Friday, July 21, 2006

SSB Yoke Bar Review Update

I saw this posted on Elite FTS, by Jim Wendler as an answer on the Q&A. The question was in regards to the weight of the SSB Yoke Bar with the optional handles attached. The answer was 75 lbs. So now we know. That, and my speed work was miscalculated and my max test was, too:)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Totally Gonzo DE Bench:)

I was looking at Kris' blog when I read a routine called the Press-centric Raw Bench Routine. Intrigued, I tried a few things like doing the speed movement after the heavy movement, and flyes.

Bench Press with 80 lbs of chain (1/2 on the floor at lockout, deloaded at the bottom, all weights indicated is bar weight): 55x10, 70x8, 95x6, 115x4, 140x3, 165x2, 195x1. I'm seeing why Louie Simmons recommends 1 par of chains only for someone at my level of benching. With the lead chain included, I'm locking out an extra 50 lbs, and the nature of chains made every set a job. It took a bit for me to unrack the bar at 195 and since the chains move, my wrists were feeling it. 195 came down fast, but I was tight enough to send it right back up. Note to self: get wrist wraps.

Bench Press w/Light Bands: 120x3x8. As Kris mentioned, doing DE after a max should result in faster DE work. Sure enough, it was almost too fast. The first two sets were sloppy, so I had to adjust my tightness and slow the descent a bit.

Incline Flyes: 10x10, 15x10, 20x10, 25x10, 30x8.

GHR DB Preacher Curls: 20x10x4
Band Pull-aparts w/Light Band: 4 sets of 2-4 reps.
Band Pull-aparts w/Monster Minis: 4 sets of 2-4 reps

Physioball "Y": 3x12, 5x10, 8x7, 10x5, 12x2.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

ME Squat

So, why not DE Bench? The answer is that I decided that my last workout before the contest will be DE Bench, so I just scheduled all my workouts backwards from there.

Sumo Deadlift: 135x5, 155x5, 175x5, 205x5, 225x5, 245x5. Not much speed, but really good form. I think while I'm gone I'll do those for speed day, too, instead of squats. The sumo has played second-fiddle to my conventional DL for way too long.
Blast Strap Pushups: 5 sets of 3, 1 set of 4. Ok, how do I go from being able to do 56 pushups tops to this?!? The handles were very close to the floor. I had to bust ass to keep my arms from wanting to spread out, and I was very shaky. The set of 4 was a case of me contracting my back harder and tucking a little better, but that only improved things by one rep. My stabilizers, evidently, need work.

GHR: 5 sets of 2. I'm not Kris:) The last two sets were done with a pair of monster minis. I'll get there.

Light Band Pullthroughs: 4 sets of 10

Situps: 4 sets of 50

Single Leg Calf Raises: 5 sets of 5. Humbled again, these are hard for me, too.

I lay exposed;(

Monday, July 17, 2006

Short Review: SSB Yoke Bar

The SSB bar is little longer than the Texas Power Bar (maybe a little longer) and weighs in at 60 lbs. The original SSB had a capacity of 1500 lbs and I'll gander a guess and say this one is close to the same capacity. It has a gussett that helps provide strength and stability to the sleeve and the bar. It has a strong, sturdy feel and is rackable. I bought mine with the extended handles since I felt it would provide easier balance and stability when using the bar, and allow me to put my hands lower to really give my shoulders a break. If you do barbell lunges or step ups, the handles are worth the extra $30US.

First thing I noticed when unracking the bar was that it took more effort to do so. That's because, as you all have read, the bars forward camber forces the weight (and the person) forward. If you've ever read Fred Hatfield's "POWER" and seen the picture of someone using an SSB while holding on to the rack, it is to that extent. It tried to force me forward even more than the Manta Ray, which also places the bar higher, does. As you can tell from the video, this bar practically humbled me. For all the back work I do, and I got thrown over at the bottom. I might have to learn this squat variation from the beginning as if it were different, rather than treating it like a squat with a different bar. Should be fun. That said, the bar is very comfortable: ample padding, and the bar stays put.

One flub in this video: I set the j-hooks a tad high. Thus, the tip-toeing to unrack it:)

Friday, July 14, 2006

DE Squat (+ Bench test)

Lunchtime (Weight is per movement arm):

Hammer MTS High Rows: 45x10, 55x8, 65x6, 75x6, 90x1, 80x6, 95x1
Hammer ISO Rows: 50x10, 60x8, 70x6, 85x6, 100x3, 90x6, 105x2.


Band Bench Press w/Light Bands (test): 45x10, 70x8, 95x6, 120x4, 135x2, 155x1, 175x1, 195x1. As I'm 4 weeks out from the meet, I decided to use the same speed day setup I used to help me get my 240 bench the first time. Only now, my setup was a finger wider (now middle finger on the rings). 190 was my best before with a closer grip. Not only was this a 5 pound best but I could feel a big diffrence with all my prior work. I had a tighter setup, a faster launch from the bottom, the weight never felt as if it was gonna get stuck, and my lockout was good despite the bands. My planned speed days look like this: 50%1RM (based on a 240 bench) for 8 sets of 3 with light bands, rest 3 minutes, then [based on best band bench]85% for 6 reps, 100% for 1 rep, 90% for 6 reps, 105% for 1 rep, then 15 reps with 60%. I'm gunning for a 105% single of 225 lbs, with bands, on week 4.

SSB Box squats w/80 lbs of chain: 45x10, 75x8, 105x6, 135x4, 165x2, 180x2x8. A misnomer, since the last 5 sets were not very fast at all. The bar and chains changed everything: I had to fight to stay upright, and the chains pretty much exposed my lack of speed. Less bar weight next time.

Speed Deadlifts: 200x1x10.

Sled Pullthroughs: 5 trips with 50 lbs.

Sled Backwards walk: 5 trips around the neighborhood is 2 miles, I walked one of those and just about crashed to the grass.

Abs: just mixed up some movements in a circuit 4 times.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Enclosed is the picture of my home gym setup. The rack just needs to be mounted, and I need to get a bar holder, but it is essentially complete. It's an Elite R2 Rack and GHR for the main pieces. I have a curl bar, a Trap Bar, Texas Deadlift Bar, and an SSB Yoke Bar. Some things, like the weights, Elliptical, rubber flooring, and dumbbells were bought at a Busy Body fitness store in Tacoma. I have 80 lbs of chain and bands up to an average band, 1-5 boards, Blast Straps, and whatever I had before all this like a Manta Ray and a Sting Ray, a forearm bar, pushup bars, exercise ball, sled. Anything else will be very small like posters and a dry erase board. Place needs a boom box - - - that's upstairs.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

ME Bench

I assembled the gym yesterday, the rack just needs to be mounted to wood. So I just got started using it today. I'll be working out for the next 4 days straight to get caught up, then be back at it Monday. These next two weeks will be experimental, with bands and chains. Then, the next two weeks in Norfolk, VA will be mostly straight weight, bands only for speed bench and squat. The Monday prior to the meet (August 7), I'll work up to a 3RM on the 2-board and do light accessory work. Whatever I get on the 2-board will be my second attempt, and I'll figure out from there what my 3rd attempt will be. I'm nervous, but excited. I'll get pictures up tonight.

Close Grip Pause Bench w/80 lbs of chain (numbers are bar weight): barx10, 65x8, 85x5, 105x5, 135x5, 165x1. An explanation: half of the chain is on the floor at lockout, so I was locking out an extra 40 lbs at lockout (maybe more with the lead chain, but I won't count that). I counted "one-two" at the bottom, then pressed. I was thinking of doing this with 40 lbs of chain only (20 lbs additional at lockout), but I thought "I can 3-board 20 more pounds than my max." My first time benching with chains, and it was demanding. I also finally got my leg drive figured out so my benching was solid.

Close Grip Pause Bench (Straight Weight): 165x3, 185x1. I attempted a second rep at 185 and got stapled. The 185 single was slow but I was happy to nail it.

5-board Press: 185x3, 215x3, 245x3. I could have done more but just wanted to establish a baseline.

Wide Grip Pullup w/Light Bands: 7 sets of 2.

Straight Bar Extensions: 45x10, 50x10, 55x10, 60x6.

3-Way Shoulder (Front raise/lateral raise/band pull-aparts): 4 sets with 5, 8, 10, 8 lbs. The pull aparts were done first with a light band to exhaustion, the switched to the monster minis and did the same. This smoked my delts.

Hammer Curls: worked up to 35 lbs 5RM, then 40x1.

Physioball "T": 5x8, 8x6, 10x4, 12x2, 8x4, 5x7

Friday, July 07, 2006

DE Squat

Manta Ray Parallel Box Squat: 45x8, 75x6, 105x6, 135x2, 165x2, 195x2x8, 225x1, 255x1, 285x1. I was supposed to stop at 255 but since I didn't squat on Monday, I wanted to end it on a better note. The 285 was smooth.

Speed DL (Conventional): 230x1x8, 265x1, 300x1. The 300 was smooth but after all the squatting, it was also a drain.

Back Extensions: 25x10x4.

Birddogs: 6 sets each side.

Weighted Ball Crunches: 25x8x4.

Seated Calf Raises: 60x10, 70x8, 80x8, 80x8.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

ME Bench

Legs Up Pause Bench Press: 45x10, 70x8, 95x5, 115x5, 145x5, 165x5, 190x4 (4RM). The foure reps were real strong, but I had nothing for the 5th one.

3-Board Bench Press: 195x3, 225x3, 245x2. I could blame it on the prior heavy work, or I could have gone lighter on the prior two sets. I'm a little bummed that I didn't get the third rep but I have to remember that in the Elite Beginners Manual, there will be waves where the 2 and 3 boards are used as ME movements all their own. So, I'll be happy:)

Hoist Assisted Wide Pullups (BWT 240.3 lbs): 90.3x10, 100.3x8, 110.3x6, 120.3x4. Decided that everytime I hit 10 reps with a level of assistance, I wont use it the next workout. I did more reps today.

DB Overhead Press: 25x15x3

Reverse Curls: 30x15x3

Physioball "W": 5x8, 8x8, 10x6, 10x5.

I'm thinking of my next bench cycle, and it will have more full range movements. My main ME movement will be close grip pause bench presses with chains, and my DE movement will be arched bench press with bands. As such, I won't have to do boards or rack lockouts. I'll figure something out soon. Like a goal.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Extra Back Work

Hammer MTS Row: 40x10, 50x8, 60x6, 70x6, 85x1, 75x6, 90x1, 50x15

Hammer ISO Row: 70x6x3

Hammer MTS High Row: 55x10x4