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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

RIP Back

28 January 2015

I tried squatting and deadlifting today and disaster ensued. My back held out fine on the squats, although I didn't push the weight or reps, but I felt a pop in my left piriformis as soon as I tried deadlifting, accompanied by the type of sharp, rolling pain similar to being kicked in the balls. I'll wait a few days for the pain to subside, then go see a doctor if it doesn't get better. In the meantime, bench press specialization and light leg work, I guess.

Back squat 135x8, 225x3, 275x3, 315x5, 335x3, 365x3, 375x2

Sumo deadlift - 135 and 275 felt fine, my back seized up halfway up with 345

I'll go back to doing machine leg work and no lower back for the time being. Something like 2 days upper body lifting, 2 days light lower body lifting. This totally sucks, but it could be a lot worse - I could have a spinal injury. I hope that's not what it is.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Light Pressing

26 January 2015

Straight-arm pulldown 3s x 8

Reverse fly 3s x 10-12

Bench press 270 lbs. 3s x 5

Military front press 150 lbs. 3s x 5

Cable fly 3s x 10

Close-grip bench press up to 285x4 with SlingShot

Dips 3s x 10

Tricep pushdown 3s x 10-12

Back Rehab Day 2

25 January 2015

Abductor machine 4 sets x 12-15

Adductor machine 3 sets x 12-15

Leg press 20-15-12-10-8, pyramiding up in weight

Hack squat 4 sets x 8, same as above

Barbell shrug - worked up to 600 lbs. x 3, much better form than last time

Seated cable row 12-10-8-8, pyramiding up in weight

Pulldown 15-10-8-6, as above

Leg extension 4 sets x 10, increasing weight each set

Leg curl 4 sets x 8, same as above

Ab machine 3 sets x 10

Fat Gripz hammer curls 3 sets x 6-8, regular hammer curls 1 set x 8

DB preacher curls 4 sets x 6-8

Fat Gripz EZ bar curls 4 sets x 6-8

30 minutes cycling

Will experiment with adding back some squats and deadlifts next week, very light and controlled.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Heavy Pressing

23 January 2014

Bench press 310 lbs. 3s x 6, SlingShot (R) 340 lbs. x 5

These felt pretty weak. 340x5 with the reactive SS is only about one more rep than I can do without the SS. Not very happy with the bench pressing this and last week, although I did hit all the required reps.

Push press up to 205 lbs. x 2

EZ bar skullcrushers 3s x 10

Dips 3s x 10

Pushdowns 3s x 10-12

Friday, January 23, 2015

Back Rehab Day One

22 January 2015

Today the plan was to do a bunch of back and biceps stuff and see what leg exercises could be done without back pain. So I did:

Adductor machine 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Abductor machine 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Hack squats 5 sets x 8-10 reps

Barbell shrugs - worked up to 575, then my back started to twinge a little and my shrugs deteriorated to twitches so I called it a day. Also threw in the Fat Gripz on the first two sets for some forearm gainz.

Pulldowns 4 or 5 sets x 15-8 reps (cutting reps - increasing weight)

Chest-supported row machine 4 sets x 10 reps

Leg extensions 4 sets x 10 reps

Leg curls 4 sets x 8 reps

Fat Gripz hammer curls 4 sets x 8 reps

DB preacher curls 5 sets x 8-10 reps

EZ bar curl 4 sets x 6-8 reps

Fat Gripz EZ bar reverse curls 4 sets x 6 reps

20 minutes cycling

Looks like a lot of work written down like this, but I didn't feel that tired afterwards. Nice and pumped, tho.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pressing Volume - Back Rehab Edition

20 January 2015

Back is feeling better, so I'll stay away from squats and deadlifts this week and hope it heals completely by next week. Instead of doing a light and heavy squat/deadlift day, I'll do a bunch of extra upper back work and cardio. Maybe some heavy shrugs. Haven't done BB shrugs in ages.

Straight-arm front pulldown 3s x 8

Behind-the-back row 3s x 8-10

Bench press 265 lbs. 3s x 5

Standing front military press 145x5, 150x5, 155x5, 165x5

Was supposed to do 145 for 3x5, but the weight felt super light so I did some extra pressing.

DB flyes 2s x 10

Close-grip bench press 225 lbs. 2s x 5, SlingShot 275 lbs. 1sx5

This will be my main triceps exercise for the next few weeks. Will try to work up to 315-325 for 5 with the reactive SlingShot.

Pushdowns x15, x12, 2s x 10

20 minutes cycling

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Brokeback Gym

16 January 2015

A couple of days ago I strained my lower back pretty severely moving stuff around my office. It was literally like an explosion of pain right above the piriformis and I thought I wouldn't be able to stand up straight again. Fortunately it subsided quickly, and I don't think it's serious at all (just annoying), but it's still bothering me and I have some sciatic pain.

So like every other time I've been hurt, I waited a couple of days and went back to the gym to do squats and bench presses.

Back squat 225x8, 275x4, 315x3, 365x3, 405x3 (belt + wraps), 455x2, 485x2, 520x2 (all B+W)

There actually wasn't that much pain past the set with 405. I probably cut the set with 520 a little high, not because it hurt but because I bitched out (I kept thinking my left leg would go numb at the bottom of the squat).

Bench press 305 lbs. 3s x 6, SlingShot (R) 340x4

Not bad for zero leg drive.

After the lifting, however, the pain flared up pretty badly and now I'm limping around. I think I'll give the squats and deadlifts a miss for a while and see how it turns out. I'm pretty confident it'll go away after a week's rest, or maybe I'm just kidding myself.

But yeah, at least all those squats and deadlifts over 500 pounds have given me enough functional strength for tasks that untrained geriatric men can do effortlessly.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Leg Volume

12 January 2015

Back squat 335 lbs. x 5, 415 lbs. x 2s x 5

Sumo deadlift 355 lbs. 10 singles with 60-second rest in between

Leg extensions 3s x 10-12

Ab machine 3s x 8-10

Row 2,500m.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Volume Upper Body

11 January 2015

Did cardio yesterday.

Straight arm pulldown 3s x 8

BTB row + paused shrug 3s x 10-12

Bench press 265 lbs. 3s x 5

Seated cable row 12-10-8-6

Front military press 150 lbs. 3s x 5 - hurts the shoulder less than BTN. Will have to do some shoulder rehab. Also was only supposed to use 140, but again only the squat bar was available and I didn't have the patience to wait.

DB flyes 3s x 10

DB tricep extension 3s x 8-10

Preacher curls 4s x 10

EZ bar curls 4s x AMAP

Heavy Squat, Light Pulls

9 January 2015

Squat 145x6, 235x4, 285x3, 325x3, 375x3, 415x3 (belt+wraps), 465x3, 510x3 (B+W on last two)

Used the heavier squat bar as it was the only one available, hence the weird poundages.

Deadlift 350 lbs. 12 singles with under 60 seconds rest in between

Bent over row 185 lbs. 3s x 8

Fat Gripz hammer curls 3s x 8

Fat Gripz EZ bar reverse curls 3s x 8

Hip thrusts 4s x 5-8

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bench Press - Back to 6-5-3-2-1

7 January 2014

Straight arm pulldown 3s x 8

BTB row + paused shrug 3s x 10-12

Bench press 300 lbs. 2s x 6, 1s x 9

The 9 reps with 300 might be some sort of "rep PR". Weight felt light, but after a month of no flat bench pressing I could definitely feel my endurance wasn't up to par.

Bench press with SlingShot (reactive) 330 lbs. x 6

First time pressing with the reactive SS. It provides a boost, but not much of a boost - 1-2 more reps than I could've gotten without one. With the red SS, I would have probably hit 8 or 9 reps. Hopefully less assistance = more carryover.

Push press 135x4, 165x2, 185x2 - wrist pain got pretty intense here, so I stopped.

I have located the source of the wrist pain (finally), it's a trigger point in my inner forearm (even though the pain is on the outside of the wrist). BTW I would recommend that everyone checks out this site and associated blog:

Face pulls 3s x 20 - these felt good.

Tricep pushdown (rope) 3s x 12-15

Fat Gripz reverse curl 3s x 8

Monday, January 5, 2015

Volume Squat and Sumo Deadlifts

5 January 2015

Squat 325 lbs x 5, 405 lbs. 2s x 5

Sumo deadlift 330 lbs. x 12 singles, less than 60 seconds rest

I'll be deadlifting twice a week this training cycle, once sumo and once conventional. I'm sure it'll work great.

Ab machine 3s x 8-10

30 minutes cycling.

Back to Benching

4 January 2015

Straight-arm pulldown 3s x 8-10

BTB row + shrug combo 4s x 10-12

Bench press 255 lbs. 3s x 5

Seated cable row 12-10-8-6

BTN press 115 lbs. 2s x 5, front press 135 lbs. 1s x 5

Felt a weird pain in my right scapula while BTN pressing, so decided to go light.

DB fly 3s x 10

DB tricep extensions 3s x 10

Cable curls 4s x 12-15

Squats and Pulls, New Year Edition

3 January 2015

Back squat 135x8, 226x5, 275x3, 315x3, 365x3, 405x3, 455x3 (belt+wraps), 500x3 (B+W)

Deadlift 345 lbs. x 15 singles, under 60 seconds rest in between reps.

Bent-over row 185 lbs. 3s x 8

Fat Gripz Hammer curls 3s x 8

Fat Gripz EZ bar reverse curls 3s x 8

Hip thrusts 4-5s x 5

Ab machine 3s x 8

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ringing in 2015

1 January 2015

Straight-arm pulldown 3s x 8-10

Upper back superset 3s x 10-12

Incline press 135x6, 185x6, 205x5, 235x3, 255x5

Push press up to 215x1, then front military press 135x5

Ring pullups 3s x 5

Close-grip bench press up to 235x4

Biceps tri-sets 3 rounds

2014 In Conclusion

After reviewing my old training logs, it turns out that my last heavy deadlift of 2014 only tied my 2013 PR. I somehow thought my old PR was 510. I did hit minimal PRs in the squat and bench press, so I guess I haven't just been spinning my wheels. In the coming year I plan to do more deadlift work and try to bring my pull in line with my squat. I think I've found a system that works (squat and DL on the same day, nothing but singles on the DL). Also to stick to the tried-and-tested bench press cycle and finally hit the long-expected 405.


2013 Max - 535 lbs. @ 213 lbs. BW

2014 Max - 540 lbs. @ 215-220 lbs. BW

Increase: 5 lbs. Not great, but I feel like I should have tried 545 or 550. I did a lot of backing off from the heavier poundages this year and reduced heavy volume even further, and still my squat kept going up. Also my quad size has improved considerably. In 2015 I plan to de-emphasize the squat and work on my deadlift more, so I'm not planning on big squat gains. But another 5-10 pounds should be doable. I'm in a really good zone squat-wise and I hope I'll stay there for a while.

Bench Press:
2013 Max - 385 lbs. @ 214 lbs. BW

2014 Max - 395 lbs. @ 215-220 lbs. BW

Increase: 10 lbs. Knocking on the door of 405. I feel like the SlingShot is helping a lot, and I recently acquired the reactive model, which I'm pretty excited to try out. Also hit 410 with the SlingShot and missed 415. I tried experimenting with heavy singles, but the 6-5-3-2 system still yielded the best results.


Increase: None. Deadlift training in 2014 has been hit-and-miss. Messed around with deadlifting every other week and working up to triples, then switched to the "bastardized Gillingham program" which I had good success with a couple of years ago, but which didn't really yield results this time round. In 2015 I'll be sticking to the singles program and experiment with sumo pulling (seriously).

Things I'm going to try out in 2015:

- More conditioning work, and more consistent conditioning work,

- More light, high-volume exercises for the upper body,

- More front squatting and quadricep work,

- Tackling the sumo deadlift,

- Incline bench 315 pounds. Because I feel like it.