Thursday, June 30, 2005

Wk4: Prilepin Bench/DL

10" Incline Close Grip Pushups: 10 Sets of 3

Hoist Neutral Grip Chins (160: BW was 241.2 lbs today): 151.2x3x2, 170x1x2, 185x1N (Being my last negative of this cycle, I held on for dear life.)

Both racks were being used so I had to keep busy. One was being used for squats, and the other was being used for curls and flapping gums by two guys. Ack!!! Had to wait for the rack pulls.

Dumbbell Shoulder Presses (60): 30x10, 40x8, 45x5x2. After the pushups, these were a struggle for the last two sets.

Barbell Curls (90): 50x10, 60x8, 70x5x2, barbell 21s with 40 lbs.

Rack Pulls 2" Below the Knees (385): 90x6, 125x5, 155x5, 185x5, 215x5, 240x5, 275x5x4 (staggered grip). This workout was surprisingly easy . . . sort of. First two sets of 275 were cake until I got to the fifth rep of each, then the lockout was tough. The third set was the same old song and dance but I was starting to feel really beat. The last set was just killer: the last two reps were tough, and I had little speed left.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What It's Like

Flat Bench Press: the numbers on here were based on a 215 max, I just projected a max based on NSCA formula for 185x5 . I've been handling weights for a while now in the 63-80% 1Rm range that even though the numbers point to one thing, I was curious how I would handle a heavy workout. I also wanted a feel for what 225 would feel like. I will not add a heavy day to what I already do because I want to see the merits of my existing program.

Overloaded with 225: held it for 10 seconds, lowered it under control, tensed my lats hard at the bottom and pushed it about two inches before it stalled. Form was good and tight (the close grip work is paying off), not enough power. Then came the workout: 50x6, 65x3, 85x3, 105x3, 120x3, 135x3, 155x3, 170x3, 190x2x3 (about 89% of 215). The weight felt great, and the 190 was controlled and in good form. Rep 6 was a little more strain than the others. I was happy with my performance considering that before this cycle began, 190 was barely good for a rep and now 6 is good. I've done 225 off of a 3 board in January when my bench max wasn't as high as it is now so I just have to get the weight up another 2-3" to have a shot at 225. The overloads have made the weight seem more familiar.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bench Press VooDoo Math!!!

With the last few weeks of this cycle winding down, my thought has been of gunning for 225 lbs (see last post). Scott suggested pre-exhaustion; John McDonald an increase in intensity. With deadlifting and squatting twice each per 8 days, my goal was to build up conditioning for this lift without adding too much intensity or extra movements.

As you read, I'm opting for the 18" incline pushups. Why? This was what I used, with push presses back in December, to hit my first (albeit, slow as fuck!!!) 205 lbs bench. Second, it was more weight than I do for benches at the moment: I tested the load for this in a February blog called "Pushups to Benches", and it equates to 73.2% BW lift. So, at 242 lbs on an average workout day, that's 177 lbs per rep. I

So how many reps? This is the weird math that has worked for me so far:

1.) Compute a standard workout for the bench, using this cycle, based on a 225 bench but only using the zone between 55-80% 1RM: 125x5, 140x5, 160x5, 180x6x3. Total tonnage: 5365 lbs.

2.) 73.2% of 242 BW is about 177 lbs. Divide that into 5365 lbs, and you get 30 reps - - - 10 sets of 3 with 45 second rest periods for speed, since the main movements are for higher reps. Also, higher rep sets would make more inroads into my recovery.

Right now, I do about 5 sets of pushups and 4 sets of dumbbell shoulder presses. Drop the shoulder presses, and I'm about where I want to be for sets. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Ah, Crap!!!

Wife called me to remind me that my vehicle tabs are due TODAY. . . . . shit!!! My plan was to rush over to Vehicle Licensing, get the job done, then rush back to the gym. A long line derailed that plan. So Wednesday will be the day for the rest of this workout, plus 15 sets of triples in the 18" incline pushup in place of the pushups/bench presses.

I need to stop being such a procrastinator . . . . I had a month to do this!!!

Wk4: Prilepin Bench - Light (Lunchtime Workout)

Flat Bench Press (201p): Friday, I repped out with 185 for 5 reps; the fifth one was slow, but it never dropped and it moved steadily to lockout (208 predicted max). If I could get to 7 good reps at this weight, it's like knocking on the door of 225 lbs. So what to do without changing my program drastically, adding more sets, and overtraining?

225 overload for 10 second hold (Thanks to Rick Hussey and John Yeo for this one, let's see if it works), 45x6, 65x5, 80x5, 95x5, 110x5, 125x5, 145x5x4 (Felt easy and my form was good, no loss in speed in the later sets). On my inclined pushups, I will start doing these using an 18 inch platform vice 10". If I don't want to raise the bench weights, might as well increase the special work. After week 7 deload, we'll see where I'm at.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Wk4: Prilepin Squat/DL Light

My cough is starting to get better, so I'm happy. You could tell where I was in the gym before: just listen!!!

12" Front Box Squats (265): 60x6, 80x5, 100x5, 125x5, 145x5, 190x5x3, 190x2, 190x3. Heavy, considering the new weight level, so it was a sweat fest. My tightness wasn't there the first set, didn't have the big air. After that I did and it went better but still hard. The set of two found me tired, and I couldn't get up on the third rep. Next set, I got the last three reps.

Hoist Seated Leg Curls (115): 100x5x2, 110x3x2, 110x3RO (Rep Outs), 110x3RO. Since I didn't go past 4 reps on the rep out, I'm stuck at 115 for the rest of the week. Maybe next time. I'm so glad that for the Add 50 program, this is the last week of negatives.

GHR w/70 lbs of assist: Failure at 7, 6 reps.
GHR w/80 lbs of assist: Failure at 6, 6 reps. Decided today to not do the pull through before the GHR, so I had more hammie to give. Not bad.

Straight Leg Pull Through (115): 60x10, 70x8, 80x8x2.

Ab Circuit for 1 set, just to get familiar with some of these movements: Plank (5 10 second holds), lying leg thrusts, cable lifts (like a woodchopper from the bottom), ball crunches, cable woodchoppers, alternating supermans, side bridges, incline situps. I will find another way to work calves, I want to put a lot of effort into my core from now on. This circuit had me sweating buckets, and my abs tired.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Wk4: Prilepin Bench/DL-Heavy

Dumbbell Shoulder Presses (Test): 10x8, 20x6, 25x4, 35x2, 40x1, 50x1, 55x3 (58 pounds predicted max but I'll use 55 for all intents and purposes, for more control.)

Hoist Neutral Grip Chins (160): 135x5x2, 150x3x2, 150x3 (Rep Out), 150x2 (Rep Out). Since I did not do over 4 reps, my 1RM for the week stays the same.

10" Incline Pushups: Failure at 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, reps

Ultra Wide Sumo Deadlifts (315): 135x5, 145x5, 175x5, 205x5, 225x5, 250x4 (6 was the goal and this pissed me off), 250x5 (Oh boy, this is going to be hard), 250x5 (I saw stars and stuck my head out the window, I felt like I was going to hurl. Good thing I only had 4 more reps to go), 250x4. Like I said before, one should only test in this cycle at the end of it, not the middle. I might stick it out til the end and cheer when I get to the deload week but if this breaks me this week, week 5 will go back to the old maxes.

Barbell Curls (90): 50x10, 60x8, 70x5x2

Wk4: Prilepin Bench - Lunchtime Workout

Close Grip Bench Press (186p): 45x6, 55x5, 75x5, 85x5, 105x5, 115x5, 135x5, 150x6x3. I didn't want to jump so drastically from 115 to 150, so I threw in a set at 71% 1RM. My first set at 150 was perfect, the second required much more concentration to keep my elbows in, and the third set had 2 or 3 reps where my elbows started to flare. My reps weren't too slow but I didn't set any speed records, either. Using this 6 week program, I would recommend not testing the max until the end. Besides, the later weeks where you are doing the same weights as the first three weeks, you are gaining a certain measure of speed and your CNS gets a reprieve. For this one, I'll keep the same max but may adjust it if necessary.

Hoist Assisted Wide Pullup: Test at 95 lbs (245 lbs of me in jeans and sneakers - 150 lbs of assistance) for 8 reps (Brzycki says 117.954 max), 105 for 5 reps (118.126 max), and 115 for 2 reps ( 118.288 max). Looking ahead to my next cycle and am considering this exercise somewhere.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Test on 12" Squat

Well, today was the day. I started it off tired, spent 1/2 of it at the doctor for the cough that's still there (got allergy medicine and an x-ray to see if anything was in there that shouldn't). Maybe, after all the testing last week, I was a little exhausted. Or, maybe, I just wasn't strong enough. I worked up 95x3, 135x3, 165x2, 205x1, 245x1. The 245 felt slow so rather than go for 275, I dropped it to 265. I got that but it was sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow!!! Slightly disappointed, but a PR is a PR and I'll take it. I learned my lesson from the last time (see Aprils blog) - - - I took a heavy max after the last set was indicative of nothing left and hurt my upper back. Not this time.

Hoist Seated Leg Curls (115): 105x3x2, 115x2x2, 125x2N.

Tried a set of GHRs and fell flat on my face. Yeah, I think my legs were recovering from today and last week.

Cybex Lying Leg Curls: 90x11, 115x8, 135x6, 135x4

Bent Leg Pull Throughs (115): 60x10, 70x10, 90x6x2

Standing Calf Raises (125): 60x10, 80x10, 90x6x2.

Oh, I thought I would add this to inspire: Andy Bolton's WR DL, along with an attempt at 1003 lbs.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Wk3: Prilepin Back/Bench

Decided to keep this session short, my body just felt beat. Had a plan for close grip bench and chinups, and dropped everything else.

Close Grip Bench Press (160): 45x6, 55x5, 65x5, 75x5, 85x5, 105x5x5. 105 moved very crisp, and my form was tight with almost no flare at the elbows. Rested 3 minutes, then loaded up 155 lbs for a rep out and cranked out 7 reps with the 8th failing just after the midpoint (186 lbs max per Brzycki's formula). Waited 3 minutes, then loaded up 185 on the bar and got 4 solid reps of flat bench press (201 lbs max per Brzycki's formula). Man, I'm almost at the point where I can close grip 200 lbs. I will recalculate my next 4 weeks based on the new numbers: since these are predicted 1RMs as opposed to actual, a lower case p will follow the numbers in parentheses.

Hoist Neutral Grip Chinups (160: Bodyweight today was 242.3): 144.8x3x2, 160x2x2 (Hard, just didn't have much pull left in my back. Thanks, DL!), 175 for two negatives; 114.8x1, 104.8x1, 94.8x1, 84.8x1 (last 4 sets were burnouts, even though I was already at that point.).

Went to Olive Garden and had the salmon piccata, a glass of Black Swan Shiraz (yum!!!), and tiramisu. I have makeup drill this weekend, so I went to bed early. Today went great, I think my bench press is well on its way.

I'll Have the Deadlift Plate for Lunch, Please!!!

T-Bar Rows (Test): 140x5 (about 157 per Brzycki's formula. I lost a little from not having done these in a while. Nothing I can't get back!!!)

Rack Pulls 2" Below The Knees (Test): 135x3, 165x3, 195x1, 245x1, 295x1; switched to staggered grip and pulled 345x1, 375x1 (30 lbs PR), 385x1 (40 lbs PR, harder but solid rep with a strong lockout), failed at 395 (just past the knees, it hitched - - - I was done). My back right now doesn't feel burned or nothing, so the high rep work has done its job. I think 400 will be cake this time around, my next 4 weeks of this cycle are to push beyond it. I might make this my light day movement and ultra wides my heavy day movement. I will still get to 400+ on the rack pulls, but now I want my launch to be priority.

I'm a little tired from all the testing this week, but that's what the weekends are for. Next stop is 12" front box squats.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Wk3: Prilepin Squat-Fucking Heavy!!!

I mentioned somewhere in this blog that I wanted a 300 lbs front squat by July's end. And I wanted to see where I stood. So I tested today on the 8" front box squat: 45x8, 75x6, 105x4, 135x2, 165x1, 195x1 (1RM), 225x1 (30 lbs PR - - - as Paul Hogan would say "smooth as a gravy sandwhich!"). Oh, I'm salivating now!!! My 12 inch front box squat is normally 50 lbs heavier than the 8" and 20 lbs less than my max. I'm testing the 12" front box squat on Monday and if I can nail 265-275, 300 is mine for the taking. The hard part is that I have never held that much weight to the front (265, and that was hard), but I'm noticing that the DL work makes for a more solid rack for the Sting Ray and the bar. My next 3 weeks will be calculated with the new loads, and week 7 will be a deload week. Who knows, maybe more!

Hoist Seated Leg Curls (115): 85x6x1, 90x5x2, 100x4x2

Straight Leg Pull Throughs (105): 100x5 (rep test, calculates to about a 115 max), 50x10, 70x8, 80x6, 80x5

GHR w/70 lbs assist: failure at 7, 4 reps
GHR w/80 lbs assist: failure at 3, 3, reps. All I can say is that after Monday's DL test, today's tests, and the leg curls, I should not have expected a whole lot. I just had no ham strength to muster. Win some, lose some!!!

Seated Calf Raises (125): 65x10, 80x8, 90x8, 90x6

Monday, June 13, 2005

Wk3: Prilepin Bench/Midback

I decided to start Week 3 again, after a week off and what I felt might be a little rust. But today, I made the ultra wide DLs and the bench press heavy vice light, and will do the rack pulls light later.

Ultra Wide Sumo Deadlifts (295): 115x6, 135x4, 165x2, 195x1, 225x1, 275x1, 295x1 (1RM), 315 (20 lbs PR). Took about a second and a half to peel the weight off the floor but once I did, I just screamed and powered it up. Just said "Fuck it!" I tried to do 225 for two sets of 6 after that but my backside was not having it. . . . and the weight stayed put. Oh, and no shrug . . . thanks, Stinn!

Hoist Neutral Grip Chins (160: bodyweight today 238.7 lbs, used 2.5 lbs plate to get desirable weight): 121.2x6x1, 131.2x5x2, 138.7x4x2. At 138.7 lbs, the 4th rep was hard (135 was the goal weight): since I had done a rep out last week, I did definite sets this time. Where are my traps??? I can't find my traps!!! Lats?!?

Flat Bench Press (185): 45x6, 55x6, 75x6, 85x6, 100x6, 140x6x3. Today, 140 was not very fast. I had no back left to contract so it was almost all chest and triceps.

Dumbbell Presses (50): 25x10, 35x8 (all the 30s were taken), 35x6x2.

Had nothing left for close grip pushups (Ok, I did one pathetic set of 4).

Barbell Curls (90): 50x8, 60x8, 70x4, 70x2. Didn't have much left for these, either!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Absolute Beginners

I've always thought that, sometimes, one should treat themselves as a beginner when in doubt. But for how long?

I've been experimenting with the Prilepin cycle for the longest time now, mainly to build work capacity and give myself strength from the low ends to the high. I've done it for sets of 2-3 up to sets of 4 to 6. Put lots of time into front squats, deadlifts, and hamstrings. In the bench, I can now do more volume before it starts to make inroads into my energy. And the deadlifting twice a week has really started to build my back up and improve my pull, I can't wait to start applying all of that to the conventional DL.

I've been trying to develop a cycle for myself that will get my back to really heavy weights and that will reintroduce speed into my workouts, and maybe as such so I can learn to really apply it. Since I can already deadlift 400 lbs, my eyes turn to a 400 lbs squat (I test in a month) and the beginning of my journey towards a 300 lbs bench. For me, deciding on a template for speed was the the tough part. I have experimented in the past with some of the recommendations from Dave Tate's 8 KEYS, but found 30% 1RM to be on the so light side that my benches got sloppy after the midpoint. When I emailed Louie Simmons (Matt Smith answered) and Dave Tate, they both told me that the 30 percent was too light and that, for a beginner, they can go as high as 70% 1RM for speed work. What to do, eh?

My second thing was the bench press. Since it has been the close grip bench press that has contributed to my improving bench press, I thought of using it again for a heavy cycle. Then I thought, "Why not just run Patrik Nyman's Prilepin cycle on my triceps, with the dip as my light day movement?" Ok, great, this is all the tricep work I will need, but what about my bench press?
The bench press will be my speed movement, done at lunch on the same day I do the Prilepin Triceps. I got the idea for the cycle from a beginning bench program by Ryan Kennelly. It will be a flat load: 8 sets of 3 reps each session. The first session will be at 40% 1RM and will climb 5 percent each session until I hit 70 percent. On that day, I will then work up to a heavy single, and use the new 1RM to begin again at 40%. While the 24 reps at 70 percent will yield almost 1000 lbs more total tonnage than 15 reps of the same weight at 85% 1RM, I'm not too worried because my current cycle has me doing twenty reps at 70% and with more reps/time under tension per set (5 reps per set). The conditioning will be in place, hopefully, from this curent cycle.

Third was the squat. At one point, I was considering a 16-18 inch box squat to overload the movement, with a 14" parallel box squat for speed. Being my beginner's program, I figured I just save this for another time. I thought about my front squats and considered all the quad strength I've gained on it and decided to use the 12 inch box squat as my ME Squat movement. For the DL, I'll just do 12 fast singles on DE Squat Day: the pull throughs, shrugs, GHRs, and step ups should cover me for all other things DL. For DE Squat/DL day, it will be the same progression as the bench press.

I will do the ADD 50 program on T-Bar Rows based on a calculated max for a 5 RM. SInce this is a 7 week program, all other days get a 7th week for a deload, done at a very light 45% 1RM. My goal is, as always, to have an equally strong back.

Prilepin Triceps Heavy Day/ME SquatDay: Wk1 (3 sets of 2@
89%), Wk2 (5x3@80%), Wk3 (5x3@86%), Wk4 (3x2@90%), Wk5 (5x3@80%), Wk6 (5x3@86%), Wk7 (8x3@45% for triceps, 12x2@45% for squat)

Prilepin Triceps Light Day:
Wk1 (5 sets of 3@82%), Wk2 (5x3@85%), Wk3 (6x3@73%), Wk4 (5 sets of 3@82%), Wk5 (5x3@85%), Wk6 (6x3@73%), Wk7 (8x3@45%)

DE Squat/DL:
Wk1 (12x2@40%), Wk2 (12x2@45%), Wk3 (12x2@50%), Wk4 (12x2@55%), Wk5 (12x2@60%), Wk6 (12x2@65%), Wk7 (12x2@70%). Deadlifts will be the same progression, but for twelve singles on the same day.

ME Squat/DL Movements: 12" B
ox Squat, Trap Bar Shrug, Bent Leg Pull Throughs, GHR, 24" Step Ups, Ab circuit.

DE Squat/DL Movements: 14" Box Squat, Speed Conventional DL, GHR, Dumbbell Lateral Lunge, Straight Leg Pull Throughs, Ab circuit.

Prilepin Triceps (Heavy): Close Grip Bench Press, T-Bar Row (Add 50), Incline Laterals, Seated Scarecrows, Nautilus Pullovers, Reverse Curls.

Prilepin Triceps (Light): Hoist Assisted Dips, T-Bar Rows (Add 50), Seated Laterals, Rear Delt Machine, Nautilus Pullovers, Hammer Curls.

Video Demos

The following are demos of an 8" front box squat and ultra wide sumo deadlift. Thanks to Kris at for hosting them. To keep my form perfect for video, I kept the weight reasonable. I did this during my meager 30 minute lunch two weeks ago, that's why I'm in regular clothes. As always, all critiques are welcome. For me, videos on blogs are the best way for us to help each other out: I work out alone and even though I'm studying my own videos to find errors in my ways, someone else may spot what I missed. I would encourage others to do the same.


Monday, June 06, 2005


This weekend was my Navy Physical Readiness test. To call it good fortune is one thing, humbling is another, cautionary tale might be more like it.

I was not over my cough and chest congestion and now had wheezing to deal with. Saturday was my measurement for bodyfat. Weight was still 234, I was measured at a height of 5 ft 9.5 in, 1/2 inch less than last which could have broken me on the measurement table but I still made it at a borderline 22%. I fugured that in April, I aerobicised myself to death and that's why I lost an inch on the neck (see my last blog entry on the Navy PRT, and you'll be able to follow it). In May, I aerobicised less and switched programs to one designed to give me more hypertrohy. I got my inch back (18 inch neck) and dropped to a 39.5 inch waist. That done, I also went to test on a 185 lbs bench press and could now triple what was a single when this cycle began. Bitchin!!!

Since this was the last month for PRT, I could not schedule it out for my makeup drill in two weeks. And I didn't want a medical waiver, either, because my package to go active hangs in the balance. So Sunday comes, I took some nose spray to keep my sinuses open for 12 hours. At lunch, I took some couch medicine with a chest decongestant. At 2PM, I took some Allegra and 2 shots of Albuterol, a strong inhaler for asthmatics. Chest now clear, PRT was on for 3 PM.

I did 38 pushups, good enough to pass but not what I wanted. I'll probably just do them this way from now on to build them up. With my feet up, I think my delts have the advantage. When I did the 38 my chest, biceps, and triceps had a crazy pump going on. I also did 60 situps.

I had the run mapped out in my head. The course is mapped out per quarter mile, so I figured (in 2 minute 9 second increments) when I should hit each marker for a slightly under 13 minute 1.5 mile. I knew I was in for it when after the first quarter mile, I was panting hard. I made half the course in 6 minutes, and that's when the walking started. I could not catch my breath. So I alternated running and walking (a lot), still had trouble catching my breath, was feeling woozy, then after the 1 and a 1/4 mile marker, I started sprinting as fast as I could (not very, this day, but I wasn't gonna fail) and crossed the finish line in 13 minutes and 58 seconds, 1 minute worse than my last two runs. I could barely breathe, and 10 minutes of walking it off wasn't helping. I took two puffs of inhaler and it barely helped. That night, I took some cough medicine and more inhaler. Nothing helped, and my wheezing was so bad I sounded like a smoker.

So, I went to the doctor today, and she said that I had Bronchitis. Gave me some Zithromax (A very powerful antibiotic, 3 pills have 10 days worth of effect) and a codeine-based cough medicine, and told me to keep using the puffer as needed. I also took the day off. Figure Wednesday, I will lift again. Took my first doses when I got home, and felt measurably better and VERY SLEEPY.

When I want something, my body follows my will. This would be a lot easier if I lost weight. I need to stop manipulating neck and waist numbers and move towards a much lighter bodyweight. I know that greatly reducing my aerobics in May didn't help. Neither did having bronchitis and having to run. But a lighter weight would have helped, I remember what running in those days was like and it was not like this. 206 would be nice, 196 would be the bee's knees. I have to consider aerobics in a performance kind of way, also, not just from a fat loss standpoint: a few summers ago, I got close to 225 lbs playing a lot of basketball, since one is constantly sprinting, an indicator that I need this kind of aerobics as well as the steady state stuff. As long as I'm in the military, I better master running. Does this mean no more powerlifting? No, because my endurance work benefits from more strength. Right now, I got some thinking to do. But first things first . . . .


Friday, June 03, 2005

Wk3: Squat/DL-Light

This should have been yesterday's workout but I locked my keys in the trunk, so a co-worker drove me home and I had to wait for my wife to come home to let me in the house. Waited for an hour in the cold in tank top and shorts. I'm paying for it, I think. . . . cough! Cough!

12" Front Box Squats (245): 55x6, 75x5, 95x5, 115x5, 135x5, 155x5x5. The reps went good, just started getting tired on the 4th set.

Hoist Seated Leg Curls (115): 90x6x1, 95x5x2, 100x6. Last set was a rep out and since I went over 4 reps, my 1RM moves up 5 lbs per the ADD 50 program.

GHR w/70 lbs assist: Failure at 7 reps,6 reps.
GHR w/80 lbs assist: Failure at 7 reps, 7 reps. Woo Hoo!!!

Bent Leg Pull Throughs (105): 50x10, 70x8, 80x6x2

Standing Calf Raises (125): 65x10, 80x8, 95x6x2

Incline Situps: Failure at 13, 11, 10, 9, 8 reps.

G0t over the extremely stuffy nose but have a miserable cough left. I'm so sleepy!!!