Concurrent Strength & Endurance Training 2017: Cycle III

Discussion in 'Training Information/Training Regimens' started by Bare Lee, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    Assessment of Cycle II

    At the beginning of Cycle II, I listed my priorities as:

    Consistency > microloading > early morning > assistance > sled work > bike commuting > mobility > weight loss.

    I achieved the first two, consistency and microloading.

    Goals for Cycle III

    I will continue to strive for consistency and progressive overload via microloading. I will also try to re-integrate the presses after spraining my wrist about a month ago. Next I think I will prioritize sled work. Not sure if I will worry much about when my workouts occur during the day, although first-thing remains the ideal. I will also start bike-commuting more once my wrist feels solid. Not sure if I will worry about assistance. I guess I will sense when the time is right for that without having to program it.

    If all goes well, I should have my lifts up around where they were at the end of 2015.

    The basic push/pull split will remain the same:

    Push: Squat, Overhead Press, Bench Press
    Pull: Deadlift, Pendlay Row, Chinups

    I will try to get in at least two iterations of the split each week, optimally three.

    I will also continue with the 3 x 3 x 90% of 1RM protocol, using a base unit (BU) and the iron ratio to calculate the loads. The Iron Ratio is:

    Overhead Press: 2 x BU (=1RM)
    Row: 2.75 x BU (=1RM)
    Bench Press & Chinup: 3 x BU (=1RM)
    Squat: 4 x BU (=1RM)
    Deadlift: 4.8 x BU (=1RM)

    The Base Unit will continue to increase by a half-pound for each iteration of the split, until the rate of increase becomes too hard or too easy.


    ---------------Week 1: Cycle III---------------

    Sunday, 17.04.23
    Playdates and a tepid attempt at spring yardwork.

    Monday, 17.04.24
    Felt the bug my kids had last week coming on.

    Tuesday, 17.04.25
    Late-afternoon, Anytime Fitness: April workout 16

    Lifting -- Pull, BU = 70.5 lbs
    DL: 1/1/2/2/1 @ 305 lbs
    Rw: 3 x 3 @ 175 lbs
    CU: 3 x 3 @ -40 lbs assist

    Assistance
    1DB Row: 3 x 3 @ 100 lbs, L&R

    I don't know if it's the lessened frequency these last 10-14 days, or the bug I'm fighting, but 305 felt really heavy. I tried a few one-rep sets with lots of stretching in between, to see if I could activate things better, but even then, it felt a little risky to do more than two reps in a set. My whole body felt crunchy and heavy.

    The Rows and Chins felt fine though, and then it occurred to me I could do One-hand Dumbbell Rows if, when lifting with my left arm, my right supporting arm, the one with the sore wrist, rested on its elbow instead of its hand. So I got the gym's 6-inch box for box-jumping and placed it on the bench, then placed my forearm on it. This worked pretty well. My form had a little English on it using a hundred-pound dumbbell, but after a few more sessions it should be easier to maintain strict-form. The gym's max dumbbell is 100 pounds, so I'll just have to increase reps once it starts to feel easy. It will become more of a Kroc Row, which is a good finisher I should think, for a pull workout.

    Afterwards I really felt a big lump in my lats.

    Wednesday, 17.04.26
    Flu symptoms, mainly upper body aches.

    Thursday, 17.04.27
    Slept for 36 hours. Mild fever, upper body aches.

    Friday, 17.04.28
    Saw my doc for my annual physical. Blood pressure is up. Might be due to flu, but probably means I need to get serious about the conditioning portion of my workout plan. It's been four months since I've been getting back into shape, and I still haven't gotten around to doing the conditioning in earnest. With the time off for this flu bug, I think I may begin next week by deloading ten pounds off my squat while beginning to work in some sled work. Also gotta get serious about the bike commuting, that will help with the blood pressure too. After almost two years, I still haven't been able to sub something consistently for running. Time to commit!

    Saturday, 17.04.29


    ---------------Week 2: Cycle III---------------

    Sunday, 17.04.30
    Flu about gone, but blood pressure even further up. I actually had to dig out an old metoprolol prescription to get it down. OK, that's it. The goal for this cycle will be conditioning/cardio first.

    Monday, 17.05.01

    Tuesday, 17.05.02
    Early morning, Anytime Fitness: May workout 1

    Lifting -- Push, priming
    SQ: 3 x 3 @ 185 lbs
    OP: 3 x 3 @ 95 lbs
    BP: 3 x 3 @ 95 lbs

    Conditioning
    Sled: 3 laps x 110 lbs (65 lbs sled + 45 lbs plate)

    Aerobic
    Bike Commute: 4.8 mi

    I found a stricter grip on the squats helped my right wrist quite a bit. It hurt a little, however, on the bike commute and the presses. Heart and lungs on the bike commute and sled didn't feel too bad, but I took it real easy. Gotta ease into the cardio thing. Also gotta ease into the first-thing-in-the-morning thing, so I just primed the lifts and kept the sled load low. I tried an elliptical machine for a minute or two, but ended up confirming that machines just aren't for me, with rowing perhaps the exception.

    Wednesday, 17.05.03

    Thursday, 17.05.04
    Noon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 2

    Lifting -- Pull, BU = 68.5 lbs
    DL: 2/3/3 @ 295 lbs
    Rw: 3 x 3 @ 165 lbs
    CU: 3 x 3 @ -40 lbs assist

    I was a little anxious about the Deadlift after finding 305 so heavy last week, but 295 felt pretty easy, so it was definitely the illness that interfered last week. I may still deload a bit though.

    Didn't have time for cardio, as I had to bring my son to the doctor's. Another reminder that first-thing-in-the-morning is the only guaranteed time to work out.

    Friday, 17.05.05
    Mid-afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 3

    Lifting -- Push, BU = 70.5 lbs
    SQ: 3 x 2 @ 255 lbs
    OP: 3 x 3 @ 95 lbs

    Squat felt pretty good, but my left knee felt a little glitchy, so I kept it at two reps per set to be safe. The BU of 70.5 lbs rendered a 3RM of 254, next time at BU=71lbs it will be 256, just another pound more than what I actually did, so I should be able to get it up to the normal three reps then.

    Still surprised it took my sore wrist to make me improve my grip. The trick is to get the meaty part of the palm a little higher on the bar. Now it looks much more like the way Rippetoe recommends gripping the bar (), with the forearm and back of my hand forming a level plane. Before I bent my wrist back quite a bit, with the bar right in the middle of my palm, which put the back of my hand at a 120-135 degree angle to my forearm. The bar feels much more solid now with proper form and according to Rippetoe, this keeps the all of the weight off of the arm and on the back where it should be.

    Overhead press at 95 pounds felt almost completely painless, so that's great. This gives me a base from which to microload off of. I'll start adding 5-10 pounds each workout now to see what my wrist's tolerances are. It's still healing but the process is very slow. I think I will also lay off the bike-commuting for a bit more to make sure I'm not stressing the wrist in these final stages of healing. It's also a good idea to control for one variable at a time, in order to know exactly what the wrist finds stressful and what it can tolerate.

    Skipped the Bench Press. I think I will try to get the Overhead Press up where it needs to be first. By that time, hopefully the wrist will be complete healed and then I can begin to get the more wrist-stressing Bench Press loads up to where they should be. Hopefully by the end of this cycle the wrist will be 100% and all the loads will conform to the Iron Ratio.

    Skipped the sled work with the idea of making sure that getting the squat load back up to where it was two weeks ago isn't too stressful. If the recovery is lite (i.e., I'm not too sore) then I'll do the sled work next time. Just trying to make sure I build things up slowly without risk. Trying to keep my sights on the long-term goal of improved strength, conditioning, and weight loss while at the same time making each workout very workaday and manageable.

    Saturday, 17.05.06
    Mid-morning, Anytime Fitness: May workout 4

    Lifting -- Pull, BU = 70.5 lbs
    DL: 3 x 3 @ 305 lbs
    Rw: 3 x 3 @ 175 lbs
    CU: 3 x 3 @ -40 lbs assist

    Everything felt solid, hard but doable. The slightly bent bars of my gym are starting to become more annoying now that the Deadlift loads are getting up there. Will I need to bring my own bar eventually? I've already complained anonymously about the bars on their web page.

    ---------------Week 3: Cycle III---------------

    Sunday, 17.05.07
    Late morning, Anytime Fitness: May workout 5

    Lifting -- Push, BU = 70.5 lbs
    SQ: 3 x 3 @ 255 lbs
    OP: 3 x 3 @ 105 lbs

    Conditioning
    Sled: 3 laps x 200 lbs (65 lbs sled + three 45-pound plates)

    Forgot my fractional plates, but it was just as well to repeat 255 (which should actually be 254) and get a solid three reps in. It will probably be useful to repeat 305 on the Deadlift too. I'm still catching up a bit from the week of illness and high blood pressure.

    For the Overhead Press, a ten-pound increase felt good and my wrist was still painless. I think I'll try a five-pound increase a few times now until I get to 120 or 125, then microload the rest until the loads align with the Iron Ratio, which, at a current BU = 70.5 lbs, puts the OP at 127 lbs (70.5 x 2 x .9 [90%]).

    Read in T-nation (https://www.t-nation.com/training/10-dumb-ways-to-use-smart-workout-tools) that sled work is best slow and heavy rather than light and fast, so I added two more plates. I'll keep it here for a while then start adding more 45-pound plates.

    Monday, 17.05.08
    Late-afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 6

    Lifting -- Pull, BU = 70.5 lbs
    DL: 3 x 3 @ 305 lbs
    Rw: 3 x 3 @ 175 lbs
    CU: 3 x 3 @ -40 lbs assist

    Assistance
    1DB Row: 3 x 3 @ 100 lbs, L&R

    Aerobic
    Rowing: 10 min, easy pace

    Deadlift at 305 finally felt about right, solid, time to start microloading again. During the day my body felt heavy and I considered taking the day off or going lite, but once I was lifting everything felt fine, so I'll try to keep lifting everyday until the weekend.

    I'm liking using the six-inch box for the support arm in Dumbbell Rows. Not sure if my right support wrist still needs it, but I used it for my left support elbow/forearm as well. It lowers my upper body a bit more than if I used my opposite hand for support, rendering my back pretty much parallel to the floor and the Dumbbell exactly an arm's length away on the floor, so it's easy to deload after each rep. Three reps at 100 pounds is starting to feel easy. I'll have to increase reps soon.

    Rowing was boring but it seemed beneficial. I'll have to try to work up to one-minute HIIT intervals on it. For the first day, I just wanted to prime things a bit.

    Here's a T-Nation article that mostly endorses my current high-frequency, push-pull split: https://www.t-nation.com/training/the-best-damn-workout-plan-for-natural-lifters.

    Thibaudieu also thinks exercise variety is important, but I'm sticking with the Rippetoe/Wendler focus on heavy, compound barbell lifts. Seems like it's most efficient to maximize muscle-recruitment in each of the six human force-direction vectors (upper-body vertical push/pull, upper-body horizontal push/pull, lower-body vertical push/pull) using optimal leverages (mid-stance, mid-grip), and the five basic barbell lifts plus chinups are the best way to achieve that.

    One thing's for sure: if I can maintain some consistency this cycle, I'll know one way or another if the push/pull split really allows me to lift six days a week with no recovery issues. So far, the higher frequency seems to make everything easier, not harder. The body is pretty much primed all the time after 3-4 consecutive workouts.

    Tuesday, 17.05.09
    AM

    Aerobic
    Walk-commute: 2 miles.

    Wednesday, 17.05.10
    Mid-afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 7

    Lifting -- Push, BU = 71 lbs
    SQ: 3 x 3 @ 256 lbs
    OP: 3/1/1 @ 115/115/105 lbs

    Squat felt solid, which boosted my confidence that it was indeed time to move on from the 255/305 squat/deadlift loads I've been stuck at for a few weeks.

    I increased the Overhead Press by ten pounds and the first set felt fine, but then on the second set I felt a little pain in my right wrist. It was still there when I deloaded ten pounds for the third set, so I guess I'll start the next workout at 105 again and then, if that feels good, start microloading from there. The ten-pound jump appears to have been too much, but it could also be due to the fact that I wrapped my grip on the first squat workset a little funny. After the workout my wrist felt fine, so I don't think I did anything to set back the healing process. Just have to be careful not to provoke a niggle now that it's almost 100%.

    I blew off the sled work in order to avoid irritating my wrist further. I'm also thinking about doing assisted dips but that will have to wait for the next workout too.

    Thursday, 17.05.11
    Late-afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 8

    Lifting -- Pull, BU = 71 lbs
    DL: 3 x 3 @ 307 lbs
    Rw: 3 x 3 @ 176 lbs
    CU: 3 x 3 @ -40 lbs assist

    Fell asleep at my desk in the afternoon. I was out past my bedtime the night before jamming with my friends. Nonetheless, I talked myself into going to the gym, and I'm glad I did. The tiredness didn't affect my lifting. Everything felt solid, but I blew off the Dumbbell Rows and Rower to make sure I didn't overdo it in my tired state. The three-lift split is still a decent workout on its own, especially now that the loads are getting up there.

    Friday, 17.05.12
    AM
    Walked the kids to school: 0.8 mi

    Mid-afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 9

    Lifting -- Push, BU = 71.5 lbs
    SQ: 3 x 3 @ 257.5 lbs
    OP: 3/3/3 @ 95/106/106 lbs

    I microloaded the Squat to a half-pound, something I don't normally do, but the formula (71.5 x .9 x 4) rendered a load of 257.4, and the next one (BU = 72) will be around 259, so I figured it made sense to make this day's load exactly in the middle, instead of rounding down to 257, just one pound more than last time.

    Treated my wrist very gingerly on the Overhead Press and it seemed to be OK. So I'll try to add one pound each time for a while and see how it goes.

    A different personal trainer was once again not making their client go to proper squat depth. I had to bite my tongue.

    Late Afternoon
    Walked the kids back from school: 0.8 mi

    Saturday, 17.05.13
    Mid-morning, Anytime Fitness: May workout 10

    Lifting -- Pull, BU = 71.5 lbs
    DL: 1/2/3 @ 309 lbs
    Rw: 3/1 @ 177 lbs

    I dropped off my son at soccer at tried to get in quick workout. For some reason, however, the bar felt really heavy. I got it up to three reps, and was going to try one more three-rep set, in order to bring the total reps up to the customary nine, but it felt so heavy again, I realized I might be risking injury, so I gave it up. The Rows felt ok, but then on the second set I felt a little niggle in my right wrist, so I called it a day. Later, I realized I was somewhat dehydrated, so that might've been the problem. I don't think I'm overtraining. At some point, however, I might have to alternate between heavier and lighter deadlift workouts.

    Late afternoon
    Barefoot walk: 2.5 miles, picking up the kids from their respective playdates.

    ---------------Week 4: Cycle III---------------

    Sunday, 17.05.14

    Monday, 17.05.15
    Early afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 11

    Lifting -- Push, BU = 72 lbs
    SQ: 3 x 3 @ 259 lbs
    OP: 3 x 3 @ 107 lbs
    BP: 3/3/3/3/3 @ 95/105/115/125/135

    Squats were maybe a little bit harder than they should be. Might have to start slowing down the rate of increase soon.

    My right wrist felt fine on the Overhead Press, so I decided to see where the Bench Press was at. I was planning on holding off on it for a few more weeks, but I was too tempted to see if my wrist could tolerate that too. I started out with the bar, and went through the set-up ritual just as if I were doing a challenging load--grab the bar, set the feet, then move the head forward in order to get a slight arch in the back, and finally plant the lats. That felt fine, so I added 50 and then kept adding ten pounds until I got to 135, or two 45-pound plates. My wrist still felt pretty good, but I decided to quit while I was ahead. Next time I'll start at 135 and try adding five pounds at a time to see what my true tolerance is. At the very least, at least now I'm priming the presses, so when my wrist is fully healed I should be able to push them right away up to where they should be, which is currently around 130 and 195 pounds for the OP and BP, respectively.

    I tried a sled push at 200 pounds, but by then my wrist was fatigued and began to hurt, so I stopped after a dozen steps.

    Tuesday, 17.05.16
    Mid afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 12

    Lifting -- Pull, BU = 72 lbs
    DL: 3 x 3 @ 311 lbs
    Rw: 3 x 3 @ 178 lbs
    CU: 3 x 3 @ -35 lbs assist

    Assistance
    1DB Row: 3 x 3 @ 100 lbs, L&R

    Hey, four months in a row hitting the gym at least 12 times per month. That's $80 of health insurance discount, or about six 12-packs of IPA.

    I was prepared to change the Deadlift:Squat ratio from 4.8:4 back to 4.6:4 if the Deadlift continued to feel heavy, or change the rate of increase if both the Deadlift and Squat kept feeling like too much, but yesterday's Squat felt just a little heavy, and today's Deadlift went up OK, heavy but doable. Now that I've been fairly consistent for a week or two, things are falling into place again. It's only the middle of the cycle, but I think I'm proving that it's possible to make daily progress while lifting six days a week if the programing is right. The secret is to keep it simple, low volume, and moderately intense so that one can recover adequately. And I really like the mental ease of knowing there's only three lifts I really need to do on any given day.

    I have identified a bar at the gym that I can center by identifying and positioning the center scratches correctly. This way the bar doesn't shift in my hands when I begin the pull. That in turn helps me focus on the lift itself. Nonetheless, I've decided to get my own 45-pound bar--a stainless steel Rogue Ohio bar. Now that my Deadlifts are getting up there, I don't want to have to worry about bent bars/shifting grips. It will take all of my concentration just to complete the reps now that I'm up over 300 lbs. It'll be a hassle to haul it around, but I think it will be worth it. Maybe I'll just bring it in on pull days.

    Rogue's Ohio bar is supposed to be one of the best multipurpose bars for a decent price out there. Quite popular with Crossfitters apparently. It's a compromise between the stiffness of a power bar (for presses and Squats) and the whip of a weightlifting bar (for Deadlifts), with a fairly aggressive knurl (for pulls) yet one that won't cheese-grate the palms (according to the reviews). The shaft is 18.5mm in diameter. I think I would've preferred 18mm for deadliting, but perhaps that would've felt too thin for the presses. Again, I think 18.5 is supposed to be a compromise. Stainless steel means low maintenance and better feel for the unplated knurling. The same knurling with an oxide, zinc, or chrome finish will feel less aggressive.

    The black zinc, 35-pound Rogue C-70 shorty bar I have in my garage gym is supposed to modeled on the Ohio bar, so the latter should feel familiar in all but length and finish.

    So it's funny, but I seem to be gradually recreating my garage gym at Anytime Fitness. I already bring my own belts, lockable collars, and fractional plates. Too bad my garage gym has such low ceilings (so no chinups or overhead pressing) and is positioned right under the main bedroom (so no early morning workouts). If I had a detached garage with a higher ceiling, I would still prefer working out at home. Still, working out in public has been an interesting experience. It's still funny to see all the young guys do all those rinky dink upper body exercises and half-squats, but there's a few big boys who show up and really know what they're doing, which is motivating. And once in a while there's some decent eye candy too. I must admit, I get off a bit on being the old gray-haired dude with the Neanderthal barbell routine.

    Anyway, Pendlay Rows are starting to get harder, but they still seem to be keeping up with the Squat and Deadlift increases. I'm starting to have to put in a little explosiveness on the initial pull, but I think that's allowed. In fact, I think for Pendlay, from an Olympic weightlifting perspective, that's one of the virtues of this style of rowing. The other is deloading in between reps in order to give the lower back a break.

    I took five pounds off the Chinups, and didn't feel any difference. Maybe I need to take another five or ten off. I've been keeping it steady at -40 pounds assist while I worked to solidify my Deadlift, but perhaps now I can push the chinups a bit more. Would be nice to wean myself off the assisted chinup machine at some point. I was hoping weight loss would take care of it, but strength gains might happen faster.

    Dumbbell Rows felt too easy. It's probably time to increase the reps. But, like Wendler says, 'it's just assistance, it doesn't f**king matter.' I might also start alternating DB Rows with some Cable Rows for assistance.

    Anyway, felt great afterwards. Completing three sets of Deadlifts like that really boosted my confidence, and has left me hungry for ever-increasing weight. Three plates by the end of this week!

    So I'm definitely back on the numerology bandwagon for a while. I guess I just want to see how far I can go before the aging progress begins to take away my gains. It would be so cool to do something like a 200-pound OP, a 300-pound BP, a 400-pound Squat, and a 480-to-500-pound Deadlift. I think it might be possible, so I want to give it a try. A bodyweight OP and a 2xBW Squat would definitely be cool to achieve.

    Wednesday, 17.05.17
    Wow, checked the tracking for the Ohio bar this morning. Ordered it yesterday, delivery tomorrow! So two-day ground shipping for $14.78. Incredible.

    Mid afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 13

    Lifting -- Push, BU = 72.5 lbs
    SQ: 3 x 3 @ 261 lbs
    OP: 3/3/3 @ 110/115/120 lbs
    BP: 3/3/3 @ 135/145/155

    Squats continued hard but solid. On the Overhead Press, 110 felt too easy and my wrist felt fine so I added five pounds on each of the successive sets until I got to 120, which was challenging. So maybe I'll start microloading from that load, which is only about ten pounds lower than it should be, according to the Iron Ratio, so should be easy to catch up to the other lifts in a month or two. Very cool.

    On the Bench Press, the wrist bothered me just a bit while de-racking, but with attention to grip, the reps felt fine, so I added ten pounds, then ten pounds more, until I got close to the limit of what my wrist would tolerate. It's still 30 pounds off where it should be, but I can begin microloading from 155 and increase the rate as the healing permits.

    One virtue of this sprained wrist is that it's really forcing me to pay attention to proper grip technique. If my grip is just a little bit off, especially on the Bench Press, I immediately feel a sharp pain in my metacarpals.

    So anyway, it felt great to get the presses up a bit. My push workout is getting closer to a full workout. At the very least, I'm priming the presses well now and restoring some balance to the push/pull split. If the wrist continues to feel this good, then I'll soon be able to get back to sled work and bike commuting as well. My wife is already noticing some weight loss just from lifting, so adding conditioning and aerobic should speed up the process. I may try my first bike ride of the season on Sunday, just 10 miles or so to see where I'm at. Eventually, I would like the Sunday bike rides to get up to around two hours or so. Would be good for the heart to operate at a somewhat elevated rate for that length of time.

    Thursday, 17.05.18
    Wow, the Ohio bar arrived at 11am. The stainless steel knurling provides for a fantastic grip and the 18.5mm diameter feels just right. Can't wait to try it out later at the gym. Yes, it will be ridiculous hauling a bar from my car to the gym, but the parking lot is right outside.

    Late afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 14

    Lifting -- Pull, BU = 72.5 lbs
    DL: 3/3/2 @ 313 lbs
    Rw: 3 x 3 @ 179 lbs
    CU: 3 x 3 @ -35 lbs assist

    I thought about jumping ahead to 315, or three plates on either side of the bar, but I stuck with the microloading discipline. It would've been nice to break in the new bar with three plates though.

    I was a little nervous approaching the bar after buying it two days earlier somewhat impulsively, after just an hour or so or perusing my online options. But the Ohio bar's specs were the only ones that really made sense for my purposes, which are multipurpose, according to one category of bar. The stainless steel knurling was indeed more 'aggressive' that those on the gym's bars I had been using, but it felt just right. Best of all was not worrying about the bar rolling in my hands at the initial pull.

    Nonetheless, I had a little trouble maintaining grip at this load, and on the third set I actually failed a rep as my thumb gave out and the bar was left dangling from my semi-extended fingers alone. I guess I may have to work on strengthening my grip with those Captains of Crush Hand Grippers I bought several years ago. Or maybe Loaded Carries if my knees can tolerate them. Or maybe just dangle from the chinup bar after my last set.

    The Pendlay Row felt fine, so it's cool that it's keeping up with the Deadlift at a little less than 50% the load, and it may be possible someday to do a two-plate row. The Chinups also felt fine at -35 pounds assist, but the assist probably could be five or ten pounds lighter. I guess I'll try taking off another five each week until it gets too hard. So -35 this week, then -30 next, and so on. I can't hardly wait to wean myself off the assisted chinups.

    No one seemed to care or even notice me bringing in my own bar or taking it with me. So I've cleared that mental/social hurdle. The only question now is whether I need it on my push day. If I decide to use it then too, that negates the planned bike commutes, unless I figure out a way to secure it to the bike's frame without interfering with my pedal stroke. Hmmn, "I think I know what we're going to do today Ferb."

    Friday, 17.05.19
    Still wondering if I shouldn't lower the Deadlift to Squat ratio, back to 4.6 to 4, or 115%, instead of the current 4.8 to 4, or 120%, even though the Deadlift loads have been manageable so far. Then this morning I re-read Thibaudieu's article on strength ratios (https://www.t-nation.com/training/know-your-ratios-destroy-weaknesses), and saw that he recommends 120%. So I had previously been a little lower than his ratio, but now I'm right at it. I don't take his ratios as gospel, but seeing this again helps assuage any doubts I may have about the deadlifts being too heavy. Knowing that I'm within an experienced lifter/trainer's norms lessens the concern about injury risk, although I would have to say the squat is no longer quite the driver of progress as it was when the deadlifts were a little lower. At 120% of Squat, I would say the deadlifts are about equal now, as is predicted by the ratios and the attendant notion of 'structural balance.' But that's OK, since both lifts really anchor their respective push and pull days. When I was doing all six lifts on the same day, it made a bit more sense to start with the Squat and have it be harder than the Deadlift. Now when I begin a workout, I always do either the Squat or Deadlift first, and it's always a relief when I finish the third set. Like, 'OK, the one really hard lift is done now, I can relax a bit and get on with the lesser upperbody lifts' (either the presses, or the rows and chinups). In general, I've really been liking the complementarity of the push and pull days, and the way this split enables me to train everyday without any recovery issues thus far.

    Thibaudieu does have the Military Press a little lower than my ratios, at 45% of Back Squat rather than my 50%, but that's OK. I think the Overhead Press is under-emphasized in most programs. I've definitely switched from (1) giving the Bench Press more focus than the Overhead Press, and treating the latter almost as an assistance exercise, to (2) really making the Overhead Press one of my main markers of progress, along with the Squat. I'm more excited by the prospect of executing a two-plate OP than a three-plate BP, for example. I also know that with my current ratios, whatever I can do on the OP (2 x BU) or SQ (4 x BU) pretty much guarantees that I can do the prescribed loads for the heavier upperbody BP (3 x BU) and heavier lowerbody DL (4.8 x BU) no problem. So it's been frustrating to hold off on Overhead Press progress while I wait for my wrist to heal, but this week it's feeling like it's almost good to go. It will be cool to see a 45-pound plate on either side of the Press in a month or two.

    Mid afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 15

    Lifting -- Push, BU = 73 lbs
    SQ: 3 x 3 @ 263 lbs
    OP: 3 x 3 @ 121 lbs
    BP: 3/3/3 @ 160/165/175

    Squat felt the same, just a little bit too hard, but I guess that's the way it's supposed to feel. At no point was I in danger of having to complete a rep with bad form, let alone miss a rep, although once or twice the ascent became bi-phastic a bit.

    Overhead Press felt just right, with no complaints from my wrist.

    Bench Press felt a little light, so I added five, and then five again. My wrist complained just a bit on de-racking but was otherwise fine.

    I didn't do any sled work, I guess I'll start that next week. This week it was enough just getting the presses up a bit. Don't want to get greedy. Plus I want to make sure I have all the energy reserves I need for my three-plate deadlift tomorrow.

    Saturday, 17.05.20
    Afternoon workout got usurped by multiple kids' playdates. Just as well, my body was feeling a little beat up from this week's lifting.

    ---------------Week 5: Cycle III---------------

    Sunday, 17.05.21
    Looked over my Excel sheets from 2015, when I was last lifting consistently, and noticed that I was increasing the Squat by only two pounds a week at the end of 2015. I've been increasing it by six pounds a week since I began microloading this year, using the protocol of adding a half-pound to the base unit for each iteration of the push/pull split. Since Squat = 4 x BU, that means I'm increasing the Squat's 1RM two pounds every split, and three weekly splits equals six pounds' increase each week.

    Since the loads have been feeling a little heavy lately, I think perhaps I will reduce the rate of increase to three pounds a week for the squat, or a one pound increase to the 1RM every split, and base everything off of that. If that begins to feel heavy at some point, then I'll reduce the weekly increase back to two or even one pound per week for the Squat 1RM.

    For the Overhead Press and Bench Press, now that their 3RMs are up to 121 and 175, respectively, I figure if I add one pound to the Overhead Press and two Pounds to the Bench Press every split, then by the first week of Cycle IV, they will have caught up to the other lifts. That's another four weeks of healing, so should be doable. Then I will go back to increasing the presses' loads using the Iron Ratio, with the Squat's 1RM as my base unit. So OP 1RM = Squat 1RM/2, and BP 1RM = SQ 1RM/1.33.

    Monday, 17.05.22
    Played music in the afternoon, still had time for a workout before picking up the kids, but drank a beer in the beautiful spring weather instead.

    Tuesday, 17.05.23
    Early afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 16

    Lifting -- Push
    SQ: 3 x 3 @ 261 lbs, 1RM = 290 lbs
    OP: 3 x 3 @ 122 lbs, 1RM = 145 lbs
    BP: 3 x 3 @ 177 lbs, 1RM = 217.5 lbs

    I'm starting the new protocol of reverting back to the Squat 1RM as the base unit with a nice even 290 pounds, a little lighter than the load I concluded with last week. Felt hard but doable. Same for the presses. So that's all set--just have to follow the formulas in my Excel spreadsheet, the values of which are filled in through Cycle IV. Other than that, it's just a matter of adjusting the rate of microloading if it gets too easy or too hard.

    The bar shifted in my hands during one set of the Overhead Press. I might have to bring in my new Ohio barbell for my push day too.

    Wednesday, 17.05.24
    Late morning, Anytime Fitness: May workout 17

    Lifting -- Pull
    DL: 3 x 3 @ 315 lbs, 1RM = 350 lbs
    Rw: 3 x 3 @ 180 lbs, 1RM = 200
    CU: 3 x 3 @ -30 lbs assist

    I was supposed to do 313, but the new bar made it hard to resist, or I was too lazy to bother with a bunch of plates, so I ended up putting three 45s on either side and letting it rip. Went up pretty easily. I think taking the weekend off may have helped. I paid a little extra attention to establishing a good grip during setup, and it held well throughout the sets. I also did a little gripper work over the weekend, but not too much as I don't want to tax the still healing wrist too much.

    With the Pendlay Row I rounded up again, from 179. It felt a little heavy but I think it's OK to put a little body English on it. Maybe I should reduce the ratio however.

    Took off another five pounds on the chinup, felt good. I wonder if I should forgo dumbbell rows as assistance after my three main lifts and just focus on improving the third lift, my chinups. Something like doing dropsets after the first three sets, by adding instead of subtracting weight for each successive set.

    Anyway, I'll repeat these loads for the next Pull workout, so that they align with the new Squat 1RM, and then start microloading again after that. Feeling good. Next time the bar starts to feel heavy, I'll either slow the rate of increase, deload slightly to a previous workout's loads, take a day or two off, or all three, as I did in this instance.

    Late afternoon
    1 mi, walking bare to pick up the kids.

    Thursday, 17.05.25
    Early afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 18

    Lifting -- Push
    SQ: 3 x 3 @ 262 lbs, 1RM = 291 lbs
    OP: 3 x 3 @ 123 lbs, 1RM = 145.5 lbs
    BP: 3 x 3 @ 180 lbs, 1RM = 218.25 lbs

    I brought my Ohio bar in for my Push workout. The barbell in my squat rack was badly bent, as was the one in the rack next to it. So I went back out to the car and got my bar.

    I liked the consistency of using the same bar, with the same feel and reference marks. The combination of the more aggressive knurling and me being extra careful with my right wrist is helping me to really focus on grip during setup. I really dig the bar into the crook of my thumb and palm now, which leads to very tight, stable grip.

    All three lifts felt a little hard but I was never in doubt about completing them. I rounded up the Bench Press from 179 to 180 because I figure it will be easier to remember the microloading if I go up by even numbers. Now the OP is off by just eight pounds of where it should be, and the BP by 16 pounds. If all goes well, they will both have caught up by the first or second week of Cycle IV.

    I did the Bench Press in the squat rack for the first time, since my bar was already there. That felt better than the two dedicated Bench Pressing racks at the gym, which don't have attached benches either. I also found it was easier to center and position the bench accurately in the squat rack. The only problem was bringing the bar out far enough from the squat rack's bigger J hooks. But I liked the feel of benching from within the rack.

    I actually felt a bit of a pump afterwards, first time that's happened in a long while. In general, I'm avoiding reaching that stage, as I suspect it indicates a longer recovery might be needed, but I have no evidence that's really the case. And the pump did feel good. In any case, I'm trying my best to stick to the 90% effort rule, which the strict microloading makes fairly easy to program, and which makes a high frequency/low rep/high weight plan feasible.

    Late afternoon
    1 mi, walking bare with my son in his jeep to pick up my daughter, after the former's dentist appointment.

    Friday, 17.05.26
    Late morning, Anytime Fitness: May workout 19

    Lifting -- Pull
    DL: 3/3/1/1 @ 315 lbs, 1RM = 350 lbs
    P-Rw: 3 x 3 @ 175 lbs, 1RM = 195
    CU: 3/3/3/5 @ -30/-30/-30/-60 lbs assist

    Started the workout with my lower back feeling a little stiff. Stretching helped, but I still lacked a little confidence on the Deadlifts. The first set went up easy enough though. After that I stretched some more and sat instead of paced in between sets. That helped. But on the third set I was still a little underconfident and gave up after one rep. Tried it again, got in one more rep, then called it a day.

    I took the Pendlay Row down, recalibrating it to reflect two thirds of the Squat instead of 2.75 times the old BU. Still felt a little heavy but I think I was just having an off day, or maybe I need to schedule in more days off.

    Chinups felt fine. I did an extra set of five reps @ -60 lbs assist.

    Saturday, 17.05.27


    ---------------Week 6: Cycle III---------------

    Sunday, 17.05.28

    Monday, 17.05.29

    Tuesday, 17.05.30

    Wednesday, 17.05.31

    Thursday, 17.06.01

    Friday, 17.06.02

    Saturday, 17.06.03


    ---------------Week 7: Cycle III---------------

    Sunday, 17.06.04

    Monday, 17.06.05

    Tuesday, 17.06.06

    Wednesday, 17.06.07

    Thursday, 17.06.08

    Friday, 17.06.09

    Saturday, 17.06.10


    ---------------Week 8: Cycle III---------------

    Sunday, 17.06.11

    Monday, 17.06.12

    Tuesday, 17.06.13

    Wednesday, 17.06.14

    Thursday, 17.06.15

    Friday, 17.06.16

    Saturday, 17.06.17
     
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    #1 Bare Lee, Apr 21, 2017
    Last edited: May 26, 2017 at 2:02 PM
  2. Abide

    Abide
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    20170430_081641-2016x1134.jpg 20170430_061115-2016x1134.jpg We already here?

    I'll come back in a bit.
     

    #2 Abide, Apr 23, 2017
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
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  3. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    Thanks for the suggestions. It's shameful how out-of-shape I am now. Even going up stairs. It's tempting to keep focusing on getting my lifts up while I can, but I also don't want to put off getting my cardio-vascular fitness up for too much longer either. That could produce long-term damage. Put of the problem is that, working out in a public gym, it's going to be mighty embarrassing huffing and puffing after, say, sled work. More reason to try once again for an early morning routine.

    Mountain biking would be fun but, with the added torque, potentially harder on my knees than road cycling. Even though my knees have been doing pretty well, on a few days when I've walked around the neighborhood a lot with the kids or have been on my feet a lot doing yardwork, I definitely start to feel it. So the problem is still there and I need to monitor it. The main thing, it seems, is to avoid a lot of repetitive loading, or even too many cuts when playing soccer with my son.

    Anyway, I finally got the bug my kids had last week, so this week I'll continue to focus on weights.

    Yah, 25 miles a day sounds like more than enough, especially if it snows!
     
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    #3 Bare Lee, Apr 26, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
  4. Abide

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    Whoops been way out of touch the last few weeks.

    BL are you really gonna bring a barbell to the gym with you? I've got a big smile on my face after reading that.

    I will get my stuff back posted asap.
     

  5. BroadArrow

    BroadArrow
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    hi guys. i have been MIA [not that anyone noticed :) ].

    basically, i attempted a 100 mile at the potawatomi/mcnaughton park trails race. i met up with OneBiteAtATime who graciously let me share his giant tent at the start/finish area. we had a great time. long story short: it is a (just under) 10 mile loop going up and down the bluffs and i did 5 laps on saturday, slept for 7 hours, and cranked out a 6th on sunday morning before being extracted by my wife during her super narrow time window between other engagements. they gave me a 50-mile buckle as a consolation prize. :) oh, and i passed and was passed by a guy who said he used to run barefoot for two years (and was extolling the benefits to his pacer). turns out he gave it up after doing the kettle morain 100 without shoes. apparently, the course is just a bunch of sharp rocks and obviously, his feet got beat up. so he runs in shoes now, i guess, but is all in favor of barefoot.

    and then, uh, well, it was determined that my wife has metastatic breast cancer instead of the normal boring stage II kind she had before. not awesome.

    so, between taking it easy on general principles after the minimal-training ultra attempt and trying to deal with my slow moving nervous breakdown.... i haven't been doing much structured exercise. at least i'm not curled up on the couch under my blanket as much as before, but let's just say it has taken emotional effort even to convince myself to check up on you guys here. and i am glad to see that some good things are happening.
     
  6. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    Good to hear from you! It was getting lonely around here.

    Yah, I might feel a bit silly, and now I've identified a bar at the gym that I can control by lining up the scratches just right. Still, that bar might not always be available, and it's just a drag with the other bars when you begin the pull and the whole bar shifts in your hands. Really breaks concentration and rolls the bar more onto the fingers, away from the palm and thumb. Now that I'm over 300 pounds for the Deadlift, I really need total focus on form in order to avoid any chance of injury, so we'll see.

    It was a bit of an impulse buy, but the Ohio bar seems to be universally regarded as one of the best multipurpose bars. I didn't even measure the interior of my mid-sized car to make sure it will fit. My wife drives the family vehicle, a Chrysler Pacifica. It would be easy with that. And the bar will negate the possibility of biking to the gym. So maybe I'll just bike on push days?

    Look forward to a full report . . .

    BTW, if I can maintain the present rate of progress--a big IF--I will be capable of a 400-pound DL sometime in July. Not sure I would actually try it though, I may just stay with the three-rep sets and be satisfied with a projected 1RM, which of course, wouldn't count for our contest. I'm just really wary of injury risk on the Deadlift.
     
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    #6 Bare Lee, May 18, 2017
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  7. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    No, you've been missed.

    Wow, I'm so sorry to hear of the bad news. Keep us posted, my prayers are with you and your family. Try to work out or run if you can, it may help maintain a more positive mindset, but also don't feel bad about feeling bad. This is about the hardest thing to deal with. I don't think anyone can really deal with it.

    Check in if you can, but we'll definitely understand if your motivation to participate isn't there during this extremely difficult time.
     
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    #7 Bare Lee, May 18, 2017
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  8. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    Hey, now that my Chinup is starting to go up (that is, my assist load is going down, from 40 lbs to 30lbs, which largely accounts for my belly!), I was trying to program increases into a new, simplified Excel workout sheet this morning.

    I've often assumed that Chinup and Bench should be about the same, but I hadn't really seen much about this in the Poliquin-style 'Structural Balance' or 'Strength Ratios' articles. And when I have, it has often seemed like the Chinup was too low: https://www.t-nation.com/training/know-your-ratios-destroy-weaknesses.

    So I googled it directly, and found a minor consensus (3 different trainers) that one's 1RM Bench should be roughly equal to one's 3RM Chinup. Here's one such article: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-chinups-pullups-can-help-your-bench-press.html

    This seems about right, but my chinups have always been weak and my bench strong, so I don't really know. But it's an easy formula so I think I'll try it for a while.

    Thoughts?
     
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  9. Barefoot Dama

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    What do you mean by "belly" muscle burns more fat-doesn't it?
     

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  10. Bare Lee

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    Hey Dama, how have you been?

    I meant I'm at least 30, probably more like 40-50, pounds overweight, carrying a lot of pounds of fat that are fairly useless in a food-rich environment. Not running has taken it's toll!

    On the Chinup/Pullup assist machine, I can spot myself those extra, useless pounds, so that my chinup/pullup capacity is more of a reflection of my true, lean mass ability. That is, if and when I lose my belly, I should, theoretically, be able to do at least three unassisted chinups. Of course, I will probably gain strength before I lose all of my belly, if I ever do, so doing unassisted chinups may not be entirely dependent on weight loss.

    One of the reasons I go to my current gym is because it has an chinup/pullup/dip assist machine. I think it more closely imitates those lifts unassisted than using bands does, which provide variable rather than steady assistance/resistance.

    The other reason I go is because I can do the overhead presses inside the cages there, whereas in my garage gym the ceiling is too low to do them standing up, and I have to do them either sitting on my bench or kneeling on the floor.
     
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    #10 Bare Lee, May 26, 2017 at 1:34 PM
    Last edited: May 26, 2017 at 2:11 PM
  11. Barefoot Dama

    Barefoot Dama
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    I am well Lee thanks for asking is just my motivation for running went somewhere south I think it's all this rain that doesn't seem to want to stop. I hope it doesn't last much longer otherwise I am going to go bananas :wacky:
     

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