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 Last day of Joy to the People soccer in an adjoining neighborhood, this time parents versus kids. Two of the dads on my team obviously grew up playing soccer, and a few of the older kids had pretty impressive moves too. I was just happy my knees held up, just a little sore at the end. Then later about a mile walking barefoot through the neighborhood. ---------------Week 6: Cycle III--------------- Sunday, 17.05.28 My feet are a little tingly from the extra stimulation on Saturday. Thoughts of going back to my garage gym, and possibly figuring out a way to do Overhead Presses and Chinups outside, maybe even buy a prowler sled and make some grating noise on the street for my neighbors like Abide used to do. I just seem to find myself gravitating towards late-afternoon workouts, so the whole rational of going to a public gym--which is to work out first thing in the morning without making clanging noises underneath the bedroom above the attached garage--is no longer there. Plus the garage stays cleaner when I work out in it regularly. The only problem is winter, but maybe I could just do pulldowns and seated dumbbell presses on the coldest days. When the highs are in the 20s, I could probably get by staying inside between sets and wearing some kind of thin glove to protect my hands from the cold bars. Also thinking four lifting workouts in a row seems to be about my limit before I need a day off. So maybe I should program a bike ride a couple of times a week on rest days. Monday, 17.05.29 Mid morning, Anytime Fitness: May workout 20 Lifting -- Push SQ: 2/3/3 @ 263 lbs, 1RM = 292 lbs OP: 3 x 3 @ 124 lbs, 1RM = 146 lbs BP: 2 x 3 @ 182 lbs, 1RM = 219 lbs I was a little dehydrated and already ready for my mid-morning snack, so perhaps that's why the bar felt a little heavy today. But I was also feeling very unmotivated and the workout took nearly an hour to complete. I took long breaks in between sets, daydreaming. Anyway, got it in, and I enjoyed the post-workout rumblings in my flesh the rest of the day hanging out with the family in Wisconsin and a rivertown on the St. Croix--Stillwater. Tuesday, 17.05.30 Mid afternoon, Anytime Fitness: May workout 21 Lifting -- Pull DL: 3 x 3 @ 315 lbs, 1RM = 350 lbs Rw: 3 x 3 @ 175 lbs, 1RM = 193 lbs CU: 3 x 3 @ -30 lbs assist Cable Row: 3 x 200 Deadlift felt pretty easy, so that's a relief. Hard to say if the slower rate of increase is helping, or if taking two days off over the weekend helped. As I approach my previous maxes, the experimentation with both microloading and frequency will become more sensitive. I know that the rate of increase will have to slow more and more as I reach my age-adjusted genetic potential, but since I have no idea what the latter is (Deadlift 1RM = 400lbs? 450lbs? 500lbs? more?), all I can go on is proprioception or "rate of perceived exertion" (RPE) as Tushschere calls it. According to his formula, I'm always shooting for a RPE of 9, which is my ninety percent, which means basically I should always feel like I could do one more rep in a set if I really had to. In order to keep the RPE @ 9, I will have to adjust the rate of microloading and/or frequency of training and/or rep ranges. I also tried resetting my grip in between deadlift reps, pausing just a little extra to do so. This really helped maintain good grip on every rep. I lowered the Pendlay Row, and that felt better. Then I added in a set of cable rows at the end to see how that would feel, but my shoulders felt a little tired by then, so I didn't do a full 3 x 3. Wanna make sure I'm fresh for tomorrow as I continue to push the presses back up to where they should be. Still, I'm thinking it might be best to lighten the barbell rows a bit like this, get them done faster, and then mix in dumbbell rows or cable rows with greater frequency. So really, only the Deadlifts and Chinups would be at close to max capacity. It's an idea I think Abide has endorsed in the past--to keep the rows higher rep/lower weight, and attack from different angles. It's just hard to keep good form on the Barbell Rows once the weight starts to get up there. So mis' well spread the work around, and rows are about the only lift I like to do just as much with dumbbells or cables as I do with a barbell, because the latter lessen the strain on the lower back and get better leverages than barbell rows. Chinups felt good. On my excel sheet, I've begun to program increases into them as well. We'll see if I can keep up. Wednesday, 17.05.31 1.5 miles walking bare back and forth to my kids school twice. Beautiful early summer day. Walked down to my son's school at noon to help out at their 'field day.' One of the volunteer parents at my field station asked me about the bare feet, and she and another gal were pretty receptive to the message. Was going to work out afterwards, but got lazy. Then I realized what I really felt like doing was going for a bike ride in the lovely weather, but it was a bit late to get going. Walked back down to the school at the end of the day to pick up the kids. So that, plus the fact that the last deadlift workout felt nice and easy, just the way it's supposed to feel, got me thinking about trying a three-day routine, with the two-day push/pull split plus one day of cycling or other aerobic activity. That would also help me motivate for more met-con stuff at the end of each lifting session, knowing I would have more time to recovery afterwards. We'll see. It would entail, ideally, a three-week cycle with four lifting days in the first and third weeks, and five lifting days in the middle week. Then if I encounter a forced rest day due to sickness or stuff coming up, I can just forgo the next bike ride in order to stay on the lifting schedule. Or if I was on a roll lifting-wise, I could skip the cycling and just keep lifting consecutive days until I needed a break. This would give me a pretty good routine with built-in flexibility, still fairly high frequency, but with a bit more recovery time scheduled in, and a larger purely aerobic component. So it would be a pretty good balance of all three energy systems. Thursday, 17.06.01 Morning, 1 mi, more bare walking to my kids school to help out with my daughter's field day. Late afternoon, Anytime Fitness: June workout 1 Lifting -- Push SQ: 3 x 3 @ 264 lbs, 1RM = 293 lbs OP: 3 x 3 @ 125 lbs, 1RM = 146.5 lbs BP: 3 x 3 @ 185 lbs, 1RM = 220 lbs Everything felt hard but doable. Perfect. I could probably stop using my wrist wrap/brace on the right hand, but at this point it's a bit of a security blanket, and there's still a twinge of pain at the initial de-racking on the bench press. I rounded up the Bench Press load to 185 lbs, as I couldn't be bothered with all the plates to make 184. I started using the squat rack for bench pressing too. It saves me transporting the bar, possibly scrounging up plates, and it's easier to place the bench accurately. The staff member in the office by the gym's entrance joked that I could leave my bar when I'm done. I told him I would as soon as they replaced all the bent bars. This led to a more serious discussion about a commercial gym's choice between buying cheaper bars, knowing some clients are going to abuse them, or more expensive bars that will hold up to the abuse better, but still get abused. I also showed him my fractional plates. It's nice at least one staff member there is friendly and approachable. On the whole, there isn't a lot of gym rat comaraderie at this place, and I kinda miss it. Then later I invited him to test out my bar's stainless steel knurling. He agreed it was pretty nice. Man, I love my new barbell, it's really just perfect for me. And I've gotten used to the little ritual of carefully taking it out of my mid-sized Chrysler Sebring without banging anything and then carrying it to my favorite rack inside. It would be nice to have my wife's 'crossover' Pacifica though. I think I will make our spare car, a 1998 Saturn, the gym car, since I don't really care if I bang up its interior a bit. My family hates the tiny Saturn, but I like the simple go-cart feel and it gets great gas mileage. Evening, 1 mi. More bare walking to the park after dinner. Friday, 17.06.02 Forgot I was supposed to pick up my daughter early in order to bring her to a sleepover. Missed my late afternoon workout. Saturday, 17.06.03 Mid morning, Anytime Fitness: June workout 2 Lifting -- Pull DL: 1/1/2/1 @ 317.5 lbs, 1RM = 352 lbs Rw: 3 x 3 @ 175 lbs, 1RM = 193 lbs CU: 3 x 3 @ -30 lbs assist 1DB Rw: 3 x 3 @ 100 L&R Cable Row: 3 x 5 @ 200 Misremembered my Deadlift load, put one and half pounds too much on. Still, shouldn't have made a difference, but the bar felt heavy. I think it was either the earlier start time or perhaps dehydration. Funny the contrast to the last Pull workout, when the Deadlift felt easy at just two and half pounds lighter. I think perhaps next time the bar feels heavy, I'll just drop down to the nearest 50- or 40-pound increment, or my last warmup load before the worksets, which in this case would've been 275, and make that the workset load. This would be closer to Tuchschere's concept of auto-regulation, where you match the intensity of the lifts to the day's energy levels. With my microloading approach, the idea has been that daily fluctuations in energy or motivation are accounted for by the slow, steady increases in loading, where the rate of loading is set and continually adjusted to keep the intensity around the 90% max effort mark. That's been my take on auto-regulation, just adjusting the rate of increase, which is based on perceived effort over a week or two's time, not on a daily perception of effort level. After a week or two, if the loads start feeling too heavy or light, I adjust, but the expectation is that each load should be hard but doable on a daily basis. But perhaps the Deadlift is a different beast, as many have argued, and the daily fluctuations are much greater. Or perhaps I'm just more cautious about pushing it on an off day, knowing that the injury-risk is highest for the deadlift. On the Squat and Presses, I simply can't complete a rep with proper form if the energy isn't there, but on the Deadlift I can force reps through sheer will, like on a 1RM PR, but I don't think it's a good idea. I started to pickup steam on the Pendlay Row and Chinups, however, so I decided to compensate for the poor Deadlift showing with more rows. By the time I got to the Cable Rows, I was getting a pretty good pump. So that's the silver lining, maybe this workout will finally get me to work in a little more assistance work, at least for the Pull workout. So the Pull workout might be though of as having only two main lifts, the Deadlift and the Chinup, and then different rows as assistance. I'm also thinking if I do this three-row complex, perhaps all the sets should be five reps, like I did on the Cable Rows. Rows have inherently poor leverage and long moment arms, so higher reps seem more appropriate, to attack a little more through volume than intensity. The other five main lifts--Squat, Overhead Press, Bench Press, Deadlift, and Chinup--can all be done with pretty optimal leverages, as analyzed by Rippetoe, so lower reps and higher intensity seem more appropriate there. That is, rep range should be defined more by leverage than lift. It's just that the main, compound barbell lifts and chinups all can be done with fairly optimal leverages, whereas rows and a lot assistance exercises can't. Afternoon: 1mi. barefoot walking with family to neighborhood arts fair. Evening: 1mi. barefoot walking to park with kids. ---------------Week 7: Cycle III--------------- Sunday, 17.06.04 Mid morning, Anytime Fitness: June workout 3 Lifting -- Push SQ: 3 x 3 @ 265 lbs, 1RM = 294 lbs OP: 3 x 3 @ 126 lbs, 1RM = 147 lbs BP: 3 x 3 @ 186 lbs, 1RM = 220.5 lbs All three lifts felt hard but doable--perfect. Monday, 17.06.05 Noon, Anytime Fitness: June workout 4 Lifting -- Pull DL: 2/3/3 @ 318 lbs, 1RM = 353 lbs Rw: 3 x 3 @ 175 lbs, 1RM = 194 lbs CU: 3 x 3 @ -29 lbs assist, 1RM = 246 lbs 1DB Rw: 3 x 5 @ 100 lbs L&R Cable Row: 2 x 5 @ 200 lbs Deadlift went up OK, but it still feels like a lot of weight. I was prepared to revert to my 2015 Deadlift to Squat ratio of 115% instead of the current 120%, if the bar felt as heavy as the last Pull workout, but seems like today my problem was more psychological than physical. The other day's difficulty, in contrast, may have been due to dehydration. It's just that I'm trying my best to bullet-proof myself against repeating the Deadlift injury of a few years ago, so there may be some natural CNS inhibition now that I'm up over three plates. I've seen in a lot of places that the Press : Bench : Squat : Deadlift should have a ratio of 2:3:4:5, but when you look at elite powerlifters, the Squat is usually stronger than the Deadlift, so perhaps the ratios change as you get stronger. It could be that the time has come to reduce my Deadlift back to 115%. Alternatively, perhaps I should be working in some Romanian Deadlifts or Back Extensions to strengthen the lower back, if in fact it's a weak link. Right now I working on the assumption that assistance is largely unnecessary if you get the ratios right and have decent structural balance. So I will probably try reducing the Deadlift:Squat ratio before adding in more assistance, if the bar continues to feel heavy. It might make sense, however, to only do 3x3 Deadlifts once or twice a week, instead of every Pull workout, and then do Romanian Deadlifts on the other Pull days. I guess I need to go back and look at my 2015 log and notes a bit to see exactly what I was doing then. That's the beauty of keeping an extensive log with notes. The reporting helps motivation too. I found a way to micro-load the chinup/dip assist machine, by placing my fractional plates on the machine's plate pin. I took one of the gym's 2.5-pound plates plus one each of my 1-pound and half-pound plates and then placed the pin through them into the machine's 25-pound hole, which brought the assist up to 29 pounds total. This way I can reduce the assist one pound at a time, until, hopefully, I can do chinups unassisted. I forgot to do my Pendlay Rows at five reps, but 175 lbs felt good at three. The other two rows I did at five reps however, and that felt pretty good--got a good end of workout pump and met-con effect--although mentally I'm so used to three reps that five seems like a lot to get through. I also tried resetting/deloading each kind of row after each rep, just as I do on the Pendlay Rows, and this seemed to work well. I can be a bit more explosive and it helps to give the lower back a break after each rep as well. I also reset the grip after each rep when I do this, to keep the bar/handle from sliding onto my fingers. I left off the final set of Cable Rows because the knurling was starting to abrade my palm a bit. This was my first workout without using the wrist brace/wrap. Didn't notice it at all. Late afternoon, 1 mi. walking bare to pick up the kids. Tuesday, 17.06.06 Mid morning, Anytime Fitness: June workout 5 Lifting -- Push SQ: 2 x 3 @ 266 lbs, 1RM = 295 lbs OP: 3 x 3 @ 127 lbs, 1RM = 147.5 lbs BP: 2 x 3 @ 188 lbs, 1RM = 221 lbs My right knee felt a little cranky, then on the second Squat workset the left knee began to feel a little cranky too, so I avoided a third set. The load felt very doable though, so I think the reduced rate of increase is working, hitting the perceived 90% intensity level pretty consistently now. I did all three sets of the Overhead Press, and it felt like the hardest of the three lifts. The rate of increase I'm using to catch up is probably a little bit too much. At a one-pound increase per split, I'm scheduled to catch up by the end of June, provided I get in three Push-Pull splits this week and the next three. Then the rate of increase will halve, to a half-pound per split, using the Iron Ratio. On the Bench Press, I missed my wrist brace/wrap a bit, but only upon de-racking. I don't really need it, but I might use it again for another week or two. Skipped my third set, can't remember why (writing this Wednesday morning). I was going to start the prowler work again, but the cranky knees persuaded me to put it off again. Wednesday, 17.06.07 (Writing this Wednesday morning: ) Right knee still feeling a little cranky. That's it, I think I'm going to reduce the Deadlift to Squat ratio back down to 115:100, from 120:100. That gives me an additional month to get to three plates. Meanwhile, as the Squat loads go up, the Deadlift loads should feel easier, according to my squats-drive-general-progress model. (Now writing Thursday morning: ) Noon, Anytime Fitness: June workout 6 Lifting -- Pull RDL: 3 x 2 @ 275 lbs Rw: 3 x 3 @ 185 lbs CU: 3 x 3 @ -29 lbs assist; 5 x -55 lbs assist I toyed with idea of taking a day off for a bike ride, but I kinda wanted to see if I could lift heavy for an entire week of consecutive workouts, so, since my knee still felt cranky as the day wore on, I decided to try Romanian Deadlifts, which I had been doing in 2015 after discovering that I have degenerative menisci in both knees. It was a spontaneous decision so I hadn't taken time beforehand to check out my logs and see what I had been doing in 2015, so I went with my last warmup set load for the conventional DL -- 275 lbs. That felt fine, but I restricted myself to two reps per sets just to see how my lower back and hammies would react the next day. I'm writing this Thursday morning and I'd have to say that everything feels OK and the crankiness in my right knee is gone. I just took the time to look at 2015's last Concurrent Strength and Endurance thread and saw that I had been tying the RDL load to the Squat load, so I was about nine pounds too heavy. If the knee continues to feel fine after my next Squat/Push workout, I'll try conventional Deadlifts at the new/old ratio of 115% of Squat, instead of the current 120%, just like I did at the end of 2015 as well. So I'm back to a truly Squat-centric program, making the Squats my hardest lift because it's my weakest lift, and then tying the loads and rate of increase for all the other lifts to the Squat's load and rate of increase, using the Iron Ratio. Before, with the Deadlift at 120% of the Squat, it felt like the Deadlift may have also been driving progress, but it often felt too heavy. I'm hoping that by going back to what worked in 2015, the Deadlift will also routinely feel hard but completely doable, just as the other lifts do now. The only thing left is figuring out how to program the RDLs. Do them every workout along with the conventional DLs, maybe two sets of each kind of lift? Or alternate RDLs with DLs, every other workout or every third workout? I guess if I tie the RDL load to the Squat load, I don't have to do any separate calculations to fit RDLs into the Iron Ratio, and it affords some flexibility as to when I work them in. I can decide the day of, or even as I get to the gym, because I'll have already done squats in the previous workout and will remember the correct load. I tried the Pendlay Rows heavier, to compensate for the lighter RDLs, but my form suffered. I still can't decide whether to do the P-Row a bit lighter with strict form and higher reps, or with a higher load and allow myself to cheat the last 3-4 inches with a little body English in order to draw the bar up into contact with my torso. This would make it a more explosive lift. Edit: OK, looking at what I was doing at the end of 2015, I had the Pendlay Row's ratio pegged at 2.5, or 62.5% of the Squat Ratio, instead of the current 2.66, or 66%. So I think I'll reduce the load to that and maybe increase the reps so that all my rows are done at five reps per set. I microloaded my assisted Chinups for the second time, and that felt fine. I also focused on making the contraction more of a curl, or elbow-focused, with the lats stably retracted and suppressed, as many have recommended, and this felt right. So I think it's best to focus on establishing good form on Chinups too, before I make a push for unassisted Chinups. To that end, I added an extra set of lighter Chinups at -55 lbs assist, really focusing on form and getting a bit of a pump. I skipped the assistance rows because I just wasn't really into lifting that much for this session, but I'm glad I got the main lifts in. So little but little, the new 2017 protocol is taking shape as I approach my old PRs, and it looks a lot like what I was doing at the end of 2015. The only real innovations are the Push/Pull split and doing all the main lifts 3x3 instead of a weekly wave of 3 x 5/7/3. The approach to assistance seems to be multiple rows on Pull day, and then maybe Dips or Landmine Twist or Pullovers on Push days, although I haven't yet experimented with the latter due to my sore wrist. But the wrist is pretty good now, so I'll try to mess with Push assistance a bit before this cycle is over. With things settling in, I've finalized a new, compact Excel spreadsheet for my Iron Ratio percentages and rate of increase, with each cycle taking up a single page, and load projections until the end of 2017 in Cycles IV, V, VI, and VII. It's looking like I'll get back to my Squat, Deadlift, and Overhead Press PRs sometime in mid or late July, depending on how consistent I can be. I guess I'll keep pushing towards that, and not worry too much about whether or not I can integrate the met-con stuff before then. And it looks like Abide has until October at the earliest to firm up his claim to a 400-pound Deadlift. Thursday, 17.06.08 Blew off my workout in order to practice more for the evening's jam. It was probably good to take a day off anyway. Friday, 17.06.09 Early afternoon, Anytime Fitness: June workout 7 Lifting -- Push SQ: 3/3/2 @ 266 lbs, 1RM = 296 lbs OP: 3 x 3 @ 128 lbs, 1RM = 148 lbs BP: 3 x 3 @ 190 lbs, 1RM = 222 lbs My head wasn't into it, but all the loads were very doable so I could get away with sleepwalking through it a bit, although my form got a little off on some of the Squat reps, and I stopped one rep short on the third set for no real reason. On the Bench, I still felt a little pain in my right wrist, so I went out to the car and got my wrist brace/wrap for the second and third sets. The slight twinge provided an excuse to put off the sled once again. The wrist was fine on the Squat and Overhead Press though, so it's almost 100%. Saturday, 17.06.10 The plan was to clean the garage and workout at the end of the afternoon. The plan didn't happen. ---------------Week 8: Cycle III--------------- Sunday, 17.06.11 Late morning, Anytime Fitness: June workout 8 Lifting -- Pull DL: 3 x 3 @ 306 lbs, 1RM = 340 lbs Rw: 3 x 3 @ 167 lbs, 1RM = 185 lbs CU: 3 x 3 @ -28 lbs assist, 1RM = 247 lbs 1DB Rw: 3 x 5 @ 100 lbs L&R Cable Row: 2 x 5 @ 200 lbs Really didn't feel like working out. It was already close to 90 degrees at midday and it was the second night in a row with less than adequate sleep. So I was proud I motivated and got everything in. The lighter DL still felt heavy but very doable. I think reducing the DL to 115% of Squat instead of 120% is the way to go now that I'm in the heavy zone. The lighter Pendlay Rows also allowed me to maintain pretty good form throughout. I should make more of an effort to get the sets up to five reps, as they are on the other rows for assistance. So even though I needed the following week's Sunday, I'm happy I got in three splits in a week/eight days. I think I will try to get in three splits this week as well if I don't sense a need for a day off. There's a certain desire to keep pushing until my presses are once again aligned with the Iron Ratio (projected to be Week 2 of Cycle IV), and my Squat 1RM gets up to three plates (Week 6 of Cycle IV). Around that time I'll also PR in my Deadlift, and by the end of Cycle IV, there's a chance my Overhead Press will once again reach my previous PR. Then not much happens until the end of Cycle V, when I should reach my previous PR in the Bench Press and my Deadlift 1RM could be 400 pounds. Then in Cycle VI it's the great unknown, just keep pushing to find out what my limits are, if they haven't already be reached. At that point, hopefully, I'll be more willing to give equal footing to conditioning and mobility work. I don't have any specific goals there, besides good blood pressure, so it kinda makes sense to focus on the strength goals first, before I get much older and real decline sets in. Evening, 1 mi barefoot walk to the park with the kids. Monday, 17.06.12 Decided to make one last push this cycle for early morning workouts. Tuesday, 17.06.13 Decided to make one last push this cycle for early morning workouts. Wednesday, 17.06.14 Decided to make one last push this cycle for early morning workouts. Thursday, 17.06.15 Mid afternoon, Anytime Fitness: June workout 9 Lifting -- Push SQ: 3 x 2 @ 267 lbs, 1RM = 297 lbs OP: 2 x 3 @ 129 lbs, 1RM = 149 lbs BP: 2 x 3 @ 192 lbs, 1RM = 223 lbs Man, I just wasn't into it. The loads didn't feel particularly heavy, but the three days off, or the heat, made motivation close to non-existent. Glad I got it in though, should be enough to prime me for continued progressive overload in the next workouts. I was going to do one last set of two or three reps for the Squat, but my knees felt a little cranky after the third set, so I stopped. Then my wrist started acting up on the presses, so I did them a set short and called it a day, since the workout wasn't going very well anyway. Even so, the workout took nearly an hour. It normally only takes 40 minutes or so. Oh well, I think it's still valid to keep the early morning workout as a goal/ideal, but not at the expense of missing afternoon workouts, like I did this week. I think I want to continue microloading until I get to 275 (two 45s + one 25-pound plate) for my Squat 3RM, 315 (three 45s) for my Deadlift 3RM, and have the presses catch up, all of which should happen by Week 3 of Cycle IV if I can be consistent for the next two weeks. Friday, 17.06.16 Late morning, Anytime Fitness: June workout 10 Lifting -- Pull DL: 3 x 3 @ 307 lbs, 1RM = 342 lbs Rw: 3 x 3 @ 167 lbs, 1RM = 186 lbs CU: 3 x 3 @ -27 lbs assist, 1RM = 248 lbs 1DB Rw: 2 x 5 @ 100 lbs L&R Cable Row: 2 x 5 @ 200 lbs Deadlift felt easy, so that was nice. Everything else was fine. Saturday, 17.06.17 Mid morning, Anytime Fitness: June workout 11 Lifting -- Push SQ: 3 x 3 @ 268 lbs, 1RM = 298 lbs OP: 3 x 3 @ 130 lbs, 1RM = 149 lbs BP: 3 x 3 @ 194 lbs, 1RM = 224 lbs Everything felt pretty good. And that's a wrap for this cycle. Squat gained 13 pounds only, but the cycle started out a little rough. My presses have almost caught up, so that's progress as well. Deadlift would've made progress except I reduced the DL:SQ ratio, so it only gained two pounds. Chinups lost 14 pounds in assist, which is a gain. My right wrist is still a little sore at times, but no longer hinders activity.