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  1. #191
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    Jan 2021
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    Gatineau, QC
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    • starting strength seminar june 2022
    • starting strength seminar august 2022
    • starting strength seminar october 2022
    Thanks Bill for bringing this up and for sharing your demo!

    I had heard of the Monolift but thought most people used it for squats, which made little sense to me (perhaps I'll get it some day).

    For the bench though, that would be a game changer. Un-racking the bar is the scariest part! As far as old shoulders are concerned, we have a set of those in the house. My husband turns 60 in April and has been struggling with shoulder pain. When he is able to bench, he has a pretty big bench; unlike me, he seems well built for it. That would be a perfect gift for him (with selfish perks for me).

    As a general rule, I am not very good at coming up with gift ideas, hence my enthusiasm about your suggestion. I got the Texas Cafe Classics apron for him and intended to save it for his birthday. But since tweaking his back a few weeks ago, he's been a bit sad and cranky... so I unleashed the apron to cheer him up (also a selfish gift since he does most of the cooking). It did worked at momentarily boosting his morale, but then I was out of ideas for his birthday. Thanks for finding a solution to my problem!

    ***

    I got my customized figure-8 straps this afternoon. I gave my regular set another shot after Mr. Bingley confessed his love for figure-8 straps. They are indeed much easier to handle and, not unlike Mr. Bingley, I lack coordination (to a rare extent in my case). However, as most things in strength training, my regular set is designed for adult human males with much larger hands than mine. The straps are too wide and too thick; it is a lot of bulk to work around while trying to hold the bar. And both straps are identical rather than symmetrical, which adds even more bulk in the right hand.

    So here comes my glorious set of small-person figure-8 straps, made from a cotton yoga strap (1"):

    20220124_151719.jpg

    Now that I am wearing straps, there is no point in using my Bella bar anymore, but I'll wait a little bit before I make the switch to the Ohio bar. This will fuck with my load and now is really not the time to lack consistency with this.

  2. #192
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    873

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiny&mighty View Post
    Yesterday was the lightest session of my 4-day split. Normally, I do not take a day off before this particular session, but I was curious to see how the bench would react if I did. Results are inconclusive at best; bench does not seem to mind either way.

    Intensity bench - 5 sets of 3 at 127 lbs (PR)

    I reviewed my warm-up routine, resulting in about half the warm-up tonnage of my previous intensity bench session. That said, I started with 5 minutes of light rowing on my Concept 2 (there is a secondary gym in the basement). This was actually quite nice, especially with the addition of pretty scenery. A keeper.

    The work sets didn't quite happened as stated above. In reality, I ended up doing 3, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3. During my second set, I had a misgroove incident during rep 2 and this carried on into rep 3 which I had to lower onto the safeties. Good news is that my setup is perfect; I have sent that video to my mom to rest my case. She is not supportive of my strength training at all, except for the fact that it's made me gain weight. She keeps going on about how "dangerous" it is. She had a bit of a point when I was using the el cheapo squat stand at my old place, but since my move last summer, let's just say that there have been some major upgrades in the safety department.

    Anyhow, I didn't get 3 reps on set 2, but I chose to assume it was just a misgroove issue and kept going. Then I decided to do my 15th rep in a 6th set. It went so well that I did a second one which was very tough. Then the little voice said "At this point I might as well at least try to get that third fucker in". I guess the safety experience gave me some extra courage. I doubt I would have attempted this rep otherwise, and I am glad I did.

    Grinding on the bench is a relatively new experience; I better get good at this soon. I would not be surprised if my bench stalled in the foreseeable future. I'm not built for a big bench, I have to use a narrow grip, and my technique is not very good. I don't get the leg-drive thing; I actually tend to lift one foot up when struggling with a rep (odd, isn't it). This is something I need to work on as well. But as much as I'd love to get to a 135 lbs bench, it wouldn't be a tragedy if I didn't. I'm quite content with having 1 X BW bench.
    Great news all around. Seriously! Backing off on the warmup tonnage, gaining confidence with the safeties (HUGE!), and sticking it out!

    re: safeties - I've found that once the bar is on the safeties, it's less of a struggle to get out from under it if I roll the bar upwards so that it's over my neck. Then I just have to move my head to the side and under the bar, instead of trying to wiggle out from under it once it's down on my legs. That's always my last check with my empty bar warmup set - neck clearance. I've put it down on the safeties many times over the years and that seems to be the most comfortable all around. For me.

    re: leg drive - it's an odd one, even after getting in-person coaching and watching a gazillion (plus one) videos. Watching your video, you definitely are not using your legs, which MAY have been the make/break issue with that dropped rep. I've had more than a few instances where the bar has stalled or is starting to drop and a forceful leg drive is the difference between the safeties and locking it out. Try using a 45lb plate under each foot to effectively raise the floor, then place your feet at squat width, flat on the plates. Without doing any other setup on the bench, just start pressing your feet into the ground, like a deadlift. You'll get used to the sensation of your whole body pushing towards your head. That's the sensation you want when you are benching. I posted a video on Mr Killmond's blog today about a different issue (which may also help), but he does discuss the leg drive.

    Oh, and you aren't helping! I was perusing the Concept 2 page last week, since I love to row, but set it aside and had forgot about it. Now you have me thinking again...

    Keep at it!

  3. #193
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    270

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    Here's Coach Rori Alter on leg drive, "drive into the shoulders" (19:21):

    Common Bench Press Errors and Fixes | Rori Alter

    She's very inspiring. 122.5 kg bench in competition:

    Lifting Database

  4. #194
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    Jan 2021
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    Gatineau, QC
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    Light squat week session 1

    I was not quite sure what to do, so here's what ended up happening:

    Warm up sets
    45 X 5
    95 X 5
    135 X 3

    Work sets
    170 X 3
    180 X 2
    190 X 1

    Volume press - 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 1 at 80 lbs

    Though one today. I was a bit distracted by the meeting I was attending on MS Teams while working out. Not my brightest idea, but nevertheless a time saver.

    I added a single to get my 25 reps in but didn't push this any further. I will stick with 80 lbs until I can do a 5 X 5.


    Next training session (deadlift!) will most likely occur on Friday. I have a medical appointment tomorrow and I expect I won't be at my best for a day or two afterwards.


    Sorry Bill for teasing you with my gorgeous Concept 2. For obvious reasons, I am refraining from doing cardio at the moment, but I do enjoy that type of exercise. Though rowing workout apps are becoming increasingly common and popular, I'd rather look at scenery. There are some good YouTube channels dedicated to indoor rowing.

    The secondary gym is crowded but it does not matter much when doing stationary exercise. This used to be the bedroom of my husband's son before he moved out; I made damn sure he can't move back in there!

    20220125_163653.jpg20220125_163615.jpg

  5. #195
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    Jan 2021
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    Gatineau, QC
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    Volume Bench - 5 X 5 at 115 lbs

    Felt oddly easy. Managed to get something vaguely resembling leg drive in there.

    Deadlift - 0, 0 at 237.5 lbs

    I reattempted but now wish I had not. What else is there to say? Literally nothing happened. I suppose this qualifies as a PR - fewest reps performed during a work set.


    I don't have an explanation. So I am resetting next time. I'd rather lift a light weight than no weight.

    I guess this is good timing as a reset will enable a seamless transition from the 15 kg to the 20 kg bar; I won't have to worry about the weight being off by a few pounds and can just rebuild from whatever starting point I end up using.

    Not sure how low I'll go, but I'm so pissed off right now that I feel starting with the weight of today's last warm-up set (205 lbs) just to make damn sure my next session is not another epic fail.

    I guess the good news is that I can train again tomorrow? I could totally use some squats to feel like I've accomplished something in the gym this weekend.

  6. #196
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Treasure Coast, FL
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    1,401

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiny&mighty View Post
    Deadlift - 0, 0 at 237.5 lbs

    Not sure how low I'll go, but I'm so pissed off right now that I feel starting with the weight of today's last warm-up set (205 lbs) just to make damn sure my next session is not another epic fail.
    Your last warmup was 205?? Seems like kind of a big jump, + residual fatigue. The same SSC, Rori, her company PRS has an online warmup calculator that I use a lot (YMMV, lol I am old) PRS Warm Up Calculator
    Good to see women posting!

  7. #197
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    Jan 2021
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    Gatineau, QC
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    Thanks for dropping by, granny! I was not tracking that there was another lady keeping a log here. I'll make sure to take a look!

    Thanks for the link too. I guess we'll never know what happened yesterday. Doesn't matter; I'm over it now and moving on. I doubt the warm up is to blame but in hindsight, that 205 lbs did feel oddly heavy. It looked good though.


    As mentioned yesterday, I decided to train again today. I really needed to have accomplished something this weekend, after over a week of fairly light training.

    Intensity press - 5 sets of 3 at 89 lbs (PR)

    Having done volume bench yesterday and somewhat struggled with my last pressing session (for volume at 80 lbs), I had low expectations but was quite motivated to get myself a PR to heal my wounded ego.

    I ended up doing 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 3 - all strict. First 4 sets went quite well, but I misgrooved rep 2 on set 5 and was unable to recover from it. My press is über sensitive to time spent under the bar; slow timing kills it. So I went for another set to get that 15th rep at a minimum. I kept going while still holding my breath just to see what would happen, and got 3 reps in somewhat easily. I'm not saying that I'll make this a habit, but it is good to know that it can help when my lack of coordination is getting in the way of a PR.

    Squat - 4 sets of 5 at 190 lbs

    Not a PR in terms of absolute weight, but a PR as far as sets and reps are concerned. I needed that today. Those felt harder that the 3 sets I did on 21 Jan, but they don't look any different, besides set 4 that is a tad higher than my typical depth. Still below parallel, though.


    A pretty good day overall, which seems to rule out under-recovery as a likely explanation for yesterday's epic fail.

    If anything, today's session was very beneficial for my confidence. For some irrational reason, I got afraid that maybe I had become unable to handle heavy weights overnight, and that what happened to my deadlift could also happen to my precious squat as well. Today's session therefore brings me some relief.

  8. #198
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    Jan 2021
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    Gatineau, QC
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    This is yesterday's work out. I skipped the chin ups because I ran out of time.

    Intensity Bench - 3, 3, 3, 2, 3, 2 at 128 lbs (PR)

    I was not quite able to get my 5 sets of 3, but I was somewhat expecting this. I missed rep 3 on set 4; maybe I could have spent more time grinding through this one. Grinding on the bench is still fairly new to me, so there is a learning curve here.

    I think I had some leg drive going on. I'll try to make and post a video next time.

    I did a 6th set to get my 15 reps, and got one extra rep in there. But my arms were quite toasted by the time I got to that set.

    I'll try to get 5 triples next time, but shooting for 15 reps overall is probably a more realistic goal for the upcoming weeks. I'll do this until it becomes unsustainable; going beyond 6, maybe 7 sets is probably where I'll draw that line.

    Then I will keep going like this:
    1. 2 or 3 triples followed by 2 or 3 back-off sets at 95%;
    2. 3 doubles followed by 2 back-off sets at 95%;
    3. 5 singles followed by 3 back-off sets at 95%;
    4. Reset to triples and repeat.

    Hopefully this can take me to a 135-lbs bench for a triple. That is my current goal and anything I achieve beyond that is just gravy.

  9. #199
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    Jun 2019
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    873

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    How has it been going, Tiny? Did you get that 90lb Press PR?

  10. #200
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    Jan 2021
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    Gatineau, QC
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    starting strength coach development program
    Hey Bill!

    Last two weeks have been a bit intense on the non-training front. I'm taking (too many) classes for the (too many) degrees I am pursuing, and had two assignments due this week, one of which mandatory teams of two. I hate school work in teams and since this is all online, finding a partner is hit or miss. I totally missed this time around. Normally I just do the assignment right away, seek my teammates' concurrence and we basically end up submitting my work, all get A+ and everybody is happy. Effective and efficient. But this one wants to get involved though she cannot write a correct sentence in either official language - and this is in a TRANSLATION degree. Anyhow, she has been a real pain in my ass all week so I haven't been able to spent much time writing here. I expect we'll get a B+ at best; hopefully this will teach her a lesson and she'll listen next time.

    I did train, though. Things are a bit weird. Probably a combination of slowly reaching the end of the road on pressing movements, and of suboptimal non-training factors (too much time spent hunched at my desk, lack of sleep, not enough food).


    3 Feb

    Intensity squat - 3 set of 2 at 210 lbs Could get a triple in, but it had been 18 days since my 3 X 3 PR. Will reattempt.

    Volume press - 5 X 5 at 80 lbs


    6 Feb

    Volume bench - 5 X 5 at 116 lbs Easy. I might have to bump up the weight a bit.

    Deadlift - 2 sets of 3 at 210 lbs Felt oddly heavy, but looks spectacular. Will go up 5 lbs until form starts deteriorating again.


    8 Feb

    Intensity Press - 2, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2 at 90 lbs (PR) Could not get a triple in, so I kept going for 15 reps total. I think I might try to press after the squat next time. It is always more awkward when I do this first. This was my first time doing a bunch of singles and doubles; I kinda liked it. Much less rest required between sets, not as inefficient as I expected. Going up 1 lb next time and we'll see what happens.

    Volume squat - 5 X 5 at 190 lbs Very tough, but I survived. Going up 2.5 lbs next time for 3 sets. I am going to stretch my squat progression over a three-week cycle while I rebuild my deadlift.


    10 Feb

    Intensity bench - 3, 3, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1 at 129 lbs (PR) Got two triples in and kept going for 15 reps total. Unlike the press though, I do not think this will be sustainable for long. I find this is too much volume for that weight. It kills my forearms and just doesn't feel right (not that I plan on turning RPE on you guys).

    Accessory rows - 3 sets of 5 at 75 lbs Not a fan of accessory work, but decided to give this a try to work on keeping my back set. Weight was way too low though. Going up 10 lbs next time. If this doesn't do anything for I will ditch it at the earliest opportunity. I have tried to reintegrate power cleans several times, but it will have to wait until I can train in the garage again. Even with the rubber mats, the basement's concrete floor is just too hard on my shin-splint prone legs, and this is a problem I really don't need right now.

    Chin ups - 7, 6, 4 I might increase frequency here. I don't think doing this after intensity bench is the best timing. Hands, wrists and forearms are very beat up by the time I get to the chin-up bar.



    A Montreal friend of mine is visiting this weekend (she should already be here by now, but there must be some traffic due to the Ottawa thing across the bridge). I might be able to trick her into training with me so I get a workout this weekend. Otherwise it will have to wait until Monday.
    Last edited by tiny&mighty; 02-12-2022 at 11:06 AM.

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