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Thread: Once More. From The Top.

  1. #291


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    Shoulder finally feeling up to benching. It's been about a month. I worked up to a 225 for a very comfortable double. Then my shoulder gave me a slight warning on the double with 245. But I managed to get a very smooth, very even 255 for a triple on my top set.

    Here is the salient point: this represents little or no loss of bench ability after a month of not doing anything beyond 135 on the bench a twice because of an injury. And I haven't benched at all in two weeks.

    If this were the squat, I would have lost 100 lbs under the same circumstances.

    In any case, here is a vid to demonstrate my DB row form. I see a lot of people doing both barbell rows and T-bar rows with their torsos much closer to vertical than horizontal and getting close to zero range joint articulation in either the shoulders or elbows. I consider dumbbell rows to be a primary strength movement, but they have to be done with a mostly horizontal torso and with a range of motion that brings the humerus in line with the horizontal torso.

    And then when people do them with proper form, they usually do them really light. So here are mine. I'm aiming for bodyweight for clean reps.

  2. #292


    For three or four years now I have "planned" to compete again, but something has always come up. This time my money is where my mouth is.

    I just bought USPA membership so I can compete as a Master in Elk Grove, CA on September 10.

    I'm 189 lbs now with around a 400 lb high bar, no belt, wraps, or sleeves. Just tested my conventional deadlift at 510 without a belt. Bench was 255 x 3 first session back after shoulder injury forced a month off.

    So the goal is top of the 198 with a 600 lb deadlift, 500 lb squat, and 350 paused bench in classic raw. I am already within 25 lbs of the state deadlift record. No wraps raw record is 40 lbs higher and I will beat that too.

  3. #293


    Well, here are a couple of vids from today's squat / leg press session. The leg press vid was my top set: six plates a side for nine.

  4. #294


    So excited. Worked up to 495 for a double @ 189. This is just five pounds shy of my best ever of 500 for a double, but I was at 195+ at the time. And this time I worked up with doubles instead of doing singles up to the top set. I am categorically the strongest on deadlifts that I've ever been.

    I followed that up with trying out stiff-legged pulls (I won't call them "deadlifts" since the reps don't start on the floor. I felt things out with a set of five and was amazed at how light 315 felt. I finished up with a set of ten. I would have gone for a few more sets, but I had to go get the groceries. I was very winded after that set of ten, though. Sucked wind for three minutes.

    Deadlift, conventional, no belt, hook grip
    315 x 5
    385 x 3
    435 x 2
    475 x 2
    495 x 2
    Stiff-Legged Pull 315 x 5, 6, 7, 10

  5. #295


    Left adductor still hurting. Left pec/delt attachment still hurting. But able to bench for real. May not be able to squat for another couple of weeks. But I'm using the forced break from squats to push my deadlift harder than I've pushed it in years. I will not squat this week and maybe I won't squat next week, too. But that will give me time to get my conventional, beltless deadlift firmly into the 500+ for reps (doubles) area. I will top out at 515 or 525 for a double the Sunday after next. I will probably weigh just over 190 at that point.

    I worked up in doubles with 225 and 245, then got a couple triples on my top sets with 255. My best with 255 was nine or ten reps a few months ago, but this 255 x 3 x 2 is by far the best I've done since I lost all the weight.

  6. #296


    I missed 265 on the bench today after hitting 255 for a double, so I dropped to 225 and repped out with eight. Then I hit 475 on the beltess conventional deadlift, but didn't have the energy for 495...but then I worked up with the stiff-legged pull with sets of eight with 335, 355, and 375. I failed to record the 375 set, but got the 355.

    Also, I did some fairly strict barbell rows and I can say conclusively that dumbbell rows are far better. An unsupported upper body means a lot less tension can be generated. I was able to pull 225 up fairly easily, but I can get 150 each arm and done strictly when I brace with the other arm. Part of that is that I can pour all my energy into one arm instead of two, but it's mostly that I am braced.

  7. #297


    Momentum abruptly halted. But I needed a break. I kept going back too soon and re-aggravating my left adductor strain and my left shoulder injury.

    I met someone from work at the gym a few weeks ago. Turns out he has a very strong bench (repped out 315 easily closer grip, but stopped short of touching his chest on each rep) and when I mentioned my meet, he decided to train with me to do his first competition. I was heading in for our first official session together on Saturday morning, but my town was hosting the stupid Iron Man competition and I couldn't get downtown despite my best efforts because of all the closed off streets.

    I would like to point out that my sport doesn't require cities to shut down and inconvenience tens of thousands of strangers.

    Making the most out of this, however, and giving myself one additional week of rest to let things heal as solidly as possible.

  8. #298


    I'm still waiting for my adductor to heal fully. It feels "good enough" right now, but I've had way too much experience with going back to early and turning an acute injury into a chronic re-injury. So I'm going to hold off another few days or couple of weeks.

    This has given me a chance to reconsider my approach. Age is giving wisdom a chance to overtake greed and zeal. I have never, ever really forced myself to approach training in waves the way I should have been. I've been acting like eternal linear progression is possible. I need periods of light work and periods of no work during which I fall far away from my peak strength.

    I am nowhere near as strong a squatter as I was a few months ago, but I'm also pain-free now in a way that I haven't been in years. I can run, cut, jump, twist, etc without pain because I've given my lower body a chance to heal and let the fatigue dissipate, something that I only ever do when I push myself into injury and chronic pain.

    The only problem is that I am not emotionally normal in the absence of hard training. So I tend to get into self-destructive mischief and emotional lows when I'm in an extended break. I'll have to figure this out, though. My body needs the break.

  9. #299


    Yesterday was my first time back in the gym in two months. My joints feel great (because I haven't been supra-loading them for weeks and they've had a chance to heal). I am down to a mere 177 lbs. So I'm weak AF. But I'm okay with that. The fun --and the progress-- at this point will have to come from letting myself "get soft" and then working back up and then repeating.

    I back squatted (high bar, no belt, no knee support) up to a paused 225 followed by an un-paused rep. It really was just a "feeler" session to figure out where I am now in terms of lower body strength. A paused 225 (and it was a lo-o-ong pause deep in the hole) means roughly a 275-lb regular squat. But I will be training the pause in the hopes that pausing means a little less damage than rebounding and so my knees will stay healthier longer.

    From now on I will be taking total breaks of a week or two after cycles of four to weight weeks. My experience tells me that after week six or so, I'm really just doing more harm than good. I make my biggest gains when I start back --I typically put 100 lbs on my squat in the first couple of weeks back-- and by week six, the gains slow to a crawl while the damage and fatigue accumulate. So

    It's exactly eight Sundays to the meet. So this is a great time to start back. What I hope is that in the next couple of sessions, I will hop up to 275 paused, then 315 paused, then 345, 365, 375, and then up to 405 in 10-lb jumps. If I can get close to 405 paused in training, then 455 is in reach.

    Of course, I have little idea how the progression is going to play out in real time. But I need to get my deadlift back over 500 lbs to set that state record. A 400-lb squat will be required.

  10. #300


    starting strength coach development program
    I was so excited when my weight went as high as 182 lbs this week, up five pounds from 177. This morning, however, I woke up at 178. Right now I'm under 177.5. Which makes perfect sense: a solid net gain of a pound in a week is beginner-like progress. But I let myself imagine that I was really up at least three pounds.

    Last week I hit 225 for a paused single high bar squat and then a regular rep. I since decided to stick with paused reps for all my work reps. This is so I can progress while not banging up my knees. I worked up to 265 for single, but I failed twice with 275. I really wanted to hit that 275 today, too, just so I could say I made a 50-lb jump. Then next week would be a 40-lb jump to 315. As it is now, I made a 40-lb jump and I will decrement my jumps by five pounds each time: 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5. That would put me at 300 next week, then 330, then 355, then 375, then 390, then 400, then 405. I have seven sessions left before the meet. So we're looking at 405 paused right before the meet.

    I should start mixing in some regular reps before then, though.

    I am not too confident that I'll make it much past 182 by Sep 10. So I may end up competing in the 82.5 kilo class instead of the 90. I have no problem with this, however, if I could put up well over four plates high bar at this weight. 405 paused high bar no belt or wraps at 182 may be a bit ambitious, but that's the goal.

    I was also able to pull 410 conventional and no belt. There never seems to be a time when I can't pull under 405 anymore. I was very solid up to 395, but then shook like a leaf on the 410.

    A few days ago, my first bench session back had me doing a paused 225 followed by a very difficult 245.

    So right now at 177:
    Paused Back Squat, beltless 265 (315 touch and go)
    Touch-and-go Bench 245 (225 paused)
    Conventional Deadlift, beltless 410

    Lastly, I bought a pair of Ace-type bandages. These are my favorite knee support yet! Takes away the strain at the bottom, but only maybe a pound of assistance out of the hole...and they can be kept on four hours and hours!

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