Monday, August 29, 2005

Wk1: Prilepin Bench Heavy

Movement Prep: Everything for 4 reps, I'm going to build up slowly.

Hoist Wide Pullups (123, tested today for 120x2, BWT 240 lbs): 90x6, 100x1, 100x6, 110x1, 80x15 (would have been 70 lbs if the machine didn't max out at 160 lbs of assistance. I rest paused the last 3 reps).

Dumbbell Push Press (70): 50x5x5. Didn't really get the hang of these until the last three sets. I like these better than the barbell ones, but it's a balancing act for me - - - I could barely do 60 lbs seated for a single, so you can imagine.

Knee External Rotations (20): 10x10, 12x8, 15x6, 15x5. The first time ever I have directly worked the rotator cuffs, and it was tough. My conditioning in that region was apparent - - - not too great. Once the lactic acid set in earlier than I liked, I had to rest pause a few reps (like the last 2). But after feeling the burn really good, I know where they are and why my bench has had a tough time.

Decline Triceps Extensions (80): 60x6, 70x1, 60x6, 70x1, 40x15. Used the pre-loaded bars, so I couldn't do any sets that ended in zero. But that set of 15 was cake, so I guess the wave worked just the same.

Preacher Curls (65): 50x6, 60x1, 50x6, 60x1, 30x15.

Wk1: Prilepin Bench Heavy-Lunchtime

Flat Bench Press (220): 225x3x10 seconds each (Overloads), 105x3, 120x3, 135x3, 155x3, 170x3, 195x2x3. Pretty good, been out of practice . . . heh! Heh! On the last two sets, the last rep did not go as fast as the first but it went. I switched this to the heavy movement since, aside from the close grip bench presses, I have two other tricep movements being done with a heavy rapid wave.


Spent last week nursing a strained right oblique, incurred from Monday's squat workout. Forgot to mention it, here's an intro.

We are all creatures of habit. We do something that has worked in the past, and we do it over and over again, enough to not have to think about it. I am always safety conscious, especially since I lift alone. I always make sure that the collars are on, safety's are set, etc.

Well, I loaded up the bar with 345 lbs for a squat overload, from my least favorite rack: position is too low, j-hooks deep, squats only rack (you've probably seen them). I took the weight, and all the sudden I feel the right side getting lighter fast. I had the presence of mind to drop down so that the bar wouldn't go very far, and I tightened up my back muscles so I wouldn't pull anything. You guessed it, I forgot to check for the collars and I dumped the bar SIDEWAYS!!! Luckily, no one was next to me in either direction, because I didn't put the collars on both sides. The gym attendant asked if I was OK, then gave me the appropriate talking to - - - which I deserved. Next day, my right oblique was really sore, enough to make every movement smart. So, I took some time off except to stretch it out and take a massager to it. Today, it's good enough to lift: I'm beginning this cycle with the bench, though, just in case.

I basically took my habit for granted, and got caught sleeping (so to speak), with near disasterous results. Next time, I will make it a habit of not always trusting that which I have always done.

Monday, August 22, 2005

A Day of Reckoning

Movement Prep:

Hip Crossover: 6 per side
Scorpion: 6 per side
Calf Stretch: 6 per calf
Hand Walk: 6 trips
Inverted Hamstring: 6 per leg
Forward Lunge/Forearm-to-Instep: 6 per side
Backward Lunge w/Twist: 6 per side
Drop Lunge: 6 per side
Lateral Lunge: 6 per side
Sumo Squat to Stand: 6 per side

My first use of the preliminary core workout from Mark Verstegen's book "Core Performance". I got my ass handed to me by THIS!!! Designed to activate small muscles that are barely/rarely used and to stretch muscles through movement, I was left panting, sweating, and with a lactic acid burn in the core and legs and shoulders. And just think, I had weights to do!?!

Squat Overloads: 345 x 3 (10 second holds)

12" Box Squats (285): 135x3, 155x3, 175x3, 205x3, 225x3, 255x2x3. The overloads made the weights seem light. This workout was tough. . . my legs were already toast from the stretches. I notice that without the Manta Ray, my upper back has to work a lot harder to hold up the weight and my lower back is even more involved. Which brings us to . . . .

Romanian Deadlift (300): 225x6, 270x1 . . . . My back had nothing left to give.

I think week one can start Wednesday. I've got some modifications to make. This squat cycle will make a man out of me but if I'm gonna do power cleans on one day, then that squat should probably be a Manta Ray squat. Back work for the 12" squat day should probably be something lighter but effective, like pull throughs. And I might use flat benches instead of Nautilus. If I learned anything today, heavy weights give me confidence.

As for the movement prep, it's a keeper. It could only get better. Maybe, this was a lesson best learned early.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Too many exercises and drills to count, tons of them, from the athletic program for the University of California-San Diego.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Prilepin Heavy Cycle

A week with rest has been just what I needed. Got a lot of reading done, too. And next week, it's time for that which I have been working hard towards: the Prilepin heavy cycle. Some of my inspiration for this cycle was also derived from the Wave Loading Manifesto by Ian King, the Structural Balance article by Charles Poliquin, and Increase Your Vertical Jump by Fred Hatfield II. Since I'm after raw strength, I decided to not do dynamic effort work for this cycle.

Because of the way I calculate volume, it is about the same volume as before. Ok, more so because all the 1RMs have gone up. For the main lifts, most of the lifts are between 80-90%1RM, with 18 lifts tops and 6 reps at least. I also tried a lot of different lifts but kept a few from before. If you haven't already seen this template on the Tsampa.Org site, here it is:

Prilepin Heavy Day: Wk1 (3 sets of 2@89%), Wk2 (5x3@80%), Wk3 (5x3@86%), Wk4 (3x2@90%), Wk5 (5x3@80%), Wk6 (5x3@86%)

Prilepin 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%)

Prilepin Squat/DL Heavy movement selection: 12" Box Squat, Arched Back GM, Lateral Step Up, GHR w'80 lbs Assist, Leg Raises, Seated Rows.

Prilepin Squat/DL Light movement selection: 14" Box Squat, Power Clean,24" Step Up, GHR w/70 lbs Assist, Weighted Sit Ups, T-Bar Rows.

Prilepin Bench Heavy movement selection: Nautilus Bench Press, Push Press, Hoist Wide Pullups, External Rotations (On the knee), Decline Tricep Extensions, Preacher Curls.

Prilepin Bench Light movement selection: Close Grip Bench Press, Nautilus Laterals, Nautilus Pullovers, 90 degree External Rotations, Hoist Assisted Dips, Standing Reverse Curls.

For squats, I wanted more power at parallel and slightly below, and I used 12" since I did front squat work at that height and knew I could bring that quad power to bear (When I tested, 275 flew up very fast I slowly got 285. Coincidence?!?). In the bench, I wanted to work straight bench with no leg drive but hated the instability I had on the bench. The Nautilus worked great for my speed work last cycle, and I think the accomodating resistance could help me push big numbers. I kept the close grip bench because I wanted something free weight, and because I'm still refining my bench technique and found this movement to do just that. A lot of the exercises for structural balance in the bench are there: since I won't be doing the free weight bench, then I'm working its components. This includes a lot of lat and upper back work. There will also be some overload use, especially for squats.

The arched back GM will be worked using the same Prilepin cycle as the Development cycle, since I did them last with lots of reps at weights below 70% 1RM. When I go on a full Westside cycle, I'll be doing them using Prilepin Heavy template, so this will be good prep. It will also maintain my deadlift while improving my squat.

The push press and power clean was decided on after reading that article by Hatfield. Since the front squat is an assistance exercise for both lifts, I could translate my previous cycle's work into more power on those lifts, and build up the explosive components of my bench and deadlift as well as my vertical jump. These I will do by feel to learn them, so expect 3-5 sets of 5 reps at a weight that will allow good, fast, powerful work. I might also throw in 3 sets of 6 of box jumps right after squats, to that end (Jump onto the box, but step down).

A lot of the assistance movements will be done using a small wave. Normally, I just do sets of 6-8 reps, but I wanted to get stronger on these without working to failure on each set. Thus this wave: 75% 1RM x 6, 88% 1RM x 1, 80% 1RM x 6, 93% 1RM x 1, 60% 1RM x 15. The heavier sets will make for more performance on the lighter ones. I kept one of the sets of singles just below 90%, just so I don't really push my CNS, and to maintain good form. I'll think of a wave for external rotations, however, that will use more reps and no singles.

Of course, I might adjust as I go if the work proves too much. Unlike last cycle, I will not push the 1RMs up midway but will just try to push the weight faster instead. I'm also not going to worry about a specific weight goal, I'm just gonna see where this ends.

Update: For the main bench press movements, I decided to switch it so that close grip benches are on the heavy day and Nautilus benches are on the light day. If I could bring that up to the 220s and up, I know from experience it will carryover to the flat bench.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Box Squat Test

I had a bowl of spaghetti and a strong cup of coffee this morning, with this day in mind. After I dropped my son off at the basketball clinic, I got to the gym, grabbed enough steps and risers, and went to work. All squats were done belt only, no Manta Ray, bar close to rear delts.

14" (Parallel) Box Squat (3 min rest between sets, 3 second pause): 135x3, 155x3, 185x3, 225x2, 245x1, 275x1, 300x1.

12" Box Squat (3 min rest between sets, 3 second pause): 275x1 (smoke show), 285x1.

I have to get used to squatting this way, but it felt great. I don't do touch and go with heavy weights, just so I can teach myself to turn it on without a stretch reflex. This should make for a stronger squat. I had thought of using a 16" box instead of parallel, but I'm more concerned with parallel and slightly below (the hole).

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tests for Next Cycle

Maxes predicted using Brzycki's formula then rounded up to a 5 lbs increment.

T-Bar Row: 150x2 (155)
Seated Rows w/V-Handle: 140x3 (150)
Nautilus Bench Press w/seat adjustment set to "4" for a deeper bench: 185x5 (210)
Nautilus Pullover: 110x7 (130)
Nautilus Lateral Raise: 110x6 (130)
External Rotations: 20x1
Hoist Neutral Grip Chinups: 159.4x3 (170)
Incline Dumbbell Lateral: 20x1

Monday, August 08, 2005

Front Squat Test

As soon as I can edit this and get it to Kris, I'll post a video of today's test.

After a steady warmup, I loaded 275 on the bar. If this would have gone up fast, 300 would have been my next target. As it was, it felt good when I racked it, but halfway it felt so heavy that I dropped fast and had to reverse quickly once I broke parallel. Halfway, I was having trouble locking it out for a split second before I remembered to drive my traps into the bar, then it was complete. So, 275 it is. My son videotaped it best he could (missed some of the bottom). He also asked me if I was going for 300 like I said I might. I played back the video for him, and said no. But I did attempt 285 after 4 minutes rest, and you'll see the video of that - - - fucker buried me!!!

Saturday, August 06, 2005


I'm drilling (Navy Reserve work this weekend) and my commander tells us to go PT at 3:30PM to 4:30PM. And I felt really good today, so I decided today that 225 was going to go. Kept my cool, though: didn't want to get nervous.

Warmups: barx10, 65x8, 95x6, 125x4, 155x2, 190x1

Loaded the bar to 225, had the spotter rack it for me, lowered it with ease (never slow, never drop, just right), then exploded from the bottom. Spotter said the weight moved about 4 inches, then stalled. I told him I couldn't dial up enough tricep to push it past midpoint. Fuck!

After 2 of his sets, since he was borrowed (remember, I generally train alone), I gave 225 another go. Wondering if I wasn't tight enough since I hadn't racked it myself, I took this one myself with the same result. The spotter tells me that 225 ain't gonna happen if I attempted a third lift, but suggests 220 might make all the difference.

Frustrated but curious, I took him up on it. My technique wasn't at fault, and I had enough to push 225 as far as I did. But I didn't have enough force to finish the job, so I figured 5 lbs less might do the trick. I racked 220, got myself even more pissed, pushed just hard enough to get it just past mid and slowly lock it out. Woo Hoo!!! It ain't 225 but I'll take the 5 lbs PR, especially after 2 heavier attempts (maybe because I was pushing like it was 225). On April 29, I started out at 185 and here I am now, from lifting not too heavy but with a lot of volume. I think it could only get better handling the big stuff.

After 10 minutes shooting baskets, tested on the Hoist Assisted Dip. Bodyweight was 238.8 lbs so after 60 lbs of assist, I did 7 reps with 178.8 lbs (about 214 projected max).

Christian, it's your turn to try. Go get ya some!!!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Lifter's Dilemma

Next week is a max week for me not only for three big lifts but the beginning of testing for my next cycle's lifts. In "Absolute Beginners", I laid out a prospective cycle that I was planning. I have a few different lifts in mind different than the original plan, but all else is the same.

Except, I'm a bit conflicted. My original plan was a Westside style workout with a Prilepin style progression for ME day and a gradual 7-week build up from 40-70% 1Rm for speed day for 24 reps all the way. Trying to bench heavy weight has not only made me wonder if I need to handle heavy weight more often, but also if a speed day would be much help since I've handled light weight in the 50-80% range for reps for about 7 months now. For example, 50% of 225 is 112.5 lbs and 60% is 135 lbs, weight that I've already handled for 24 reps. So I'm reconsidering the same style of Prilepin workout that I've been doing but with different lifts but also in the 80-90% 1RM range on both days, the second day being a little lighter than the other (like on's Patrick Nyman template.). After 6 "weeks" of working on raw strength in the squat and bench and back, I'll go full Westside with new found strength I can turn into speed with weight I haven't handled. How much speed will I sacrifice if I decide to do this? I'm not sure. If I do it this way, the DL will be the only lift I do for speed since my squat is what I want greatly improved; the good morning will be an assistance lift only. Also, I might make the exercise selection smaller since it will demand more from my CNS.

I'm open to all thoughts on this.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Wk7 Deload:Squat

Felt really frisky today, so I did this for my squat workout for lunch: have to watch "Constantine" tonight or incur a late fee, have to take my son and his friend to a movie on Thursday, am chilling out Friday. As I only have 30 minutes lunch, rest periods were 30 seconds long. May as well had gone running, I was drenched and panting afterwards but my speed was good for all but the last two sets, and then it was OK. I think the first 6 sets primed my muscles up. Deload is done!!!

16" Front Box Squat: 65x2, 90x2, 115x2, 150x2x6
12" Front Box Squat: 130x2x6
8" Front Box Squat: 110x2x6

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Deadlift Challenge

On Brent Mikesell's site (, a deadlift challenge has been issued for anyone to do 405x20 in the deadlift. Read it here, there are even videos because that is one of the challenge's requirements. One Fin even pulls 405x25 . . . . sick!!!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Wk7 Deload: Prilepin Bench/Back

Nautilus Nitro Bench Press (215): 50x3, 65x3, 80x3, 100x3, 110x3x8.

Hoist Neutral Grip Chins (165: BW was 238 flat): 78x10, 108x8, 118x8, 108x10

Nautilus Nitro Overhead Press (140): 60x15, 70x12x2, 85x10.

Decline Tricep Extensions (80): 30x15, 40x12x2, 50x10. A grind after the overhead presses.

Rack Pulls 2" Below the Knees (385): 90x3, 125x3, 150x3, 195x3x8. Cranked these out at top speed and it felt GREAT. Deadlifts and benches for this cycle are a done deal, just one more squat day.