Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Short 3

Flat Bench Press w/feet up and 1 second pause: 165x3x10. I was really tired from moving and my lower back was so tired that I could barely hold an arch, so this was a relief. Rep speed was steady but not as fast as feet on the floor (of course) and I was good and stable. I had to put a little more into these but I like 'em.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Short 2

I will do these short workouts until the week after next - - - I should be settled in by then. I will just be doing 10x3, and only two lifts. Today, I did it with 60% of 1RM in both lifts; next week will be a session at 70%, then one at 80%.

Flat Bench Press: 145x3x10. Did these with a 1-second pause at the bottom. I remember when THIS was heavy. My goal on the third workout is 190x3x10.

Squat: 165x3x10. Not a killer, but a challenge. My goal for these is 220x3x10 which I know will kick my ass but also means that I might be in better shape to do an Ian King wave with these when I start my program back up.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


We are slowly moving into our new apartment (Our house won't be complete until April 2006)and will be completely out the 28th. My son's parent-teacher conference was today, and we sign our house title paperwork tomorrow. Then, there's Thanksgiving. Not much time for my full workout until maybe the middle of next week, if not the beginning of the following week. So, I figured that I could do one or two lifts here and there. Just the very basics.

Conventional Deadlift: 135x3, 155x3, 185x3, 205x3, 225x2, 245x2, 275x1, 295x1, 315x1, 335x1. I had to test this lift for the program, and I wanted a lot of bang for my buck. My form was actually pretty good.

My favorite spotter was there doing his bench press workout. He asked me to spot and I asked to jump in. Did 225 for a 2RM, then 225 for a single. I loaded up 240 and lowered it inadvertently to a spot lower than normal but my elbows might have been tucked a little more because it launched faster and I just flared the elbows a bit towards the top for a strong lockout. We then finished with a 135 lbs rep out. He got 15 reps; I got 15 and was going for 16 but the burn was too much and I only got it halfway up. It was a fun workout, makes me wish for a partner sometimes.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Wk1: ME Bench

Nautilus Vertical Bench (set deep on #4): 45x6, 60x5, 75x4, 90x3, 105x3, 120x3, 135x3, 150x3, 160x6, 190x1 (Grind), 170x6, 200x0 (Barely moved an inch, then I strained for dear life hoping it would move some more), 115x15 (Rest paused twice). Yesterday's impromptu workout probably took a chunk out of me, but I managed all but the 200 I really wanted. I'll incorporate some of yesterday's in my regular plans and leave lunchtime for fat loss stuff. I noticed that this machine has a 245 lbs stack plus 10 lbs extra in 5 lbs increments. Hmmmmmmmmmm . . . . . . .

3-Way Shoulder Raises: 4lbs for 20 reps, 5 lbs for 20 reps, 6 lbs for 20 reps. This gave my shoulders a wicked burn, but I feel like such a wuss. But this lets me know my shoulders themselves need to be brought up from my triceps' shadow.

Hoist Wide Pullups (BWT 244.5): 84.5x3, 94.5x3, 104.5x3, 114.5x3, 94.5x3x5. Yeah, yesterday's back work made this tough, too.

Seated External Rotations: 5x8, 8x8, 10x8, 12x8, 15x8, 20x8.

Standing Reverse Curls: 20x10, 30x10, 40x10.

Rage for The Machines


Had to be thrown in for good measure, especially with the debates on my blog pro and con. In short, the right machine can be a great tool in our quest to get bigger and stronger and faster - - - as long as it doesn't become the toolbox. That, and some people just want only better health and no hassle - - - yes, not everyone wants a huge squat/DL/bench/total or legs to fill out those retarded ultra baggy pants! Thus the popularity of places like Curves, and all your chrome palaces that pass for gyms. My question to everyone is: which machines do you find of great value to your training goals, and which are some of the worst you have ever used? Keep in mind what Jim Wendler says in this article, there are some machines that are really benches (Like GHRs). No one will think of you any less for admitting that they use them, especially me (I use some for assistance work and some occasional gonzo workouts).

Also, what would the male version of Curves be called?

Oh yeah, and I'm one of the guys that wants the huge squat/DL/bench/total!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005


A disclaimer: today was intended to be a rest day. And it still was . . . . sort of.

I went to check out the gym at the new base where I work, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA. While I love the gym over at Bangor, I have to car pool it over to home, then jump in my car, drive there, then I have to work out with no fooling around. So I'm considering options for some days. It's a 5 minute walk from my office each way, all upstairs coming back, which left me winded. Not as hardcore as Bangor's: not enough squat or bench press racks. Not as many machines, but that's fine. It's smaller. But it had something Bangor does not: a shitload of Hammer Strength machines, including the MTS line (selectorized iso-lateral machines). All back and chest angles covered - - - Oh boy!!!

I did the following circuit for three trips, worked up to 10 reps each. I left the gym with a crazy pump, my back especially.

Hammer MTS Front Pulldown: 30x10, 40x10, 50x10
Hammer MTS High Row: 30x10, 40x10, 50x10
Hammer MTS Bench Press: 30x10, 40x10, 50x10
Hammer MTS Row: 30x10, 40x10, 50x10
Hammer MTS Incline Bench: 30x10, 40x10, 50x10

Wk1: ME Squat/DL

Two days ago, I was emailing John McDonald and I said two things that made me think real hard about the ME movement to kick off this cycle. One, that I should just squat to get my confidence back and because I've been doing boxes too much over a long stretch of time. The other thing I said was that one should work what they are not good at in order to get better.

Squats: 105x6, 125x5, 145x4, 165x3, 185x3, 205x3, 225x3, 245x3 (3RM). I was gonna wave train this but thought it best to just do a 3RM (per the Manual) to regain my skill and build myself back up. Good call. On the 245, that just about killed me - - - I was seeing stars on the last rep, I thought of that chick trying to crawl out of well in THE RING!!!! Today, I feel beat up. This will pay off, I know, just may want to do things to increase my GPP and aerobic capacity. After a long while without squatting or deadlifting, I knew I was gonna be sucking wind.

Bulgarian Split Squats: 3 sets of 8. I did these only with bodyweight because I've never done them and my balance was an issue. Tough enough for a newbie, even tougher after squats.

Arched Back Good Morning: 3 sets of 10 at 115, 125, and 135. Squats took it out of my lower back, too, but these weren't too bad because I was not holding the bar in my hand.

Trap Bar Shrugs: 94x10, 114x10, 124x10, 144x7.

Hoist Calf Press: 35x10, 45x10, 55x10, 65x8.

Lying Leg Thrusts: 3 sets of 8.

Barbell 21s: 3 sets at 40 lbs. Didn't get much out of the hammer curls on Monday, decided to do barbell movements for biceps from now on for this cycle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Structural Balance for 280

Last bench cycle, this was what I used as a guide for my bench. It's written in Excel, I just plug in a value for the Flat Bench Press. The addition of the Nautilus Bench (3 is the seat height S and 4 is the setting to push the back rest forward D for more depth) and Incline Bench is because those two movements I currently finding the most challenging in the bottom position, my weakness right now. As you can see, the supinated chinups need a lot of work as do the preacher curls - - - I also say that because the chin is tough to increase. My mindset is that my back work would finally break the 200 lbs barrier only when my bicep strength greatly increases, like my bench barriers broke with the addition of heavy triceps movements. My off the chest movements require work, no doubt, but not as much as one would think. That's only because I use my lats and upper back to help launch the weight from the bottom, as well as speed work. Once I get that weight 3 inches off my chest, my 2 board strength takes over. At some point, I will do behind the neck press just to stay in line but getting a 26 pound gain in that lift in 15 weeks won't be a problem. The goals for external rotations won't be a problem either, but I'm not stopping there. I might gun for the same goal in YTWLs, just because they made me eat humble pie. Close Grips are doable but I may have to do forearm work so that I can hold that much with a close grip. I think all the deadlifting will help there.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Wk1: DE Bench

Flat Bench Press w/3 different grips: 55x3, 75x3, 95x3, 115x3, 145x3x8. Used pinkies on first ring for first set, then second ring on second set, then a little wider than that, etc. Speed was good but since I haven't benched much in two weeks (Time off is great, even if filled with stress), my stability didn't kick in until the 4th set.

2-Board Press: 165x3, 185x3, 215x3, 225x3. That last set was almost an ego booster if it wasn't so hard. If I'm not going to do direct tricep work, this will do. At some point, I want to handle big weight and this will be the way.

Hoist Neutral Grip Chinups (BWT 241 lbs): 131x3x10. I was going to do this for biceps, the 10x3, since on the structured balance list they are the most glaring weakness. But I figured that I should hammer the shit out of my back this way, then see where biceps are at the end.

YTWLs: 3 sets of 5 with 5 lbs. A Mark Verstegen favorite, and you can see it on a recent article by Alwyn Cosgrove for T-nation. These are humbling, to say the least. Very different stuff for RC work.

Reverse Incline Hammer Curls: 25x8x3.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Mission Complete!!!

Slept through Friday and enjoyed the day off. Had Navy drill this weekend. At 3 PM, I wrapped up my work and went to PT.

I want to start the EFS beginners program this week. Maybe, I was tired of putting so much on the bench and want the squat and deadlift numbers I know I was meant for. I also wanted a change. I also thought of the goals I reached: 200+ band bench, 200+ incline, 220 close grip, and 20x8 for external rotations. Yeah, my last bench session pounded me to a pulp but with a week's rest, it had to be worth something. Right?

I walked over to the bench, loaded up 240 on the bar (I'm sure Dave Tate and Jim Wendler would have a heart attack at any suggestion of the use of 5s and 2.5 lbs disks!!!). At first, my goal was just to get a feel for it, how close to it I can get. Cold.

I took a 26" wide grip (pinkies on the second ring). The spotter gave me a lift off, and I told him to not touch the bar unless I told him to. And that's when I went from a testing mindset to one where I was going to get it. It felt as light as that 225 lift a week or so ago. Felt that way going down, too. The weight was just one steady push to the top. Goal reached.

I have not decided on goals for the 12 week program yet. Might be more fun to try to hit PRs each week a la Westside and see where that goes. But since the whole structural balance thing worked well for me for this cycle, I will probably start looking at what it will take to hit a 280 bench at the end of this cycle. That, and I will start looking for a meet at the end of it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


It just had to happen. Last workout, I turned the intensity up on my triceps work on heavy day plus the 10x3 on back. On paper, I should have known: the inclines had 8 reps over 90% 1RM including one at 100% and one over 100%, and so was dips. Then 25 reps over 90% for DB push press . . .

The results? I will be OK tomorrow, which will be Wednesday's leg day that I didn't do. But I was so overtrained that I haven't slept well in three days. My back recovered the fastest, so the 10x3 is fine. I think all the box lifting and carting stuff back and forth for my job move has kept my shoulders limber so I'll be ready for Monday's DE bench session. But my CNS was crispy fried, and the added stress from my job relocation only added to it. A lot of naps have helped, and I might just get some sleep tonight. Stupid, eh? I want the 240 bad, but not this bad!!!

On a related side note, I received Elite FTS Beginners Training Manual in the mail yesterday and have to say it is a lot more logical and effective layout than Dave's 9 week plan of old. You can definitely see Jim Wendler's touch on some of it. There is no Good Mornings as a max effort movement, and some of the heavy triceps accessory movements are now 4 to 5 board presses. I might use some of this for my current 3 weeks, especially the 3 way shoulder raises instead of push presses, and one of the arrangements for legs. For now, I'll keep the dips and close grips for triceps but use the wave I had before (only one rep above 90%, total). I'll keep the 10x3 for back. I can't wait to start it!!!