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  1. #101

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    • texas seminar date
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    [2014-11-11
    Bench Press,touch and go

    45 x* 20
    135 x 5
    175 x 2
    185 x 3 x 5

    Back Squat, sleeves, no belt or wraps
    45 x 20
    185 x 5
    225 x 3
    255 x 2
    275 x 2 x 5

    Chin Up @160+45 x 4 x 3

    Farmers Walk w/100-lb DBs x 150 ft. (50% longer than last first walk)

    I know. I know. The very next day. But I ended up taking another much needed day off from work and just laid in bed all day again. A new Broscience Life episode came out today so apparently the universe rewarded me for a good decision.

    Point is that I am a hell of a lot more recovered these days than I usually am. So I was bursting with energy for another session. I really wanted to get under a 185 bar for bench and 275 bar for squat. It was totally the right call.

    The bench was a little hard since I just did the light session yesterday...a deliberate upping of frequency that I won't do again anytime soon, especially since my little sabbatical is coming to an end.

    Squat, however, was very gratifying. First double with 275 was effortless. It got hard on the third set, but I could have done a sixth or seventh set of doubles. Felt like I could have gotten at least 275 x 5, definitely more if I had done squats first.

    I have gotten into the habit of wearing (loose) jeans over my sweat pants at the gym. Mostly because I hate the way I look in either gym shorts or sweats. The jeans are far from tight, but they probably have a bit of a squat suit and wraps effect as they hug my hips and sleeved knees at the bottom. Mainly my legs are very toasty.

    You might have noticed my lifts congealing into a pattern. Squats and benches, one low volume and one higher, alternating and followed by a back movement: db row, chin up, or deadlift...and then a "real life" finisher: sprint, jump, farmers walk.

    There is a reason for this. Back squat is the best lift for the lower body, bench the best for the upper body push. No question. But I can't decide between db row and weighted chin for upper body pull.

    The db row mirrors the bench...but the chin has better endpoints. The chin locks at the top. But the row can't be held very long at the top with decent weight and it invites looser form. But the chin is hard on the medial epicondyles.

    Though I am now finding that just stretching my forearm muscles by mimicking a reverse wrist curl motion with my fingers extended helps a lot. Just like stretching my quads seems to help my knee health. I think constantly adding weight without a stretch to counteract all the loaded contracting results in a chronic low level contraction that results in pain and dysfunction.

    So stretching after a session is VERY important to prevent the muscles constantly pulling slightly on the joint and jacking the lifter up. In my case, especially the quads pulling on my knees and my forearm/finger flexors yanking on the medial part of my elbow.

    But for some reason the farmers walks seem to help that elbow pain, too. Maybe they strengthen a grip strength deficiency that led to an improper compensatory activation. I tell ya, these walks are very corrective.

    I've decided that adding more than a couple pounds of bodyweight per month would mean I'm getting fatter faster than I'm getting muscular. So I will add just a quarter gallon of milk or its equivalent per day to my caloric intake.

    Oh, and my third pull is the sumo deadlift, which I agree is the best way to pull for the reasons Tom of Powerlifting To Win enumerated in his excellent article on the subject. The deadlift is redundant and less effective than the squat. Making the deadlift more like the squat with the trap bar (especially for tall/long-femured lifters ill-suited to squats) or with sumo (for competitive powerlifters) is smart. Spare the lower back rounding and work the legs more.

    In other words, sumo pull for training and competition...higher bar squat for training, lower bar for competition (and the training leading up to competition).

    I will make sumo deadlift the pull on the days I squat first for high volume. The low volume bench in between will serve as a little respite.

    I'm confident that I'll hit my x5x5 goal with 275 on the squat. A little less confident about benching 185x5x5. I did manage to bench 190x5 followed by triples then doubles. So if I can do that on a good day now, I should be able to get to 185x5x5 by December.

    My overriding goal is to best my old best on high bar squat with just sleeves: 365 @ 182. First I want to hit 365 while I'm under 170. Then I want to hit 405 while I'm under 180. All high bar, no belt or wraps. In truth, I expect 8-10 lbs on squat per pound of bodyweight. At least for a bit longer. So I really want that 405 while I'm under 170. I'm good for 315-320 @160 now. So I'm not asking for the impossible here. Just 315x5 @ 165 yields 365 at that bodyweight.

    Thanks for reading my rambling about my longing to beat my younger self as my test levels continue to decline.

  2. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by Callador View Post
    It was nice meeting you at the Body Shoppe today. Sheboygan isn't all that bad! :-) Hopefully we can lift together again before you leave Cheddarland.
    How in hell did I miss this???

    Good meeting you too! But looks like we will next meet at a meet. They called me back to the Cities.

  3. #103

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    Instead of ruffling feathers in my log and possibly offending my e-host, I will keep long-winded essays that could be seen as challenging to the party line on my Voluntary Dissonance blog. Here are my "pressing" thoughts (on pressing...get it?) for today.

    It would probably be best if we kept any comments, discussions, and arguments over there instead of here. And I find PMs are a really good way to keep discussion civil. Lord knows I am cooler headed when challenged without an audience.

  4. #104
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Zurich, Switzerland
    Posts
    677

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    *shrug*

    Everybody's got their own opinion. As far as I'm concerned, they both deserve equal attention, with the exception of athletes whose sport requires focus on one or the other.

  5. #105

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Gibson View Post
    Instead of ruffling feathers in my log and possibly offending my e-host, I will keep long-winded essays that could be seen as challenging to the party line on my Voluntary Dissonance blog. Here are my "pressing" thoughts (on pressing...get it?) for today.

    It would probably be best if we kept any comments, discussions, and arguments over there instead of here. And I find PMs are a really good way to keep discussion civil. Lord knows I am cooler headed when challenged without an audience.
    Quote Originally Posted by Miro View Post
    *shrug*

    Everybody's got their own opinion. As far as I'm concerned, they both deserve equal attention, with the exception of athletes whose sport requires focus on one or the other.
    The "opinion" thing never sat well with me. Some things are truly matters of opinion like the best ice cream flavor. Some things are matters of objective fact, others of efficiency, and others of principle.

    This is mostly about training efficiency with equal dollops of principle and personal taste.

    It's also a matter whose discusoon I would prefer to mention here and continue elsewhere.

  6. #106

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    [2014-11-13]
    Back Squat, sleeves, no wraps or belt

    45 x 20
    185 x 5
    225 x 3
    255 x 2
    275 x 3 x 5

    Bench Press, touch and go
    45 x 20
    135 x 5
    175 x 2
    185 x 2 x 5

    Sumo Deadlift, no belt
    315 x 3
    365 x 2
    385 x 1
    405 x miss x 2

    Dumbbell Row 100 x 6 x 5

    Last squat triple was excellent. Third set of bench was hard, but then I got sharp again. Almost did a sixth set I felt so good.

    Sumo got me bummed. Stressed medial side of* both knees. And I failed 405! Fuck. I probably could have gotten 395 though. That's in line with the 355 singles I got conventional a few days ago.

    I don't think deadlifts are a necessary movement for general purposes. Squats cover the legs and spine way better and chins and rows get the lats and mid back. But I'm nominally a competitor in a sport that requires deadlifts. And while squat gains fuel deadlift gains, I need to practice the deadlift to realize those gains.

    I weighed 164 tonight. And I failed to sumo 405 without a belt. Christ.

    I really shouldn't be testing maxes on anything anyway. I should have just done a couple of singles with 385 since it felt so doable. Need to not make a habit of this.

    I spotted a strong dude who of course turned out to be a competitor. He informed me of a local USAPL meet in Feb. New IPF weight classes in effect in 2015. Something to train for. Though lord only knows if I'll still be in Minnesota then.

    But the meet will be held literally ten minutes DIRECTLY north of my studio. I really should plan to go.

    In the past I would have been 75 kilo class. Now the new limit is 74. I will try to squeeze into it and keep my goal of besting my old bests in the 75 as a 74. But failing to pull 405 tonight does not have me feeling too enthusiastic. I'm not exactly hopelessly weak a puller right now. This is the first week I've tried it in the three months I've been training consistently again. I just need to devote some energy to the lift.

    But my high bar beltless is probably over 315 right now. I really need to sumo pull 405 soon. I've pulled 440 at 163 (with a belt). So 405 beltless is the minimum required right now for my world to make sense.

    Thirteen weeks till the meet. That's enough time for two, maybe three more of these undulating, escalating volume cycles, an intensification, and a taper.

    I really need to work up to a beltless high bar of 315 x 5 ASAP and a touch and go bench of 225 x 5. Those are both about 40 lbs away so the squat is a lot more realistic before the meet.

    I've been considering the routines of powerlifters as devoted as I am to the notion of training ONLY the competition lifts...and maaaaybe a row or chin for upper back. Faleev is a fan of 5x5 and recommends one heavy lift the first three weekdays...squat Monday, bench Tuesday, deadlift Wednesday...then light squat and bench Thursday and Friday. Rest the weekend then come back fresh for the heavy days. Makes a lot if sense.

    There are other arrangements for a four and three day setup. The three day looks a lot like what I do now. But I'm about to head back into the grind of 60+ hours per week. And I'm not sure what will let me recover best. Going every day sure seems like a lot, but one lift per day does indeed leave me feeling fresher than longer sessions even with light lifts following the heavy lifts.

    For right now I'm happy with something like:

    Squat, light Bench, Deadlift
    Rest
    Rest
    Bench, light Squat, Chin
    Rest
    Rest
    Repeat

    I do throw in DB rows, farmers walks and jumps (no sprints because there is now ice everywhere) and I feel guilty about it because I am always trying to focus more.

  7. #107

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    Yeah, those sumo deadlifts fucked muh knees. Especially the right one. It felt funny last night and today it really started to worry me. Around late afternoon I thought I felt it filling in!

    But the worst seems to be over. If I avoid squats and pulls for a few days, I'm sure it will be fine.

    And here lies the difference between the old Gary and the new. The old would have plowed on with squatting either tomorrow or the next day. My current manifestation is going to wait till at least Monday and maybe beyond if he deems it necessary.

    Sometimes all it takes is a day or two more of healing to avoid turning a small injury into a chronic problem. Going back a day or two too soon takes its toll and it adds up. Eventually you have to take months off because you didn't take an extra day or two off here and there!

    But this brings me beyond the care of my mild injury to the cause: the wide stance (sumo) deadlift.

    In brief I went too heavy while my joints were at an extreme angle to which I'm no longer used. But this brings into question the wisdom of using extreme angles at all.

    I see tremendous good sense in using medium angles, grip widths, and stances. I still think that if one absolutely must deadlift (even though the squat addresses the legs better and the row and chin address the upper back about as well while including elbow flexion), the sumo is superior because it makes the deadlift more like a trap bar squat, taking the rounding stress off the lower back with a steeper back angle and throwing the stress on the knee extensors.

    Yet something about the wide stance last night really bothered both my knees. I felt strain on the medial connective tissue. Thing is, this is an absolute first for me and makes me wonder if I've developed some form issue.

    It could be a simple matter of knees buckling in tiny bit. I've been eschewing wider stance squatting for so long that I'm simply no longer able to jump right back into using a wide stance pull with maximal weight without losing proper joint angles.

    I have the strength to move quite a bit of weight, but lack the strength in particular muscles at particular joint angles to move that weight safely.

    Solution: rest, heal, build back up slowly. Maybe widen my stance slowly and get in some volume to build up the necessary muscle.

    One thing I miss about my low bar days: I got good a squat that let me move the most weight (even if it turned into a good morning) and it was the best assistance for the sumo deadlift. High bar gives me the quad strength for sumo, but not the particular wide stance gluteal and adductor strength. High bar helps my low bar, but keeps me from getting enough practice on the low bar to make the low bar soar.

    After much thought I've decided to implement Faleev's first recommendation...

    Mon - Squat "heavy"
    Tues - Bench "heavy"
    Wed - Deadlift "heavy" (sumo)
    Thur - Squat "light" (+jump/sprint/farmers walk)
    Fri - Bench "light" (+chin/row)

    A couple reasons for this...

    1) I love going to the gym often without getting beaten into exhaustion.

    2) It's easy to plug in the undulating volume approach by plugging in the escalating volume on "heavy" days and low volume on "light days".

    As Faleev points out, there are only three heavy days in this routine. The light days should actually aid recovery, keep the groove, reduce the chance of soreness, and minimally add any fatigue.

    Faleev would NOT add the jumping, running, and carrying on light squat day, or the upper back work on light bench day. But these are things I am loathe to discard because they really do round out minimalist barbell routine of the big three.

    I will likely drop them as I taper for the meey, however, in order to manage fatigue and marshall recovery.

    I, however, do love spending my day off in the gym, taking long rests between the big three. And it would save a bit on gas because I would probably only go once or twice more per week for light day and maybe some conditioning. Maybe I'll do this in February to simulate meet conditions and maximize recovery in preparation for the meet.

    I like the look of this a lot, actually. December and January with heavy/light one lift per day, then February with once per week.

    Last time around I ruined my prep by upping frequency as the meet approached!

    If work or my social life forces me to drop a training day, I will drop deadlift day if possible. Next option is to stack light squat and bench on the same day and drop upper back work and fast/heavy conditioning.

    Last thing. I want to implement this on Monday. While I let my knees rest (no squats, deads, sprints, jumps, or carries), however, I want to start going heavy on bench. I will be going for 185 x 4 x 5 next Tuesday...but tomorrow (Saturday) I want to mix in a couple sets of 185 x 4 with 185 x 2, id est 185 x 2, 4, 2, 4, 2. I'd also like to get in a decent bit of chin volume with 45 lbs.

    Hey. Thanks for reading.

  8. #108

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    [2014-11-15]
    Bench Press, touch and go

    45 x 20 x 2
    135 x 5
    165 x 3
    175 x 2
    185 x 2, 4, 2, 4, 2, 4, 2, 4

    Chin Up, semi-supinated @164 +20 x 4 x 3

    Shit. Right knee very slightly effused. I have full range of motion, but there is a hint of tightness. Granted I've been on my feet all day and climbing ladders to run wire for two days and that makes it worse. Still this is relatively minor a problem and it should clear up in a couple more days if I don't fuck it up by squatting and pulling. If it doesn't, I'll give it another week before I squat again.

    Amyway, I really surprised myself on bench. Thought I'd go for maybe three quadruples with doubles in between. Got FOUR. That was my target for next week. And the last set was the tightest. I'm more than good for 5x5 with 185 next week.

    I weighed myself and discovered why my bench is progressing; I'm 164 lbs. That's 4 lbs over my nighttime average a week ago. I'm getting huge, bro.

    Seriously I am looking a bit fuller and harder up top. Nothing anyone who isn't me would notice, but I'll take it.

    I did one triple with 45 on the chin up, but didn't record it because I quickly realized that today I needed to knock off 10% and go light for a few sets.

    Aiming for 275 x 4 x 5 Back Squat on Monday if my knee health allows. But not sure what to do about bench Tuesday. 185 x 5 x 5? Or do I count today's session as close enough and move on to 190 or even 195 x 3 x 5? I'll probably go for sets of five and six with 185. Maybe sets of three, four, and five with 275 squat. Maybe 335 if I feel up to deadlifts on Wednesday.

  9. #109

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    Right knee started to have some of the old pain last night. Effusion was down, but there was enough excess fluid to make things click as I articulated the joint.

    Squat day is fast approaching and the idea of missing it really had me down late last night. So I pulled on the Rehbands and the compression immediately made things feel much better. Slept with the one sleeve on. I can squat just fine with it and I really want not to miss tomorrow's session...not just because I'm greedy for new gains, but also because I tend to lose ground on the squat so very quickly.

    Though I am also greedy for new gains.

    A week off squats and pulls, however,* would do wonders for this tweaked knee. And I keep saying how a few extra days to heal at the outset mean not having to take weeks or months off later.

    As I'm typing this I'm examining my right knee and trying it out. The effusion seems completely gone right now (though stress on the knee that exceeds it current resilience will bring it back). There is the barest wisp of tightness in the medial posterior area where I first injured it years ago. That area is full of scar tissue and is where I feel pain whenever I tweak my knee.

    Honestly the knee feels fine in a close stance squat with feet mostly forward. It's when I try any wide stance articulation that it starts to grumble.

    That makes sense since it's the wide stance where I exceeded the joint's carrying capacity. It's like suddenly going super wide grip on the bench and benching more than ever...but then blowing out a shoulder because the body used its strength at joint angles the connective tissue hasn't been conditioned for.

    It just took me by surprise because while I haven't deadliftedcat all this cycle (a mistake) I've done mostly sumo pulling for the past several years! I'm not the more massive, stronger version of myself I was four years ago, but it's still a shock to have 385 do my knees in when I've pulled over 500 lbs in the same fashion.

    Before I get to my prescription I would like to revisit my training split...

    Mine is a minimalist routine of squat, bench, deadlift and row/chin. I jump and sprint to stay mobile outside of lifting and I like farmers walks a lot. I was going to follow a 5-day Faleev routine, but then it hit me that light squats are the day after heavy deadlifts. Probably nothing I couldn't handle, but it doesn't strike me as ideal.

    Plus light squats are the perfect warm up for deadlifts! So I got the brilliant idea to put the deadlifts on the light squat day. So instead of:

    Heavy Squat
    Heavy Bench
    Heavy Deadlift
    Light Squat
    Light Bench, Chin, DB Row
    Rest
    Rest

    ...we get:

    Heavy Squat
    Heavy Bench
    Rest
    Light Squat, Heavy Deadlift
    Light Bench,* Chin, DB Row
    Rest
    Rest

    An extra day of total rest and a back movement that compliments the wa squat has a satisfying synchronicity with those upper back movements that compliment the bench.

    I am giddy over this split. It strikes me as very right. I think it balances the frequency needed for practice, for keeping soreness at bay, and for recovery. There are two full days between heavy Squat and deadlift and then three after the deadlift before I have to squat again.

    Now prescriptions for handling my knee.

    1) Flip the upper and lower body days this week so I start with bench on Monday and do squats on Tuesday. This gives the knee what could be a critical extra day of healing.

    2) If the knee still feels a little wonky on Tuesday, skip the heavy Squat this week, but do the light squat session on Friday, very gingerly exploring weights above 225.

    3) If the knee still feels a little weird on the light day, just skip squats entirely that week. Come back the following Monday after a total ten days off.

    The flexibility of this plan will keep me form despairing about definitely not squatting for a total of ten days.

    So as of right now it looks like I'll be joining the masses in benching on Monday, International Bench Day.

    4) Pull conventional for at least the next couple of weeks. Slowly widen my stance over the next few weeks to full sumo.

    5) And it almost doesn't need to be said, but no running and jumping this week.

  10. #110

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    starting strength coach development program
    [2014-11-17, Monday]
    Back Squat, high bar, sleeves, no belt or wraps

    45 x 10 x 2
    135 x 6
    205 x 4
    255 x 3
    275 x 2
    295 x 1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 2, 4, 1, 3, 1

    Knee felt as good as ever today. I am glad I fretted over it enough to have a plan in case it didn't. Training -- aka squatting-- is my reward for slogging through the rest of my life with the awful bullshit I put up with at work and from girlfriends and ex-girlfriends. Squatting is almost as euphoric as blow, but a way more consistent high with far fewer unwanted side effects.

    Notice the waved reps. Very useful for hitting rep PBs in a session. Pavel talks about this stuff all the time, how Eastern lifters jump the weights around when training the competition lifts. Right now I like holding the weight steady and jumping the reps around. When I can get a bunch of sets of 4-6 among all the singles and doubles I feel I have mastered the weight and can move up.

    Anywho getting 295 x 4 while a bit fatigued makes me feel like I could get a single set with 295 x 5. That's a projected max of 330-340. I weighed myself on an old and very accurate analog industrial scale yesterday morning and came out with 161.5 in my skivvies. I'm trying to avoid maxing out on singles in training...but it's important for me to know that I'm at or above double bodyweight on the squat. I will be happy next month when I am repping 315 @ under 165.

    It's also important for me to be stronger than I was at this weight back in '09. My first meet at 163 I low bar squatted 347 with a belt; my second meet I squatted 369 in the same fashion at 165. I'm probably good for 350-355 high bar with a belt right now at a morning weight under 162. So I am pulling past Gary 2009 on the squat.

    It really bums me out that the same thing isn't happening with the deadlift. I hope that will change as I start to practice the lift again. I have to point out, however, that part of the reason my deadlift isn't as high is that I am not low bar squatting anymore. The low bar, wider stance squat is a "deadlift with the bar on your back" and carries over very, very well to sumo pulls.

    I have a good feeling about what's about to happen with my bench training. I'm using the same wave pattern with 195 tomorrow.

    A little later...

    My right knee is now informing me that a couple more days rest would have helped. No huge surprise. But the discomfort is within the "no reason to freak" range. I should be just fine for light squats (maybe up to 245 or so) and conventional deadlifts (singles, doubles, and triples with 315).

    My projected max beltless high bar is ~335. My best beltless conventional deadlift right now is probably no higher than 375. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around that.

    Lately I've been poopooing the deadlift as an unnecessary lift that doesn't work the legs as well as the squat or the upper body pull as well as the row or chin. But the deadlift is slapping my insolent mouth.

    While it doesn't address elbow flexion, the deadlift remains about as effective a back developer as the row and chin. And if a lifter relies solely on upright squatting, some hip-hinging pulls are probably needed to get a bit more hamstrings focus.

    Upright squatting is a glute and quad game. Low bar squatters could get away a lot more easily without pulls because the low bar squat itself is more of a pull than a squat...but then a low bar squatter might need some front squats to balance things out.

    No matter which squat you pick, you will need two movements --an upright squat (front or high bar) and a pull (low bar or deadlift variation) -- to address the lower body completely.

    Even the poster children of upright squatting and "never deadlifting" -- Olympic weightlifters -- actually do more light deadlifts in the form of snatch and clean training than they do any form of squatting!

    This stuff may all be insultingly obvious. But it is sort of fun to be experiencing it first hand now that I've spent a few years doing the lifts properly and building (and losing!) strength on them.

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