5/3/1 Cycle 1 Week 1 Bench

5×65 / 5×80 / 3×95
5×100 / 5×120 / 5×135

Felt very confident on the bench press today.  Didn’t feel any load imbalances.  Slow negative to ensure I’m engaging everything equally and then explode upward on the positive.  Used a thumbless grip as well.

Barbell Rows: 5x10x95

Not bad for doing 5 sets of 10.  May switch to performing dumbbell rows instead.  I find that the lower bar position due to smaller plates is causing me to involve my lower back and hamstrings more as if doing a deadlift.

Barbell Curls:  10×40 / 6×40 / 8×40

Supersetted the barbell curls with the barbell rows.  Bad idea.  Both exercises target the biceps and so I quickly suffered from the fatigue when doing the barbell curls on the 2nd and 3rd sets.  Rested a bit longer before doing the last set.

Seated Tricep Extensions:  10×45 / 10×50 / 10×50

Love doing these.  Ever since discovering them while on the Madcow5x5 routine, I’ve always incorporated them in any routine needed some tricep isolation work.

Bent Lateral Raises:  10×15 / 10×10 / 10×10

Not a fan of doing these.  I’ll stick with them for a bit more to see if my shoulder strength improves from it.

5×3 Bench Cycle – Week 3 – Moderate Bench Day

Close Grip Bench Press:  10xBar + 10×65 + 5x5x85
Incline Bench Press:  10xBar + 5×65 + 2x8x85 + 6×85
DB Rows:  3x10x45
Pull-ups:  1/1/1
Military Press:  3x10x50
Seated DB Extensions:  3x10x45
BB Curls:  2x10x40 + 4×50

Struggled with the incline bench press today.  Only right lats and upper chest were engaging.  Dumbbell rows were also a bit difficult.  Standing overhead presses were surprisingly pretty easy.  Seated dumbbell extensions were pretty easy as well.  Barbell curls were hard on the last set.  May have gone up to 50s accidentally.

Week12 – Day32A – Blind Spot

Weight:  183.4 lbs
Duration:  12:15 – 1:20 ~ 1hr 5min.

Driving into work this morning and I turned my head over my left shoulder to check my blind spot and bam.  I felt a sudden twinge in my neck and immediately felt a lot of pressure at the base of my neck on the left side.  Turning my head a bit here and there was very bothersome.  The pressure has subsided over time, but as of writing this right now, some 6 hours later and the neck is still feeling not so great.  Nonetheless, I still went to the gym and made sure to take it easy.  Low back strain is doesn’t feel as aggravated as on Wednesday.  I made sure to invest some more time in the warm-ups to get me loose.  Did additional parts of the Agile 8 hip mobility warm-up routine, specifically, mountain climbers and groiners.  These usually get the heart rate up and allows me to break a slight sweat.  I did these on top of the static hip flexor stretches aka lunges/warrior poses and the fire hydrants.  I also started the warm-up with 3 sets of 30 sec. jump rope to get the blood flowing.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×95 + 3×115 + 3×135 + 3x3x155

Did 3 sets of empty bar good mornings before I even did the 3 sets of empty bar squats.  The low back was working a lot during these, not sure why.  I narrowed my stance a bit.  I think too wide a stance is causing me to round the low back in the hole, especially on reps where I go below parallel.  For now, I’m going to try and keep it to squatting to parallel.  The narrow stance was a bit more comfortable for sure.  I didn’t work to my top set of 195 and instead did a 3×3 on the top set to give myself some rest.

Bench:  3x10xBar + 5×65 + 5×85 + 3×100 + 5x5x120

These felt better, but I felt my shoulders were working a bit more than usual.  I shrugged and drove through my feet on the last set as I was pretty fatigued at this point.  Again, I’m not pressing to full extension and instead focused on maintaining the squeeze in my shoulder blades.

Rows:  5×65 + 3×85 + 1×105 + 5x5x135

The top set felt pretty heavy.  I was a bit worried here with my neck strain and all, but the lift didn’t aggravate it anymore, so that was good.  I was definitely jerking a bit on the last few reps.

Preacher Curls: 10×50
Incline BB Bench: 10xBar + 10×65 + 10×85
Standing EZ Bar Curls: 10×40
Tricep Extensions: 10×50
Seated DB Curls: 10×25
Dips: 7/4/2

The EZ bar curls were a lot easier today.  Tricep extensions weren’t bad- definitely felt more comfortable resistance compared to the really light 40lbs.  The dips felt very strong, but I got fatigued very easily.

Week9 – Day23B – New Year

Weight:  179.6 lbs
Duration:  11:40 to 12:35 = 55 min.

The duration doesn’t include warm-up.  I officially got to the gym at 11:20ish.  The warm-up was a bit longer today as I incorporated some Agile 8 into the mix to get my legs prepped better.  More warm-ups = more time spent outside of office soooo I’ll have to be super efficient with my core lifts and try not to rest for too long.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×95 + 3×115 + 1×135 + 5x5x155

My shoulder is still cooperating!  I was able to get the bar off the right traps and on the top of the posterior delts.  There was definitely still a bit of resistance, but I once it was placed the bar was pretty much locked in.  The “shelf” that Mr. Rippetoe was talking about in his bar position video felt super solid and super stable.  The squats definitely felt heavy today.  I felt like my knees were travelling forward a bit.  Felt a little lower back engagement on a few reps when this happened.  This reminds me…I need to start video recording myself again!!  Also, I noticed that my right quads were a bit more worked than my left.

Seated Plate Raises:  3x8x35
Seated Lateral Raise:  3x8x10
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x8x10

Jumped up to 35 lbs on the plate raises.  These drained the life right out of my shoulders as I went from set to set.  I could barely get through the first 2 reps of the third set on the plate raises.  I think I have to stagger the weight on each start of the plate raise sets.  The fatigue just builds up way too quickly for me to recover and do honest reps with good form.

Deadlift:  5×125 + 3x145 + 2×165 + 1×185 + 5×205

Progressively increased resting time between warm-up sets as I worked my way up to the top set.  I used an alternate grip on the last set and it felt very solid.  The left hand was supinated while the right hand was using regular pronated grip.

Preacher BB Curls 10×50
Standing BB Curls 10×50
Seated DB Curls 8×25
Incline DB Press 10×35
DB Bench 10×35
Tricep Extensions 15×40

Did some tricep extensions to hit the triceps a bit more and give the chest a bit of rest.

Pushup-Position Planks 3x30sec.

Was browsing through imgur and found one of the 30 day get more fit things and saw one for planks.  This motivated me to start doing some regular core training.  I did 3 sets of 30 sec. planks using the top pushup position instead of the more popular elbow planks.  I’ll see if I can do these daily and increase the length of time by 5 seconds each day.

Week7 – Day17B – Twist & Ow

Weight:  181.2 lbs
Duration:  12:08 – 1:15 ~ 53min.

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×55 + 3×75 + 2×95 + 5x5x125

Right shoulder wasn’t cooperating much again today.  The bar doesn’t seem balanced on my back, there is a slight “twist” in the way the bar is position as if I’m driving the bar forward more on one side than the other.  I can feel my right traps engaging more than my right.  Since my right shoulder isn’t as mobile, I’ve been resorting to having a slightly wider grip on the right side.  This relaxes my traps and rear delts, this could explain the twist.

Seated Plate Raises:  3x10x25
Seated Lateral Raise:  3x10x10
Seated DB Shrug + Clean + Half Press:  3x8x10

Not bad, went down to 10lbs today from 12 lbs.  There’s this strain that I get sometimes in the back of my neck when doing the lateral raises.  Should look up what’s going on.  I’m banking on it being bad form.

Deadlift:  5x115 + 3×135 + 1×155 + 5×175

I may need to get some pads on the plates, dropping the bar to the ground is really loud in the gym and I get the feeling one of the workers is going to come up to me and say something.  I think I was using a little of my lower back, but I don’t have much DOMs today from the deadlifts, just slight bruising on the shins.  This is definitely getting a bit heavy

Preacher BB Curls 10×40
Seated DB Curls 10×25
Tricep Extensions 10×40
Incline Bench 10xBar
Tricep Pushdown 10×40

Tricep pushdowns were fairly heavy, probably shouldn’t have done 40 lbs!

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.

Week5 – Day12A

Squats:  3x5xBar + 5×65 + 3×75 + 3×85 + 5x5x100
Bench:  3x5xBar + 5x5x70
Rows:  5x5x85

Preacher EZ Bar Curls:  10×40
Tricep Pushdown:  20×30
Standing BB Curl:  10×30
Tricep Extensions:  10×30
Seated DB Curls:  10×20
Tricep Rope Pulldown:  10×25

Duration:  1 hour

Pretty good workout.  The lifts all felt light!  I was expecting the Squats to feel a bit heavier, but it was pretty easy peasy!  Bench wasn’t bad, got a case of the shakes in the arms under load.  Although, I’m not sure if my form is all there with the bench.  Rows were great, explosive and tight form.  The accessories were pretty good.  Thinking of subbing out some tricep isolation for some chest isolation on A day.  Did the overhead tricep extensions again today.  I think I’m feeling pretty confident with my shoulder so I’m going to hold on to these and keep doing them, making sure when I up the weight that I be careful.  Lowering the dumbbell back down did feel like my shoulder was a bit vulnerable.

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.