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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

5/3/1 Program - Week 54, Day 2

6 October 2010

Back squat:

Warmup 4 sets (takes me a while to get going at this weight)
142.5 kgs (314 lbs) x 3
162.5 kgs (358 lbs) x 3
182.5 kgs (402 lbs) x 6 reps (solid)

Pullups 2 sets x 5

Dips 2 sets x 10

Good mornings:

50 kgs (110 lbs) x 7
80 kgs (176 lbs) x 5
100 kgs (220 lbs) x 4
120 kgs (264 lbs) x 3

EZ bar bicep curls - went from 40 kgs (88 lbs) to 70 kgs (154 lbs) for in a few sets, 5 reps per set at first, then gradually dropped down to triples.

Also messed around with some dumbbell clean&presses. Did a quick warmup with 32.5 kgs (71 lbs), then straight on to 42.5 kgs (93 lbs). To my surprise the right-arm press was very slow and I barely made it (even had to kick a bit with the legs), but my weaker left arm shot the weight up like it wasn't even there in military style.

Overall, not a bad workout. My lower back is really feeling the constant squatting/deadlifting/power cleaning strain, though, I might have to re-organize things a bit because I'm not recovering well enough at this point.

Monday, October 4, 2010

5/3/1 Program - Week 54, Day 1

4 October 2010

Bench press:

Warmup 2 sets
225 lbs x 3
260 lbs x 3
290 lbs x 7 reps (didn't feel tough at all... if only I could have more days like this)


Warmup 2 sets
285 lbs x 3
325 lbs x 3
365 lbs x 10 reps (deads felt kinda off)

Weighted/unweighted ab work on incline situp board x 4 sets

Pullups 4 sets x 5

Close-grip bench press:

135 lbs x 3
205 lbs x 2
225 lbs x 2
245 lbs x 2
255 lbs x 2
275 lbs x 2
295 lbs x 1 (a PR of sorts)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Aerobic Isometrics

30 July 2010

Aerobic isometrics have been around for a while, but were little known to the public until Ironmind published Steve Justa's excellent book Rock, Iron, Steel. In a twist of the classic functional isometric contraction theory, where one exerts a brief 100% effort against an immovable object for 6-7 seconds, the contraction is longer but at a suitably lower intensity (30-40% is suggested).

I decided to use my long TNT cables for this. It is pretty much impossible to gauge the intensity of the contraction over such a long period of time, so the cables keep me honest - I stretch them to the desired position and hold them there for as long as possible. This is important: after 20-25 seconds the effort seems closer to 60%, and toward the end of the set my muscles are shaking badly and the handles are almost impossible to hold in position.

Some exercises were tough to set up with cables, so I reverted to the Universal Strength Apparatus sold by - the best suspension device on the market, also doubles handily as a portable isometric power rack.

I used light cable resistance and aimed for one minute - long contractions. Made it on most sets, had to cut it short on a few of them. Some exercises I used were:

Bicep curl 3 positions
Tricep exercises - pushdowns, overhead extensions
Horizontal row 2 positions
Chest press 2 positions
Bent-over row 1 position
Straight arm pulldown to sides 2 positions

Some exercises used with the USA:

Bent press
Lateral raise

A few sets of one-minute wall sits

Etc., etc.

This is decent low-intensity work, burns like hell while you're doing it but doesn't strain the joints.It also feels like I could do it a few times a week without interfering with my other training.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio (10 July 1942 - 16 May 2010)

On May 16 Ronald James Padavona, who achieved world-wide fame under the name Ronnie James Dio, lost a six-month long battle with stomach cancer.

He will be remembered first and foremost as the vocal power of one of the most influential metal bands of all time, Black Sabbath, where he replaced another heavy metal icon, Ozzy Osbourne. Dio will later quit Sabbath and go on to form the band Dio with drummer Vinny Appice. At the time of his death he was also heavily involved in another project, Heaven and Hell, together with several former Sabbath musicians.

A heavy metal icon, Dio will be remembered for his extraordinary vocal performances, lyrics, and the "devil's horns" gesture which he popularized and turned into a symbol worshipped by metalheads across the globe. One of my favorite heavy metal vocalists of all time, he leaves behind a legacy of great albums and live performances from the golden era of heavy metal and beyond. A true legend. R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

5/3/1 Program - Week 35, Day 2

28 April 2010


Warmup 2 sets
150 lbs x 5
170 lbs x 5
190 lbs x 9 (satisfied)

Right shoulder has been tweaked for a while, I don't think the benching and overhead pressing is helping things but it's not bad enough for me to stop. Yet.

I also think I am getting close to my limit in the C&P. This cycle will end at 215 lbs., which I hope to get, then the next target is 220. This is a considerable increase over my all-time best (especially done for reps) and I might have to back-track within the next cycle or two. We shall see.

Later in the day:

Back press GYG x 10 reps (another big PR, knocking on the door of the triple greens)

One-arm overhead press YGY x 10 reps each arm

Archer pull OOO x 5, ORO x 5

Monday, April 26, 2010

5/3/1 Program - Week 35, Day 1

26 April 2010

Bench press:

Warmup 1 set
215 lbs x 5
245 lbs x 5
270 lbs x 8 reps (mediocre effort)


Warmup 2 sets
270 lbs x 5
300 lbs x 5
335 lbs x 12 reps (nice effort here)


BW x 10
+45 lbs x 8
+70 lbs x 6
+90 lbs x 4

All I had time for today.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

5/3/1 Program - Week 34, Day 3 Plus Cables

24 April 2010

Back squat:

Warmup 2 sets (50 and 110 kgs)
133 kgs (293 lbs) x 5
148 kgs (326 lbs) x 3
165 kgs (364 lbs) x 6 (very solid reps, probably had 2-3 more but I felt a pain in the lower abdomen so cut it short while the going was still good)

Hanging leg raise: 5 sets x 12 reps


50 kgs (110 lbs) x 10
80 kgs (176 lbs) x 6
100 kgs (221 lbs) x 6 reps

EZ-bar curl:

37.5 kgs (83 lbs) x 5
47.5 kgs (105 lbs) x 5
57.5 kgs (127 lbs) x 3
67.5 kgs (149 lbs) x 1
70 kgs (154 lbs) x fail x 2 attempts (no cheat curls today)

Then later:

Back press YGY x 5, GYG x 5 (owned that sucker for a big PR)

Front lateral raise YY x 10 reps

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

5/3/1 Program - Week 34, Day 2

21 April 2010


Warmup 2 sets
165 lbs x 5
185 lbs x 3
210 lbs x 3 (doesn't seem like much, but my previous one-rep max was 205, so this is makes me a very happy camper)

Lost the bar after the third rep, tried to re-clean it twice, didn't work.

That's all I had time for today.

Monday, April 19, 2010

5/3/1 Program - Week 34, Day 1

19 April 2010

Bench press:

Warmup (2 sets)
235 lbs x 5
265 lbs x 3
295 lbs x 5 reps (pretty much all I had, but managed nice, clean repetitions)


Warmup 1 set
290 lbs x 5
330 lbs x 3
370 lbs x 5 (wasn't really hoping for more - my legs and low back are still totally fried from Saturday's squatting)

Then alternated:

Hamstring curls x 3 sets
Seated rows x 3 sets (as to not aggravate back)


BW x 10
+45 lbs x 6
+70 lbs x 4
+80 lbs x 4
+90 lbs x 4
+100 lbs x 3

Weighted and incline situps 4 sets.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

5/3/1 Program - Week 33, Day 3

17 April 2010

Weak legs today, I was lacking drive out of the bottom of the squat and my hamstrings were giving up on me. 125 kgs felt heavy, and on the final set every rep past the fourth felt like a max effort. So I did the squatting and pretty much just messed around after that.

Back squat:

Warmup 2 sets
125 kgs (276 lbs) x 3
140 kgs (309 lbs) x 3
158 kgs (348 lbs) x 11 reps

EZ bar curl:

32.5 kgs (72 lbs) x 5
47.5 kgs (105 lbs) x 5
57.5 kgs (127 lbs) x 3
67.5 kgs (149 lbs) x 1 rep x 2 sets

Thursday, April 15, 2010

5/3/1 Program - Week 33, Day 2

15 April 2010


Warmup (dumbbells, then 135 lbs)
155 lbs x 3
175 lbs x 3
195 lbs x 8 (messed up - should have used 200)

Right shoulder is a bit tweaked, so didn't push particularly hard on the last set.

Then did some isolation leg work, the quads and hamstrings usually give up on me when I'm squatting, maybe some strengthening work is in order:

Leg extension 3 sets x 10
Leg curl 3 sets x 10

Pullups 7 sets x 5 reps

That was mostly it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

5/3/1 Program - Week 33, Day 1

13 April 2010

Felt really weak, but managed some okay lifting:

Bench press:

Warmup 1 set
215 lbs x 3
250 lbs x 3
280 lbs x 7 reps (no spotter, could have gone for 8 or even 9 from the feel of it)


Warmup 1 set
270 lbs x 3
315 lbs x 3
350 lbs x 8 reps (barely managed this)


BW x 10
+45 lbs x 6
+70 lbs x 5
+80 lbs x 4
+90 lbs x 4
+100 lbs x 3

Bent-over row:

135 lbs x 5
185 lbs x 5
205 lbs x 5
225 lbs x 5
235 lbs x 5
255 lbs x 4

EZ bar curls: 5 sets between 110 and 125 lbs., 3-5 reps.

Some biceps machine work (preacher curls)

3 sets of 10 on the hamstring curl (old weakness).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bodybuilding With the TNT Cable System

7 March 2010

Had a great workout today using the TNT cables and door attachment. I set the attachment to three different positions and did a bunch of exercises from each position, working in the 10-12 repetition range and getting a great "pump". Resistances varied - basically I stuck with whatever felt moderately heavy for each exercise (as this was a sort of 'active recovery').

The exercises performed were as follows (1 light and 2 moderate sets):

Straight-arm lat pulldowns
Tricep pushdowns
Kneeling cable crunches
Mid-height cable crossovers
Cable twists
Horizontal rows
Bicep curls from low cable position
Cable-resisted crunches
Up-right rows
Bicep curls
Lateral raises (1 set only)