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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


Ruin Christmas said...

This is a solid post. Nice lifts.

Question time: (I'm gonna read more archives but just humor me for now):

"Paused squats" - hi bar or low?

"SlingShot work on the bench press"
really? for raw?

"Cable pulling for volume" - explain pls? exercises? sets? reps?

thx. and kids are a prison.

Fatman said...

Paused I've done both hi-bar and low. Last 4-5 workouts it's been hi-bar because I'm trying to work the quads more. But as I move the weight up I'll be switching to LB, or keep doing light paused HB followed by regular LB.

I didn't think the SlingShot would work either, but it does. I do one all-out SlingShot set on a heavy day after all my normal sets are done.

If your chest is strong but the tris are weak, the SS can help. Otherwise, probably not so much.

Cable pulls are various exercises with a chest expander set. Not sure if you're familiar with these. I used to have 2 chest expander days per week and followed a set/rep/resistance progression program, but now I just use them when traveling and strictly for "pump". I can elaborate if you're interested.

Ruin Christmas said...

Yeah, elaborate. Like the old school thing from Sears with the green plastic handles and the springs between it? Or a more modern kind with stretchy cables?

Um if you do stuff like bicep curls and "regular exercises" while on the road you don't have to get into it.

But I would like to know the progression of what you did with the actual "chest expander" exercise, aka band pullaparts. And if you did any other weird shoulder stuff with them that you couldn't do with a barbell.

Fatman said...

I use a special set of handles and surgical tubing loops for the cables. The handles are made by The rubber loops you can buy from him, or buy bulk tubing online and make your own.

Another good source of chest expanders is Lifeline (

Some popular exercises with the expander:

Front pull - this is the "chest expander" exercise, i.e. pullapart. It works the upper back muscles.

Overhead pulldown - this is like chest pull but done from overhead to traps. Works the lats.

Back press - behind-the-neck press with scapular shrug. Works the shoulders and triceps, also the scap muscles.

Overhead press - with cables held behind the back, like a 1-arm DB press.

Lateral raise - like lat raises with DBs.

Curl - from various angles.

Triceps stretch - from various angles (in front of chest, overhead, pushdown with cables across neck, etc.).

The progression I used was simple. Pick a cable resistance and do 10 reps. If you get all 10, add a bit of resistance next time and try to get 10. One set per exercise.

I compiled a bunch of cable pulling articles in a PDF document, see below:

Ruin Christmas said...

Awesome man, thanks for the links and for literally writing a book. I may be the first one to ever read it?
Will I get into it seriously? I dunno. I'll start with what I can do with EFS bands and see how it goes.

Ruin Christmas said...

never mind I see that like 15000 people have read it. I am not sure if I can use scribd to dl it though

Fatman said...

There were links on a couple of other sites.

This might be one for direct download. There was also one on Ross Enamait's site, but that might be for the first edition. Let me know if one of them works.

Also LOL'd at 15,000 readers. I checked the first edition (also on Scribd), and that one had almost 21,500. Never thought it'd get more than a hundred hits.

Ruin Christmas said...

got it from the yoga link. thankx