Week 10 – Madcow5x5 – Day 27B

Squat:

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

Very easy.  Light squat days give me a chance to analyze my lift while actually doing the lift .  I think I may be rotating my torso when squatting.  I feel like I’m rotating right a bit and I can feel it in my hips a bit.  I think I’ll have to record myself from the front next light day and see what’s going on.  All the videos I’ve recorded have done a great job showing my squat depth and posture.  Unfortunately it doesn’t provide what my squat looks like from the front where I can better see things like knees buckling in, torso twisting, etc.

Press:

5 x 65
5 x 75
5 x 85
5 x 95

These weren’t bad.  Still feel like my right lat is much more engaged than my left.  I think if there was a video of me from the top down, I’d see my right arm pushing the bar away from the body more.  This is, at least, what I feel is happening and it’s causing my right lat to have to work a bit harder than my left.  Not sure if this is happening because of my bad right shoulder (hopefully it’s not!).  Back was arching a bit on the 95 and managed to get stuck halfway up on the last rep, but finished it.  Narrow grip helps…I think.  And of course squeezing the bar engages the lats.

Deadlift:

5 x 175
5 x 215
5 x 240
5 x 280 (ow)

Sets prior to the 280 were pretty easy breezy.  Used alternating on 240- I really didn’t want to.  Unfortunately, I decided not to record my workout today.  I think I definitely rounded my back on a few of the reps on the 280.  Not sure if I continue going up or stay at 280.  I would rather perform lifts with good form than hurt myself petting my ego.  I really want to hit that 315 PR by May 30th.  I think I’m going to test my 1RMs the week of May 28th.

Assistance:

Chin-ups:  6/3/2.5 x BW – Not bad, first set felt very strong.  Made sure I was doing full ROM by going ALL the way down and not doing partial reps.

Situps:  32/22/16 @ 1 min each set – These haven’t really improved much, but I’m definitely feeling stronger on the situps compared to when I first began doing them.  Lower abs got sore pretty quickly.

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 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 10B

Squats:

5 x 120
5 x 140
5 x 180
5 x 180

Not bad.  Was noticing again that my left side was dropping down a bit lower than my right side and the weight was rolling forward a bit.  I think this has to do with not shoving my knees out evenly with my right leg.  Mental cue once reaching the bottom should be “split the floor apart and drive your ass up”.

Press:

5 x 50
5 x 60
5 x 70
5 x 80

Tried going for a more natural grip and widened it a bit.  Felt better.  Made me have a bit more control and felt like my shoulders were working evenly.

Deadlifts:

5 x 145
5 x 175
5 x 205
5 x 235

These felt great today.  Noticed that I was shrugging and rolling my shoulders back at the top.  Not sure if this is good or not, but felt natural to me in order to lock out the weight.

Accessories:

Situps – 30/15/16:  Did these until “failure”.  I think next time I might change it so that I have to do as many situps as possible within a predetermined amount of time.  Doing this exercise to “failure” seems a bit ambiguous and form definitely begins to deteriorate rapidly once my abs get tired, aka my lower back starts to round lordotically.

HIIT – 3-7-8-3-7:  Legs were pretty beat by the end of these intervals.  I felt a cramp coming along on my right calf.

Week 4 – Madcow5x5 – Day 9A

Squats:

5 x 115
5 x 140
5 x 180
5 x 210
5 x 240

Was a bit hopped up on the pre-workout.  Decided not to use the belt on the last set.  Butt rose a bit faster than shoulders on the last few reps of the top set.  Raising chest and driving hips really helps with cranking the weight up once I get out of the hole.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 105
5 x 115
4 x 130 Stall

Disappointed to say the least.  I don’t know what the deal is with my bench.  Over at ironstrong, I’ve found another individual, johnnyboy, who seems to be exhibiting similar problems as I am on the bench.  The feeling I get when I lower the bar to my chest is that the bar shifts to the right, in turn, causing my right elbow to go down farther than it has to thereby causing my right arm to exert more effort to press the bar back up.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
5 x 130

Still fairly easy.  Definitely felt my shoulders and biceps working a bit harder when I kept my hips static.  I did this by lifting the bar without acceleration.  I noticed that when pulled the bar off the ground too quickly that I was actually using a bit of hip drive and momentum- this shortchanges the amount of work my shoulders get.

Accessories:

Weighted Situps – 12xBW, 12×10, 12×10, 12×15:  A bit easier than the previous situp session.  Was pretty fatigued 2/3 of the way into the last set though.  Abs got pretty sore an hour later once coming home.

Weighted hyperextensions – 10xBW, 10×10, 10×15:  Not bad, again this bothers my knees quite a bit.

HIIT – 9min, 2 sets:  Was pretty spent after 2 sets.

Week 3 – Madcow5x5 – Day 6A

Squats:

5 x 120
5 x 145
5 x 175
5 x 205
5 x 235

Not too bad, definitely took my time between the heavier sets.  I’ve gotten lazy with recording myself, but I think it’s about time I start doing so.  I felt fairly comfortable with my form today, no lower back pain at all.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
5 x 125

Felt more comfortable with my form today.  I didn’t tuck my elbows in as much.  My left elbow flared a bit much on one of the reps.  But other than that, the weight still feels relatively light.  Can’t wait to get that plate up there again.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
5 x 125

These were still pretty easy.   As usual, lift off ground and accelerate towards chest.

Accessories:

Weighted Situps: 10xBW, 10×7.5, 10×10, 10×10 – Not bad, felt the burn more in my hip flexors.  I think I need to curl into my knees.

Weighted Hyperextensions: 10xBW, 10×10, 10×15 – Pretty easy, but my knees were killing me.  Felt like they would snap backwards from the counter-balancing.

HIIT: 10 minutes – Feeling sluggish on the HIIT.  My peak heart rate was at 189 bpm, definitely out of running shape.

Week 2 – Madcow5x5 – Day 3A

Squats:

5 x 115
5 x 140
5 x 170
5 x 195
5 x 230

These were pretty hard.  I felt some soreness pain from my quads near my knees when going heavy on the last set.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 75
5 x 90
5 x 115
5 x 125

These were alright.  Felt like I was, again, using my right arm more than my left.  Felt the burn in the right triceps.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
5 x 125

These were particularly easy.  Again, made sure that I slowly lifted bar off ground and then exploded upwards to my chest.

Accessories:

Weighted Sit-ups:

12 x BW
12 x BW + 5

Second set was difficult.  Was cheating a little when sitting up by using momentum.

Weighted Hyperextensions:

12 x BW
12 x BW + 25
10 x BW
10 x BW

Not bad, my knees were hurting when doing them with weight.

Week 1 – Day 1A

Today starts my first day of Madcow5x5.  This is after being on a 2 week hiatus due to vacation.  I’ve started the program with the following stats.

Squat:  5 x 254
Bench: 5 x 135
Row: 5 x 135
Press: 5 x 85
Deadlift: 5 x 250

Due to being out of the gym for a while, I decided to match these PR numbers in week 6 instead of week 4 of the program.  All the weights have been calculated in a spreadsheet I downloaded from the Stronglifts website.

I just got back from the Philippines this past Sunday so I’m still experiencing jet lag; definitely not helpful with getting proper sleep and more importantly proper recovery.  Hopefully my body can get back into the swing of things by next Monday so I can have the mental focus to get these lifts going.  I’ve also ordered some extra supplements that will hopefully help me break preexisting plateaus.

Aside from the whey protein I’ve been scarfing down, I’ve also purchased a tub of the pre-workout supp, White Flood, as well as the intra-workout supp, Purple Wraath.  I’ve dabbled with these two about a year ago when I was actually also running Madcow at the time and they helped me wonders- especially the pre-workout.  I’ve also ordered a 2000g tub of ON creatine monohydrate.  I don’t think I’ll be touching these supps until week 3 or 4 depending on how fast my body acclimates itself back into prime lifting condition.

With the conclusion of my Stronglifts regimen, I’ve managed to break and reach many PRs.  Here are final program stats:

Squat:  3 x 270 PR
Bench: 2 x 165 PR
Row: 5 x 165 PR
Press: 4 x 97.5
Deadlift: 4 x 290 PR

I’m extremely happy with these numbers, especially my squat.  I never thought I’d be able to rep even a single of my 1.5 x BW, but I managed to get 3!  I was also very impressed with my deadlift early on.  This was before I even had a lifting belt.

Here’s today’s workout:

Squat:

5 x 115
5 x 140
5 x 170
5 x 170

Pretty easy.  I looked up to change things up a bit and noticed that I engaged my glutes much more when looking up than when looking in the mirror.  Mental focus is definitely heightened and not seeing yourself makes it so that the body needs to “feel” the lift, resulting in better engagement of my posterior chain.

Press:

5 x 45
5 x 55
5 x 65
5 x 75

Pretty easy.  Made sure elbows were in front of the bar before lifting.  Pushing elbows out while simultaneously exploding from the chest up helps with making the lift easier.

Deadlift:

Felt unusually heavy.  I was struggling with my grip on the second to last workset.  Switched to alternating for the last set.

Accessories:

3 x 12 x Situps – Pretty easy first two sets.  Third set was a bit more difficult as my abs fatigued very easily.