Week 6 – Madcow5x5 – Day 17C

Weight:  176.8
Body Fat:  11.9%

Squat:

5 x 135
5 x 160
5 x 190
5 x 225
3 x 265
8 x 190

Accidentally did 5 more lbs than I was supposed to.  I’m pretty happy that I’m progressing still.  No stalls yet, luckily.  2 more weeks and I’m back to 270.  At my current weight…265 is 1.5 x bodyweight.  Glad to be back here again.

Bench:

5 x 70
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 120
3 x 140
5 x 100

Form felt very inconsistent.  This was probably the case because I didn’t like what I saw on film when I reviewed my technique after each set.  From the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like I’m using full ROM.  Every article I’ve found on the net praising they have the correct way of benching have always emphasized not lowering the bar past elbows parallel to the bench. I’ve also read that you should tuck your elbows when pressing.  Now when I do this, I have to lower the bar from around face level to the top of my stomach or lower chest.  This then seems to turn into more of a shoulder workout than a chest workout.

Rows:

5 x 70
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 120
3 x 140
8 x 100

The triple felt heavy.  I made a note to tighten my entire body when pressing to avoid using hip drive.  I’ll have to post my video to get other people’s opinion, but I think I may be using a little hip drive.  I also lifted my chest up.

Accessories:

Weighted Dips – 12/9/6 x BW:  Was a bit disappointed.  I want to get to 3×20 reps before I add weights.  I’m focusing more on hypertrophy at this point in my workout.  These are, after all, accessory exercises.

Barbell Curls – 8×40, 8×50, 6×55:  Not bad, last set was pretty damn hard though.  Noticed that my left elbow wasn’t tucked in like my right elbow.  I think I need to narrow my grip a bit.  Seems like the bar is shifted to the left a bit.

Tricep Extensions – 8×40, 8×45, 7×50:  1 rep improvement from last week.  I was pretty scared that my right shoulder would pop up on the 7th rep.  I’ll stick with these weights again.

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Week 5 – Madcow5x5 – Day 14C

Weight:  177.4
Body Fat:  13.8%

It’s been about 4 weeks since I’ve started tracking my weight and my body fat percentage. It doesn’t seem like I’m moving much.  Arms feel a bit bigger than before.  I think accessories can attribute to this.  Legs feel pretty much the same, pretty thick and beefy (makes it really hard to use the calipers).  I’ve also started using Livestrong’s MyPlate feature where I can lookup and record what I’ve eaten, etc.  It’s much nicer than fitday, another website I used a long time ago when counting calories.  From the looks of my food intake from this past week, it seems like I’m hovering around ~2000-2200 cals per day.  Although, I did notice that I was sort of getting away with a bit too much carbs and not enough protein.

Squats:

5 x 125
5 x 155
5 x 190
5 x 220
3 x 255 (belt)
8 x 190

These weren’t bad at all.  The triple was actually not too bad, definitely tough getting out of the hole.  I wish I could have recorded, but unfortunately, my camera’s SD card ran out of memory (‘effing bummer).  I did notice on my earlier sets though that going too deep caused my back to round and I felt the strain on my lower back.  I remedied this with the remaining sets and no back pain!  This definitely helped me out on the 8 repper.  Usually after performing the last 8 rep set, my back feels very strained.  I made sure that I rested adequately before doing the last set and making sure to keep everything tight so as to avoid cranking the weight from the lower back.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 115
3 x 135
8 x 100

Not too bad.  Experimented with a bit of a wider grip than last week and it sort of helped.  On the way down I had my elbows fairly close to my body and then when I pressed up, I flared them.  I also noticed that when squeezing my glutes and tucking my feet underneath me that I engaged my core a lot and really made my upper back rigid.  This also helped preventing my back from going into a hyper lordotic position.  Normally, I would simply just arch from my lower back, but today I felt like I was arching my entire back, thereby relieving the strain on the lower back.  It was a bit wobbly on a few reps, but work between the left and right arm seemed fairly even and I was happy about that.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 115
3 x 135
8 x 100

Not bad, the ramp weights are really light.  The triple was definitely heavy.  I feel like its quite a bit more difficult to become stronger on this lift compared to the other lifts.  The other lifts incorporate the entire body while the row focuses on the upper back and lats.  Stalling on this lift will definitely come much faster relatively comparing it to other big lifts like the squat or deadlift.

Accessories:

 Dips – 8xBW+5, 8xBW+5, 6xBW+5:  Not bad.  Missed 2 reps on the last set.  My right triceps felt like they were doing more work than my right.

Barbell Curls – 8×40, 8×50, 8×50:  Wasn’t too difficult.  Felt my right biceps get a bit more swollen than my right.  I’m truly puzzled why my right arm is dominating most of my lifts more than my left.  Going to try for 40-50-55 next week.

Tricep Extensions – 8×40, 8×45, 6×50:  Not bad, felt pretty even between my arms.  Last set was definitely pretty heavy.  I think I’ll stick with this set-rep weight ramp for next week.

Week 3 – Madcow5x5 – Day 8C

Weight: 178.8
Body Fat:  15.3%

Squats:

5 x 120
5 x 145
5 x 175
5 x 205
3 x 240
8 x 175

The ramp up sets are killer before the triple.  Definitely much more volume compared to SL5x5.  The triple wasn’t too bad.  The 8-rep felt rushed- felt like my knees were going forward a bit much.  Overall, though, I’m fairly happy.  I reviewed my form after each set and they were acceptable to me.  My back was hurting a bit though.

Bench:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
3 x 130
8 x 95

Not too bad.  I tried to employ the proper techniques that Dave Tate mentioned in his “Bench Cure in 6 Weeks” video.  First off, the arch was uncomfortable.  I’ve used a powerlifter’s arch before and it’s definitely not pleasant and watching me using it makes me cringe a little.  I think my best set was my 8-repper.  I didn’t arch my back as much.  I actually tried pushing my lower back into the bench so as to avoid overextending my back into a hyperlordotic arch.  Now as for the actual upper body lifting part- after watching myself, I definitely think form needs to get cleaned up.  My forearms look like they’re not perpendicular to the ground and that right there causes loss of power transfer because the weight is not balanced in my hands.

Rows:

5 x 65
5 x 85
5 x 95
5 x 115
3 x 130
8 x 95

Still pretty easy.  One thing I noticed though was that my hips were moving a bit on the 8-repper.  Definitely need to avoid this.  Strict Pendalay rows means no movement of the knees or hips at all.

Accessories:

Dips
12/8/5 x BW – Pretty difficult.  Noticed on the video that my left arm wasn’t going down as far as my right arm.  Probably might explain the imbalance of fatigue between left and right arm.

BB Curls
8 x 40
8 x 45
8 x 50 – Decided to ramp instead of doing 40 lbs straight across.  Surprisingly managed to finish all three sets.  Made sure I rested well between each set.

Tricep Extension
8 x 35
8 x 40
8 x 45 – Not bad, though, I think I may be giving myself a bit more credit.  The last rep felt like a half rep since I didn’t go all the way down to where my elbows were 90 degrees.

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 18 – Day 51B

Squats felt unusually heavy.  First day of first deload since my volume drop to 3×5.  I definitely engaged my back, glutes and hamstrings more when I shoved my knees outward and pointed my toes out.  Press was not too bad, proper form definitely made the lift more difficult and really felt it in my shoulders.  Deadlifts were heavy as hell.  My grip was failing on my last warm-up 1 rep set.  Alternating grip was used with my right hand facing up.  I think I definitely rounded my back on the last and maybe even the second to last rep so I’m considering this as my first deadlift stall.  I’m thinking of purchasing an Inzer Forever Lever Belt.  I’m just not sure what thickness is optimal for my goals.  Accessories were pretty easy except for the pull-up.  I decided to do wide grip pull-ups instead of close-grip to emphasize work for my lats and back.  Treadmill was pretty easy.  I’m going to start doing HIIT instead of steady-state endurance work to speed up the fat loss.  Combined with my lower caloric intake, I think my sessions will start becoming tougher and tougher.  I weighed in at 175.6 today.  Hopefully the weight loss is mostly fat and not muscle.

Squats:

2 x 5 x 45
5 x 145
3 x 165
2 x 185
3 x 5 x 205

Press:

5 x 45
3 x 55
2 x 65
3 x 5 x 75

Deadlift: 

5 x 155
3 x 185
2 x 225
1 x 265
4 x 290

Accessories:

4/3/2 x Wide-grip Pull-ups
3 x 45 sec. Planks
15 min. x 5.5/5.0 spd treadmill

Week 14 – Day 41B

Squats were unusually difficult today.  I got stuck in the hole twice on the last rep of each set.  Presses were also pretty difficult.  Missed my last rep on the 4th and 5th sets.  Was feeling it more in my right arm again.  Deadlift is really heavy, but managed to crank out the 5 reps.  I’m still fairly weak on my pull-ups.

Bodyweight:  178.8

Body Fat:  22%

It’s been a while since I’ve taken measurements, but seems as though I’m pretty much floating around the 178 – 180 lb area with quite a bit of pudge around the mid section.  I’m going to continue my current caloric intake amount and the routine for now.  I’m not sure if my body can take it, but I’d like to see if I can reach 185 at around the same body fat within the next 3 months.  My weight gain has certainly plateaued for a good month now and I’m fairly satisfied with the strength gains.  I feel like I’m stronger than I’ve ever been before.  I’ve been itching to start some boxing to improve my speed and agility and improve my cardio stamina.  I think this would be a great way to lean out.  Of course to ACTUALLY lose the pudge, I’d have to ease up on the calorie intake a bit.  Cutting it down to one yogurt instead of 2 a day should help a bit.

Warm-ups:

2 x 10 Shoulder dislocations

2 x 15 sec. Doorway pec stretch

2 x 10 Leg swings

2 x 20 sec. static Squat stretch

Squats:

2 x 5 x Bar

5 x 135

3 x 165

3 x 5 x 195

Press:

5 x Bar

3 x 65

5/5/5/4/4 x 87.5

Deadlift:

5 x 175

3 x 205

2 x 235

5 x 265

Accessory:

3/2/1.5 x BW Pull-ups

3 x 10 x 17.5 lbs Reverse crunches

Reassessing May 2012 Goals

Just looked at my first post on the blog and cracked a smile.  I set my Squat goal to be 230 and I’m almost there already (10 lbs more)!  That number, unfortunately, was when I was a fairly skinny 150 pounder.  My new 1.5xBW @ 176 lbs is now…264lbs flat.  It’s only been 2 months in and I’ve already skyrocketed my squat.  I’ve never done this much volume at this weight…ever.  My upper body on the other hand is definitely lagging more than I’d like.  Currently my Bench is at an embarrassing 120 lbs and my Press is at 80 lbs.  However, I do believe that I’ve finally made it over my Press wall.  I think it would be useful to set a Squat rest week for me so I can build my upper body lifts.  While many Stronglift-onites would probably think this is stupid considering I’m progressing so much on the Squat, I think my upper body lifts would get a significant boost if I had more energy to perform accessories post workout.  Mainly, I want to indulge in more dips/pushups/pull-ups/chin-ups to get my chest and shoulders up to par.  Looking at the lifts that I’m doing well on, it seems as though I’m quite a bit more capable of pulling rather than pushing.  I’m fairly excited for my Deadlift.  I haven’t had too much difficulty yet with the lift and I’m still using alternating grip.  I think I’ll have to invest in a weight belt pretty soon for my Squat and Deadlift.

I think 185lbs isn’t too far out of my reach within the year- definitely very heavy for my build I think.  I’d like to get up to 185 before May 2012 and cut down and start doing boxing and/or some sort of MMA to lean out and actually apply my newly found strength gains.  Boxing at a heavier weight is definitely not my slice of bread, I think I want to improve my agility and footwork once I hit my strength goals.

MAY 2012 GOALS:

Squat – 1 x 265

Bench – 1 x 185

Press – 1 x 135

Deadlift – 1 x 315

Row – 1 x 225

Bodyweight:  185 max

Bodyfat:  < 20%

Dunk a basketball, hah.