Monthly Archives: August 2013

Training – 08/29/2013 – Accessory

Front Squat
45×5
135×3
185×3
245×3@7
245×3@7
245×3@7

Bench Press
195×3@8
195×3@8

Pendlay Row
135×5
185x6x4

Used a much closer grip on these front squats. Felt good. No belt this time

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Training – 08/27/2013 – Volume

Squat
45×5
135×3
225×3
315×3
335×3@7
355×3@8
355×3@8
355×3@8 (add belt, bad low-back fatigue)
355×3@9 (add elbow sleeve)
320×3@8 (Drop 10%)
320×3@9

Bench Press
45×5
135×3
165×3
195×3@7 (add wraps)
215×3@7
225×3@8
225×3@8
225×3@8
225×3@10 (testing RPE)
200×3@8 (Drop 10%)
200×3@8 (8.5)

Started Squats with no-belt. I feel like I’ve been relying on the belt too much lately and want to get stronger without it. Threw it on for the third set because I had pretty bad low-back fatigue

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Physique – 08/29/2013

Figured I should start tracking my physique along side of my normal training log. This way I don’t become a tub of lard.

Front

IMG_9389-1

Back

IMG_1627

Observations

  • Even though my pecs are pitiful they are far improved over a few months ago, lol
  • My phone’s camera sucks
  • My fly is down
  • I don’t look too bad. It’s easy to feel fat sometimes, especially after polishing off a tub of ice cream. Guess I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing…
  • I suck at taking selfies. Probably why I don’t do it very often.
  • I’d estimate I’m between 15% – 20% but I really have no idea.
  • I’m about 205 here
  • Those are indeed bacon pants

Feel free to add your own deprecating comments

Why I train (and how I got started)

Strange Obsession

I often wonder how those around me view my obsession with Strength Training. And I do mean obsession. Ever since I was a boy any time I took on a hobby it became the number one thing on my mind. Bats, the weather, computers, these were all obsessions at one point in time. Strength training is just the next one in line. I think most see it as a strange hobby. My parents just hope I won’t get injured. My girlfriend supports me (because she’s wonderful). Most people just don’t understand it. But that’s okay, because I do it for myself.

Training History

My earliest memory of weight training was when my dad got a bowflex and put it in the basement. We would spend nights and afternoons lifting. I remember improving pretty fast, up to a 200 combined pounds chest press. Who knows what that equates to on a barbell. I do remember enjoying that fact that I had slightly more muscle than my peers.

In college I messed around with machine lifting in spurts until I finally settled on a routine which would leave an unbroken consistent weight training schedule to this day. I didn’t really know what I was doing but I did manage to add some muscle despite my naïveté. It wasn’t until I started following the Paleo scene that I got turned on to barbells.

I had read that somehow barbells were more “functional” or less likely to injure you. Ironically, I paid almost no mind to form initially. At this point training was all about staying healthy. I soon discovered leangains and did a bastardized version of that program as well as some barbell training. Now training was about looking good.

So I got lean but I also got bit by the insidious Iron Bug. Now I wanted to get big and strong. I picked up a copy of Starting Strength and soon realized how weak I was. So I started training for strength and that leads to the present day.

Why I train

My goals have changed over the years but one thing has remained constant: training is about improvement. Here are the reasons why I train:

1. I want to see what my body and genes are capable of suicide-genes-l My parents gave me this body. I want to find out if it is world class material and how far it will go when pushed. I’ve already learned a lot about how I react to stress and physical hardships, namely that I can put up with a lot of physical misery to achieve something.

2. Incremental, easily identifiable progress opg Unlike many hobbies progress is easily quantifiable. You either put more weight on the bar or you don’t. This where the drive to improve comes in. Setting PRs (personal records) is addicting. There’s always one more pound to lift.

3. It’s competitive powerlifter2013 Powerlifting is a sport with two types of competition: competition with others and competition with the self. You can choose to do one or the other, or both.

4. It’s healthy photo_814229_resize Barring any accidents I like to think that strength training will keep me healthy and afford me a greater quality of life than if I were to not train. I want to be the jacked 70 year old.

So those are the reasons I train. Hopefully that wasn’t too sentimental. Why do YOU train?

Training – 08/24/2013 – Intensity

Squat
45×5
135×3
225×3
315×3@7 (add belt)
375×1@7
415×4@9 (9.5)
405×2@10 (Drop 3%)

Bench Press
45×5
135×3
165x3x2
195×3 (add belt, wraps)
220×2@7
240×4@10
135×3 (add slingshot)
225×3
245×3@8
255×3@8
265×3@9
275×1@8

Squats went much better this week. I attribute that to not having pre-fatigued my legs as happened last time. That and better recovery overall this week. My hams were pretty tired after the workset so I only did two on the drop.

Bench went well. Threw on the slingshot afterward to get some more work in. Last time I tried to use this it was a disaster. I had never used it before so I wasn’t 100% sure how to use it. I put it too far up my arms, didn’t use wrist wraps and went too heavy. Coupled with some slow spotting the bar ended up on my throat. This time I was more confident since the safety bars would catch anything that came towards my face. This thing is fun. Hit at a touch-n-go triple at my 1RM and hit a touch-n-go single at +10lbs my 1RM.

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Training – 08/20/2013 – Volume

Squat
45×5
135×5
225×3
315×3@7 (add belt)
335×3@7
355×3@7
365×3@8
365×3@8
365×3@8
365×3@9
330×3@8 (Drop 10%)
330×3@9

Bench Press
45×5
135×3
165×3
195×3@7 (add wraps)
215×3@8
215×3@8
215×3@8
215×3@8
215×3@9
195×3@8 (Drop 10%)
195×3@8

Decided to try wearing weightlifting shoes after consistently wearing wrestling shoes for the past couple months. I’ve decided to go back to weightlifting shoes for several reasons. With the flat shoes I felt like I often got too far back and lost some power out of the hole. With the heeled shoes I felt like I could get a lot more upright and get a better bounce. I do have to worry about my knees getting forward but otherwise it felt like a win. On Bench I felt the shoes actually allowed me to get a tighter arch. I’ll still wear the flat shoes for pulling but for everything else it’ll be the weightlifting.

My 8-9 weight on squats were heavier this week for whatever reason. I’m still second guessing a lot of my RPE calls but I’m pretty sure I’m getting them close. Dropped 10% on the volume sets today to get in some more after the main work set. Hopefully with that and the weightlifting shoes this week’s intensity day will go better than last week.

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Training – 08/18/2013 – Intensity

Squat
45×5
135×3
225×3
315×3 (add belt)
365×1@8
410×2@10 (Failed on 3rd)
395×2@10 (Drop 3%)

Bench Press
45×5
135×3
165x3x2
195×3@7 (add belt + wraps)
215×2@7
235×4@10 (4RM, paused, PR!)
225×4@9 (Drop 3%)
225×4@10

Sumo Deadlift
135×3
225×3
315×2 (add belt)
405×1@8
435×1@9
435×1@10
415×1@10 (Drop 5%)

It was real hot today. First heavy squat set didn’t go so well. The bar wanted to roll up my back and I had to fight it back the whole way up. I did some work earlier that I think fatigued my legs and caused me to only get two. Oh well, I’ll get it next week.

Bench went real well. Got a new paused 4RM @ 10. Did two drop sets for some volume.

My plan for deadlift was to do a bunch of singles @ 9 but I didn’t end up getting as many as I wanted thanks to the before-mentioned fatigue.

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Training – 08/15/2013 – Volume

Squat
45×5
135×3
225×3
315×3@7 (add Belt)
335×3@7
355×3@8
355×3@8
355×3@8
355×3@9

Bench Press
45×3
135×3
165×3
195×3@7 (add wraps)
205×3@7
215×3@8
215×3@8
215×3@8
215×3@8
215×3@8
215×3@8 (More like 8.5)
215×3@8
215×4@10

First session doing RTS-style autoregulation. Kept rest times under 5 mins. It’s important to keep rest times in check when identifying RPEs. If you rest too long it will throw them off.

Squats caused some low-back fatigue. There’s probably still fatigue built up from my sheiko run which isn’t entirely dissipated. My RPEs were right on for Squats.

On Bench I started to wonder if I might have miss-labeled the first 8 set. I took the last set to failure to test my RPE-identifying ability. I was pretty much dead on. The 3rd rep was a 9. I hit a fourth rep and then failed on the fifth.

Much less hellish than Sheiko was. In fact, I actually felt really good at the end of this session rather than absolutely murdered like I did on Sheiko. I really want to trust my self on RPE identification for Bench. Looking at the log that seems like the proper amount of volume I’ll need on Bench. Maybe muh body just knows?

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Texas Method + RTS: An Experiment

What’s next?

Since I’ve hit the end of my little Sheiko stint I’ve started to wonder what’s next. I haven’t done a ton of programs but I do know that the Texas Method worked real well for me in the past. The biggest problem I encountered with it was there wasn’t any autoregulation going on. Mondays were “beat down your body” and Fridays were “PR at all costs”. Autoregulation requires you to “listen to your body”. Problem is I’m still a relative newb and it’s hard to do that.

Enter the Reactive Training Systems

I’ve been following Mike Tuchscherer over at Reactive Training Systems for a while now and have come to respect him and his approach to training. He uses RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) as a way to subjectively decide a lifts relative difficulty. Using this scale from 1-10 you can adapt the weight on the bar to your current level of fatigue and ability. Mike describes RTS as the scope which can fit on most rifles (programs). This got me thinking: if I can adapt RTS to the Texas Method maybe I can better autoregulate my volume.

The Template

Volume Recovery Intensity
5s or triples @ 8-9 5s @ 7-8 (Front Squats: triples @ 8-9) 5s, triples, doubles, singles, 5, 3, 2, 1 @ 9-10

Volume day is the most important in terms of autoregulation. What this means is that I will work up to a weight with 5s or triples such that at the end of the set it feels like I have 2 to 3 more reps left (RPE of 8). Once I hit this weight I will continue to do 5s or triples until at the end of the set I feel like I have only 1 rep left in the tank (RPE of 9). This should autoregulate the volume and keep it in check such that I don’t over do it on Volume Days.

Intensity day will be largely the same. I will try to push the weight up each week. What will change, however, is how many reps I do based on the RPE. If I hit three reps @ 9 I’ll do another. Or if I only hit 2 @ 10 I’ll stop.

This is the basic template of my experiment. This is all subject to change based on my findings. Stay tuned for updates!

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Testing Maxes, PRs, and thoughts going forward

Squat
135×1
225×3
315×2
365×1
405×1
435×1 (Ties comp PR)
445×1 (Ties all-time PR)
455×1 (All new PR)

Bench Press
135×5
185×3
225×1
245×1
255×1
265×1 (New Paused PR)

Sumo Deadlift
135×1
225×1
315×1
405×1
435×1
455×1 (New Sumo PR)

Decided to test my maxes this day. This is kind of bad, but I got bored with Sheiko. I didn’t actually finish all of 37 (skipped the last two days). I will admit I’ve got a bit of training ADD at the moment. I feel like I’ve earned the right to start experimenting. I’ve trained the way I “should” the past two years. Starting Strength -> Texas Method.

I’m now considering how I will move forward in my training. Sheiko is pretty rough and I really don’t like the idea of not doing any 90%+ work for weeks at a time. I also miss PRing more often. I just finished reading “Squat Every Day” by Matt Perryman (highly recommended). He makes a really good case for trying a bulgarian-style approach. I also finished “The Reactive Training Systems Manual” by Mike Tuchscherer. I’m a big fan of Mike’s approach to autoregulation.

In the past I made a lot of progress on the Texas Method. The problem I had was that there was no autoregulation going on and I didn’t know how hard to hit it on volume day and would often miss on Intensity day because I didn’t manage recovery properly. I’m thinking of trying an experiment by combining Texas Method with RTS fundamentals to make it more autoregulated. I’m still new to RTS but I think I can apply RPE and fatigue drops to better manage the volume and intensity. The only thing I worry about is my bench which floundered on the TM after a time. This was probably due to a lack of volume which I will keep in mind this time around.

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