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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Obligatory End of 2013 Post

It's that time again (the year flew by quickly) when I analyze my training achievements and failures over the previous year, see how it went compared to the previous year. In summary I can say 2013 went very well lifting-wise. Good gains on the squat and (somewhat stalled) bench press and I finally broke the 500 pound deadlift barrier. So now I can deadlift as much weight as a high school athlete - hell yeah!

2012 Max - 515 lbs. @ 210 lbs. BW
2013 Max - 535 lbs. @ 213 lbs. BW

Increase: 20 lbs. My squat is going up steadily. I did implement some changes (more paused squats, dramatically reduced heavy set volume) and am really pleased that I still made progress. Goes to show that I can keep getting stronger by doing far less work. Also hit 500x3.

Bench Press:
2012 Max - 370 lbs. @ 210 lbs. BW
2013 Max - 385 lbs. @ 214 lbs. BW

Increase: 15 lbs. Very pleased with this. I kept getting better at 5RM and 2RM work, hitting 325x5, 340x3 and 355x2, and found a program that works very well for me. Maybe I hit that planned 405 in 2014... maybe. Also the SlingShot seems to have helped a lot.

2012 Max - 495 lbs. @ 210 lbs. BW
2013 Max - 515 lbs. @ 213 lbs. BW

Increase: 20 lbs. Stoked to finally hit 500+, and this after setting a PR in the squat. After years of zero progress and frustration, I have found a good groove for deadlifts and will continue to exploit it in the next year. Also nailed 455x2.

Overhead press - no progress here, I have been doing behind-the-neck seated presses almost exclusively over the past several months. I did hit a very easy standing military press with 225 lbs. and narrowly missed 245, which I now realize would have been a standing press PR. I don't see switching back to standing front presses anytime soon.

Things that worked well:

- Paused squats and bench presses
- SlingShot work on the bench press
- Seated and standing BTN presses for reps
- More frequency, consistency and volume on arm work
- More upper back volume
- Using a quasi-Texas Method program for the squat and deadlift
- Cable pulling for volume
- Piriformis, knee and pectoral pain healed over time
- Very few scheduled workouts missed

Things that could have gone better:

- Pain in tricep elbow attachment (right) that still comes and goes
- Inconsistent conditioning - started the year pretty strong, but slacked off toward the end
- Eating was at times all over the place. Nothing close to how I used to binge before, but not very clean either.
- I need to build up my quads

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lower Body Intensity

29 December 2013

Deadlift 135x8, 225x5, 315x4, 385x2, 415x2, then 455x2

This might be a 2RM, wanted three but couldn't even budge the third.

Leg curl 3s x 10

Weighted Roman chair situp 4s x 8

Chest-supported rows 3s x 12

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bench Press - Heavy

28 December 2013

Bench press 340 lbs. 2s x 3, 335 lbs. x 3 - felt strangely achy today, so I dropped the weight on the last set. Still was a grinder.

Bench press w. SlingShot 360 lbs. x 3

Seated BTN press 135x8, 185x5, 205x5, then tried 185x10 but only got 7 reps.

EZ bar combo curls 3s x 10 (strict+cheat)

DB hammer curls 2s x 8

Tricep pushdown 2s x 15, 1s x 12

Cable curls 2s x 10-12

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Light Upper Body

26 December 2013

Lifted at the gym at work, so no bench presses or seated BTN presses.

Standing BTN press 135x5, 155x5, 175x5, 135x8

Bent-over row 135x10, 185x5, 225x2sx5

Pulldown 3s x 8

Tricep pushdown 5s x 10

Lateral raise x20, x10, x 10

Bent-over lateral raise x15, x12

EZ bar curl 3s x 8

Seated DB curl 3s x 8

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Volume Squat Day

23 December 2013

Paused high-bar close-stance squat 245 lbs. 3s x 5

Regular HBCS squat 320 lbs. 3s x 5

All 6 sets done in something like 20 minutes, so sort of like speed squatting.

Romanian DL 225 lbs. 3s x 5 - nice deep stretch for the hamstrings.

Leg extension 3s x 12

Seated leg curl 3s x 12

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bench Press Heavy Day

22 December 2013

Bench press warmup to 300x2, then 335 lbs. 3x3 - pretty fast.

Bench press w. SlingShot 355 lbs. x 5 - had one or maybe two left in the tank.

Seated DB curls 5s x 8

Pulldowns x15, x10, x8, x6 pyramiding up in weight.

Standing BTN press 135 x 10, 145 x 10, x 8

Hammer curls 2s x 8

Cable pushdowns 3s x 10

Cable curls 4s x 10-12

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Squat - Heavy Day

19 December 2013

By "heavy day" I really mean a medium-weight day with all sets done explosively.

Paused high bar close stance squat up to 290 lbs. x 3, 335 x 3

Regular squat 375 lbs. x 3 - every rep done very fast

Speed deadlift 305 lbs. x 6 singles on the minute - every rep was strong and explosive

Chest-supported row x 18, x 11, x 10 for 39 total reps

Leg extension x18, x 15, x 15 for 48 total reps

Leg curl x 20, x 10, x 12 for 42 total reps

The goal is to hit 50 reps over 3 sets with a certain weight, an idea I picked up from the Lift-Run-Bang site.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Light Bench Press Day

17 December 2013

Paused bench press 285 lbs. 3s x 5

Seated cable row 2s x 10, 2s x 8

Seated BTN press 135x8, 185x5, 195 2s x 5

EZ bar curls 3s x 8

Tricep pushdown 2s x 12, 1s x 15

Cable curl 3s x AMAP

Light Squat Day

16 December 2013

Paused high-bar squat 225 lbs. 3s x 5

Regular high-bar close-stance squat 295 lbs. 3s x 5

All done in ca. 20 minutes. The high-bar squat seems to be more forgiving on my lower back and hips, and I feel like I could do this several times per week. Of course, the weights are still very low, so maybe that's the reason. I'll keep high-bar-ing it until the weights get too heavy.

Leg extension 4s x 10

Leg curl, seated 4s x 10

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bench Press - Heavy

14 December 2013

Bench press warmup to 275x2, 300x2, then 330 lbs. 3x3 - felt tired today, but these were explosive and strong.

Bench press w. SlingShot 350 lbs. x 7 - don't know where that came from.

Neutral-grip pullups 3s x 5

Standing BTN press 135x10, 145x10

DB hammer curl 2s x 10

Tricep pushdowns 3s x 12

KB and plate curls for a few set

Friday, December 13, 2013

Heavy Lower Body Day

12 December 2013

Deadlift 135x10, 225x6, 315x4, 385x2, 405x2, 445 x 3 - strong and explosive

Chest-supported hammer rows 1s x 10, 2s x 8

Roman chair situps 3s x 12

Heavy machine situps 2s x 8

Weighted back raise 2s x 10

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Light Press Day

10 December 2013

Paused bench press 285 lbs. x 3s x 5 - good

Seated cable row 2s x 10, 2s x 6

Seated BTN press 135x5, 185x5, 195x5

Pulldowns 1s x 8, 2s x 6

Hammer curls 2s x 12

Tricep pushdowns 3s x 12

EZ bar combo curls 2s x 10

Messed around some more with KB and plate curls for random reps and sets.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Light Squat Day

9 December 2013

Today I started a new squat program, which will be kinda similar to the last one (1 day per week light squat, 1 day heavy lower body alternating squats and deadlifts from week to week). I have also decided that I should pay more attention to my quads, as they seem to be somewhat lagging. So I'll be doing more high-bar, close-stance, upright squats to offset years of ham-intensive squatmornings. This will require the use of lower poundages, as my best high-bar squat is only around 450 or so (probably less now).

Paused high-bar squat 205 lbs. x 3s x 5, 265 lbs. x 2s x 5

The sets with 265 didn't have to be paused, but I paused them anyway because the weight is still so light.

Roman chair situps 2s x 12

Leg extensions 3s x 12

Leg curl 3s x 10

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Bench Press Intensity Day

6 December 2013

Bench press warmup to 275x2, 300x2, then 325x5, 315x5, x4

The set with 325 is a "rep PR" (I think), but the two 315s felt super heavy after that. Looking forward to switching to triples for the next three weeks.

With SlingShot 345 lbs. x 5

Standing BTN press 135 x 10, 145 x 2s x 10

Hammer curl 2s x 10

Tricep pushdown 2s x 12, 1s x 8

Pulldowns 2s x 6, 1s x 5

Messed around with some kettlebell and plate curls for about 4-5 sets.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Lower Body Intensity Day

5 December 2013

Warmup leg extensions 1x15, leg curl 1x10

Paused squat triples, up to 345x3, then 370x3

Regular squat 385x3, 405x3, 455x3

Speed deadlift 300 lbs. 7 singles on the minute

Weighted back raise 3s x 10

Roman chair situps 3s x 10

Will be changing my lower body training slightly, lowering the squat weight significantly on rep day and working up to comfortable singles on the heavy day, while also alternating heavy squats with heavy deadlifts every week. My squats feel a bit off and I think I need to drop the weight and concentrate more on the explosive part of the lift. Also I have made very good progress on the squat in recent years and would like to focus a bit more on my pitiful deadlift in 2014.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Light Pressing and Upper Body

2 December 2013

Opened with some light hamstring curls because the hams were killing me from squatting the day before. I don't know why it's my hams that hurt the most after taking a week off, I never experience much soreness in the other muscle groups lifting after a layoff.

Hamstring curls (light) x 20, x 15

Abductor machine x 20

Paused bench press 285 lbs. 3s x 5 - easy, but not easy enough to up the weight.

Seated pulley row 4s x 8

Seated BTN press 135 x 5, 185 lbs. 3s x 5 - heavier than it should have felt.

DB hammer curls 3s x 10

Tricep pushdowns 3s x 12

Concentration curls 3s x 6, heavy-ish.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Post-Holiday Training - Legs

1 December 2013

I took last week off from the gym due to holiday travel, so this was my first post-holiday workout. I did keep training with cables and some BW squats and split squats, so didn't get completely lazy.

High-bar paused squats 275x5, 315x5 - these were really hard.

High-bar regular squats 335x5, 365x5, 385x5, 405x5

Romanian deadlifts 225 lbs. 3s x 5

Leg extensions 3s x 10

Leg curls 3s x 10

Weighted Roman chair situps 3s x 10-12