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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Toronto, ON, CA


    • texas starting strength seminar september 2020
    • wichita falls texas december seminar 2020
    Ah sorry didn't notice that you'd already said that at the bottom of your last post. If weight is holding steady, but you feel like your waist is getting smaller, and you're still getting stronger, you're moving in the right direction! Taking measurements can't hurt, just so you have something objective to track.

    I also didn't notice you were having grip issues with your deadlift. Your back won't lift what your hands can't grip. Have you tried hook or mixed grip? Or hell, even straps if you don't plan on competing.

    Finally, I forgot to say congrats on that Cup! The Raptors wreaked havoc on my training schedule too, but well worth it

    A Leafs Fan

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2019


    I just can't get comfortable with a hook grip or mixed grip.

    I believe the issue is fatigue, since I'm able to complete the first few reps with a double overhand grip. I'm hoping that moving to phase 3 and deadlifting less frequently while training the chin-up will allow my grip strength to keep up. But if that doesn't end up happening, I'm going to try using straps for warm-ups and see if that helps. And as a last resort, I'll do work sets with straps. But I'd like to avoid that - I want to be able to open glued-shut pickle jars (a duty I signed up for when I got married).

    Quote Originally Posted by Dillon Spencer View Post
    Finally, I forgot to say congrats on that Cup!
    Thanks! It's still totally surreal.
    Last edited by dr_funk; 08-28-2019 at 12:37 PM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2019


    Latest figures:

    Squat: 305lbs
    Press: 120lbs
    Bench: 192.5lbs
    Deadlift: 315lbs
    Lat pulldown: 210lbs

    Squat details:

    I've been making steady progress since going back to 5lb jumps and adding a mid-week light squat day. But the bar is starting to feel pretty heavy. The last several heavy days, the last rep on every work set has been a total grind. On those "grinding" reps, my back has a tendency to lag behind my legs, so the bar wants to roll forward, which then makes finishing the rep even more of a grind as I try to wrangle the weight back over my mid-foot. I bought a lever belt a while back, but I'm not currently using it, because I can't get it to fit at the bottom of the squat while still staying on at the top - if its tight enough standing up, it's so tight that I can't squat to parallel or get into the starting position on deadlift; if it's snug at the bottom of the squat, it pops open at the top.

    Press details:

    My press has stalled again. I can press 120lbs for a set of five, but not 122.5lbs for a set of five. Two press sessions in a row, I was unable to complete 3 sets of 5 at 122.5lbs (I make sure to always get the total volume in - if I fail rep #5, then I rest a minute or so and then complete it as a single, then rest as normal and proceed). I've dropped to sets of 3 and I'm going to see if I can push through 122.5 and then come back and retry it again with sets of five.

    Bench details:

    I failed a rep at 192.5lbs, then repeated the weight the following session successfully. This roughly coincided with stalling on the press.

    Deadlift details:

    After my last post, I pulled 325lbs for a set of five, and the bar was starting to roll out of my hands on the fifth rep again. So, I did a reset to 305lbs to try and give my grip strength a chance to catch up. The following deadlift sessions at 305lbs and 315lbs, everything felt great and I had zero problems holding the bar. I've also been holding the bar longer at lockout. Right after pulling 315lbs, I tried a back-off set at 275lbs with 5-second timed holds to try and focus on grip, and I was able to complete it just fine. But it absolutely murdered the following squat session (that was the heaviest the bar ever felt and the last rep on each set was an absolute grind, so I don't think I'll continue attempting those). I'm scheduled to pull 325lbs again this week, so I'll see how it goes. Hopefully my grip has improved and the bar doesn't slip. If it still slips, I'll probably try some grip trainers or something. Next step after that I guess would be using straps on warm-up sets. I really don't want to throw in the towel and use straps on work sets if I don't have to.

    Lat pulldown details:

    I've been doing lat pulldowns to train towards a bodyweight chin-up since I began phase three. I'm not yet able to do a reasonably controlled negative chin-up, so I've been doing pulldowns with a supine grip. Four sets of six reps. I started at 180lbs and have added 5lbs each time up to 210lbs. I may have to drop to 2.5lb jumps soon. We'll see. I may have to go on a cut before I'm finally able to do a bodyweight chin-up (this would probably be faster than working up to a 350lb chin-up).


    I've gained 5lbs since my last update, so I'm now around 350lbs. Bodyfat percentage has stayed roughly the same or increased slightly - it's tough to tell, because the measurements fluctuate so dramatically (anywhere from 38% to 46%, depending on how hydrated I am, how sweaty/dry my feet are, etc.). Beltline has stayed the same (~49"). Waist has stayed the same (~59").

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2019


    Squat: 310x3x1, 275x5x2
    Bench: 195x5x3
    Deadlift: 325x4x1, 325x1x1

    Training session today was depressing. Lack of sleep, inability to eat a full lunch, stress, and a later-than-usual workout contributed to abysmal squat sets. Where 305 felt heavy but doable last week, 310 felt impossible. I damn near failed the third rep on the first set, and decided I didnít have enough energy to complete any sets of five at that weight today. Dropped to 275, and I barely finished two sets of five.

    Bench was the one bright spot. I ground out all three sets. Weíll see how the next session goes.

    Deadlift felt good, except that my grip is still the weak link. My forearms were jelly on rep 4. Completed the fifth as a single.

    I think Iím going to throw in the towel and start using straps. Iíd rather keep pushing my deadlift up ahead of my squat than keep waiting for my grip strength to improve. Iíll probably get some grip trainers, but I really donít know how fast Iíll be able to progress my grip strength even using those. At this point, Iím okay with having an asterisk next to my DL.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    May 2019


    It's been a while since I posted. Figured I'd publish an update.

    I hit a stress-induced rut sometime between my last post and the holidays. A series of crises landed in my lap around the same time, screwed up my sleep, killed my appetite, etc. I lost a little weight, missed a couple lifting sessions, and probably detrained some.

    On the day I was scheduled to deadlift 345lbs for a set of five, I couldn't even budge the bar off the ground. Tried twice and couldn't budge it. On the third attempt, I got it off the ground, but barely completed the rep. The second rep was a fail. Pissed off about it, I dropped the weight to 275lbs and knocked out four more reps, cussing at myself and the bar. This was after having completed a set of five at 340lbs the previous deadlift session. I figured I had lost muscle mass and detrained significantly enough that simply repeating 345lbs again the next session wasn't going to work.

    I also think that my squat was catching up to my deadlift too much (which was happening because I was running into a grip-strength limit on my deadlift) - my back is (was) really the weak link on my squat. It had a tendency to lag behind my legs, and it's the first thing to fatigue at the end of a heavy set. I also discovered that, at 275+, I wasn't getting deep enough on my squat. I think my squat depth was creeping up to compensate for the fact that my back wasn't progressing like it should from the deadlift. I also believe I was leaning over too much, as a result of having too narrow a stance. The fact that I carry a lot of bodyfat in my gut probably wasn't helping, either.

    I reset my squat to 225lbs to correct my form and have been progressing steadily since. My stance needed to be widened slightly, which has helped me get to proper depth. I've been following a heavy-light-medium program for my squat since then. 3x5 heavy day, 1x5 @ 80% for light day, 3x5 @ 90% for medium day. 5lb increments, in order to let my deadlift get out ahead again.

    I reset my deadlift to 275lbs and continued with 10lb increments, deadlifting once a week the same day as heavy squats. Deadlifting once every week and a half seemed too infrequent, and deadlifting every other session was too much. Also, deadlifting on light squat day just wasn't working well. Hence, deadlifting once per week on heavy squat day. I've been power-cleaning and doing inverted chin-ups on medium squat day, and added barbell rows to light squat day, partly because they give me some light back work, but mainly because they're fun. I'm doing 3x8 for rows, and was at 165lbs last session.

    Bench and press have progressed decently, though I find that I'm getting briefly "stuck" about every third jump. Also noticed that my press seems to be reaching some sort of limit relative to my bench. For every 10lbs my bench goes up, my press seems to only be capable of going up 6-7lbs. Which is interesting. I'm currently doing 2.5lb increments on bench and press. Seems like I'll fail the last rep on bench about every third session. On press, I got to where I was failing every other session. So I did a slight reset on press and am looking at doing maybe 1-1.5lb increments on press. But I think I'm pretty close to the end of my NLP on press and bench.

    Bodyweight has hovered between 350 and 355lbs. Bodyfat percentage is roughly around 42%, according to the scale.

    Today's scheduled lifts are:

    Squat: 265x3x5
    Bench: 227.5x3x5
    Deadlift: 345x1x5

    I suppose this is really a hybrid between Heavy-Light-Medium and Advanced Novice. My plan is to continue this for as long as it works. The next change will probably be to adjust my bench and press programming, since they're nearly tapped out.

    I'm pretty pleased overall with my progress, though. If today marked the last day of novicehood (I don't know if it really does, but I know I'm close), I'd be happy with my gains.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2019


    starting strength coach development program
    Last Tuesday's session sucked.

    Squat: 265x1x4, 265x2x3
    Bench: 227.5x1x4, 227.5x2x2
    Deadlift: 345x1x3, 345x1x2

    I chalk most of the suck up to lack of sleep, but part of it with bench I believe was my grip. I widened it just slightly compared to my previous session, because it felt like the bar was touching too far down (abs rather than sternum). On Saturday, I dropped to 215 with the wider grip and was able to complete all 3 sets of 5. I feel more stable with the wider grip (still have vertical forearms at the bottom, the bar is just touching the bottom of my sternum) - less tendency for my butt to come up.

    On squat, I just ran out of juice. On the fourth rep of the first set, the bar stopped moving when I was coming out of the hole for like 3-4 seconds. I groaned and gurgled and willed it to move again, and managed to finish the rep, but bailed out of attempting a fifth rep. I limited the remaining two sets to 3 reps.

    Same story on deadlift: ran out of juice. Rep 3 was very slow, and I was gassed by the time I set the bar down. I caught my breath and cussed a bunch and then did a set of 2.

    Today's planned workout is:

    Squat: 265x3x5
    Bench: 217.5x3x5
    Deadlift: 345x1x5

    I've been roughly estimating daily caloric and protein intake up until now, but I've decided to start strictly tracking calories and macros mainly because I figured out I was underestimating caloric intake and overestimating protein intake, but also because I want to start shedding fat now that I'm at the end of my NLP. I started the strict tracking a week ago. I'm currently targeting 3200 calories, 225g of protein, 100g of fat, and 350g of carbs each day.

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