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Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 2:23 pm
by VeganEssentials

Glad that the form changes have helped a bit! A few things to keep the bar in place a bit better so that it doesn't slip off so easily -

1. Grip further out on the bar toward the collars. I find that if I keep my hands in closer to my shoulders it puts more strain on my wrists, but if I move my hands out to about 8" from the collars then I get a better grip and have no wrist pain at all.

2. Make sure you pull your shoulder blades in and tighten your traps before you get under the bar.

3. Do some additional trap/upper back work to build a better ledge for the bar to sit on. Hise shrugs (set the bar in a squat position and shrug upward with it on your back) will do a bit and get you more comfortable to have the bar riding lower, and just about any other shrugging movement will work for this as well. The more mass you carry in that are, the more stable the bar will be.

4. Finally, if you can get away with it, rub some chalk across your back where the bar will rest as this will keep it from slipping down as well. I've only done this a few times, but I can definitely say that it works. If you have to be covert about chalk use, wear a white t-shirt and chalk up before you head in to lift (such as in the parking lot or locker room bathroom). This way nobody will see it on you, and the only trace will be a bit of residue on the bar when you're done (which can usually be wiped off easily with a damp towel.)

Even doing a few of these things will help greatly, so hopefully they'll work well for you! My traps were slashed to pieces the first few times I started doing low-bar squats, but after a few workouts your skin will toughen up and you'll rarely ever take a beating from them (unless you do dozens of sets or something where you get under the bar again and again). Hopefully these tips will help a bit!


Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 8:14 pm
by VeganEssentials
Squat day today!

Trained with the guy who has the super-nice equipment at his business and set a new mark in the squat today.

First, warmed up with some olympic lifting just to warm up. Did a few sets of 50kg (110lbs) for some pwer snatches and power jerks. Did a few more doubles in clean and power jerk with 70kg (154 lbs) and finally a few last doubles with 90kg (198 lbs). Made some attempts to power clean 120kg (264 lbs) but kept missing it by an inch and I lost it on 3 tries, so nothing spectacular there. It would have been relatively easy to get overhead if I could clean it, but that's a weak spot of mine for sure.

Headed to squats next -
1x3 pause low on pins @ 315
1x3 @ 405
1x2 @ 455
1x2 @ 495 + a third assisted rep (basically, I was scolded mid-set for stopping at 2 so I stepped back from racking and did the 3rd with some help)

That was it! Short and sweet, hit a new mark with the heavy stuff and it was good. Hope to do some event training tomorrow back there again, will post when it's done!

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:00 pm
by willpeavy
Sweet, you're so close to 500

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:26 pm
by SeaSiren
Wow! :shock:

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:35 pm
by VeganEssentials
willpeavy wrote:Sweet, you're so close to 500

Will - I actually did hit 500 just a few weeks ago, but I thought it would be a while until I could get that amount for more than a single. To hit just a few lbs. shy for a double without an assist was a big surprise, so I was pretty pleased with that. I'm aiming for 500x3 within the next 2 months or so and 500x5 by summer, but hopefully I can reach these sooner than expected if today is an indication of progress!


Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:03 pm
by willpeavy
5 X 500 would be awesome. Pretty soon you're going to have to start squating with a car on your back!

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:36 am
by VeganEssentials
Had a slow week for lifting last week after the good squat day. Wednesday did some olympic stuff, just lots of power snatches with 164 lbs. for singles through triples to get started, did some 18" deadlifts with a lower weight of 405 just to get used to the height more. Did around 8 sets of 2-4 pulls with various stance widths of conventional and sumo, still working on getting the feel right. Other than that no lifting for the rest of the weekend, should be squatting again tomorrow!


Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:48 pm
by VeganEssentials
Had to atone for my sins of laziness and slacking over the past week, so I did an extra-long session today to make up for it. Legs and shoulders - didn't feel great at the start, but it got better as the time went on.

Overhead presses in the rack -
1x5 (strict) @ 135
1x3 (strict) @ 185
1x3 (push) @ 225
1x3 (push) @ 255
1x1 (push) @ 265, failed on 2nd rep. Curses!
1x5 (push) @ 225

Squats -
1x5 @ 225
1x3 @ 315
1x2 @ 405
1x2 @ 435
1x2 @ 455
Didn't feel like I was going to make it for a bit - winded really quickly, just felt crappy with the squats.
1x5 @ 315
Next, stacked some plates to 12" for box squat simulating, did a 3 quick doubles with a light 275 and a very wide stance.

Standing overhead lockouts in the rack - done from about 4" above head height, bar was high up since I didn't want to do them seated today -
1x5 @ 135
1x5 @ 185
1x5 @ 225
1x3 @ 275
1x6 @ 225

Good mornings up next -
1x5 @ 275
2x3 @ 335
Just didn't have the feel for them today, didn't push my luck.

Wrapped up with some squat lockouts, just about a 6-8" ROM from bottom up -
All lockouts were held for 10 seconds, except the 855 which was just for about a 5 second hold. Felt good for more, but nothing I can do about that - no more room left on the gym bar to add more, that was it for the day.

I feel good now that I actually did some freaking work - it wasn't my best, but that'll come soon enough. Should get in some back and chest work Thursday, maybe some event stuff this weekend if anything's going on!

Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:52 am
by VeganEssentials
Chest and random stuff tonight -

Close grip bench press (hands 14" apart) -
1x5 @ 135
1x5 @ 185
1x3 @ 225
5x3 @ 255

Hise Shrugs
1x10 @ 315
1x10 @ 405
1x10 @ 495
1x10 @ 585 (PR)
Walked out with 630, was getting spent for heavy stuff, did 2 reps and stopped at that weight.
1x20 @ 405

Overhead shrugs in the....ugh....smith machine (still getting used to the feel of these, will drop the smith in a week or two)
1x10 @ 180 (not counting stupid counterbalanced bar)
1x10 @ 270
1x10 @ 320

Seated barbell wrist curls
2x10 @ 135 (wrists a bit sore lately, need to get them back up to speed)

Inspired by a video of Jesse Marunde doing a 495 lb. behind the neck push jerk, I decided to see how lighter ones felt. Did 3x8 @ 135 since I never do behind the neck pressing, didn't feel too bad once I got the timing right.

That's all for today! Event training or deadlifts this weekend and that'll do it.


Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:56 am
by robert
All lockouts were held for 10 seconds, except the 855 which was just for about a 5 second hold. Felt good for more, but nothing I can do about that - no more room left on the gym bar to add more, that was it for the day.

Wow, this is pretty amazing! Awesome work Ryan. I reference you quite a bit when I talk about huge strong vegans with guys at my gym or just in conversation.

Awesome to see the powerful lifts!

Great work man.


Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:13 am
by VeganEssentials
Hey, Rob!

Thanks for the compliment - things are finally coming together after all these years, so hopefully I can keep pushing on and those 800+ lb. quarter squats will one day be full squats! By the way, did that package happen to arrive yet? :D


Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:02 am
by jonathan
nice squatting there ryan :wink:

in your next competitions are you going to be competing raw or equiped? i was just thinking that due to your huge triceps (and impressive close grip benching) that you would be very strong in a shirt. i could see 375-400lbs after a few sessions getting used to it. depends on whether you want to do it or not - i was quite anti gear until i got active on, but i guess its just a slightly different sport.

i am much more bothered about my raw bench at the moment (plus i have yet to push it to a respectable level!) so i will keep concentrating on that for a bit. plus i dont have monster squats and deadlifts that i can be competitive with!


Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:35 am
by VeganEssentials

I'm adopting Sensless' attitude toward equipped lifts - I'd like to be able to hit about 1450-1500 lbs. raw before I start using equipment. I think that I can add about 50 lbs. to the bench this year if I work it hard, and I'm quite confident that I can get the squat and DL up to 600 each as well, putting me well past the desired amount. Once I get around that total I'll probably buy a shirt and squat suit and see what happens - it'd be nice to eventually post a 1700+ total, so we'll see what happens in the next year!

I'm definitely not anti-gear - I just think that I still have a lot of natural strength to develop first, and once that really comes to a peak then it'll be time to play around with other stuff. This past 2 years has taken me from a 350 lb. squat to what I estimate will be 525 within a month, a 400 DL to 545 and a 250 bench to 300 (with almost no work on benching!), so I'm going to slam myself silly first to build a super-solid base and then start looking to try equipment a bit just to find out what kind of totals I can post once or twice a year for competition. Though, I'll probably enter USAPL meets like the one I did before, so it'll all be single-ply and not the super suits that some of the less-strict federations use.

You've got a bench that's equal to mine, your DL is strong, and if you push that squat hard I bet you'll be cracking the 400 lb. mark before long. Just keep hammering out those core lifts and I won't be surprised if you add 100-150 lbs. to your total in the next year without much trouble. Work that overhead pressing and do some bench variations to boost that area (close-grip and lockouts), and start laying down the squats from all heights and styles and I bet you'll see the numbers jump quickly. Best thing you can do is find a contest about 6-10 months away, commit to entering it, and go for it - nothing will push you to gain more quickly than having a deadline to meet (which is what I just did with signing up for the Chicago's Strongest Man event in April!), so give a PL meet a try and have some fun with it! I didn't do well in my first meet, but now I know better about how to approach it next time and I'll destroy my first total next time I hit a comp in 2005!



Posted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:26 pm
by VeganEssentials
Event stuff today, definitely fun.

Got there late but jumped into the yoke right away. Did one run with 460ish for about 50 feet, switched directions and came back with about 10-20 seconds between. Did better with heavier stuff this time - did around 640ish for about 50 feet, rested for a few seconds, wrapped up the last 25 or so feet. Better than last time where I made about 15-20 feet total at most! Only thing is my right knee feels just slightly off, probably beat it up a bit when I got unstable with the 640 and dropped it. Should be better in a few days.

Reverse band overhead log work (log suspended from bands in a tall power rack to make the initial press easier, hard at lockout - basically it goes from feeling like about 150 lbs. to double the weight by the time it is fully overhead). Did some doubles and triples up to a shaky 315 with either complete or near-complete deload at lockout. Not good with this yet since I've done almost no log work since late summer, so I've gotta get back on this stuff.

Wrapped up with stones, had some good times in this area. Hit a new PR of a 345 lb. stone to 49" with relative ease, tried 3 times to get 375 but only managed to break it off the ground a little bit. I swear, if I'd have lapped it I'd have loaded it! Did about 7-8 singles with 285 to 49" and 53" as well (I thought it was 250!) and that did it for the day.

Good stuff, should be squatting again on Tuesday, back with a writeup then!

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2005 8:57 pm
by VeganEssentials
Okay, it's been hell month for work with no less than 12 hours/day for 12 of the last 14 days, but that's no excuse for taking a full 8 days off lifting!

Headed to the gym today after a good restful Saturday and it went pretty well - despite the weird knee injury it didn't affect performance or hurt at all, which is quite good. Still feels odd at times, but nothing I can't handle. Started with squats:

1x5 @ 135
1x3 @ 225
1x3 @ 315
1x3 @ 405
1x1 @ 455
1x1 @ 475
Got pissed at the lack of lifting this past while, decided to toss out a new PR even if it was only a few lbs. over the old best. Loaded 505, but set the pins slightly high so I tapped them at the bottom, making me angrier. Still made the lift, but I felt compelled to do it again. Dropped the pins 2" more so they were below parallel instead of right at it, hit the squat again at 505 with minimal stall at top. So, despite being overworked and overtired I at least tacked a few lbs. to my PR and did it twice!

Next, did some push presses in the rack -
1x3 @ 225
1x3 @ 235
1x3 @ 245
1x3 @ 255
This went better than expected - I'm hoping to hit a triple @ 275 in January and PR @ 300, so I'll keep working this hard.

Tossed in a few Good Mornings, but these didn't fare as well:
1x5 @ 255
1x3 @ 315
1x1 @ 365 - was ugly, felt bad, didn't go for 390 as intended
1x3 @ 315

Back to overhead stuff again, I played around with behind the neck push jerks a bit to get more comfortable with them:
1x5 @ 135
1x5 @ 165
2x3 @ 185
Feeling better with these after only my 2nd try at them, and I'd like to start hitting them for triples @ 225 in the next month or so once they feel totally natural and my confidence is up.

Finally, wrapped up with standing overhead press lockouts in the rack, about a 5" ROM to lockout:
1x5 @ 225
1x5 @ 275
2x1 @ 315 for a PR
1x8 @ 225 and followed with an immediate 1x8 @ 135

Could barely lift my arms at this point, that was it for the day. I feel redeemed, even though I changed my lifting schedule around a bit to get there. Next week I'll get back on course, but I should be deadlifting on Tuesday, back to report afterward!