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  1. #121

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    • phoenix arizona seminar date
    • texas seminar date
    [2014-11-23, Sunday]
    High bar back squat, sleeves, no belt, *Harbinger wraps

    45 x 20 x 2
    135 x 5
    205 x 3
    245 x 2
    275 x 1
    305 x 1 *
    315 x 1 *
    275 x 1
    275 x 1
    245 x 3
    225 x 3
    255 x 3
    225 x 3
    275 x 3
    255 x 4
    275 x 4

    Life was about to get in the way of my Monday return to squats and I wasn't tryna hear dat. So I moved the session to today.

    I recall Jack Reape writing years ago that the squat loses strength fastest of all three powerlifts. I have found that in 4-6 weeks my squat strength returns almost to my baseline untrained strength.

    If I have a 315-lb completely ungeared high bar single and stop squatting for a month, I will go down to about a 205-225 max.

    This is relevant now because I think I already saw the initial stages of the slide with this past week off.

    I brought my light Harbinger wraps in case my knee felt too unstable to be helped by my loose sleeves. I thought I'd be good for an easy single with 315 with the wraps. I had another think coming.

    After a slow 315 with wraps I accepted that I had to cycle back. I waved the fuck out of the load with triples and then finished strong with 255 and 275 for a quadruple.

    I only used the wraps for 305 and 315. Used sleeves the rest of the time. Was getting a little tired wrapping and they were distracting. I do think I would benefit from tighter sleeves and will be looking into the SBD sleeves, a pair for training and a tighter pair for comp.

    I had some of m y best form ever today. My right hip dipped only once and my right leg stayed in all the lifts equally. I managed to minimize hip kick on the sets of 275 and over. First 275 for a triple was less than perfect, but the last quadruples with 255 and 275 were perfect.

    Ended up with 30 reps of 70% and over, almost a third of which were with 275 or 90% of today's estimated wrapless 1rm of 305.

    I thought I might get 315 for reps today...especially with the wraps! Sort of dims my hopes for 355 x 5 high bar beltless by February... But you never know.

    My hamstrings are starting to sing as I lay me down to sleep.
    Last edited by Gary Gibson; 11-24-2014 at 04:11 AM.

  2. #122

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    Work got in the way again. Had to be there at 6:30 am for a meeting and then got stuck with a late job till 8 pm. Would have had to rush things at the gym and was tired from waking up early and literally climbing all over a warehouse to run cable in the ceiling today and then climbing all over a house tonight.

    Initially I was pissed, but now I realize it's fine, a good thing. I'm lucky to have a job that frequently forces me to throttle back my frequency. My knee, for example, feels great and will feel even better with another day of rest before squats and deadlifts.

    Those squats and pulls will be the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow I will bench. I plan to wave the load between 175 and 205, but may just settle for rep waves with a static 185 or 195.

    I have found myself gravitating back to all the training methodologies of the East as popularized by Pavel Tsatsouline. A decade after I got bitten by the kettlebell/PTP bug I am truly able to appreciate the things PT wrote about.

    I have even bought Kindle versions of all the Pavel powerlifting books a former girlfriend gave away after we broke up. They were much cheaper this time around and are now invulnerable to bitter exes.

    I started with Beyond Bodybuilding (whose section on periodization alone is worth the money), then got Power To The People Professional.

    But it is the seminal Power To The People which I bought last night that I am enjoying the most. Ten years since I first read it and thanks to my often painful experiences since it all just clicks.

    Credit should always go where it's due, however. It was Rip and Starting Strength that got me bigger and stronger. Pavel was mainly marketing staying skinny and doing circus tricks with kettlebells. He had a lot of good things for powerlifting, but his marketing forced him to poo poo squats and benches, the two most productive movements a human body can perform for strength and power.

    I'm only able to appreciate and apply Pavel's Eastern bloc training science because Rip got me relatively strong.

  3. #123

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    [2014-11-26, Wednesday]
    Bench Press, touch and go

    45 x 20
    135 x 4
    175 x 3
    195 x 2
    205 x 2
    185 x 3, 2, 5
    195 x 2, 6
    205 x 1, 2, 4, 1

    Dumbbell Row, semi-supinated
    100 x 3, 6, 3, 12, 5, 8

    Took Pavel's commie advice and started pre-tensing on the first 195 ramp up. It makes a huge difference. The whole body tension makes a heavy barbell feel much, much lighter. I got that sixth rep with 195 because of pre-tensing then managed to get 205 for 4!

    Bad news is that my knee started filling up a bit at work this morning. Seems mostly fine now. It just needs rest to heal up. I hope I can do those light squats with light wraps on Friday and then deadlift.

    Because of work and injury-prone knees there is no way I can stick to a fixed schedule. I can abide by a pattern of just four lifts: Bench and DB Row and Squat and Deadlift. And I can pair them as an upper day and a lower day.

    But days off between sessions will be as needed. I will alternate them and do them back to back or insert a rest day or two or more as my schedule and injuries and fatigue require me to.

  4. #124

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    [2014-11-28, Friday]
    High Bar Back Squat, *light Valeo wraps, no belt

    45 x 10 x 2
    135 x 5
    205 x 3
    235 x 2
    245 x 5 x 5 *

    Deadlift, conventional, squat shoes, no belt, hook grip
    315 x 3 x 3

    Finished these squats with lots of juice to spare.

    This is the start of a roughly 12-to-13-week Ryabbinikov squat routine detailed in Power To The People Professional. I chose it because a) that's how much time I have till the meet, b) it adds equipment in a way that analogs how I want to add a belt and transition into low bar with a belt, c) it waves volume and intensity in a way that speaks to me, d) it's not rigid about rest days which I need with my work schedule.*

    I've tacked on deadlifts with a fraction of the volume after each session that matches the deadlift load with the squat load (70-80 lbs over squat load). It also has the belt being added and the switch to sumo mirroring the squat's transition.

    Except I will skip deadlift altogether on the heaviest squat day. No max pulls outside of competition!

    These SQ/DL days will probably end up being twice per week, maybe five in two weeks at the start while things are easy, i.e. today, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. I always have to use Sundays as that's the only day I can guarantee gym time.

    Bench sessions will generally be on other days and will use the rep waves of which I've become so fond.

    I have a bad case of insomnia. In the past week I've slept only an hour or two per night except for once when I got a full eight hours. It seems like I have to miss two or three nights of sleep before I can get a good one.

    Anyway, at least knee is fine now. I'm using wraps to make sure both of them stay that way.
    Last edited by Gary Gibson; 11-28-2014 at 10:41 PM.

  5. #125

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    [2014-12-01, Monday]
    Bench Press, touch and go

    45 20
    135 3
    175 2
    195 2
    205 1, 2, 1, 2

    High Bar Back Squat, light Valeo wraps*, no belt
    45 10 2
    135 5
    225 3
    275 1
    285 x 3 x 5* *

    Instead of training I partied my ass off this weekend. My knee has thanked me.

    I confirmed something very important: those sessions that leave my knees feeling worryingly beaten up are actually nothing to worry about at all...as long as I provide my knees a few days of healing before the next bout of abuse.

    Both my knees were sore and creaky the morning after my 5 5 session. Had me worried and sad. But that was Saturday. Sunday they felt fine. Today the right is giving a hint of the old tightness in the medial / posterior when I squat onto my haunches, but that's just something I have to live with from time to time. That injury was deep and that area will always be weak.

    Anyway I lost a few pounds this weekend because booze and such are the opposite of nutrition. It showed in my bench. I know there are ebbs and flows to strength,* but this mostly due to misspent few days.

    I got out of position on the third rep of the fourth squat set and lost it. I didn't count those reps up top and redid the set after I calmed down.

    285 is a little over 90% my recent 315 1RM with the slightly lighter Harbinger wraps. I'm mildly satisfied with today's performance. Squats were a rough road, but I got the planned sets and reps. I think benching first definitely had a negative impact and I really should have benched only yesterday. I know from experience that only one lift per day can be optimized.

    I don't mind deadlifting after squats,* however, because squats drive up the deadlift while the deadlift requires something more akin to relatively light practice.

    Today was good practice for staying upright near max loads while getting fatigued. Next squat day is 225 x 6 x 4, light volume. I'll probably deadlift after those squats. And I'll probably bench and row before that day and the day immediately after the squats and deads.

    I weighed in at 162 at night in a t and sweats. I was probably 158 this morning. Sickly.

  6. #126

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    [2014-12-02, Tuesday]
    High Bar Back Squat, no belt, loose Valeo wraps*

    45 10
    135 5
    225 6 *4 *

    Deadlift, conventional, no belt, squat shoes, hook grip
    335 x 3 x 5

    Stressed today. I detonated yet another relationship this weekend and have been flogging myself emotionally. If didn't go squat and pull, I would have used my energy for self-destruction.

    I was feeling unusually recovered and the planned squats were light for medium volume. Let's hope the knees don't start acting up. Though the wraps -- which were very loose tonight -- do seem to be doing their job.

    Squats were stupid easy and got easier with each set. I did a seventh rep on the last set and could have kept going. Felt like a recovery session...which it essentially was.

    Started to bench after squats, but just wasn't feeling it. Upper body just feeling tired. I benched the empty bar a couple times and racked it. Moved on to deads and those kept getting easier with each set.

    I don't do warm up pulls because squats are more than adequate for that. I honestly see no point in pulls under 315 for me, particularly given my Gant-ish build.

    I'm very happy to report how easy these pulls with 335 were. On my third set I was so grooved that I could have kept going another three reps. The squat shoes mean I can get dat dere leg drive. No degradation in form, often fast off the floor and all lockouts were snappy.

    So satisfying to see my body quickly getting used to deadlifts again. Just a few days ago I was lamenting how hard the triple with 315 felt! I look forward to working up to a snappy triple with 365 before I add a belt to both squats and deads.

    I also plan to bench and row for real next sessions. Definitely give the knees a break. I long for the day 205 x 5 feels easy on the bench. Maybe a little more volume with 185-195 wouldn't hurt.

  7. #127

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    [2014-12-05, Friday]
    High Bar Back Squat, no belt, *light Harbinger wraps

    45 x 10 x 3
    135 x 5
    225 x 3
    275 x 2
    295 x 1
    305 x 1*
    315 x miss, *
    305 x 1*

    Deadlift, conventional, no belt, hook grip
    355 x 3 x 6

    Dumbbell Row, semi-supinated
    110 x 5 x 5

    Pissed about the bullshit squats. Both the squat and bench need bodyweight in order for strength to be expressed, likely because these two lifts most load the joints, which need mass to buttress them and shut down the body's tendency to put the brakes on in fear.

    Witness my deadlift which continues to climb while my squat stalls and regresses.

    Last rep of deads my hook grip just couldn't hold. Switched to mixed to get that last rep and my left erector immediately let me know why hook is better. I can't believe people regularly train pulls with such asymmetrical loading.

    Anyway, grip was the limiting factor here. My legs and back felt fresh on the last set.

    This Fitness 19 in Evansville had 110 and 120 lb DBs so I had to take advantage! The first set was heavy, but it kept getting easier each set. I actually stopped out of boredom!

    The scale at the gym says 166. I cannot believe that. I am sure I am quite a bit lighter!

    I will get around to bench again, I swear. I am just riding on my strongest lifts right now.

  8. #128

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    Ok, my lower back has been a tad sore since those high volume triples, but it's a good kind of hurt. And for the first time in years I am looking categorically jacked if only slightly so. My most prominent swolleness is in my quads. I'd post a pic if the mods wouldn't find it indecent.

    I just used 97% of my recent beltless conventional max for six sets of triples. So got a full body pump. Nice that my deadlift is responding so well to my treating my failed squat sessions as deadlift warm ups.

    I have used 315, then 335, then 355 for an increasing number of triples.*I will make the relatively small jump to 365 which should be easy for lots of doubles after 355 for lots of triples. Jump to 385, then I will aim for working up to 405 for doubles over the next couple weeks.

    Doubles with beltless, conventional 405 put me in a good place for a belted sumo.

    While I play with doubles for my pulls I will be using more volume for my squats. I am stuck at 315 again.

    When it comes to squats volume has always worked best for me. I'm thinking of taking some Smolov-ish volume elements and keeping them in the squat mix. We tend to poo poo higher rep stuff, but we see the results of volume with lighter percentages and higher reps in Smolov!

    I think it could be argued that it's the 4 sets of 9 and 5 sets of 7 that actually build mass in the Smolov. The 7 sets of 5 and especially 10 triples coordinate that mass to move heavier percentages. But the nearly double digit rep sets build the lower body meat!

    We laugh at the muscle mag nonsense of 38-10...but 49 is the first day of a legendary squat program...

    With this in mind I may start experimenting with a day of 65%123. That would certainly be easier on the old knees than what I usually do.

    The ONLY time I've made appreciable appreciation in squat poundage is when I've done Smolov...but this isn't because of the unsustainable frequency and intensity. I believe it's been the higher rep days.

    So I'm going to be trying a lot more 65-75% for 8-12 reps. Again recall that Smolov's first two days are 70%9 and 75%7.

    Of course exposure to heavy weight is vital in keeping the feel for a heavy squat. So I could work up to an easy, heavy single 90-95% then do "back off" sets with ~70%.

    I could just "unpack" the high rep portion of Smolov and do this for the next three volume days:

    Squat cycle
    225 x 9 x 4
    245 x 9 x 4
    255 x 9 x 4

    And then do an intensity day with low volume, heavy squats as a deadlift warm up and the following deadlift plan:

    Deadlift cycle
    365 x 2 x 5
    385 x 2 x 4
    405 x 2 x 3

    And lastly I think it's time to give in to the close grip bench press.

    I tried these a few weeks ago and they fixed a chronic left elbow problem I'd picked up at work. The close grip put tremendous eustress on my triceps and deltoids, the kind I never feel in my standard wider grip bench.

    I don't think my standard bench press grip is optimally developing my pressing musculature.

    While I actually feel my delts and tris in the close grip press, the pecs do seem to drop out because they no longer have any adduction to perform.

    I hope to find that press grip width is like squat stance with: i.e., narrow/medium works best to develop all involved muscles at once and carries over to wider.

    So all this has been to say that I will be using a narrower grip on the bench and higher reps in the squat.

  9. #129
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    I think I have to disagree about the high rep squats. I know lifters who have built quite extraordinary amounts of muscle mass using only low reps (1-5). I think muscle mass is largely a matter of a) caloric intake and b) overall volume. Yes, the high reps will give you a pump but that's largely temporary and disappears in a day at most.

    As for knees, I have had similar problems with my knees as you have for 35 years, long before I ever touched a barbell. I have found that they are far more sensitive to volume than intensity so I can get away with using fairly heavy (for me) weights for low reps (I mostly use 3x3) but a set of 10 with even an unloaded bar can leave me wrecked for a week if I'm not careful.

    But YMMV and you seem to have found a way to train around your knee troubles so I may be talking out of my ass.

    I agree about the close grip bench. Since my shoulder surgery I use it exclusively.

  10. #130

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    starting strength nutrition camp
    [2014-12-08, Monday]
    High Bar Back Squat, no belt, *light Valeo wraps

    45 x 15 x 2
    135 x 5
    225 x 3
    265 x 2
    295 x 2 *
    315 x 1 *
    275 x 5, 2, 6, 3, 1, 7, 2, 5 + miss *

    Close Grip Bench Press, touch and go
    135 x 5 x 2
    155 x 5
    165 x 5
    175 x 3

    Deadlift, conventional, squat shoes, no belt, hook grip
    365 x 2 x 4


    The voodoo of rep waves...again! Blew through 275 rep max...twice!

    But tweaked lower left lat on that 275 x 7...

    Kept stretching and pumping it so I could diminish discomfort and continue. It worked.

    Missed that last rep. I was sucking wind on that fifth. Should have wrapped it up then.

    I was exhausted after all those squats at 85% so I needed to lie down for a bit. I figured I'd try out some close grip presses while I was resting for deadlifts.

    I worked up with fives and I figure I'm good for at least 175 x 5, maybe even 185 x 5 on a dedicated press day.

    My short term goals here are 205 x 5 and then 225 x 5, of course. I won't try a wider grip till I've gotten 225 x 5 narrow. I care about bench the least and don't mind experimenting like this.

    Deadlift doubles with 365 didn't feel as easy as I would have like because of all the squat volume. I'll be doing much lower volume on Thursday or Friday and essentially warming up for the deadlift with squats.

    If I can pull multiple doubles with 365 when I'm this wiped out, I hope I can pull 385 for doubles when fresh.

    Hbriem, like a plant needs sun I need volume to grow. Nothing seems to happen unless I turn the volume way up.

    Notice, however, that today I couldn't bring myself to lower the intensity and worked up to 5, 6, and 7 with 85% with rep wave voodoo. I got a Smolov-ish day in there.

    It will be at least a week before I try this shit again, however.

    Notice also that I wrap as if it were required by my religion. Which it is.
    The squat rack is my temple and I wrap so I can continue to faithfully serve my god.

    My knees couldn't handle volume with 135 if I didn't wrap.
    Last edited by Gary Gibson; 12-08-2014 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Valeo not Harbinger

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