Friday, October 16, 2015

Long Overdue Recap

Well, as you know, I had a relatively obnoxious injury to my back when I failed 485 on DL.  It still isn't 100%, but I took quite a bit of time off, and did some light stuff when I did get around to working out.

Now that I am working out regularly again, I am switching to some high rep work and (while it is warm and dry out - living in MN, it won't last too much longer) doing some sled work.  I am enjoying it, so far.  It is only meant to be a temporary thing (maybe until the end of the year - possibly until the end of the Winter - not sure) to continue to rehab my back.  I will transition back to heavy sets in time to prep for the Twin Ports Raw Open.  I am REALLY hoping to be ready for a 1200lb PL Total by then... if I am not, then my failure is complete.

I don't really feel like recording all the workouts I have done since then - so here is this and last weeks' workouts.


Squat 3x10@185
Bench 2x10@185
DB Bench 80s x 8
Chins BWx5,5,5


Snatch Grip DL 195x20
Press 3x10@125
Chins BWx5,5,6
Dips BWx5,5


P.Cleans 5x3@155
Bench 2x10@187.5
DB Bench 80s x 10
Rows 3x5@185

10.12.15 (Happy Birthday to Me)
Squat 2x20@135
Press 145x5,5,6
Chins BWx6,6,6
Dips BWx5,5,5


DL (Banded) 275x10
Bench 20x135, 145, 135
Chins BWx6,7,8


P.Cleans 160x3,3,3,3,4
Press 150x5,5,6
Rows 187.5x5,5,6
Dips BWx5,6,8

Sunday, September 13, 2015

More PRs, Failures, a Week Off and a Lazy De-Load 8/24 - 9/12/15

I have quite a bit of calendar to recap for you here, and I am not sure I remember everything... I don't keep fabulous notes in my log anymore - mostly just numbers.

The last few weeks saw and All-Time PR in Squat, Bench and Press, and a MASSIVE failure on a 1RM attempt in DL which led to some serious back pain and no Squats or DLs for several days (actually, as I am writing this, I have yet to Squat or DL since that day).

Squat, I set an PR for sets of reps, sorta.  My previous 3x5 RM was 325.  I did another 3x5 @ 325, but added a sixth rep at the end of set three.

Bench, my previous 1RM PR was 275, set back in 2012, so I added 2.5 lbs to the bar and got it for a new 1RM PR.

Press, my previous 1RM PR was 200, set almost exactly 2 years ago, so I added 2.5 lbs to the bar.  On my first attempt, since I have been pressing for 10s lately, and only have done a heavy double once all Summer, my body just naturally did a mini push-press/knee kick without me really thinking about it, due to the weight.  I felt pretty unhappy with myself - I have never gotten a PR on a second attempt if I miss it the first time - but since I got it up, and didn't fail the lift due to weight, but due to "red" lights, I was confident that I'd get it a second time.  I set up and got it for another 1RM PR.  Technically, because my feet moved, it was a "red lit" lift again, but for a garage lift in squishy shoes, I am counting it.

DL, the math indicated I should be able to get 500, so I set up for 485, planning on gauging my ability to hit 500 by how hard 485 would be, and it barely came off the floor, and that is where it stopped.  I knew, almost immediately, that I had hurt myself, too.  I haven't squatted or DL'd since (8/27).

I set my Bench PR after the DL/Back injury, and my benching back-arch hurt badly.  I also set my Press PR 2 days after Bench, and that hurt my back too (I wasn't about to waste my last workouts with my workout partner before he went back to college), so I did nothing from 9/3 to 9/9, hoping I'd rehab my back a bit.  My back felt good enough to try some light Power Cleans on 9/9, but since then, my back has been a bit iffy, so today I left off the Squats again.  I guess I shouldn't have titled this post "deload" since I didn't actually DO ANY squats, haha.

I have a new program I am going to try out this fall - I wrote it myself (as much as anyone who has been trying programs from other people for years can call it "myself" - I am obviously heavily influenced by SS, TX, MC, SM, etc).  I'll fill you in next post... here is the recap of the last few weeks:


Squat 325x 5, 5, 6
Press 115x 10, 11, 12
Chins BWx10; +25x5, 5; BWx9


DL 1x455; 0x485
Bench 235x5, 6
DB Bench 14, 10 w/80s
Chins BWx10; +25x5, 5; BWx9


Press 120x10, 11, 13
Chins BWx11; +25x6; +35x4; BWx10


Bench 277.5x1; 235x5, 5, 5
Chins BWx10; +25x6; +35x4; BWx10


Press 202.5x1; 125x10, 10, 13
Chins BWx10; +25x7, 6; BWx10


P.Cleans 5x3@145
Push-ups 20
Banded Push-ups 15, 15
Double Banded Push-ups 4
Chins BWx10, 9
Rows 207.5x5


Press 147.5x5, 5, 7
Chins BWx4, 5; +25x5; +35x5, 4

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Banded DLs are Evil... I Love Banded DLs. 8/17 - 8/21/15

The countdown has begun until I lose my workout partner.  We've made a LOT of progress this Summer, and I don't want it to end.

I have been pushing the limits with DL (including an 18.5 pound jump from one week to the next, hitting a PR, and then setting another +2 pound PR the following week), so I wanted to do a small deload, but - as always - I can't commit to anything for very long.

I originally wanted to go back down to 415 (what I was planning on when I jumped up to 428.5) but decided I wanted to try something new.

I tried banded DLs last year, but it was with light(ish) weight, and I only did it a few times.  This time, I banded up 405 pounds, and it was a much different story.

Banded DLs are possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. In the past, if I get past my usual sticking point (about 4-6 inches above the floor) then it is smooth sailing the rest of the way. Since bands make it progressively harder the whole way up, it was like trying to push through one giant sticking point. It made the whole rep feel the same as the first six inches of an unbanded repetition. Whoa.

I haven't decided if I am going to do them again this week or not.  Right now, the tentative plan is to add weight to banded DLs each week until I get back to 430 banded, and then take the bands off and see what I am capable of.  Who knows?  We will see how I feel on Wednesday if I actually keep the bands on.

Squats are still progressing, adding 5 pounds a week has not proved to be too much, yet.

The cumulative tick-tack injuries are ebbing and flowing, but seem to be steadily improving, on the whole.


Squat 3x5@320
Bench 232.5x5,6
DB Bench 14,12 w/80s
Chins +32.5x4; +25x5; BWx7


Squat 3x275
DL (Banded) 405x5
Press 2x10@110
SS 25/12
Chins BWx10; +15x7; +25x4


Squat 5x325
Bench 323.5x5,5,6
Rows 205x5,5,7
Chins BWx10; +25x5,4; BWx7

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Year-to-Date Progress Report & 8/10 - 8/15/15

I wanted to do a little recap for myself... and I am going subject you to it by including it in a blog post.

I came back to the iron back near the beginning of the year after injuries dating back to August of last year.  I had also been inconsistent for most of the rest of 2014.

Starting back in March, I was Squatting 200 pounds for a set of five.
I Squatted 320 pounds for five reps yesterday.

I was Deadlifting 255 pounds for a set of five.
I Deadlifted 430 pounds for five reps yesterday.

I was Benching 145 pounds for three sets of five reps.
I Benched 230 for three by five on Monday.

I was doing three sets of five Chin-ups with no weight added to a 230 pound frame.
Yesterday I did three sets of five Chin-ups with 30 pounds added to a 245 pound body.

I was Pressing five reps of 130 pounds.
I Pressed three sets of five at 165 pounds at the beginning of July.  I am taking it easy with Press right now, as you know, so I don't re-injure myself.

Especially at the beginning, a healthy portion of this improvement should be attributed to  muscle memory and CNS adaptation - the body remembering how to do these things and figuring out just how strong it really is - not actual strength gains, per se; but I am nevertheless pleased and excited about the improvements since coming back to the iron last Spring.

This week was only a two workout week, but it was still a great week.  I did a 3x5 with three big wheels on Squat, performed a heavy single during OWU on Bench that was only 5 pounds less than my all-time 1RM PR, and set a +32oz 5RM PR on DL.

If all goes according to plan, I will tie my 5RM PR on Squat this coming Friday.  Since I jumped from 410 to 428.5 last week on DL, and today my low back was quite tired and sore from 5x430.5 yesterday, I am going to do a 15 pound deload to give my back a wee bit of a break.  430.5 went up much more quickly than 428.5, but I don't want to burn out or force a stall, so I'll just do a deload down to the weight I SHOULD have done last week, and then continue my 5# weekly increases.  Setting PRs every week is nice, but I don't want to push it.

I didn't end up doing any rows this week, but I don't mind too much.


Squat 3x5@315
Bench 270x1; 3x5@230
Chins BW+0 x 10,9,8


Squat 5x320
DL 5x430.5
Press 2x10@105
Shoulder Shocker 25/12
Chins BW+30 x 5,5,5
Shrugs 10x135, 185, 215, 220

Saturday, August 8, 2015

2nd DL PR In As Many Weeks! 8/3 - 8/8/15

Don't worry - no painful encore of JooseVlog.

I threw some Presses back into the mix this week, just to see how they felt.  I did 2 sets of 10 light reps before doing 2 sets of Shoulder Shocker on Monday and Saturday.  The injury felt iffy during and after Monday's workout, but I was feeling brave and tried again today, and it felt much better.  Hopefully this will continue as I really miss the Press; PLUS the Shoulder Shocker is really supposed to be a "finisher," not a core exercise unto itself.

DL had a planned work-set of 415 (+5lbs from last week), but I was feeling really strong (and REALLY crazy) so I went for a 5RM +3.5lb PR.  I had to take a quick breather between reps 4 and 5, so some of you may not count it, but I felt like it was a major victory (especially since just last week I said I wouldn't consider myself stronger than pre-injury strength as I hadn't matched my 5x425 yet) and I am counting it.  Judge for yourself - comments welcome:

So, after watching it again, it looks like the "quick breather" was 20 seconds long.  Oops.  Oh well - this is still, quite possibly, stronger than I have ever been.  Online 1RM calculators put my 1RM around 482... 500 pounds is right around the corner, I hope.

I did 5 reps at 315lbs for a single set of Squats today.  It felt surprisingly light!  I am looking forward to 3x5 at that weight on Monday.


Squat 5x310
Press 2x10@95
Shoulder Shocker 2x25/15s
Chins +27.5x5,5,5; +35x3
Shrugs 2x10@205


DL 428.5
Bench 2x5@230
DB Bench 80s x 15,12
Chins +35x5,4,3
Push-ups 30


Squat 315x5
Press 2x10@100
Shoulder Shocker 2x35/15s
Chins +35x4,4; +25x5
Shrugs 2x10@210

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pull-ups, Deloads, and injuries 7/13 - 7/24

I didn't blog last Saturday because I was too frustrated with having reinjured myself.  The knots in the areas around my spine on the right side of my upper back, between my spine and scapula, and the shooting pain in my thoracic and cervical spine that sidelined me last year have returned.  Mercifully, they are not nearly to the degree they were last Fall, and I was able to work out this past week (only twice, though), but it is ever-present, and I am very nervous that one wrong move will sideline me all over again.  I can't afford the copious visits to a chiropractor and massage therapist that I fear I need - so we'll see how well I can self adjust.

After a brief deload, we tried adding in some OWU for Press, and ended up re-injuring myself! (Press was the culprit this time, as it was last time) So we are shelving the Overhead Press for a while.  To make sure to get at least some shoulder work in, we're trying 3 sets of the "Shoulder Shocker" on Wednesdays - this burns like crazy!  We'll be benching Mondays and Fridays every week (2x5 Bench plus 2xFailure w/Dumbbells on Mondays and 3x5 Bench on Fridays).

I got 405x5 on DL last week, (even though I said I wouldn't try for it... haha) which was very satisfying, but I only got 4 reps at 410 this past week.  Considering I have been preoccupied with my injury, I am not too disappointed with that.  I skipped the 12 rep set this past week and I will probably be dropping the 12 rep sets in the future... I am unsure.  If I deload on DL, I'll definitely be putting them back in.

Everything seems to be slowing and stalling, so it appears I am transitioning to a more intermediate type program at just the right time.  There are deloads coming, I am sure.

Hopefully this week will be an improvement.

Also note-worthy, my workout partner and I fixed the issue preventing us from doing pull-ups.  Pull-ups still hurt my shoulder, but it is nice to know we can do them if we wish.


Squat 295x5,5,6
Press 167.5x3,4,4
Chins +25x5,5,4; +40x2
FW w/80s


Squat 245x3
DL 405x5
Bench 3x240; 1x260; 230x5,6,4


Squat 300x5
Press 155x2; 180x2; 150x5,6,8 (Injury!)


Squat 300x5,5,5
Bench 240x3; 225x5,6,6
Rows 200x5,5,6
Chins +20x5,5,5; +35x3


Squat 305x5
DL 410x4; 345x0
Shoulder Shocker with 24/11/11
Chins +21x6,6,6; +35x3

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Chin-Ups, TX Method and Puke 7/6 - 7/11

Yup, you read that correctly - CHINS!  Chins have been steadily progressing for about a month now, and I am exceedingly pleased with it.  I have been improving quickly and adding weight regularly.

Today, I didn't eat a ton - I had a great breakfast but nothing else - and then just before my workout, without any lunch, I washed down all my vitamins with pre-workout... not a brilliant move on my part.  Got a heavy set of 5 squats under my belt, and then promptly threw up violently in my drive-way.  What?  Of course I went back to finish the workout... why would you even bother asking??

Still going strong with VooDoo Joint-Flossing like crazy, so we have been able to persist with Low-Bar Squats.  Monday Squats absolutely smashed me... I lost count on the last set and ended up doing seven reps and was wasted with exhaustion the rest of the day.  After that, Wednesday DL also smashed me.  By Friday, I was not ready to work out again -my body was sore, tight, and exhausted - so we waited until today.  So, two decisions come from that: 1, no more ten pound jumps for DL (which means next week I will NOT be going for 405x5), and 2, we are going to a Texas Method inspired plan for the Squat.  So, today we went up 5lbs and did 1 set of 5.  Then on Monday we'll stay at that weight, and do 3x5 (not 5x5, as TXM says to do - ain't nobody got time for that!).  Wednesdays we haven't been squatting, but now we'll do a light triple as a pre-DL warm-up.  Then, up 5lbs for another single set of 5 again on Friday.  Like I said - inspired.

Dumbbell Bench is still a ton of fun, and is improving.

Press is getting harder... micro-loading may not be enough, I am not sure.
We're adding Farmer Walks to Press days, and nixing Conditioning days for a while.


Squat 290x5,5,7
Bench 2x240; 1x255; 1x260; 227.5x6; 230x5
DB Bench 12, 11 w/80s
Chins +10x6,6; +25x4


DL 385x5; 335x12
Press 165x5,5,5
Chins +15x5,5,6; +35x3
FW w/80s


Squat 295x5
Bench 2x240; 1x255; 1x260; 230x5,5
DB Bench 13,12 w/80s
Rows 197.5x5,5,5
Chins +20x5,5,7; +35x4

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Return of Low-Bar Back-Squat 6/29 - 7/4

Happy Independence Day!

We skipped another Saturday workout to maximize involvement in Fourth of July festivities.  As such, I won't spend much time on this post.

It suffices me to say that everything went well (for me) and we even got a workout of Low-Bar in with no additional elbow discomfort!!  My workout partner injured himself, but seems to be recovering quickly - he even got to LB squat with me yesterday, too!


Safety Squat 3x5@280
Press 3x5@160; 6x140
Chins +5x6,6,6,6; +20x3


DL 385x5; 325x12
Bench 2x240; 1x255; 3x5@225
Rows 3x5@195
Chins +5x7,4,5; +10x4 (30 sec) 3 (30 sec) 2 (30 sec) BWx2


LBBS 285x5,5,6
Press 3x5@162.5
Chins +10x5,5,5,5; +25x4 (30 sec) 1

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dumbbells and Fences 6/22-6/27/15

It was another great week of paying my oblations to Fe.

We skipped Saturday conditioning for the third week in a row, but this time we had a better excuse than "it is raining" and "we're tired/sore/injured."  My workout partner (along with my brother-in-law and father-in-law) was gracious enough to help us (start to) put up a fence!  We made great progress and got some good physical labor in, so it wasn't a total loss.

We're back to exclusively squatting with the safety bar, which makes me exceedingly unhappy.  Everything else seems to be going swimmingly, however, so I am dealing with it.  I did a small reset to work on getting my knee form back on point.  I have virtually always had an issue with knee caving, and it needs to stop so I don't cause permanent injury - which, based on how I have been feeling, can't be too far away.

The elbow is constantly threatening to be problematic, but it didn't prevent me from completing any reps.

The second week of 12 rep DLs was Glorious!  I feel amazing for hours afterwards due to the psychological and hormonal benefits of compounding lifting heavy(ish) weights for several reps.

Press progress has finally slowed to the point where I feel like I am done with 5x5 and will move back to 3x5 with the occasional back-off set or two afterwards.  I may get a dip station and do some dips after Press on days when I don't do back-off sets.  We did some back-off sets this week, and I was disappointed in how few reps I could do on them.  I subtracted 20 pounds and only gained 3 reps on the first set, and subsequently unloaded an additional 20 pounds and only gained 3 more reps for the final set.

Chins are still progressing - I can't put into words how encouraging it is that I am improving with chins.  I added weight for the work-sets on Friday and am doing the slow descent where the first eccentric movement takes as long in seconds as there are reps in the set.  The second eccentric takes one fewer second, and so forth.  For example: Friday, I did 5 sets of 5 reps.  I do a chin-up, and then slowly lower my body back down for a count of 5 seconds.  I then perform another chin-up, and slowly lower my body back down for a count of 4 seconds... and so on until the final chin-up is followed by a one second eccentric.

When I came back to the Iron near the beginning of this year, I got a 1RM of 225 on the Bench Press.  This week, I got a set of 225x5.  I am VERY pleased with this.  Next week, 3x5@225 should go in the books.

My favorite part of this week was the introduction of dumbbell bench press.  I got my hands on some used 80lb dumbbells for pretty cheap, and we cut our barbell bench sets to 2x5 so we could have a little extra time to do 2xFail on dumbbell bench.  I could really feel a pump in my boobies, and it was pretty sore yesterday and today.  Yay for hypertrophy!


Squat 250x5; 270x5,5
Bench 2x2@235; 217.5x5,5,6
Rows 190x5,5,6
Chins BWx11,9,9; +10x5


DL 375x5; 315x12
Press 155x5,5,5; 135x8; 115x11
Chins BWx10,10,10; +10x5


Squat 3x5@275
Bench 240x2; 250x1; 220x6; 225x5
D.Bell Bench 80s x 10,8
Rows 3x5@192.5
Chins +5x5,5,5,5,5

Saturday, June 20, 2015

PRs and Elbow Pain 6/15 - 6/20/15

My elbow really hurts... like, a LOT!

This week saw another gigantic step towards a 405lb Squat!  I set a new Personal Record 1 Rep Max Squat @ 390lbs!!!  I have had major elbow pain ever since, but HEY!  Who cares??!  Right?  Well, maybe I care, a little.

From the caption of the video:
"I was feeling stupid... I mean strong, so I went for some higher weight after doing my first work set at 280. When the first rep of 315 went up so easily, I popped out 3 more without racking it. My fate was sealed at that point -- I was going for a 1RM Test!365 went up a TON more easily than I expected, so I thought I might as well go for a PR. My knees caved in big time, especially my left knee, and it hurts like the dickens even as I type this, but it went up so easily, I know I could have gotten 405... but I don't want to snap my legs in half, so I won't be doing that any time soon - gotta perfect my form first.This is so exciting for me... I have been chasing 405 for half a bloody decade!"
I also tried replacing the second Deadlift work-set of 5 reps with a 12 rep set (lighter weight, obviously).  I really liked it.  I will continue for now.

My left elbow hurt really badly during Bench, not as much during Press, but I got most of the planned reps.  Chins are still increasing nicely, which makes me happy.  For the first time in, who knows how long, I had a set of 10 strict-ish Chin-ups!!

I really do NOT want to switch away from Low Bar Back Squat, but I am obviously in quite a bit of pain to the point where my body won't let me lift as heavy as I'd like in other lifts such as Bench and Press.  I am going to try some new ways of holding the bar when I come back to LBBS, but for now I'll have to take a week or so off from LBBS and exclusively squat with the safety bar - then maybe I'll do LBBS on Mondays and Safety Squat on Fridays... who knows.

My knee is also bothering me, so I may deload both types of squats to work on form - I am letting my knee cave a bit too much.

We skipped today's (Saturday's) workout because my body desperately needs an extra rest day.


LBBS 280x5; 315x4; 335x1; 365x1; 390x1!!!
Press 150x5,6,5,5,6
Chins BWx9,8,8; +10x4


DL 5x365; 12x300
Bench 2x225, 235; 3x5@215
Rows 3x5@187.5
Chins BWx10,9,8; +10x3


Safety Squat 280x5; 290x4; 280x5
Press 152.5x5,5,4,7,6
Chins BWx10,8,9; +10x4


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Broken Equipment, Missed Reps and Rain-outs 6/8 - 6/13/15

It has been an interesting, adventurous week.  The lever on my squat belt broke while I was in the hole of the 2nd rep of my third set on Monday.  It hurt... not that the belt hurt me, but the sudden release of tension in my back hurt quite a bit.  I was using the safety squat bar, so I was able to let go of the bar and shed the belt.  I successfully attempted the third rep, sans belt, but decided not to push my luck further.

Friday's squat sets were performed with my DL belt, and I did low bar for kicks and giggles... so far, no elbow pain.

Bench on Friday saw my first failed rep (in the Big Four - obviously I fail reps on Chins all the time) since coming back to the iron.

I missed my first OWU single at 255, so I went down to 245 for my second.

Today, it was raining pretty hard and I wasn't about to take my iron sled and iron plates outside, so we just did some high pulls and shrugs and called it a day.

All things considered it was a pretty great week - because any week where there is progress is a great week.  Oh, and I got a 425lb 1RM on Deadlift!  Only 32.5 more pounds to go until I tie my all-time PR!!


Squat 275x5,5,3
Bench 2x1@252.5; 210x5,5,6
Rows 182.5x5,5,6
Chins BWx6,6,6,7


DL 1x425; 6x355
Press 142.5x6,6,6,6,6
Chins BWx7,7,7; +10x5


LBBS 275x5,5,6
Bench 255x0; 245x1; 212.5x5,5,6
Rows 185x5,5,6
Chins BWx8,8,7; +10x3


High Pulls 2x3@95; 3x125
Shrugs 10x135; 5x185, 225, 275, 315, 335

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Lazy Loading & Double Dosing 6/1 - 6/6

This is my first week-wrap-up blog post.  I had a great week.  On DL day, I was too lazy to do a lot of loading and unloading between my sets and my partner's sets; so, to make it easier, I went up 10 pounds from last week rather than 5.  This makes two weeks in a row I increased the previous workouts weight by 10 on DL day, and this is the second week that I killed it.  I am very excited by how quickly my DL is returning to my previous strength levels.

On Friday I did an early morning workout, so I doubled up on my Pre-Workout drink, and I felt AMAZING!  It was neither wise nor prudent, but it worked!

Today was spectacular!  I am really enjoying Saturday Conditioning Days.  We added shrugs at the end for kicks and giggles.  I should know tomorrow or Monday if I am going to pay for it or not.
I guess I should start calling Saturday Conditioning & Yoke Day, since Farmer Walks, Overhead Carries AND Shrugs all get you yoked!


Squat 3x5@265
Press 5x5@137.5
Chins BW+7.5x5,5,5
High Pulls 3x3@140


DL 345x5,7
Bench 1x245,250; 207.5x5,5,6
Rows 3x5@180
Chins BW+10x5,5,5ish


Squat 3x5@270
Press 140x5,5,5,5,8
Chins BW+12.5x5,5,4½


Sled Push/Pull 145# for 180'
Sled Push/Pull 170# for 180'
Sled Push/Drag 180# for 180'
Farmer Walks 2x180' w/102.5X ea. hand
Overhead Carries 180' with 100#, 125#, #130
Shrugs 135x10; 225x5; 275x5; 315x5

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Just Don't Call it Cardio! ...Plus a New Exercise

Active Recovery?  Love it.  Resistance Conditioning?  Bring it on.


...Maybe just a little?, but seriously - If you aren't training for a sport, and you don't have a weight attached to you somehow - whether in your hand(s), on your back, or strapped to you in some way - and you're doing cardio, you're doing it wrong.

This week was the first time - that I can remember - that I got all three heavy lifting days in before Saturday, so I could do my conditioning/active recover day!  AND. IT. WAS. A. BLAST!!

We did two sets of Sled Push and Pulls; two sets of Farmer Walks, and three sets of a new exercise: the Overhead Carry (OHC).


I put a 45# plate on the Sled, pushed it 90', clipped a 100' rope to the Sled, jogged back to the beginning, and pulled it hand-over-hand back to the starting point.
I added a 25# plate and did it again.
I did 2 sets of 180' Farmer Walks with 100# in each hand (this felt easier than last week - we will be going up in weight next Saturday).
Then, I took a 95# bar, Muscle Snatched it from a hang, and walked 90'.  Then I lowered it to a hang again, turned around, Muscle Snatched it again, and walked back.
I repeated with 115#, and then performed a third set with 125#.

I feel great, and I am totally stoked to do it again next week.  We'll probably add a third set of Sled.

Pushing the sled did not feel awesome on my wrist.  I used my wrist wraps for OHC, and felt only slight discomfort.  There was also some complaining coming from my left elbow.

Friday, May 29, 2015


Well, I was able to Press on Wednesday and Bench today, with moderately tolerable pain.  I think I am healing... I hope I am not putting too much stress on it that it won't get better.

        (wrong wrist)

Same Stuff, Different Day: I still hate the safety squat, but I am still killing it.  I am doing well with Bench. Rows are easy, and Chins are crawling.  In order to save some time, I have dropped the 10 rep sets with Squats and Bench.  I dropped curls, too.

I went up five pounds on my second OWU set with Bench, which felt good.


Squat 3x5@260
Bench 1x235, 240; 205x5,5,7
Rows 175x5,5,7
Chins BW+5x5,5,5

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


My right wrist hurts really badly, I think there may be a stress fracture - but instead of being smart and skipping Press, I bought some Wrist Wraps.  I tried the bar as a warm-up without the wraps, and it killed like mad!  Adding the wraps afterward made a world of difference.  Great purchase!

Deadlift was awesome - when is it not, amiright??  I was too lazy to do lots of plate loading/unloading/reloading between my work-sets and my partner's - we're at different places with our DLs - so I went up 5 lbs on my work-sets to make for less plate movement.  It worked out just fine.

Chins sucked, as always.


Deadlift 2x5@335
Press 5x5@135
Chins BW+3.75x5,5,5

Monday, May 25, 2015

I LOATH the Safety Squat Bar.

With my elbow issues, it has become necessary to continue to use the Safety Squat Bar for the foreseeable future.
I may try to go back to a regular bar on Monday, and just push my grip out to the collars, but I am not optimistic that it will be painless.

With how much more difficult it is to keep my upper back tight and my lower back arched or even neutral, and with how much more upright the SS Bar forces me to lift, the squat is MUCH more difficult.  I have never loved the Squat, but now I downright hate it.  I am going to keep doing it because refraining from squatting is NOT an option... but man oh man am I sick of tendinitis's effect on my workouts.

Everything went swimmingly - except maybe Chins.  I got every planned rep, but I am so sick of how slow (or non-existent) my progress is on that exercise.  It shouldn't be as hard as it was today.  I know I am always bloody exhausted by the time I get to chins, but the apparent complete lack of progress is ridiculously and incredibly frustrating.

High Pulls were hard - both because Saturday's workout was insane re: traps, and because I went up ten pounds rather than 5.  We'll probably stay at the same weight for next week.

The elbow feels about as close to painless as can be expected, but my right wrist started having some pain issues during the Bench.  Otherwise, I am pleased with the Bench workout - or, rather, I am as pleased as I can be considering how much strength I have lost over the last year and a half.


Safety Squat 1x300; 3x5@255; 10x215
Bench 2x1@230; 202.5x5,5,7; 10x170
Rows 170x5,5,6
Chins BW+2.5x5,5,5
High Pulls 3x3@145

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Baby Cobra

I missed yesterday, so I did High Pulls & Farmer Walks today.  My Traps feel like gelatin - really painful gelatin.  Growing a cobra hood is going to be hard work... haha - as if the rest of this isn't, right?

It was a long workout - too long - since we crammed all of Friday's and some of Saturday's workout on the same day.  I used some pre-workout powder - I haven't done that in a long time - and the beta-alanine made my skin hot and tingly, which was exceedingly unpleasant.

Because of my elbow tendinitis, I used the Safety Squat bar today.  The high-bar type posture and the heavier, more awkward bar made squats a bear.  I was trying to be a hero by pretending the bar weighed the same as a standard 45lb bar, and got to "285" (really 300) and did a double which almost killed me (my planned OWU was 295x1).  I played the same game with the work-sets, (but only did 2, skipping the third) and the 10 rep set. I'll move the OWU and 10 repper up 5lbs for next workout, but I'll keep the work set the same since I didn't do three sets today.

Press went swimmingly, but my elbow started complaining by set 5.  Chins reset to BW+0, and that also went swimmingly.  I added in a couple sets of curls for good bicep measure.

We did 3x3@135 for High-pulls, which felt fine.  I need to start dropping the weight rather than catching it because it hurts my shoulders and aggravates my elbow.

Farmer Walks went much better than last time - I only had to stop on the way back on trip three.


Safety Squat 2x300; 2x5@275; 10x210
Press 132.5x5,5,5,5,6
Chins BW+0#x5,5,6
High Pulls 3x3@135
Farmer Walks 3x200' w/100# ea. hand

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Elbow Tendinitis is back in full force, and this is how I feel about it:

My left elbow was on fire throughout the whole workout, especially (obviously) during Bench.  I did get all the planned reps, though.  It felt good to keep strict form on Rows.  I'll probably reset Chins to just body weight - I have been kicking and squirming a lot to get those last few inches on too many reps.

Otherwise, I had a decent workout.  Too tired to really blog about it further, so here are the numbers:


DL 325x5,6
Bench 2x1@225; 200x5,5,6; 165x10
Rows 165x6,6,6
Chins BW+12.5#x5,5,5

Monday, May 18, 2015

Positive and Negative

The Good:
I had a great workout. I felt strong, I got most of my planned weights, and have that "post-workout-high" feeling I love so much.
Squats: I got a good strong pause at the bottom of my OWU, knocked out my work-sets, and easily cleaned up with my 10 rep finale.  Press 5x5 felt a bit harder than I expected, but with a workout partner I don't rest between sets as much - sitting around suddenly feels awkward when I am not alone.  I went back down to 10lbs for Chins, but still barely got 3x5.  It is weird (read "irritating") how mercurial my chin-ups are.

I got my workout partner back for the rest of the Summer!  My former co-worker is back from school, and after not having a consistent workout partner for 2½ years, he is back and it feels like we have been working out together the whole time.

I tried a new exercise.  I did some light High Pulls to see how I like 'em.  Still too soon to tell, but if all the hype is even somewhat accurate, I am going to like how these beef up my yoke and shoulders.  I started with snatch grip, but that irritated my elbow so I narrowed to clean grip.  It was too light to really get a pump, but I am taking it slowly with the new exercise.  I don't really need it, I am just being vain, wanting to get a yoke going, so there is no real reason to push it faster than I am.  I'll add some more weight next week.  I'll probably just do them on Mondays.

The Bad:
In injured my wrist.  Last night, it just started hurting.  I don't remember what I did, but it hurts a lot.  I was afraid it'd hold me back from completing my workout, but I wasn't going to punk out on my first workout with a partner in forever, so I sucked it up.  Luckily, it didn't affect my performance to any really noticeable degree, but it still hurts a lot.

Left elbow Tendinitis is back!  It hurts, and I can tell it will only get worse if I don't get ahead of it.  It didn't hold me back today, but it seems like I am going to have to break out the safety squat bar, and/or move my hand position back out to the plates, and/or start joint flossing again.  I hate this crap!!


Squats 1x290; 3x5@245; 10x185
Press 130x5,5,5,5,6
Chins BW+10#x5,5,5
High Pulls 3x45, 75, 95, 115

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Like Sands Through the Hourglass...

Last night's workout:

I was tired, it was late, and I don't care that hardcore people are shaking their heads at me for being a wuss - that is I wouldn't care if hardcore people actually read my blog.

I nailed squats, killed the bench press and then skipped everything else so I could spend some time with my bride.  My left shoulder, elbow, and wrist are hating me today, and I am a little concerned about how tomorrow's Press workout is going to go as a result, but my workout partner is back in town and there is no way I am missing our first session together in 2½ years!


Squats 1x290; 3x5@245; 10x185
Bench 2x1@227.5; 197.5x5,5,6; 10x160

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"Slow and Steady..." or some such nonsense

(This is the only turtle/tortoise I want to emulate!)

YAY!  It is Deadlift Day!!

There is only one thing I tire of saying how much I love it less than Deadlifts, and that is my wife.  I am sure it is boring and inane for the 2 people who actually read my blog - but I can't stop saying it.

I continued with my foray into TWO work-sets each DL session.  This is my second set of 5+ @320lbs on the deadlift:

It still pains me inside that this much weight is so bloody heavy - but nothing can bring me down BECAUSE IT IS DEADLIFT DAY!!!!

The upper right side of my back is thankfully still not troubling me, but my left elbow started to have some discomfort, which I am exceedingly unhappy about.

I failed on Chins at 20lbs. again, but got closer.  I really want to get super strong on Chins because when I eventually build a Salmon Ladder, I don't want to embarrass myself on it.

I threw in some Curls and COG at the end for good measure.


DL 320x5,6
Press 127.5x5,5,5,5,6
Chins BW+20#x5,5,4,2; BWx5

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Feeling Strong

I felt great today.  I took my time, and enjoyed my workout.  I felt too tired to workout last night, which is a weak excuse, but I really am concerned about how my form breaks down when I am tired, and I decided that an extra day's rest was better than adjusting the weight to match my level of weariness.  I am glad I did because today's workout was AMAZING!

I wanted to get a video of my squat depth because I was off for so long that I forgot what correct depth "felt" like, so I wasn't sure if I was hitting it.  I always buried my squats (not quite ATG) so I don't know what I was worried about, but I needed the reassurance/confirmation anyway.

Since I had the camera out, I thought "why not film something worth filming?" and decided on a really "heavy" (at least for me right now) single. I chose 315 as a good high point, and went for it.
I neglected to film my first work-set at 235, but I got the next two.  I did not film my final set.

Bench felt pretty good.  Rows felt fine, but I feel like I am not doing them strictly enough - too much hip and back movement - so next session of Rows will be a substantial reset to work on form.

I put 20lbs on my dip belt and did chin-ups.  My plan is to go for 3x5, and if I fail (which I did, today), to finish the 15 reps in as many sets as it takes, then lower the weight until I can hit 25 total reps.  If I fail at the 3x15, then I repeat the weight the next chin-up session.


Squat 315x1; 3x5@235; 170x10
Bench 2x1@225; 3x5@195; 155x10
Rows 3x5@210
Chins BW+20#x5,4,4,1,1; BW+10#x4,3; BWx5

I also added some COG work at the end.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sled Work gets an Upgrade!

Well, not that kind of dog sled.  THIS kind of dog sled.  I went online and bought 100 feet of rope, dug deep into my almost two decade old scout training and braided an eyelet into it, and made myself a pulling rope to add to the end of my sled work.  Me Gusta!

I crammed a lot into my workout today, doing a bit of a hybrid of a Friday and a Saturday workout.  I did all of Fridays and some of Saturdays.  It was great, but I have a feeling I am going to be dead tonight and tomorrow.  I am still not 100% over the illness I have been fighting for nigh on 2 weeks now.

I am still not certain how I am going to handle the 3 vs 4 day weeks... I guess the deciding factor will be what my workout partner can do with our schedules.  I am back to thinking I will do Squats, Bench, Rows and Chins Mondays and Fridays of every week, with DLs, Presses, Chins and Curls every Wednesday.

I jumped a bit up in weight and added an extra set to DLs, and it felt AMAZING.

Have I mentioned I love Deadlifts before?  Haha!  Yes??  WELL - I DO!!

I did a 5x5 on Press that felt fine.  Chins and Curls also felt fine.

I did 2 sets of Sled Pushes, following up each push immediately by Sled Rope Pulls.  Like I said: Me Gusta!

I ended my workout with some Farmer Walks.  I did 100lbs in each hand and had to put it down at the end of the sidewalk, half way on the return trip, and again with maybe 15 feet left.  I'll go down to 95 next time - looks like a ten pound jump while adding rope work was a bit too much since I want to be doing three trips and couldn't finish one without stopping.


DL 2x5@315
Press 5x5@125
Chins 3x15@BW+15#
Sled(103lbs) Push 100ft +45lbs Iron+30lbs kid
Sled(103lbs) Rope Pull 100ft +45lbs Iron+30lbs kid
Sled(103lbs) Push 100ft +45lbs Iron+40lbs kid
Sled(103lbs) Rope Pull 100ft +45lbs Iron+40lbs kid
Farmer Walks 200ft w/100lbs ea. hand (with three 5 second rests during set)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May the Fourth be with you - 2 days late.

Well, I didn't get to workout on Monday, so I didn't get to use this awesome pic from T-Nation's facebook page, but this is my blog, so I will use it anyway because #IDoWhatIWant.

I had a great workout today, and I feel great.  I haven't enjoyed a squat workout this much in quite some time.

Bench, rows and chins all felt pretty good, too.

I am changing up how I do chin-ups: I am adding weight and going for 3x5.  If I get 3x5 then I will add weight the next session.  If I do not get 3x5, I will keep doing sets until I hit 20 total reps and stay at that weight for the next workout.  Also, I am doing chins every workout (except Saturdays, obviously) rather than every other.


Squat 1x250; 2x5@230; 2x10@165
Bench 2x1@222.5; 2x5@192.5; 1x12@145
Rows 3x5@205
Chins 3x5@BW+10

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Post 184: Saturday Wrap-up

Well, I worked out yesterday, so I should log it.
I did some sled push-sprints and sled drags; I did 3 50 yard farmer walks with 90# in each hand (1 more 50yd trip than last week); and some crunches, leg raises, and stability ball plank pikes for abs.


Sled(103lbs) Push 100ft +90lbs of iron+30lbs of child
Backward Sled(103lbs) Drag 100ft +90lbs of iron+30lbs of child
Sled(103lbs) Push 200ft +90lbs of iron+40lbs of child
Farmer Walk 200ft w/90lbs ea. hand
Farmer Walk 200ft w/90lbs ea. hand
Farmer Walk 200feet w/90lbs ea. hand
20 Crunches
10 Leg Raises with 5 second static hold at the end
(no rest after leg raises)
5 Plank to Pike on a stability ball

Because of the sickness that pushed Wednesdays' workout to Thursday, I had to choose if I wanted to skip Sled/FW day and do Friday's workout.  The problem with that would be that, since I have chosen to do Bench every Monday and Friday so I am only doing Press once a week (until I am confident I am out of the woods with my injury), I would be benching Saturday and Monday with only one day's rest in between.

Perhaps it is not a good idea that I am doing this bench twice every week thing... it is inevitable that I will miss workouts here and there.  Perhaps, on weeks where I Press twice a week, I can just go light on one of the days, that way I can avoid this conundrum in the future...?  Who knows.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sickness - Jag hatar dig

Nothing like a cold in April to make you miss a workout.  I can't stand how I can be relatively healthy throughout cold and flu season and then get my butt kicked in Spring!

Contrary to what Morpheus is saying above, Wednesday I was quite justified in spending all available time in bed wishing for death.

I am still hacking up my innards but I fit in a workout today.  It was a good one, as far as my workouts are going now-a-days.


DL 295x10
Press 120x5,5,6,8

I had 2 or 3 more in the tank on Deadlift, but I exercised (get it?) a little bit of discretion.
Press made the upper back area a bit uncomfortable, but I pushed through it with no real sign of complications or re-injury.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Lost!

I am messing around with my amateur understanding of Post-activation potentiation (PAP) for Bench.  It is similar (really, the way I am using it, it is essentially the same) as the Over Warm-ups (OWU) I dabbled in a year or so ago.  I am also throwing in a little Stage Programming for a final set or two on both Squats and Bench.  It is kind of sad how quickly programming ADHD set back in, considering how little time I have been back to the iron.  Meh.  Oh well!


Squat 2x5@225; 2x10@155
Bench 2x1@220; 2x5@190; 10x135
Rows 3x5@195
Chins BWx5,6,7

Squats made my adductors feel weak and shaky.  I was at the perfect weight(s) for my first attempted "stage" programming.
Bench was pretty much perfect for the first two stages, but 135 was too easy... I hit 12 with some room to breathe.
Rows were just about right.
Chins were easier than expected.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Farmer Walks FTW

I got some sweet straps from Spud Inc. designed for farmer walks.  They are technically "traveling" FW handles, but since they cost significantly less than farmer walk handles/bars, and can hold (according to Rogue, who sells the exact same pair - not sure why Spud doesn't have this on their website) up to 300lbs each (I don't foresee myself needing that), I figured they'd be just fine for my non-traveling purposes as well.

It felt pretty great, my traps are already sore an hour later, my forearms are feeling weak and shaky and I am loving it.  Great purchase!

Deadlifts were easy; Press was easy; some discomfort in the area around my spine that I injured last October while doing Presses, but nothing that makes me too nervous, yet.


DL 280x8
Press 3x5@115
Farmer Walks 90# per hand

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Not sure if I mentioned this or not, and I am too lazy to read my last couple of posts to find out.
I am surprised at how little strength I lost when doing my bent-over rows.

On squats, I tried a more traditionally narrow grip, really focusing on keeping my elbows and wrists in the proper position so as to not cause any joint issues.  It was uncomfortable in my shoulders, but my elbows were, mercifully, fine.

I went a bit more heavy than I had originally planned on both squat and bench, and was happy with the results.


Squat 5x45, 95, 135, 155; 1x185, 205; 5x225
Bench 10x45; 5x95, 135, 155, 185; 2x205; 1x225
Rows 3x5@190
Chins BWx5,5,6

I feel good.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Playing With Fire

I did a few sets of semi-heavy OHP (the straw that metaphorically broke this proverbial camel's literal back).  OHP was the workout that set off the major upper-back issues which had been threatening to detonate for so long prior to October, and which I have been battling with ever since.  Nothing TOO painful (Yet!  *knocks on wood*) but it was definitely uncomfortable.  I think I am going to try just doing press once a week every week and bench twice a week every week, rather than alternating.  I do NOT want to risk another pain riddled sabbatical.

Deadlift felt great and is STILL, by FAR my favorite exercise.

Elbow discomfort still lurks in the shadows, but nothing worth worrying about for now.

No numbers for now... I just want to keep consistent.  When I have something worth reporting, numbers-wise, I'll be sure to do so.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Because... "why not?"

It has been 29 days short of a year since I last updated my blog.

I can count on one hand the number of workouts I did between the middle of October and the beginning of March.

I have lost over 100# of strength on both my Deadlift and my Squat in that time.

I have battled injuries, and emotional and psychological (firefighting is all but eliminated as a possible future career option) set-backs in the last 6 months.

Today marks the second week in as many months where I worked out at least 4 times during the week, and the first time I think my body and schedule might allow me to maintain some semblance of consistency.

I recently found out that my former workout partner is moving back to town for the summer, and he has agreed to make the immense sacrifice of taking me up on my offer to work out with me in my garage/gym for free all summer.

In the spirit and tradition of this blog, I am setting a ridiculous and unrealistic goal of FINALLY hitting a 1200 Powerlifting Total at the Twin Ports Raw Open in 2016.  And, for the first time in many moons, my body's aches and pains are not laughing out loud at me for daring to hope.  They're just chortling under their breath and averting their eyes.

I am not sure why I am bothering to blog again.  I probably shouldn't waste my time - I should just do the workouts and let the last six lame months be my motivation... but I'll post this once and see if I come back.