Strength Training for Singles 2014: Eight-Week Workout Cycle I

Discussion in 'Training Information/Training Regimens' started by Bare Lee, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Abide

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  2. Bare Lee

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    Sounds like a good plan. The longer you run, the more recovery time you need, especially when you have a mesomorph build and are carrying all that excess upper body weight. But no matter what your physique, I've read that once you run more than 40-60 minutes, you start getting into all those cortisol/catabolic issues, so you need correspondingly greater recovery time. And then you have the repetitive stress issue on top of that, as you point out.

    I dunno, not my bag, but I wish you all the best with your training. I think it's a great idea to mix it up with other kinds of cardio. For me, it would be nice to adopt Sid's alternation between swimming and running, but I'm a crap swimmer and I don't like the rigamarole of dealing with commuting to a pool, chemicals, people, etc. Maybe sometime in the future.

    I think for me, if I could get in a nice 25-minute 5k most days, I would be very satisfied. I more or less took care of the distance bug with my bicycle travels and, apparently, last year's weekly half-marathonish runs. We'll see, maybe next year I'll get back at it but right now my focus is just getting back into consistent running. I really miss it.

    Have a sligtht sore throat/cough, so I'm blowing off running for the rest of the week, and will start up the MCL rehab next week. The knee feels pretty good right now, so hopefully I'll be back in the game soon.

    I've found that exercise regulates my appetite, but I don't know if I would say it suppresses it. I do find that running takes the weight off better than strength training though. I dunno, gotta get some sprinting in one of these days. I love that feeling of exhaustion, much better than fatigue, and it might be the best weight-loss exercise for me, hard to say.
     
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  3. Abide

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    Ha I have a very strong outside influence for the long distance racing unfortunately, its hard to make a clean break from it. I used to run with a guy who did just as you say 4-5 5ks a week and he was in great shape, happy and was never injured. Its definitely doable and pretty safe I think. We would regularly run our 5ks in that time frame too, sometimes faster and sometimes slower but on average that pace.

    Hopefully you aren't coming down with that respitatory crap I keep seeing pop up in the news.
     
  4. Bare Lee

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    Well, follow your bliss; if ultras are calling your name, you have to respond, or you'll live with regret, which really sucks.

    I hope your lifting doesn't suffer too much though. It wouldn't be satisfying to win our DL contest by default.

    Last summer, before I started pushing distance, I cracked 9mm pace for close to six miles, after about six months of consistent running, so I think 8mm-ish pace for a daily 5k is totally doable for me, just have to be consistent for a year or so and it will come. Tempo and hills/intervals would speed up the process, but they're really unnecessary. If I do them, it would be just as much for enjoyment or variety for its own sake as it would be for performance benefits. This last July and August I was doing some fartlek running, and that's really a great way to get in some different paces without having to bother with a training schedule. For me, the main constraint will always be making the running mesh with the strength training, that's why I tend to think of tempo/hills/intervals/LSD on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday schedule, since ST is on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. If I can ever put together a solid month of running and lifting, I'll feel golden.

    Anyway, right now my focus is on the st. I just want to establish consistency in my running and not worry too much more about it after that. It feels great to be getting stronger at my age, but I'm also looking forward to the day when the st workouts become fairly workaday. This week I've made some progress on that, and yet I've been suitably sore after each session, so I know I'm getting strength gains without having to make much of a push.

    I guess last year was the year to explore my running capabilities, this year is the year to study up on and push the st a bit. Maybe next year I'll put it all together into a nice, mindless weekly routine.

    The head cold is mostly sleep deprivation, and maybe allowing myself to get dehydrated over the weekend. I felt it coming on Monday, a kind of tiredness that isn't just lack of sleep, and thought about taking a nap to nip it in the bud, but I didn't so it came on with symptoms starting Wednesday. I napped two hours yesterday, and today I'm feeling better, so hopefully it's on its way out. Might even try to run tomorrow morning. That's one of the great thing about being relatively fit--I tend to get sick a lot less, and when I do, it tends to be mild.
     
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  5. Sid

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    Contrary to popular belief, I'm not sure that peanut butter is the awesome diet food that people make it out to be. It really seems to liven up otherwise unappetizing foods, such as chocolate and ice cream bars. For this reason, I don't keep any in the house. :D

    Edit: Correction, that's why there isn't any more PB in the house!
     
  6. Abide

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    Ha your not getting off that easy. I plan to hit the weights hard till I get to 400 on the DL. After that I will probably just maintain the DL level and then slowly build up the squat till its somewhat respectable.
    I also really want to start hammering the back for a while, I have been wanting to experiment with extended stabilization work so I might run through that for a few months early next year too. Maybe I can get a hold of a 60lb vest and do some hill climb repeats since I the biggest hill I have to work with is about 30 ft high. I only have to run up it 100 times to get a decent climb...

    Yeah two tablespoons of peanut butter is an amazingly small portion and I use that much per slice of apple. I think you forget PB is full of protein so its good for you regardless of how much you eat or what you eat it with.

    But seriously I think nuts in general are not the best diet food, its just too easy to eat too much.
     
  7. Bare Lee

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    Good. I think I'll know within a few more weeks if progress will continue at a good clip or it'll become more of a grind from here on out. I could see 400 in a few more months or it could take more than a year. Hard to say. I'm also thinking of pushing the squats more once I get to 405 on the DL. Right now it makes most sense to just focus on honing the technique, but I get a sense I could get up to 300 pretty quickly with a little more focus. 365 remains the long-term goal.

    How do you plan on hammering the back? That's basically what I'm doing now. After each workout, I feel it most in the back. I'm thinking it's probably the limiting factor in pretty much all my other lifts.

    What is extended stabilization work?

    If my knee continues to feel good, I'll probably join you on the hill repeats. Probably the best/easiest way to hit the anaerobic side of running, and I have a great hill just a few blocks from my house.

    Looking forward to the squats at the end of the afternoon . . .
    I have mixed nuts for breakfast every morning, but no peanuts. I think I was swayed by the Paleo nonsense.
     
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  8. Bare Lee

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    Week 6

    Sunday
    Yardwork, some winterizing, and plenty of toddler lifts.

    Monday
    AM: one-mile run-commute. Still a little wiped out from the head cold, so I didn't do the 5k, but at least I'm establishing the early morning running routine. Knee feels OK, just a touch sore towards the end.

    PM: head cold is making a comeback, need more sleep. Half ran, half walked the one mile home, then ST:

    Squat: 3x1x245, 3x3x215, 2x5x185
    Bench: 3x1x235, 3x3x215, 2x5x195
    Pulldown, neutral: 3x5x150

    Really didn't feel like working out, but, as always, I was glad I did afterwards. Squat weight increments are still pretty good, but I wonder if I should add five pounds to push things along a bit more. 245 is 30 pounds less than my squat's true 1RM, whereas 235 is only 10 pounds less than my bench 1RM. But I want to make sure I'm honing technique with the squat, so doing them a little light might be a good thing.

    My left shoulder/upper arm felt painful at the start of the bench press, but, as happened last week, once I got warmed up I was able to do my rep-counts just fine. I really like the medium grip width now. As before, the squats really primed my upper body for a great pump on the bench press.

    For both the squats and the bench press, the triples feel like the real worksets, so I wonder if I could do the singles a little heavier but only one or two sets, since their main function seems to be priming the muscles for the worksets, something like 2x1, 3x3, 2x5, or 1x1, 3x3, 2x5, or even 1x1, 4x3, 1x5. Something to think about, but this week I'm sticking to the script.

    The pulldowns gave me a great pump after the squats and bench set everything up. Neutral grip feels pretty good and doesn't seem to aggravate my shoulder so maybe I'll just do neutral grip pulls for a while. The DB Row and Cable Row are also neutral grip. Maybe I could find a way to do the barbell rows with a neutral grip too, either by using the hex bar, or adapting the barbell with some handles. I also did the last set of pulldowns from the floor, kneeling, instead of sitting on the bench, and this seemed like a superior position, mimicking a bodyweight pullup a bit more.

    Tuesday
    Zilch. Was going to run in the afternoon, but I miscalculated a deadline and only had 20 minutes to spare before going to pick up the kids.


    Wednesday
    AM: one-mile run-commute. Left knee felt pretty good, just a touch of something in there. Felt great to be in motion running again. Will try three miles tomorrow morning.
    PM: one-mile walk-commute. Ate my protein shake too late, didn't feeling like running home. Then ST:

    Deadlift: 1x1x355/345/335/325/315, 1x2x315, 3x3x295, 2x5x255

    All the singles felt tough but comfortable. Ran out of time for the rows and OH Press. No matter, Thursday morning my back feels like it got a great workout. For dinner, had sashimi, great for protein synthesis.

    Thursday
    PM:
    ST
    1-DB Rows: 1x1x145, 3x3x125, 2x5x105
    OH Press (seated): 1x1x115, 2x3x105, 3x5x95
    Cable Row: 1x5x150, 2x5x170
    Hyperextensions: 2x6-8x50

    Just as I suspected, a heavy single doesn't work for the 1-DB Row, although it didn't help that I didn't do deadlifts first as I usually do to warm up. 145 did not want to leave the floor; 125 is about my limit, but because I return the dumbbell to the floor after each rep, I'm able to do 3-5 reps. So it's confirmed, for me, that only the bench, squat, and deadlift are amenable to singles. Everything else has to be in the 3-5 rep range. For the bench, squat, and deadlift, the weights adhere to a steady gradient, from 1RM on down, but with the other lifts, there's a gap or sticking point before any sort of rep is possible, but then all-of-a-sudden three reps is possible.

    On the OH Press, I went back to doing them seated. I read that Westside does all their OH Presses seated, and since I've more or less adopted a powerlifter's emphasis on the bench, squat, and deadlift, I'm no longer concerned with whether I do the OH Press, Rows, or Pulldowns/Pullups in a 'classic' or manly manner. I see them as lifts that (1) work three of the six essential force/direction pairings, but also as (2) assistance to the big three lifts. So it doesn't really matter how I do them, as long as they benefit (1) overall strength and (2) my ability to make gains on the big lifts. Plus, doing them seated I can use my Olympic plates, so I don't have to go through the rigamarole of using all those five-pound plates so that I don't hit the ceiling. The Seated OH Press did knock off a good ten pounds on my triples, however, but that's OK. 115, my triple weight when standing, did not want to go up seated. I guess it needs a little initial push, even though I had thought I had eliminated it on the Standing OH Press. Guess not. Actually the five-rep sets, at just 95, felt best overall anyway. I don't know if it's past practice of using a machine press, but I think my preference is for seated presses.

    Cable rows continue to feel great. I'm playing around a bit with whether to do them with a strict, perpendicular back, or leaning backwards a bit for more of a Yates Row angle. As with the Pendley versus the Yates barbell row, I'm a bit stronger with an angle greater than 90 degrees on the cable row, and work more of the upper back this way.

    Got back to doing weighted hyperextensions. These work the lower back so well, that I sometimes wonder if it's worth doing barbell rows. Maybe just do cable and db rows for the middle and upper back, and let hyperextensions take care of the lower back?

    Friday
    AM: One-mile run-commute. Knee felt fine, no lingering niggling at all. So tomorrow morning I'll try 2-3 miles. Should've tried it today in fact.
    PM.: Whoa, felt like crap. Tried to nap, but only thought about work. So walked home, then did short set of squats:

    3x3x225, 1x5x195, 1x5x185.

    I decided to boost my triples and quintuples 10 pounds each. It put me right at my 3RM and 5RM limits, doing them AtG anyway. In fact, I wimped out on the last quintuples and reduced by ten pounds. I put it down to being so tired. Next time I do them, I'll probably boost the singles too, from 245 to 255, and so 3x1x255, 3x3x225, 2x5x195 will be the new standard. That'll be pushing it a little more than the deadlift and bench, but I think squats have the biggest room for improvement.

    One thing: a week or two ago I started using the squat pad again, as I was developing a callus on my back. This in turn has move the bar position to more of a high-bar position. I'm thinking this might be an advantage, as it will work the quads a bit more, making the squats more complementary to the deadlifts' emphasis on the posterior chain, right?

    Saturday
    AM: one-mile run-commute. Slept in until 7am, I needed to catch up on my sleep a bit. I'll do the bench and pulldowns I missed yesterday a little later, so I decided that justified putting off the first three-mile run another day. Knee felt fine on the run though, and after a half-mile I wavered a bit about my decision to just run a mile.

    PM: one-mile walk-commute.
    ST:

    Bench Press: 1x1x225, 1x1x245, 1x2x235, 1x1x225, 3x3x215, 2x5x195

    Wanted to try boosting the bench press rep counts by ten pounds. Warmed up to 225 then hit 245, but I almost stalled, so I brought it down ten pounds, then surprised myself by doing a double. So I guess I was still warming up when I did 245. Probably needed to do 2-3 reps on my last warm-up set of 225 instead of a single. 225 felt hard when I got back down to it, but then 215 felt fine for the triples. Each set was intense, but doable. Same with the quintuples at 195, which is ten pounds heavier than I have been doing them. So I guess with a little better warmup, I could do my singles at 245.

    So, did four consecutive days of ST. Kinda sucks. I like running everyday, but ST definitely has to be every other day or it gets old quick. Three times a week is perfect.
     
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  9. Abide

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    Yeah the nuts are cool as long as you can eat in moderation, which I find hard to do.

    I don't know specifically about the back or stabilization.
    I have been wanting to test out the stabilization piece to see if it helps with running long distances. Things like longer overhead carries, farmers walks and weighted hill climbs. Maybe even doing the russian twists like you do or even just really focused posture walks?
    The back work will just be more dedication to higher weight lifts like the BB rows and weighted pull ups, and include more isometric holds. Stuff that works the rhomboids and traps a little more. Hopefully the two will coordinate with each other and help with any back and postural tiredness I get during long runs.
    I've also been thinking about weighted step ups but like you I get some weird knees issues when I start doing one legged stuff? And sometimes during hill sprints. I am not sure if its best to just quit doing them or what. I hope that using a vest might help and initally keep it to fast hikes?
     
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  10. Bare Lee

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    Interesting. I have noticed how my posture has improved as my back has gotten stronger, both for running and everyday life. I think I've had relatively good posture but focusing too much on the bench in my younger days did create imbalances. Still's funny how having a stronger back has boosted my bench now. Now I would tell any novice to start with squats and back work, and worry about the bench press later.

    Anyway, that kind of stabilization work makes sense. I thought you were thinking of doing plank stuff or swiss ball nonsense. You might think about overhead squats too. I haven't done them for a while, but they're great for the stabilizers in the mid-section, front and back.

    I don't like the idea of weighted step-ups or jumps for me. I'm think my weighted vest will be most useful when I get around to groundwork, and things like burpees. I could also see it for walking up a hill, but I don't foresee doing any weighted running in the near future.

    It's funny being stronger than I was 10-20 years ago, but I hate this increasing creakiness, so some kind of groundwork routine needs to be worked in at some point.

    I've noticed you're posting your workout week exclusively on the first page now. Do you think I should do the same? I write a lot of commentary, so I'm think maybe that should be cut out on the first page so the overview is clearer . . . it's also nice to have any comments from you or Sid (or anyone else who cares to join in) close to the workout post that's being commented on.
     
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  11. Abide

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    Yeah lets just keep doing them like you are with each week as a seperate post and a summary of all if you want on page 1, I left my comments in the first one because I am having problems when I try to edit a post. I'll move mine in a minute.

    I wouldn't do any running with a vest, it would just be for walks and hikes like what Sid is doing. I really think weighted running is a body breaker, hell sometimes I think running alone is one too. Something else about the stabilization focus would also be building up ankle strength, that is why doing the hill hikes with weight would be useful, but also doing some 1 legged jump ropes too.

    So do you think the 2 to 1 ratio advice Jim Wendler recommends for back/front work is good advice? I wonder if I should try to mimic that?

    That creakiness phenomenon, for me, is almost wholly related to running. The twice a week running thing has been keeping it at a minimum though. Hopefully the trend continues. Also biking is really good active recovery from running.
     
  12. Abide

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    Week 6
    Monday 9/15/2014
    AM bike commute - 38:45
    Lunch time sun salutations
    PM bike commute - 36:08

    Quads are a bit sore today from the race but everything else is fine. DL day tomorrow should be a go.

    Tuesday 9/16/2014
    DL ------------ EMOM - 5 x 1 x 155kgs
    Squat -------- 1 x 10 x 50kgs
    Press -------- 1 x 1 x 70kgs - 4 x 5 x 50kgs
    N Pull Up --- 5 x 6 x BW
    Farmers ----- 1 x 80m x 105kgs

    The DL's started to get sloppy at the 6th rep so I called them early. Still have some residual quad soreness. Next week I hope to get all 10 reps of DL complete or I may space the rest to 90 seconds after 5 reps to see if that helps. I loaded up the farmes at BW+10kgs it felt great. I am going to keep adding weight each week. My18k run is on schedule for tomorrow morning.

    Wednesday 9/17/2014
    AM run commute 18k - 1:55 run time
    Lunch time sun salutations
    PM bike commute 17.6k - 35:23

    Thursday 9/18/2014
    Squat ---------- 2 x 7 x 60kgs
    Swings -------- 1 x 20 x 32kgs
    Inc Bench ---- 2 x 3 x 80kgs 1 x 5 x 80kgs
    Ab rollouts --- 2 x 10 x BW
    KB Rows ----- 2 x 8 x 32kgs
    Farmers ------ 1 x 80m x 105kgs
    AM bike commute 17.6k - 38:02
    Lunch time sun salutations
    PM bike commute 17.6k - 36:07

    Friday 9/19/2014
    TBDL ---------- 3 x 3 x 125kgs
    RDL ------------ 2 x 7 x 60kgs
    Bench --------- 3 x 3 x 105kgs CG 1 x 7 x 70kgs
    Pull ups ------- 5/4 x BW
    Suitcase ----- 1 x 40m each arm x 32kgs
    AM bike commute 17.6k - 35:26
    Lunch time sun salutations
    PM bike commute 17.6k - 38:06

    My back still had some residual soreness so I skimped on the harder back work. Day off tomorrow and Sunday I plan to run "hills" for 3 hours. I tried the nose bretahing thing for my ride in and ended up going faster than normal? I probably need to readjust my no wind ride speeds some. Next week i am going to wear my heart rate monitor for a couple of rides to gauge where I am at. Wish strava supportred ANT devices and not crappy bluetooth types. Maybe I need a new app?

    Sunday 9/19/2014
    LSD 2:15 - 7.7 miles +/-1,046 ft

    Not really sure if that mileage is correct? I downloaded Endomodo to try it out and the auto pause feature is horrible on the app. But it does have ANT HR monitor capability. I found a great loop right down the street that has about 200 feet elevation gain in a half mile or so. Spent sometime mapping it out.
     
  13. Bare Lee

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    Sounds good.

    You might also consider bench hops for building up ankle strength. I haven't done those for a while either, but it's a great exercise for the lower leg. One-legged jump roping would probably be the number one exercise, though, no doubt. I wonder sometimes if I should keep each rep count to two sets (i.e., 2x1, 2x3, 2x5) so that I may have some time to get back to the plyometrics stuff sooner rather than later. I dunno, but I'm sticking to the script this week so that I can see what a full, two-week cycle of my current scheme feels like. I think last week's workouts provided some real good stimulus.

    Yeah, I think 2 to 1 sounds about right. That's the ratio I adopted a few months ago, and it seems to have helped. Even now that I'm doing the presses three times every two weeks instead of once a week, I'm still maintaining that ratio more or less if we count the deadlifts and squats as back work too. That is, of the six basic force/direction pairings--push out (B Press), push up (OH Press), push down (Squat), pull in (Row), pull up (Deadlift), pull down (pullup/pulldown)--the last four work the back pretty directly. Even the OH Press seems to work the back to a pretty significant degree. For me, the key has been getting serious about the DL and Squat. Doing one of those each workout primes the upper body stuff, but especially the back. My sense is that once my extra rowing allows my back to catch up, I'll start to see faster gains in the other lifts too. That's kind of why I'm wondering if I really need to do barbell rows, the P- and Y-Rows. I seem to benefit most from the DB Rows and Cable Rows, so maybe I should only do those on my row day, or else just do single sets of the barbell rows as supplements, but do them super heavy, in order to speed up the back strength gains. My current scheme is this:

    DL, DB & Cable Row, Press
    SQ, Bench, Pulldown
    DL, P- & Y-Row, Press

    SQ, Bench, Pulldown
    DL, DB & Cable Row, Press
    SQ, Bench, Pulldown

    But I could do the rows as a four-exercise complex each workout, leveling all rep counts to two sets, something like

    DB Row: 2x3x125, 2x5x105
    Cable Row: 2x5x150
    P-Row: 2x5x165
    Y-Row: 2x3x185

    Or, with more emphasis on the DB and Cable Row:

    DB Row: 3x3x125, 3x5x105
    Cable Row: 3x5x150
    P-Row: 1x3x185
    Y-Row: 1x3x205

    If we assume that the bb bench press and bb bentover row should be more or less equal, then my rows still have a ways to catch up.

    Yeah, two long runs or more frequent short runs per week seems to be the trade-off. For me, anything over 6-8 miles requires 48-72 hours of recovery optimally. But 3-6 miles requires more like 24-48. Of course, that could improve with greater running fitness. One way or the other, getting recovery right is just as important as getting the actual training right. A lot of people seem to be hammering this point lately, and it seems valid. I was never at risk of overtraining until recently, but I appreciate the point now.

    My anti-creaky formula might be instituting the morning 5k and then stretching and some light yoga-like routine immediately after. For me, the creakiness is definitely age-related. I never had to worry much about this stuff before. But hopefully more attention to stretching and massaging and mobility exercises will keep it at bay.

    Congrats on the weekend race, by the way. Next time bring food and water!
     
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  14. Abide

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    Hey thanks, yeah I really need to make sure to start consuming water and food with these longer runs. Get over my silly machoism when it comes to hydration.

    I do think if you are doing the big 4's heavy you are already getting heavy low back work and upper back work to a lesser extent. I don't see a problem at all if your only supplementary work is DB rows and pull downs.

    You made me think a little more about the back work volume and strength, and I don't think a P-row is a good comparison to the bench for strength levels. I think doing a double chest supported row like the pic would be a better comparison. Or maybe another two excercises to compare would be a single arm supported strict row, with no upper twisting motion and a DB bench press.

    [​IMG]
    The question is overall which is a stronger muscle group and that would indicate what should be stronger overall for general health.

    Also just to get in a little deeper to the comment above. I think db rows and pull downs should be significantly easier to recover from than heavy unsupported rows. So you might be better off just hitting those everyday if you think there is a need to add more work. I still also tend to believe higher volume levels for back work is optimal, I think reps of 5-8 seem to illicit better results than 3-5. So maybe do a heavy set of db rows at 125 and then just jump down to 105 and do sets of 8 if you can? Just an idea.
     
  15. Bare Lee

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    Machoism or masochism?

    It would be pretty easy to fashion a chest support I suppose, but I wonder if there's any real difference between chest-supported rows and inverted rows, weighted or unweighted, with feet on bench or just butt on bench to remove effort of stabilizers while in a plank position. The later might be a better option for me if I want to substitute something for the P-rows. I'm not sure I do though. Even though the P-Rows involve more of the lower back, glutes, and hammies, is that necessarily a bad thing? I agree that it's hard to target the upper back with P-Rows, but with a complex of row types, it may not matter. Cable rows are pretty good at isolating the upper back more, plus with the right grip, you can get a great ROM.

    Also, chest-supported rows seem like they might be kind of hard on the sternum. Unlike the back, it's not really designed for loadimg, is it? I don't want to say all exercises have to be 100% 'natural' movements but that seems kind of extreme in its unnaturalness.

    One thing I'm wondering about, which I put in yesterday's workout comments, is whether all pulls should be done with a neutral grip. If they weren't so expensive, I might consider getting a multigrip bar. The hex-bar might be a little awkward to use, but I'll withhold judgement until I try a row with it. One other option would be to fashion some kind of j-hook or strap or chain so that I could use the cable D-handles on a barbell, or maybe just slide the bar through them before adding plates.

    I don't know about these equivalences. My DB Bench Press is pretty weak, whereas the DB Row is my strongest row, if we add both arms together. It's almost like the comparison should be between DB Bench Press and BB Row, and DB Row and BB Bench Press, then near equivalences are attained:

    DB Bench Press: 60-70(?) x 2 = 120-140
    BB Row (Pendley): 165

    DB Row = 105-115 (strict form) x 2 = 210-230
    BB Bench = 245

    But even then, the equivalence is suspect, because I never do rows as single reps. I find it really hard to do a single with good form, no matter which kind of row we're talking about. But it's pretty easy to do a BB Bench Press single with good form. I know without a doubt that my Bench 1RM is 245, maybe 250, whereas I can't really even imagine doing a P-Row single heavier than 165-185, even though I can do those 5 to 3 reps.

    So, while the idea of bench versus row equivalences might be a nice way to get a comparison or gauge of balances, the front and back of the torso are so radically different in their construction, that I doubt it's worth paying too much attention to. All's I know is that since I've started paying more attention to my back, my overall strength seems to have gone up. The back really is the platform for all the other lifts. That, to me, seems to answer your question about which should be strongest for overall health. A strong back is key, not just for lifting, but for pretty much everything. But because of the mirror muscle principle, it tends to get neglected because we can't see it, and it's not really valorized in pop culture like the chest and arms are.
    I haven't noticed any difference in recovery among the various rows. Intensity seems to be the key factor for ST recovery, and I do the DB Rows most intensely. I agree that it's hard to do singles with any kind of pull. I tend to favor the 3-5 rep range, although it's sometimes nice to finish with eight reps at fast bar speed for a good burn. I've done that with the DB Rows, and last week I did it on the Deadlifts too. The P-Rows I like at five reps, but the Y-Rows seem best at three, even when I return the bar to the floor on both rows. The DB rows I like at both 3 and 5 reps, 125 & 105 pounds, respectively and sometimes I've done them at 8x85 too, as a finisher. Cable rows seem best at five reps. I guess for me, I tend to do whatever number of reps provide the greatest intensity, and that tends to be 3-5 reps for pretty much all the lifts. Much above five reps and fatigue becomes an issue, blocking intensity, which means lower weights.

    I think I need to try inverted rows again too. I do like the idea of developing some kind of row complex, centered on DB Rows. I might try to institute something like that next week. Something like:

    DB Rows: 2x3, 2x5
    Cable Rows, neutral grip: 3x5
    P-Rows: 1x5
    P-Rows: 1x3
    Inverted Rows: 2x5-8?

    For your EMOM DL's, I think 90 seconds for the second half might be a good compromise, although, based on my experience, triples seem to be the best worksets for heavy lifts. I like to use the singles to prime the worksets, by recruiting maximal fiber, and also as a gauge of where my strength levels are. That said, I've never tried 10 same-weight singles in a row. I should see what it feels like before I offer an opinion.
     
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  16. Sid

    Sid
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    I don't know. I recall that bodybuilders are interested in lat flare. They want their back big enough, so that they can see their lats from the front, right? :D

    Regarding peanut butter, sure it has protein, but I have quick high protein alternatives such as canned salmon, tofu, and whey. I don't need all the excess non-protein calories from PB, but then I'm not a big guy running ultras! :D

    Been slacking on the weights. Since, I'm doing cardio in the AM, I'm going to need to do it in the PM. Probably will do 1-2 exercises. Still holding off on getting the new DBs, until I get some home improvement stuff done. Gotta clear out the old stuff, before I buy new things! :D

    Alternating swimming and running has been going very well. I'm making good gains in both areas!
     
  17. Abide

    Abide
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    Eh sorry my spell check doesn't work with this site and I am a terribly lazy speller. Yes I tend to enjoy doing stupid shit to myself, like running barefoot, significant bouts of dehydration etc....

    Thats actually probably a good comparison, I would say a P-row all the way to chest level and hold for a second should be slightly higher than your max press, I wonder if a weighted pull up might be better for the bench though so BW+additional weight if needed should be close or more than max bench? The DB rows are hard to estimate because usually they run lower than the equivalent barbell version.

    Yeah I agree that in the end it probably doesn't matter and maybe the ratio is likely more important than strength levels. Maybe your right though intensity and quality form are more important than actual rep counts. It's funny I feel like I get just as good as a pump if I do a set of 10 @ 60kg P-rows as I do a heavier set of 3 @ 80kgs. Maybe its one of those that's better to do lighter weight with impeccable form? And then push the ones that you can cheat a little more safely with like db rows or pull ups? Plus with rows in general, the cheating range is a little skewed and not as easily measurable as the bench, press, squat or deadlift. For example in a pull up, getting your chin to clear the bar vs. hitting your chest on the bar is significantly different.

    I know I said this before but when I had a access to a pull down machine I really liked to do a heavy complex with various grips like this
    6 x wide overhand grip
    6 x narrow underhand grip
    6 x medium overhand grip
    With all the same weight as heavy as you can do 6 wide grip reps and no rest between them just let go regrip and do the next 6 reps. Then repeat 2-3 times with a minutes rest or so between sets. I really think this helped my pull up get stronger.
     
  18. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    Yah, I think the rep counts, if done at training RMs (that is, at x weight, y reps really is all you can do), reflect intensity levels, and not the other way around. For me, triples feel the most intense, although, obviously, singles are the most intense, but they are so short, maybe it's all mental, but they don't feel as intense. There's probably a physiological basis for it too. Anything past five reps begins to feel more like conditioning for me, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I really liked doing 8-9 reps to finish out my DL last Friday. Could be a good practice for the squats too. In general though, my goal is to gain strength without gaining a lot of mass, so I avoid higher rep/hypertrophy protocols.

    Anyway, I'm really enjoying the 1/3/5 protocol on the big lifts. Feels right for me. I could see adding a last set of eight, for a 1/3/5(/8) protocol, and may adjusting the sets from 3/3/2 to 2/3/2(/1), to cut out one of the singles, but other than that, it's going well. I feel like if I stick with this scheme, I'm guaranteed to continue progressing up to a certain level. It's just a question of what that level is. I doubt I'll be willing to push hard to break past whatever that plateau is though. I know 405DL, 315-365 Squat, and 275 Bench Press are attainable. Anything past that is gravy.

    For all the other lifts, five reps feels about right, although I allow a few triples here and there. Like you said, some lifts are more amenable to higher reps and/or strict forms. I think it depends on which put your joints and muscles in the most mechanically advantageous position. Rows use an inherently weak platform, so low reps are hard, and poor form all too easily shifts responsibility away form the targeted muscles. With a squat, on the other hand, if you have bad form, you're going to hurt yourself, but you can really push a squat single, because the body is lined up under the bar so well. Then again, some lifts, like db rows, seem fine with bad form. You can still get good intensity on the targeted muscles, but by drawing in other muscles/joints, you make the movement a little more functional and it requires more effort/energy overall, without risk of injury.

    I used to use various grips on the pulldowns, but for the moment, I'm trying to limit pulldowns and cable rows to neutral grip, to see if this doesn't lessen the irritation to my left shoulder. I think a wide, pronated grip irritates it the most, which suggests it might be useful to lay off on the barbell rows for a while too, or use the D-handles in order to attain a neutral grip. I've stopped using wide grips and stances on all my lifts. I think RDL is right about that one; medium grips and stances are the way to go.
     
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  19. Abide

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    Just a thought about this, I am wondering if cycling building some muscle mass and then losing weight might be a good way to approach maintaining strength levels?
    So do 8-12 weeks of higher rep work, keep eating at maintenance and then after 12 weeks drop the high reps and lower caloric intake.
    I am thinking the higher rep work my help build some mass but also convert some fat into muscle and then dropping weight will impact some strength gains but overall may stay somewhat elevated.
    Idk like I said just a thought and I don't think 5 pounds of muscle mass you could build in that time frame would really be detrimental to running especially with this extra 10 pounds of fat I'm toting around.

    Yeah the medium grip is the safest I think, but I don't think wide grips are really that dangerous unless they are being completely overused. For some variety I like to do some wider grip stuff but it probably should be done at lower weights.
     
  20. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    Interesting idea, are you going to try it? I don't think I could ever adopt a higher rep protocol across the board. It's mental agony for me to do high reps. I'm just a low-rep kinda guy I guess.

    For running, fat of course is deadweight, but I wonder if unnecessary muscle mass is completely useless, or if a little extra muscle will help, at least a little bit, with running economy and postural form, even as it hinders as a greater energy expenditure. Anyway, I'm not competing in anything, so if I end up running more slowly because I've become as strong as I want to be, so be it. Still, I think running 8mm pace for 5-10K and having a 405 deadlift, a 315-365 Squat, and a 275 bench are reasonable goals, very attainable.

    Yeah, that sounds right, anything that puts your joints/muscles in less mechanically advantageous positions/ROMs should probably be done lower weight. Like pullovers. It's tempting to go heavy, but these are probably best in the 5-8 rep range. I'm thinking about rigging up or getting a neutral grip t-bar for my landmine. http://www.fitness-store.com/access...-accessories/t-bar-row-multi-grip-handle-bar/ . Might be better than the barbell rows. Also, looked into a tgrip bar for presses, but I'm not sure it would fit in my rack http://www.ironcompany.com/5ft-sing...r-clearance.aspx?MMP=101EN585ZK3#.VBmy48mOq5I . I wonder if it would make a difference to do the presses neutral grip too. My shoulder seems to be doing OK these days, though, so maybe just leave things the way they are and keep focusing on massaging it and doing ROM exercises during recovery.

    Did heavy deadlifts yesterday, felt good. I was going to try to do these last two weeks strictly 3x1/3x3/2x5 but I was short on time again so I just did deadlifts and so I thought, what the heck, let's see what 355 feels like these days. Definitely felt a little easier than the first time I tried it, so I'm progressing, but the progress has slowed way down. I think I'll be lucky to average five-pound-per-month increases up to 405, so that puts it in the spring sometime, although sometimes gains come in waves, so you never know.

    Anyway, I will definitely start doing one heavy session once in the two-week cycle for each of the three big lifts, and maybe for the rows too. Something like:

    DL, Rows, OH Press
    Squat, Bench, Pulldowns
    DL, Rows, OH Press

    Squat, Bench, Pulldowns
    DL, Rows, OH Press
    Squat, Bench, Pulldowns

    I might also make more of an effort to add in 1-2 assistance exercises, maybe on the Fridays, cutting out the singles for the big lifts to give me some more time:

    DL, Rows, OH Press
    Squat, Bench, Pulldowns
    DL, Rows, OH Press + hyperextensions and Russian Twist

    Squat, Bench, Pulldowns
    DL, Rows, OH Press
    Squat, Bench, Pulldowns + pullovers and dips

    This way I would essentially have a medium, light, and heavy day for the big three lifts.:
    3x1, 3x3, 2x5
    3x3, 2x5+ assistance
    Heavy singles > 3x3, 2x5

    Although it would be nice to get in each assistance exercise more than once every two weeks, I don't want to take away from the six basic lifts. Thoughts?
     
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