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Ryan's "Hope to compete again in 2014" log

Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:19 pm
by VeganEssentials
I'm trying to get posts with my log here, but they don't seem to work. I've been trying to copy & paste from another site I keep my log at to this one with no success, but I'll keep working until I get it right! Hopefully I'll have an entry that goes in correctly this evening.

Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:27 pm
by robert
Hey Ryan, 4 of us have run into that problem. I'm not sure what the "bug" or "glitch" is, and don't know much about computers.

So I suggested to the other guys, write it here first and copy it and paste it somewhere else. I found that writing "fresh" articles works just fine.

In this certain section, for some reason, it doesn't like copy and paste material.

I'd love to see your training log so try writing a fresh article here and see how it works.

Sorry about the problem, I'm looking into it.


Posted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 12:22 am
by VeganEssentials
Today was deadlift day! Afterward, I realize that the heavy squats only 2 days ago have left me not quite ready for heavy DLs, as I used to give 3 full days' rest between the two sessions and not just one. Oh well, I'll have to tweak my routine more over the next month....

Started with conventional stance deadlifts as follows:

1x5 @ 225
1x3 @ 315
1x1 @ 405
1x1 @ 455
Tried for 500, broke it a foot off the ground but lost all my steam then. I know that my form is off from only deadlifting around 5 times in 10 months, so I've got to start slowly again to get to where I was before.

Had a brief intermission and did 2 quick sets of dips, just 2x10 at bodyweight.

Decided that to work form and feel again I'd do a punishment day for deadlifts, so in the last 24 minutes I did 10 sets of 5 reps @ 315 with just 90 seconds rest between sets. I was already winded after the first 4, but I forced all sets out and did the last one just a minute before they closed the gym down at 10 PM. I could barely make it to the car afterward and I'm sore as can be, but it was good for me to do this!

Preceeding this day I had a quality squat session on Tuesday working up to a few heavy singles at 435 lbs. (did one rep with 455 lbs the week before but barely made it!), so the squats are going well and I aim to hit 475 again before the end of this month. The DLs will be a bit slower in the process, but since they used to be totally natural for me to throw them down it is only a matter of weeks until I can start hitting some heavy poundages again. Gotta focus on these two things in September in anticipation of the Hudson Open meet in November. One of these days I'll finally start benching, too....

Heading to a wedding out of town for a few days so no lifting until Sunday or Monday, but I'll be back after the next session is through!


Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 12:06 am
by VeganEssentials
Tired as hell from one long weekend at a wedding, but got some grip and bending work in this evening for about 45 minutes so there was at least some redemption.

Mixed it up with pinch grip work (which I've been neglecting lately) and bending (which I have also let slide for too long) and came back better than last time I'd gone after both. Not really structured today, but did some of the following things:

Blob lifts (half of old York dumbbell cut off, tough to grip!)
10-15 second lifts with the 35 lb. blob
A few pulls to near waist high with the 42.5 lb. blob

Need to get back on these as I still want to eventually master the 50 lb. beast, but that'll take a LOT of hard work to get there!

Did some bending after last time where I was extremely unhappy with how much I regressed with it, this time it was better:
(5) 1/4" x 6" round pieces
(2) 1/4" x 6" G5 bolts
(1) 3/8" x 6" G2 bolt
(1) 3/8" x 5.5" G2 bolt
(1) 1/4" x 6" G8 bolt
(1) 1/4" x 5.5" G8 bolt
(1) 1/4" x 6.5" square stock

The 5.5" G8 beat my hands up nicely, so after making the square piece I called it a day for bending. Better than last time where I was stopped at the G8s!

Wrapped up with some plate pinching. Did a bunch of 15-20 second holds with a pair of 25 lb. plates, then hit the 35s and did some pulls to waist high. Too weak by this time to do any timed holds, but it is getting better as I can get them off the ground again.

Tomorrow is squat day, aiming for 20 reps total at 405 no matter how many sets it takes to get there. Done it before, let's see how it goes tomorrow!


Squat day again!

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 1:38 am
by VeganEssentials
Sticking with the program to get my squat to 500 in the next 60 days, I went in for an endurance squat day that went really, really well.

Goal was 20 reps total at 405, doing them in sets of whatever I could manage so long as I got there. In the end, I did 21 just to toss one extra rep in, going as follows:

1x8 @ empty bar
1x3 @ 225. rock bottom pause for 10 sec. each rep
1x3 @ 315, resting pause on pins at bottom of each rep
1x1 @ 405
4x3 @ 405
4x2 @ 405

All this was done in 30 minutes, so there were no extended rest times past 2 minutes per set. I didn't get beat too badly until rep 19, then the last set was a struggle. Getting under the bar for 10 sets and setting up each time is just as draining as doing more reps in fewer sets, but the goal was to not exhaust myself until the end and power through as much as I could while keeping endurance up. Went far better than the last time I'd done a 20 rep day with 405, where I never got more than 3 reps after the second set.

In between some of these sets, I started doing seated barbell wrist curls (forearms up, resting on thighs, hands hanging off knees). Did the following sets with these:

1x10 @ 135
1x8 @ 155
1x5 @ 175
Attempted 195, couldn't get bar past parallel to full contraction (next time!)
1x3 @ 175
1x7 @ 155
1x8 @ 135

I never used to do these until recently when I opted to toss them in weekly to help with steel bending. So far, seems to be a help in getting those wrists stronger (don't care about forearm size - they're big enough as it is!)

Finally, in the last 5 minutes I'd planned to do a 20 rep death set of stiff legged deadlifts off a box with 225, but my energy was cashed in and I couldn't get it. Did 1x10, could barely breathe, got a drink of water and tried to finish up 45 seconds later. Got 6 more, almost passed out, then called it a day. Good stuff!

Came home, pulled out the grippers and had at it (they always fare better after squatting for some reason).
1x5 slammed shut with loud click with IM Trainer
2x3 each hand with PDA SOS262 Gripper

Grippers are getting better again - maybe it is finally time to get serious about certifying on the IM#3?

Thursday will be a quick switch for lifts - I'll be doing back and shoulder work then and deadlifting on Sunday instead, and I'll report back afterward!


Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:09 am
by Daywalker
Impressive! 8)

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 11:46 pm
by VeganEssentials
Thanks, Daywalker! I'm working as hard as I can to push some new PRs in case I decide to commit to a PL meet in early November, and the only way to progress is to push beyond normal limitations.

Today was pinch grip day, setting new PRs across the board.

Did a ton of work with both plate pinching and the blobs (sawed off halves of old York dumbbells - I'll get a good pic of one here soon) and made a lot of new goals come to reality. I can't remember how many sets of pinch work I did over the course of 45 minutes, but highlights included:

Pinching a 42.5 lb. blob in one hand and a pair of 35 lb. plates in the other simultaneously (see ... i&img=3070 for the video clip)

Pinching and passing a pair of 35 lb. plates around my body 5 times without setting them down (see ... i&img=3069 for the clip)

2-finger pinching with the 42.5 lb. blob with each hand instead of full-hand pinching

Finally lifting the 45 lb. blob to full lockout at waist height

I don't know what clicked today, but I was on fire from the get-go and never stopped until I was fried. Pinching is fun stuff, definitely underrated (probably the most valuable or 2nd most valuable grip work anyone can do) and is something I intend to master in time. One day I'll get the 50 lb. blob off the ground and a pair of 45 lb. plates pinched and lifted clear on up - it is only a matter of time until it happens.

Finished with a quick 10 minute bike ride to the store and back, legs still incredibly sore from yesterday. Tomorrow is back and shoulders day, I'll report when done!


Shoulders and back day

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:25 am
by VeganEssentials
Took care of two things at once this session, shoulder and back work -

Started with barbell clean and push presses. Did the following:
1x8 w/ empty bar
1x5 @ 135
1x3 @ 185
1x2 @ 225
1x3 @ 245 (nearing my old max of 3 reps at 250!)

Moved next to 2x3 reps for a few high pulls from the floor, first with a clean grip (double overhand, deadlift width) to neck height, 2nd set to mid chest height with a wide snatch grip (about 4" from the bar sleeves).

Tried some power snatches next, but I didn't rest long and didn't fare too well. 1x3 from the hang position first @ 135, then 160 from the floor went easily. Thought I could make 185 with no problem, got it to about neck height but didn't dip under it enough and lost it at the last moment. Need to work on these all over again, for sure, since I hope to make 200 by year's end.

Time for back work! Still starting off slow with back exercises again so not to re-sprain everything all over again, so I went as follows:

Barbell Hise Shrugs in the power rack (bar high on traps in squat position, shrug upward) for the following sets:
1x10 @ 315
1x8 @ 405
1x6 @ 495
1x15 @ 315

Next, hit some DB rows - they only go up to 120 where I lift now, so I have to make do with what they have. Popped out 2 quick sets of 10 with 120 lbs. (endurance gives out before the back does) and moved on.

Next, did some Hammer Strength pulldowns. The machine in my new gym isn't as comfortable as the old place, but still, one of those rare machines that I don't hate since I try to avoid them as much as humanly possible. Did the following sets:
1x8 @ 270 lbs. (135 on each side, arms move independently)
1x5 @ 320 lbs. (160 each side)
2x1 @ 390 lbs. (195 right arm for full reps, left side got stuck at forehead height so they weren't full reps)
1x5 @ 320 lbs. again

Finally, wrapped up with a cooldown 20 rep endurance set of cable low rows (machine again - definitely not normal!) with 105. Not heavy, but no rest between reps, constant tension, no backward lean to cheat them out. Got a drink, came back, tossed out 10 more at the same weight about 30 seconds later and I was done.

Got home, didn't intend to lift, but saw my 2.5" thick handle DB and had to get one last set of rows in. Just tossed on a light 80 lbs. total and did 1x20 reps with each arm and that was it.

Next week I'll try to smuggle my thick handled DBs into the gym and hopefully they won't be cranky about it. If so, I can actually load more weight than 120 lbs. on and have at it, so we'll see how it works.

I'll get in some benching and deadlifting this weekend and probably some bending tomorrow, details to follow when done!


A chest day, finally!

Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:49 am
by VeganEssentials
Okay, this has been my first chest workout since...well...March, but I finally must get myself doing them regularly. Sensless (from the VF board) finally took his bench from his folks' place and moved it to his aparatment, so we set it up in his garage and had at it.

It wasn't a spectacular re-entry to benching, but it could have been worse! Did the following sets:

1x6 @ 165
1x5 @ 225
3x3 @ 250 (had one assisted rep on the last set since my shoulder cocked and I needed a bit of help)
1x6 @ 225
1x4 close grip at @ 225
Dropped down to 165 again and did 2 last sets of close grip work - one with hands about 14" apart, one about 10" apart, slow 5 seconds down and power back up as fast as possible. I think they were both just 4 reps each since I was now quite worn out - not benching for 6 months will do such things.

Came home, did 3 quick sets of 10 push-ups that felt like hell since I was already fried, but I still did them anyhow. Goal is to bench every week and get to 300 before the meet since that's what holds me back the most, aiming to get to 350 in the next year with some really hard work.

Tomorrow is grip day, Tuesday will be squats and overhead presses. Back to report soon!


Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 10:43 pm
by VeganEssentials
Storm knocked the power out in town last night, so the gym was closed and my house had no power for most of the evening - scratch lifting for the day as planned.

Today was make-up day, but this morning I found out about a strongman event this weekend that I'll be entering so I took it a bit easy since I'm only 3 days out from getting in on it. So, today was a mild back and leg workout as follows:

Barbell rows
1x5 @ 135
1x5 @ 225
1x4 @ 245
1x3 @ 265
1x3 @ 275
Felt good to go fairly heavy on these, so I'll have to keep at them and get back to getting over 300 for 2 reps as I used to manage.

Next I just goofed for a few quick sets of random lifts while some teenagers in the gym were asking me about being vegan. They assumed that if you weigh around 250ish you had to be a meat eater, so they were pretty shocked when I said I'd been vegan for 5 years. They were pretty cool about it and asked a lot of questions, but of course, it all came down to the usual "I could never give up meat!" story. I told them that it's all about training yourself to like other things that are better and there are plenty of meat alternatives to help transition, but I don't think it hit home. Still, getting people to acknowledge that you can have some size and strength on a vegan diet is good anyway! Anyway, the random lifts were as follows:

1x3 power cleans @ 225, push press last rep
1x3 single-hand straddle deadlifts with barbell @ 225
1x3 snatch grip high pulls to mid-chest @ 225

After talking for a few minutes, they lost interest and started on hounding some other guy in the gym about his diet. At least they told him that it wasn't good for him to live on nothing but chicken every day as he had been for the past 3 months....

Anyway, headed for the squat rack and did some sets of Hise shrugs and 1/4 squat lockouts:

1x10 @ 315 for Hise shrugs (bar on back in squat position, shrug upward)
1x8 @ 405 Hise shrugs
1x4 @ 495 Hise shrugs

1x8 @ 495 for squat lockouts from bottom position up (8" ROM)
1x6 @ 585 for squat lockouts
1x4 @ 675 for lockouts
1x3 @ 765 for lockouts
Of course, the guy who'd been eating nothing but chicken came over and said "Dude, are you wearing a belt?" When I told him I've never worn one in my life, he was pretty well amazed and couldn't grasp how my back doesn't snap with that much weight on me. Amazing what happens when you actually train your core to support weight instead of just benching and curling every day....guess I'm getting cynical in my "old age"!

Next, did some shrugs, but I was fried and realized after not shrugging for a full year that I suck at them really badly. My body just doesn't feel comfortable with them, and since my double overhand grip isn't anywhere near my mixed grip for deadlifting, I can't hold on for as long as I need to. Just tossed in a few quick and disappointing sets:

1x8 @ 225 (power shrugged to pull to mid chest height)
1x6 @ 315
1x8 @ 225

I know that my traps can support more weight than they need to, but for speed and power, they have some issues that need resolving. Looks like I'll be starting to shrug weekly along with benching so as to make my largest weaknesses my strong points in the near future!

Anyway, that's about it. Going to do some pinch grip and bending work tomorrow, then rest for Friday before Saturday morning's competition. We'll look to get some quality pics of the comp, so I'll post them here when done!


Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 1:03 am
by VeganEssentials
Been a bit slower to get lifting again since the contest, but today was a good squat day that set a new PR for me!

Got in, started right in for the squats as follows:

1x5 @ 135
1x3 @ 225, ass to floor, 5 second pause and explode up
1x1 @ 225 for a single front squat
1x2 @ 315 paused for 2 seconds at bottom
2x1 @ 405
1x1 @ 425
1x1 @ 455 - this is where I decided to go for a PR since this went up easier than ever before
1x1 @ 480 - a new PR by 5 lbs., making it a good day! I felt so good that I may have even been able to make a double, but I wanted one more, so...
Attempted 495 for a single, got about 9" out of the hole, but stuck a bit and lost it down to the rack. Still, I made it to being close to getting through the sticking point, so another month and I think I'll nail this easily.
Wrapped up with 3x2 @ 315 done for speed - hit to just below parallel, pop up as fast as I can to where I toss the bar off my traps and end up on my toes at the end from exploding as fast as I can out of the hole.

Every set felt tight today - everything was in perfect position, all movements in sync, no weak spots. The kind of day I wish every squat day would turn out to be!

Next, did some bending after the squats for a few pieces:
1x3 pieces of 1/4" x 6" round stock
1x2 pieces of 6" G5 bolts
1 6" G8 bolt
1 piece of 1/4" x 6.5" square stock
Tried an IronMind red nail (3/8" x 7" round stock) but only put about a 3 degree kink in it. That length kills me because I can't get good leverage, but someday....

Back to leg work again, I tossed in a few last sets of stiff legged deadlifts as follows:
1x10 @ 225
2x10 @ 275
I aim to keep with these for a while, adding 10 lbs. per week until I'm getting to the mid 300s. Just trying to hit those hamstrings a bit more!

Wrapped up with a light speed set of 20 reps on the lying leg curl, kicking up as fast as possible to where the bar would smack me in the back of the legs with every rep. After this, I was spent and it was time to call it a day.

I'm hoping to finally get to train with the local stronman competitors this weekend, so probably no lifting until then, or maybe some back and chest work on Thursday. Back to report when it is done!


Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 10:55 pm
by VeganEssentials
Today was back and shoulders day!

Started off with barbell clean and push presses:

1x6 each arm done separately with empty bar (all subsequent sets done standard push press style, 2 arm)
1x4 @ 135
1x3 @ 185
2x5 @ 225
1x4 @ 225 - missed the last rep, got it to top of head height and crapped out. Had some shorter rest periods of only about 2 minutes between sets, which is less than I usually wait on these. Gotta get all reps next week!

Next were barbell rows:
1x3 @ 225
3x5 @ 255
These felt good, so I think I'll jump 10 lbs. next week to keep up with how easy these went.

Moved next to Hammer Strength shoulder press machine, one of few machines I don't hate:
1x10 @ 230
1x8 @ 250
1x6 @ 250

Next, did some IronMind Eagle Loops shrugs (strap that wraps around the bar, has 4 loops on the end for using individual fingers to hold instead of a full grip). Nothing too big since the finger pain threshold is lower, so just 3x6 @ 265 and that was it.

After that, I headed to the low cable row machine and put the Eagle Loops on for single-hand low rowing. Did the following:
1x10 @ 105 each arm separately
1x10 @ 120 each arm
1x6 @ 135 each arm
With the loops, there's no grip fatigue so you can row as long as your back will allow it without your hands giving out, which is quite nice.

Jumped to the dumbbells for a last minute or two and tossed out 2 sets of 12 reps with shrugs with 120 lb. DBs. The gym I go to now unfortunately has the big old rubber DBs that are massive, so while I like to do my DB shrugs seated, they're too damned big to manage it. Had to do 'em standing, 1 arm at a time just to make it more fun.

I was gasping for air as they kicked me out (all the last 8 or so sets were only about 60 seconds rest between them as time was running low) so I headed home.

Got back, pulled out the grippers for a quick bit and did 2 sets:
1x5 for a warmup on the IM Trainer
1x8 reps right hand with PDA SOS262 for a new rep PR with that hand, did 4 reps left handed

I'm trying to hit the grippers twice weekly to not lose my edge with them, and so far so good!

May do some outdoor strongman stuff with a friend on Saturday, otherwise, Sunday will be deadlift and bench day and I'll post here afterward!


Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 8:39 pm
by VeganEssentials
Today was deadlift and chest day -

Started with DLs in the power rack from bottom of kneecap height:
1x5 @ 135
1x5 @ 225
1x5 @ 315
1x5 @ 405
1x5 @ 500
1x1 @ 525
1x1 @ 565

Getting better with these, hopefully they'll work to get my deadlift strong again for next month's comp.

Next, Did some half-deadlifts from floor to midpoint in the power rack (set the pins just below knee level to have a stopping point. Goal was to pull fast, and once I hit the pins, keep pulling up into them for a 3 second hold:
1x3 @ 225
2x3 @ 275
Going heavy wasn't the mission, but just to pull hard at the usual sticking point to work it a bit more.

Next, did some good mornings to just a hair above parallel:
1x5 @ 225
1x3 @ 275
1x3 @ 295
1x2 @ 315
These keep getting easier, and they're helping my lower back and hamstrings quite a bit. Working to get a double for 375+ before year's end.

Following this were Hise shrugs in the power rack:
1x6 @ 225
1x6 @ 315
1x5 @ 405
Not working traps hard today, but trying to get a secondary workout for them in for each week now to bring them up even more.

Finally, did some close-grip speed benching for chest work. Didn't intend to go heavy, just lots of doubles done with a press as quickly as possible (after a slow descent, some sets with a 2 second pause at bottom)
10x2 @ 185, only 30-60 seconds rest between sets.

All grips were between 12" and 16" wide at most to stay on the narrow side, all reps had to be pushed up without any hesitation or stalling to work speed exclusively.

Wrapped up with that, am now dead tired (with 4 more hours of work to do before bedtime!) and that's it. Squats will be Tuesday, back to report afterward


Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:04 am
by VeganEssentials
Today was leg day, but it didn't turn out as I'd thought it would...

Started warmups with some light 225 lb. squats all the way to the bottom, when BAM! My shorts tore all the way from the back of the knee to the waist, exposing parts of me that best remain covered :D I should have rolled the legs up and looked silly rather than let them cover my knee a bit, but it was too late - I now had the most well-ventilated shorts possible and still had an entire workout to finish. Since it felt totally odd to hit deep squats with one leg blown open and one that was slightly snug when hitting bottom, I opted to bump my speed squat day up a bit and did the following:

2x5 @ 225 (blew the arse out on the 2nd set)
10x2 @ 315 - each rep was as fast up as possible, hitting a bounce on each top position to where the bar would jump an inch or two off my traps

Despite the squats being light, it really does hit you hard if you focus on speed, and since so many powerlifters incorporate speed work I'll see if this makes a difference in time.

Next, did some 2/3 squats with 500 lbs. to keep the comfortability and confidence up for the PR attempt in 4 weeks. Just 2x2 @ 500, going down 2/3 of the way to bottom, hit the pins, and power it back up.

Next were stiff legged deadlifts, just a few quick sets before I had to pack it in when the gym closed. Did 2x10 @ 300, then 1x5 @ 300 (I was winded and could barely breathe!) - I went to get a drink and come back to finish the last 5 reps but they kicked me out at that point so it was all over.

Oh yeah - in between the last squat sets I did some grippers work as follows:

1x5 with IM trainer each hand, 5 reps slammed
1x2 with PDA SOS262 each hand, 2 reps
With the RB210, I did 3 sets right handed, 2 reps on the first set, 3 reps on the 2nd set, and a single with a 25 second hold closed for the 3rd set. For the left hand, I did one rep with the RB210, the dropped back to the PDA gripper and did 2 reps for one set and a single with 20 second hold on it. All in all, a good day with the grippers!

Tomorrow is rest day, Thursday is shoulders and back work. Will report when it is done!


Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:42 pm
by VeganEssentials
Today was supposed to be shoulders and back day, but I cut my time too close to the end of the open hours at the gym and just goofed a shoulder session for 30 minutes.

Stared out with clean and push presses -
1x5 @ 135
1x3 @ 185
1x1 @ 225
1x1 @ 250
1x1 @ 260
The 260 cleaned really easy and pressed even easier, so I went for 275 to try and PR. Attempted it twice, both times missing the clean by about 2-3" and that was all for them. I kept losing my concentration because one of the younger guys there kept talking to me as I was getting ready for my attempts, and although I should have told him I needed my focus I chatted a bit, throwing my efforts off a bit. I know that if I'd cleaned it I'd have pressed it no problem, so there'll just have to be a next time for that one.

Next, did some 1-arm barbell clean and push presses:
Right arm - 1x1 @ 135, 2x2 @ 135
Left arm - made easy cleans, couldn't get the press to lock out. What's really weird is that my right shoulder is the one that cocks out on benching and screws me up, yet it is totally stable for 1-arm overhead pressing. My left side is the stable one for benching, but if I'm cleaning the bar I can't get the proper spot and miss the press every time. Odd stuff.

Ran to the DBs for some last-minute pressing with them and did the following 2 sets single-arm -
1x6 @ 120 lb. right arm (little push - getting stronger on the right!), 1x4 on the left arm
1x5 strict press with 90 lb. right arm, 1x4 strict left arm

They started closing down and I was out as usual, but it was still a fun little day. Could have used an extra 35 minutes to complete my back workout, but there's always this weekend for that.

May be doing some strongman stuff this weekend, will try to get some pictures if I get out to the place we're supposed to meet up.