Metabolic Triad Training, 2021: Cycle III

Discussion in 'Training Information/Training Regimens' started by Bare Lee, Apr 24, 2021.

  1. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota
    2. Presidents

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Likes Received:
    6,567
    Assessment of last cycle and goals for this one in next post, to save from scrolling a lot when updating the log.

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


    Sunday, 21.04.25
    Still feeling a little blase, could be post-vaccine achiness, or just the dreary weather.

    Monday, 21.04.26
    -Morning-
    Persistence
    2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog.

    -Afternoon-
    Resistance: Pull
    PD: 3 @ 140/150/155/160; 1 @ 165
    DL: 3 @ 235/250/260/265
    RW: 3 @ 140/150/155/160; 1 @ 165

    Tuesday, 21.04.27
    Failed on my second weekday of the cycle to get something in. It was a long day away and it was already close to dinner when we got back and I was hungry, but I should've at least gotten in some warmup sets. Oh well.

    Wednesday, 21.04.28
    -Morning-
    Persistence
    2.5 mi "Woods, Fields & Campus" walk with dog.

    -Afternoon-
    Stuff came up again. Really have to try harder to get the lifting done in the morning.

    Thursday, 21.04.29
    -Morning-
    Persistence
    2.2 mi "Woods, Fields & Campus" walk with dog.

    Resistance: Push
    OP: 3 @ (45/65/75/85)/95/100/105/107.5

    Daughter was a half hour late to school, so I didn't have enough time to do a full workout after I dropped her off, as I had errands mid morning. I guess early morning lifting is no guarantee against interruptions after all! But I think it will definitely have a lower percentage of them.

    Anyway, the morning lifting wasn't too bad. I will definitely try to make habituating to the morning routine one of the goals this cycle. Until my mental and physical resistance lessens, I'll keep the loads as light as they need to be to make it pretty easy, no excuses (as recommended here: http://www.jmaxfitness.com/blog/how-to-succeed-at-early-morning-training/). So the first weeks of this cycle will focus on just trying to establish the new habit.

    Friday, 21.04.30
    -Afternoon-
    Resistance: Pull
    PD: 3 @ 140/150/155/160; 1 @ 165
    DL: 3 @ 235/250/260/265
    RW: 3 @ 140/150/155/160; 1 @ 165

    Saturday, 21.05.01
    Took my mother-in-law to the airport very early in the morning, went back to bed instead of lifting.

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

    Sunday, 21.05.02
    Kids decided to re-arrange the house.

    Monday, 21.05.03
    -Morning-
    Persistence
    2.5 mi "Woods, Fields & Campus" walk with dog.

    -Afternoon-
    Resistance: Push
    OP: 3 @ (45/65/75/85)/95/100/105/107.5; 1 @ 110
    SQ: 3 @ (45/95/135)/185/195/205/215
    BP: 3 @ (45/95)/135/145/155/160

    Tuesday, 21.05.04
    -Morning-
    Persistence
    2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog.

    -Afternoon-
    Resistance: Pull
    PD: 3 @ 135/145/155/165
    DL: 3 @ 235/245/255/265
    RW: 3 @ 135/145/155/165

    I'm already rounding up or down to the nearest 5-pound plate increment on the ramp sets. And the Overhead Press does seem to be the weakest lift. I can do the Max 1+ set for full reps for most of the other lifts. So perhaps I'll ramp down on the Overhead Press as well, to get in extra volume.

    Note: Max 1+ sets in boldface.

    Wednesday, 21.05.05
    -Morning-
    Persistence
    2.5 mi "Woods, Fields & Campus" walk with dog.

    -Afternoon-
    Resistance: Push
    OP: 3 @ (45/65/75/85)/95 interrupted . . .

    Thursday, 21.05.06
    -Morning-
    Persistence
    2.4 mi "Woods, Fields & Campus" walk with dog and daughter.

    Friday, 21.05.07

    Saturday, 21.05.08



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

    Sunday, 21.05.09

    Monday, 21.05.10

    Tuesday, 21.05.11

    Wednesday, 21.05.12
    -Morning-
    Persistence
    2.5 mi "Woods, Fields & Campus" walk with dog.

    There's about .4 miles of gravel road on this route. Good foot massage.

    Holy crap. Spent a lot of the last week either running errands or re-organizing the house. Ikea furniture is definitely only meant to be assembled once!

    Thursday, 21.05.13
    -Morning-
    Resistance: Push
    OP: 3 @ (45/65/75/85)/95/100/105
    SQ: 3 @ (45/95/135)/155/175/185

    Finally lifted in the morning again. Wasn't too bad, but didn't do any worksets.

    Friday, 21.05.14
    -Morning-
    Resistance: Pull
    PD: 3 @ (125)/135/145/155/165
    (SLDL: 3 @ 135/185/225); DL: 3 @ 235/245/255

    Still kinda priming, easing into the morning time slot.

    Persistence
    2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog.

    Saturday, 21.05.15
    -Afternoon-
    Persistence
    1 mi walk to store and back with son and dog.

    Resistance: Push
    OP: 3 @ (45/65/75/85)/95/100/105/107.5; 1 @ 110

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

    Sunday, 21.05.16

    Monday, 21.05.17
    -Morning-
    Persistence
    2.5 mi "Woods, Fields & Campus" walk with dog.

    -Afternoon-
    Resistance: Push
    OP: 3 @ (45/65/85)/95/100/105/107.5; 2 @ 110
    SQ: 3 @ (45/95/135)/185/195/205/215

    Tuesday, 21.05.18
    -Morning-
    Persistence
    2 mi: walk around the block with wife, and "Four Hills" walk with dog.

    Wednesday, 21.05.19

    Thursday, 21.05.20

    Friday, 21.05.21

    Saturday, 21.05.22



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

    Sunday, 21.05.23

    Monday, 21.05.24

    Tuesday, 21.05.25

    Wednesday, 21.05.26

    Thursday, 21.05.27

    Friday, 21.05.28

    Saturday, 21.05.29



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

    Sunday, 21.05.30

    Monday, 21.05.31

    Tuesday, 21.06.01

    Wednesday, 21.06.02

    Thursday, 21.06.03

    Friday, 21.06.04

    Saturday, 21.06.05



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

    Sunday, 21.06.06

    Monday, 21.06.07

    Tuesday, 21.06.08

    Wednesday, 21.06.09

    Thursday, 21.06.10

    Friday, 21.06.11

    Saturday, 21.06.12



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

    Sunday, 21.06.13

    Monday, 21.06.14

    Tuesday, 21.06.15

    Wednesday, 21.06.16

    Thursday, 21.06.17

    Friday, 21.06.18

    Saturday, 21.06.19
     
    #1 Bare Lee, Apr 24, 2021
    Last edited: May 18, 2021 at 12:56 PM
  2. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota
    2. Presidents

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Likes Received:
    6,567
    Assessment of last cycle:
    I was able to be fairly consistent about my walks. It really helps to go out first thing or right after dropping off the kids at school.

    For the strength training, I didn’t make any progress, but I may have figured out a few things. For one, I found out the importance of doing full sets and reps. That is, I found out that volume is just as important as intensity or frequency for strength training. Actually, in order of importance, it could be argued that it’s probably Frequency > Volume > Intensity. It doesn’t work to move up an increment if I can’t do full sets and reps at the new loads, because the diminished volume might actually cause me to regress, all things being equal. Kind of goes back to Pavel’s rule of ten, or at least my interpretation of it: always try to get in around ten reps on a given exercise.

    So I guess my ideal for these three parameters are ever closer to being set:

    Frequency: 3 times per lift per week.
    Volume: 10-15 reps per lift per workout.
    Intensity: 80-95%, mostly 85-90%.

    A second thing I figured out is that, in order to get in more volume, and also to get everything warmed up after interruptions, I found it useful to 'ramp' up to my workset. And third, I also tried to lift right after my morning walk, and it seems like this might be a possible change to make sure I’m less interrupted. Nonetheless, I really prefer lifting right before dinner. It’s just harder to motivate to pick up heavy things in the morning, but perhaps by ramping up it won’t be such a shock on my joints (mainly shoulders).

    I didn’t do the conditioning part much at all, but I’ll continue to take a stab at it.

    Goals for this cycle:
    1.) Keep/get my blood pressure down
    2.) Lose some weight
    3.) Lift more weight up from the ground and over my head.

    To best accomplish these goals, I will continue to try to train all three metabolic energy systems each day: Phosphagen, Glycolytic, and Aerobic/Oxidative. These translate into Strength Training, Conditioning, and Endurance, respectively, which I will label triadically as “Resistance,” “Intermittence,” and “Persistence,” also respectively. I believe all three are necessary to achieve my goals/general fitness.

    I will do the Aerobic component in the morning or evening whenever possible, by walking our dog one to three miles, or 20 minutes to an hour. There is no real progressive goal here, just consistency, but there’s a chance I may try to run up some of the hills on my “Hills” walks, or parts of them. I may also try to alternate the Hills walks with a mostly flat walk through some nearby woods and experimental fields, maybe Hills on Deadlift day, and less quads-y Flat on Squat day. Besides the health benefits provided by daily aerobic exercise, I think it also increases my work capacity in strength training.

    Strength Training and Conditioning will most likely be done late afternoon, although I might try late mornings from time to time. There’s also an outside chance I may try them immediately after the morning walks, as that’s the best guarantee not to be disrupted later in the day.

    My programming for Strength Training incorporates the three parameters of Frequency, Volume, and Intensity using these two criteria and five protocols:

    Program Criteria
    1. Structural Balance (to determine lift selection)
    2. Efficiency & Benefit (to determine style of lift)
    Program Protocols
    3. Iron Ratio (to determine loads across lifts)
    4. System of Percentages (to determine load per reps and sets)
    5. Set/Rep Scheme (to determine sets and reps per workout)
    6. Loading Scheme (to determine type/rate of progressive loading)
    7. Routine (to determine lifts per workout)

    Even though my goal in strength training is simply to lift more weight up from the ground and over my head, I will continue to do lifts in all six of the human body’s force-direction vectors--Vertical Push/Pull, Horizontal Push/Pull, Lower-body Push/Pull--for Structural Balance. Structural balance means that the main agonist muscles involved in each lift are supported by the corresponding antagonist (and stabilizing) muscles, and that the upper body and lower body are proportionately strong. With structural balance, each lift has a solid platform, so greater progress can be made (e.g., one can bench more with a strong back), and injuries caused by imbalances or weak points can be avoided. It may also have cosmetic benefits.

    I have found that the best way to strength train all six force-direction vectors of the human body is with the five main barbell lifts plus chinups/pulldowns. This is because these bilateral, compound lifts recruit maximal muscle mass in each force-direction vector, and thus afford the greatest Efficiency and Benefit:

    Vertical Push: Overhead Press
    Horizontal Push: Bench Press
    Lower-body Push: Back Squat
    Vertical Pull: Pulldown
    Horizontal Pull: Pendlay Row
    Lower-body Pull: Deadlift

    I will continue to use the ‘Iron Ratio’ protocol of 2:3:4:5 to determine loads in each force-direction vector:

    Overhead Press = 2 units
    Bench Press, Pulldown, Pendlay Row = 3 units
    Squat = 4 units
    Deadlift = 5 units

    Or, alternatively:

    Deadlift = 1
    Squat = 0.8
    Bench Press, Pulldown, Pendlay Row = 0.6
    Overhead Press = 0.4

    These ratios, although arbitrarily exact, translate pretty well into idealized structural balance. Since adopting them, I haven’t pulled a muscle or been otherwise injured.

    Loads will be based on my weakest lift, the Overhead Press. So, for example, if my Overhead Press load is 100 pounds, then the base or ‘1’ unit of the Iron Ratio is 50 pounds (=100/2 units), and the other lifts’ loads are calculated accordingly.

    Bench Press, Pulldown, Pendlay Row: 3 units x 50lbs = 150lbs
    Squat: 4 units x 50lbs = 200lbs
    Deadlift: 5 units x 50lbs = 250lbs

    To calculate loads in my chart, I just take the top load of the Overhead Press and derive the other lifts’ loads by embedding these formulas.

    Overhead Press = X lbs.
    Bench Press, Pulldown, Pendlay Row = X lbs. x 1.5
    Squat = X lbs. x 2
    Deadlift = X lbs. x 2.5

    I will continue to target 90% intensity of my One-repetition Maximum (1RM) for all lifts, for the main workset, using a simplified System of Percentages (cf. https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other7.htm):

    100% = 1RM
    95% = 2RM
    90% = 3RM
    85% = 5RM
    80% = 7RM
    75% = 10RM

    This means I will be doing three repetitions for each set. That’s the easiest for me to motivate for, in terms of amount of sets, length of set, and intensity. Strength training is very boring, so I’m trying to make it as simple and easy, mentally and physically, as possible. Targeting 90% capacity also seems to help promote the greatest Efficiency and Benefit, as it recruits near-maximal muscle mass and thus fully taxes the Phosphagen system: https://www.t-nation.com/training/rule-of-90.

    However, unlike in previous cycles, I will follow the Set/Rep Scheme of ‘ramping’ instead of straight sets across at 3RM (e.g., 3x3, or “Hard Triples”). I ended up doing some ramping in the last cycle, as I sometimes found it hard to go from my last warmup set to my first workset when I had to take some time off. That got me to thinking about formalizing this contingency as a training protocol, as a way to (1) account for the fact that my workouts are often canceled or disrupted, and (2) make sure I get in sufficient volume. So I did a quick internet search as well as looking up some old T-Nation articles. I was particularly inspired by this article, and its discussion of activating/potentiating the nervous system: https://www.t-nation.com/training/thibaudeau-on-ramping. As Thibaudeau defines it:

    “ramping means ramping up (or activating/potentiating) the nervous system while trying to minimize fatigue. This leads to an optimal lifting performance.”

    This led to a bit more reading, like this: https://bachperformance.com/ramping-sets-for-more-strength/

    Decades ago, I used a bastardized version of the ‘pyramid’ protocol for bench pressing, which was similar to ramping. I would go up five or ten pounds each set, reducing reps as I went, until I reached my 1RM. Then I would repeat that load to failure (with a spotter), then come back down, taking off 10 pounds each set, for another 3-4 sets, maximizing reps to failure at each increment. I’m too old for that now, but ramping might have similar potentiating benefits without the fatigue and injury risk of pyramiding.

    In my first attempt at designing a ramping protocol, I’ll set the top load of my Overhead Press a little light at 110 pounds. By deloading a bit, I’m taking Wendler’s 5/3/1 advice (https://www.t-nation.com/workouts/531-how-to-build-pure-strength), and trying to make everything easy to start with, in order to get my groove back, but also because I’m going to take a stab at lifting in the morning when I can, so I don’t want any excuses for putting it off till later till the end of the day, when there’s a better chance of being interrupted.

    Next, I’ll target a weight two and half pounds below the top weight, or 107.5 pounds, which I’ll call the target workset. Then I’ll make my ramp worksets 95%, 90%, and 85% of the top weight. This renders loads of about 105, 100, and 95 pounds, respectively. All four worksets (three ramps and the target) will be done for three reps, although I might try something like 10/7/5/3 or 6/5/4/3 at some point later.

    If my 3RM Target workset of 107.5 lbs. is considered 90% of 1RM, that is, my 3RM, then the top weight of 110 lbs. is well below the true 1RM, which would be closer to 120 pounds. I will use this diminished top weight of 110 lbs. to go for max reps. The idea of incorporating max reps was also inspired by Wendler’s 5/3/1 program. The difference is that I’ll go for max reps after my last full workset, whereas Wendler programs max reps for his last workset. He notates this as 5+, 3+, 1+ (depending on the week’s prescribed reps). I’ll notate my max rep set as ‘Max 1+.’ The program itself could be called something like “Ramp to Max 1+.” In my version of max reps, the set's last rep will be the one I can just manage to complete, with some effort, not the one that fails, as in pyramiding.

    There’s also a chance I could add more three-rep sets coming back down the ramp--as an easier take on pyramiding--which might be useful for getting in a little more volume on my weakest lift(s). And some days I might skip the first ramp set, like when I’m pressed for time, although I like the idea of warming everything up very gradually. For heavier lifts, I might also find the first ramp set unnecessary.

    The Loading Scheme will still be progressive, but instead of scheduled microloading, as I’ve done in the past, I will increase loads when I can do the Max 1+ set for three reps comfortably. (This is another difference from Wendler’s use of max reps). The Max 1+ set’s load will then become the new Target 3RM workset, and the new Max 1+ set for the Overhead Press will increase by 2.5 pounds. The Overhead Press’s Ramp sets and loads for all other lifts will increase in proportion to the new Overhead Press’s Max 1+ load using the Iron Ratio and System of Percentages.

    Each array of loads for all six lifts is kind of a cycle, going from one to three reps on the last set of each lift over the cycle’s course. However, the notion of ‘cycle’ tends to imply a defined interval of time, like eight-week cycle, whereas here the end of the cycle is not determined by schedule. Rather, it is determined by strength gains. Therefore, I prefer to think of each array as a training block with just one phase, or zero periodization.

    The loads for the Bench Press, Pulldown, and Pendlay Row’s Target and Max 1+ worksets will be rounded up or down to the nearest two-and-a-half-pound increment, and all of the worksets for the heavier, lower-body lifts will be rounded up or down to the nearest five-pound increment. The upper-body lifts’ three Ramp worksets will also be rounded up or down to the nearest five-pound increment to simplify loading.

    Thus, the Max 1+ and Target worksets for the Overhead Press will always be two and a half pounds apart; those same sets for the Bench Press, Pulldown, and Row will vary between two and a half and five pounds apart; those sets for the Squat, whose load is exactly twice as much as the Overhead Press's, will always be five pounds apart; and the Deadlifts’ Max 1+ and Target sets will vary between five and ten pounds apart.

    So the System of Percentages only applies to the Ramp sets, whereas the Max 1+, and Target sets for all lifts will follow a kind of a course-grained microloading. The advantage in only following the System of Percentages partially is that the new Target sets for all lifts will exactly match their old Max 1+ sets, and the new Max 1+ sets are always relatively close to the new Target sets, so that it’s not too hard to get in that initial extra rep on the new Max 1+ sets. (Note: in my logs, the Max 1+ set will be in boldface.)

    Training Block diagram.jpg

    Thus, I’ll begin with five sets of 13 reps per lift (3+3+3+3+1), and end with five sets for a maximum of 15 reps when I am able to complete all three reps of the Max 1+ set (3+3+3+3+3). This is more volume than Pavel’s Rule of 10, but the first Ramp sets will be lower in intensity, so it should be about the same amount of volume in terms of overall intensity. (If I decide to ramp down from time to time, the volume will be a bit more.)

    I think I’ll like this better than Wendler’s way of doing max reps, because I don’t really like doing any set for more than three reps, and it also provides a guide for progressive loading based on actual strength gains, rather than an arbitrary increase of 5 or 10 pounds after an arbitrary amount of time. Note, also, that the number of repetitions is really independent of the program; I could easily do 5RM or 10RM sets and progress the max-rep set up to that number of reps. It might still be good to try different numbers of reps at some point. For the time being, I prefer 3RM sets for pure strength, efficiency, and minimal mental strain.

    Thus, setting the Max 1+ load for the Overhead Press at 110 pounds (base unit = 55 lbs.), which conveniently starts the first ramp close to 95 pounds (bar + two 25-pound plates), and adding two and a half pounds to it for each training block, the Iron Ratio and System of Percentages renders the following chart:

    Ramp to Max 1+.3 Ramps.No 1RM.OP in 2.5lb increments.21.04.jpg

    In this chart, there are no longer any true 1RMs, because the Max 1+ and Target sets are set by simple addition/subtraction, rather than multiplication/division to render a percentage. And since the Target Set’s 3RM should be 90% of 1RM, the block begins with the Max 1+ set’s initial 1RM being less than the true 1RM (which projects to about 120 lbs.), and then, once the block is completed at 3RM for the Max 1+ set (90% of 1RM), the true 1RM would finish even higher (about 122.5). I’m not really interested in testing my true 1RMs anyway, so I could just celebrate plate milestones on the Max 1+ set, like when 225 or 315 becomes my new Max 1+ set’s initial one-rep load on a lift. Here ratios will therefore only apply to the relation between ramp sets (a little more than 5%, or 85/90/95% of Max 1+), and between lifts (2:3:4:5), with one simple protocol for increasing loads (achieving 3RM on the Max 1+ set). I could just say the Max 1+ set is the 1RM or 100%, but then it becomes difficult to make the old Max 1+ sets match the new Target sets (as I tried initially).

    Warmup sets will continue to use just 25- and 45-pound plates, so, prior to the first ramp set, I’ll be going up in 50- and 40-pound increments: 45 (empty bar); 95; 135; 185; 225; 275; 315; 365; 405. The warmup sets could be based on percentages too, like 25%, 50%, and 75% of Max 1+, but this would lead to too many warmup sets at lighter loads (e.g., Max 1+ = 120lbs), and not enough at higher loads (e.g., Max 1+ = 405lbs). In my log, warmup sets are not recorded, but I always do them. The only exception are deadlifts, which I start at 135 lbs. and perform as Stiff-legged Deadlifts until I get to my first Ramp set.

    In sum, the program's protocols incorporate Thibaudieu’s ramping, Wendler’s max reps, a simple version of Michael Tuchscherer’s Rate of Perceived Exertion, and a more course-grained microloading than I’ve used in the past.

    Hopefully, this scheme of progressive loading by reps/gains rather than schedule will be practicable, because I like the simplicity (at least once the chart’s been fleshed out). I also like the idea of only having to really motivate for my last, heaviest set, instead of three straight sets at the same weight. I’m still a little bit skeptical that only one full set will be enough. I made a lot of progress with straight sets across several years ago, but that’s not working for me now, and a lot of trainers seem to have had success with ramping to one full workset, so it’s worth trying. Plus I’m including a max rep set after the last, full workset, so that brings a little extra intensity to compensate.

    Another benefit of ramping is that by potentiating my joints and muscles closer to the Target workset, rather than on the last warmup set, everything, especially my shoulders, should be better warmed up. There have been times when the old joints have felt cranky with bigger jumps in intensity from the last warmup set to the first workset.

    Ramping up in small increments and gradual increases in reps should also make the progressive loading fairly smooth and subtle, similar to microloading. Ideally, the effort level between sets and workouts will always feel about the same--demanding but doable. It would be great if it felt as equally pedestrian, so to speak, as a brisk walk, since as the years go by, it has become increasingly hard for me to motivate for strength training, even though I know it contributes greatly to good sleep, concentration, mood, energy, and general health and fitness.

    A further benefit of this scheme is that on days when I feel tired or ‘off,’ or am pressed for time, I can use one of the ramp’s lower percentages to just prime the muscles and joints. If this works well, then I’ll have a systematic way of deciding how much to deload on those days. Previously, I usually just went up to the last warmup set of each lift when I didn’t have good energy or enough time, no matter how close or far that load was to the workset’s load. And now on days when I’m feeling just a little bit tired or unmotivated, I can just cut out the max reps of the Max 1+ set but still get in four quality worksets. On the other hand, on days when I’ve got really good energy, I can take advantage and really push the last set for max reps. The main thing is to try to get in something, anything, no matter how busy or tired, in order to maximize frequency. I think the ramping approach will help with that, because it has some built-in flexibility.

    Therefore, together with the fact that there are no pre-programmed increases, this program should allow me to be more flexible, which will hopefully allow me to be more consistent, which in turn will hopefully allow for some real progress. I think just as my previous programming may have unwittingly prioritized the parameter of intensity over frequency and/or volume, I may have also mistakenly prioritized progress (via scheduled microloading) over consistency, and consistency over flexibility. So instead of

    Progress > consistency > flexibility
    Intensity > volume > frequency


    In this cycle I’ll prioritize:

    Flexibility > consistency > progress
    Frequency > volume > intensity


    The latter are still important, but it seems they may naturally fall out from the former. Hopefully, the new ramping protocol will afford an easy and effective way to realize all three parameters in both domains.

    It’s hard to say how many training blocks I’ll be able to get in for each cycle. Most likely, there will be times when I get through a training block quickly, like just a week or two, and others when it may take a full cycle or more. In any case, a cycle no longer determines the rate of progress. Completing a cycle thread will be more like a chance to step back every eight weeks to evaluate all three metabolic modalities, their interactions, and whatever progress has been made.

    Finally, although my Routine used to consist in doing all six lifts per session, three times a week, in this cycle, I will continue with my relatively recent adoption of a Push/Pull Split, except I'll put the Pull workout first, as it seems to prime the Push lifts more than vice-a-versa:

    Workout A: Pull = Deadlift, Pendlay Row, Pulldown;
    Workout B: Push = Squat, Bench Press, Overhead Press.

    I will try to get in three splits, or six workouts, per week, although two splits per week is probably enough for some progress.

    Conditioning, like the aerobic component, also lacks a progressive goal, but it would be nice to increase intensity or duration or number of intervals over time. It will mostly likely consist of Intervals on my Airdyne and Concept II machines, done after lifting, and adhere to the strength training’s Push/Pull Split. So I will pedal and flail my arms on the Schwinn Airdyne on Push days, and row on the Concept II erg on Pull days. I might also use them on their respective push/pull days before lifting for a few minutes’ warm-up. Intervals will be performed for a minute or two at medium to high Intensity, one to five times. I will either rest 1-5 minutes in between intervals or continue at low intensity. There's also a chance I may do my Push/Pull split for two days, and then on the third day do conditioning on the machines and/or sled. It will depend on how well my shoulders handle the nearly daily lifting.
     
    #2 Bare Lee, Apr 24, 2021
    Last edited: May 5, 2021
    Tedlet likes this.
  3. Abide

    Abide Barefooters
    1. Colorado

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    Alright it's the start of a new cycle, I have been at the 24 hour fitness for about a month now. I sold all my home gym equipment before the move back home. I am really enjoying the public gym though as it gives me access to a pool and maybe more importantly a hot tub. I am having a back flare up now, it's been happening pretty consistently for almost a year. I am still trying to uncouple that but it seems like when I get a virus the inflammation sticks around longer in my back and it usually leads to a week or two of severe back pain. This time was not related to lifting but playing baseball with the boys. Anyway that's a great post Lee I am going to steal from that and design an actual schedule to follow this 8 weeks.
     
  4. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota
    2. Presidents

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Likes Received:
    6,567
    Good to hear from you!

    Sorry to hear about the ongoing back issues. Yes, some kind of microloading is ideal for nursing an injury back to health. (Have you tried one of those upside-down traction tables where you strap in?) Even my relatively healthy shoulders like little increases, so I'm hoping my new ramping protocol will help with that. Even just going from my last warmup set of 95lbs. to a workset of 115lbs. felt too big, like my joints weren't ready for it. I'm also enjoying a bit of a deload. It took meatheads like Wendler and Thibaudieu to license what my body was already telling me would be a better approach.

    Regardless of program, I'm really trying to emphasis frequency and volume this cycle, and parking my ego at the door. For too many years I've been trying to get back to where I was around at the end of 2015. Now I'm trying to just focus on what I can get in comfortably each day, and 'trust the process.' It was really helpful to review Wendler's 5/3/1 program and know that people have success with it, even though it seems like too little. Of course, feel free to take whatever's useful to you from what I'm doing. It's mostly other people's ideas anyway, customized a bit to fit what I think will work best for me. The only real innovation is using Wendler's max rep concept to determine load increases. I knew having a strict schedule for progressive loading no longer worked for me, but I still wanted the load increases to be somewhat systematic. We'll see how it pans out.

    I think it can be a good change of pace to do the public gym from time to time. It's definitely more motivating to see others working out, and it's especially great if you have a few gym rats around to talk shop with a bit. But I really like the flexibility of the home gym, and the fact that I never have to wait for anything to open up, and I can always use my own (unbent!) bar. Do you think you'll eventually rebuild your home gym? My brother has a small, one-person hot tub in his garage. I don't think it's too much, or too hard to install.

    A few days ago I got two four-foot 4x4s for my gym. I'm going to take the plate storage tubes off the top of my squat rack and put them waist high, off to the side. With my new ramping approach, I'll be changing the smaller plates more often, so I want to make it a bit easier. I'll still have my 45s and 25s on the bottom of the rack, but I'll put the 10s, 5s, 2.5s and my new 1.25s on the 4x4s, along with my collars and my set of fractional plates. Just trying to create an open, clean space that's easy to use, and make the workouts as efficient and motivating as possible.
     
    #4 Bare Lee, Apr 27, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  5. Abide

    Abide Barefooters
    1. Colorado

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    ---------------Week 1: Cycle III---------------
    Sunday, 21.04.25

    Trail run - 7k
    Baseball practice with the boys, I think this set off my back.

    Monday, 21.04.26
    Did some body weight squats, pushups and sun salutations.
    Hip extensions - 3x10@90
    Calf Raises - 3x10@90

    I pretty much laid around the rest of the day, this back event seems to be more muscular than the typical SI joint issue.

    Tuesday, 21.04.27
    Stair stepper - 20 min
    Swim - 30 min

    Wednesday, 21.04.28
    Warm up - Row 10 min
    Squats - 15@135, 5@155, 5@175, 3@185
    Pull ups - 8, 8, 7, 6, 6
    Presses - 8@95, 3x5@115
    GHD - 3x8

    Lunch run - 4k

    Back was feeling much better today, figured I would try to get a decent lifting session in. I bought a cheap harbinger belt from Big5 and I absolutely love it. Much better than my old 4inch powerlifting torture device I used to have. It is definitely giving me the confidence to start squatting heavier.

    Thursday, 21.04.29
    Stair stepper - 10 min
    TM Run - 30 min

    Friday, 21.04.30
    Trail run - 8k

    Will try to get in a lifting day today or tomorrow. Might try some deadlifts and bench. Stil have some minor back issues where it flares up at random times. Might go see the chiro today.

    Saturday, 21.05.01
    Gravel ride - 12 mile

    ---------------Week 2: Cycle III---------------
    Sunday, 21.05.02

    Trail run - 8k

    Evening lifting
    5 min row
    DL - 5@135,225,245 3@265,285 1@305
    Pull ups - 3x5
    Pull downs - 3x8@145
    Press - 8@95, 3x5@115, 8@95
    Incline sit ups 3x10
    Calf raises 3x10@90

    Deadlifts were strong today, I just kept adding and it felt great. No back issues at all, actually it's mostly exacerbated by sitting.

    Monday, 21.05.03
    Stair stepper - 15 min
    Swim - 30 min

    TM Run - 30 min

    Tuesday, 21.05.04
    Morning routine

    Wednesday, 21.05.05
    Off day

    Thursday, 21.05.06
    Lifting - AM
    Row - 10 min warmup
    Squats - 5@135, 5@155, 3x3@175
    Pull downs - 3x8@145
    Low pulls - 3x8@145
    Incline sit ups - 3x10

    Run - 30 min afternoon

    Walk - 60 min PM

    Friday, 21.05.07
    Trail run - 8k in AM

    Bench - 10@135, 5@185, 5@185, 3@205
    Calf raises - 3x10@90

    Swim - 25 min in PM

    Saturday, 21.05.08
    Hike - 136 min

    Had a good week this week, went to the chiro about my back. It's still painful all day but is not inhibiting anything. Seems like there is a hip balance issue causing more pressure on my lower back muscles.



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

    Sunday, 21.05.09
    Warm up - stair stepper 20 min
    Deadlifts - 10@135, 5 @225, 5@245, 3@265, 3@285, 2@305, 1@325, 1@325
    Pull ups - 3x5
    GHD - 3x8@16
    Hip thrusts 3x10@90
    Calf raises - 3x10@90

    Monday, 21.05.10
    TM Run - 25 min

    Pull downs - 3x10@145
    Low Pulls - 10@145, 8@160, 8@175
    Farmers - 3 x 60m@140
    Bench machine - 10@90, 5@180, 4 @190

    Tuesday, 21.05.11
    Swim - 30 min
    Run - 30 min

    Wednesday, 21.05.12
    Late morning lifting
    Warmup - Row 10 min
    Squats - 5@135, 5@155, 5@175, 3@185, 3@195
    Bench - 10@135, 5@185, 5@190, 3@195 2@200

    Run - 30min

    Just realized my bench is stronger than my squats... however no back issues while squatting today. I am goign to keep building it up slowly. I am liking the max lifting and increasing weight while decreasing reps.

    Thursday, 21.05.13
    Rest day

    Friday, 21.05.14
    Trail Run - 8k

    Saturday, 21.05.15
    Long hike - 2 hours

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

    Sunday, 21.05.16
    Warm up - Row 10 Min
    DL - 5@135, 5@225, 3@245, 3@265, 3@285, 1@305
    Power Clean + Press - 6x3@135
    GHD sit ups - 15,12,10
    Pull ups - 3x7

    Run - 30 min

    Lifted in the morning and there is a definite difference in perceived effort versus at night. 305 felt like 325. I think I will try to move my lifting to the PM or at least my heavy lifting sessions. Seems like upper body isn't as affected though.

    Monday, 21.05.17
    Swim - 30 min

    Tuesday, 21.05.18

    Wednesday, 21.05.19

    Thursday, 21.05.20

    Friday, 21.05.21

    Saturday, 21.05.22



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

    Sunday, 21.05.23

    Monday, 21.05.24

    Tuesday, 21.05.25

    Wednesday, 21.05.26

    Thursday, 21.05.27

    Friday, 21.05.28

    Saturday, 21.05.29



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

    Sunday, 21.05.30

    Monday, 21.05.31

    Tuesday, 21.06.01

    Wednesday, 21.06.02

    Thursday, 21.06.03

    Friday, 21.06.04

    Saturday, 21.06.05



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

    Sunday, 21.06.06

    Monday, 21.06.07

    Tuesday, 21.06.08

    Wednesday, 21.06.09

    Thursday, 21.06.10

    Friday, 21.06.11

    Saturday, 21.06.12



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

    Sunday, 21.06.13

    Monday, 21.06.14

    Tuesday, 21.06.15

    Wednesday, 21.06.16

    Thursday, 21.06.17

    Friday, 21.06.18

    Saturday, 21.06.19
     
    #5 Abide, Apr 28, 2021
    Last edited: May 17, 2021 at 10:41 AM
  6. Abide

    Abide Barefooters
    1. Colorado

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    I am not sure about the home gym. I think I will probably pick up a nice stationary bike I can ride when I am in meeting's. I do have the room now in the basement though for a gym set up. A couple nice things about the public gym is its only a mile a way and I can bike there once the bikes come and I also get reimbursed for my membership. Oh and having the various equipment available does help with various injuries. I am still trying to rehab my achilles tendinosis issue so doing stuff like weighted calf raises on a machine is cool. They also have a couple sleds and a 40m turf area push it and to do farmers on.

    So we shall see. I would imagine I will slowly start to invest in various equipment over time. And a personal hot tub sounds amazing I will check into it.

    Man I totally forgot about Wendler and 531 and Pavel. I am going to reread some of their books.

    I do like your tweak with the new training block and think I will incorporate that too. Instead of a max set of higher reps just do less reps of a heavier set. It always seemed to be the time when I tweaked something when pushing for extra reps. Now I need to pick and arbritary max and what lifts to perform.

    I also like your goal of lifting up more from the ground and overhead, I am tentatively becoming more interested in doing power cleans and press too.

    Alright I am gonna let these ideas simmer this week and try to put together a plan for starting next week.

    Losing a little more weight sounds like a good goal to me. I made a goal to run a 50k this year but before I could sign up I had to get below 190. Still working on that but I definitely think it is attainable by July. Race is in September.

    Thanks for the motivation and the reading materials!
     
  7. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota
    2. Presidents

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Likes Received:
    6,567
    Wow, your gym is nice and close. And there are definitely advantages to the public gym, like having all that equipment and space available.

    It's cool you can train some with your sons. My son sometimes likes to hang out when I'm working out. I even have a small standard bar he can use, but he mostly likes to use the squat rack for gymnastics. It's great now that the weather is turning and we can go out and play catch or shoot hoops in the evening.

    Funny to remind you of Wendler and Pavel when it was you who first told me about them.

    Yah, my protocol for using max/extra reps is that they should be loaded very close to my last workset, so it's not that hard and I don't have to strain. If I have to strain, then I need to spend more time making the workset easier before attempting my first max rep. Anyway, that's the theory. We'll see how this plays out in practice.

    In any case, I think it's key to start light with anything new, as Wendler recommends. I read this piece about working out in the morning, and the trainer also recommends starting light when switching to a new time of day: http://www.jmaxfitness.com/blog/how-to-succeed-at-early-morning-training/

    I'm still ambivalent about morning lifting. I know it's the best way to avoid interruptions/cancellations, but lifting right before dinner just sets me nicely for sound sleep 4-5 hours later. And I like the idea of boosting my metabolism twice a day instead of doing everything together in the morning.

    For belts, I've been using the Inzer Lever belt for my squat and (sometimes) overhead press many years now. For the Deadlift, I like Spud's 3-ply nylon belt.

    Anyway, great to have back on board!
     
    #7 Bare Lee, Apr 28, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
  8. Abide

    Abide Barefooters
    1. Colorado

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    Yeah with the morning lifting it is nice to be in a warm gym but also making sure I am warmed up so I will always row or do the stair stepper for at least 10 min before I lift now. That definitely seems to help with most of the early morning issues for me. But yeah I have been trying to get some activity later in the day too, if all you do is the AM stuff my sleep always suffers a bit too and I seem to be much more tires in the evening then as well?

    Yeah I am definitely not going to push too heavy, I think consistency across a long period of time is probably the most important aspect in effective lifting. So making sure that happens before anything else is critical for me.

    Funny though that running makes my back feel much better? Wish I could get my achilles to cooperate with that.
     
  9. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota
    2. Presidents

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Likes Received:
    6,567
    Yah, doing everything in the morning makes me drowsy in the afternoon. The morning walks don't seem to have as much effect when decoupled from the lifting. So I don't know, maybe the trick is if I miss an afternoon session, to do all six lifts the next day. Or just switch back to whole body workouts and ditch the push/pull split. It's certainly easier to get in three longer sessions per week than six shorter ones. I don't know. My mother-in-law is no longer in town so that might help with the unanticipated interruptions. Last night I slept like a baby after getting in a good lifting session before dinner, and I don't really like spending too much time in the morning when I'm at peak mental focus for work. Still, I think I'll give the morning lifting a decent shot whenever I feel up for it.

    Cool to hear your back issues seem to be clearing up.

    I'm also glad you're back in the States using our silly weight units. Makes it easier to keep track of what you're doing.
     
    #9 Bare Lee, May 4, 2021
    Last edited: May 10, 2021
  10. Abide

    Abide Barefooters
    1. Colorado

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    I have been thinking about that split as well. My thinking lately is to get more rest in from lifting so keeping it to 2-4 sessions per week is working pretty well. Part of this is to make sure I give my back enough time to recover, but I am thinking its better for general recovery too. At least I feel like I can get a more intense lifting session in and then do cardio the following day, even if it is a walk or short bike to run errands.

    I am also enjoying running in the morning and then lifting later in the day. I think you are right about this being the more optimum pattern. I also enjoy the morning run to get some time to process through my upcoming day and start mentally doing some work.

    Yeah the idiot units, as I like to call them, are strangely familiar. I still prefer kilometers to miles but pounds seems to make me feel much stronger than in Europe. I guess that makes sense about kilometers too, they tend to tick by faster.
     
  11. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota
    2. Presidents

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Likes Received:
    6,567
    Yah, morning cardio seems to work pretty well. I don't have to worry much about fueling or being motivated. And that's another advantage of late afternoon lifting--I already have two meals in me, and I've had some time throughout the day to kinda psych myself up for the workout.

    And an advantage to going back to the whole body routine would be that, besides allowing 47 hours or so for recovery/protein synthesis, instead of 23, I could handle interruptions better. That is, if I adopt a M-W-F schedule, I have greater tolerance built-in: like if I don't make Monday, then Tu-Th-Sa, or M-Th-Sa, or if I miss later in the week, like M-W-Sa, or Tu-F-Su. Whereas with the Push-Pull split, if I miss more than one day, I'm not going to get all six workouts in.

    Anyway, besides testing the ramping program, this cycle I'll try my best to finally settle on a schedule that works. It used to be so easy . . .

    I like the variety you have in your cardio options. That seems ideal.

    Here's a Rip article that I came across on Muscle Imbalances and Injuries.

    https://startingstrength.com/article/muscle-imbalances-and-injuries

    Seems to endorse your approach to, for example, the achiles issue and doing calf raises. Also endorses my general approach to "Structural Balance," I think.

    It kind of makes sense we still use the old idiot, Imperial units. We are probably the most irrational of the Industrialized nations.

    Good point about pounds and kilometers enhancing the feeling of accomplishment!
     
  12. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota
    2. Presidents

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Likes Received:
    6,567
    I don't know about you, but in my youth the bench was the only lift I really pushed, and I never did squats. So due to the earlier advances, when I was at the peak of adaptability, I think my bench will probably always be my strongest lift, although it's not nearly as strong as yours is relative to your squat.

    If I reach a plateau on my lower body lifts, there's a chance I'll abandon my Iron Ratio and see how much stronger I can get my Bench, while keeping the squats and deadlifts steady. I think my Bench PR is 260 or so, but it'd be cool to get it up to 315 if possible. Interestingly, back before I did squats and deadlifts seriously, my Bench was always stuck in the 225-245 range. Only once my back became proportionately stronger was it possible to increase my bench. I'm pretty sure I'd be capable of 275 at least if my squat were 315 and my deadlift 365.

    Anyway, got in two morning sessions in a row. Woo-hoo.
     
    #12 Bare Lee, May 14, 2021 at 11:47 AM
    Last edited: May 17, 2021 at 5:58 PM
  13. Abide

    Abide Barefooters
    1. Colorado

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    Nice job with two mornings!!!

    I was never as consistent with squats as I have been deadlifting for some reason and I think that plus my back issues that started about 5 years ago (even though I hurt it deadlifting) seems to have inhibited my squats more than anything. For some reason bench and deadlifts were always a little more natural to me, squats still feel awkward and compromised.

    I wonder if I might steal your iron ratio and just focus on deadlifts, bench, press and low pulls rather than having squats in there?

    I have been trying to hit 10x225 for a while although its a bit harder benching at the gym as they don't have spotter arms. 315 would be cool though. Your DL is 265 or 365 at that ratio?

    Oh I took your advice and did some power clean and press yesterday. They were hard but went well. It's nice getting heavy weight overhead from the ground. And funny I think I may swap out my heavy lifting to the evening, I am definitely stronger then.
     
  14. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota
    2. Presidents

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Likes Received:
    6,567
    Yah, (loaded) squats are definitely the hardest, most technical (i.e., unnatural) of the main barbell lifts. But I feel like they give the most benefit of any lift. Back in my youth I did deadlifts too, but without the focus I gave to my benching. I can't even remember what my maxes were. Probably pretty low. It was just 8-10 years ago that I started barbell squats. But they kinda feel like the glue that holds all the other lifts together now.

    PM me if you want me to send you my Xcel sheet. It would save you some time because it has all the ratios/formulas embedded. It would then only take you a bit to customize it to your needs. The way it's set up now, I just have to plug in the initial values for the Overhead Press's Target and Max 1+ sets in the first training block, and everything else fills in automatically.

    Your bench is a lot stronger than mine ever was. I don't think I've come close to 10x225. Still, gotta take the long view and keep focusing on consistency first. According to my Iron Ratio, if my bench were 315, then my deadlift would be 525! That's what my 6'5" nephew can do. I doubt I'd ever get there, but if, say, my deadlift topped out at 405, I could still push the bench up towards 315 someday. I know it's still potentially my strongest lift, but my Iron Ratio keeps it well below what I could do, in order to focus on structural balance. I used to have impingement issues when my bench was disproportionately strong.

    (Opps, yah, if my Squat were 315, then my Deadlift would be 365, not 265, under my old Iron Ratio. Under my new Iron Ratio it'd be more like 395)

    Wow, you pressed 135 over your head three times for six sets? I think 3x3@135 was close to my max five years ago. Anyway, now you got me thinking of power cleans. But first, I gotta make sure I complete at least one training block this cycle. I'm also toying with the idea of doing landmine presses and pullovers on my Push days at some point, and adding one-handed dumbbell rows on Pull days.

    Yah, I'm definitely stronger later in the afternoon, and I've read that that's generally true too. The metabolism has had a long time to warm up and hum by then, and the joints are well-lubed. Plus it gives me time during the day to kinda psych myself up for a good session. So, for me, it does seem like morning aerobic and afternoon lifting is ideal. It's just the problem of having a greater chance of being interrupted later in the day. Plus, I really like the idea of getting the exercise taken care of first thing, and having that feeling of accomplishment before I have to do anything else. So I'll continue to try morning lifting for a while yet, whenever it's possible or I'm properly motivated.
     
    #14 Bare Lee, May 17, 2021 at 5:51 PM
    Last edited: May 17, 2021 at 6:02 PM
  15. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota
    2. Presidents

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Likes Received:
    6,567
    Hey, I remember now when I was training Karate in Japan, that part of my ST routine was to deadlift, then take off some weight, then power clean, then take off more weight and clean and press. My technique was probably similar to this:

    That is, without a proper racking after the clean, and without a push on the press.

    Also, here's a pic of my new small plates posts. It has 10-, 5-, 2.5-, 1.25-pound plates on the sides, then 1, .75, .5, .25 fractional plates in front, below the collar. The small plates used to be way up high on my squat rack, only accessible to me, but still a bit of a hassle to reach up and around for, and my fractional plates used to be behind the rack, even less accessible. With the new ramping protocol, I'm changing out small plates quite a bit, so I wanted to make it easier/more accessible.

    IMG_2858.jpg
     

Share This Page