Assessment of last cycle. The consistency for the first half of the cycle was pretty good, but then fell off in the second when a family member became sicker again. The ramping protocol continues to work well. I tweaked it a bit during the cycle a few different ways: 1. Lowered the first Ramp set 20 pounds below the next one, instead of 5-15 pounds, in order to provide a smoother transition between the last plate-determined warmup set and this first ramp set. 2. Introduced optional back-off sets to add a little extra volume without increasing the intensity. Two additional back-off sets using the last two ramp set loads, for example, provide about 40% more volume. 3. Gave up on any strict programming of Full-body or Push-Pull split workouts. Now I just take it day-by-day, which provides for greater flexibility, although most days I seem to end up doing the split. My shoulders continue to tolerate back-to-back lifting reasonably well, but I’m sometimes pretty stiff to start with. On days when I’m really pressed for time, I try to get in a least the Overhead Press or Pulldowns, to keep the shoulders lubed & loose. 4. Adjusted the inter-lift ratios, because progress on the Overhead Press seemed to be stalling. It occurred to me that, most likely, the heavier lifts might have carryover to the lighter lifts, but not vice-a-versa, since the former recruit greater muscle mass, especially among the prime movers. So all the other lifts are now heavier in relation to the Overhead Press, and the Squat is the heaviest, relative to the Iron Ratio, because I think the Squat has the most inter-lift carryover of all the lifts. So, I went from a strict Iron Ratio (2:3:4:5) of 50% of Back Squat = Overhead Press 75% of Back Squat = Bench Press/Pulldown/Pendlay Row 100% = Back Squat 125% of Back Squat = Deadlift To the tweaked Ratios of 43% of Back Squat = Overhead Press 71% of Back Squat = Bench Press/Pulldown/Pendlay Row 100% = Back Squat 115% of Back Squat = Deadlift These tweaks will lead to the eventual 3RM plate goals (and their projected 1RMs) of Overhead Press 3RM x 135 (bar + two 45s) = 1RM x 150 Bench Press, Row, Pulldown 3 RM x 225 (bar + four 45s) = 1RM x 250 Squat 3RM x 315 (bar + six 45s) = 1RM x 350 Deadlift 3RM x 365 (bar + six 45s & two 25s) = 1RM x 405 The tweaked ratios are still within range of what at least some online trainer articles claim are normal, and still roughly follow the Iron Ratio proportions. There is a chance that the Bench Press might have to be adjusted with respect to the upper body pulls, if the latter become proportionately harder with heavier loads. 5. With a more Squat-centric approach, I tweaked my chart so that each training block goes up five pounds on the Squat, instead of going up two and half pounds for the Overhead Press. 6. With the heavier lifts, and especially if I get in two back-off sets for most lifts, I think it may be enough to just get in two rather than three Push-Pull splits per week, although the latter remains my goal. So I began keeping track of how many days a week I was getting in each of the three Metabolic triad components. This accounting helps a bit with accountability. The results from Cycle IV are: First half of Cycle I got in at least a walk 96% of the time on a six-day per workout schedule, and 82% for all days of the week, which is almost six days a week. I lifted 71% of the time on a six-day per workout schedule, and 61% for all days of the week, which is a little more than four days a week. On the machines, I only did HIIT 21% of the time on a six-day per workout schedule, and 18% for all days of the week, which is just a little more than one day a week. Second half of Cycle I got in at least a walk 54% of the time on a six-day per workout schedule, and 46% for all days of the week, which is a little more than three days a week. I lifted 63% of the time on a six-day per workout schedule, and 54% for all days of the week, which is a little less than four days a week. On the machines, I only did HIIT 8% of the time on a six-day per workout schedule, and 7% for all days of the week, which is about once every two weeks. Full Cycle Over the full cycle, I averaged about four and a half days per week for walking, four days a week for lifting, and one day a week for conditioning. The dog walks were pretty consistent for the fist half of the cycle. Then in the second half of the cycle there was a two-week span from the end of Week Five to the middle of Week Seven when I skipped them for health reasons, when air quality was poor due to the fires in Canada. And then again at the end of the cycle, when a family member was hospitalized. Conditioning on the machines after lifting was once again abysmal, but for the most part I focused my lifting on getting the loads up to the new tweaked ratios during the first half of the cycle, and experimenting a bit with back-off sets during the second. Goals for this cycle. I will continue with the same “Ramp to Target” program, and Cycle IV’s tweaks, including the option of doing two back-off sets with the last two ramp sets for extra volume. I’ll continue to progress the Squat by five pounds for each successive training block. What's new: I’m going to make most of the Ramp sets end in ‘five,’ except for the Pulldowns, where it’s more natural to go up in plates of ten. It’s just too tedious dealing with 2.5 plates on all the Ramp sets in order to end in ‘zero’ whenever the Target or last Ramp set ends in zero and I subtract by 10 or 20 for ramp sets 1-3. The Overhead Press will also progress by five pounds, but there will be a few blocks where it holds constant, so I may use 2.5-pound plates for a week or two, to ease the increase between the old and new Target sets before going up a full five pounds. The Deadlift will progress in either ten- or fifteen-pound increments. In order to soften these jumps a bit, I’ve made the differences between the last Ramp set and Target set a bit less. The last ramp set will be only five pounds less than the Target set for most of the Squats, and all of the upper body lifts. The difference will be ten for Deadlifts and the heavier squats towards the bottom of the chart. Therefore, if I do two back-off sets, the Target workset will be preceded and followed by a ramp workset load that’s very close, almost like straight sets. The second-to-last Ramp set will then be lowered to the next plate combo ending in ‘five.’ In most instances therefore, either the Target set or the last Ramp set will end in zero, requiring 2.5-pound plates, but rarely both, except for the Deadlifts and Squats towards the bottom of the chart. In order to make the increases between training blocks work, I may adopt the double progression model I sort of tried in my Max 1+ program of a few cycles ago (https://www.t-nation.com/training/progressive-overload-mistakes/). In this case, after I start a new training block, I may start with fewer reps per set on the Target and last Ramp worksets, and then only progress once each is done for full reps comfortably and the time between sets goes reasonably quickly. I may also increase some lifts during a block, like going up by five pounds with the Deadlift, or 2.5 pounds with the Overhead Press, to make the increases more gradual. Ideally, it would be nice to get in two, 4-week training blocks per cycle, but at least one should be practicable. I’m going to start off with everything a little bit heavy, so for this cycle only one training block may be doable. I’ll keep walking the dog most mornings, and continue trying to get in as many hills as possible. I may try running up the easier hills and the last bit of the two steepest hills. I will continue to try to get the HIIT conditioning in after lifting, using the Airdyne on Push days, and the Rower on Pull days. Finally, I will try to get in some mobility work after the walks. ---------------Week 1: Cycle V--------------- Sunday, 21.08.15 Family member came home from hospital. Monday, 21.08.16 MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. AFTERNOON Resistance: Pull SLDL: 3 @ 135/185/225 DL: 2 @ 245/275; 1 @ 295/305 Today the goal was just to get the Deadlift up over 300. Now that that mental/physical hurdle has been cleared, I'll build on it until I can do 315 for three reps, one of the goals of this cycle. Tuesday, 21.08.17 LATE MORNING Persistence 1.7 mi walk around Como Lake with dog and daughter. Wednesday, 21.08.18 AFTERNOON Resistance: Pull PD: 3 @ 130/150/170/180; 2 @ 190/180; 3 @ 170 RW: 3 @ 135/155/175/185 Decided just to finish the Pull workout from Monday. It's going to be harder for a while to get in complete workouts, taking care of a sick family member and running our son to sports practices and games six days a week right around dinner time. Nonetheless, the heavier weights are feeling good. I like the idea of loads/sets/reps that might take a whole cycle to achieve. Thursday, 21.08.19 LATE MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Already 86F. Friday, 21.08.20 AFTERNOON Resistance: Push BP: 3 @ 135/155/175; 2 @ 185; 1 @ 195 I'm swamped with fulltime caretaking. It's not so much the time--there's always an hour of free-time somewhere--as the unpredictability of schedule. Anyway, got up to my new BP Target load, albeit just for one rep. Tomorrow I'll try to do the same for the Squat. Then I'll have done all the new Target loads for at least one rep and have the rest of the cycle to get them up all up to three, hopefully all with two back-off sets as well. Saturday, 21.08.21 MORNING Persistence 1.7 mi walk with dog and daughter. Nice and cool for a change. AFTERNOON Resistance: Push OP: 3 @ 75/95/105/110/115/110/105 SQ: 2 @ 225/245 Something didn't feel right on the Squat, so I shut it down. Kind of a lackluster start to the cycle, hope it picks up some next week. ---------------Week 2: Cycle V--------------- Sunday, 21.08.22 EARLY AFTERNOON Persistence 1.8 mi walk with dog and daughter. Warm, but not humid with a bit of a breeze. I'm fasting today, so I'm hoping the walk will help kick my metabolism into fat-burning mode more quickly. Monday, 21.08.23 Had my procedure in the morning. A success this time. My mother-in-law arrived in the afternoon to help out. Tuesday, 21.08.24 Wednesday, 21.08.25 MORNING Persistence 1.7 mi "Four Hills" walk with dog. AFTERNOON Resistance: Pull PD: 3 @ 130/150/170/180 DL: 3 @ 225/235/245; 2 @ 255/275; 1 @ 295/305 Sort of moderate priming after too much time off. Thursday, 21.08.26 LATE MORNING Persistence 2 mi walk with dog and daughter, no big hills. AFTERNOON Resistance: Push BP: 3 @ 155/175/185/190 The last rep at 190 was a little hard so I stopped. I'll try to get in the Squat and Overhead Press Friday. I guess the plan is to get up to full loads and reps by mid-cycle or so, then work to make everything more comfortable and the time in between sets faster, while, hopefully, getting in more conditioning work. Friday, 21.08.27 LATE MORNING Persistence 1.7 mi walk with dog and daughter. AFTERNOON Resistance: Push OP: 3 @ 75/95/105/110/115 SQ: 3 @ 45/95/135/185; 2 @ 225/245; 1 @ 255/265 Saturday, 21.08.28 LATE MORNING Persistence 1.6 mi "Three Hills" walk with dog. ---------------Week 3: Cycle V--------------- Sunday, 21.08.29 LATE MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Pleasant Summer Sunday morning. Monday, 21.08.30 MORNING Persistence 1.7 mi "Four Hills" walk with dog. Tuesday, 21.08.31 MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Nice to begin in the chill and work up to a mild sweat. AFTERNOON Resistance: Pull PD: 3 @ 100/110/120/130/140/150/160 Wednesday, 21.09.01 AFTERNOON Resistance: Pull RW: 3 @ 135/155/165/175/185 DL: 2 @ 225/255/265/275 OK, that's enough priming unless I miss some more time. Thursday, 21.09.02 LATE MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. AFTERNOON Resistance: Push BP: 3 @ 155/175/185/190; 1 @ 195 OP: 3 @ 75/95/105/110; 1 @ 115 Well, I think I'm proving that doing a lift once a week isn't enough for me. Minimal two times, maximal three times. At least I'm building back up to my target loads. Friday, 21.09.03 AFTERNOON Resistance: Push SQ: 3 @ (95/135/185)/225/245 I guess I'm still priming the Squat. Didn't feel right to go much heavier. Tired, a lot of errands today. Saturday, 21.09.04 NOON Persistence 2.5 mi "Woods, Fields & Campus" walk with son and dog. AFTERNOON Resistance: Pull PD: 3 @ 100/120/140/150/170/180/190; 1.5 @ 195 RW: 3 @ 135/155/185 DL: 3 @ 225/255; 2 @ 275/295 Felt a little something in my right shoulder blade, so avoided going heavier on the Row and Deadlift. ---------------Week 4: Cycle V--------------- Sunday, 21.09.05 LATE MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Monday, 21.09.06 LATE MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Tuesday, 21.09.07 MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Given the current difficulty of working out consistently, due to caretaking of a family member, I think I'll take a step back and reduce loads to about where they were at the end of last cycle. These two training blocks are kind of prequels to the chart above: Hopefully, this will allow me to get in fuller workouts, replete with back-off sets and conditioning afterwards. One step back, two steps forward, eventually, I hope. AFTERNOON Resistance: Push SQ: 2 @ 225/235/245 OP: 3 @ 75/95 More priming, but at least I got something in. Don't know if I'll try to same Push workout tomorrow with increasing loads, or prime the Push workout similarly. Wednesday, 21.09.08 MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. A bit chilly to start, nice. AFTERNOON Resistance: Pull PD: 3 @ 100/120/140/150/170/180/185 RW: 3 @ 135/155/165/175/185 (SLDL 3 @ 135/185/225) DL: 3 @ 245/255/275 I think it was the right thing to deload a bit. Everything felt solid and doable, and the workout went fairly quickly at 35-40 minutes. Thirty minutes would be the ideal--less than 10 minutes for each of the two upper body lifts, and a little more than 10 minutes for the lower body lift of each split. I'm going to try to be strict about getting in three reps for every set. Then once I can hit all the target loads for full reps, start working in the backoff sets. Can't lose sight of the importance of volume. In the meantime, I think I'm going to limit the Deadlift to whatever the Squat is, in keeping with the idea that the latter bulletproofs me somewhat against injury in the former. So yesterday the Squat got up to Ramp 3, and that's where I stopped today with the Deadlift. I'm giving up on HIIT conditioning for this half of the cycle, will try to start it in the second half. Thursday, 21.09.09 MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Friday, 21.09.10 AFTERNOON Persistence 1 mi walk with kids and dog. Saturday, 21.09.11 AFTERNOON Persistence 1.3 mi walk with kids and dog in a regional park. Was our first outing without my wife. ---------------Week 5: Cycle V--------------- Sunday, 21.09.12 EVENING A little trash-talking tennis with the kids and dog. Monday, 21.09.13 MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Tuesday, 21.09.14 MID MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Ran up the last bit of two of the hills. Wednesday, 21.09.15 MID MORNING Persistence 2.2 mi "Three Hills & Hendon" walk with dog. I cut out the two smaller hills of the "Five Hills" walk, and added another long and steep hill. This added about 30 feet altitude gain and 1/5 of a mile. Beautiful early fall/late summer morning. Thursday, 21.09.16 Friday, 21.09.17 MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Memorial service is tomorrow. Will try to get back to lifting soon after that. Gotta stay healthy for the kids . . . Saturday, 21.09.18 ---------------Week 6: Cycle V--------------- Sunday, 21.09.19 MID-MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Monday, 21.09.20 MID-MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Tuesday, 21.09.21 MID-MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Wednesday, 21.09.22 MID-MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Thursday, 21.09.23 MID-MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. I've been trying a time-restricted diet. I don't eat breakfast until after my mid-morning walk, then lunch 3-4 hours after that, then dinner around 6-7pm. So I fast 15-16 hours a day. It's pretty easy for me to do, we'll see if I get any results . . . Friday, 21.09.24 MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. AFTERNOON Resistance: Push OP: 3 @ 45/65/75/85/95 SQ: 3 @ 45/95; 2 @ 135 After a little more than two weeks off, I did a little priming. On the Squats I felt a pain in my right inner thigh, the first time I've felt something like that. So I shut it down. Still, felt good to be under the bar a bit. I think I may have already lost three pounds with the time-restricted dieting. Time will tell. Saturday, 21.09.25 MID-MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. ---------------Week 7: Cycle V--------------- Sunday, 21.09.26 MID-MORNING Persistence 1.6 mi "Four Hills" walk with dog. Monday, 21.09.27 Tuesday, 21.09.28 Wednesday, 21.09.29 MID-MORNING Persistence 1.7 mi walk with dog around Como Lake after dropping off forgotten iPad at daughter's school. AFTERNOON Resistance: Pull PD: 3 @ 100/120/140/160 SLDL: 3 @ 138/185/225 DL: 3 @ 225 A little priming . . . Thursday, 21.09.30 MID-MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. AFTERNOON Resistance: Push SQ: 3 @ 45/95/135 Friday, 21.10.01 AFTERNOON Resistance: Push SQ: 3 @ 45/95/135 Still priming . . . EVENING Persistence 1.7 mi walk with dog and daughter around Como Lake. Beautiful if eerily warm summer night stroll in the dark, early fall evening. The murky water was calm and inviting of a paddle. Saturday, 21.10.02 AFTERNOON Resistance: Push PD: 3 @ 100/120/140/160 ---------------Week 8: Cycle V--------------- Sunday, 21.10.03 MID-MORNING Persistence 2 mi "Five Hills" walk with dog. Monday, 21.10.04 MID-MORNING Persistence 2.2 mi "Four Biggest Hills" walk with dog. 194ft gain on the four biggest/steepest hills in the neighborhood. Beautiful fall day. Tuesday, 21.10.05 EVENING Persistence 1.5 mi walk with dog through a bit of a hilly golf course and surrounding neighborhood after dropping off son at flag football practice. As a non-golfer, I enjoyed the Dr. Seuss-like surrealism of the golf course landscape. Wednesday, 21.10.06 MID-MORNING Persistence 1.6 "Three Hills" walk with dog. Three out of four of the neighborhood's steepest/longest hills. EARLY AFTERNOON Resistance: Push SQ: 3 @ 45/95/135/185 OP: 3 @ 45/65/75/85 BP: 3 @ 45/95/115/135 Intermittence Airdyne: 1 x [1 min M-Int / 1 min L-Int] = 2 minutes Finally got in all three metabolic modalities. After a couple of weeks of loosely interpreted time-restricted dieting, I appear to have lost five pounds. Thursday, 21.10.07 LATE-MORNING Resistance: Pull PD: 3 @ 100/120/140/160 SLDL: 3 @ 135/185; DL 3 @ 225 RW: 3 @ 135 Intermittence Concept II Rower: 1 x [1 min L-Int / 1 min M-Int] = 2 minutes NOON Persistence 1.6 "2 Big/2 Small Hills" walk with dog. Subtracted one hill from the "Five Hills" walk to save a little time now that I'm trying to do all three modalities in one time slot. Friday, 21.10.08 LATE MORNING Resistance: Push SQ: 3 @ 45/95/135/185 OP: 3 @ 45/75/85/95 BP: 3 @ 45/95/135 Intermittence Airdyne: 2 x [30 sec M-Int / 30 sec L-Int] = 2 minutes I think I may like 30-second intervals over one-minute intervals, at least for the higher intensity portion. I can put a little more into it. Might still be nice to keep the lower intensity part at one minute. My heart was definitely pounding, and didn't completely recover before the next higher intensity blast, so a longer lower intensity break might be good. NON Persistence 1.6 mi "Four Hills" walk with dog. 128ft gain. Saturday, 21.10.09 Opps, got caught up in yardwork and housecleaning. That's a wrap.