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Monday, January 6, 2020

Split Year Training

Low volume week - got to go crazy with the weights and just hit singles. Two workouts in the old and two in the new year. Here's how it went:

2019:

Squat: 365x2, 405x2, 455x1, 480x1, 510x1, 455x1

This was hard, but doable. Probably close to a one-rep max. Happy with the weights I picked.

Standing overhead press: 155x5, 185x2, 205x1, 225x1, 235 x fail, 195x1

Overhead pressing has not been going as planned, and I'm definitely weaker than I was the last time I tried heavy singles. 235 lbs. would not budge, not sure why I tried that. Even 225 was a struggle.

2020:

Deadlift: 365x2, 405x2, 445x1, 485x1, 505x1, 535x1

Pulling has been going well and I was confident about beating the numbers from last time. 535 lbs. is also my best pull ever, so not bad overall. I don't think I had any more left in me.

Bench press: 315x2, 335x1, 355x1, 380x1

Bar wobbled a bit out of the shitty bar hooks, but I managed to get it under control and press. Again, good weight selection. 385 lbs. would have been too much and I would have been unhappy/disappointed with 375.

Not a bad training cycle. Have had some shoulder and elbow pain, nothing dramatic. Some new things I've added:

  • Fat bar training, mostly for upper body exercises (using FatGripz).
  • Farmer's carries with trap bar - started out with low weights, 30 seconds, one set. Will stick to the same time and gradually increase weight as I progress. Goal is double bodyweight on the bar for 30 seconds, and I'm nowhere near that yet.
  • High-rep cable workouts, for some extra swoleness.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Happy Holidays

Overhead press - 190x9, 210x3

Bench press - 345x7, 365x3, then down to 345x5, 335x7, 355x2

Close-grip bench press - 320x6

Squat - 445x2, 465x3

Deadlift - 465x2

I had to reset the weights slightly on the bench press. Also move my grip a bit closer. Switched to a new gym and all the benches have these annoying hooks that the bar rests on, rather than the slanted pegs I've gotten used to. I press with a relatively wide grip, so it takes a bit more effort to clear the hooks when unracking the weight.

You wouldn't think that makes a difference, but it does - it prevents me from setting up right before lowering the bar to press. I don't like to ask for lift-offs because 90% of gym goers do it incorrectly. I.e. by shrugging the weight up and dumping it on you as you struggle to set your shoulders back into the position they just pulled you out of. Takes a lot of effort to stabilize the bar afterwards, also shakes you up mentally.

The hook position is not a problem with close-grip presses - more space for the bar to travel means enough clearance for the hooks.

Deadlifts are feeling pretty strong. The weights come up smoothly and I don't feel like my head is about to explode from the effort. Little to zero back strain too.

One thing I've been doing lately are leg presses at the end of every lower body workout (so twice per week). Sometimes I do progressively heavier sets of 10, sometimes one death-set of 20-25 reps with a fairly heavy weight. I like leg presses because I can add a ton of work for my legs without straining the lower back or shoulders. Quads are looking bigger and I'm making progress on the squat and deadlift.

Another exercise I've been using is the Romanian deadlift on the HammerStrength machine, as demonstrated by Paul Carter on T-Nation. Strap yourself in and do high reps (15-20), keeping tension on the glutes and hamstrings. Explode on the positive and lower slowly. I feel like these are contributing to the deadlift gains, along with leg presses.

Will do some heavy singles around the New Year.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Malone-Meltzer Age Coefficients

Bench press - managed a whopping 345x10, followed by 365x4.

Bench day was starting to feel like groundhog day. Then I had a breakthrough and hit 345 lbs. for 10 reps. Then I took three weeks off lifting to travel and now I'm back where I started.

According to some bullshit numbers I found on the internet, my recent bench press of 375x1 at my advanced age is the same as pressing 418 lbs. at age 30 or younger. If I can bench 375x1 at age 45, I'll actually be lifting almost 450 lbs. Already feeling stronger.

Standing overhead press - 190x10, 195x8, 210x3, 215x2

Close grip bench press - 315x5

Squat - 425x5, 465x3, 470x3

Deadlift - 445x3, 465x3

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Loading up for the Deload

On the program I'm using now, every fourth week is supposed to be a deload. I.e. you either keep the volume the same but use lighter weights, or do a few heavy singles and no extra work. I went for the latter option.

Also I've been using this template since March, but this week was only the second time I've opted for the deload because I rarely train 4 weeks uninterrupted. Due to time constraints, I lifted four days in a row (Monday through Thursday), which was not that hard, given the low total poundage lifted (only 3-4 sets of assistance exercises after the main lift).

Squat: 405x2, 425x1, 445x1, 465x1, 475x1, 505x1

First squat with 500+ lbs. since 2015 or so. Pretty happy about that.

Standing overhead press: 205x1, 215x1, 225x1, 235x1

This is only 10 lbs. off my best OH press ever. Also pleased.

Deadlift: 405x2, 445x1, 475x1, 495x1, 530x1 (PR)

This breaks a PR set in 2014 by 5 lbs. More than pleased.

Bench press: 315x1, 335x1, 365x1, 385xF, 315x5

I won't lie, I was secretly hoping to get 405x1 and am disappointed. Training has been going very well, I was feeling strong and had hit all the requisite indicator sets - 345x7 and 365x3. This was the fourth consecutive lifting day, so a drop in strength was maybe expected.

I get to run one more full training cycle in November/December, maybe two if I'm lucky. Let's see what happens then.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

HammerStrong

Been traveling quite a bit lately. Training is sporadic. No PRs to report, just a series of solid workouts. Schedule looks hectic so lifting will probably be uneventful for a while.

Started going to a new gym in the neighborhood (same chain, different location). It has awesome old-school plate-loaded machines (HammerStrength) which I'm using for assistance work. My favorite ones are the seated dip, isolateral row and incline/shoulder press. Usually I do one big rest-pause set with a challenging weight for anywhere between 20 and 30 reps. It's fun and adds a lot of extra work for the muscles without adding much time to the workout. One set, 60-90 seconds, and that's it.

Training lifts:

Standing overhead press - 185x7, 205x2.

I seem to be stuck on these numbers - repeated almost the exact set/rep scheme three workouts in a row, except one time I did 205x3.

Bench press - 345x7, 365x2, 370x1

Close-grip bench press - 305x5, 325x3

Squat - 425x5, 455x3, 475x2

Deadlift - 445x2, 465x2, 475x1

No progress, but at least I'm consistent?

Monday, August 5, 2019

Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine

I've been reading this book and finding that a lot of it aligns with my own life philosophy. It could be about 50% shorter, though.


Some lifting highlights in July:

Standing overhead press - 180x9, 195x4 (with some help from the legs), 200x3, 205x2

I should start using a lifting belt for overhead presses.

Bench press - 335x8, 340x6, 370x2

Close-grip bench press - 330x5, 335x4. Almost catching up to my regular-grip press

Squat - 440x3, 465x2

Deadlift - 465x2, 470x3

Monday, June 17, 2019

Consistency

I've had a pretty consistent lifting summer so far. Some interruptions here and there, but nothing to set me back. I've gotten to the point where I can take 1-2 weeks off lifting and lose little to no strength, which is good. On the other hand, this also means I don't gain any strength in that time, which is not so good. My lifts have been stalled for a few years now and my squat has in fact gone down by at least 30-40 lbs. I'm not expecting to set many more PRs at my age, but one or two would be nice.

Bench press - 330x8 and 335x8 in consecutive workouts, followed by 360x2 and 365x2

During my deload week, which is really a low volume week, I worked up to an easy single with 375 lbs. I might try 395x1 next time.

Close grip bench press - 325x5 again and 330x3

The 330x3 set would count as a PR, except I've never tried to max out on close grip triples before so I have nothing to compare it to.

Overhead press - 175x9 and 180x7, 200x2

Squat - 470x2,

Deadlift - 470x2

Bodyweight - just under 220 lbs., around 217-218 most days