2.5 lb increment dumbbells.  Going from 10 to 15 lbs for the lateral raises and shrug+clean+half press is a pretty big jump, so perhaps 10 to 12.5 wouldn’t be as bad.  Deadlifts were good, getting up there in weight!  I don’t like jumping into the top set of these lifts especially once the deadlift starts getting very heavy.  Squats, as Mehdi says, already hits some of the muscle groups that the deadlifts works on, but for my own safety, I still did some warm-up reps with lighter weights, progressing up to the top weight.  The StrongLifts program has always prescribed a single set of 5 reps for Deadlifts and I can definitely understand the methodology behind this when thinking about how fast weights progress.  At the point that one starts doing close to maximal effort weights, doing 5 sets of 5 reps of Deadlifts would be murder!  Especially after 5×5 of near maximal effort squats!  I can remember when I was just completely spent and drained during these workout sessions later in the program in the past.

I increased weights on accessories.  The bicep curls went from 30 to 40.  And instead of the usual tricep isolation, I did some chest isolation with db fly and incline db press.  The inclinde db presses were done with heavier weights I’ve done previously, going from 20 to 30/35 lbs.  35s were heavy, but I would say definitely not that close to maximal effort.

Week5 – Day11B

Squats:  3x5xBar + 3×65 + 3×85 + 5x5x95
Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise:  3x10x10
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x10x10
Deadlift:  3x95 + 3×135+ 5×145

Standing BB Curls:  10×30
Preacher EZ Bar Curls:  
Standing DB Curls:  10×20
Tricep Rope Pulldown:  2x10x30
Tricep Extensions:  10×25

Duration:  ~1 hour

Got a great session in.  It took me a total of 1 hour.  The time I accounted for includes:  warm-up (bands and stretching), core lifts (including warm-up sets) and the arm isolation accessories.  I’m going to try and track how long my sessions take.  I will also try to start tracking my weight.  My appetite has steadily been growing over the last month since I started lifting.  It’s amazing to think that I’ve already started my second month.  Having done StrongLifts before, I definitely have great appreciation for being in these early stages of lifting.  The weights are relatively light so I feel pretty fresh from workout to workout.  And because I can still recuperate well between workouts, my mental state is clear.

Squats were good.  Still messing around with bar position on my back.  Low bar is getting better, less pain on the shoulder.  Shoulder shocker wasn’t bad.  I lightened up the dumbbell weights from 15 to 10.  It was still very strenuous.  Looking at some videos on how to do the lateral raises, I need to take note of making sure I don’t hunch over in the starting position.  The starting position is with an upright torso with the dumbbells to the side not under me.  Deadlifts felt heavy, banged up the shins and top of the knee a bit.

Week4 – Day9B

Squats:  3x5xBar + 3×65 + 5x5x85
Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise:  8×15 + 2x10x10
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  8×15 + 2x10x10
Deadlift:  5×95 + 3×115 + 5×135

Standing BB Curls:  10×30
Preacher EZ Bar Curls:  
Standing DB Curls:  10×20
Tricep Pushdown:  2x15x30
Tricep Rope Pulldown:  10×30

Day 9?  Thought it was day 10?  A nope.  Unfortunately, last Friday my company had its annual luncheon event spanning an unnecessary 5 hours from 12:30pm to 5:00pm.  I probably could have opted to go super early in the morning, but I most likely wouldn’t have been able to get any work done since the day ended early at 12:30pm.  Stronglifts guidelines by Mehdi are pretty strict and I honestly do respect that.  Missing 1 workout right now, I think, will be ok and won’t be affecting me much with the lighter weights.  Down the line, however, with my lifting history in mind, I know I have the tendency to start becoming inconsistent as I start failing on lifts a lot.  The combination of fatigue and disappointment are big players on discouraging me from wanting to lift at these later stages.  It’s also at these limits that the chances of injuring myself is all the more possible.  Having the right state of mind and preparation for PR lifts is crucial to remaining injury free and getting through these walls.  In conclusion:  1) don’t make missed workout sessions a habit, 2) easy days do not equal I-can-skip-it-day.

So, workout summary for today:  solid.  Left work earlier today, around 10:50, compared to the usual 11:45 departure.  I managed to swing back to work around 12:20 which was nice.  Did the usual leg swings, static squat stretches and right shoulder band work.  I’m thinking of upping the band resistance for one of the strengthening exercises (green to blue)- it’s getting too easy.  The legs felt very loose today which was nice.  Still using high bar position.  Shoulder is getting better, will start narrowing grip and inching the bar position down lower from the traps down to the shoulder blades.  I’m starting to breath a little harder much sooner with the weights going up.  I’m going to full 30 second rests between sets now.  Shoulder shocker sets weren’t too bad.  I think it felt ever so slightly easier today.  Someone was using the 10lb dumbbells so I was doing the lateral raises and shrug-clean-half-presses with a 10lb plate.  Deadlifts were pretty good, heaviness is getting there.

Week3 – Day8B

Squats:  3x5xBar + 3×65 + 5x5x75
Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise:  3x10x10
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x10x10
Deadlift:  5×95 + 5×125

Standing BB Curls:  10×30
Preacher EZ Bar Curls:  
Tricep Pushdown:  20×25 + 20×30

Tired.  I’m not sure if it’s the lack of sleep or the workout, but I am pretty drowsy typing this right meow.  Didn’t get home until 11:00pm last night and was up until 1:00am for a 6:00am wake-up.  Procrastinating to wash dirty dishes and cooking something up real quick for a very late dinner kept me up.  But, gotta keep chuggin’ along.

Squats were interesting today.  I was trying to pay particular attention to my left knee.  Even when doing the static squat stretches, I felt like my left knee wasn’t where it was supposed to be when I was in the hole.  Typical of people new to squatting is, once the weight gets heavy, their knees will buckle inwards because the body is trying to compensate by falling back on the quads.  I don’t think I have this issue, although I do think that my knee is not in line with my foot when I’m in the hole.  I’ve noticed this subtlety before when I was focused on form, but never really took any action on it.  A previous consultation from an orthopedic doctor evaluated my left knee as potentially having a partial meniscus tear.  My left knee has felt, for lack of a better word…strange for some time now and the tear may or may not be attributing to that feeling.  It’s not a painful sensation, but rather a feeling of instability.  I don’t consciously think about it, but I do feel that even something simple like walking sometimes doesn’t feel normal.  Anyhow, picture taking is in order!  Must find out what’s going on.  End rant on squats.

Shoulder shocker sets were preeeeetty brutal.  I don’t know why they were so difficult today.  The first time I did the shoulder shocker routine, it was a breeze!  Deadlifts were pretty easy.  Weight is going up fast.  I forgot how aggressive SL is on the deadlift weight progression, but 10 lbs increase every workout is definitely adding up fast.  I’ll be pulling with 45 plates next B day session, woot!

Finished off the session with some curling and tricep push downs.  I’ve heard both arguments of straight bar vs. EZ bar curling for optimal bicep isolation.  And so to cover all grounds, I did 1 set straight bar and 1 set EZ bar, no brainer there!  The 40lb preacher curls were grinders, but still finished them off.  By way of triceps isolation, I did two high (20) rep tricep pushdown sets, the first with 25lbs the second with 30lbs.   The second set was killer.  I need to find something else I could do in addition to the triceps pushdown.   Dips are the first thing that come to mind, but I’m not doing them until I’m confident with my shoulder so that’s off the table.  In the past, I’ve also done overhead triceps extensions which did wonders for targeting the triceps, but anything overhead is a no no, so that’s also off the table.  So, a little research is in store for shoulder friendly exercises to isolate the triceps.

Week2 – Day6B

Squats:  3xBar + 5×5×70
Shoulder Shocker-
  Seated Plate Raises:  3x8x25
  Seated Lateral Raise:  3x8x10
  Seated Shrug + DB Clean + Press:  3x8x10
Deadlift:  5×95 + 5×115

Preacher Curls:  2x15x30
Incline DB Press:  2x10x20

Session went purdy smoovly despite only having about 3-4 hours of sleep.  Late night in the city.  I’m going to sleep like a baby after work.

Leg swings, static squat stretch, standing shoulder flexion against a wall, band work.  Squats weren’t bad.  My shoulder is definitely more mobile compared to when I first started.  Tried low bar for a set, and had considerably less pain, but still reverted to high bar position for the remainder of the sets.  Need to start recording to see if I’m leaning forward too much.  Did some Preacher Curls while waiting for the squat rack to free up.  Did some incline dumbbell presses to finish off the session.  I did 5×95 as a deadlift warm-up, going touch-and-go.  The work set was not bad, but felt it a bit in the lower back, so I was probably rushing a tad.


Week 26 – 5/3/1 – Day 93

Cycle #7
Week 1 Day 4

5/3/1 Deadlift:  5×115, 5×135, 3×155 + 5×195, 5×225, 12×255 Rep PR

Unfortunately lost my nice little notepad to jot my workout weights on and wifi wasn’t working in the gym so I couldn’t pull up my numbers from the spreadsheet stored on my Google drive.  Thinking now, I think I would have wanted to get to 15 reps on the 255.  I definitely think I could have, but my form would most likely have been pretty terrible at that point.  Nonetheless, I still managed to get a rep PR.  The last time I lifted 255 was during the 2nd week of the 3rd cycle.  And numbers shows that I only pulled for 4 reps!  Pretty drastic improvement.  This lift is definitely my favorite right now because of pulling for such high volume and the fact that I know I won’t be stalling on it any time soon.

Aside from now incorporating high volume dips to get my shoulder strength and tricep strength up.  I’m also going to be incorporating more mid-section abdominal strengthening.  I found another nice article on overhead presses and specifically how to train the common weakpoints.  Also, the article mentioned performing bar hangs to help decompress the lumbar spine and increase my low back flexibility.  Sitting around for 8+ hours in the office, I think it’ll be beneficial incorporating these into my warm-ups and cooldowns.


Week 23 – 5/3/1 – Day 82

Cycle #6
Week 2 Day 2

Warm-up:  foam roll, leg swings, box jumps

I haven’t done the agile 8 in a while- I’ve only been foam rolling consistently.  I used the highest box there and it was pretty easy.  Did 3 sets of 5 reps.  My phone jumped out of my pocket twice.

Squat:  5×115, 3×135, 1×165 + 3×190, 3×215, 4×240

Decided to jump back to cycle 1 weights to get myself together.  Got good depth on all the reps.  Legs were feeling very jello-like by the end of the 215 set; they were tight and had that pumped feeling.  I had difficulties getting up from a chair that night.

BBB Squat:  5x10x135

Pretty easy first 2 sets.  Next 3 sets progressively became more taxing.  I was using my back to get the bar up in the latter reps- not in a bad good morning way, but my shoulder would go up before my hips would go up.  Partial good morning into a semi push press to exaggerate, but definitely nothing like that.

BB Accessories: 

35/25/19/18 – Situps:  Slowly developing some muscle endurance in the abs.