Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lessons Learned From This PRT

1.) The intervals prescribed by Alwyn Cosgrove in New Rules of Lifting was my biggest change aerobically, and the difference maker for getting lean. That, and lifting with a lot of volume, supersets, and giant sets.

2.) That said, if I want to get better at running, intervals with an elliptical will not do it. It (and the weight training) did help me cope with the lactic acid buildup better, but that's it. Gotta run.

3.) For deadlifting and squatting, twice a week for me is optimal. Especially since I do a lot of cardio now. In both, I have to vary rep schemes and volume to make it work. Having done SOB then the heavy portion of TBT was not smart with the same exercises.

4.) Front Squats are a big help for back squats. The posterior chain may be important, but the quads are no slouch. That said, if you have access to a GHR, use it.

5.) No long layoffs this time. Some easy work, sure, but no layoff. When I was cleared by Navy doctors to PT in October, I was told that if I were in better shape before the injury, I wouldn't have had a bodyfat problem post-injury. That was a lot of crow to swallow.

6.) Leave backflips to those who can do them WITHOUT A TRAMPOLINE!!!

7.) Total Body Training by Chad Waterbury was a big fixer upper for me. Brought my structural balance up big time. Coupled with the right aerobics plan, I would probaby use it before every PRT. My biggest modification to it was the superset structure from NROL, for lactic acid work.

8.) My running program failed because even with a gradual buildup, my pace was faster than my body could handle for long periods. This last run hammered that in me: After 2 laps (3 minutes at a pace for a 12 minute 1.5 mile run), I was starting to lose it. So, I will probably run it easier and peak later.

9.) For future reference, I know that can drop 5-6 lbs in just under 1.5 hours: 45 minutes on the elliptical at Level 14 and two 20 minute sessions in the sauna. But a gallon of Gatorade to put it back was a bad choice, because of the salt content. Water would have been better, or Propel, or Pedialyte.

10.) After 2 days on a low carb diet, I don't see how people can do it for months or for life. Didn't do much for me but make me very irritable.

Preparations for the Navy PRT/PFA End Extra Sweet

A background story to set this up, if I may.

Before I passed last April's PRT, I had three failures. What made that PRT different was that I had trained for it like an event, months before even to the point of doing a 2-week load cycle for the pushups and situps. After feeling so banged up from that, I took a longer layoff than I should have, got a bad bout of food poisoning, then topped it all off with a broken rib that sidelined me for two months. While I did get a medical waiver because of the injury, it did not waive me from the bodyfat measurement - - - which I failed. Per the Navy's instruction, if I failed this PRT then my Navy career was through. To add to that, my unit's PRT was to be run in May, the end of my contract was on April 6 and my next drill was April 13-14 (can't drill with no contract). So I told the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) here at Bangor that I wanted to do my PRT early - - - in March. Pressure!?!

Fast forward to this week. While I could see visual improvement, I didn't want to leave anything to chance. I was recovering from a week of being overtrained: last week, I had two sessions that my lower back no longer recovered quickly from, and this Monday was no different: deadlifting and squatting three times a week plus using an SSB had caught up to me.
I did a 10 set of 3 workout on Wednesday for three movements(Hammer ISO Rows, Hoist Neutral Grip Chinups, and trap bar shrugs) since I wanted to make sure my neck would stay large. Tuesday and Wednesday, I went low carb and the HIIT aerobics on the elliptical was still a go. Thursday morning, the morning of the measurement, I took some time off of work. Weighed in the bathroom at 232.5 lbs nude. Drank some very strong coffee (no sugar) and some Motrin (my erectors still felt puffy), took my son to the bus stop and headed to the gym. Without shoes, weighed in at 235.1. After 45 minutes on the elliptical, weighed in at 233.1. Headed to the dry sauna and did two 20-minute sessions. Afterwards, had to go to the bathroom bad, because I forgot that Motrin on an empty stomach is not good. After a shower, I weighed in at 230.1 lbs. Went to the NOSC to get measured but the Corpsman who was going to do it was administering the PRT to a few people at the gym. When I got there, she wasn't there. So I waited for a while, hungry and thristy. When she showed up, I got measured and passed with my lowest bodyweight in 4 years (229), lowest waist measurement (37.5), and lowest BF (20% by Navy standard). So, that was out of the way. to put it in some kind of perspective, I was 7 lbs lighter than April 2006 but had only lost one lbs of lean mass.

Yesterday was the exercise portion, which I was most nervous about mainly because of the run: I hadn't run since mid-December 2006. That, and the pressure. Oh, and I was running this by myself with noone to pace me. My goal was a Good-Medium (44 pushups, 55 situps, 13:23 1.5 mile run time) because that's what I got last time and I didn't want to look like I had slacked off. I got it. The run was better only in that I had to walk and sprint less of it, but it sucked because I had no practice and no pacing. I was running a 12:00 pace the first two laps, than started to slow down a bit and was winded by the 5th lap of 8. I ran a 13:10, 16 seconds slower than April 2006 but I'll take it.

I reenlist April 5th. I'll do a lessons learned later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

TBT Week 3 Workout 1

All Notation: Weights x reps x sets

Week 3 and 4 is 4 working sets of everything except for the high rep workout on the third day of each week, which is 3 sets of 15. After today, I can't wait until week 4 is over. Could be the extra set, the extra back work, the deadlifts catching up to me, or trying to do all of this while on a diet (somewhat . . . wink . . . wink) but after the triset, I was dreading the thought of doing the sumos. After that superset, I almost bagged the last two movements. I think the word I had in mind was OPPRESSIVE!!!

The good news is that I'm down 1.5 lbs from last week. The 220s are in sight.

13" Front Box Squats: 100x5, 140x5, 180x5x4.
Assisted Wide Grip Pullups (Purple/Monster Mini Bands): BWTx5x6
GHR: (BWT+10)x5x6

Sumo Deadlift: 145x5, 195x5, 245x5x4
DB Shoulder Presses: 35x5, 50x5, 55x5x4

Bulgarian Split Squats: BWTx5, 20x5, 30x5x4
Preacher Curls: 65x5x4, 55x5, 40x5

Lunchtime aerobics was 30 minutes on the rowing machine.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Back Workout

All Notation: Weights x reps x sets
Hoist Assisted Neutral Grip Chinup: 78x20x3
Hammer ISO Row: 75x20x3

Aerobics was the elliptical for 30 minutes.

TBT Week 2 Workout 3

Yesterday's workout - - - All Notation: Weight x reps x sets.
Hoist Assisted Neutral Grip Chinup: 97.5x10x6
Hammer ISO Row: 90x10x6

Evening (Giant set, 2 min rest after each set):
Conventional DL: 200x15x2
Assisted Dips (Purple Band): BWTx15x2
Assisted GHR (Purple Bands):BWTx15x2
Static Lunge: BWTx15x2
Assisted Chinups (Green Bands): BWTx8x2
Incline Curls: 15x15x2
30 minutes, Elliptical, Level 13.

This should have been Friday's workout. But Thursday's workout left my erectors sore and exhausted until Sunday, probably because the snatch grip deads left my back exhausted and the SSB squats finished the job (note to self: squats before deads!!!). I think I've found a nice way to get the fat off and teach my body to tolerate more lactic acid: because I was already exhausted from the giant sets, I spent most of my aerobic session above 170BPM and sucked wind.

This morning, I weighed in at 231. Hooray!!!

Friday, March 16, 2007

TBT Week 2 Workout 2

Since I had to train my son yesterday, I split this workout up and did part of it at lunch. Since I did deadlifts without doing squats first, I loaded 5 more pounds on the bar than planned and pulled it solidly (If Bzycki's formula is to be believed, I'm within 15 lbs of a 300 lbs snatch grip deadlift). I was also able to do DB Presses with 60 lbs for 8, which was one of my goals structurally for a bigger bench - - - the weight felt easy, even though my grip was fried from the deadlifting. Barbell curls were also up, since now I'm doing the worksets first (Biceps should be warm from the deads, right?!?). The squats were right on. Today is a break for me, my lower back muscles are fried.

Oh, I forgot to mention one of my little side projects. After doing dumbbell rows for the longest time, I switched to Hammer ISO Rows and The Hoist Assisted Neutral Grip Chinup since I wanted to lift bigger weight. My plan was to begin with Ian King's 6-1-6-1-10-15 rep wave then follow it up with sessions of 6 sets of 10, 10 sets of 3, 3 sets of 20, 5 sets of 12, 2 sets of 30, then 4 sets of 15 before starting over. The DB work had pushed up my Hammer Row from 115 to 130 and in two weeks of doing the heavy work I've pushed it up to 147.5 lbs. The Neutral Grip Chin work has also gone up, from 152 lbs to 162.5 lbs. The one good side effect of this is that two weeks ago, I was doing DB Rows for a 70 lbs single and now, I can do a 75 lbs triple.

Snatch Grip Deadlift: 145x8, 185x8, 215x8x3
Incline DB Bench Press: 40x8, 50x8, 60x8x3

16" Step Up: 20x8, 30x8, 40x8x3
Barbell Curls: 70x8x3, 60x8, 45x8

12" SSB Box Squat: 125x8, 145x8, 185x8x3
DB Upright Rows: 15x8, 20x8, 25x8x3
GHR: BWTx8x3. Added Monster Minis for the last two sets because I could only do 5 otherwise: 2 sets of 8.

Monday, March 12, 2007

TBT Week 2 Workout 1

All Notation: Weight x Reps x Sets. No rest until the end of the set, then it is 60 seconds rest.

13" Front Box Squats: 100x5, 140x5, 175x5x3. Just a 2.5% increase over last week.
Assisted Wide Grip Pullups (Purple/Monster Mini Band): BWTx5x5
GHR: BWTx5x5

Sumo Deadlift: 145x5, 195x5, 240x5x3
Incline Blast Strap Pushups (Paused): BWTx6x5. The 240 felt easier than last week's 235. I always run out of steam on the last two sets and have to psych myself up to finish. Call me a masochist but there's a reason why I do sumos after the triset of front squats/pull/GHR: I want my hips to reach deep when all else is gone. Then my deadlift will go up.

15" Lateral Step Up: 15x5, 20x5, 30x5x3
DB Hammer Curls: 35x5x3, 25x5, 20x5. Last time, it was hard to complete the heaviest sets at the end for the hammer curls, so I did the heaviest ones first.

Friday, March 09, 2007

TBT Week 1 Workout 3

This workout was done as two giant sets, with 2 minutes rest after each one. Arched back good mornings was to be the next to last exercise, but high rep deadlifts killed that idea fast. I was going to do the chinups to 15 reps using rest pause but after 8 reps (and the deadlifts), I had no pull left.

Conventional DL: 195x15x2
Assisted Dips (Purple Band): BWTx15x2
Assisted GHR (Purple+Monster Mini Bands):BWTx15x2
Static Lunge: BWTx15x2
Assisted Chinups (Green Bands): BWTx8x2
Incline Curls: 15x15x2

Thursday, March 08, 2007

TBT Week 1 Workout 2

12" SSB Box Squat: 120x8, 145x8, 180x8x3
DB Upright Rows: 15x8, 20x8, 25x8x3
Assisted GHR (Monster Mini Band): 5 sets of 8 (75 seconds rest)

Snatch Grip Deadlift: 135x8, 165x8, 205x8x3
Incline DB Bench Press: 35x8, 45x8, 55x8x3 (75 seconds rest)

16" Step Up: 12x8, 25x8, 35x8x3
Barbell Curls: 45x8, 55x8, 65x8 (75 seconds rest)

Am trying to get the first 4 weeks done by March 27, which would be 2 days before I measure and gives me rest time until the PRT. That's a workout every other day. We'll see how that goes, considering how demanding this setup is right now. Surprises: 55 lbs DBs felt light for the incline presses, and the snatch grip deadlifts felt ok - - - I think the squats warmed me up. AS for the squats, what I need most from that depth is pop: Once I turn my muscles on, it's more like a gradual launch. Something I could fix with speed work and accomodating resistance, but that'll be later.

Monday, March 05, 2007

TBT Week1 Workout 1

My past two weeks have been spent still doing HIIT aerobics, testing on a lot of lifts, and just trying to find out what I wanted to do. Originally, I wanted to do a fat burning program but because of the way the Navy does bodyfat mesurements (which benefits those with a big neck), I didn't want to risk losing any mass. So I chose TBT again. Having accomplished a lot of my structural balance goals (Except biceps: for a 215 bench, my preacher curl should be 92 lbs but I'm now only 12 lbs away), I'm throwing my effort into getting my front squat as close to 85% of my back squat (I'm close, but not close enough), improving my pushups and biceps, and my low end deadlift. No ab work, so they can shrink. I learned from the error of my last great front squat work and the last TBT that I must do hip GHR work to keep my back squat strong, so I'm doing a lot of sumo DL work with a lot of weight, GHRs/unilateral leg work three times a week, and 12" box squat work once a week to maintain. To help me get leaner quicker, most of the workouts will be done in superset pairs, with no rest until after the last exercise of that pair. That might be a plateau buster for me: I'm stuck at 232.5 lbs. Right now, I have a 17.25 inch neck and a 41 inch waist so I either need an 18 inch neck with a 40 inch waist or a 17.5 inch neck with a 39 inch waist. The last might be more realistic.

13" Front Box Squat: 95x5, 135x5, 170x5x3
Band Assisted Wide Grip Pullup (Green Band): 5 sets of 5
GHR: BWT x 8 x 5 (60 seconds rest)

Sumo Deadlift: 145x5, 195x5, 235x5x3
Blast Strap Pushups (Feet raised 6"): 5 sets of 5 (60 seconds rest)

15" Lateral Step Up: 15x5, 20x5, 25x5x3
DB Hammer Curls: 15x5, 25x5, 35x5x3 (60 seconds rest)

This workout was just plain hard. Not so much the weight in itself but the cardio portion it turned into. Didn't help that the first triset took all my important DL muscles out, either: the second superset left me winded. On the plus side, this may be what I need - - - the better I get at clearing the lactic acid out, the better shape I will be in for the hard and easy stuff. Until I do, however, I have to swallow 7 more weeks of this!!!