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Monday, June 27, 2016

Turnip Power

21 June 2016


Pull 455 lbs. x 3, 435 lbs. x 3, 415 lbs. x 3

Belt on the two heavier sets.

Stiff-legged pull 315 lbs. 2s x 5

Bent-over row 3s x 5

Standing BTN press 135x5, 155x5, 165x5

Overhead pressing after deadlifting is pretty hard. Midsection felt kinda wobbly.

DB tricep extensions 3s x 12

Leg curl 3s x 8

Rope tricep extensions 4s x 12


23 June 2016

SlingShot bench press 375 lbs. x 3, 355 lbs. x 3, 345 lbs. x 3

That's all I had time for today, plus one light set of seated cable rows. Might come back tomorrow to finish assistance work, or I might do some cardio instead.


25 June 2016

Squat(morning) 480 lbs. x 2, 460 lbs. x 2, 440 lbs. x 2, 425 lbs. x 2

Belt and wraps on two heaviest sets, then just belt. I was supposed to do a few singles after the top set but felt too weak to risk it. Pretty sure the back-off set with 460 wasn't deep enough.

Hack squats 3s x 12

Reverse-grip Smith machine floor press 3s x 8

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Bench Press Singles, Femora Brassica

18 June 2016


Squat 430 lbs. x 4, 440 lbs. x 4, 410 lbs. x 4, 405 lbs. x 4

Belt and wraps on the 440x4 set, belt only on the other sets. I really wanted to hit 440x4, although program called for 425x4.

Hack squat 4s x 12

Weighted situps on incline ab board

Squats are getting pretty easy. Against better judgement, I have widened my stance and am squatmorning more. Rippetoe would be proud. Makes a world of difference - instead of being painful and each rep feeling like I'm about to burst a blood vessel, the weights pop up like nothing and my knees feel great. However, as with most good things in life, there is a catch. More on that below.


20 June 2016

Bench press 320 lbs. x 2, 340 lbs. x 2, 365 lbs. x 1, 380 lbs. x 1

Decided to hit a few conservative singles after my working set today. 365x1 went up like 315, so I decided to go full potato and try 380 instead of 375 for my final set. Shaky, but up it went too. I'll also try a few squat singles on Saturday, then do the same for the pull and the SlingShot bench press next week. No maxing, just to see where I'm at.

Paused bench press 295 lbs. x 3, 275 lbs. 2s x 3

Pulldowns 5x5

Hammer curl 5 sets

Golfer's elbow is already feeling better. That Flexbar thing is almost like voodoo.


Femora Brassica

I wrote about how mourning the squat and using a ridiculously wide stance helps you lift bigger weights easily. I'd say it's almost as effective as throwing on one of those old squat suits. The kind that couldn't stand up without a person inside it. Unfortunately, this squatting technique leads to an aesthetically highly unpleasant condition called Turnip Thighs (which the medical profession officially refers to as Femora brassica). Squatting this way tends to overdevelop the thigh adductors, glutes and upper hamstrings while neglecting (or insufficiently addressing) the lower quadriceps. The result is a thigh that is relatively small and undeveloped at the knee, while massive at the top. In other words, shaped like the common turnip (Brassica rapa).

This is your thigh on squatmornings


"I just started squatting and my legs are blowing up!" exclaims the euphoric squatting noob, his legs still throbbing like rotten molars from the linear progression squat workout three days ago. "I can't find pants big enough to fit my legs!" Well, not so fast, Noob. While that's all technically true, it hardly paints an accurate picture. Take a tape measure and wrap it around your thigh just above the knee. Yeah, I know. Funny how nobody ever complains about their pants being too tight above the knee. Good luck buying new pants every six weeks or so, suffering hours of painful sweat-chafing every day the thermometer shows more than 70 degrees and living in fear of embarrassing rippage each time you bend over to pick something up from the floor.

At least Noob can be forgiven for, well, being a noob. He still believes in bulking and cutting, leg work for bigger arms and Santa Claus. Yet to be disabused of his newfound faith in squatmornings and milk, he flexes his pale turnip thighs and sees tanned, rippling quads in the mirror. What's your excuse?

While we're at it, in-vogue bulking programs greatly compound the Femora brassica effect. Imagine a pair of lean thighs developed into the shape of turnips. The thick parts rubbing against one another, steadily and monotonously. The agony building up like steam in a pressure cooker. Hour after walking hour. Inescapable. Now add a few inches of fat and increase the contact (and, by extension, pain) area by a factor of at least two. If there is a God up there, surely He's turned His back on us by now.

The solution is simple. Reduce the weight, bring your stance in and shift the bar a couple inches higher on your traps. Extra work for your quads via leg extensions and hack squats and close-stance leg presses. Develop your legs into a shape that does not resemble a root vegetable. Can you do that? Why not?

For a while I actually thought I had made it. A hip injury forced me to abandon heavy wide-stance squats. I brought my stance together and did a bunch of other quad work too. It worked. But it didn't last. As soon as I healed up, out went the stance and up went the weight. Then horror. Yesterday I put on a pair of my regular dress pants and could barely get them all the way up. Where was the sticking point, you ask? Hint: it wasn't just above the knee. Whistling past the graveyard, I wrote it off as weekend bloat. The condition remains unchanged today. I've fallen off the wagon. The plates on the bar are like sobriety coins, cast into the gutter after a roaring bender.

My chafed thighs ache as I write this post. It isn't even 9AM yet.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Tendinitis Blues

16 June 2016


SlingShot bench press 350 lbs. x 6, 335 lbs. x 6, 330 lbs. x 6

Used the Original SS this time. All sets went well.

Close-grip bench - did 3 light sets trying to experiment with different grips and only lowering the bar to 3-4 inches above chest.

Paul Carter's T-Nation article talks about not going all the way down to keep the tension on the triceps. As usual, his advice is spot on because even 225 felt much harder this way. Certainly something I should explore more, as it lets me use light weight while still working the crap out of the arms.

Seated cable row 4s x 8

Incline bench press 5x5

Hammer curls 4 sets x 8-10

I've been dealing with a nasty case of tendinitis in my right elbow for around 6 weeks now. It might have flared up due to too much biceps work. Hammer curls work fine, so I'll just do these for a few weeks to give the elbow a break.

Tricep extensions (machine) 3s x AMAP

Cable flyes 2s x 8-10

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Body is a Temple

11 June 2016


Squat 430 lbs. x 4, 410 lbs. x 4, 390 lbs. x 4

Belt on the two heavier working sets.

Hack squat 4s x 8

Leg extension 3s x AMAP


13 June 2016

All last week I ate like crap and drank way too much. Today I weighed in at 210 pounds, i.e.  lost about 3.5 pounds from the week before. Makes perfect sense.

Bench press 330 lbs. x 3, 320 lbs. x 3, 315 lbs. x 3

Much easier than 320x3 felt last week.

Paused bench press 285 lbs. x 4

Close-grip, with SlingShot 295x3, 275x5

Pulldowns 5x5

Seated machine press - 4 sets total

Could not find a free barbell. Gotta love gyms on Mondays.

Biceps superset DB preacher curl + preacher curl + reverse curl x 3

Rope extensions 4s x AMAP


14 June 2016

Pull 430 lbs. x 4, 415 lbs. x 4, 415 lbs. x 2

Back-off sets were way too heavy, I was supposed to do only 400 or 405. Also used a belt on the working sets because I lifted at 6:30AM and wasn't sure if my back was going to snap or not.

Stiff-legged pull 300 lbs. 2s x 5

Bent-over row 3s x 5

Leg curl 3s x 8

Ab board situps 3s x AMAP

Friday, June 10, 2016

But We Go On

7 June 2016

Pull 425 lbs. x 4, 405 lbs. 2s x 5

Stiff-legged deadlift 300 lbs. 2s x 5

Bent-over row 5x5

Seated leg curl 4s x 8

Weighted situps 5s x 8


9 June 2016

SlingShot bench press 330 lbs. x 8, close-grip 290 lbs. 3s x 5

Close-grip benching with a Reactive SS feels pretty much like close-grip raw benching (I guess because the SlingShot doesn't stretch very far). Maybe it's a bit easier on the shoulders. Anyway, I've decided to start throwing in a few close-grip sets at the end of every bench press workout in order to bring up my weak triceps.

Seated cable row 4s x 8

Incline bench press 4s x 8

Biceps superset incline curl + seated curl + spider curl x 3 sets

Triceps cable extensions 4s x 8-10

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monday Failboat

6 June 2016


Bench press 320 lbs. x 3, 290 lbs. x 4

Was supposed to do 320x4, which should have been well within my ability, but everything felt off today. Even the 290x4 was hard. Did not try a second back-off set in order to save some energy and at least hit the paused bench press weights.

On a more positive note, this is the first bench press rep I've missed in a long while. Maybe it's just a fluke.

Paused bench press 285 lbs. x 4, 260 lbs. x 4

Also felt much harder than it had any right to feel.

Pulldowns 4s x 8

Standing BTN press 135 lbs. 3s x 8

Bicep superset DB preacher curl + EZ preacher curl +EZ reverse curl x 3

Pushdowns 3s x 12

Positive Feels

2 June 2016


Squat 410 lbs. x 5, 400 lbs. x 5, 380 lbs. x 5

High-bar squat 295 lbs. x 8, x 6

Squats felt good, so I added 10 lbs. and did an extra set. Could have gone with 415 easily.

Hack squat 4s x 12

Leg extension 3s x AMAP

Adductor machine 3s x 8