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Monday, December 31, 2012

Thoughts On 2012

Toward the end of every year I like to go over the things that happened in the past 12 months of training, analyze what I did and didn't do, what went well and what sucked and see where I’m at in my lifting in terms of weight lifted and bodyweight. It generally ends up being a mixture of good and bad; however, lifting-wise 2012 saw more good things than bad.

I also feel like I've found good training templates for all three lifts. Seeing as the world didn't end this year (although there's still a few hours left), 2013 should be even better.

Most important indicator – weight lifted
In made steady progress in all three powerlifts and finally broke through a 2-year deadlift plateau. To be honest, the deadlift has always been my weakest lift and had nowhere to go but up, but it’s good to see the numbers finally move. Hopefully this means I’ll be moving it from “pathetic” to “average” in 2013.

2011 Max – 480 lbs. @ ca. 198 lbs. BW
2012 Max – 515 lbs. @ ca. 210 lbs. BW

Increase: 25 lbs. Very happy about this, although it did come with an increase in BW. Last time I was in this BW range I squatted 475, so this is definitely good improvement.

Bench Press:
2011 Max – 360 lbs. @ ca. 198 lbs. BW
2012 Max – 370 lbs. @ ca. 210 lbs. BW

Increase: 10 lbs. Not terrific, but not bad either. As long as I get to the big 405 eventually I’ll take this. I hit this max on two separate occasions, the second time thinking I’d increased the weight enough to hit a personal best… oh well L I also increased the weight I use for repetition work by quite a bit.

2011 Max – 445 lbs. @ ca. 200 lbs. BW (all-time PR 455 lbs.)
2012 Max – 495 lbs. @ ca. 210 lbs.

Increase: 50 lbs. over my 2011 best, 40 lbs. over my all-time best. Blasted through a two-year plateau, so I’m even happier about that than about the actual increase in weight. Will break the 500-mark in the first half of 2013.

Overhead Press:
2011 Max – 235 lbs. (standing) @ ca. 198 lbs.
2012 Max – 245 lbs. (seated) @ ca. 205 lbs.

This years I switched to seated overhead pressing to spare the low back, which was getting beat up from the weekly squats and deadlifts. No standing press PR, but I established new PRs in the seated military front press of 245 lbs. and behind-the-neck press of 225 lbs. I might do a cycle of standing presses at the beginning of 2013, but the seated presses will probably remain my staple overhead pressing movement.

Things that I think worked in 2012:

- Ran through a few good programs and found out the ones that give me the biggest bang for my buck
- Consistent about doing shrugs, heavy ab work and arm work, which I have often neglected in the past
- Glute-ham raises
- Bench pressing twice a week and doing heavier repetition sets
- Getting serious about deadlift rack work – not just “ego pulls” from above the knee, which did nothing for my deadlift, but working the uncomfortable mid-shin and below-knee ranges
-  Started some light running towards the end of the year at no cost to overall strength levels. I’m more and more convinced that the concept of ‘cardio’ making one weak is a myth propagated by fat people.
- Super 100s – hundred-rep sets, where I go for a total of 100 reps with a very light weight. Did these for curls, front shoulder raises and leg extensions, bench press a few times (just the bar)
- Incline pressing – a great alternative to flat bench presses. I’m running these through January 2013 to alleviate the right pec issue, then will go back to regular bench presses
- Creatine – first time I’ve ever used this and it seems to be working well, but I don’t like the bloat and water weight

Things that didn’t go that well in 2012:

- Slacking on cable training – the poundages that I used to pull for reps I now can’t even get singles with. My cable training has shifted more toward high-rep pulls (sets of 20), which is good, as I do little bodybuilding work. Still, it’s disappointing to get weak on the big pulls.
- At the end of 2011 I decided to do more overhead pressing, instead it totally took a back seat to bench pressing
- Persistent discomfort in right pec/delt area. I healed this by avoiding heavy bench presses and doing inclines instead, but I had to cut my last bench press cycle short because of it.
- Pain in right knee and left piriformis muscle

Here's to a happy and productive 2013!

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