Monday, October 31, 2005

Wk6: ME Bench

Trick or treat, ya'll!

I got off early today just because we no longer have desks or computers in the office - - - the contractors started taking everything apart today. I just have a phone. Tomorrow is my last day at the old building. So, this workout went at a leisurely pace.

Incline Bench Press: 90x6, 105x5, 120x4, 135x3, 155x2, 165x6,195x1, 175x6, 205x1, 115x10+5 (Thanks to Christian D. for the rest pause notation). The sets of 6 at 165 and 175 I have never done before, so they were very tough after the 3rd rep. I was smart to make my top set 205 for this week. 205 might be easy cold, but after the other sets I had to pour it on.

90 degree External Rotations: 8x10, 12x10, 15x8, 20x8, 20x4. I hit my goal under the Structural Balance template with the 20 lbs for 8 reps. These were supersetted with band pull aparts, arm rotations, and shoulder stretches.

Dumbbell Push Press: 60x5x3, 60x4, 60x3. My goal was 57 lbs for 5x5 but, well, you know . . . . I'm gonna switch over to the Nautilus Shoulder Press for the last two weeks, especially since my triceps pressing will be more intense.

T-Bar Rows: 127.5x3x10.

Hoist Assisted Dips: 208x6, 245x1, 220x6, 257x1, 147x11+4. This just handed my ass to me, especially after the rest of the workout.

Some changes. I switched back exercise days, will switch one shoulder exercise, will increase the intensity on the dips and close grip benches, and may switch to band chinups vice wide pullups for the duration. Maybe' I'll hit on something, however small.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Triceps Test

Took my son to the gym to play basketball and shoot some hoops myself. Gotta do something fun and non-PL related, eh?

Ok, I did three singles in three lifts. That's it. Cold. Had to see where triceps were headed into the tail end of this cycle.

Flat Bench Press: 225 never felt easier, or went up quicker. Not "15 lbs more" quicker, but I have a month.

Close Grip Bench Press: 220 lbs. Aside from surprising carryover from the bands, my wrists stayed straighter. Remember, 225 is my target.

Dips: No Hoist Assist here, just a regular dip apparatus. I haven't done bodyweight in a long time and it was smooth and easy. That was the good news. The bad news is that, when I checked the scale to see where I was, it read 245 lbs. So, I've put on more muscle than I planned . . . . . .

. . . . . . and I better start running!!!

Plan for Incline Bench/Last 3 Weeks

Incline Bench Progression (Percentage of 1RM x number of reps): 47%x5, 55%x4, 63%x3, 71%x2, 79%x1, 85%x6, 100%x1, 90%x6, 105%x1, 60%x15. Even though I hit 205 this week, I will end with 205 next week for the set at 105%. I want to get my form down first. Second week will use the 205 for 1RM for calculations. If all goes well, I hope to hit 215 that second week, then go 225 the week afterwards. The progression is the same I've been using (A rapid wave, per Ian King's Wave Manifesto), and will have the same support work. With one exception: all back work will be done 10x3 style, and the arm work will be dropped. RC work will stay the same until I hit 20 lbs for 8 reps, and the speed work will remain banded (3 weeks left at 8 sets of 3 at 60%, 65%, and 70% 1RM) . After a weeks rest, I will gun for 240 flat bench.

Ambitious? Maybe. But the stats might bear it out. On October 7, I hit 185 on the one board with a light band, pinkies on the ring; October 14, 175 w/bands and no boards with a wider grip; October 19, 190 w/bands and no boards, and 200 on October 26. I've already lifted 225 flat, and have held more than that in my hands. I just have to avoid overtraining, and hope that I haven't peaked out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

DE/ME Bench-Band Max

The past couple of days have been not only stressful but tiring. We were told that we have to move from our present building to a building about 15 minutes away on Bremerton Base - - - and take our 6000+ records with us. So it has been two days of non-stop lifting and carting records back and forth between our office to a room in the building where our stuff will be picked up in a few days. I was doing a lot of that, so I shortened today's workout to bench only. Since I also want to do a new bench movement next week, I decided to make this a DE and ME day.

DE Flat Bench Press w/Light Bands : 50x6, 70x6, 85x4, 105x3, 125x3x8. I had to put a lot into this to keep it fast. Partly, because I was beat but also I used 4 100 lbs dumbells and I think the choke was pretty spread out, giving me a little more tension at the bottom. Speed was good, though, I was just psyched. I was going to go for 200 lbs today and was anticipating all day. Rested for 4 minutes.

ME Flat Bench Press w/Light Bands: 160x1, 190x1 (smooth), 170x1. I then loaded up 200 on the bar, got a spotter to help me rack it, and gave it a go. It felt heavy as fuck at the top, I tightened up big time, lowered it to my chest, and sounded like something out of Drangonball Z screaming as I slowly shoved it up to lockout. Got it!!!

I was going to deload but I ran the question past the folks at Elite FTS. I always wondered why some people don't deload at all for a goal weight. Donnie Thompson answered "Don't worry about deloading. Just change up your next exercise for ME day for two to three weeks. Maybe go chains or floor presses. Bar weight is good too! You don't need to deload at this time in your lifting career. " So, incline presses it is. And barring meet preparation, I won't worry too much about deloading.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Wk5: ME Squat

18" Side Step-Ups: 4 sets of 12. I am trying to use these as a warmup.

Incline Bench: 135x1, 155x1, 175x1, 195x1 (5 lbs PR), 205x1 (15 lbs PR). I will be starting these next week for thre weeks with no bands and I am really tired of my current squat workout, so I indulged the urge. I was happy with how fast the weights went up, 205 was steady and gradual enough that I think this was enough. Couldn't come too soon: I need get stability back in my bench from all the band use.

Squats: 135x3, 155x3, 175x3, 195x3, 225x3, 250x3, 275x3. For the next three weeks, I'm just gonna do 5 sets of front and side step-ups. My squat feels stale, and more squatting ain't gonna fix it. This might.

Seated Rows: 130x3x10. As a break from heavy wave loading is this setup from Chad Waterbury. I'll probably do these just for back (to push up my bench) and GHRs.

My favorite spotter was about to do 165 for inclines because he had no spotter. I told him that I would be glad to spot him but only if he took the fives and tens off and slapped on 25s instead. I showed him how to grip and pull apart the bar, and he got his 185 before moving on. As did I, to go home and mow the lawn. We're selling out house to buy a bigger home, and I have to make the house look pretty. And the GPP work was good, too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wk5: ME Bench/Back

Workout was a little different today. Less Triples and a greater focus on max singles. I was pumped to see where I really stood.

Flat Bench Press w/Light Bands (Wider Grip): 90x5, 105x4, 120x3, 140x2, 155x1, 170x1, 185x1 (Didn't get it last week, so I was happy it went up smooth), 200x0 (I couldn't rack it and nearly strained my wrist trying. Have to remember that with this grip, my tris can't help), 175x1, 190x1 (racked it with a little push, had full control and it went up slow but steady). All in all, I was happy. Next week is my last max effort bench day, then I will deload for two weeks. My goal for next week is 200 lbs with the bands.

DB Push Press: 55x5x5. Huff!!! Puff!!!

Knee External Rotations: 8x10, 12x10, 15x10 (a grind), 20x4. Could not do another set of twenty lbs, will do these the lunchtime preceding the workout from now on.

Hoist Assisted Wide Pullup (BWT was 238): 98x6, 118x1, 108x6, 128x1, 78x15 (rest paused after the 8th rep and the 13th). These were supersetted with dips to make time for the hammer curls.

Hoist Assisted Dip: 178x6, 208x1, 188x6, 218x1, 148x15 (rest paused after the 10th rep)

Hammer Curls: 30x6, 35x1, 35x6, 40x1, 25x15.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Wk4: DE Squat/DL Day

Speed Squats w/Light Bands: 45x6 (not enough tension at the bottom, so I got two dumbbells to spread the choke and redid the setup), 45x6 (lots better), 65x6, 85x4, 105x2, 125x2, 135x2, 155x2x9. Finally, I got everything right. Speed was good but I had to turn it up the last two sets to keep my speed up. My fear of being taken backward was not realized. Actually, once I racked the bar, the bands locked me in place and all I needed for a walkout was one step back. I could see why I can't use 24 total reps with these like I do for speed benches, I was dripping with sweat, it was so demanding!

Power Cleans: 115x1x6. I remember what Jim Wendler said in an article on the EliteFTS site about pulling to a point just below the knees then trying to jump while shrugging. My arms aren't sore at all, and I felt like I could have pulled some more.

Snatch: 115x1x6. These were tougher technique wise so I'll stick with the power cleans. Some overhead squats are in my future. The pulls really left me beat.

T-Bar Rows: 125x6, 150x1, 135x6, 160x1, 105x15. My back was wacked from the pulls. I had to reach deep to pull the 160, and the 15 rep set (rest paused at the 7th and 12th reps) almost made my stomach turn.

Triset of the following exercises was done for two sets (barely)because the squatting took up more time than I planned: Band GHR (two sets of 5 reps), situps (2 sets of 21 reps), and 24" step ups (2 sets of 8).

Friday, October 14, 2005

Wk4: DE Bench - Sort Of . . . .

Last Night, I did band chinups with my son again: 2 sets of 4, 3 sets of 3.

Flat Bench Press w/Light Bands: 50x6, 70x4, 85x3, 105x3, 115x3x8. First 6 sets were pretty quick. Last two sets were quick but I had to watch my tightness. Then, I started to do singles: 135x1, 155x1 (blast), 175x1 (steady quick), 185x0 (couldn't budge at the bottom). Then, I took the bands off and widened my grip (instead of pinkies on the rings, I moved over one finger): 185x1 (blast), 205x1 (steady quick). I then loaded the bar to 225, got one of my gym buddies to spot, and gave it a go. He said I took the bar down under control, touched the chest, popped it an inch where it got stuck, he touched it a tad, then it blasted up. So, I was either tapped out, or it was the grip change, or my sticking point has moved lower. Hmmmmm. . . . .

90 degree External Rotations: 8x10, 12x10, 15x8x3. These were supersetted with band pull aparts (5 sets of 3), and shoulder stretches.

Nautilus Pullovers: 105x6, 125x1, 115x6, 130x1, 85x15.

Nautilus Laterals: 105x6, 125x1, 115x6, 130x1, 85x15. These left my shoulders with a crazy pump. It's probably the reason, too, why my shoulders feel pretty good right now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wk4: Prilepin Squat/DL Day 1

Arched Back Good Mornings: tested very gradually up to a 240 single. When my squat was 290, I had a 255 good morning and this was right in line. These felt really good.

Squats: 130x4, 150x3, 175x3, 195x3, 215x3, 245x2x3. My form was really good on these, as was my depth. I was originally gonna do leg presses but decided that I should work on my problem . . . squats themselves. I even tried to do trap bar deads off a 3" block a la Westside for Skinny Bastards but it felt too small (or my ass is too big). So, squats it is. My lower back didn't do too bad and maybe it was the conditioning.

Cybex Leg Curls: 125x6, 150x1, 135x6, 160x1, 100x15. Hard, I think because of the arched back GMs.

Seated Rows: 120x6, 140x1, 130x6, 150x1, 100x15. Easier than last time, but it's always that 15 rep set that buries me.

No time for abs due to all the testing. But it was a good session. I'll have my squats even better than last time.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Farmers Walk: walked with a 100 lbs dumbbell in each hand from one end of the gym to the other. Not on purpose, mind you, but to get the DBs over to the bench.

1 Board Press w/Light Bands: Should have called this the Phone Book Press. Did not have a board but I grabbed a 1.5 inch thick phone book from work, strapped it to my chest using Dr. Squat's Back Raise Harness (If he only knew . . . ), and went at it. 45x3, 65x3, 85x3, 105x3, 125x3. Thought I needed a little more tension at the bottom and the wrapping the band around the dumbbell was becoming a pain, so . . . . .

Farmers Walk: walked with a 115 lbs dumbbell in each hand from one end of the gym to the other. Not on purpose, mind you, but to get the DBs over to the bench to spread out the choke.

1 Board Press w/Light Bands: 135x2, 155x1, 185x1, 195x0. Now, I think I had too much tension at the bottom. 185 made me huff and puff. 195, ergo, was no go. After that, though, I felt really inspired. So, I took the bands and the phone book off.

Flat Bench Press: 205x2 (My tightness wasn't there on the first rep but I found it on the second). I rested for 3 minutes, I loaded 225 on the bar, and went through all the steps in my head. Including my leg drive which was too loose on the first rep of 205 but found on that second rep. I racked it and it felt easy. Once I got it down I turned it on: Sure enough, once I got that bar a few inches off the chest I was able to drive it up. Not fast, but steady. 2 big boy wheels down. Now, will I get my 240 goal?

Since setup issues consumed my time, and we have Monday off for Columbus Day, I'll do the rest of my workout on Tuesday, but use the Nautilus Bench for higher reps vice the regular bench as my main movement, and do legs Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wk3: Squat Day - - - Humbled

Out of curiosity, partly because of a question John McDonald asked and partly out of suspicion that my squat workouts were stale, I skipped speed day and just tested squat. I worked up to a slow 275, and failed at 295 (I'm normally good for a 330 single). It was depressing but rather than mope, I analyzed the situation.

The guy who spotted me said that I got below parallel depth on 275 and slowly came up out of the hole but the lift was solid. At 295, I hit depth and he said that my legs looked game but the weight looked stuck. After getting him to explain, he confirmed my suspicion that my lower back had gotten weak: at the bottom, I could not drive the bar back and I had a hard time staying straight. How could this have happened?

At the core of my best and strongest squat periods were two full range erector movements: RDL and arched back good mornings. Last cycle, I did none of these and though I was deadlifting twice a week, it was partial range movements: ultrawide sumos (back was nearly erect) and rack pulls (back was at 45 degrees). Doing two box squats meant one day of not doing heavy weights, and there was no heavy back movement. My hams are no problem, but my lower back has become a liability I have to fix. Fast - - - I'm on it!!!

90 degree External Rotations (Done between squat sets):2x20x2, 4x15, 6x12, 8x12, 10x15, 12x12x2, 15x10, 20x4. Since I benched Monday, I did these today. 4 more reps at 20 lbs and I will have reached my target of 8 reps with 20 lbs.

Band GHR: 4 sets of 6.

T-Bar Rows: 120x6, 140x1, 130x6, 150x1, 95x15.

To Train A Boy

Band Chinup Day Yesterday. My son did not want to try the first set with one band because he felt like he didn't have it in him for a single, but he did the other 5 sets with two bands. He finally nailed seven reps with an underhand grip, on set 3. I had told him that he was resting in the bottom position too long (the pause at the top was fine) and that it was ok to not get a rep but that he could surprise himself if he tried. Sure enough, he surprised himself.

I got my one rep with one band with an underhand grip, then nailed 4 reps on every set but the last one - - - a one rep increase per those sets. Woo hoo!!!

I then taught my son how to do Bulgarian split squats on the park bench to build his legs, and he found out that they were not as easy as he thought they were (he wants strong legs for "jumps"). We got a late start and with homework and shower still to be done for him, wrapped it up. Ok, I tried something quick. I had him put a band over each shoulder and try to run for three sets of 3 while I held the bands. Of course, he couldn't - - - I kept telling him to dig in and push. Then, I took the bands off and asked him to sprint and he took off much to his surprise.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Casual Bench

I skipped Friday's DE squats because I had Navy PRT this past weekend. Maybe, if I was in better shape, I wouldn't have had to worry. My pushups improved to 41 because I used a closer grip, and I almost got 42 but lactic acid stopped me - - - I pushed for 10 seconds, then plopped on the floor in defeat. I had 56 situps, which was decent. But my run was the worst it had ever been at 15:20, which along with bodyfat killed me. I just don't run and it showed. I was run/ walking and had still coveredhalf of the 1.5 mile course in 6.5 minutes, so I knew I was already running it too fast. I walked a lot of the second half just exhausted, then sprinted like hell twice after the 1/4 mile mark, for naught. I'll start training the run very slowly until the spring time - - - enough of just getting by. I should be training that as hard as anything else I do. Shame on me.

Monday, I was paying for it. The sprints left my whole backside sore and tired (surprisingly, my quads weren't as bad.). I decided to just play with some bench ideas for 45 minutes instead. First, I set up the bands for the bench press and grabbed the pseudo two board. I opted to work up to a max using the bands vice sets of 3 or speedwork. Worked up to 215 bar weight. I will probably stay away from boards until this cycle is over, but I'm happy with the increased stability with heavy weight I now have. With the bands, its about 255-265 at the top and 235-245 when it hit the boards. This seems more useful than overloads, where I just hold it, but it's more work. Any ideas?

I worked up to 190 lbs on the Nautilus Bench Press, for the bottom. With my existing setup, the weight barely budges (very barely) and I have to push like hell to get it to go. One thought is to use these instead of the bench press to bring my bottom up. The other in consideration is to use the incline bench press, which really works the chest but I also want to push that lift over the 200 lbs barrier, a great motivator.