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

Discussion in 'Training Information/Training Regimens' started by Bare Lee, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    Welcome to Cycle VII! This cycle will be truncated to four weeks, to finish out the year.

    ---------------Assessment of Cycle VI---------------

    Aerobic
    My cycling was kind of spotty towards the end, but I did get in some rowing. I think the lack of conditioning began to affect my ability to do higher rep sets on Wednesday's lifting sessions. My knees seemed to feel better with less cycling though, as well as with cycling at a faster pace, so perhaps I should limit cycling to once or twice a week at tempo pace and cross-train the other days.

    Anaerobic
    Emphasis. Lifting-wise, bringing up my squat continued to be my main focus, but I also wanted to bring up my Pulldown/Pullup, so I put the latter first in the workout order. This didn't last long though. Squats are really the perfect lift to start with. For one, they require a longer warm-up anyway--up to five warm-up sets (empty bar>85>125>175>215). Two, they have a big ROM and utilize virtually every muscle in the body. And three, they get the mobility in my shoulders and hips nice and lubed up as well. After the Squat worksets my whole body is pretty well warmed-up. The whole process takes about 15 minutes, then the other lifts take 5-10 minutes each, including warm-up sets. When I began workouts with Pulldowns, my body still felt cold both during and after. Pulldowns seem best towards the end of the workout when everything is already warmed up, probably because of the greater stretch involved.

    It was hard to judge this last cycle's programming success because in the middle of the cycle I got slowed down by a flu bug. Overall, I think the basic "weekly wave" of 5-8-3 or 5-7-3 rep-counts was good and there's no real reason to change much, except I may make the seven-rep day a five-rep day at lighter loads if the higher rep sets cause too much mental anguish.

    I increased my Squat by 12 pounds over the cycle, and this would've been more like 16 pounds without the flu bug, and possibly my idea of pegging Squat increases to Pulldown increases slowed the Squat down a bit as well. Pulldowns seemed to stall a bit at 190 pounds for five-rep Neutral Pulldowns, and 200 for three-rep Supine Pulldowns, but given the spotty nature of the workouts, it's hard to tell for sure if this is a natural threshold or not. I suspect as I begin to approach Bodyweight loads, doing Pulldowns in a kneeling position will prevent me from adding much more weight. My knees start to come up off the floor and I enter into a fetal position. With a flexed spine like this, I probably lose leverage. In Cycle VII, I'm bringing the Pulldown loads down to slowly realign them within the Iron Ratios from a 1:1 correspondence to the Bench Press, to a 9:10 ratio. This translates into bringing them down from 1.5 times the OHP, to 1.35 x OHP. Right now, they're set at 1.45. Every two weeks, I will bring them down .01, so that the new Iron Ratio is achieved at the beginning of Cycle III of next year. Hopefully by then the other lifts will be strong enough to produce enough carryover so that the Pulldowns/Pullups can then begin to increase loading at the same rate as everything else, after this long phase of relative deloading.

    Experiments. I experimented with making Wednesdays more of an assistance or variation or lighter day, instead of a strict higher-rep day for the six basic lifts, and I liked this. It seemed to cure me of some of the overtrained feeling I was getting at the end of Cycle V, where each workout was at the same intensity.

    I also experimented with a grease-the-groove protocol on my nonlifting days, by doing assisted pullups. I didn't get very far with this however as the flu bug then work-obsession interfered.

    Finally, I re-introduced conventional DLs towards the end of the cycle, and was surprised by how well my knees tolerated the plus 300-pound loads.

    Loading. At first I microloaded the Pulldown's 1RM one pound a week, and then based all the other loads on that, using the Iron Ratio. Then I switched to microloading the Squat's 1RM by 2 pounds per week, and based everything on that. I liked that better. I think I should be able to maintain this rate of increase for at least one or two more cycles. I reached a projected 1RM PR of 300 pounds for the Squat during Week Eight of Cycle VI. A few weeks into Cycle VII and my 3RM load will equal my previous, tested (not projected) 1RM PR of 275. So a faint feeling of progress has been restored during an otherwise trying year of injury and illness set-backs. My deadlift is still below what it was more than a year ago however.

    ---------------Programming for Cycle VII---------------
    Aerobic
    For the moment, I've shelved my idea of integrating swimming into my weekly aerobic routine during the winter. I'm just not up for the extra rigamarole. I'll continue with cycling and occasional rowing and maybe even some hill running. I've got the gear I need now for winter cycling, but it hasn't gotten that cold yet. My knees have been feeling pretty good lately, so perhaps a little running won't hurt either. Rowing is real boring but it's a pretty good compliment to lifting, probably better than cycling or running actually, because it's full-body--the entire posterior chain flexes with each rep--and it's pretty easy on the knees.

    Anaerobic
    Experiment. I will continue the experiment of making Wednesday more of a assistance/variation/lighter day, subbing in dumbbell versions of the Overhead Press and Bench Press for the main lifts. And although I will continue to program the Squats and Deadlifts for seven reps per set on Wednesday, I may just make them five reps, but at seven-rep loads, for an easier day.

    I'm going to try to do two sets of each Pulldown variation (Close Neutral-grip, Neutral-grip, and Supine-grip) each workout, at the same load.

    I will try doing two sets of RDLs and 1-2 sets of conventional DLs every workout. If my knees can take it, I would really like to make conventional DLs a central part of my workouts again. I may not do the DL sets at full reps however, and may try something like Abide's EMOM approach instead. So, for example, instead of 2 x 3, I could do 3 sets of doubles or even 5-6 sets of singles at the same triple load (90% of 1RM) but with much less time to rest in between sets.

    I will put the four main barbell lifts first: Squat>OHP>RDL/DL> BP, then do Rows and Pulldowns. I really want to focus on getting the barbell lifts up and not worry too much about the upper body pulls. The latter will become a little more like assistance, with greater volume and less intensity. Ideally the upper body pull-to-press ratio will approach 2:1, volume-wise.

    I will continue to try to grease the groove with assisted pullups on my nonlifting days whenever I can, along with back extensions and a few other things.

    I will once again try to make mobility exercises a more central part of my routine.

    Finally, I'll try once again to finish each workout with some assistance exercises as well. I'll try to do one or two sets of DB Rows (left & right), Pullovers, Landmine Twists, and Dips, at fairly easy loads, for as many reps (5+) as I feel like. I'll program these same four exercises after each workout. I'm going to try to make the assistance portion of the workout as short, simple, and easy as possible so that I may actually be able to get it in.

    Loading. I will continue to microload my Squat 1RM by two pounds per week, and base all the other loads and lifts on that using the Iron Ratio. The Iron Ratio was revised a little in Cycle VI. Instead of 2:3:4:5 for the OHP, BP, SQ, and DL, it's now

    OHP = 2
    P Row = 2.5
    Pulldown = 2.7
    BP = 3
    SQ/RDL = 4
    DL = 4.6

    or, in terms of weekly microloading in pounds

    OHP = one pound per week
    P Row = one and a quarter pounds per week
    Pulldown = one and thirty five hundredths of a pound per week
    BP = one and a half pound per week
    SQ/RDL = two pounds per week
    DL = two and thirty hundredths of a pound per week

    or, simply writing the Iron Ratio based on the OHP

    OHP = 1
    P Row = 1.25
    Pulldown = 1.35
    BP = 1.5
    SQ/RDL = 2
    DL = 2.3

    More abstractly, (1) the base unit is pegged to the OHP, the lightest lift, (2) each lift adds its derivation of the base unit each week, and (3) the base unit is currently set at one pound.

    Emphasis. Since the Squat remains weaker than my presses, according to the Iron Ratio and past PRs in the OHP and BP, I will continue focusing on building it up, although I don't think I will do anything special for it besides making it the first lift of the workout. It would also be nice to get my Deadlifts up to full loads. If one lift or another becomes noticeably weaker than the others, I may add extra sets for it, to bring it up with volume, but the Squat is only 10 weeks away from catching up to my old OHP PR, based on the Iron Ratio (OHP 1RM PR = 160 lbs, so 320 lbs for the Squat 1RM PR at a 1:2 ratio), so I don't anticipate any deviations from the plan. The Iron Ratio and concomitant structural balance seem to be allowing the lifts to progress evenly and at the same rate, after initially lowering the loads for the presses. The real test will be when everything is in line with my old BP 1RM PR of 260 (OHP = 173, Squat = 346), hopefully some time in May. If everything continues to feel equal then, I'll be golden, and making micro PRs on all the main lifts each week. I would think at this point if not sooner, the rate of increase will reduce, however, to something like a half pound a week for the base unit.

    So the basic scheme is as follows:

    Monday – 3 x 5 (85% 1RM)
    Back Squat (SQ)
    Tall Kneeling Overhead Press (TK OHP)
    Romanian Deadlift (RDL) [2 sets], conventional Deadlift (DL) [1-2 sets]
    Bench Press (BP)
    Pendlay Row (P RW)
    Close Neutral-grip, Neutral-grip, Supine-grip Pulldowns (CN PD, N PD, S PD)

    1-2 x 5+ (one or two sets of five or more reps)
    One-hand Dumbbell Row (1DB RW)
    Pullover (POV)
    Landmine Twist (LM TW)
    Dips (DP)

    Wednesday – 3 x 5-7 (75% 1RM)
    SQ
    Two-hand Dumbbell Overhead Press (2DB OHP)
    RDL, DL
    Two-hand Dumbbell Bench Press (2DB BP)
    P RW
    CN PD, N PD, S PD

    1-2 x 5+
    1DB RW
    POV
    LM TW
    DP

    Friday – 3 x 3 (90% 1RM)
    SQ
    TK OHP
    RDL, DL
    BP
    P RW
    CN PD, N PD, S PD

    1-2 x 5+
    1DB RW
    POV
    LM TW
    DP

    ---------------Week 1: Cycle VII---------------
    Template for this week:

    2015 Cycle 7 Week 1--15.12.06.jpg

    I gave the new lifting plan a test run on the last Friday of Cycle VI, and it flowed pretty well. My body liked the order of Squat>OHP>DL>BP quite a lot, and getting in the assistance at the end gave me a nice pump. One change already is that I will probably try to include Dips in the assistance cluster as well, or else do them 3x5-7 on Wednesdays instead of the Two-hand Dumbbell Bench Press, which serves as a variation/sub for the barbell Bench Press.

    Sunday12.06
    AM
    Bike Commuting
    One mile.

    Cycling
    11 miles. I'm definitely losing conditioning from my recent sporadic cycling. I'll try to get back on track this week.

    Tested out my Pearl Izumi bib tights and my Sockwa Hi Gs with sheepskin insole inserts. High around 39 F degrees. When it gets really cold, I will need long underwear under or snow pants over the tights, and smart wool socks and neoprene covers for the Sockwas, but I think the set-up will work.

    Monday - 12.07
    PM
    Lifting
    SQ: 5/5/5 @ 257
    TK OHP: 5/5/5 @ 128
    RDL: 3/4 @ 257
    DL: 3/3/2 @ 295
    BP: 3/5/5 @ 193
    P RW: 5/5/5 @ 160
    N PD: 3/3 @ 186
    S PD: 3/3 @ 186

    Spent too much time monkeying around with the dipgrips so shorted myself of time again, but I was still able to get in a close-to-full workout. I was surprised by how easy the Squats felt. I'm becoming more convinced that my rate of increase is a little lower than my rate of adaptability, but no matter, I'm really liking how calm I feel while working out, just punching the clock and making gradual gains. Plus, I'm consistently achieving good depth on every squat rep this way. No more barely breaking parallel to test the waters on the first rep or set.

    I am still a little hesitant on the conventional Deadlifts however. The loads feel comfortable, but I still have to gain a little more confidence that my lower back is OK with these heavier loads. It seems like it is, but I'll probably spend another week or two holding back a bit. Funny, an hour or so after the workout my right quads felt a little sore or almost like a pull. Never felt that before. So perhaps I'm justified in being cautious while re-integrating the conventional deadlifts.

    Everything else went well, the presses have definitely recovered. I didn't have enough time for my assistance stuff and I cut out the Close-grip Pulldowns too. Recognizing that I'll probably only be able to get to my assistance stuff once or twice a week, I think I will probably move Dips out of assistance and just do them on Wednesdays as my Bench Press substitute instead of Two-hand Dumbbell Bench Presses, which I've never liked anyway.

    Tuesday - 12.08
    Worked late

    Wednesday - 12.09
    PM
    Lifting
    SQ: 5/5/5 @ 227
    2DB OHP: 7/7/7 @ 40(x2)
    RDL: 7/7/7 @ 227
    BP: 3 @ 175
    P RW: 7/7/7 @ 142
    CN PD: 3/3 @ 186

    Took my daughter to the dentist during my normal workout time, so tried to work out during dinner hour. My right meniscus acted up a bit on the Squats, so I limited the reps to five, but it didn't bother me for the rest of the workout. Still wondering if I shouldn't be doing Overhead Squats on Wednesdays, but I'm a bit lazy to learn a new skill right now.

    It also seems a little foolish to do higher rep deadlifts. The RDLs work much better as a higher rep lift, with a touch-n-go protocol. So I'll probably just skip the conventional Deadlifts on Wednesdays, and/or find a substitute for them, like Good Mornings or Lunges or something.

    The Two-hand Dumbbell Press is starting to come into its own. A little tweak I learned is to lead a bit with my weak hand. That way, the weights go up more or less evenly. I'm also getting better at adopting a stable sitting posture on the bench. Right now, 40-pound dumbbells are a good weight for seven-rep sets. No microloading available with my rubberized dumbbells, so I'll have to wait a bit before I'm ready for the 45s.

    My family was being pretty good about letting me work out while they ate dinner, but motivation started to dissipate, so I just did a few reps on the Bench Press, just to prime it for Friday. The Rows felt great but then I was finally interrupted by the family, and when I got back to it, I really didn't have my heart into finishing out the workout, and my body had gotten cold, so I just did a few Close Neutral-grip Pulldowns and called it a day.

    Overall, I'm pleased with the way the Wednesday higher rep/variation workout is evolving. And for some reason, it's a lot less mental effort to do seven-rep sets instead of eight.

    I bought a 4 x 4 x 8' board at Menards, cut it in half, and did my squats with them standing where I would use them as posts, at the end of my base. My arms brushed against them a bit, however, so I took my squat grip in even more, to around where I grip the bar for the presses, just into the knurling from the unknurled center. Surprisingly, I had the shoulder mobility to do this just fine. This narrower grip was enough to prevent my upper arm from brushing against the vertical 4x4 posts, but just barely, and I don't know if I like having to think about something like that. One the other hand, it might be good practice to enforce immaculately smooth and balanced form on every rep. If I'm a little off, I'll brush or hit the posts. Still, not something I'll want to worry about, I think, if I test heavy singles, which is the whole point of having the posts in the first place. And with the narrow space, I'll have to attach the dipgrip brackets in such a way that they can be removed when doing my squats, otherwise my arms will hit those as well. I think the solution is to have the posts interchangeable, so that during the squats the brackets are on the outside of the posts, but during dips they're on the inside. Either that, or I simply make the brackets removable with some machine screws and wingnuts. And then I'm wondering if it's worth all the hassle. The set-up was fine before . . .

    Thursday - 12.10
    Worked on my safety bar/dip set-up instead of going for a bike ride. It works, but needs a few tweaks. Before I do that, however, I'll give it a test run on Friday's workout, to see if there's anything else that could be improved.

    Friday - 12.11
    PM
    Lifting
    SQ: 1/2/3/3 x 272
    TK OHP: 1/2/3 x 136

    Body felt out of sorts, and I was continually interrupted, up to 20-30 minutes after my Press. Everything felt heavy, but it was mostly low body + mental rhythm. After the last interruption my body had cooled down and I had lost motivation, especially for a heavy deadlift, the next lift on the list. So I just called it day.

    The good news is that it was pretty easy to squat inside the new safety bars' 4x4 posts without hitting them, and the safety bars allowed me to go down to my absolute squat depth with a heavy load without worrying about whether I'd be able to make it back up. So workouts will be even more relaxing and unstressed now. I had my doubts about whether it would be a worthwhile project, or just busywork, but I think I will keep the posts and bars in place all the time, even when I'm not attempting heavier loads. And as a bonus, thanks to dipgrips, the new set-up also provides an improved option for dips.

    So after bailing on the workout I used the extra time to finish my safety bar/dip station project. I decided to standardize the measurements after my initial attempt, when I just eye-balled everything with a level. So I had to turn the 4x4 wood posts upside down and redrill the holes on the other ends with a drill press, for improved accuracy. Then I cut off a bit of the 12" plumbing pipe nipple that I'm using to cover the threaded bar that connects the rack's steel posts to the 4x4 wood posts at the bench press safety bar level. I can adjust the perpendicularity of the posts by screwing in the other end of the pipe into the 4x4 posts' wood, but the end that abuts the rack's steel posts needed to be shortened by an inch--the length of the threaded tip.

    So it took just one prototype before I was able to come up with the finished product, with no materials wasted, and no major screw-ups except for a few unused holes towards the bottoms of the 4x4 posts. Not bad for a Lee project. I'll provide pics soon.

    Saturday - 12.12
    AM/PM
    Bike Commuting
    Two miles.

    Was going to make up the rest of Friday's workout, hung out with the family instead.

    ---------------Week 2: Cycle VII---------------
    Template for this week:

    2015 Cycle 7 Week 2--15.12.13.jpg

    I think I may take another stab at Overhead Squats on Wednesday. I'll also try subbing Dips in for the 2DB Bench Presse on Wednesdays, now that my new Dip station is ready, and possibly light Power Cleans will be subbed in for conventional Deadlifts. The other thing is that I've gone back to a stricter interpretation of the 5/7/3 weekly wave of rep-counts.

    Otherwise, more relentless microloading and hopefully a better effort at working in the aerobic and mobility stuff than I was able to put forth during the first week of this cycle.

    Sunday12.13
    AM
    Bike Commuting
    Two miles.

    Monday - 12.14
    Feeling a little run-down. Took a nap instead of lifting.

    Tuesday - 12.15
    AM/PM
    Bike commuting.
    Two miles. Took a nap instead of cycling.

    Wednesday - 12.16
    PM
    Lifting.
    SQ: 1/2/3/3-4 @ 258
    TK OHP: 2/2/3 @ 129, 7-8/7-8 @ 85
    RDL: 5/5 @ 215

    Too much time off, so I was going to ladder up to a full set of Squats 1/2/3/4/5, which works out to the same reps as 5/5/5 as well. I had also woken up with a sore right knee for some reason, so it behooved me to work it up slowly. I was starting to finally get a little warmed-up and motivated when I hit the left vertical 4x4 post coming down on the third or fourth rep of my fourth set and the bar became unbalanced and before I knew it, the left side's plates were sliding off. I stood there like Wiley E Coyote, waiting for the inevitable as the plates fell off in rapid succession and then again as the bar tipped to the other side to let all the plates slide off to the right. Crap, first time that's happened, on Squats anyway.

    Since my right knee wasn't feeling 100% I decided to call it a day for the Squats, but maybe it was mostly to avoid bad luck. I guess I really have to concentrate to remain within the tight area of the new Safety Rack. Without proper concentration and form, the safety rack actually made today's workout less safe. Also, because I have my grip in so narrow now, it's hard to correct a balance issue. But I don't know if I could've corrected the rebound in time even with a wider grip. With 258 pounds coming down, the bar hit the post with a decent amount of force, throwing it off immediately. The Good news is I wasn't ever in danger of losing balance. I just had to stand there and watch the inevitable.

    I will try to find the best foot placement within the safety rack next workout, but if I continue to have problems, I may reserve its use for attempts at PRs only.

    On the OHP, my right shoulder felt cranky right from the start. Crap, I thought that had gotten better. So I decided to just prime it a bit.

    By then I had lost almost all motivation, so I just primed the RDL a bit and called it quits for good.

    This is what happens I think, when I string too many missed or partial workouts together in a row. It's been even longer since I got in a good week of decent aerobic work and that has kinda left my body cool, if that makes sense.

    Thursday - 12.17
    PM
    Rowing
    35 minutes. Was going to lift, then bike, then lift again, but finally decided just to row, in order to best prime myself for Friday's lifting session, which I hope goes well. I need at least one good workout this week.

    Friday - 12.18
    AM/PM
    Bike Commuting
    Two miles, starting to get cold again.

    Mobility.
    Stretching contraption and a broom stick I picked up at Menards during my Safety/Dip station project shopping, for shoulder mobility and general stretching. Seem to help me lifting later.

    PM
    Lifting
    SQ: 3/3/3 @ 274
    TK OHP: 2/3/3 @ 137
    DL: 2/3/3 @ 315
    BP: 2/2/3@ 205
    P RW: 3/3/3 @ 171
    CN PD: 2 @ 192, 3 @ 185
    N PD: 3/3 @ 185
    S PD: 3/3 @ 185

    A close-to-full workout, and I really needed it to close out the week. I was starting to think I'd have to repeat this week, but I probably got enough in to justify increasing all the lifts according to their Iron Ratio derivations of the base unit--which is one pound. That's one good thing about going at a rate of load increase that's slower than the rate of strength gains. It accounts for those weeks when you're sick, or too busy, or just not up for it physically or mentally for some reason, and you miss workouts or have partial workouts. I think I really need three full-body workouts a week to progress, but with a slightly slower-than-natural rate of increase, I can get away with a bad week here or there. Only the flu bug I got 7-8 weeks ago made me repeat a whole week, because it took out almost two complete weeks. I think it's also been helpful to get in my squats no matter what. Even if I don't have time for the other lifts, if I got 15-20 minutes I can do my squats and that will tide me over a couple of bad, missed, or partial sessions.

    Anyway, I was still a little spooked by Wednesday's plateslide, but the Squats went fine. The triples felt hard, maybe a little harder than usual, but I never felt like I could miss a rep. And looking sideways as much as I could without throwing off my balance, I saw that my bar path seemed to be at least a couple of inches inside the 4x4 vertical posts.

    Before beginning the worksets, I thought about making the load an even 275, my old 1RM PR, but decided to stick to the somewhat ritualized discipline of microloading, which called for 274, a two-pound increase over the week prior. After the three mandatory worksets, I also thought about doing one more optional set, but I wanted to make sure I got in a full workout of mandatory lifts and sets this time, so I moved on to the next order of business.

    My right shoulder is still a little cranky and I thought about abandoning the Tall-Kneeling Overhead Press after the first set, but then on subsequent sets it felt better. The actually load intensity felt just right.

    I was going to do one or two sets of RDLs at my Squat load weight, then move on to the conventional DLs, but I dunno, doing heavy RDL triples seemed kind of dumb. Why not just head straight for even heavier DLs? Mood for the day I guess. So I got three wheels plus change on each end of the bar and once again, the load intensity felt just right--not too easy, not too hard. I'm really thinking structural balance has mostly been achieved. The lifts all feel about equal in intensity/effort. Just gotta get everything a little bit stronger in relation to the Bench Press and then I'll be all set.

    The Bench Press went well and my right shoulder didn't seem to mind it much but the 4x4 vertical posts annoyed me once I got up to my worksets. I kept worrying about bumping into the posts with my elbows or forearms. With my elbows 'tucked' just right, they were barely clearing the posts. When I tested my ability to bench press inside the posts last week, before going ahead with the project, I was using a lighter load, which made it possible to 'overtuck' subconsciously perhaps. With the workset load, it's harder to do without good technique. So anyway, I took the posts out. For both the Bench Press and Squat, it would be really nice if there were at least six more inches of space between the steel and wood posts, but ideally something more like 12-18 inches. It would complicate the design a bit, but I think I could make it work. Just going to be harder to find gate latches that long.

    The Pendley Rows are keeping up nicely as things get heavier. I'm a little concerned there might be a threshold over which they fall out of the Iron Ratio, but so far they've been conforming to the idea of structural balance and that everything has carryover to everything else once things are in balance, so everything should be able to go up equally and in proportion.

    Pulldowns, however felt a little heavy at 192, especially for the Close Neutral-grip Pulldown. Not sure what to think about that . . .

    Saturday - 12.19
    AM/Noon
    Bike Commuting
    Two miles. It's a little cold, so I think I'll put off cycling till Sunday. I've been intending to row on my non-cycling weekend day, so I rowed.

    Rowing
    28m 30s. Was going to do an hour, but right elbow started to feel tendinitis-y. I think this right side problem is related to me sitting at my desk sideways lately. Have to stop that.

    ---------------Week 3: Cycle VII---------------

    Template for this week.

    2015 Cycle 7 Week 3--15.12.20.jpg

    I'm going to try going back to my idea of making each different pulldown grip type a different rep-count, with a corresponding difference in load percentage--7=75%, 5=85%, 3=90%. Otherwise, more relentless microloading. This week I reach 275 as my triple load, which is a mild milestone, because this used to be my 1RM PR load.

    Thinking a little more about the Safety/Dip Station. I think I will go ahead and extend the space between the steel posts of the power rack and the 4x4 vertical wood posts at least six inches. I found longer cane bolts (for the Squat safety bar) on Amazon. At Menards, the longest was 18". So I just need to extend the base out a bit, and get a longer threaded bar and plumbing pipe. Plus, if the posts are further behind me, I can probably keep the dip brackets on the inside of the posts permanently, so I wouldn't have to switch out posts; the wood posts could stay in place, just switching out bars and dip-grips. So this would be an improved design overall.

    Sunday12.20
    AM/PM
    Bike Commuting
    Three miles.

    PM
    Cycling
    11.2 miles. Allowed myself to listen to earbuds. The music took my mind off of any soreness in my butt or shoulders, or fatigue in my quads. Really made the ride more pleasant, and the hour or so passed by quickly. Temps close to 40F I think.

    Monday - 12.21
    AM
    Bike Commuting
    Two miles.

    Looking at Rogue's site, I found out the name for my kind of safety bar is 'pin-n-pipe.' Rogue had pin-n-pipe sets for about the same price as it would cost me to order extra-long cane bolts from Amazon and then some plumbing pipe from Menards to cover them. I'll have to cut a little of the pipe off I think, but this way I'll get 23 inches of space in between my steel and wood posts instead of the current 11 inches--a big improvement. So I'll be able to set up the safety/dip station permanently I think, and probably be able to store my smaller plates on the sides, as per Abide's suggestions.

    PM
    Lifting
    SQ: 2/4/5/5 @ 260
    RDL: 5 @ 260
    DL: 2/3 @ 317

    Was a little short of time, but more short of motivation. I don't know why. My body actually felt real primed and ready to go. After the Squats I let my lack of motivation be an excuse to give my right shoulder a few more days to feel better before I pressed again, even though it felt OK on Friday. It's getting better each day, but I probably could've done my presses no problem.

    Then on the RDLs I just wasn't up for a second set. So I decided to go heavy on the DL and do my triple load. I dunno, sometimes I think I should just do triples every workout and screw the rep-count variation. I like low-rep counts, get the sets over with quickly. So that might be the next experiment--stick to lower rep counts for a cycle. Or do some kind of ladder approach, like I did more than a year ago, something like 2/3/5/5 or 1/3/3/5. In fact, I might try something like that on Wednesday. . . . I often find myself laddering up on the first set or two anyway, so maybe I could ladder down as well.

    Tuesday - 12.22
    AM/Noon
    Bike commuting.
    Two miles. A frosting of snow on the ground. Almost time to put on the studded tires.

    Late AM
    Rowing.
    40 mins. My mom lost a tooth so I had to cancel my planned bike ride in the afternoon to take her to the dentist. Got in a quick 40 minutes of rowing before I had to pick her up.

    Wednesday - 12.23
    Xmas busy-ness

    Thursday - 12.24
    Xmas

    Friday - 12.25
    Was going to work out after assembling all the various toy presents that needed assembling, but worked on my new Safety/Dip station instead. The 23-inch Rogue pin-n-pipe set came on Wednesday. All I had to do was cut some new wood pieces for a longer base, and cut longer threaded bar for the Bench Press safety bar. Almost finished before my family caught up to me and the drill battery need recharging anyway.

    Saturday - 12.26
    PM
    Lifting
    SQ: 3-4 @ 175

    Was going to work out, but decided to finish the Safety/Dip Station project. After I finished the basic set-up, I decided to put in bolts for small plate storage on the sides of the 4x4 posts, in order to get them off the power rack's steel posts, where they tended to get in the way. That took longer than I thought it would and then it was dinner time but my wife and son were taking a long holiday nap and my daughter was at a friend's, so I was still going to try to get in a light workout to prime everything for Monday. After the Squat warm-up set at 175, however, my son and wife popped in and that was that. Oh well, at least the set-up is done and ready for Monday. It felt pretty spacious during my brief squatting warm-up so I think the project revamp was worthwhile.

    ---------------Week 4: Cycle VII---------------
    Template for this week:

    2015 Cycle 7 Week 4--15.12.27.jpg

    I'm going to try some version of a 2/3/5/7+ pyramiding sets-reps protocol on Monday and Friday, and then a 7-rep protocol on Wednesdays. On Wednesdays I'll also sub in dumbbell presses for the barbell presses, but otherwise, all the lifts will remain the same, just the rep-count changes. For the Deadlift, I'll probably switch to RDLs once I hit five or seven reps on Monday and Friday and for the seven-rep sets on Wednesday. On Friday I add one pound to the Squat 1RM and recalculate all the other lifts's loads using the Iron Ratio. Then add another pound to begin the next week, so still a two-pound-per-week increase overall. I've also lowered the rounding function in my Excel sheet to half a pound instead of one pound, to ensure micro increases between Monday and Friday for all the main lifts.

    So, with the 2/3/5/7+ protocol, there will be a lot more monkeying around with plates and looking at the Excel sheet in between sets. If I end up liking this scheme, I will probably continue with it into 2016's first cycle. I should probably deload by 6-8 pounds for the Squat 1RM, since last week's workouts were almost non-existence and also because I should probably ease into this more intense scheme, but I'll start with a Squat 1RM of 308 and see how it goes. There's a good chance I'll make the double a single at the double percentage of 95% of 1RM.

    If I can get used to these heavier loads, I may then start to test my true 1RM more frequently. I kept Wednesday a lower weight/higher rep day just to make sure I give my joints a break from Monday and Friday's intensity.

    It kind of sucked using up two workouts to work on the Safety/Dip station, but it will be nice to have a good safety system as I move into a heavier routine. I think the biggest benefit is just knowing that the safeties are there so I'm not tempted to cheat squat depth on the bigger loads. It will also be nice not having to worry about setting the bar in a specific spot if I fail a bench press rep.

    Sunday – 12.27
    AM
    Bike commuting
    One mile.

    Cycling
    10 miles. Put on my studded snow tires for the first time. Hard to tell if they make a difference, as I rode cautiously anyway over the patches of ice and compacted snow. And most of the roads and bike paths were dry asphalt. 5-10 inches coming tonight, so perhaps a better test on Thursday. Tuesday I'll probably row while I wait for everything to be plowed.

    Monday - 12.28

    Tuesday - 12.29
    AM/PM
    Bike Commuting
    Two miles in fresh snow. It was a good core workout trying to maintain balance. Then sledding with kids later, or a good prowler workout.

    Wednesday - 12.30
    PM
    Lifting
    SQ: 1 @ 265/275/285, 2 @ 293, 3 @ 277, 3/2 @ 262
    TK OHP: 2/4/5 @ 131
    DL: 3/5 @ 265
    BP: 2/4/5 @ 175

    Finally got a workout in. My initial goal for the squat was simply to find out where I was at, but as I went up testing my singles, I found 285 to feel pretty solid, so I decided to test the 2/3/5/7+ protocol I had intended to start last week. This meant adding 8 more pounds and doing a double, although I thought I'd probably only be capable of a single, given the 10 days I had taken off. But no, the double came up just fine, hard but doable, with maybe just a little cheating of depth on the second rep.

    So that was a relief. I was thinking the excessive time off I've taken twice this mini-cycle would necessitate deloading 5-10 pounds and building back up, but the squat still feels pretty strong. And if the Squat is good, then, given that it's still my weakest lift, the other lifts should be recoverable fairly quickly.

    So I continued down to my triple percentage, then the quintuple, but for some reason at this point my body started to feel out of sorts. I hadn't been sleeping much for a few days and perhaps it was catching up to me, or maybe it was just a lack of conditioning due to taking too much time off. Anyway, shorted the reps and called it a day. Still, I felt very good about being able to do a double at close to 300 pounds. I know now for sure I can 1RM PR over 300, and I may actually try that next week after I have a few full workouts behind me.

    I was expecting the Overhead Press to be rusty too, and I can still feel a little soreness in my right anterior delt, although the time off has really helped the soreness in my right shoulder and elbow to dissipate quite a bit--it's about 95% OK now. However, my 5RM weight of 131 felt OK. I laddered up to a full rep count nonetheless, to make sure my right shoulder was OK with it.

    Around this point I decided the workout would just be a priming day, although I did want to get in a few Deadlift reps over 300. I was warming up at 265 when my wife and son came home, and then I knew for sure that all I would be able to do was prime things a bit for Friday's hopefully fuller workout.

    After helping put groceries away and a few other tasks, I went back and benched 175 for a few sets just to prime the pecs a bit. The weight felt easy but the muscles and tendons were definitely cranky and needing some loosening up.

    This was my first workout in the extended Safety/Dip station, and that part of it went great. I really like how the Squat safety bars allow me to achieve proper depth on pretty much every rep, even on heavy doubles. And now I have enough room that I can squat unselfconsciously and just focus on maintaining intrinsically good form instead of worrying about extrinsic constraints on form. And that Seedman article gave me a greater appreciation for what the intrinsic factors are. It's always cool to both feel and think something.

    The Bench Press safety bars are just wide enough but sometimes I brush up against one or the other lightly. I never brush up against both of them however so I don't think they are artificially altering my form and making me over-tuck the elbows. Right now it seems like the brushing is just an indication that I'm a little off center. So no more extrinsic constraints there either, now with the extended posts.

    So it was good to end the year with a half-decent workout, and this sets me up nicely for a solid workout on Friday to start the new year.

    Thursday - 12.31
    Noon
    Rowing
    46 minutes. That's it for 2015's exercising. Can't say I'm a whole lot better off than I was a year ago, but at least my Squat and OHP are up.



    Friday - 01.01
    PM
    Lifting
    SQ: 2@293.5 | 3@278 | 5@262.5 | 7@232
    TK OHP: 3@139 | 5@131.5 | 7@116
    DL: 1/2@320
    BP: 3-4@175, 1@208.5

    My wife had the morning shift so I waited until she called to tell us she was on her way home at 2:00pm before beginning my workout. I had been with the kids all day and knew I wouldn't be able to work out unless my wife could look after them. But she ended up catching up with a coworker after work, so the kids were still in the garage after I had finished my squat warm-up sets. Oh well, I just told them to stay at the other end of the garage while I was lifting.

    I was happy to find my double load of 293.5 lbs, just a half pound heavier than Wednesday's double load, felt just as doable. And it feels great to a be able to squat a load that's hard just to walk out. It kind of takes a leap of faith that you'll be able to do it, and the safety bars help give me that faith.

    Nonetheless, as I was re-racking the bar, I got distracted and failed to rack the right side. I thought I felt it land, but with such a heavy load, I guess I was hunched over a bit more than usual, or hadn't straightened up all the way. Luckily, the left side was secured on its bolt so when all the plates on the right side slide off, I was able to place the bar up on the right bolt and secure it there with a hand as a counterweight as I stepped back from my predicament to take measure of it.

    While grasping the bar with my left hand, I reached down with my right for a fallen 45-pound grip plate, gripped it, and then hoisted it up over and onto the top of the bar. By this time my son had come to see what had happened, his view having been obstructed by the hot tub. Jeesuz! He was standing close to under the right-hand side's plates! I yelled for him to get away, and then worked to slide the 45 I had hoisted up along the top of the bar to the end of it until the center hole was at the end of the bar and then looped it down onto the bar's sleeve. Once I got that on, it was enough to counter and hold the other side's 129.25 pounds in place, so I went over and began to deload that side. My son was crying in the closet that adjoins the garage, so I had to go over and reassure him that I was only yelling at him to get him out of danger, not because I was mad at him. That took at a while.

    Back at it, I really liked how each load felt progressively lighter, and the five- and seven-rep counts no longer felt so arduous. Overall I would say pyramiding like this requires less mental effort than straight sets across, although monkeying with the plates in between each set is kind of a drag. I usually hate seven-rep sets, but knowing I only had to do that one higher-rep set made it bearable, and I could see going for extended reps next time around.

    Another good thing is that it's easy to improvise a bit when you have all the loads laid out for you. On the Tall Kneeling Overhead Press, for example, I skipped the doubles because I'm still building back into the presses and also because I strained my right front deltoid a bit while hoisting up the 45 after the squat mishap. On another day I could do an extra set of triples or whatever I happen to be feeling that day, but I still have enough structure to make sure I'm progressing in a logical fashion.

    In any case, I was happy to find that the OHP triple was still there, and once again, it felt really damn good and natural to descend in weight while I increased the reps.

    I was going to try to do three sets of triples for the deadlift, but after I did a warm-up single, I felt a twinge in my right elbow on the second rep of the first work-set, so I put the bar down. I guess I still have a little tendinitis there, perhaps aggravated by the squat mishap's hoisting.

    Meanwhile the kids were still interrupting things a lot even after my wife had come home and they all had adjourned to the living room. I was warming up on the bench press, just finishing a warm-up single at triple weight, when I got called one more time. Whatever it was took some time and by the time I came back to the bench I had lost my warm-up and motivation. So I called it a day.

    Not a full workout, but I continued to prime things well, having recovered my OHP fully. I think I'll be able to get everything back on Monday, so overall, a good lifting workout to end the cycle and also a good confirmation that the 2/3/5/7+ protocol will be worth experimenting with in the next cycle. It's hard to say if it's just as effective as straight sets across with a weekly wave of rep counts, but it might be more motivating and enjoyable, which is most important. After several years now of fairly consistent lifting, I gotta keep things from getting too boring.

    Saturday - 01.02
    AM/PM
    Bike Commuting
    Two miles.

    PM
    Rowing
    36 minutes.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    1RM Gains for Cycle VII:

    DL: 347>357 = +10 lbs
    Squat: 302>310 = +8 lbs
    BP: 227>233 = +6 lbs
    OHP: 151>155 = +4 lbs
    P RW: 189>194 = +5 lbs
    PD: 119>222 = +3 lb

    Assessment of last cycle:

    Well, I was able to continue my Squat progress and add eight pounds to my projected 1RM over the last four weeks of the year. Everything else seems in line with these gains or close to recoverable, despite some illness and multiple interruptions. So an OK cycle.

    Perhaps more importantly, once I got up around 300 1RM, I developed an urge to test some heavier loads, so in the last week I tested a 2/3/5/7+ protocol somewhat, and I liked it enough to make it the basis for next cycle’s lifting program.

    My aerobic fitness degraded a fare bit from the interruptions and inconsistency.
     
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  2. Abide

    Abide
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Nederland -...

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
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    Assessment: the micro-loading experiment was successful, the body weight loss was quite unsuccessful. There is likely a direct correlation there.

    Running is coming along a bit, I need to start training on the trails a bit more and spending a little more time on them.

    Goal for the final cycle: I would really like to drop 10 lbs. this cycle at the least, and the end goal to be regularly between 180-185lbs by the end of June next year.

    I might add in a final all out set for the non-primary lifts each day. This way I can keep the sets at ~ 4 x 5 & 1 x 5+. Think it might be a good way to push the secondary lifts and still get the harder stimulus experienced in the 13 set lifts.

    ---------------Week 1: Cycle VII---------------
    Monday - 12.07
    CGBP - 3 x 10, 1 x 16 @ 60kgs
    Pull ups - 5 x 5, 1 x 8 @ BW
    DL - 13 x 2 @ 140kgs

    Lunch Yoga
    Bike Commute - 35k

    Since I was being too lazy to look at the log, I Macro loaded the DL today, still felt easy. Glad to see I am back to this level.

    Wednesday - 12.09
    Bike Commute - 35k

    Thursday - 12.10
    Press - 5 x 5/9 @ 51kgs
    Head Supp Rows - 5 X 5/8 60kgs
    Squats 10 x 2 @ 100kgs

    Lunch Yoga
    Bike Commute - 35k

    At the tenth set of squats my right knee started acting up so I stopped it early. Back to the 90kg starting point and then each 8 weeks I'll add 10kgs. I'm hoping the microloading will help develop the connective bits more steadily. The weight wasn't really an issue.

    Friday - 12.11
    Run Commute - 18k
    Lunch Yoga
    Bike Commute - 17.5k

    Had a good run today, I am still doing the walk 1k/run 1k thing. It seems to be working well and I may employ this strategy at my ultras this year. I feel way less beat up after the run and the pace overall is a bit slower but definitely in the fast end of the ultra range.

    Sunday12.13
    MTB ~ 21k
    Tough ride out there on a relatively hilly course. It's been a while since I have pushed myself aerobically like that. Maybe I need to get on the MTB a bit more.

    ---------------Week 2: Cycle VII---------------
    Monday - 12.14
    Farmers - 3 x 80m @ 65kgs
    Inverted Rows - 4 x 5 @ BW 3 sec pause at top
    Bench - 13 x 2 @ 100kgs

    Bike Commute - 35k

    I skipped this workout last week and after mountain biking on Sunday I figured this one would be a little less painful than the deadlift workout. Its a relatively easy workout but surprisingly effective. Bench at 100kgs was tough but doable, next week I'll start the microloading on the bench.

    Tuesday - 12.15
    Bike Commute - 35k
    Lunch Yoga

    Wednesday - 12.16
    CGBP - 5 x 5/6 @ 80kgs
    Pull ups - 5 x 5 @ BW
    DL - 13 x 2 @ 132.5

    Well DL's felt pretty easy, then I looked back to last week and realized why... I was supposed to start the process at 140 not 132.5. I need to write up my schedule and print it off.

    Thursday - 12.17
    Run Commute - 18k
    Lunch Yoga
    Bike Commute - 17.5k

    Well I think my walking speed is topped out at 9 min/km (14:30 min/mi), I guess that's not too bad when I thin about it. Kept the run sections below 5:30 min/km. Kids trashed the gym and now I have to clean up smashed crumbs and other assorted crap before the morning. I guess it needed a good clean anyway.

    One other note my hip is bothering me again on the same side? And I also have this kink in my left trap for about a month. Not sure what's going on, prolly should go see the chiro.

    Friday - 12.18
    Press - 5 x 5 @55kgs
    Squats - 13 x 2 @ 90kgs

    Surprisingly difficult workout for some reason. No knee pain from the squats. I skipped the back work to see if it would help with my neck pain.

    Next week I am going to shift the workouts so DL's are on Monday and Squats are on Wednesday.

    ---------------Week 3: Cycle VII---------------
    Tuesday - 12.22
    Bike Commute - 35k
    Lunch Yoga

    Wednesday - 12.23
    CGBP - 4 x 5 @ 80kgs
    Pull ups - 5 x 5 @ BW
    DL - 7 x 2 @ 133.5 kgs

    Bike Commute - 35k
    Yoga

    Blah, f'd up workout. Tried 140kgs but my back was feeling funny. Dropped down to 133 and nothing was clicking so I quit early.

    Thursday - 12.24
    2.5 hour run/walk intervals
    Press - 4 x 5 @ 50kgs
    Rows - 4 x 5 @ 50kgs

    Friday - 12.25
    Squats - 13 x 2 @ 90kgs
    Bench - 13 x 2 @ 100kgs
    Farmers - 2 x 80m @ 72kgs
    Pull ups 2 x 6 @ BW

    Rearranged the gym and garage to open up some more room and possibly be able to add the pull down extension that will make it easy to load. Glad I did it there is much mroe room now than before. A project I have been pushing off for a while. Here's a pic of the new setup.
    Capture.PNG

    Sunday12.27
    25k MTB

    ---------------Week 4: Cycle VII---------------
    Monday - 12.28
    Inverted Rows - 5 x 5 @ BW

    Warmed up the DLs and Presses but had shoulder and back issues so I quit. Shit.
    Weight goal is going the wrong direction again.
    Hopefully the new year will help get things back on track.

    Tuesday - 12.29
    Weight - 210lbs

    Press - 3 x 10 @ 40kgs
    TBDL - 5 x 2@ 137kgs - 8 x 2 @ 122kgs

    Knee felt a bit funny at 137 so I dropped some kilos and finished it off.

    Wednesday - 12.30
    Some walking
    Bike Commute - 35k
    Yoga

    Thursday - 12.31
    Squat - 13 x 2 @ 90kgs
    Bench - 5 x 8 @ 80kgs
    Pull Ups - 6 x 5 @ BW

    Went shallower depth with the squats and it felt pretty good. Last workout of the year and cycle. I came down with a nasty bug which knocked me out for the afternoon and night. Fever broke overnight but I am going to take it easy until Monday to recover all the way.
     
  3. BroadArrow

    BroadArrow
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    Barefooters
    1. Illinois

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Messages:
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    --- assessment of previous cycle ---
    a) the race was a DNF which i will blame on the cold weather. one companion dropped with me. the other achieved a sub-9-hour finish.
    b) squats have gone nowhere fast, just like everything else due to inconsistency
    c) this sort of happened, but sort of not. meaning that it didn't due to interruptions from the race, minor illness, and vacation.
    d) i'm not sure i really needed a recovery from the race, but forced myself to take a whole! week! off! and then another week during vacation. anyways, i'm trying not to be excessively stupid because i have no desire to get hurt.
    e) strangely, i've gone back to a more normal scheduling of eating now that my mileage is down compared to a couple months ago. i'm still eating the same kinds of foods, just it is a little less and more spread out through the day.

    so, basically, these were the fruits of the same old faults of inconsistency (though with a little purpose seeing as my race fell during this cycle).

    --- plan for this cycle ---
    squats. that's the plan.

    several things are converging here:
    * the weather is getting colder, so running may or may not be more sporadic
    * i live in a very flat place. and i like to pretend to believe that you should embrace your surroundings. so, corn and soybeans are wonderful, wind is the "hills" of the prairie, and there is never a reason to stop and walk: just keep going; there's no highway overpass on this side of town, but even if you are over there, just pinch that nosebleed, enjoy the 50-mile panorama and keep running! so, if i'm not willing to fly/drive to hilly places like, you know, *iowa* or something, i have to come up with something in case i end up somewhere that has more than 50 feet of vertical change. over a 10 mile run. and since i don't want to get hit by car doors while running in parking garages, let's just squat and hope that horizontal plus vertical can equal inclines.
    * i feel like i should be able to jump higher in volleyball. and those games after a non-running/non-workout week felt like i was flying. it was only getting back the last two inches of previous ability, but suddenly i was blocking people (seemingly) like crazy. and they are the same people as always, so i don't know that they suddenly lost their abilities.
    * i am as far away from race time as can be, so now is the time to build some basic strength and what not.
    * i have been laboring under the pretense of maintaining balance. except all the assessments indicate that there is no balance: my squats suck and nothing else matters. for example, my presses poop out at about 75lbs for 6's and 95 for singles. the iron ratio tells us that squats should be double the pressing ability under reasonably balanced circumstances. so my squat should be about 150lbs for 6's and 190 for singles. ha! reality bites: i'd guess that my max 6-ability is around 125lbs and singles at about 150. and let's not even get started on what should be happening based on my puny arms' ability to do pullups....

    hence: squats. lots of them. heavy, light, many, few. i'll probably stick to, you know, squats and try to resist the temptation to do, say, overhead squats.

    i will alternate between two types of days:
    squat day -> just squats. warm up with 3 sets of 6 and an intermediate set of 4. then a block of 6 sets of 4 repetitions at a higher weight followed by another block of 6 sets of 10 repetitions at a lower weight. finish off with a pile of calf raises. probably useless, but let's see what happens. all the cool kids say that calf raises make you jump higher. they also told us it was cool to drink and smoke and blow off school. they were wrong about the latter, so they might be wrong about the former as well.

    everything else day -> still warm up with squats. like 4 sets of 7 repetitions with ascending weights. then bent-over rows will be accomplished in an effort to alternate "pushing" motions with "pulling" motions. next are presses (since it seems like it would be neat to put heavy things over your head whether or not cannonballs take up residence on your shoulders). do some sets of 6 repetitions like before. then increase the load and squeak out some sets of 3 repetitions. (i.e., the reverse approach as for squat day.) i was going to put in some curls and "flies" (or is it "flyes", whatever: i remain firmly on the ground regardless of the variation, so that is totally lame), but after trying curls once, my heart just isn't in it. so, i'll just finish off with another pile of calf raises.

    as for running, i'll try to keep the consistency rolling with 5 to 6 days a week out there. i want to keep doing a major chip-n-seal segment at least every other outing in an effort to strengthen the feet and their tolerance for surfaces. i presume that i will get frozen out of that eventually, but i want to try to keep that up as long as possible. i have also toyed with the idea of running with a load (sand, gravel, whatever). i figure that loaded running should not be done too too much because it might modify my mechanics too quickly. but how often is too often? dunno. maybe once a week or so would be ok. anyways, the cold slows me down. i'm not exactly sure why. it is more windy in the winter. i wear bulkier clothes, so my cross-section is larger. maybe the metabolism/body work differently in the cold, or at least during the early winter transition period. but, also, cold feet have a different set of texture tolerances (and molting preferences....) and probably don't want to put with as much poking. so, during the winter, the goal is to maintain as much as possible and not stress too much about performance losses.

    --- week 1: dec 6-12 ---
    sunday: (45 minutes)
    squats:
    1x6 at 65/75/85lbs
    1x4 at 110lbs,
    6x4 at 125lbs
    6x10 at 85lbs
    calf raises: 50/50

    monday: running: 5.7mi at 11:22 (load = 40lbs)
    (46 minutes)
    squats: ?x7 at 65/75/85/95 lbs
    rows: ?x6 at 75/85/95lbs
    press:
    ?x6 at 65/65/70/70lbs
    ?x3 at 75/75/75/80lbs
    ?x2 at 80/80lbs
    curls: ?x12 at 40/50lbs
    calf raises: 67/66/67

    {after almost exclusively compound exercises, curls felt really weird. i don't think they'll be happening again for a while. it was a fun experiment, but experiments sometimes fail...}

    tuesday: running: 9.4mi at 8:36 (4.9mi chip-n-seal)
    (39 minutes)
    squats:
    ?x6 at 65/75/85lbs
    1x4 at 110lbs
    4x4 at 125lbs (i felt the slightest something on the outside of the right knee; since this is a back-to-back-to-back day, i didn't feel bad about stopping there and moving on to the lighter weights)
    6x10 at 85lbs

    calf raises: 34/33/33

    i can still walk somehow. i keep waiting for the debilitation to set in. the only thing giving any anything is the tippy top of the calf, almost in the folding part of the knee. and after the warm-up sets, it felt less DOMS-ish. there's always tomorrow for lameness.... today's running was remarkably fast considering the circumstances (previous exercise, running with a heavy load yesterday, chip-n-seal sections) and seemingly ignorant of the weight training except for the little sprint intervals.

    the chip-n-seal seems to be coming along: i get annoyed in the seal-dominant sections and weave all over the road trying to find the roughest part. of course, i went down a new road which had a quarter mile of mainly seal, a quarter mile of decent chips, and then the last half mile before i turned around with some seriously gnarly chip. see if you can guess where the truly gnarly section was: (blue is near-instantaneous pace, red is average pace over the NEXT mile, green is overall average pace to that point).
    chip_n_seal_run_0.png

    wednesday: running: 6.7mi at 7:41

    (31 minutes)
    squats: ?x7 at 65/75/85/95
    rows: ?x6 at 75/80/85lbs
    press:
    ?x6 at 65/65/70/70lbs
    ?x3 at 70/70/70/80/80/80lbs
    calf raises: 50/50/50

    thursday: running: 6.4mi at 7:41 (1.9mi chip-n-seal)

    (50 minutes)
    squats:
    ?x6 at 65/75/85lbs
    1x4 at 110lbs
    6x4 at 125lbs
    6x10 at 85lbs
    calf raises: 4x75

    weekly total miles: 28.2mi/6.8mi chip-n-seal

    --- week 2: dec 13-19 ---

    monday: running: 3.9mi at 7:54
    (18 minutes)
    squats:
    ?x6 at 65/75/85lbs
    1x4 at 115lbs
    4x4 at 130lbs

    no calf raises and bailing early due to a little metatarsal joint thing on big toe line of left foot, plus i dropped a piece of firewood on the same foot in nearly the same spot.

    tuesday: running: 6.3mi at 8:14 (1.9mi chip-n-seal)
    (36 minutes)
    squats: ?x7 at 65/75/85/95lbs
    rows: ?x6 at 75/80/85lbs
    press:
    2x6 at 65/70lbs
    3x3 at 75/80lbs
    1x3 at 85lbs

    wednesday: running: 6.1mi at 7:43

    thursday: running: 2.8mi at 7:38
    (24 minutes)
    squats:
    ?x6 at 65/75/85lbs
    1x4 at 115lbs
    4x4 at 130lbs

    friday: running: 7.6mi at 7:57 (1.9mi chip-n-seal)

    saturday: (jumping/tumbling around at gymnastics gymnasium winter holiday party)
    (42 minutes)
    squats:
    ?x6 at 65/75/85lbs
    1x4 at 115lbs
    6x4 at 130lbs
    6x10 at 85lbs

    weekly total miles: 26.9mi/3.8mi chip-n-seal

    --- week 3: dec 20-26 ---
    sunday: running: 7.6mi at 7:50 (1.9mi chip-n-seal)
    monday: running: 5.8mi at 7:30
    tuesday: running: 7.6mi at 8:06 (1.9mi chip-n-seal)
    wednesday: running: 6.5mi at 7:30

    weekly total miles: 27.7mi/3.8mi chip-n-seal

    --- week 4: dec 27-jan 2 ---
    sunday: running: 5.1mi at 8:34 (1.9mi chip-n-seal)
    (9 minutes)
    squats: ?x6 at 65/75/85lbs
    ?x4 at 115/130lbs
    [stopped early to watch a movie with my sweetie]

    monday:
    (21 minutes)
    squats: ?x7 at 65/75/85/95lbs
    rows: ?x6 at 75/80/85lbs
    press: ?x6 at 65/65/70/70lbs
    2x3 at 75lbs
    [stopped early just because]

    tuesday: running: 7.6mi at 8:12 (1.9mi chip-n-seal)
    (38 minutes)
    squats: ?x6 at 65/75/85lbs
    1x4 at 115lbs
    6x4 at 130lbs
    6x10 at 85lbs
    calf raises: 25/25

    wednesday: running: 5.8mi at 7:44
    (32 minutes)
    squats: ?x7 at 65/75/85/95lbs
    rows: ?x6 at 75/80/85lbs
    press: ?x6 at 65/65/70/70lbs
    ?x3 at 75/75/80/80lbs
    calf raises: 30/30/30

    thursday: running: 6.3mi at 8:14 (1.9mi chip-n-seal)

    weekly total miles: 25.0mi (5.7mi chip-n-sea)

    [easy search code: asdf]
     
  4. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    Not sure why there would be a correlation? I guess I've become something of a spokeman for microloading, so I hope I'm not being defensive, but I can't see how this loading approach would affect fat loss, one way or the other. One thing I would suggest, though, is to only start microloading once you've built up to a fair amount of resistance. If you're still building up your deadlift back to where it was, I would continue macroloading in 5-10 pound increments until you get there. The reason I microload everything even though I'm only trying to bring up my squat, is to make sure the intensity is evenly distributed, so that all the energy my squat needs to increase is available. Only once the Squat, and soon, the Deadlift, has caught up to my Presses, will the latter really need to be microloaded. If I wanted to get my Bench Press up quickly, on the other hand, I would use bigger increases until I got back to my old level. Not saying you have to following my version of microloading, just trying to clarify how I'm using it and what my interpretation of its benefits are. Of course, one other benefit of microloading even if you're below previous levels is that it will help prevent injuries while your body reacquaints itself with those heavier loads. I've erred on the side of caution these last several months precisely for this reason. A third benefit, for me, is that microloading means I already know I can make a lift, because it's never going to be much heavier than the last time I did it, and the last time I did it will never have been that hard. So I can assume a fairly relaxed attitude during my workouts, just making sure the form is correct while I punch the clock.

    I like the 5+ protocol. I'm going to try it a bit on my assistance lifts this cycle.

    Here's an article today from Rip's Weekly newsletter about strength gains and fat loss: http://startingstrength.com/site/article/a_clarification. I continue to hang my hopes on exercising my excess fat away. Especially now that Deadlifts are back, and if I can get the aerobic component consistent again. I've done it before, but I'm getting frustrated with how long it's taking this time around. Seems like the pounds started to come off a few weeks ago, but then my cycling got really haphazard.

    Still wondering if it's ever going to be worthwhile to do singles again. I like the low-risk aspect of doing doubles and above. I was in Menards and thought about buying supplies for a safety rack I've designed in my head for my power rack, but if I stick to triples as my heaviest load, I may never need it. Thoughts?
     
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  5. Sid

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    I hope that I never have to use my airbags or life insurance, but I'm glad to have them.

    The rope safeties are nice. Not sure if you can do them with your setup. I put together my power rack specifically with them in mind.
     
  6. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    Yah, I hear you. I've never had any trouble with anything but singles, and even then I've only failed a squat once or twice, and a bench press less than a handful of times (since starting again four years ago) but a month ago I did get that weird head rush soon after my flu bug, and had trouble finishing a squat rep at triple or quintuple weight (I can't remember). I have some safety bolts that I use, but I'm not sure if they would handle a really heavy load, especially if I set it down unevenly or with a clang. With my brittle knees, I'm a little reluctant to try singles again, but making PRs with these percentage-based projections isn't very satisfying either . . . "I could lift x if I really wanted to."

    Your set-up wouldn't work for me because my power rack is a triangle, not a square, and I load the rack in front, on the two front posts, which have nothing overhanging them. The rack does have a base that extends out a bit, and I've put some 4x4s under that, for extra height, so my idea would be to put two vertical 4x4s at the end of those, attach them to the base, and then put about a foot of bar in between the vertical 4x4s and the power rack posts at my Bench Press safety height, and then a removable bar a bit further up at my squat safety height. Materials would be about $40-50. The only question is if a foot between the power rack posts and the vertical 4x4s is enough space for the bar path of the three lifts I do in that position: the squat, bench press, and tall kneeling overhead press. With strict form, I think I can stay within that. But having to worry about banging into the 4x4 posts could be a distraction. Anyway, today's mission is to see if the dipgrips will work without interfering with the presses. I'm feeling the need to work dips back into the routine somehow.

    Thanks for the feedback in any case, and if I go through with the safety rack, I'll be sure to post some pics.
     
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  7. BroadArrow

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    when you are reading about everyone else's trick safety stuff and you are watching over four children from the ages of 3 to 8, the only option is: project time!!! thus, the afternoon was spent in the basement building some rickety squat-bar-catchers out of scrap 2x4s and long screws and really old 1x1/2's. they look kinda, uh, amateurish because, well, i'm not that talented plus i had helpful assistance. (put that down! no, don't drill holes in your brother's knees. swing the hammer over there. um, can you saw over there instead of on my foot. that kind of thing...) also: i'm totally sold on old-fashioned hand tools. with them, i can actually do this kind of thing with everyone crawling all over the place and doing their own toy-sized projects.

    once 3 out of 4 were in bed, i set my bar on it and loaded it up with my whopping 215lbs then strained it up a little bit and dropped it a few times. so far so good. it should let me crank up the weight a little bit for seeing what i can really do since it provides a bigger target than the tiny safeties on my giant jack stands and should at least slow the bar down before it crashes into the crawlspace. my theory is not to dump the bar, but to be able to set it down if i canNOT get back up out of the bottom of the low, "winking" position. however, the primary issue is that my cheapy bar is seemingly super narrow. so even with a pretty narrow grip, i have to pull my elbows in to be able to clear the horizontal pieces if they are in close enough to catch the bar.

    rickety_safeties.png

    also, i've taken to waddling from the squat stands around the corner and over to that tiny strip of exposed hardwood floor in the lower righthand corner. as the weight (hopefully) increases, i may stay put on the carpet, but it just doesn't feel as good as solid ground beneath your feet. squatting in shoes would be all kinds of not fun at the moment.
     
  8. Abide

    Abide
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    Sorry, no I wasn't meaning to knock on the microloading at all, the correlation was between the weight gain and the positive effect it has on lifting for me. So I guess in a way I was expecting a positive experience from semi-microloading this cycle, plus as you said the strength levels were pre-plateau level so easy progression was basically guaranteed. It was intermixing the micro-loading with the density lifting that was more of a trial period last cycle.

    I am looking forward to micro-loading the next 2 cycles because I am at that marginal level where things become more difficult. I'm hoping it will shine through and the mental piece where you never feel like you cant make a lift will be there. Plus I am really curious to test out if the slow progression will work well as I increase my running. I'll put together a progression schedule in a bit.

    Yeah, I think for me exercise alone doesn't seem to be working anymore. I really need to get more diligent about having good filling food around on a regular basis. I usually eat well, but once I get hungry and nothing is around then I start snacking on crap.

    I think I am going to skip singles for a long time. Maybe at the end of the year I'll test the lifts out, or maybe the goal will be to break a double? I used to use something like these a while back https://www.menards.com/main/p-1444436617805-c-19492.htm?tid=5892000416201343206 its portable and reasonable inexpensive.
     
  9. Sid

    Sid
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  10. BroadArrow

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    i have looked at sawhorses before, but my main problem was that they are too tall. when i am at the very bottom, all folded up, the bar is around 25 or 26 inches off the ground. and most sawhorses (e.g., the one you linked to) are taller than that around 32.5 inches. hence, i made my rickety knock-offs. :)
     
  11. Bare Lee

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    Yah, I didn't take it as a knock, and in replying I hope I wasn't coming off as defensive. I see what you mean now. In that article by Rip, he does state that there is an optimal body fat ratio of 17-18 percent or something like that for making strength gains. I think one other possible benefit from microloading is that it's so easy to control intensities, and it's probably a good thing if your body knows more or less what exercise dose it's getting all the time. Might help regulate hunger, I dunno. Just an idea that I could support with a flimsy study I suppose.

    I did like your idea of mixing microloading and density lifting. It's a clever twist. I'm still not willing to give the Bench Press precedence over the Overhead Press however, so I would need a four times a week schedule to try your plan. Or pair one of the presses with one of the lower body lifts twice a week for an AB schedule. Anyway, look forward to checking out your progression. I think for the foreseeable future, I'll just keep plugging away with what I got. It's boring, but it works well for me.

    Yah, I think you or someone else suggested saw horses before, but I'm trying hard to keep my small workout space uncluttered, and I'm not sure I would trust those things with a 300-plus load put down in a hurry anyway. I appreciate all the suggestions, but I think my design, if I go through with it, will probably work best. Some of the Bench Press stations I've seen are similar. I just need a way to raise the safety bar a few inches for the squat, which should be easy to do with my design.

    As for Sid's set-up, my garage doesn't have open joists, so that wouldn't work, and anyway, although I think that Shermworks safety design is intriguing, I don't think I'd like having to manipulate a lever while I'm concentrating on setting a single PR. Being of feeble mind, it would distract me. I suppose I could get used to it, but I don't think I would ever use it for triples or higher, so I wouldn't have the habit when attempting singles. Triples and higher feel super solid and smooth these days and there's never any chance of missing a rep. In fact, I almost always ascend with good form, never having to cheat a bit. I think I must be easily 5-10 pounds below my true 3- and 5RMs.

    And even though I'm pretty envious of Abide and Sid's power racks, I kind of like my El-Cheapo compact set-up, so there's a desire to make it even better, even if it's not really necessary at the moment. I don't really feel like doing singles, but I feel somewhat morally obligated, in order to claim my PRs honestly. But if I make the safety rack, it will be more just to see an idea realized than out of any real need. I'm just loving this period of training injury-free and with minimal crankiness in the joints, so I don't want to do anything to spoil it, like try a heavy Bench Press. The last time I tested my BP 1RM PR, admittedly prematurely, I failed and sprained my left thumb a bit. Months later it still isn't 100%. I'll end up a lot stronger avoiding singles I think, and just projecting them. With the help of my Excel sheet, I can see where I'll be in a year if I can simply add a pound or two a week and it helps me remain patient.

    One problem with not doing singles is that it makes the oft-postponed Abide-Lee 400-pound Deadlift challenge a bit difficult to judge, as well as the 1000-pound total challenge. Maybe once we're close to those two marks, that'll be the time to start testing singles?

    I like BA's focus on Squats. As I've said before, I've become convinced of the "Squat = King of Lifts" argument. For one thing, I've been impressed with how easy it's been to recover my Deadlift recently, and I credit that in large part to having a Squat that is proportional. The last time I was doing these Deadlift loads, my Squat was a lot weaker, and I think with a weaker Squat it would've taken me more time to build back up to my former Deadlift levels. Given the Iron Ratio, I think Deadlift's load will always be available if you're doing your squats, but the converse isn't true. I think for any kind of base strength conditioning or athletic performance, Squats gotta be more beneficial than Deadlifts, although for pure strength, nothing beats the Deadlift, because of the higher poundages possible, for us raw lifters anyway.
     
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  12. Sid

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    One thing to consider for anyone considering the rope safeties is that the apparatus is bolted onto the barbell. Sure, loosening four bolts is pretty easy, but a bit impractical to do all the time.

    The lever is not a distraction for me, as I'm supporting the weight from below the bar. The lever is on top. The ropes and lever are the least of my concerns. Remembering to reset the pin and pipe safeties is a bigger hassle.
     
  13. Bare Lee

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    Yah, and it's true that if I actually tried it, I might like it, but based on appearances, I would say this is a case of different preferences. I've never had trouble with the safety bars or pins, but you're right it is a bit harrowing at times making sure you get the bar on safely. But it does seem like the safety ropes would allow you to experiment a little more, like pausing at different phases of a lift. And like I said, if I had practice with it, I would get used to it as you have, but I was thinking more in terms of needing it for testing singles, which wouldn't be very often, so I wouldn't have the habit, and having every phase of a lift done as pure habit is key when going for PRs, I think. Even my initial step to the bar now is pretty precise and automatic when doing squats. It's probably my most ritualized lift. I just think safety ropes might be one more thing to think about. And the mere presence of it, the fact that I have my hands ready to pull the lever if things go south, as it were, I think might weaken my resolve a little bit or instill doubt. In any case, I don't have the right set up for the rope safeties right now, so it's all academic. I appreciate the suggestion/feedback, however, as always.
     
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  14. Bare Lee

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    Came across this: https://www.t-nation.com/training/girondas-8x8-training
    Might be worthy of a last-ditch effort to combine strength gains and weight loss. I know I would never have the mental fortitude however for that kind of program.
     
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  15. Sid

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    To clarify, the pin and pipe safeties go horizontally across the power rack. It's a slight nuisance to pull them out and adjust them higher for the squat or lower for the bench. It becomes readily obvious when benching, if they are higher up in the squat position. However, if one forgets to raise them for the squats, then they'll be too low to safely catch a failed rep.
    http://www.roguefitness.com/monster-pin-and-pipe-safety-sets
     
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  16. Abide

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    Yeah the ones I used to use were about 25" and non adjustable. I actually had to add a 2x4 so it sat perfectly for the bench and I could squat on it as well. I had them laying around from a previous profession so it was a no brainer for me. Although I don't like to squat with safeties and I always do them outside my rack. Maybe if I was going for a real 1rm I would do them inside?
     
  17. Bare Lee

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    Yah, I agree, that would be one of the drawbacks of the pin and pipe safeties. When I do my triples, I often put in the bolts, with wingnuts. I do that in between warm-up sets so it doesn't take any extra time, but it is something you have to remember to do, you're right. Lately, however, as my confidence grows with these heavier loads, and they become increasingly easier as my strength gains seemingly outpace my rate of increase, I haven't been bothering to put them in. For me, it's mainly with the idea of doing singles more often that I'm thinking about possible improvements to my safety bolts. If I decide it's time to do singles, putting in the bolts won't be much of a hassle. I'll already be focused on psyching myself up, so preparing the bolts would be part of the build-up to the 1RM attempt. The problem with the bolts is that I think they might bend if the load were placed on the end of them instead of closer to the rack posts. With my presses, I use the same kind of carriage bolt, but they're much shorter, so there's only a little more than an inch of space between the bolt hex end and the rack post, so they're plenty stiff.

    In any case, looking over my rack a bit more, I'm thinking my dipgrips might be better attached to the 4x4 vertical posts I would need for my new safety set-up, instead of attaching them to the rack posts, because with the latter option my head would be directly under the pulldown pulley beam above. At 73 inches tall and with a 83-inch ceiling (or was it 84?), I don't have a lot of room to work with, so I think I'll go ahead with the improved safety bar project and install the dipgrip brackets on the 4x4 posts at the same time. Besides, I need to pick up some more sweet chili pistachios at Menards anyway.
     
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  18. Sid

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    I can't quite visualize what you're talking about with your bolts. Trying to find your pics of your equipment isn't so easy using search.

    When I was buying threaded steel rods for my DIY plate storage, I made sure to order construction grade rods, nuts, etc. I also made sure that I could look up exact specs. Rated for several thousand lbs, I wasn't worried about the rods holding up a few plates.
    http://www.icc-es.org/Reports/pdf_files/ESR-1161.pdf
     
  19. Abide

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    Yeah I hear what you are saying about the squat. Logically the carry over should be more from the squat to the deadlift than vice versa. I'm still working on my sheet right now hopefully after my squat workout tomorrow I'll get it complete. I am going to jump up to 100kgs in the squat and then from there I might increase it by 2.5kgs a workout to get it closer to your ratios a bit quicker. But it'll depend on how that 100kgs feels tomorrow.

    Not sure about the challenge and the best way to test it. I think if I can get to the 170kgs point in my EMOM routine then the 181kg pull should be doable. So in roughly 30 weeks! +/- 20 for the ultra effect. I still think the 315lb squat is gonna be a little more challenging for me to get to. 285 bench should be cake. Then do we have to do all the lifts in one day?

    By the way I've been thinking about what you said before about the great bike riding out here and possibly a week off an cruising around Europe on the new touring bike. Maybe do a 1000k loop or something, Rotterdam - Brugge - Chimay - La Roche - Aachen - Nijmegen? I've also thought a little about flying down to Cork and cruising from there down through the ring of Kerry and up to the cliffs and back around. Thanks for the idea!
     
  20. Bare Lee

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    Here's the page, but the bolts I'm talking about aren't depicted.
    http://www.thebarefootrunners.org/t...2014-eight-week-workout-cycle-ii.17238/page-6
    I was surprised too that carriage bolts weren't sturdier but I guess they're made for keeping things together, not as one-ended supports. My design for the new set-up should be pretty solid.

    Yah, I think Squats really do drive Deadlift progress. I kinda think the OHP can drive BP progress too. That is, you might be able to just train the OHP and know that the BP is there, at an Iron Ratio load of 1.5 times the OHP, without having to do much more than prime it once in a while. I dunno, just a suspicion. Maybe Pullups to Rows work the same way.

    Well, according to my projections, based on adding two pounds to the squat each week, I should reach a 1000-pound total by early May.

    2016 Load Projections.jpg

    (I think that chart is a little old, and the pulldowns have been recalibrated) Of course, I have no idea if my current rate of increase is sustainable. On all my weekly templates, I have the total in the top right corner, so you can check on my progress. And yeah, I think all three lifts should be done in the same day. I won't be attempting anything outside of the projections, which so far have been pretty accurate, so I don't anticipate too much trouble making all three lifts once the charts tell me it's time. I think I'm consistently underestimating my true 1RM on all the lifts by about 5-10 pounds, so I should be OK.

    Maybe in April we can start paying more attention to this, and make it a bit of a game, although I'm pretty sure I will be unwilling to add risk just to hurry up the process. This period of injury-free lifting is true bliss.

    Yah, the ring of Kerry is spectacular. And you gotta love those huge Irish breakfasts at the B&Bs. How much longer do you think you'll be in Europe, by the way?
     
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