Concurrent Strength Training & Running 2015: Eight-Week Workout Cycle II

Discussion in 'Training Information/Training Regimens' started by Bare Lee, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    First of all, anyone is welcome to join in! All levels are welcome, but we would like to keep the focus on basic or minimalist strength training, and not, for example, functional fitness, powerlifting, or bodybuilding, although these may, of course, be potential offshoots of the strength training.

    Assessment of Cycle I and Statement of Goals and Program for Cycle II

    Most of the last cycle was spent rehabbing an (re)injury I incurred at the end of the first week, while doing deadlifts without a proper warm-up. Although the injury was minor, the pain was great due to pressure on the sciatic nerve. Massaging and walking took care of the injury quickly once I ignored the Chiro’s diagnosis of injury to the sacroiliac joint, and went back to my original self-diagnosis of having pulled a muscle.

    So I failed all my cycle goals except for the OH Press, which went up to a projected 145-pound 1RM as planned. I think this increase came about mostly by switching from an unsupported seated position to a tall kneeling position, and not from any real strength gains. But who knows? Maybe deloading for the first half of the cycle helped . . .

    One positive outcome of the injury is that I began doing full squats instead of half squats again, although I should probably video-record myself again to see exactly how far below parallel I’m actually going. What I call my full squat is simply me going down as far as I can before the stretch reflex kicks in, which may feel deeper than it really is.

    Another plus, possibly, is that I began thinking more seriously about the ratios between my lifts, in order to identify my weakest lifts and develop tactics for bringing them up to speed. I then began basing my weekly lifting charts on these ratios.

    A third good result was that I became a little stricter about varying the rep-counts on a regular basis, and so have moved further away from a true version of the Texas Method. In this cycle, I will try to adhere to a 5/10/3 rep-count alternation, with each rep-count corresponding to one of the week’s workouts, across all the lifts. Apparently, according to Alwyn Cosgrove, this is an ‘undulating’ protocol. I will only add volume to my weakest lift, the Squat, probably on the five-rep day only. So there’s no more real ‘volume day’ or ‘intensity day,’ as per the Texas Method, but of course different rep-counts imply different intensities and/or different sorts of challenges. Five-rep sets seem like the best ones, with the right intensity, to increase for greater volume work on the weak lift. I will continue with the (so-far-unfulfilled) intention of working in more assistance exercises, most probably on the 10-rep day.

    Based on my limited experience using chart formulas in the last cycle, as well as Thibaudeau's recent article on recommended ratios (https://www.t-nation.com/training/know-your-ratios-destroy-weaknesses), I will revise the formulas a bit in this cycle, once again using the OH Press as the fundamental unit:

    1. OHP x 1.67 = BP, up from OHP x 1.6 = BP at the end of the last cycle. In essence, the OHP has caught up to the BP, according to Thibaudeau's ratios.

    2. OHP x 1.45 = Full Squat, same as at the end of the Cycle I. The long term goal is OHP x 1.75 = F SQ, down from a previously targeted OHP x 2. The OHP x 2 ratio was based on half/parallel squats. Since I’m going beyond parallel now, and not just breaking it, I’ve reduced the ratio in order to account for the greater difficulty of a deeper squat. Bringing the squat up will be the main focus this cycle.

    3. Full Squat x 1.3 = DL, up from 1.25. In this cycle, I will start with 1.3 and then try to get the ratio up to 1.4, and then hold the multiplier constant for a while as I wait for my squat to improve and drive further gains in the DL that way. In the last cycle I tied the squat to the DL as a limiter of the latter, in order to force myself to build the DL back up gradually while I rehabbed the glute/hip injury. But now that I’m reducing the ratio between the OHP and SQ and doing deeper squats, I think I can increase the ratio between the SQ and the DL and still be both safe and balanced. That is, I think a lighter deep squat may be [1] just as preventive/safe as a heavier half squat because deeper squats stretch and warm-up up the weak area of my deadlifts better, and [2] just as balanced as heavier squats because a strong posterior chain is still the number one priority in strength training. Whatever I lose from not doing heavier parallel squats I think I will gain in greater hip/groin mobility and strength from doing deeper squats.

    4. Instead of a 1:1:1 ratio between the BP, PD, and Cable Row, I will bring the latter two down to 90% of the Bench Press, as Christian Thibaudeau recommends for the Pullup. I think the Cable Row is similar in weight to the Pull-up/-down. I’ll try to make the barbell row (if my t-grip bar ever arrives) 65%, a little lower than Christian Thibaudeau’s recommended 70% for the chest supported bb row, since I won’t be doing them with support. (Hmnn, that seems a little light -- we'll see.) I’ll keep the 1-DB Rows to 5o% of the Bench Press, now that the latter will go up, but focus on stricter form and more volume.

    So here's how the cycle will start, with a chart of the projected year-end goals to the left of it:

    2015 Cycle 2 Week 1.jpg

    Goals for this cycle:

    Avoid injury!

    Five-to-ten pound improvement for the OH Press, with attendant increases in all the dependent lifts, plus another 10-20 pounds improvement in the full squat, if possible.

    Running-wise, I just want to establish some semblance of consistency, and maybe work in a little variety too, like a hills/interval day every Tuesday or something like that.


    ---------------Week 1: Cycle II---------------
    15.03.01--03.07

    Sunday - 03.01
    Late AM

    Running
    3.5 miles, Franklin-Marshal bridge circuit, 24F/10F windchill. I ran about a third of the distance, in a handful of segments, took off my Sockwas for the last mile or so. Would've gone barefoot the whole way if I weren't doing the walking intervals. My left big toe met became tender as I ran more, but Monday morning the tenderness is gone, so I guess no harm done. Still, it's a little concerning/frustrating that it's not completely healed by now. I think it's been more than a month since I stubbed it.

    PM
    1/3 mile pulling son with a cord tied to a plastic car toy he's outgrown. Could this be the initiation of sled-pulls?

    Monday - 03.02
    OK, here's a revised chart that includes the programming and some assistance exercises:

    2015 Cycle 2 Week 1 -- 15.03.04.jpg

    The assistance exercises I'll basically just do one set to failure. "Failure" will be interpreted broadly to include motivational failure. On Mondays, I'll probably do both the bench press and deadlift at 2x5 instead of 3x5. I put the harder assistance lifts on Wednesdays, the easiest day for the main lifts.


    PM
    Lifting - Volume Day (5RM)
    Squat: 3 x 5 x 185
    TK OH Press: 3 x 5 x 120
    N Pulldown: 3 x 5 x 180
    B Press: 3 x 5 x 205
    C Row: 2 x 5 x 180
    Deadlift: 3 x 3 x 215

    Everything felt close to my 5RM, except for the deadlifts, so near-perfect loading. It felt good to be benching hard again. Short term goal is to bench 5 x 225, a nice benchmark since 225 x reps is used at the NFL combine. I guess I'll continue adding one set to my weakest lifts, the Squat and Pulldown, although, according to Thibaudeau's ratios, I can probably take the Pulldown of the Weakest Species list. I'll keep it on until I can start to do unassisted pullups, even though that is more contigent on losing my belly flab than real strength gains.

    For the deadlift, I came up with the bright idea of increasing reps every workout at 215 until I get up to 10, then begin adding weight until I get up to where my 10-rep count should be for my squat weight (Squat x 1.4). At my current Squat loads, that should be 235. Then I can add weight until I get to where my 5RM should be, which is currently 265, and then, finally, add more weight until I get to my 3RM, which is currently 280. I think the fourth rep at 270 is the weight that provoked re-injury of my hip/butt pull in early January, so if I spend 3-4 weeks meticulously building up to it again, I should be safe. From then on, my squat gains will drive increases in the deadlift, which should keep me from lifting anything my butt/hip region isn't ready for. And by then my garage will be warmer, so I won't have to worry as much about lifting with cold muscles either.

    Tuesday - 03.03
    PM
    Running - Fartleks
    3 miles, Pelham to Franklin Bridge and back, 29F/5-10F windchill I would guess. I would've run bare except it had snowed a few inches in the morning and the asphalt path still had patches of it or was wet from the melt-off. My wife called just before I started running and asked if I could make dinner because she wasn't feeling well. So I cut the run a bit short in order to have time to stop by the butcher on my way to picking up the kids. I ran up to Franklin Bridge but then turned around and came back instead of crossing over to the Minneapolis side. This saved .6 miles. (I just looked on Google Maps and apparently my normal bridge circuit is 3.6 miles, not 3.5 miles. I must have been remembering an old Garmin measurement, but I forgot I parked the car off the river road.)

    Anyway, I ran fartleks again with walking breaks, at least half the distance was run I think. I tried to keep the pace between 9-10mm, and stopped whenever I got out of breath or my left foot started to bother me. The big toe's met head is still sensitive but doesn't remain tender post-run anymore, so I guess it's on the mend and the short running spurts aren't doing it any harm. My ankle gets a a little nigglish but I think it's because I'm still compensating a bit with my gait to keep a little weight off the big toe on push off, even though the landing feels more or less natural now. Overall, I felt noticeably better than on Sunday's run, so hopefully it won't take too long to gain some semblance of running fitness. It's supposed to warm up for good by the weekend, so this is a good time to make a push.

    Wednesday - 03.04
    PM
    Lifting - Stamina Day (10RM)
    SQ: 6 x 165, 10/9 x 155
    TK OHP: 9/10 x 100
    N PD: 2 x 10 x 150
    BP 10 x 170

    I quickly changed my 10RM percentages from 75% to 70% after the first set of squats. Once again, dos Remedios's percentages on ExRx proved most appropriate for me. It didn't help that I was pretty hungry. I've been trying to cut back a bit but dieting just isn't for me, especially before an ST session.

    After my first set of 10 reps on the bench press, my wife called and asked why I hadn't come in to say hello. We ended up hanging out for 45 minutes, which is exactly why I went straight to my workout when I got home--in order to avoid any distractions. I had come home 30 minutes early in order to try some assistance stuff, but I didn't even make it through the six main lifts. Oh well, the perils of a home gym I guess.

    Anyway, the 10RM sets were a success. The last 8-10 reps are hard mentally, as that's when the fatigue begins to set in, but I think it's a worthwhile parameter to train. And the three-rep sets on Friday will feel like a relief.

    I thought I would be able to get through the sets with shorter rest intervals, but 10 reps at lower weight takes just as much out of me as 3 or 5 reps with greater weight. I gained new respect for all the high-rep bodybuilders although their preening beauty contests still make me laugh.

    Thursday - 03.05

    PM
    Running
    3.6 miles, Franklin-Marshall bridge ciruit, 13F/-5F windchill I think. I ran about a dozen short segments, sometimes pushing the pace just a bit. Probably ran at least 2/3 of the distance. Legs less glitchy, almost re-habituated to running again. Left toe continues tender but manageable. Should be last cold day of the winter, if the forecasts hold up.

    Friday - 03.06
    AM
    Feels good to have mildly sore legs from running. I missed that feeling.

    PM
    Lifting - Intensity Day (1-3RM)
    SQ: 1/2/3 @ 215/205/200, 1/2/3 @ 220/210/200
    TK OHP: 2 x 1/2/3/ @ 145/135/125
    BP 1/4/4 @ 235/225/215
    S(upinated) PD: 3 x 3 @ 190
    Kroc Row 1 x 5, left hand

    I woke up in the mood to get back into the singles scene. The run the day before was a little better and seemed to have primed me for a good lifting session. I really love the way running and lifting complement each other. They've always been the bread and butter of any fitness routine I've had during settled life.

    Anyway, after a good exchange with Abide over the last two or three days, I decided to give his ladder sets approach a try. It's a form of my old back-off sets approach, but the descent is repeated, and the increments are a little stricter and narrower. I would be doing my 1-, 2-, and 3RMs at 100%, 95%, and 90% of my projected 1RM.

    I was little nervous about shooting for singles after so many months without doing them. Plus my left knee was a little sore down towards the inside by the shin. So I did the first squat single five pounds less than the projected 1RM. It went up fine though, and it was easy to achieve good depth, even pausing a bit at the bottom of each rep, so on the next round of 1/2/3 I added five pounds to the 1RM and 2RM to bring them in line with their projections. I'll probably add a further five pounds to all the rep counts next week.

    Then it came time to PR in my Overhead Press. I had always thought it would be too tricky to do singles with the press, but I guess this was mainly because I had always done them seated and unsupported, so it was real hard to establish initial momentum. There's just no spring in the torso without getting the hips or knees a little involved. I don't want to make it a Push-Press, but still, I think you got have a little spring to overcome inertia before the shoulders and arms can take over. In the kneeling position, it's possible to lean back just a bit without risking falling over, as I might if seated.

    Anyway, 145 went up pretty easy. It was challenging, but I knew right from the start that I had it. It felt great to move that amount of weight over my head--really gratifying. So my true 1RM is probably closer to 150-160. I'll bump it up to 150 for next week and see how the various rep-count percentages feel with that. The descending sets went well too and I was able to repeat the whole 1/2/3-rep sequence once again. I also liked how I didn't need that much rest in between sets this way. It's actually easier than 3x3 sets across I think. The only hassle is changing plates between every set, but since I'm dealing with 10-pound increments most times, it's not that big a deal and doesn't require any calculation.

    For the bench, I was also a bit hesitant about shooting for my projected 1RM of 245, which I PR'd last fall or summer. And I was still a little pooped from the OH Press, so I played it conservative and just went for 235. That went up pretty easy, so I can definitely do 245 next time. Once I dropped ten pounds, 225 felt too easy for two reps, so I went for extra reps and got in four solid ones. Same with 215.

    For the Pulldowns, I decided it made more sense to adopt a slightly narrow, supinated grip in order to maximize strength. It's probably also good to vary grip type and width on the upper body pulls. I don't like the pronated grip, but both neutral and supine feel good to me and each seems to work the back muscles a little bit differently. I should probably use my narrow, neutral grip handle sometimes too.

    For the Rows, I decided to try some Kroc Rows at 90 pounds. Kroc Rows, I've learned, are both a slight modification to conventional dumbbell bentover row technique as well as the protocol of going high reps to failure. I was in kind of a hurry by then so I don't think I set myself up quite right, and on the fifth rep of my left hand I felt a slight twinge in my left shoulder blade, so I thought it best to call it a day. I think I may have also been a bit lax in my technique because I wasn't taking the reduced weight seriously. It's just as well, with the slightly sore left knee, I was a little dubious about doing deadlifts anyway. Having a potential left shoulder tweak sealed the deal. I was done.

    All in all, a very productive session. It felt good to go heavier and it was good to experiment with a new set/rep scheme. It will also be fun to shoot for new, true 1RM PRs instead of assuming their projection from the 3RMs or 5RMs. This scheme is definitely a keeper so it's just a matter of figuring out the best way to program it in. Maybe do the intensity workout this way every other week, and then the other week just do 3x3? Or I could do 1/1/2/2/3/3+ each week. That might be a little more intense.

    Feeling so good about this workout, I guess I'll recommit to a fuller volume workout on Mondays, and try to get in four instead of three sets for the weak lifts.

    Now the only thing missing is getting the deadlifts back up to speed.

    Saturday - 03.07
    Noon
    Running
    1.6 miles. 41F/31F windchill. Very bare-able conditions, but my left knee and left big toe met head still felt sore, so I turned back at the railroad bridge heading up to Franklin and walked back to the car. Trying to remain patient, but it's getting harder now that the weather is nice again. I really want to RUN.


    ---------------Week 2: Cycle II---------------
    15.03.08--03.14

    Sunday - 03.08
    AM
    Running
    One-mile walk-commute. 31F/29F windchill. A bit cold on the feet, and my left foot muscles felt tight, but I figured the walk might help alleviate some of the soreness in my left knee. It did. I need more stretching and massaging too I guess as I try to get back into running with this tender left big toe, since everything's probably a little out of kilter.

    Noon
    One-mile walk-commute. 40F/32F windchill. Beautiful sunny day.


    Monday - 03.09
    AM
    Running
    One-mile walk-commute. 26F, no windchill, but a fair bit of moisture from the melt-off. Nonetheless, I was able to walk the whole thing bare. The left knee soreness is pretty much gone, but the left big toe is still a little tender. I'll try massaging and stretching the crap out of my left foot today, as I think more than half the problem is the muscles getting out of kilter as they compensate for the avoiding pressure on the big toe met head, and tightening up, sort of a vicious circle. I may be able to run on the big toe tenderness alone, but adding in the tightness makes it a lot worse.

    PM
    One-mile walk commute, 51F/45F windchill. Beautiful spring day. Left foot felt better after a lot of stretching and massaging.

    Lifting -- Volume Day (5RM)
    SQ: 4 x 5 x 190 (86kgs)
    TK OHP: 4 x 5 x 125 (57kgs)
    N PD: 3 x 5 x 180 (82kgs)
    B P: 4 x 215 (98kgs)
    DL: 2 x 5 x 215 (98kgs)
    BB Bentover Row, Supinated grip: 5 x 125 (57kgs)
    BB Bentover Row, Pronated grip, Pendlay: 5 x 125, 5 x 145 66kgs)
    Good Morning: 5 x 85
    1-DB Power Row: 5 x 105 (48kgs)

    Took the Squat and Overhead Press up five pounds from last week, and the Bench Press up ten. The Squats felt fine, and the technique and depth automatic, so I'll take them up another five pounds next week.

    The Overhead press was challenging but doable, so I'll stand pat for next week's workouts until it starts to get easier.

    I was starting to get pooped by the time I got to the Neutral Grip Pulldowns, so I did three instead of four sets. I had only slept four hours the night before, and I had a hard time eating enough before the workout.

    On the bench press I was starting to get a serious energy deficit, and only managed four reps. I think next week I'll reduce the Overhead Press sets to three instead of four. They've pretty much caught up to my bench press, but I'd like to do at least one extra set of them over the bench press, but still make sure I have enough gas in the tank for two solid sets on the bench press.

    The Deadlift felt fine at 215, but I can kinda tell there's still a little something in the right glute, so I think I'll keep it at 215 for Wednesday's workout, and then maybe increase by 10 pounds for the 3x3 workout on Friday.

    I tried the Barbell Bentover Row for the first time in a while. I feel a sort of obligation to do the barbell rows, part of my old school mentality I guess. For the first set I tried the supinated grip recommended in a recent T-Nation article. Those didn't feel good in the crook of the elbow. Several commentators to that T-Nation article mention biceps tears, and I think I felt some stress too where the biceps ties into the elbow joint. The Pronated grip felt OK though. I did these Pendlay style, deloading the bar after each rep. It felt light, but when I increased it by 20 pounds for the second set, I felt a little strain in my lower back during the eccentric phase. I guess I could just drop the bar like an weightlifter, or just do them high rep/low weight. Jury's still out on that one.

    Then I tried a set of Good Mornings, which I hadn't done in a long time. I dunno, I think I prefer Back Extensions.

    Finally, I tried One-hand Dumbbell Power Rows:

    I dunno, I'll have to try these again, but I think I prefer the traditional dumbbell row off the bench.

    Maybe Rippetoe is right, maybe rows really are an assistance exercise, since I have a hard time finding a row style that always feels great. The one-hand dumbbell rows aren't too bad, and the cable rows aren't bad either, but neither is as satisfying as the other five main lifts. I think on Wednesday I'll try the inverted rows again.

    Overall, a very satisfying workout. I felt completely wiped out at the end. With a few more adjustments I think I can get the volume just right and still have a little left over for a few sets of assistance exercises at the end.

    Tuesday - 03.10

    Wednesday - 03.11

    PM
    Lifting - Stamina Day (7-10RM)
    SQ: 10 x 160, 8 x 170, 7 x 180
    TK OH PR: 7 x 115, 10 x 105, 7 x 120
    DL 2 x 10 x 175, 5/3 x 215
    N PD: 3 x 8 x 150
    C Row: 5 x 150

    Around 60F outside, felt good to break a sweat inside my garage once again. The new 10/8/7-rep or 70/75/80% protocol was brutal, but definitely worth doing. I had to pause a bit in between reps for the last few reps of some sets.

    On the Tall Kneeling Overhead Press I screwed up the plates and put on 115 instead of 105 for the first ten-rep set (probably because I was still winded from the squats). At seven reps I gave up. There was no way I was going to make it to ten. Then I realized why it felt so heavy--this was my 8RM load. So I took off ten pounds and did my ten-rep set second.

    After the Squat and Press I was feeling pretty wiped out already. I've got work a little harder on my pre-workout nutrition. This is something like the third time my energy has given out during a workout in this cycle. I ate a protein bar in the middle of the workout but it didn't restore me at all. I think I have to eat more carbs during the day, like sweet potatoes or something, because just protein, veggies, and fruit isn't enough.

    So the rest of the workout I was just kind of messing around, which was kinda fun, so I might institute that as a protocol. That is, I'll make sure to get in the Squat and Press as written, following the 10/8/7-rep sets, but then leave it up in the air as to whether I'm going to do the other main lifts high-rep or just do assistance-type stuff. Rippetoe's recommendation of putting an easy day in between Monday's volume day and Friday's intensity day is probably a good one.

    I also moved the Deadlifts up from last to third, so that I can start working on getting those back up to speed and make sure I have plenty of energy and focus to do so. I'm still not sure how to approach the deadlift rehab, because I'm still a little spooked by the injury and whether or not I'll be given any warning signs if it starts to flare up again. So no choice really but to go very slowly, and experiment a bit with loads and rep counts, which is what I did on Wednesday.

    I skipped the bench press altogether, as I was completely wiped by then, and just did light, high-rep pulldowns and one set of cable rows. This seems like a good approach; put the upper body pulls last and let the day's energy and motivation dictate how they're done.

    So, a semi-productive workout, insofar as the squats and presses killed me, but everything else was half-assed, but also productive inasmuch as the workout helped decide how to approach the density/stamina workout a little better. And I think I may have stumbled on a better ordering for the main lifts. Something like this:

    2015 Cycle 2 Week 2 -- 15.03.12.jpg

    Basically, the priority is always working on the performance lifts, with an emphasis on my two weak lifts, the squat and press. I'm counting on the squat to drive progress on the deadlift, and the press to drive progress on the bench press, until all four lifts are more or less in line with the 2:3:4:5 ratio of cosmological resonance and my garage becomes misshapen snail's shell. So I've taken the bench press loads down to a strict 3:2 ratio with my overhead press, so that my current press 1RM is 66% of the bench instead of 60%. Likewise, I've reduce the deadlift to 125% of the squat instead of 140%. I will continue doing fewer sets of the bench press and deadlift until the press and squat catch up, then I'll even out the sets and reps. Otherwise, it just gets to be too much to do all the sets and reps of each workout's protocol for all the lifts. From now on, I will make sure to get in the squat and press as written, and then let energy and motivation dictate how I proceed through the rest of the workout. I might, for example, go for a true 1RM or 5RM PR on the Bench Press on Friday, or stick to the easier loads as written, depending on how my Press went.

    Thursday - 03.12
    PM
    Running
    Was going to run down by the river by the end of the day, but I got a call from my daughter's school saying she had an upset stomach. We suspect she's starting to fake it. In any case, that put an end to the run. Need to start doing the early morning running routine again, especially now that morning temps are so reasonable.

    Friday - 03.13
    PM
    Lifting - Intensity Day (1-3RM)
    SQ: 2 x 1 x 225, 2 x 2 x 215, 2 x 3 x 205
    TK OHP: 2 x 1/2/3 x 150/140/130
    DL: 2 x 3 x 250
    BP: 2/3/2 x 225, 3 x 215
    CG N PD: 3 x 190
    S PD: 3 x 3 x 180
    P-RW: 5 x 125, 2 x 5 x 135
    Landmine Twist (LM TWST): 8 x 75

    Got my Spud 3-ply XL belt before the workout. Really liked it a lot. Several people have recommended only wearing a belt during work-sets, but I don't know, I kind of like leaving it on most of the time.

    Started my workout 15 minutes earlier, which helped a lot.

    I did the squat rep counts together, instead of in ladders, so two sets of singles, then two sets of doubles, and two sets of triples. Not sure it really matters. Also not sure if doing 1/2/3 is any better than 3x3 straight sets across. It might be best to do the ladders only once after I increase the load, to test the 1RM, then do 3 x 3 until the next load increase. Otherwise, six sets (2 x 1/2/3) gets to be a lot, even though the rest intervals tend to be shorter.

    It's hard to say if I should increase the squat load next week or not, but since everything has felt super solid, I guess I'll slap on ten more pounds to the 1RM, bringing it up to 235, just 40 pounds shy of my old 1RM PR. I want to make sure I don't begin sacrificing depth for load though, so if I feel myself cheating depth, I'll take the weight back off.

    The squat is now 155% of my OH Press, up from 150%. I hope to get it up to double the press by the end of the year if not sooner. At the beginning of the cycle I was aiming only for 175%, because I thought I was going a fair bit below parallel, but I think perhaps I'm delusional about the amount of depth I'm achieving. It's probably not that much below parallel, so no excuses, I'm sticking to the 1:2 ratio between presses and squats, as prescribed by the Iron Ratio.

    I PR'd in the OH Press at 150. It was a little shaky, so I'll keep the press at this week's loads for at least another week. The rate of progress on the press will probably start to slow down now.

    I was able to do the Deadlift 3RM at 125% of the squat 3RM, so it's officially caught up to the squat, and now I'll just let it increase as the squat increases, keeping the ratio at a conservative 5:4 for at least a few months, before eventually allowing it to creep up to a 7:5 ratio, or 140%. I didn't do the third set because I had a mysterious spot pain on the top of my right shin close to the knee. It didn't feel like a ligament pain though, more like a bone bruise. I began to feel it earlier in the day, so I don't think it's related to lifting, but since I'm still a little spooked about the deadlift, and the deadlift seemed to aggravate it, I decided to drop the third set. Mission accomplished anyway, the deadlift has caught up and my confidence has more or less been restored. I didn't feel anything in the problem area, so with gradual increases from here on out, tied to squat progress, it should be fine. Still, it's a little frustrating not lifting as much as I feel I could.

    On the bench, I decided to just go for reps at 225. 225 is supposed to be my 1RM while I wait for the OH Press to catch up, when in fact my true 1RM is more like 245-250, but it seemed silly just to do one 225-rep when I knew I could do more, and I didn't really feel like doing 3x3 at a reduced weight either. Maybe I'll just sit at 225 on Intensity day for a while and keep going for reps, trying to get them up to five or so. The trick is to maintain the Bench Press without taking away time or energy or recovery ability away from improving the OH Press until it has caught up. I tried the powerlifting style on one of the reps, but it hurt my legs for some reason. It might be interesting to mess around with this style of bench pressing a bit more while I wait for the OH Press to catch up.



    I dusted off my close-grip handle for a set of close-grip neutral pulldowns. Man, those were tough--really felt on the top, outer areas of my back. I was getting pretty tired by that point, but my addition of extra carbs in the form of a sweet potato and an extra banana during the day prevented my energy from dissipating like it had on previous workouts. I guess this is a simple kind of carb-cycling. The idea is simply to eat more carbs on st days, but lay off them on running days.

    Then I took off ten pounds and did supine pulldowns, a.k.a. "chin-downs," which I like a lot for the lower reps. Got a nice biceps pump as well.

    I then decided to take another stab at barbell rows. I again did them Pendlay-style, and discovered that if I take an extra second or so to deload on the floor at the end of each rep, I no longer feel stress in my lower back. So I raised the weight by ten pounds and did them at the recommended load in my chart, which is 70% of my bench. I think this is according Thibaudeau's ratios, but his are for the chest supported row, so maybe I can do them a little bit heavier.

    I felt like I got good benefit from these rows, so they're back in the mix. Just have to decide how to best program the four row variations--inverted rows, cable rows, one-hand dumbbell rows, and barbell rows--but maybe I'll just keep playing it by ear, since rows are borderline assistance anyway. One thought, however, would be to put the Pendlay Rows on Volume Day, since they seem to lend themselves to 5RMs, then Cable Rows on Stamina Day, since they seem to work well in the 5-10 rep range, and then 1-DB Rows on Intensity Day, since my cheating or overload style of doing them makes them quite intense, and amenable to lower rep counts.

    Likewise the Pull-down/-ups could have a weekly rotation:

    Monday - Volume Day
    3 x 5 -- Neutral-grip Pulldowns
    3 x 5 -- Pendlay Rows

    Wednesday - Stamina Day
    3 x 10/8/7 -- Pullups (assisted)
    3 x 10/8/7 -- Cable Rows

    Friday - Intensity Day
    3 x 3 -- Supine-grip Pulldowns
    3 x 3 -- One-hand Dumbbell Rows

    . . . .


    Finally, with this cycle's program shaping up nicely and solidifying, I thought it might be time to start working in a little assistance stuff, so I did one set of landmine twists. Felt good.

    Overall, a great workout. I slept like a baby at night and I'm quite sore the next day (Saturday morning). Hopefully the endless tweaking will diminish somewhat and I can just keep plugging away at these lifts, in this order, with this set/rep variation, while increasing loads whenever I'm ready, but I might try doing one Stamina Day with more lift variation and assistance exercises, just to see how it feels.

    Saturday - 03.14
    Sore, decided to put of run until Sunday. Had first protein shake in many months.

    ---------------Week 3: Cycle II---------------
    15.03.15--03.21
    Template for Week 3:

    2015 Cycle 2 Week 2 -- 15.03.14 2.jpg

    Edit: I thought better of it, and brought this week's squat increase down to five pounds instead of 10. I think sticking to 5-pound increases is a good idea, keep everything nice and gradual and avoid overstressing the joints.

    Sunday - 03.15
    Late AM
    Running

    3.6 miles, Franklin-Marshall bridge circuit, 48F/40F windchill. Kinda cloudy and windy, but felt great to go out without back-up footwear. I ran a handful of short intervals, including one or two at a pretty good pace, but then I got a little TOFP in my left foot, so I just walked the rest of the way. Hopefully I can massage and stretch this out before the next scheduled attempt at running on Tuesday.

    Monday - 03.16
    PM
    Lifting -- Volume Day (5RM)
    SQ: 3 x 5 x 195
    TK OH PR: 3 x 5 x 125
    DL: 5 x 245
    BP: 3/5 x 195
    N PD: 3 x 5 x 180
    P-RW: 3 x 5 x 135
    B EXT: 5/10 x BW

    Everything went fine. I had only slept four hours and felt tired, so I didn't do the fourth set for either the Squat and OH Press, then regretted it later. I've learned that even when I'm really tired, if I've eaten properly throughout the day, it doesn't really affect my ability to lift. In any case, both lifts can probably go up five pounds next week. I'm not sure if my progress is more of a novice's expected fast progress to a 70-80% level of genetic potential, or if my weekly routine is that effective, but it's pretty exciting to think that soon my Press will have caught up to my Bench at a 2:3 ratio. Then I can start pushing them concurrently.

    I used a yoga mat under my knees for the Tall Kneeling Overhead Press for the first time. Now that the weight is starting to get heavy, a little padding underneath helps distribute the load around the knee joint a bit.

    I only did one set of deadlifts. It felt fine, but I'm still a little spooked by the glute/hip injury and happy with small victories. This was my first five-rep set at that weight since the injury, which was a five-rep set at 270 I think. Hopefully by the end of the cycle I'll be up to full loads and sets and reps, and my confidence will be 100% restored. I guess getting over 300 for my 1RM will be the true test.

    On the bench press I gave the powerlifting leg drive another try. I did a real mild version with close to normal ROM and my back arch about the same, but I could feel its effect nonetheless. It probably will add a few pounds to my bench. It's also supposed to be a easier on the shoulders. Wendler does a fairly mild version of it,



    mine is even milder, maybe like this guy around 5:10, but slightly less arch?:



    My technique was simply to put my head back until it bumped up against the plates of my pulley cables' loading bar, set my feet, then scoot my torso back down a few inches until I was lined up under the bar properly. So easy landmarks/cues to remember. I also moved my grip in just a bit. Instead of lining up my pinkies with the smooth ring in the knurling, I extended my thumbs hitchhiker-style to the center smooth area, then retracted them back to my palms and gripped the bar once I got the spacing.

    The Pendlay Rows felt good but a little light. I'll probably start increasing them bit by bit until I arrive at what feels like a better 5RM resistance without straining my lower back. This week I'm trying to follow the upper body pull variation of:

    (Monday--Volume Day) Pendlay Row 5 reps,
    (Wednesday--Stamina Day) Cable Row 8-10 reps, and
    (Friday--Intensity Day) One-handed Dumbbell Rows 1-3 reps,

    and with

    Neutral Pulldowns,
    Assisted Pullups, and
    Supine Pulldowns

    alternating in the same order per rep-count/day.

    I did Back Extensions for the first time in a long while. I was going to do Pikes with my suspension straps, but I was running out of time and didn't want to have to dig out the straps and adjust them. I wish I would've gotten a back extension bench with space in the middle for the privates though. I need to either cut out a middle section, or add two foam strips to the side. I was thinking a good vulgar name for this exercise would be 'Wife Repeats' or "Missionary Thrust."

    Enjoyed the workaday feel of the workout, with everything pretty much set. I could see doing a program like this for a very long time. This could also be changed to a more typical periodization, by doing the Volume rep-count for one whole week, the Stamina rep-count for another, and the Intensity rep-count for a third, with then perhaps a week to deload after that.

    Tuesday - 03.17
    PM
    Running
    1.2 miles, Hendon Hills, 45F/40F windchill. I got the bright idea a few days ago to run hills while I'm waiting for my stubborn stubbed left big toe to heal up completely. It would be a gentler landing, and would work my Vo2max just as well as intervals. So more bang for the buck and reduced impact.

    I used to run up this hill in 2013, my peak running year, but I didn't train on it at all in 2014, I think. I parked the car on the shallow side of the hill and then ran up and walked down the longer side, which ends at a lower elevation. I then ran back up and walked down the shallower side. From base to base it's about .3 miles overall. So one back-n-forth is a little over .6 miles, half running, half walking. I think the first side is about a 50 ft change in elevation, while the second is about a 100 ft change, so close to a 10% grade, right? I just did two 'laps.' I'm trying to reinforce my new emphasis on keeping everything super gradual, as in my st, so I can monitor progress and prevent relapse. Next time I will go up and over and back again 3-4 times. I might just stick with this for a month or two, until I get up to six miles total (10 laps), a better pace, and no walking during recovery. Could be a good way to jump start the running.

    Wednesday - 03.18
    AM
    One-mile walk-commute, 29F/27F windchill. The surfaces were cold but dry. My left foot felt just a slight twinge of TOFP from the hill running on Tuesday, and my legs are just a little bit sore, so the hill training was a success. More of the same on Thursday I guess.

    PM
    Lifting - Stamina Day (7-10RM)
    SQ: 10/8/7 x 160/175/185
    TK OHP: 10/7/3 x 105/115/120
    DL: 4 x 235

    Well, my carb cycling failed me. I needed to eat more pre-workout. I felt fine on the squats, although I was huffing and puffing after each set, but then on the second set of the Tall Kneeling Overhead Press, I completely bonked on the second to last rep, and missed the final one. On the next set, I only managed three reps before my strength dissipated for good.

    I did one light set of deadlifts, but I was toast. Oh well, we had a family dentist appointment later and I was running a little late so I wasn't going to get in a full workout anyway. For the Overhead Press, however, maybe I should be a little more conservative, and reduce everything by 5%? Or at least do something like 105/110/115 instead of 105/115/120, but the main problem was hypoglycemic I think. Nonetheless, Rippetoe has questioned the universality of rep-count percentages, saying they depend on the individual and the lift, so perhaps I can better tolerate higher reps for squats than for pressing? It would make sense if my legs had more endurance/stamina than my arms, since I walk and run, but don't do anything outside of lifting that involves repetitive arm movements. Something to work on I guess. It would be good to swim or something.

    Hopefully as my running improves, and I develop a better aerobic base, I'll be able to better utilize my energy systems during strength training. I never used to bonk like this, but I don't know if I've ever done strength training while being so out-of-shape running-wise.

    In any case, I slept like a baby and woke up Wednesday suitably sore, mostly in my upper back, so the workout was sufficiently hard to provoke an adaptation. And now I'll have a little extra in the tank for a good intensity session on Friday.

    I think from now on I'll try to start every workout 30 minutes earlier, to make sure I have time for sufficient rest in between sets, some assistance at the end, and also a little buffer in case I'm interrupted. I don't like beginning these sessions feeling pressured to get through everything quickly.

    Thursday - 03.19
    PM
    Running
    1.8 mi, Hendon Hill, upper 40s. I added one more "lap" to my hills run--going up and over and back again counting as one lap--bringing it up to three. I may have already felt a little adaptation going on, as it felt slightly easier than on Tuesday. On Saturday I'll go for four laps. Feels great to have found a way to push the aerobic conditioning a bit. I have to visit my doctor again in about a month, and it would be nice if I can show evidence of getting the blood pressure down.

    Friday - 03.20
    PM
    Lifting - Intensity Day (1-3RM)
    SQ: 3 x 3 x 205
    TK OHP: 3 x 3 x 130
    DL: 2 x 3 x 265
    BP: 3 x 3 x 205
    S PD: 3 x 3 x 190
    1DB Row: 3 x 3 x 120

    After two weeks of doing the Squats and OH Press 1/2/3 style on Intensity day, I decided to just do them straight sets across, even though I had bumped up the squat five pounds this week, and have the general intention of testing my single every time I increase a lift's load. I had been up since 1am, and felt kinda crappy. Plus I was getting a late start once again, and 3x3 goes a lot quicker than 2 x 1/2/3.

    The Squats went up just fine, as did the OH Press. I will bump up the squat five pounds next week, to bring the 1RM up to 235, and 155% of the OH Press. The squat is beginning to separate itself from the press, as expected. It should have a higher ceiling than the press for improvement, and will eventually come up to something like a 2:1 ratio.

    The OH Press isn't ready for an increase though. I had trouble with the higher reps on Wednesday, and don't think I could do 130 for four sets at five reps a piece this coming Monday. 130 felt about right just for the three-rep sets. I'll probably try to follow our 3RM+2=5RM protocol of waiting until I can do 130 for two extra reps on the last set of the 3x3+, before increasing the rep-count loads on the OH Press.

    I went five pounds too heavy on the Deadlift so that I wouldn't have to mess with a lot of plates--265 with my 35-pound bar is just two 45s and one 25 on each side. That's supposed to be next week's weight, after the squat increase. I felt just the slightest hint of a niggle in my right glute area on the third rep of the second set, so decided to call it a day on those. The deadlifts felt pretty good and easy though, and it was probably nothing, but no use risking anything that doesn't feel absolutely right, since the squats still have a way to go before they catch up to my true Deadlift maxes.

    Unlike last week, I kept the Bench Press at the strict 3:2 ratio to the OH Press, so that I could continue working on adopting more of a powerlifting technique at reduced loads. I got my legs a little bit more underneath me, and arched my back just a bit more, yet my ROM was still fairly natural. I also tried to use the cue of "breaking the bar" on the eccentric phase, and "spreading the bar" going up, like I saw in one video. Seemed to help. If I can continue honing my technique at 85-90% of my training maxes, then by the time the OH Press catches up, I should be ready to start pushing the Bench Press to new maxes.

    Supine Pulldowns felt a little easier than last week, so that's good. The Pulldowns have felt a little stagnant for a while. It would be great if I can do these at 200 pounds by the end of the cycle.

    I did the One-hand Dumbbell Rows overload-style for the first time in a while. The first set was a little hard for my left side, but the second and third sets went well. I'll keep doing this kind of row on Intensity day I think. Once I reach the plate limit for my 18" dumbbell handles, I'll start upping the reps a la Kroc Rows. In general, I think I've found a good mix of rows for each of the three kinds of workout--Volume (Pendlay Row), Stamina (Cable Row), and Intensity (1DM Row).

    So a good workout. I'm settling into a nice, slow but steady rate of progress. Six lifts, three parameters, it's working. A good template for long-term gains, but enough flexibility built in to keep things interesting and adjust to time, energy, and motivation fluctuations.

    Saturday - 03.21

    ---------------Week 4: Cycle II---------------
    15.03.22--03.28
    Template for Week 4:

    2015 Cycle 2 Week 4 -- 15.03.22.jpg

    Sunday - 03.22
    Noon
    Running
    1.8 miles, Hendon Hill up-and-over x 6, 32F/21F windchill. Felt OK, about the same as last Thursday. I'll try for 8 up-n-overs on Tuesday, or four "laps."

    Monday - 03.23
    PM
    Lifting -- 5RM

    Squat: 4 x 5 x 200
    TK OH Press: 4 x 5 x 125
    Deadlift: 4/5 x 250
    Bench Press: 2 x 5 x 190
    Pulldown: 3 x 5 x 180
    Pendlay Row: 3 x 5 x 145

    Good, workaday workout, managed to do it almost exactly as written. Both Squat and Press were hard, but I can probably raise both by five pounds next week, depending on whether the rest of this week goes well.

    On the fourth rep of the first set of Deadlifts, my right glute felt just a little tight, so I put the bar down and stretched out a bit more. On the second set everything felt fluid. Another little confidence boost.

    On the Bench Press, I continued working on my technique, this time paying particular attention to getting the wrist and forearm more directly under the bar. This made the lift feel a little harder, but many people have recommended this, to reduce moment arm and stress on the wrist. This might be something that only pays off when I'm doing greater loads.

    Pendlay Row felt fine at 10 pounds heavier. I need to look at some of the videos again double check my technique though. I don't know if I'm retracting my scapulae enough at the top of the movement.

    Tuesday - 03.24
    PM
    Running
    1.8 miles, Hendon Hill up-and-over x 6, 40F/32F windchill. Sunday night's snow had mostly melted off the sidewalk. It felt a little bit easier than on Sunday, and the pace may have been a little bit faster, but I decided to keep it at three "laps." On my last descent, I felt my left calf and knee getting a little tight, and I didn't want to do anything that might compromise my squats the next day.

    Wednesday - 03.25
    PM
    Lifting - 8RM

    SQ: 3 x 8 x 175
    TK OHP: 8 x 115/110/105
    DL: 5/8 x 220
    BP: 2 x 8 x 175
    CG PD: 6 x 160/150/150
    C RW: 3 x 8 x 150

    There was no reason to do descending sets on the squat, but it worked well for the Tall Kneeling Overhead Press. It kept me right at the same Rate of Perceived Effort @ 9.

    On the Deadlift, I once again scared myself and quit after five reps on the first set. I felt fine, but I wanted to see how it felt afterwards. Everything felt fine while recovering, so I went ahead and did the prescribed eight reps on the second set, and gained a little more confidence once again. Hopefully another few weeks of this and my deadlift anxiety will have completely disappeared.

    On the Bench Press, my mild version of the powerlifter positioning felt really solid, but then on the second set my left glute started to cramp up. I've been stretching out my glutes really well leading up to the deadlifts, starting with the squats, but I guess I need to continue the stretching until I get to the Bench Press now that I'm tucking my feet under my legs and getting a greater back bridge. I should probably practice bridging on my off-days.

    The Close Grip Neutral Pulldown handle is about ten pounds harder than my normal Neutral Grip handle, so I took off ten pounds for the second and third set, but still only managed six reps before my form began to degrade.

    I kept the Cable Rows at 150 and did them with super strict form. Felt good.

    Overall, I liked doing most of the lifts straight sets across. Makes things simpler and I doubt there's any less benefit from doing the 10/8/7 scheme I had been doing, although the latter might still be good for the squats, and somehow better than drop sets at the same rep-count.

    Thursday - 03.26
    PM
    Running
    1.8 miles, Hendon Hill up-and-over x 6, 35F/23F windchill. Everything felt fine, but I decided to put off adding another over-n-back until Saturday. Sometimes the 'gradual, cautious' approach can become an excuse to be lazy, but there might be some merit in putting off increases until one or two times past being ready. It's definitely starting to feel easier, in any case, and I'm not as sore the next day (Friday morning). Post-run toe tenderness seems better too.

    Friday - 03.27
    PM
    Lifting - Intensity Day (1-3RM)
    SQ: 3 x 3 x 215
    TK OHP: 3 x 3 x 130

    For the Squat, I couldn't be bothered with messing with all the plates to get 210, so I just put on two 45s. So next week's increase has already taken place, and I'm wondering if I should add five more pounds, or adhere strictly to my rule of never increasing more than five pounds per week. The Overhead Press felt good. Probably should try an increase on that one too. Might have to hunt around for those 1.25-pound plates.

    I ran out of time for the rest. Will try to make them up on Saturday if I can have my wife distract the kids when I get home.

    Saturday - 03.28
    PM
    Lifting

    BP: 5 x 5 x 175, 2 x 5 x 205
    1DB Row: 5 x 90

    I didn't have much time before we had to head out to the circus, and I wasn't really feeling like a hard workout anyway. So I thought the time would be best spent messing with my bench press technique. I stayed at 175 for multiple sets, and even asked my wife to see if my forearms remained vertical throughout the movement. I'm able to hold my entire boding in a tight, isometric hold pretty well now, and my set-up is close to automatic. The one thing I can't decide on is wrist angle. Many people say to keep the wrists perfectly straight, but when I do, I feel like my shoulder rotates internally into a somewhat more 'impinging' position. With slightly bent wrists, however, it's easier to get the 'breaking the bar' feeling right, and the arms come down in nice 45-degree angles to the body. So I dunno. I might just stick with slight wrist bend, since I'll never do really heavy weights on the bench press anyway. I figure I'll eventually top out at around 300 or so.

    After the bench press experimentation, I got a quick set of one-hand dumbbell rows in at reduced weight, since I had lost my warm-up from the bench while cleaning out the fish tank.

    A little frustrating that the week ended on a whimper, but I got the idea of using fractional plates solidified, so that's a kind of progress. I ordered some on Saturday and am planning on a protocol that has me increasing the weight on all the performance lifts every week, across all three rep-counts, even if it's just 1/4 pound. Now I need to set up an Abide-like graph to mark the rate of progress.

    ---------------Week 5: Cycle II---------------
    15.03.29--04.04
    Template for this week:
    2015 Cycle 2 Week 5 -- 15.03.29 WORD.jpg
    Sunday - 03.29
    Mid-morning
    Running
    1.8 miles, Hendon Hill, 37F/29F windchill, wet surfaces from early morning rain. Yep, rain, not snow.

    Monday - 03.30
    PM
    Lifting -- 5RM

    Squat: 2 x 5 x 205
    TK OH Press: 5 x 130/125
    Deadlift: 2 x 5 x 255
    Bench Press: 2 x 5 x 125
    N Pulldown: 2 x 5 x 180
    Pendlay Row: 2 x 5 x 145

    I slept nine hours the night before, and although I didn't feel tired, I didn't feel rested either. I'm probably fighting a low-level bug of some kind. I decided to just do two sets of everything and call it a day.

    On top of that, my lower back felt sore for some reason, but it didn't interfere with the Squats or Deadlifts. Then, when laying down for the Bench Press, I discovered why my back felt sore. It was from all the Bench Press reps I did on Saturday while tucking my legs underneath and arching my back. Even though my arch is minimal, the isometric tensing and leg drive must have been enough to tax the lower back muscles, because I could barely arch my back on Monday. I don't think I hurt anything because I was able to do the Squats and Deadlifts just fine. So it's probably just a matter of those muscles adapting to the new stimulus. Respect to those powerlifters who are able to attain extreme arches. But I wonder if they do any damage to their backs?

    In any case, I kept the weight to 125 and did the sets with a flat back and no leg drive.

    On the Tall Kneeling Overhead Press, I managed a set of five reps at 130, but knew immediately that I wouldn't be able to get in another complete set, so I dropped back down to 125, but even then it was challenging to finish the set. Looks like the fractional plates will be delivered on Wednesday. Rogue Fitness's shipping is almost as fast as Amazon Prime. I'll probably try 126 or 127.5 next week.

    The Deadlifts felt super solid, no issues whatsoever in the glute/hip area. I would say I'm officially healed, but I will remain cautious as I begin to add more weight and approach 300 on the triples. Still no intention of doing singles or doubles for quite some time to come.

    Pulldowns felt good, and the Pendlay Row technique is really starting to feel solid. I'll probably be able to bump up the weight in a week or two when my form is automatic.

    Even cutting out two sets for both the Squats and Overhead Press, and one set each for the upper body pulls, the workout took one hour. I was very lethargic.

    Tuesday - 03.31
    PM
    Running
    1.6 mi, Bourne Hill, close to 60F. I decided to switch from Hendon Hill to Bourne Hill, which is closer to home. Bourne is steeper, but not as long, about .2 mi up and over instead of .3 mi for Hendon. I did four 'laps.' I think I prefer this hill, because even though it's harder, the mental effort to reach the top is a little less. The last third is always when I want to stop. It's also nice because the other side is shallow and short, good for picking up the pace. I think last time I did this in 2013, I even sprinted on the short, shallow side.

    Wednesday - 04.01
    PM
    Lifting - 8RM
    SQ: 3 x 8 x 182
    TK OHP: 3 x 8 x 111
    DL: 5/8 x 227
    BP: 2 x 8 x 167
    CG PD: 8/8/7 x 150
    C RW: 3 x 8 x 160

    OK, first day of using the fractional plates. Since I'm just adjusting within five pounds, once the conventional plates are loaded to the nearest five-pound increment, it's pretty easy to figure out, and not much of a distraction.
    1 lbs = 2 x 0.5-pound plate
    2 lbs = 2 x 1-pound plate
    3 lbs = 2 x 1.25-pound plate + 0.25-pound plate, or 2 x 1-pound plate +0.5-pound plate
    4 lbs = 2 x 1.25-pound plate + 0.75-pound plate, or 2 x 1-pound plate +0.75-pound plate + 0.25 plate

    I have to find a good way to hang them off my power rack though.

    The workout was smooth, and the loads felt pretty good, although the Bench Press is always going to feel too easy until I put another 10-15 pounds on the OH Press and allow the Bench Press to rise accordingly. So summer sometime.

    I chickened out of the Deadlift on the first set, but the second set felt good and solid. Maybe I should do more warm-up so I'm more confident when I hit the first set?

    My lower back wasn't sore any longer for the Bench Press, but I felt a little soreness still in my outer hamstring while tucking my feet under, so I kept them out and didn't arch my back as much as I have been doing. Hopefully by Friday I'll be able to use the full powerlifting technique again.

    The Close-Grip Pulldown was great again, hard, but working the outer upper back in a unique way, and then I really felt the whole back get a good pump when I added ten pounds and did the Cable Rows.

    So, yeah, a fullbody eight-rep workout does give me a bit of that bodybuilder pump I guess. Felt good, but I'm also looking forward to "Low-rep Friday."

    Also, it was pretty cool entering the workout into my Excel log. All I had to do was correct for the missed reps. My workouts have been generated for the rest of the year. Here's what the template for the last week of 2015 looks like:

    2015 Last Week-- 15.04.02.jpg

    All I have to do is make adjustments to the hidden formulas if my rate of progress slows or speeds up, or if I miss reps or sets.

    Thursday - 04.02
    PM
    Running
    2 mi, Bourne Hill, mid 60s and lots of wind. Added a lap, felt good. Also, picked up the pace a bit, both ways.

    Friday - 04.03
    PM
    Lifting - 1-3RM
    SQ: 3 x 3 x 218
    TK OHP: 3 x 3 x 133
    DL: 3/3/2 x 272
    BP: 3 x 3 x 200
    S PD: 3 x 3 x 190
    1DB Row: 3 x 3 x 120

    I felt a little tight on the second set of Deadlifts, thought about skipping the third set, but decided to go for it. I had been stretching out the hip/glute area throughout the workout and so I stretched it out some more. On the second rep I felt the glute area starting to tighten up again, so I skipped the last rep. So now I wonder if my injury was a repetition thing. As I progress through the set, the muscles seem to tighten up sometimes. If so, should be easy to prevent the muscle pull or sacroiliac strain from happening again, as I have been doing, which is to stop and stretch if I feel it tighten, and stop all together if I can't stretch it out. Some days, however, I feel nice and loose. So the secret is probably just stretching more throughout the day and making sure to warm-up properly. If I'm feeling good next Friday, maybe I'll go for a 305lbs single to test the theory out.

    Otherwise, a nice, solid workout, almost felt too easy. I wonder if my work capacity is increasing now that I've been pretty consistent for many weeks.

    I got the wrist wraps in the mail right before the workout. I didn't use them on the TK OH Press because the weight was challenging and I didn't want to introduce any uncertainty, but they felt great on the Bench Press. Somehow, I think they really improved my bar path and overall form. Hard to explain why, but I think it's because they force my hand into a better grip, but it might just be a confidence thing. The extra support adds confidence, even though the weight wasn't really challenging.

    So now I wonder if using a belt and wraps will become a crutch. Maybe I should go completely "Raw" at least one workout per week, but I think I'll keep using the wraps for every workout until the feeling of support they provide becomes ingrained in my wrist position.

    It was very nice not to have to write the sets and reps down. I just printed out this week from my Excel log and followed the prescriptions derived from the formulas. For the missed deadlift rep, I just had to cross out the '3' and write a '2' beside it. So it saves some time and effort to have every workout programmed and printed, and then just make little adjustments as the actual workout unfolds. I guess I don't need my little log book anymore.

    Saturday - 04.04

    ---------------Week 6: Cycle II---------------
    15.04.05--04.11
    Here's the template for this week:

    2015 Cycle 2 Week 6 -- 15.04.05.jpg

    Sunday - 04.05
    AM
    Running
    3.6 miles, Franklin-Marshall bridge circuit. Cool, but since the Winter Challenge is over, I didn't bother to get the exact temp, but my feet numbed up some. I managed to run four, approximately 1/2-mile sections, so about two miles total running. I kept waiting for something to start hurting, but my legs and feet felt fine. It was my cardio capacity that made me stop. Still, I got stronger on the third section and picked up the pace a bit.

    Overall, a great confidence booster. I can run normally on my left big toe, and my running fitness is actually a bit better than it was when I first stubbed my toe, thanks to the recent hill work. I'll probably continue with hills work during the week and then try another aerobic run next weekend. Once I can run this circuit continuously, I'll either start pushing the pace, the distance, or both. I could see this circuit becoming my tempo run route, and the longer bridge circuit to the south, about six miles, becoming my base aerobic run route, for a Hills/Tempo/LSD weekly running routine.

    Monday - 04.06
    PM
    Lifting -- 5RM
    Squat: 4 x 5 x 207
    TK OH Press: 4 x 5 x 127
    Deadlift: 2 x 5 x 259
    Bench Press: 2 x 5 x 190
    N Pulldown: 3 x 5 x 180
    Pendlay Row: 5 x 152/145/135

    Squat felt a little light, and maybe the TK OH Press as well. Which is good. In keeping with a sort of "Easy Strength" approach, I would like the rate of weight increase to err a little on the slow side. I think I would even consider adding sets rather than change the rate if it starts to become noticeably easier. Greg Nuckols has really helped convince me that volume is key, and I think I'm starting to see results, and my work capacity seems to be increasing, as the workouts aren't as draining as they used to be a few weeks ago. It's also nice to start a workout knowing that every lift and load is going to be challenging yet doable, and the micro-loading approach gives me that confidence.

    On the Pendlay Row, 152 felt too heavy to maintain strict form, so I brought it down to 145, last week's load, and that still felt a little heavy, so I brought it down to 135 for the last set, and that felt a little light, but my form was quite good. 152lbs is 80% of my current bench. Thibaudeau recommends 70% for the Chest-supported Bentover Row, which should be easier than the Pendlay Row. I think I'll go with that from now on, a load that's a little too easy, and concentrate on maintaining good form as the weight increases slowly. So next week, according to the formulas, I'll reset at 134. Once again, the Easy Strength/Fractional Loading approach prevails. Gotta keep one's eyes on the prize, and that's eventually rowing over 200 lbs with good form.

    Tried the wrist wraps on the last set of OH Presses. Didn't feel right, but they felt good on the Bench Press. I'll have to try them again on the OHP on Wednesday.

    Tuesday - 04.07
    PM
    Running
    2.4 miles, Bourne Hill, 6 laps, light drizzle, high around 40F. I'm a little proud I made myself do a sixth lap, that was the money shot. I could feel afterwards that I didn't have a whole lot left in me afterwards. Hopefully I can add two more laps within a few weeks to bring it up to 8 total, then start working on pushing the pace a bit. I also began running downhill instead of walking. Did it on several laps. Eventually I could eliminate all walking. Left big toe met head continues to feel fine, so perhaps I'll test it again with a river run tomorrow (Thursday).


    Wednesday - 04.08
    PM
    Lifting - 8RM
    SQ: 3 x 8 x 183
    TK OHP: 3 x 8 x 112
    DL: 2 x 8 x 229
    BP: 2 x 8 x 168
    CG PD: 3 x 8 x 150

    Everything felt good. I used my new wrist wraps on both presses, and it felt a lot more natural on the OH Press than it did on Monday. If nothing else, it's training me to maintain a somewhat more vertical grip.

    I also became a little more conscious of trying to maintain a fast bar speed on all the lifts, to make the 8RM sort of my Dynamic Effort day. It also helps get through the seemingly endless reps when you do things as quick as possible, but doing the deadlifts fast had me huffing and puffing pretty bad afterwards.

    Unfortunately, I started getting hungry during the squats. I hadn't had time to get in my pre-workout snack. So I ate a protein bar and a banana over the first 15 minutes of the workout. I never quite restored my energy levels though, so the workout was a bit of a slog and I took longer-than-usual rest intervals.

    I'm also starting to drink water during the workouts, now that I'm breaking a sweat again.

    Then just before I was set to do my Cable Rows, my wife and kids came home as I finished my last rep on the Close-grip Neutral Pulldown. My wife went up to make dinner and the kids, having seen me kneeling on the floor hanging from the pulldown bar, insisted on playing with the Close-Grip Neutral Pulldown handle. So I took off most of the weight and watched them bounce up and down with loads just under their bodyweights. They took turns for something like 15-20 minutes. Then I played catch with a mini football with my son while my daughter began her math homework. All I wanted was a shower and a beer, but it was fun to hang out in the home gym with them.

    Next day, I feel surprisingly sore. It's funny how the higher rep workout beats you up in such a different way.

    Thursday - 04.09
    PM
    Running
    3.6 miles, Franklin-Marshall Bridges, 37F, windy and raining. I didn't even try to run barefoot, and put on my Sockwa G4s right at the start.

    I decided to start implementing a "Hills on Tuesday, Tempo on Thursday, LSD on Saturday or Sunday" schedule, even though I can't run Tempo or LSD yet. My hills work this last Tuesday had gone pretty well, so it's time to start pushing it more there. But if I'm going to start pushing myself more on the hills, I don't think I want to do that to myself more than once a week. It takes a lot of mental effort.

    So, my strategy to build up to a proper Tempo run on Thursdays will be to run at a tempo pace for as long as I can and then take walking breaks when I get pooped. I will make the Franklin-Marshall bridge circuit my tempo route for the time being, and then for my LSD, I will start with either the Ford Parkway-Marshall bridge circuit, which is about six miles around the next section of the Mississippi south of the Franklin-Marshall section, or my Home-Como Lake out-n-back, which is about 7.4 miles and was a popular route choice for me when I was first starting to build up distance a few years ago. Actually, I really miss it now that I think about it. That's a good route on weekends when I wake up before the family. By the time I come back, shower, and make bacon, eggs, and pancakes for everyone, the kids have woken up. There are also a lot of alternative routes heading east from my house, up to half-marathon distance, and most involve passing Como Lake at some point. So it would be good to start working that area of town again in anticipation of getting my LSD groove back sometime later this year.

    Anyway, on Thursday the actual running didn't go that well. I had to stop a lot and walk. I don't know if it was the rain, eating a protein shake right before heading out, or just one of those days, but my legs didn't feel as good as they did on Sunday's run. But of course, I was glad I ran afterwards, and it felt good to have entered a new phase of running rehab. My left big toe met head felt just a little tender afterwards, but I didn't feel it at all while running, and so could run with a normal gait and landing.

    Friday - 04.10
    PM
    Lifting - 1-3RM
    SQ: 3 x 3 x 220
    TK OHP: 3 x 3 x 134
    DL: 1/2/3 x 305/290/275
    BP: 4/5 x 224
    S PD: 3 x 3 x 190
    1DB Row: 3 x 3 x 120

    Both the Squat and TK OH Press felt very comfortable, maybe too comfortable. I decided to test my projected 1RM Deadlift, and 305 went up fine. So I've crossed the 300-pound threshold, hopefully the last mental hurdle in my rehab. Maybe now I'll believe that I'm fully healed and can stop filling myself with doubt each workout.

    On the Bench Press I loaded the prescribed 224. I thought a little bit about how ridiculous it is, and why I shouldn't just make it an even 225, since this was still well below my training max. But I reminded myself that it's all about being patient and thinking about long term gains. But once I was under the bar, I thought, screw it, and went for reps. I managed four easy reps on the first set and then five on the second.

    So I dunno. Maybe it's silly to be holding myself back so much on the Bench Press. It's supposed to be 150% of the OH Press, but maybe I could raise it to 170%? I could still count on greater volume for the OH Press to help it catch up, but I don't know if holding myself back on the Bench Press is helping to divert more adaptive resources to the OH Press. Who knows, maybe greater effort on the Bench Press would elicit greater carryover benefit to the OH Press? I'll have to think about this a bit before Monday's workout.

    The upper body pulls went fine. Overall a good workout but I felt like I left a little too much in the tank.

    Saturday - 04.11
    Lots of barefoot walking in Willow River State Park in Wisconsin. Maybe two miles total, including about a mile of gravel and a very steep paved path pushing the kids up in our otherwise little-used tandem stroller. My wife couldn't keep up walking unloaded, so maybe she believes that I'm getting back in shape these days despite the continued belly flab. The hills work paid off in any case.

    ---------------Week 7: Cycle II---------------
    15.04.12--04.18
    Here's the template for this week:

    2015 Cycle 2 Week 7--15.04.12.jpg

    Note at the bottom of the chart, how the reps and loads add up to a medium volume/medium intensity day on Monday, a high volume/low intensity day on Wednesday, and a low volume/high intensity day on Friday. This becomes more pronounced if we double the 1DB Row load, since unilateral lifts are essentially dividing the rep in two. Thus the intensity on Monday is an average of 181lbs per rep, 167lbs per rep on Wednesday, and 210lbs per rep on Friday, with respective volumes of 90 reps, 128 reps, and 57 reps.

    Here's a graphic representation for BA (Volume = Blue, Intensity = Red):

    Volume & Intensity C.7 15.04.jpg

    If we make all the lifts of equal volume, instead of emphasizing the Squat and OH Press and de-emphasizing the Deadlift and Bench on Monday and Wednesday, the difference in workouts becomes even easier to see:

    Volume & Intensity C.7 15.04.12.jpg

    Also, I went ahead and bumped up the Bench Press 1RM by 33 pounds, from 224 to 257, decoupling it from the OH Press at a 3:2 ratio, and bringing it more in line with my projected 1RM, based on last Friday's sets. On Friday I did four and five reps at 224, which projects to a little over 260, something like 263-64 pounds (five reps = 85%1RM)

    Another change is that I think I'm going to do descending sets of 1/2/3 reps on Friday's intensity day, whenever the upper body presses reach an increment of five, and every time the lower body lifts reach an increment of ten, to test my 1RMs.

    So, since I'm adding one pound to the upper body lifts every week, and two pounds to the squat every week, those three lifts' 1RMs will be tested once every five weeks. The Deadlift will be tested every four weeks, because it's tied to the Squat increases at a 5/4 ratio, or 2.5 pounds per week.

    For the presses, this will represent a new 1RM PR every five weeks. For the lower body lifts, I won't be hitting 1RM PRs until late July for the Squat and early September for the Deadlift, at the present rate of increase.

    This week the OH Press is at 150, so I'll test the 1RM by doing sets of 1/2/3/3/3 reps, or maybe 1/1/2/2/3/3, on Friday.

    Next week I'll reach 310 on the Deadlift, and test that as well next Friday.

    Since the OH Press is at 150 this week, I started this week's Bench Press at 257 instead of an even 260 so that I wouldn't be testing 1RMs for both the presses in the same week. This way the OH Press and Bench Press 1RM PRs will always be separated by 2-3 weeks.

    So in three weeks' time I'll reach 260 on the Bench Press. If my Bench Press projection is accurate, and 260 is doable for me, this will be a new PR by fifteen pounds. I'm already a little nervous, but the intervening weeks doing sets of five, eight, and three reps at heavier loads should give me a good indication if this is realistic. Right now I'm just going off of Friday's sets of 4 and 5 reps at 224, which was right around my five-rep limit. This week's five-rep sets will be 218. It's probably good to start off a little on the light side of things.

    My new powerlifting technique for the Bench Press felt pretty solid on Friday's workout, so no real need to continue honing it at the reduced weights I was doing. But it still might be a bit of a shock on my shoulders to be doing these heavier loads all of a sudden. I don't want to provoke my left shoulder issue again, so if it starts to feel sore, I'll reduce everything by 10-20 pounds and build up from there, perhaps at a slightly greater rate of increase.

    Sunday - 04.12
    PM
    Running
    3.6 mi, Franklin-Marshall bridge circuit, close to 70F! The first half I ran really slow in order to keep to a strictly aerobic pace. It paid off, as I was able to do it with just one short walking break in the middle, then the second half of the run I got impatient with the slow pace and began to pick it up and take more walking breaks. So perhaps some improvement over last Sunday's outing, and definitely a lot better than Thursday's. It feels like continuous running isn't too far off now. After the run my left big toe met head felt only slightly tender, so that was a good result as well.

    Monday - 04.13
    PM
    Lifting -- 5RM
    Squat: 4 x 5 x 209
    TK OH Press: 4 x 5 x 128
    Deadlift: 2 x 5 x 261
    Bench Press: 2 x 5 x 218
    N Pulldown: 3 x 5 x 180
    Pendlay Row: 3 x 5 x 142

    The loading felt pretty good all around--the lifts were challenging but very makeable. In other words, right at about 90% effort level. It felt good to do a heavier Bench Press, and the Deadlift is at a good weight now too. One thing: I took the Pendlay Row down ten pounds from last week, and it almost felt too easy. So I dunno. The rows are based on percentages of the Bench Press right now, so I could manipulate that a little, or maybe just delink all the lifts and let them progress at their own rate. Maybe the Pendlay Row will just take some time to settle, since I haven't done it regularly before. Ha, so even when everything is feeling pretty good and workaday, I still find something to obsess about.

    Tuesday - 04.14
    PM
    Running
    2 or 2.4 miles, Bourne Hill, about 70 and lovely. I really didn't feel like doing hills, but I reminded myself how much better I would sleep that night, and also how nice it would be to have less belly. My blood pressure check is coming up soon too.

    I thought about quitting after three laps, but managed to get in a fourth and a fifth and maybe a sixth, I can't remember now. I just know on the last lap I stopped fifty feet shy of the summit, and knew I was done for the day. I walked up to the top, then down the short, shallow side, sprinted, or at least ran fast, for me, back up the other side, and then jogged down the long, steep side back to my car.

    Wednesday - 04.15
    PM
    Lifting - 8RM
    SQ: 3 x 8 x 185
    TK OHP: 3 x 8 x 113
    DL: 2 x 8 x 231
    BP: 2 x 8 x 193
    CG N PD: 8/8/6 x 150

    I started a half hour late. As I was shutting down my computer, I had another look at my Run/Lift Log spreadsheet, and thought of a few more tweaks I could make. So I got caught up in that. Pretty dumb to sacrifice workout time to work on workout documentation.

    So anyway, everything went smooth, but I didn't have enough time to recover for the third set of Close-grip Neutral Pulldowns, and only managed six reps. Then I had to skip the Cable Rows for the second week in a row, as time ran out, which is really too bad because the higher-rep workout was really giving me a good hypertrophic pump, and it would've been nice to finish things off with some Cable Rows for a maximal pump. I ended up picking up the second kid with seven minutes to spare.

    In general, I'm coming to appreciate the higher-rep workout more and more. It's definitely a different sort of muscle activation, and gives me a little bit of that bodybuilder feel. I'm glad I only have to do it once a week though. Once I'm over five reps, it takes a certain amount of mental fortitude to keep going up to eight, even though the loads are all very manageable. I'm especially enjoying doing the higher-rep Bench Press and Deadlift with more challenging weights now.

    Thursday - 04.16
    PM
    My wife and I took our daughter to the orthodontist to have her teeth photographed. Looks like she inherited some dental crowding from my side of the family. Since she's a girl, it might be worth it to get some braces. My wife has perfect teeth. Too bad our daughter didn't pick that side of the family for her teeth.

    Afterwards, they wanted to pick up our son as a family. When I mentioned I would like to get my run in, they said they'd all come with. So I gave up on the idea and suggested we go to Menards to get lumbar for the monkey bar project that weekend. Oh well, I'd been pretty consistent over the last month up to that point, I guess no harm done in missing a day. But then I woke up after three hours that night. I simply don't sleep well without my daily exercise.

    Friday - 04.17
    PM
    Lifting - 1-3RM
    SQ: 3 x 3 x 221
    TK OHP: 1 x 150/160/155/150, 3 x 145/145/140
    DL: 2 x 175
    BP: 3 x 3 x 231
    S PD: 3 x 3 x 190
    1DB Row: 2 x 3 x 120

    I felt like crap, had only slept three hours or so, was pretty tired, and got off to a late start, but it was time to test my 1RM on the OHP, and I was curious to see how I would do. After a fairly effortless session of squat triples, I put on my wrist wraps and did three quick OHP warm-up sets--bar, 85, 125. Mentally, I wasn't too nervous about approaching the 150 1RM because I had done it a month before, albeit shakily. However, I was a little surprised by how easily 150 went up this time around. I then knew I had 155, but decided to try for 160 on the next set. That went up too, a new PR, but it was challenging. Working now without this week's percentages, I decided to just come down in five-pound increments and see where the doubles and triples might lie. 155 was a little shaky, as I lost balance a little bit and started to drift backwards till my hammies and glutes corrected for it. 150 was once again easy and I would've gone for reps at this point except my eccentric phase came down too fast and I got out of position. So at 145 I finally went for reps, and did three. I did three more then reduced by five pounds one final time for three reps at 140. So 145 is probably close to my training 3RM, once the extra effort on the higher singles has been accounted for.

    It felt good to push beyond what I expected, but it's kind of confusing too. I will have to either rethink my percentages for the higher rep-counts, the 5RMs and the 8RMs, or try to do them heavier. I know now I can do 3 x 3 x 145 next week, which is 90% of next week's newly projected 161 1RM--just right--but will I really be able to jump from 128 to 137 for my 5RM sets on Monday? This is what it will be if I keep the 5RM constant at 85% (of 161). And will I be able to do 121 for next week's 8RM, up from 113 this week, if I keep it at 75%? Bringing the percentages down next week to 81-82% for the 5RM and 71-72% for the 8RM would create more continuity with this week's loads at those rep-counts. They've felt a little easy, but not that easy. I guess I'll just have to experiment a bit to see how much the 5RM and 8RMs can go up comfortably. So much for the mindless weekly microloading. After just a few weeks of fractional loading, adjustments must be made already. I want to keep everything quite makeable, but don't want things to dip too much below 90% effort level either.

    Nonetheless, the percentage-based loading felt pretty good on the other lifts, although the squats were maybe a little bit too easy. 231 was right at my limit for triples on the Bench Press. It will be interesting to see if the percentages still project well for a 260 1RM in a few weeks, or if, similar to its younger brother the OH Press, my 1RM on the Bench Press is stronger than its projection too from higher rep-counts.

    On the deadlift, I felt a little niggle in the problem area on one of the warm-ups sets. I hadn't stretched out that day, and didn't run the day before, so I think it was a little tight. Or I might have aggravated the area a bit while doing the OH Press, getting a little off-balance and having to correct with my glutes and hammies. It's too bad, this week I had been deadlifting at full confidence, completely oblivious to the past injury for the first time. I don't think it's anything, but I'll have to go back to being a little vigilant next time I lift.

    The family once again came home just as I was getting to my rows. I managed to get in two sets of 1DB Rows and then called it a day, showered up, and grilled some nice Ribeyes. I wanted to mention to my family that I had achieved a new PR, but I know it wouldn't mean anything to them. Until I lose the belly and get more defined, I don't think they'll notice I'm getting stronger. Meanwhile, I daydreamed about reaching 200 on the OH Press by the end of the year in between sips of red wine.

    Saturday - 04.18

    ---------------Week 8: Cycle II---------------
    15.04.19--04.25
    Template for this week:

    2015 Cycle 2 Week 8--15.04.19.jpg

    I've boosted the Squat up four pounds instead of two, in order to test the 1RM at the end of this cycle instead of the beginning of the next. If all goes well, I'll boost it up to 255 next week, then 257, and then 260 for another 1RM in four week's time instead of seven. I've felt that the squat has been a little too easy of late, although I might be overestimating my ability to cut out three weeks, or six pounds, of microloading and building up more slowly to 260.

    I've also delinked the deadlift from the squat. I'll try reducing the weekly increases to two pounds instead of two and a half. I feel like the deadlift is the least important lift to increase. It already offers enough resistance for a good, complete workout with the other lifts, and I want to make sure I build up my base slowly for the deadlift so that, eventually, I can go further with it. So the 400-pound 1RM might not happen until next year. On the other hand, maybe after a few months of solid deadlifting I'll decide I can start pushing it again sometime this summer. My 1RM is up over 300 now though, so I want to err on the side of caution. In fact, the 1RM was supposed to be 310 this week, but since I'm testing the Squat 1RM this week, I think I'll put off testing the Deadlift 1RM until next week.

    Also, the advantage of having the Deadlift progress with the same load increments as the squat is that now I can stagger the 1RM tests precisely, since each lift will be tested once every five weeks. The presses, which increase one pound per week, will be tested at five-pound increments, and the lower body lifts, which increase two pounds per week, will be tested at ten-pound increments. So in a five-week period, in every week except one there will be a 1RM test, beginning when I get the squat up to 260 in four weeks. The next week will be the OH press at 165, then the Deadlift at 320, then the Bench Press at 265. That is, I'll be testing them in their workout order: SQ > OHP > DL > BP. Then there's a week with no 1RM > descending sets testing, just triples all around.

    Here are the projections for the rest of the year:

    1RM tests for 2015.jpg

    Of course, chances are this scheme will be adjusted many times before 2016 rolls around, but it's nice to look at things long term once in a while.

    Sunday - 04.19
    Monday - 04.20
    AM
    Running
    1-mile walk-run commute. It was in the 30s and windy, I should've gone back for my hat. I ran about half of the distance, or was it more like a third. Felt good to walk first thing, but it's still not the most pleasant route, as the second half is along a busy road and through a busy intersection, that's when I started running. When I get a early start around 3-4am, no one is around, but by 5:30 or 6am there's lots of truck traffic. I wonder what the truckers think seeing a middle-aged guy running barefoot through a semi-industrial zone.

    PM
    Just walked back, should've tried running a bit but I want all my energy for what I anticipated would be a challenging workout.

    Lifting -- 5RM
    Squat: 4 x 5 x 211
    TK OH Press: 4 x 5 x 136
    Deadlift: 2 x 5 x 265
    Bench Press: 2 x 5 x 219
    N Pulldown: 5 x 157.5/182.5/182.5
    Pendlay Row: 2 x 5 x 145
    1DB Row: 2 x 5 x 105

    Since jumping ten pounds and hitting a new OH Press PR on Friday, I had been a little confused about what to do this week. I really doubted I'd be able to jump 85% of 10 pounds, or about eight pounds up from last week, on the five-rep sets. I thought about meeting it halfway, at 132, or four pounds more than last week's 128-pound 5RM, but in the end, I decided before the workout to set the 1RM at last Friday's 160 PR, and go with what the percentages dictated, which is a 5RM of 136 at 85% of 160, and see if I could manage it. 136 did indeed go up five times, but I really doubted I'd be able to complete a second set. I considered reducing the weight four pounds, to 132, but decided to give 136 another try first. That also went up five times, as did the third. The fourth set's fifth rep threatened to stall a bit, but it also went up. So now, looking back at when I tried 4 x 5 130 a month or so ago but gave up on it for the second set, and went back down to 125, I think I have to place more trust in the percentages. If they say I can do it, based on my 1RM, then I probably can.

    It was probably a good thing I didn't stick with 130 a month ago though, as this false inability led me to fractional loading. Even if the fractional loading will never be as precise as I thought it might be, it's still a good idea I think. I'll simply load a pound a week to the presses, and two pounds per week to the squat and deadlift, and then test the 1RM for each lift once every four weeks. If there's a big discrepancy between what I should be able to do and what I can do, I'll adjust the 1RM up or down, and recalibrate the loads across all the rep-counts.

    Anyway, everything else in the workout went fine. Over the weekend I toyed with the idea of bumping up the Squat a bit prematurely, but in the end, I decided that, even if I can do more, it's good to proceed slowly and make sure I don't get greedy and start to cheat depth. That's a potential problem that the fractional loading helps solve. When you make the bigger increment jumps, there's a tendency for technique to degrade a bit as you adjust to the heavier loads. With fractional loading, the increases are imperceptible, and so the technique should remain pretty solid and unchanged.

    The Deadlift felt super solid, so any worries about my niggle returning were unfounded. I made sure to stretch really well beforehand, and the walking/running during the day probably helped keep things loose too.

    I forgot to reload one of the 25-pound plates after my kids had screwed around with the cables on Friday, so the first set of pulldowns was lopsided. I decided to go with fractional loading on the pulldowns and rows too. I got some 1.25-pounds standard plates coming. In the meantime I'm using my 1.25-pound Olympic plates.

    The Pendlay Row + 1DB Row combo worked really well. I think this is the way to go. I could even see doing each row three sets instead of two sets each. Just a great way to end a workout.

    So, in sum, faith has been restored in my fractional loading/percentages scheme. It really seems to be working, and I'm getting great results. Of course, the progress might just be due to the fact that I've been working out very consistently for most of this cycle, unlike the prior two cycles and a half, when I spent a good part of the time rehabbing. It will be interesting to see how long I can sustain this rate of progress. I can't really imagine adding a pound a week to the OH Press for much longer, but you never know . . .

    Tuesday - 04.21
    PM
    Running
    3.6 miles, Franklin-Marshal Bridge circuit, 37F/22F windchill. I was a little sick of hills, so I decided to run down by the river after missing my last two runs. Just as I hit the asphalt path, it began to snow! I hadn't brought any back-up footwear, but it was above freezing, so I decided to keep going. I figured I would know within a mile or so if my feet were numbing down too quickly, and then I could head back to the car before any real risk was involved. As it turned out, the snow was an excellent motivator to keep running and not take any walking breaks, as I had been doing. I got all the way to Franklin Bridge and then my wife called just as it stopped snowing. There wasn't any accumulation, but the melted snow on the asphalt coated it with a thin layer of cold moisture. I told my wife I couldn't stop to walk for very long, and that I'd call as soon as I finished my run. Once I crossed the summit of the bridge's mild arch, I began running again. As soon as I began heading down the other side, the headwind I had been facing turned into a nice tailwind, and by the time I reached Marshall Bridge, a little sunshine was peaking through. It felt like a 15-20 degree difference from the start of the run to the end. Anyway, I walked across Marshall bridge and back to my car. So I ran about 90% of the distance, and everything felt fine. No niggles, no strain, and my left big toe met head showed no sign of tenderness.

    So this was a tremendous confidence booster. It's so hard to keep trying to get back into running shape, but I feel like I'm back on the verge again, and, baring any mishaps this time around, I should be able to run halfway decently by summer sometime. So, in addition to the OH Press PR, this cycle is ending on another high note.


    Wednesday - 04.22
    PM
    Lifting - 8RM
    SQ: 3 x 8 x 186
    TK OHP: 3 x 8 x 120
    DL: 2 x 8 x 233
    CG N PD: 6/8/8 x 150
    P-Row: 2 x 8 x 128

    My wife burst into the garage with good news, and I was already running late, so I didn't get in a full workout. I had to cut out the Bench Press and the Cable Rows. I figured the Bench Press would be the best to sacrifice of the four performance lifts, since I'll be going for a PR on Friday and a little rest might help. On the other hand, it might've been good to prime it two days before.

    In any case, my main concern, the OHP, which I had bumped up from 113 last week to 120 this week, in accordance with the bump up to a 160 1RM last Friday, went well. It was challenging, but at no time did I doubt my ability to make the last reps of each sets. It wasn't easy though. I had to make sure to maintain a good rhythm and keep the form spot-on. One bad rep and the rest could be ruined.

    The Pendlay Row felt OK at higher reps, so that's probably a keeper. It's too bad I didn't have time to do them together with the Cable Rows, but I'm pretty sure that's going to be a good combo.

    I had felt tired all day, and hadn't fueled very well. In fact about an hour before the workout I got a little hypoglycemic and had to scramble for some quick energy. I ended up eating two protein bars and three bananas.

    Thursday - 04.23
    PM
    One and a half miles? My daughter had her first day of Running Club at her school, and parents were invited to participate. So of course I couldn't pass up an opportunity to encourage my daughter to run, hoping that in the future we could run together, and also do a little publicity for Barefoot Running targeting all the young feet and their parental units. Leaving my office, I discovered I had left my headlights on and the battery was dead, so I ran to the school about a mile away. When we programmed a spare remote, we screwed up somehow and now the door beeps whenever it's open, so there's no warning if the headlights have been left on. I guess the dawn light or the parking lot lights early in the morning were enough for me not to see that they were on when I parked.

    Anyway, the first part of Running Club was everyone dancing in the gym. I guess this is the modern calisthenics. Once we were outside, my daughter was mostly interesting in walking and talking to a friend, and ignored me for the most part as they ran for a bit, then walked, then ran a bit more, sometimes trying to outrun me.

    I had planned on doing some hills afterwards, but I had to go ask my dad to give me a jump. By the time I was home, it was almost time to pick up the kids, so no time for hills. Oh well.

    Friday - 04.24
    PM
    Lifting - 1-3RM
    SQ: 2 x 1 x 248, 2 x 2 x 236, 2 x 3 x 223
    TK OHP: 1 x 160, 2 x 152, 2 x 3 x 144
    DL: 1 x 310, 2 x 295, 2 x 279
    BP: 1 x 258, 2 x 245, 2 x 3 x 232

    Once again, I was running a little bit late, and I had screwed up my fueling so I got hungry on my first squat single. I ate two bananas and a protein bar. Wrapping up this cycle, I had decided to test the idea of doing descending sets of 1/2/3 for each performance lift each Friday, instead of just one of them each Friday. I had read up on things a little more and had decided my weekly wave could probably tolerate a little more volume and a little more intensity.

    I ended up getting through the singles, doubles, and triples just fine for all four performance lifts.

    The squats I did a full 1/1/2/2/3/3 but the other lifts I just did 1/2/3/3 to play it conservative and see how well I tolerated intensities greater than my usual 3x3 Friday protocol. Plus I wanted to make sure I had enough in the tank to attempt a new PR on the bench.

    Once again, I was able to hoist 160 for the OHP, but it was challenging.

    On the Deadlift, I hadn't stretched or warm-up before the workout, and I felt one lower back muscle, on the right side but above my problem area, tighten on the triple's first rep, then get tighter on the second, so I shut it down. I thought about stretching it out and trying another triple, but it was getting close to my cut-off time and I still had the Bench Press anyway.

    On the Bench, 258 was a bit of a grind to lock out, but it went up, so that's a new PR. My percentages projection predicted the PR load perfectly. I really couldn't have done much more, probably 265 tops.

    I didn't have time for any of the upper body pulls, but the singles, doubles, and triples hadn't taken that much out of me, so I could've definitely done them had I had more time. In general, the intensity workout is less taxing than the volume workouts, but it beats you up the next day in a different way. Saturday morning I have a little left shoulder soreness too, so I will have to monitor the extra benching I've been doing lately a little bit, maybe cut back if the soreness becomes chronic again.

    Saturday - 04.25
    PM
    Sod and small stump removal to clear the way for my wife's garden. Also, made frame with treated 2x4s.

    ------------------------------------------------

    Assessment of Cycle II

    In this Cycle, there were many tweaks to my evolving routine:

    1.) I solidified my use and understanding of rep-count variation, or DUP as some call it. I prefer to call it simply the Weekly Wave. The cycle is the week. Everything that’s going to happen happens within a week. Monday is five-rep day, Wednesday is eight-rep day, and Friday is one-to-three-rep day.

    2.) I discovered the joys of microloading after feeling like a more uniform increase in volume and intensity would be better than five- or ten-pound jumps, which prevailed until the middle of the cycle.

    3.) After struggling to fit it in, I’ve sort of let go of the idea of assistance lifts for the time being. Nonetheless, my thinking about what constitutes an accessory lift, a variation, and a substitute has clarified somewhat.

    4.) After getting the squat-to-deadlift and OHP-to-BP ratios about right, I delinked them. Now the first two add 2 pounds per week to the 1RM (less for the percentage-based 2/3/5/8RM loads), and the latter two add 1 pound per week. So the rate of progress in the Squat and OH Press should be greater than in the Deadlift and Bench Press. The Squat and OH Press were originally prioritized because they were the weakest lifts. Now I'm reconceptualizing them as the 'drivers' of progress. So they will still be given greater emphasis and will hopefully continue to progress faster than the Deadlift and Bench, which are probably a little closer to my potential. At current rates, I won't reach the Iron Ratios of 2:3:4:5 until sometime next year.

    5.) After the week is finished I assess how it went and decide whether to stand pat, continue to increase the weight at steady one- or two-pound increments, depending on the lift, or reduce the weekly increase for one or all of the lifts. With the microloading, there shouldn't be any missing reps, sets, or lifting with less-than optimal form.

    6.) I added a set to both the Squat and OHP, and took away a set from the Deadlift and Bench. Initially the greater volume for the former two was a challenge, but I found as time went on it got easier. Now I'm thinking about adding even more sets in Cycle III.

    7.) I adopted more of a powerlifting style bench press. This has worked out great.

    8.) I started using wrist wraps for the presses.

    9.) I began to incorporate two different kinds of rows in each workout, and different kind of grips for the pulldowns in each workout.

    10.) I no longer refer to the three weekly workouts as Volume, Density, and Intensity. Now they go strictly by rep-counts--5RM, 8RM, and 1-3RM. The general difficulty is about the same for each workout, but in different ways. Monday is probably the hardest, and Friday is the easiest, energy-wise. Wednesday requires the most stamina. Wednesday has become the high-rep day. After some experimenting with 10 reps, and descending rep counts of 10/8/7, I settled on 8 reps sets across for Wednesday's workout. This is supposedly the upper reach of the strength stimulus, but also decent for hypertrophy. Monday is about medium volume, medium intensity, Wednesday is high volume, low intensity, and Friday is low volume, high intensity. Volume feeds intensity, and intensity feeds volume. Intensity recruits the most muscle fiber, volume conditions that fiber and makes it grow. So I've sort of refined my adaptation of the Texas Method. Now instead of wondering what to do with Wednesday’s workout, which the Texas Method says should be a recovery day, and which I thought about making an assistance or dynamic day, I’ve simply made it a different kind of volume/intensity combo.

    11.) Each rep-count also entails a slightly different bar speed. On Wednesday’s eight-rep sets, I try to move the bar as quick as I can while still maintaining good form. On Friday I sometimes have to grind a bit.

    12.) My left big toe's met head no longer feels tender after a run. I started running hills while I was waiting for it to heal. Now I'm on the cusp of rudimentary running fitness.

    13.) My spreadsheet now tracks more variables and aggregates, and, taking a cue from BA and Abide, I use charts, like this one:

    2015 Cycle 2 Strength Gains Chart.jpg

    Overall Gains:
    Deadlift: 35lbs
    Squat: 28lbs
    Bench Press: 18lbs
    OH Press: 15lbs
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  2. BroadArrow

    BroadArrow
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Illinois

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Messages:
    286
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    -- assessment of last cycle --
    - how it worked out -
    i am still happy with the fully body workouts.

    the barbell bentover rows seem to work well.

    i had difficulty maintaining a regular schedule due to various intrusions from life. additionally, i failed to achieve any of my working set aspirational loads.

    my pullup strength seems to be coming along ok. when i tried to assess the "balance of strength", i determined that my ordering is:

    pullups
    deadlift
    press
    row
    bench
    squat

    also, i think that my limiting factor on the deadlift is actually my grip strength.

    - progress toward cyclical and yearly goals -
    pullups improved and i was able to do 2 pullups with a 195lb total load. (although, apparently, i don't have a yearly goal for this.)

    deadlift improved to 250lbs for no good reason (maybe grip?).

    the other lifts seemed to stagnate, but not move backward too much.

    -- goals for this cycle --
    pullups +30lbs
    squat 120lbs
    rows 85lbs
    chest press #13
    deadlift 175lbs (maintain, not progress)
    press 75lbs (maintain, not progress)

    i will make some adjustments under the "fix your weaknesses, achieve balance, heal the world" theory.

    squats will get moved to 5 working sets instead of 4.

    rows will be unaltered.

    fake-bench-press will get moved to the 3rd position and get 4 working sets instead of 3. (bearing in mind to increase slowly and with lower loads because the of constrained motion of the machine.)

    deadlift will be reduced to 3 sets: light/medium/sorta-heavy

    press will get moved to the end and also reduced to 3 sets: light/medium/medium (i really don't want to drop that sucker on my head at the end of a workout, or any time for that matter).

    i will also try to work on grip strength somehow. if i have access to dumbbells, then i'll do farmers' walks. i may also try doing pullups hanging on to towels. we'll see what happens.


    -- week 1: march 1-7 --
    monday: [on travel again]
    pullups (limited head room, so 3/4 which is harder than full because you can't go so fast and then crack your head) 10/6/5/4/4/4/3 = 36
    inclined dumbbell bench: ?x6 at 25/30/35/35/35/30/30 lbs per hand
    farmers' walks (2 laps = ~80 feet) 50lbs each hand for 5 walks, 40, 30 for 13 walks = 19 walks

    tuesday:
    pullups on towels: 6/2/3 = 11
    normal (though restricted range): 6/6/5/4/3/4 = 28
    incline dumbbell bench: ?x6 at 15/25/35/35/35/40/35 lbs per hand
    farmers' walks (2 laps = ~80feet) 50lbs each hand for 2, 40 for 3, 35 for 11 walks = 16 walks
    9:30 zooming up and down actual stairs (11 stories worth each way, 3 vertical laps)

    wednesday:
    pullups on towels: 3/1 = 4 (these are really rough on the fingers, so aren't thrilling so far)
    normal pullups: 9/5/4/4 = 22
    incline bench: ?x6 at 30/45/35/35 lbs per hand
    farmers' walks: 50/45/40/35/30/25 lbs per hand = 6 walks
    chinups: 7/4/4 = 15

    thursday:
    15:15 zooming stairs (5 vertical laps + a little)
    pullups on towels: 3/0.5
    normal pullups: 7/6/5/5/4/4/5/4 = 40
    incline bench: ?x6 at 25/30/35/40/40 lbs per hand
    one-arm dumbbell rows: ?x6 at 40/40/40/40/45/40
    farmer's walks: 50/45/40/35/30/25 lbs per hand = 6 walks
    chinups: 6/5/5 = 16

    saturday: (44 minutes)
    squats: 1x6 at 65lbs, 5x6 at 95lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 65lbs, 3x6at 80lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 4x6 at #11
    deadlift: ?x6 at 115/165/185lbs
    press: ?x6 at 55/65/65lbs
    barbell holds over the safeties: 115lbs for 60seconds, 165lbs for 30s, 215lbs for 7s/5s

    -- week 2: march 8-14 --
    sunday: pullups throughout day: 2 (+30lbs) and 44 (+0lbs) = 46 total

    monday: pullups throughout day: 37 (+10lbs)

    tuesday: (got caught up reading a book my wife is reading to the kids; 2 hours later, the book was finished. so, i thought i would test the limits on my weak lifts)
    pullups throughout day: 59 (+0lbs)
    squats: ?x5 at 65/86/105/115lbs, 1 at 140lbs (old 1RM), 2 at 150lbs [no pictures, but i think it was ok form although not as much depth as i would normally like; it is tricky when you're trying to stay over the safeties]
    machine chest press: ?x5 at #9/10/12; 3 at #13, 3 at #14, 0.02 at #15

    wednesday: (35 minutes; truncated)
    pullups throughout day: 17 (+26lbs)
    squats: 1x6 at 75lbs, 5x6 at 100lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 65lbs, 3x6 at 80lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 4x6 at #12

    thursday: (23 minutes; truncated)
    pullups throughout day: 101 (+0lbs; thick bar)
    squats: 1x6 at 75lbs, 5x6 at 105lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 65lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 4x6 at #12

    friday: (a little fooling around)
    pullups throughout day: 30 (+18lbs)
    press: ?x6 at 15/35/55lbs
    calf raises: 141 (+40lbs)

    saturday: (44 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 0
    squats: 1x6 at 75lbs, 5x6 at 110lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 65lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 2x6 at #13, 2x6 at #12
    deadlift: 115/165/185lbs
    press: 55/65/65lbs

    -- week 3: march 15-21 --
    sunday: (27 minutes; truncated)
    pullups throughout day: roughly 5 at the playground
    squats: 1x6 at 75lbs, 5x6 at 110lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 65lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 4x6 at #12

    tuesday: (42 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 54 (+18lbs)
    squats: 1x6 at 75lbs, 5x6 at 115lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 65lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 4x6 at #12
    deadlift: 115/165/165lbs
    press: 3x6 at 55lbs

    wednesday: (48 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 33 (+26lbs)
    squats: 1x6 at 85lbs, 5x6 at 120lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 70lbs, 3x6 at 90lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 4x6 at #12
    deadlift: ?x6 at 135/165/185lbs
    press: ?x6 at 55/65/70lbs

    thursday:
    pullups throughout day: 42 (+10lbs)

    friday: (33 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 29 (+0lbs)
    squats: ?x6 at 15/35/55/75/95/115lbs
    135 for 4/4
    ?x6 at 115/95/75/55lbs
    lifting off racks and setting back down to show my daughter *all* the weights on the bar: 275lbs for 3

    -- week 4: march 22-28 --
    sunday: (25 minutes)
    squats: 1x6 at 85lbs, 4x6 at 110lbs, 1x6 at 120lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 70lbs, 3x6 at 90lbs
    chest: 1x6 #9, 4x6 #12

    monday: (57 minutes; 5 minute break after squats to fix something on the computer)
    pullups throughout day: 65 (+10lbs)
    squats: 1x6 at 85lbs, 5x6 at 120lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 70lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 1x6 at #13, 3x6 at #12
    deadlift: ?x6 at 135/165/185lbs
    press: ?x6 at 65/65/70lbs
    barbell holds over the safeties: 165lbs for 30seconds, 185lbs for 20/17s, 165lbs for 20s

    tuesday: (35 minutes; mess around day)
    pullups throughout day: 22 (+26lbs)
    press: 7reps/65lbs, 6/65, 5/75, 4/80, 3/85, 1/90 [great: the 1RM hasn't tanked too much despite ignoring the press]
    deadlift: 6reps/135lbs, 5/165, 4/175, 3/195, 2/225, 1/245, 0.5/255 [my grip is officially the weakpoint]
    overhead squat: 2x6 at 15lbs

    wednesday: (45 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 62 (+0lbs); 2 halves at +50lbs (apparently +45lbs is my current max)
    squats: 1x6 at 85lbs, 5x6 at 125lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 70lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs
    chest 1x6 at #9, 4x6 at #12
    deadlift: ?x6 at 135/165/165lbs
    press: ?x6 at 65/65/70lbs

    thursday: pullups throughout day: 53 (+16lbs)

    -- week 5: march 29-april 4 --
    sunday: (52 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 4 (+0lbs); 1 (+35lbs)
    squats: ?x6 at 85/105/115lbs, 5x6 at 180lbs 130lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 70, 3x6 at 85lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 3x6 at #12, 4 1/2 at #13
    deadlift: ?x6 at 115/165/165lbs
    press: ?x6 at 55/65/70lbs

    monday: pullups throughout day: 21 (+0lbs; fat bar)

    tuesday: pullups throughout day: 12 (+16lbs)

    wednesday: (55 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 9 (+0lbs; fat bars at park)
    squats: ?x6 at 85/105/115lbs, 5x6 at 130lbs
    row: 1x6 at 70lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 4x6 at #12
    deadlift: ?x6 at 135/165/165lbs
    press: ?x6 at 55/65/65lbs

    thursday: (38 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 0
    squats: ?x6 at 85/105/115lbs, 5x6 at 135lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 70lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 4x6 at #12

    saturday: (48 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 4 (+0lbs; at park)
    squats: ?x6 at 85/105/115/140/130/140/130/135
    rows: 1x6 at 70lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs
    chest 1x6 at #9, 3x6 at #12, 1x6 at #13
    deadlift: ?x6 at 135/165/165
    press: ?x6 at 55/65/70

    -- week 6: april 5-11 --
    sunday: (48 minutes; trying out idea for next cycle)
    pullups throughout day: 0
    squats: 1x6 at 85/105/115lbs, 5x6 at 120lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 70lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs
    press: 1x6 at 55lbs, 4x6 at 65lbs
    deadlift: ?x6 at 135/165/165lbs
    flies: ?x6 at #1/1.5/2 (=10/15/20lbs alternating hands)

    monday: pullups throughout day: 42 (+0lbs, fat bar)

    tuesday: (49 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 10 (+16lbs), 1 (+30lbs), 0.95 (+35lbs)
    squats: ?x6 at 85/105/115lbs, 5x6 at 125lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 70lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 3x6 at #12.5
    deadlift: ?x6 at 135/165/165lbs
    press: ?x6 at 55/65/65

    wednesday: (35 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 20 (+16lbs, fat bar)
    [my wife put the baby to sleep in our bed, so i carried the bar to the living room and cobbled a workout together while she jumped around to a video]
    overhead squats: ?x6 at 15/20/20/25/25/30/35/35/40lbs
    rows: 1x6 at 70lbs, 3x6 at 85lbs, 1x6 at 90lbs
    press: 5x6 at 65lbs

    thursday: (24 minutes)
    pullups throughout day: 28 (+16lbs, fat bar)
    [testing the machine press since my next two weeks will be shot weight training wise]
    squats: 1x6 at 85lbs, 2x6 at 105lbs, 2x6 at 115lbs
    rows: 2x6 at 75lbs
    chest: 1x6 at #9, 1x5 at #11, 1x4 at #12, 1x3 at #13, 1x2 at #14, 1x2 at #15, barely off the stopper at #16

    -- week 7: april 12-18 --
    tuesday: (20 minutes)
    i tried to put together a really simple in-room plan. this is the first attempt to gauge the difficulty so i can adjust for tomorrow.

    10 push-ups
    3 pistol squats (each leg)
    10 push-ups, feet on nightstand
    3 pistol squats (each leg)
    10 push-ups
    15 one-leg calf raises (each leg)
    10 push-ups, feet on nightstand
    3 pistol squats (each leg)
    10 push-ups
    20 squats
    1 minute handstand against wall

    the pistol squats are definitely easier than they used to be, so the barbell squats are doing something. for next time, i should up the count to 5 and see what happens. also, i will not interleave the exercises.

    running: (morning) 1.4mi at 7:01 pace. i bailed out early due to lightning and then put together my proto-workout. hopefully, i can get out this afternoon after work depending, of course, on the lightning.

    running: (evening) 6.7mi at 8:25 pace. combination of tired and much warmer (85 degrees instead of 60) slowed me down.

    pullups after running: 9/3

    wednesday:
    running: (morning) 8.4 at 7:29 overall pace; faster front end (e.g., the first 3 had an overall average a hair under 7:00)

    [these were done in the afternoon while listening in to the teleconference of the workshop on a 3rd continent...; 42 minutes then 44 minutes then maybe 10 minutes]
    pistol squats (each leg): 5x4
    pushups with feet on nightstand: 10x10
    single leg calf raises: 1x10, 1x20, 9x10
    handstands against wall: 4x30seconds
    squats: 3x20 at 0lbs

    thursday:
    running: (morning) 5.6 at 7:44 pace (again, frontloaded)

    [listening in to teleconference again; 60 minutes, then a little more later]
    pushups with feet on nightstand: 1x10, 7x15, 1x10
    single leg calf raises: 4x10, 2x11, 3x12, 1x13, 2x10

    pull-ups: 10/6/5/4/4/3/4/4 (lost count, but at least this many; total > 40)
    dips: 3/3

    pistol squats: 4/3

    friday:
    running: (morning) 9.1 miles at 7:54 pace
    (evening) 4.4 miles at 8:11 pace

    -- week 8: april 19-25 --
    sunday:
    running: (morning) 6mi at 7:32
    (midday) 4.6mi at 8:18 (100F: yeah buddy!)

    pistol squats: 5x5
    pushups with feet on desk (i.e., higher than nightstand): 5x15, 1x12
    single leg calf raises: 5x12
    pullups: 7/6/5/4/3

    monday:
    running (morning) 6.25mi at 7:58
    pullups: 10/7/6 (or something like that; i didn't write it down)

    tuesday:
    running: (morning) 4.39mi at 7:27
    pullups: 8/7/4 (or something like that)

    pistol squats: 5/4/3/3/3
    desk pushups: 4x15
    single leg calf raises: 3x12

    wednesday:
    running: (morning) 2.4mi at 7:56
    (evening) 9.4mi at 7:45

    thursday:
    running: (morning) 5.25 at 8:07
    (evening) 5.6 at 7:58

    friday:
    running: (evening) 9.0 at 7:50 pace

    [asdf: easy search code]
     
    Bare Lee likes this.
  3. Abide

    Abide
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Nederland -...

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    3,245
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    This cycle will be a change for me, I am going to jump back to a split upper/lower plan and do two upper days and one lower every week. My upper days will vary between reps and sets and I am going to throw in some more hypertrophy work. My lower days will be a very basic deadlift and squat day, with no more than 5 reps per set but primarily in the 2-3 range. The only additional lower work will be step ups if I can find a step, power cleans and farmer carries. I have gained some significant muscle in my thighs and I am going to try to reverse it a bit and hit a weight target of 185 lbs by August. This goal is not coming easy however so I am going to have to figure out how to sustain some weight loss. I am hoping a one day a week lower workout will help limit some aerobic fatigue while getting a good stimulus from every workout, instead of slogging through 2-3 lower days a week.

    Goals:
    Lose 10 pounds
    No injuries

    ---------------Week 1: Cycle II---------------
    Monday - 03.02
    WU - 50 jump rope, 15 Swings 32kg, 3 x 8 inverted Rows, 3 x 10 Ab Rollouts
    Bench - 2 x 5/3/1 @ 90/100/110 kgs
    Pull Ups - 1/2/3/1/2/3
    CGBP - 3 x 8 @ 80kgs
    Curls - 3 x 8 @ 40kgs
    Farmers - 1 x 80m @ 90kgs

    Bike Commute - 35 k @ 87 min
    Weight - 205 lbs.

    Good workout today, a little strange to feel some upper body soreness and fatigue. I think this will be my Monday workout for the next 4 weeks and then I might bump up the weights for the second 8 weeks. I am going to change the rep scheme for bench to 5/3/2 and 2/3/4 for chins. I have a 50k scheduled on Saturday which I am looking forward too.

    Tuesday - 03.03
    Bike Commute - 35 k @ 79 min
    Lunch Yoga

    A little sore oddly enough in my forearms and overall just worn out today. I'll take tomorrow off from biking and then run in to work on Thursday then have Friday as a lifting only day in prep for the Saturday 50k.

    Wednesday - 03.04
    WU - 50 jump rope, 15 Swings 32kg, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 1 x 10 Ab Rollouts
    Deadlift - 4/3/2 @ 140/145/150kgs
    Squat - 3 x 1/2/3 @ 95kgs

    This was a pretty good workout took a little more out of me than I expected. I filmed my squats but cut off my toes so I couldn't see the whole picture. Depth is good though. I pulled my stance in a bit more and it felt perfect, tight the whole time and very limited inward knee motion. I think the wider stance is the culprit for my knee cave.

    Thursday - 03.05
    Run Commute - 18k @ 111 min
    Lunch Yoga
    Bike Commute - 17.5k @ 41 min

    Had a great run today and this one was a little faster than last week. I am hoping to ride this high for a while longer. It probably has something to do with it staying light out longer and earlier. That is definitely the most difficult part of winter for me.

    Friday - 03.06
    WU - 50 jump rope, 10 Swings 32kg, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Power Cleans - 5 x 3 @ 60 kgs
    Press - 2 x 5/3/2 @ 55/60/65 kgs
    Pull Ups - 10/6/5
    Bench - 8/6/6 @ 80kgs

    Lunch Yoga

    Saturday - 03.07
    50k training run @ 06:31

    The run went excellent, it was more of a time training run rather than a race on a completely unmarked course.

    Sunday - 03.08
    Rest

    Totals
    Run - 68k
    Bike - 52.5k
    ---------------Week 2: Cycle II---------------
    15.03.09--03.15
    Monday - 03.09
    WU - 50 jump rope, 15 Swings 32kg, 3 x 8 inverted Rows, 3 x 10 Ab Rollouts
    Bench - 2 x 5/3/2&3 @ 95/100/105 kgs
    Rows - 3 x 8 @ 50kgs
    Press - 3 x 8 @ 40kgs
    Curls - 3 x 8 @ 40kgs

    Bike Commute - 35 k @ 79 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Not sure why I did the 5kg increases instead of the 10kgs like before. I think possibly next week it might be ok to move the bench up to 100/105/110.

    Tuesday - 03.10
    Bike Commute - 35 k @ 79 min

    Wednesday - 03.11
    WU - 50 jump rope, 15 Swings 32kg, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Deadlift - 4/3/2 @ 140/150/160kgs
    Squat - 3 x 1/2/3 @ 80kgs
    Farmers - 1 x 80m @90kgs
    Lunch Yoga

    Went a little overboard on the deadlift weight, I got them on film and I am pretty happy with my form. The first rep popped right up and the second was a bit more of a struggle but didn't slow at any point. I realize I don't have a nice arch like some others do when deadlifting. I have more of a slight overall round but it doesn't change throughout the lift which is more important in my opinion. I also noticed I hold my shoulders a little more forward than I thought.
    On my first rep of 95kgs on the squat I could really feel the lingering effects of the race in my quads and lower back so I dropped to 80kgs for the rest. I filmed them from the front and back too and noticed even with my narrow stance my toes are directly above my toes. I also focused a bit on pushing out which helped the tendency for my natural knee cave. I will keep up with this cue to see if it helps at higher weights.
    Great little workout my grip is fried right now, definitely a lift PR for me.

    Thursday - 03.12
    Run Commute - 18k @ 117 min
    Lunch Yoga
    Bike Commute - 17.5k @ 35 min

    I swore I was cruising this morning and had overall a great run and then it took me 5 minutes longer this week. Strange how that works out. Took me a good 5k to get warmed up and to work out most of the kinks from last weekend. I am enjoying the early light didn't need my headlamp although I ran with it on, wish the spring warmth would show up soon too.

    Friday - 03.13
    WU - 50 jump rope, 10 Swings 32kg, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Power Cleans - 6 x 2 @ 70 kgs
    Press - 2 x 5/3/2 @ 57.5/60/65 kgs
    Pull Ups - 6 x 3 @ 5kgs
    Push Press - 3 x 8 @ 60kgs

    Bike Commute - 35k @ 77 min
    Lunch Yoga

    F' me that workout was a kick in the balls. Not sure why, written down it doesn't seem like much? Got a good shoulder pump from the push presses. I think I will keep this as my Friday workout and Monday do this:
    Heavy Bench
    Heavy Rows
    CGBP
    Curls
    Famers
    Landmine twists
    I have a little soreness in my left elbow, gonna monitor that. Maybe this is too much push and pulling?

    Sunday - 03.15
    MTB - 60k @ 3:20 +/- 450m

    Totals
    Run - 18k
    Bike - 182.5k
    ---------------Week 3: Cycle II---------------
    15.03.16--03.22

    Monday - 03.16
    Jack shit warmup
    Bench 2 x 5/3/2 @ 95/105/115kgs
    Row 5 x 5 @ 50/55/60/65/70kgs

    Bike Commute - 35k @ 80 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Slow moving day today. Didn't have enough time to get to the accessory lifts so I pushed the bench and rows a bit. I was thinking yesterday I didn't fully explain why I am pushing so much upper work. Mainly my thought for the next couple cycles was to focus a little more on horizontal push-pulls to assist in my longer MTB rides. I figure building up a little strength endurance should help with the grind from the long trail rides.

    Tuesday - 03.17
    Bike Commute - 35k @ 80 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Wednesday - 03.18
    WU - 50 jump rope, 10 Swings 32kg, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts, 2 x 8 Ltwists
    Deadlift - 4/2/1 @ 140/150/155kgs
    Squat - 2 x 1/2/3 @ 100kgs
    Lunch Yoga

    I tried to replicate last week but it was a fail. My legs felt tired and never did get really warmed up. So instead I pushed the squats weight to 100kgs which felt ok, tough but not impossible. Next week I am going to take a light week in prep for my 55k which has some decent elevation change. These higher weight workouts are also beginning to take significantly longer, maybe I need to lower the jumps to 5kgs vs. 10kgs.

    Thursday - 03.19
    Run Commute - 18k @125 min
    Bike Commute - 17.5k @ 40 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Friday - 03.20
    WU - 50 jump rope, 10 Swings 32kg, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Power Cleans - 6 x 2 @ 60 kgs
    Press - 5/3/2& 4/2/1 @ 60/65/67.5 kgs
    Pull Ups - 6 x 3 @ 5kgs
    Push Press - 8/7/6 @ 60kgs

    Well another crappy workout in the books. It was a good learning week though. I am going to adjust my scales to be lighter starting in week 5 to prevent any failures and lighten the loads on the assistance work. After all its just assistance and it doesn't fucking matter right.
    Power cleans are little to technique intensive for me right now to go heavy so I am going to back off weight to 60kgs and up reps again for the rest of this cycle.
    Push presses are exhausting, especially combined with weighted pull ups. I think I'll hold at this weight for the rest of the cycle as well. Maybe push pull ups to 6 x 4 the following week.
    Looking forward to taking two days off over the weekend and then a light week next week. I got the elevation chart for my race in two Saturdays, 2100M in 56k. That's gonna be tough.

    Totals
    Run - 18k
    Bike - 88k
    ---------------Week 4: Cycle II---------------
    15.03.23--03.29

    Monday - 03.23
    WU - 50 jump rope, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Bench - 2 x 5/3/2&6 @ 90/95/100 kgs
    Rows - 5 x 8 @ 40kgs
    CGBP - 8/5/8 @ 80/80/70kgs
    Curls - 3 x 8 @ 40kgs
    Farmers - 2 x 80m @ 65kgs

    Bike Commute - 35k @ 82 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Light week planned for this week. Saturday I have a 55k planned with about 6k feet elevation gain and loss. I might readjust the schedule to do Wed/Thu back to backs and take Friday off.
    I tried to get 100kgs by as many reps on the last set, probably could have hit 7, 6 isn't too far from 10. I think this should be pretty attainable by Summer.

    Tuesday - 03.24
    Run Commute - 18k @118 min
    Bike Commute - 17.5k @ 40 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Wednesday - 03.25
    WU - 50 jump rope, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 4 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Deadlift - 4/3/2 @ 100/110/120 kgs
    Squats - 6 x 3 @ 70kgs

    Bike Commute - 35k @ 85 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Tough day again, and it was a light one hopefully the legs will feel a little more rested come Sat. It's odd how heavy lighter weights can feel sometimes. Tomorrow I am going to hit a press/pull up only workout and skip the PC's and PP. Friday will be off all day.

    Thursday - 03.26
    Bike Commute - 35k @ 84 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Came down with a stomach bug Wed night. I was hoping to get in a press/pull up workout but still had lingering pains. Not sure what caused it but its Firday morning and I am back to normal mostly. Need to do a massive feed to day for tomorrows race.

    Friday - 03.27
    Nothing, rode the boys to school on my bike.

    Saturday - 03.28
    Trail run - 57k @ ~8:48

    Here is what's in store for tomorrow. Looks like the biggest climb is a decent 840' or so. Should be fun. I'll try to pick up some unique Belgian beers to sample when I am down there.

    Capture.JPG

    Totals
    Run - 75k
    Bike - 123k

    ---------------Week 5: Cycle II---------------
    15.03.30--04.05

    Monday - 03.30
    WU - 50 jump rope, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Bench - 2 x 5/3/2 @ 95/100/110 kgs
    Rows - 5 x 5 @ 50kgs
    CGBP - 8/6 @ 70kgs
    Curls - 2 x 8 @ 40kgs
    Farmers - 1 x 80m @ 65kgs

    Bike Commute - 35k @ 81 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Pretty wiped out today some residual soreness in my calves, quads and upper back. Bench went well, I like the 10kg jump between 2 and 3 and a little lighter 3/5 sets. Kicked some ass on the bike in, a nice brisk 40km/hr tailwind does that for you. Tonight's ride home is gonna suck...

    Tuesday - 03.31
    Bike Commute - 35k @ 86 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Wednesday - 04.01
    WU - 50 jump rope, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Deadlift - 4/3/2 @ 130/140/145 kgs
    Squats - 3 x 1/2/3 @ 90kgs

    It was tough to get going on the DL's today and the first set of four probably looked horrendous. I am going to do a better ramp up from now on to make sure I am properly warmed up. Jumped into the squats right after and the first rep I could feel some soreness in my lower back. I decided to put on my belt for the rest of the sets and the difference was amazing. No more lower back soreness. A tight upright back the whole time. No more knee caving. I am going to make a better push at the squats, the only difference is I will skip the 3 rep set since the third rep seems to force the belt to cut into my ribs. So I think next week I am going to move to the protocol.
    90kgs 1/2
    95kgs 1/2
    100kgs 1/2
    105kgs 1/2
    110kgs 1/2
    115kgs 1/2
    That'll be 18 reps with increasing weight I think it should be doable

    Thursday - 04.02
    Run Commute - 18k @124 min
    Bike Commute - 17.5k @ 45 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Friday - 04.03
    WU - 50 jump rope, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Power Cleans - 5 x 3 @ 60 kgs
    Press - 2 x 5/3/2 @ 55/60/65 kgs
    Pull Ups - 3 x 3 @ 10kgs
    Push Press - 8/5 @ 60kgs

    Bike Commute - 35k @ 80 min

    Not sure why but the press is such a finicky lift for me. Some days 60kgs x 5 is easy and other days I can barely get three up. Anyway I think 2x65kgs is pretty close to my max so I am going to modify the plan a bit. Actually everything in this workout felt hard. Good thing it's the weekend. I am also thinking of only changing 5k per wave for the 4 weeks so the top set would be (pretending this week was 60) 60-62.5-62.5-65, then 2.5kg increase for the next week.

    Sunday - 04.03
    Run - 9k

    Totals
    Run - 27k
    Bike - 123k

    ---------------Week 6: Cycle II---------------
    15.04.05--04.11

    Monday - 04.06
    WU - 50 jump rope, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Bench - 2 x 4/3/2 @ 100/105/110 kgs
    Rows - 5 x 5 @ 60kgs
    CGBP - 3 x 8 @ 65kgs
    Curls - 3 x 8 @ 50kgs
    Farmers - 1 x 80m @ 85kgs

    Mountain Bike - 47k @ 2:38

    This is it for the cardio stuff for a week. I guess it'll be a nice taper for my 100k in two weekends. Would have liked to get in another loop but I was toast after the 4th. I rode before my lifting and it really showed in the bench.

    Friday - 04.10
    WU - 50 jump rope, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Power Cleans - 6 x 2 @ 60 kgs
    Press - 2 x 5/3/2 @ 50/55/65 kgs
    Pull Ups - 3 x 3 @ 10kgs
    Push Press - 8/7/6 @ 60kgs

    Saturday - 04.11
    WU - 50 jump rope
    Bench 3 x 3 @ 95/100/100kgs
    Pull ups 4 x 5 @ BW
    Squats 3 x 3 @ 90kgs
    Inv Rows 3 x 8 @ BW
    SLDL 3 x 5 @ 80kgs
    One armed Press 3 x 10 @ 15kgs

    Totals
    Run - 0k
    Bike - 47k


    ---------------Week 7: Cycle II---------------
    15.04.13--04.19

    Tuesday - 04.14
    WU - KB DL x 10 ramp up DL/Sq
    Deadlift - 4/3/2 @ 130/140/150 kgs
    Squats - 5 x 2 @ 100kgs

    Was trying to lift on Monday but skipped do to family requirements. Took a 5g dose of glycine before bed and had a fantastic night of sleep. Normal life should resume tomorrow! Looking forward to getting back on the trails and bike. Tomorrow it should be in the 20s I think this calls for a barefoot run! Got a 100k with 3000m vertical planned on Saturday, should be exciting!

    Wednesday - 04.15
    WU - 50 jump rope, 10 Swings 32kg, 2 x 8 inverted Rows, 2 x 8 Ab Rollouts
    Power Cleans - 8 x 2 @ 62.5 kgs
    Press - 2 x 5/3/2 @ 50/55/67.5 kgs
    Pull Ups - 3 x 4/3/3 @ 10kgs
    Push Press - 3 x 8 @ 62.5kgs

    Bike Commute - 35k @ 80 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Felt good to be on the bike again. I a mplanning a run commute tomorrow so I lifted today instead and off on Friday. I think I might make the switch next week to give the new plan a week to work out some kinks. I need to get my head straight for my run on Saturday.

    Thursday - 04.16
    Run Commute - 18k @ 128 min
    Lunch Yoga
    Bike Commute - 17.5k @ 50 min

    Slow ass run and my f'n knee is starting to annoy me. I think something about the power cleans or push presses set it off. It's kind of a minor ITBS feeling hopefully it's just a minor muscle pull and nothing major. Feels good to be doing yoga again.

    Friday - 04.17
    Bike Commute - 35k @ 80 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Saturday - 04.18
    Run - 101k @ 16:13

    Totals
    Run - 119k
    Bike - 88k


    ---------------Week 8: Cycle II---------------
    15.04.20--04.26

    Monday - 04.20
    Inv Rows - 3 x 8 @ BW
    LM Press - 3 x 8 @ 20kgs
    Bench - 3 x 3 @ 100kgs
    SLDL - 3 x 5 @ 65kgs
    Squat - 3 x 3 @ 60kgs
    Pull ups - 4 x 5 @ BW

    Bike Commute - 35k @ 84 min
    Lunch Yoga

    My calves and legs were sore from Saturday. It was nice to stretch out a little with the squats. Kept everything light on the lower lifts.

    Tuesday - 04.21
    Bike Commute - 35k @ 82 min
    Lunch Yoga
    Calves are even more sore today, I'm gonna jump on the foam roller tonight and use some arnica. I will keep the DL weights on the light side tomorrow morning. This weekend we are heading back down to Belgium, I have two long rides planned in the Ardennes. I'm gonna go map out my rides now.

    Thursday - 04.23
    Inc Press - 3 x 5 @ 70kgs
    P Rows - 2 x 5 @ 60kgs
    DL - 1 x 3 x 130kgs
    G Squats - 3 x 8 @ 32kgs
    Ring PU - 3 x 8 @ BW

    Bike Commute - 35k @ 85 min
    Lunch Yoga

    Another terrible workout, I am hoping its just fatigue from the weekend and not a sign of degradation from running. I tried 140kg on the DL and I couldn't break it from the ground. Then I ranout of time so I didn't get my weighted push ups in.



    Friday - 04.24
    MTB - 5k and then an accident

    Sunday - 04.26
    Run - ~25k @ 3:30

    Totals
    Run - 110k
    Bike - 25k
     
    Bare Lee likes this.
  4. Abide

    Abide
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    Barefooters
    1. Nederland -...

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
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    Found this little gem from Dan John.

    Training Programs are great. I love to read new ones and I enjoy tinkering with old ones. I’m like one of those old guys who hangs around junkyards looking for spare parts for his Hot Rod that his wife loathes. Exercise selection is fun to consider and learning a new lift can be fun, stimulating and treacherous. Watching someone trying to learn the Squat Snatch from a fitness magazine with a fitness model demonstrating something the model has obviously never done before is not unlike watching a locomotive approaching a stalled car on the train tracks in a movie. It’s not “laugh out loud” funny, but “funny” like “what the hell are you doing funny.” Shopping for a new supplement or trying out a new herb can be like the early moments of dating: the first days of waiting for a reaction, the exciting new smells as you urinate, and then, usually, dumping the exciting new herb or supplement for somebody new.

    And, that is the problem with most of us. Training programs and exercise selection and nutritional tweaks bombard us nearly every time we open the Internet or a new fitness magazine. We get deluged with “try this” and “do that.” How do we filter what works for us? How do we discern what will or won’t work?

    I have a bit of advice for most of us that goes back to the Greeks: what is your philosophy of training? I’m serious, too: what are the basic suppositions that drive your vision of training, health, and fitness? In this short piece, I will overview my training philosophy as it has developed over the years. Before I take too much credit for genius, please understand that nearly every concept that I hold near and dear has been stolen from others much brighter and better than me.

    In fact, as a football coach I heard Jimmy Johnson once speak in Las Vegas and he literally turned around my approach to coaching. Johnson, one of the rare people to win a National Championship in football (Miami Hurricanes) and the Superbowl (Dallas Cowboys), keynoted the annual coach’s gathering. Now, to be honest, I expected little. Generally, the “big names” come unprepared and talk to the High School coaches like we are newspaper guys, scratch a few marks on a board, and leave to go golf.

    I was wrong. Johnson changed my vision of coaching. He summarized his approach to coaching with three basic concepts:

    1. Simplicity. During the talk, he stressed that he didn’t like lots of this and that that confuses “your people.” One point he made still strikes me: “When in doubt, play the guy who makes the fewest mistakes.” Not a bad way to think about a lot of things in life....
    2. Conditioning. Johnson didn’t want a player who could only play in certain situations. He stressed he didn’t like people coming and going on and off the field. So, to keep things simple, the athletes needed to be in condition.
    3. Win the Sudden Change. Now, this is a technical football issue, but he simply wanted to beat the percentages when an interception or fumble happened for or against his team. Simply, he felt that if his team could handle instant adversity....or an instant gift...better than his opponents, he would win. He did.

    From this talk, I began asking other coaches. In baseball, I talked to “Coach of the Year,” Steve Cramblitt. I wasn’t surprised when Steve had a list of three keys to success. On an airplane, I sat next to a Division One basketball coach and asked him his “secret,” again...three keys.

    As a track coach, I took this advice and developed my keys to success in Track and Field. You shouldn’t be surprised that there are three points:

    1. Simplicity. We need to break down each event into basics and have a word, a key phrase, for every movement. I knew that I had mastered this when I had a Japanese Foreign Exchange student place in the Region...barely understanding English, but mastered our discus technique with only the key words: “Stretch-1-2-3.”
    2. Repetition. Nobody is going to do the full movements more than my team.
    3. Etching. Etching is a mental technique where the athlete not only has a clear image of what he or she needs to do, but has a single focus term or concept to hang on during the highest levels of competition. For most of us, simply having a ritual is enough. I beat rituals into the heads of every athlete I coach so that they are on automatic pilot under pressure. I have had state champs tell me that all they could think of was “Stomp,” a term to simply get one foot on the ground in an event. Nerves can override years of training, so I teach the athlete from day one to practice a single focus concept.

    So, how can this all help the general strength trainer or fitness enthusiast? Simply, I think we need to have a philosophy of how to train simply to filter out all the “noise” that we get from television, books, magazines and the net. Seriously, click on the TV and watch the infomercials talk about fitness and training and diet...you will be assailed with dozens of conflicting messages about how to shrink your body with spot conditioning, pills, and machines...and the next station will argue the opposite!

    My philosophy for strength training, and no surprise here, is based on three concepts:

    1. Movements, not muscle
    2. “If it is important, do it every day, if it isn’t, don’t do it at all.” This is a quote attributed to wrestling Olympic Gold Medalist Dan Gable
    3. Repetitions...lots of repetitions.

    Let’s look at each separately. First, I believe in coaching movements, not muscles. I am almost to the point as a coach that I am suggesting that we NEVER talk about anatomy in the weight room and I insist that we run screaming from the pseudoscience that dominates the industry today. Honestly, I have been told that “we” still don’t know what causes a muscle to grow...and it is obvious from the plethora of crap available on weight loss that we know even less about fat. The moment one of my lifters mentions a muscle group, I know he has been at the magazine rack at the supermarket reading the muscle mags.

    “Blitz the Serraseruaputus into Submission!” What I have never understood is this: are these muscles in a war or is this a group of dinosaurs threatening to take over the world? What did the muscle do to deserve this? Certainly, we should find a peaceful solution to this crisis.

    What begins to happen when you coach muscle groups is that you end up with what Pavel Tsatsouline calls “Frankenstein Training.” Rather than being body, soul and spirit...you end up with biceps, triceps, quads, and pecs. Well, most people don’t work their quads...but you get the point. I argue a different strategy...work movements.

    The Big List

    1. Horizontal Push (Bench Press, Push Up)
    2. Horizontal Pull (Rows and variations)
    3. Vertical Push (Military Press and variations)
    4. Vertical Pull (Pull up, Pulldown)
    5. Explosive Full Body (Total Body lifts: swings/snatches/cleans/jerks)
    6. Quad Dominant Lower Body (Squat)
    7. Posterior Chain (Deadlift)
    8. Anterior Chain (Medicine Ball Ab Throw)
    9. Rotational/Torque?

    It’s funny about number nine. For years, I thought I had figured that these exercises “just didn’t work” and I “didn’t use them.” Then, I had a young intern follow me around for a week and note that our athletes did “Half Turkish Get Ups, Windmills (three variations), Suitcase Carries, tumbling and dozens of variations of medicine ball throws. Hmmm...right. Besides those 200 reps a day...we don’t do any.

    This isn’t original, by any means. In the 1950’s, Percy Cerutty recommended that his runners, including marathoners, lift! Now, I've been a fan of Percy for years. Cerutty was an Australian track coach/guru/fitness buff/nutcase who coached some of the best middle distance runners in the world in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
    Some consider him a nutcase, but rarely have I found normal people to have all the answers. Again, if you strive for normal, spend an hour at a Las Vegas casino and take inventory on the what "normal" is in America today.

    Why was he crazy? He told runners to:

    • Run up hills.

    • Lift weights.

    • Eat odd foods like oatmeal, veggies, and fruit.

    Arrest him, I say!

    Before I was born, he insisted that all athletes do the big five lifts:

    1. A deadlift.

    2. A form of pressing. Cerutty liked a lift called the "bench press." I'm not sure if it ever become popular.

    3. An explosive full body move. He liked the heavy dumbbell swing.

    4. A form of pulling. Cerutty liked pull-ups and cheat curls. Cheat curls are like a power clean with a curl grip (power curls) or that bouncing heavy bar curl you see every gym-rat in the world do when he gets tired from strict curls.

    5. An ab exercise. If deadlifts make you go one way, the ab exercise should strengthen you in the other.

    After going heavy on these lifts with two to five sets of two to five (save for swings and abs where the reps go fairly high), you hang from a pull-up bar and stretch for a few minutes.

    Recognize it? I think I've recommended this workout for thousands of people, after I, uh, invented it.

    1. Deadlift (2x Bodyweight for marathoners!)
    2. Bench Press (1x Bodyweight for marathoners!))
    3. Power Curl
    4. Swing
    5. Sit up


    We just haven’t come that far in the last half-century. In fact, we have regressed. How often has the high carb eating, stretchaholic, fat jogger in your neighborhood lifted?

    It can be that simple, really. Strive to cover the nine major movements in your training and you should be fine. More than “fine,” really. Now, the big question: how often?

    2. Dan Gable: “If it is important, do it every day...if it isn’t, don’t do it at all.”

    Great, now we know the moves...how do we decide “when” to do them? I argue: every damn day!!! Half the fitness professionals in the world suddenly just had heart attacks! So, how do we do it? We use the warm ups to attempt to do everyone of the big moves. Currently, I have my athletes do this:

    • Crush Press Walk/Horn Walks/Waiter Walks/Suitcase Walks/Crosswalk/Farmer Walk/SeeSaw Press Walk
    • Light Goblet Squats 2 sets of 8 Plus Hip Flexor Stretch
    • Bootstrapper Squats
    • Alligator Push Ups
    • RDL Stretch and Deck Squats
    • Hurdle Stepovers (Right, then Left)
    • Pullups 3 sets of 8
    • Ab Ball Throws 1 set of 25
    • 50 Half Turkish Get ups
    • “Rolling” Abs/Windmills
    • Goblet Squats...Ten Seconds with -”123” Bottom Pause
    • Swings

    Don’t worry about the specific exercises or names here...the general idea is to do every move...lightly...in the warm ups. “Lightly,” is, of course, a relative term. I have junior football players using a 110pound kettlebell on the Goblet Squats. Here is the point: I think all nine movements are important...so, we do them every single day. With most athletes, the movement needs repeating...far more than most people think. At the elite levels of track and field and Olympic lifting, the total number of full movements is simply staggering. Many young people today are out of touch with movements like squatting from using chairs their entire life and kept from deadlifting and rotating from the Safety Lifting Police.

    Now, maybe you don’t agree with me on this idea...it really is contrarian. “Most” people don’t train this way. I just know this: people on the cutting edge of Fat Loss programs and others at the top of the food chain in sports performance are doing methods like this every single day.
    There is a million ways to do all the movements, but I have found that it works best in the warm up. In other words, do all the movements — or most of them — in the daily movement warm-up! I've stolen an idea from both Steve Javorek and Alwyn Cosgrove. Do complexes to warm up. Here's one of mine, only mildly stolen:

    • Power Snatch for 8 reps

    • Overhead Squat for 8 reps

    • Back Squat for 8 reps

    • Good Morning for 8 reps

    • Row for 8 reps

    • Deadlift for 8 reps

    Do these all in a row without letting go of the bar. Rest a minute, a minute and a half, or two minutes, and do it again. Try three to five sets of this little complex. This particular one is ideal for a day dedicated to vertical or horizontal pushing. If you do five of these complexes, you've done 240 movements that cover practically all the other moves.

    Now, will this get you “strong” or “buff?” Well, it will rip the fat off of you, but the rest of the workout is the key to strength, fitness and health goals. So, how do you get strong...the base of all performance improvement?

    Oh, but what about those movements that aren’t important? Don’t do them at all...

    3. The “Formula”

    Max Effort
    Speed Work (Dynamic)
    Isos (Deadstop)
    Repetitions...lots of Repetitions

    Getting strong is probably more art than science. Exercise science generally tells us what we already figured out in the gym a century or more ago. Several things seem to work:

    1. Maximum Effort. Pushing the limit on a lift seems to make you better at pushing the limit on the lift. Simply holding a heavy weight seems to help you lift more. There is no question in my mind that “going heavy” trumps all the other toys we have in the gym for getting stronger. Of course, if you go heavy all the time, parts of your body begin to break off.

    2. Speed Work or the Dynamic Method. Why do guys who snatch a lot seem to be able to deadlift a lot, too? Speed works in the weight room. Going fast with weights seems to make you able to handle more weight. Yep, you can take this too far. I don’t want to hear about how doing 500 fast pushups is the same as benching 500.

    3. Isometrics...the Deadstop Method. Again, overhyped...but it works. Pushing as hard as you can without movement seems to make you really strong when you move. I prefer the “deadstop” method of putting a bar exactly at a sticking point and lifting from the deadstop. I even hang off the bar for a second to further limit the stretch-reflex, then try to blast the bar up.

    4. But, the key is repetitions. The most obvious and most ignored of the methods is simply getting the reps in...

    And, I get it. Nobody is a beginner anymore. Two weeks at the spa with a personal trainer and “I’m an advanced guy.” I recommend three sets of eight for a lifter and the world condemns me for faulty thinking. But, here is the deal: the fastest road I know to strength and body composition changes is increasing the reps. My athletes do hundreds...thousands of reps....a week in the important moves. A typical press workout for the athletes I work with on a typical day is up to 55 reps using the 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 method. Sure, it’s for beginners. Remember, though, if you don’t bench at least bodyweight, I consider you a raw beginner...no matter how may t-shirts you own that say “No Pain, No Gain” or whatever idiotic phrase of the day dominates the strength industry.


    With Maximum Effort, I have a little thing called the “Rule of Ten.” I think you have about ten heavy, quality reps in a workout. It can be 3 x 3, 5 x 2, Six Singles, or 2 x 5, but around ten reps seems to be the maximum that an athlete can roll out in the “big” lifts like the deadlift, snatch, clean, squat, and bench. Sure, you can do more lighter movements, but in ME, you only get so much. Speed work, on the other extreme, seems a natural for more repetitions. Now, I am not arguing for more reps in a set, rather more total repetitions. Instead of 4 sets of 10, my athletes (for just one example) often use 8 sets of 5. Speed work doesn’t seem to work with singles, doubles or triples for the younger athlete, but one little sign of growing competence is the ability of my athletes to “get faster” on less reps. It is hard to explain, but “you know it when you see it.”


    For the deadstop or isometric method, the rule is simple: one rep. Now, let me phrase that in reality...it might take up to five reps to figure out the weight for the one truly heavy isometric. The weight has to be so heavy that the bar doesn’t move! With the deadstop variety...isometrics crazy cousin...there might be a need for one or two (or more) lighter attempts just to be sure everything...including the equipment...is ready.

    The coach has to embrace something I learned from a fabulous high school football coach years ago. When I asked him how he got so successful, he told me: “you can’t get bored watching the basics.” “You?” “Yeah...the coach all too often has seen the same thing over and over and wants to move on, but the team and the individuals are just learning it.” In other words, if you want to teach someone to squat...you have to watch them squat a lot.

    For the individual fitness trainee, it means that you are going to have to learn and do lots and lots and lots of movements. I can’t say it any better than what I learned from a deaf discus thrower that I worked with a few years ago. He had become very good and I asked him his secret. He took his right middle finger and twisted it over his right index finger...and then slapped it into his left palm. In sign language, it means “repetition.”
    Get used to it.

    Two Typical Workouts using my system:
    Example One
    Warm up Complex (Five Total Sets)

    • Power Snatch for 8 reps
    • Overhead Squat for 8 reps
    • Back Squat for 8 reps
    • Good Morning for 8 reps
    • Row for 8 reps
    • Deadlift for 8 reps

    Workout:
    A1. 10 sets of 2 Bench Press with Chains (Try to increase weight as you go...within reason)
    A2. Lawnmowers (8 right/8 left) (One arm kettlbell Rows)

    B1. Snatch: 5 Sets of 3 (Technical Work)

    C1. Power Curls: 5 Sets of 3 (Increase weight each set)

    D1. Hanging Leg Raises.

    Example Two:
    Warm up

    • Crush Press Walk/Horn Walks/Waiter Walks/Suitcase Walks/Crosswalk/Farmer Walk/SeeSaw Press Walk
    • Light Goblet Squats 2 sets of 8 Plus Hip Flexor Stretch
    • Bootstrapper Squats
    • Alligator Push Ups
    • RDL Stretch and Deck Squats
    • Hurdle Stepovers (Right, then Left)
    • Pullups 3 sets of 8
    • Ab Ball Throws 1 set of 25
    • 50 Half Turkish Get ups
    • “Rolling” Abs/Windmills
    • Goblet Squats...Ten Seconds with -”123” Bottom Pause
    • Swings

    Double Chain Max Bench Press
    Single Chain Max Bench Press

    Drumline: 5-4-3-2-1 (In the group of exercises, do the first lift for five, the second lift for five....then, the first lift for four, the second lift for four...adding weight each lift)

    Front Squat with Two Chains
    Pullups
    Power Snatch and Overhead Squat
    Thick Bar Deadlifts
     
  5. Sid

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    It's always nice to see people making progress.

    It's also good to have stated goals. So here goes!

    1) Zero injury
    2) No unplanned downtime
    3) Consistency
    4) Be healthy enough to maintain #1-3 up to age 80.
     
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  6. Bare Lee

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    Nice article. I've tried programming more plyometrics stuff in, but I never get around to it. Maybe this cycle. I also liked how DJ referenced Alwyn Cosgrove. He's another trainer who makes a lot of sense to me. And he mentioned "Power Curls." A while ago I think I mentioned that a cheating style doesn't necessarily make the curls wrong, but rather, a different exercise with a different purpose. In fact, I was thinking of adding Hang Cleans to my assistance exercises, because I just don't feel like developing my technique on the Power Clean right now, but I want a more plyometric lift in there somewhere, so maybe the Power Curl will work. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to develop my biceps a bit too; I think my arms are very triceps dominant.

    In that ratios article I posted by Brad Kaczmarski, he put the Deadlift at 140% of the Squat instead of the usual 125%, which fits better with our capabilities. So I think I'll start this cycle with that percentage right from the start, rather than monkeying with the formula until it's right. I'll do this with the caveat that on any day the Deadlift doesn't feel exactly right, I'll skip it or reduce the weight immediately. This week and the next I may just start with 215 and then add 10 pounds each workout until it's at the chart's prescribed SQx1.4 weight.

    As for warm-up, I don't know, either I go straight to the squat and build up with light sets, or I row for five minutes on the Concept II machine. As long as I'm running and stretching, I don't feel the need to warm-up that much. Just can't start with deadlifts!
     
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  7. Abide

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    Yep that ratio seems to work a little better, the other article was averaging powerlifting which often has higher squat levels than non-geared powerlifting or regular lifting.

    Anyway along the same train of thought how Rippetoe says that higher loads can be lifted with the low bar parallel squat, which is why he promotes it, should also indicate lifting the heaviest load in the DL will have the most benefit to your other lifts.

    About that article its one of the few I have found that expand on the movements like we have. I thought it was interesting. Although sometimes I find his simplify attitude and then complex warmup/workout routines a little contradictory? Maybe for someone who lives in the fitness world that's not very complex?

    I did semi cheat curls today too, they were fun, I'm going to keep them in. Was considering doing power cleans on Friday for a little variety? Do you really think its that beneficial?
     
  8. Bare Lee

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    Yah, I wasn't going to say anything, but in that particular article Dan John's layout isn't exactly simple or 'easy strength.' But his target seems to be young athletes, not middle-aged fitness guys. He also talks about the importance of lots of reps, but then says only 10 reps really count . . . Maybe he's talking about lots of reps throughout the week?

    I've come to disagree with Rippetoe a bit, insofar as for me, Squat ROM is just as important as load. But I'm not competing in Powerlifting meets, so I'm trying to get to the bottom of my stretch reflex, a few inches below parallel. The deadlift, like you say, is where load is all-important, since the ROM is simple and can't really vary too much unless you do partials or deficit DLs. The DL, like the Presses, is all about strength development, right? The problem is, I'm still a little spooked by that injury, so I'll keep doing lighter DLs for a while yet. I'm pretty sure I'll get some kind of warning before it's too late, but it's still a little scary lifting past 200 for me these days. I'm pretty sure more regular running and stretching will help keep that area looser.

    For expanding on the basic movements, as either variations or assistance, I guess it's mostly a matter of personal opinion and/or personal weak points and/or athletic specificity. So everybody is going to have their own favorite sauces on the menu, but the basic ingredients should be the same. I like Wendler's approach to assistance exercises. He basically says they don't really matter too much, so don't overthink them. I for one could never do a Westside routine, but I'm also not an advanced powerlifter trying to squeeze out every ounce of potential. I'm pretty sure Loise Simmons knows what he's talking about. The problem is all the fools who try to adopt his approach when they're still at the novice or intermediate level. For us, basic lifts and consistency are all that really count, I think. Can't lose focus.

    I think for me, the number one plyometric exercise is box jumps. I've always felt like I should do Power Cleans, but I've never really felt like doing them. I think I'd rather try something like Squat Jumps or something, but I wonder if it's a good idea to jump with a load once you're past the young-n-dumb stage of life. Probably not so good on the joints and there's a higher risk of injury. But to answer your question, yes, I think Power Cleans are beneficial. Probably the best loaded plyometrics exercise I can think of, and I should do them.
     
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  9. Abide

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    Alright I'll put them in Friday, that will give me some similarities to Monday and Friday with a full body lift in each. I felt exactly the same way about squat jumps, it's kind of like weighted running, too risky I think, especially when power cleans are there as a replacement.

    Yeah that's a good point we should stay away from specialization. I guess it would be comparable for me to start doing sprint training when I am only running slow long races.
    I'm really going to focus on the concurrent piece of our training this cycle. Try to dial in the interference between lifting, running and biking. Maybe add some upper development while I am at it. Now all I need to figure out is how to be less hungry all the time?

    Hey speaking of heavier deadlifts have you pulled out your trap bar recently? I wonder if using that might help as you are working your way back up. It may shift the loads better between your front an rear? Also something about the deep squats, how wide are you standing? Is it similar to where you would be jumping or a little wider?
    I also don't agree with low bar being the best as I think it disregards some important differences in anatomy. I feel much stronger and more stable in a high bar squat than a low bar even when I am training both. It feels more solid to have a vertical posture on the squat for some reason. It's also one of the reasons I like to look up when I deadlift and swing.

    On Wed I think I am going to run this:

    DL 4/3/2 - 140/145/150
    SQ 1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3 - 95

    And that's it? Simple and to the point.
     
  10. Bare Lee

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    I just posted my revised chart with some programming, in the first post under today's date. I added in some assistance, highly subject to adjustment, and the set/reps for each day. I'm going to stick with the weekly wave approach, something like 3x5/2x10/3x3.

    ......10....|.....10.....|.....10.....|.....10.....|.....10......
    ..5..........|..5..........|..5..........|..5..........|..5...........
    ..........3..|..........3..|..........3..|..........3..|..........3..

    If 10 reps causes me mental agony on Wednesdays, I'll bring it back down to 7 reps, but I think some endurance work might be beneficial.

    I would think you'd still want to do sprints once in a while. It's good for training running economy, and probably good to run with a bigger ROM once in a while.

    Yeah, it will be interesting to see if my squat progress slows once I'm running more. As we've discussed, that's the only lift that really seems to interfere with my running. But I'd much rather run well than squat well.

    I think you're right a trap bar deadlift would balance things a bit more. But I'm remembering I got a sore knee when I tried them a year or two ago. Anyway, I'm going with the theory that I got hurt by lifting without loosening up first, and being generally tight at that time, and that there's nothing fundamentally wrong with me or my technique. Last summer I think I added 80-100 pounds to my deadlift without really even trying, so I don't think there's any underlying issue involved, otherwise I would've felt it then. I just gotta stay aware that the injury may not be 100% healed even though it's felt great for a month now. I'll probably stay cautious for one or two more months, and I'll do my best to keep the loads linked to 140% of my squat. I think this is one instance where those ratios are really helpful.

    My stance is about shoulder-width or a little bit wider, feet are turned outward but not that much. This feels pretty natural and really stable and good on my knees.

    I still like the low-bar position squat, maybe because I've simply gotten used to it, but for me the bar feels really stable there. It does keep me from a deeper ROM though. Maybe a full squat with low bar position is a nice compromise between optimizing ROM and load, I dunno. It just feels good right now, so I'm going with it. Sometime in the future I would like to try front squats and get a more vertical back like you're doing with the high-bar position back squats. One advantage with training using the low-bar position is that if and when I want to go for a 1RM PR, I can keep everything the same and just reduce depth a bit. It would be really cool to see three wheels on either side someday.

    That's an interesting set/rep scheme you got for the big lifts. I guess I'm sticking with the same sets across for all the lifts for the time being, but at some point I would like to get back to drop-sets on the big three. Maybe on the fourth and eighth week I could try a different set/rep scheme . . .

    P.S., any thoughts about changing the thread titles? Maybe "Strength Training for Fitness" would be even better. Sid comment yesterday made me realize that by putting 'singles' in the title we/I might have been scaring away potential participants who are fearful about getting involved in some macho pissing contest, which is not what we're about at all. I just think having rep and load goals is a good way to mark progress and stay motivated.
     
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  11. Abide

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    I personally would prefer the focus on running and strength training since we all do both. Some ideas:

    Concurrent Endurance and Strength Training
    Concurrent training
    Hybrid training
    Mixed Training
    Combination training
    Parallel training
    Synchronized training
    Coexistent training

    The only problem I have with minimalist training is that ours really aren't true minimalist routines. I envision a minimalist program to be one that lacks equipment, or has minimal availability to equipment. Or something like Pavel's power to the people plan where you just deadlift and bench. That could just be my interpretation of the word though.

    Ha, I can't wait to hear about your 10 rep squats. Like I said before 5 reps of the deadlift was really eliciting growth for me. I would be scared to do 10 reps right now. I don't think you should mess with your form for the sake of doing a deeper squat. I think it's one of those things that you will naturally gravitate towards the best form for you. If you really want to focus on depth maybe do some box squats for a while at below parallel to get that depth ingrained. The problem I used to have with low bar squats was when I would go for a max squat I would misjudge height so I was very likely cheating to make the rep. That issue for me is completely fixed with an upright squat.

    So I need to get my squat up to 120kgs to be 140% of my deadlift. I guess that might be a nice overall goal for the next three cycles? That would be 20kgs off three wheels, which like you should definitely be on my radar to hit before my bench gets there.

    I picked that scheme mainly to limit my deadlift reps, as rip recommends, while also giving me some room to add some intensity. The ladders were just to get a little variety in my typical 5 x 2 squats. That's really only 30 reps of heavy leg work. I am going to work some tables up for direction sake.
     
  12. Abide

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    Oh yeah I'm also going to start some bona fide barefoot running soon, it's been a while. I think my run into work should be perfect for it and I'll bring in my luna's for backup. Once it gets a bit warmer though maybe in a week or two. I'll try to work up to my full 11 miles barefoot by summer time?
     
  13. Bare Lee

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    Thanks for the input.

    I agree that our training isn't completely minimalist, but I think the six-lifts approach comes close. Anyway, I think you're right it's good to include the running bit. That might attract more interest, or at least be a little less off-putting, given the general conception of strength training a lot of runners have. I actually like your old title, "Optimal Strength Training for Runners" best, but it's a little deceptive, since our strength training, or at least mine, isn't really optimized for running. We could just go with "Strength Training for Runners" but that's not quite right either, for me anyway--my ST goals have nothing to do with my Running goals, and I haven't made any compromises one way or the other. So I would vote for "Concurrent Strength Training & Running" (2015: Eight-Week Workout Cycle II). 'Endurance' could be anything, but we all focus on running as our main or only endurance training. With your blessing, I'll change the title later.

    Yeah, I can't believe I'm going to go high-rep, but after further reading, I think it could be beneficial. One article I read argued that a little hypertrophy can help drive strength gains. I'm approaching it more as part of a balanced or complete way to train the muscle. Even the difference between five and three reps is noticeable, so 10 reps probably confers some unique benefit as well. It also adds a little variety to the weekly routine to switch up rep counts. I still love focusing on the six basic lifts though. Yesterday I felt no urge whatsoever to do assistance lifts, but I was also feeling hungry. I guess my list of assistance lifts is there if I feel like it, but no obligation. Just getting through the six main lifts at close to my 3-, 5-, or 10-rep maxes is already quite a workout.

    For squat depth, I'm probably not going as deep as it feels like anyway. And when I push to go deeper, I feel a little strain on my knees, so I'll take your advice and just go with what feels most natural to me. Thanks. If I want to go for greater depth, I'll probably take up front squats. I could see doing those on my 10-rep day once my squats begin to plateau. It's also one of the those major lifts, like Power Cleans, I should learn how to do properly at some point.

    Look forward to seeing your plan for this cycle in schematic form. I think I'm pretty much set now. Yesterday's workout felt pretty good, and I think I came up with a good plan for getting the deadlifts up to speed while avoiding any risk of re-injury.

    Good to hear you're going to be running barefoot again. We're supposed to begin getting spring-like weather next week, so hopefully I can go back to full-time barefoot running soon.

    I just got the Spud Men's 2-Ply Deadlift Belt, from Rogue. Unlike the cheap Harbinger nylon belts I got on Amazon, it feels like a real belt, but it's still a lot easier to get on and off than the leather belt I got from Elitefts.
     
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  14. Abide

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    That sounds good, not sure if Sid and BA care?

    Hey how does that belt feel when squatting? Mine is very stiff and digs into my ribcage, so I don't use it when I do squat. But eventually I would like to get a different one.

    Alright I'll get to work on my plan and repost in a bit.
     
  15. Bare Lee

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    I'll wait to see if there are any objections.

    The belt felt great yesterday. I think stiff leather is overkill for my level, and the Spud's velcro makes it a lot easier to get it on and off and adjust to just the right tightness. The 2-ply is thick yet still very comfortable--perfect for deadlifting. Today my 'core' is sore from squatting. So it definitely helped those muscles flex isometrically. At Rogue, it was $49 plus $4.95 shipping. This was the best price+shipping combo I could find. I got the Large, which is a little bit small until I lose ten pounds or so. There's a two-inch gap in the middle. I was going off my waist size and not my belly size.

    I would definitely recommend it. There's a 3-ply one too if you want something even thicker: http://www.elitefts.com/spud-inc-3-ply-deadlift-belt.html. I think if I need something more supportive, I would prefer that over my 6.5mm leather belt.
     
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  17. Bare Lee

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    You could do it for less at the hardware store. As I said, though, the problem with that kind of system is that the load tends to swing a bit, so you'd really want two pulleys overhead, to put space between you and the load. I had a system like this my first weight set. It loaded plates onto a vertical bar with a stopper welded on the bottom. You could make this with some plumbing pipe, flange, and a t-joint on top to string the cable through. The cable went up to a pulley on a top beam then across to another pulley and down to the pulldown bar. It worked, and would be easy to adapt to your power rack/cage I would think. You could make the cable yourself or have Yukon fitness custom-make one to your specs. Ideally, someday I will be mostly weaned off my cables, once I can do unassisted pullups and get the t-grip bar for barbell rows. Although, I don't know, cable rows are pretty good for me right now, especially now that I've added a little chain length to the cable.

    I thought about the pink one because according to BA it would make me 5% stronger. I could also say I'm supporting breast cancer research while lifting.

    Now I'm seriously thinking about getting the 3-ply . . . I'm impressed by how sore my ab muscles and outer lower back muscles are this morning. It's just really hard to get the leather belt tight enough. Maybe I could use the 3-ply for squats and the 2-ply for deadlifts? Ah crap, and I thought I was done obsessing about gear . . .
     
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  18. Abide

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    Is your leather one a single prong? It's easier for me to get a real tight fit with that mine. The double prong ones were more cumbersome.

    Yeah the row contraption probably won't work since I care more about the horizontal row than the pull down. Tricep extensions and facepulls might be nice though.
     
  19. Bare Lee

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    Single prong: http://www.elitefts.com/shop/power-...-6-5mm-p2-single-prong-powerlifting-belt.html

    Yeah, the low pulley would probably be more hassle than it's worth, although it definitely could be done. If you have room on the side of your rack to row, you could attach the whole assembly side-to-side instead of front-to-back and secure the low pulley on the bottom of the side post.
     
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  20. Sid

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    What was the question?
     

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