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Medman, the Ant Man!


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Took a bit of a break from squatting, and felt great going into today's workout. I've kept up with it, though (I just haven't been posting in this log each time...I figure it will be more interesting if I just post every week or two to show my progress).

 

Squat: 5x5 @ 160lbs (PR, 121% BW)

Bench Press: 5x5 @ 115lbs, failed on the last 2 reps of the last 2 sets and needed my spotter to help me get them done.

Pendlay Rows: 3x5 @ 95lbs, I feel I'm getting better at keeping myself from using any hip drive

Weighted Dips: 3x5 @ 20 lbs (PR, damn near killed me to get that last rep done)

 

Helped a random guy out who was doing deadlifts for the first time and was rounding his back like crazy. I spent the day working in the Pain Clinic, so I felt this could be one disc herniation nipped in the bud

 

I'm disappointed that I didn't get my full 5x5 on bench, but I feel confident that I can get this weight done without needing to deload.

 

Up next...170 lb deadlift! I can't wait to hit 200...

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Squat: 5x5 @ 145lbs (PR, 112% BW)

Dips: 1x10, 2x7 @ BW (think it might be time to start weighting these?)

 

 

 

Wait a second...I just realized we weigh about the same and I'm putting up pretty comparable weights to you! OH NO, I feel a competition coming on!

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Wait a second...I just realized we weigh about the same and I'm putting up pretty comparable weights to you! OH NO, I feel a competition coming on!

 

Oh, them's fightin' words! I saw you posted 160 for 1RM squat...that's crazy impressive! I just managed 160 for my 5x5 and was dizzy after each set. Also, I see you've deadlifted 175...that's wicked! I've only done up to 160 so far because I'm trying not to add weight too quickly, but I don't feel I've come anywhere near failure yet so I'm attempting 170 tomorrow with a short-term goal of 200 by the end of the month!

 

Oh, and I think between what you've lost and what I've gained, I now outweigh you by like 3 pounds . I'm totally up for some friendly competition though .

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Had a day of PRs today!

 

Morning weight 131.8 lbs

 

Squat: 5x5 @ 160lbs (121% BW, tied PR from 3 days ago)

Overhead Press: 5x5 @ 80lbs (PR, 61% BW)

Deadlift: 1x5 @ 175lbs (PR, 133% BW)

Pullups: 1x10, 1x7, 1x5 @ BW (PR)

 

The squat was a repeat of the PR weight from 3 days ago, but I feel I used some body english on a couple of reps last time, and wanted to get my form hammered out before I go up in weight. I feel I did really well this time in terms of keeping good, controlled form throughout all the reps, and will be increasing to 165 next session.

 

My overhead press surprised me. 2 weeks ago, I had just finished deloading after failing 3 times at 70 lbs. After deloading, I nailed the 70 and 75 lb presses on my first attempts, and today, got my full 5x5 at 80! I'm really happy about that, since the press is my weakest lift and a 10 lb improvement in 2 weeks is proportionally a bigger improvement than I hoped for (figured I'd fail at 75, deload, make it, then fail at 80).

 

I've suspected that the 5 lb increases I was going with on deadlift was leaving me unchallenged. When chewy told me they used to recommend 10 lb increments, that sounded much more reasonable. In any case, I was feeling great and went for a 15 lb increase this session to make up for lost time (don't worry, I won't make a habit of it). I nailed 175 with perfect form and am confident that I will be able to pull 185, 195, and then 205 on my next 3 deadlift days. 205 seems like an intimidating number, but this 175 today didn't even feel like a challenge (I definitely had to work for it, but compared to my squats it felt like child's play).

 

The pullups were my first time nailing 10 reps on the first set. I already knew my chinups and neutral grip pullups were ready to start weighted sets on, and this seals the deal. I will start adding weight and cycle doing [chinup, neutral grip pullup, pullup] with each weight (since to me that represents easy, medium, and hard), then add 5 lbs and repeat the cycle.

 

I also ran into an ex-girlfriend today at the gym who commented on how much bigger I look than when we went out

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Wait a second...I just realized we weigh about the same and I'm putting up pretty comparable weights to you! OH NO, I feel a competition coming on!

 

Oh, them's fightin' words! I saw you posted 160 for 1RM squat...that's crazy impressive! I just managed 160 for my 5x5 and was dizzy after each set. Also, I see you've deadlifted 175...that's wicked! I've only done up to 160 so far because I'm trying not to add weight too quickly, but I don't feel I've come anywhere near failure yet so I'm attempting 170 tomorrow with a short-term goal of 200 by the end of the month!

 

Oh, and I think between what you've lost and what I've gained, I now outweigh you by like 3 pounds . I'm totally up for some friendly competition though .

 

My last 1RM for deadlift was 185 actually, and last week I did 185 twice...my back felt like it wasn't really getting worked, but my grip has become a limiting factor, so I just farmer-walked around the gym for punishment after almost dropping the bar. You're actually still ahead of me by a little bit, but that's ok...

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My last 1RM for deadlift was 185 actually, and last week I did 185 twice...my back felt like it wasn't really getting worked, but my grip has become a limiting factor, so I just farmer-walked around the gym for punishment after almost dropping the bar. You're actually still ahead of me by a little bit, but that's ok...

 

Intense! I did 185 for my 1x5 last time, and will be shooting for 195 tomorrow. I'm doing farmer's walks to try to prevent my grip from becoming a limiting factor as well. I'm excited to break 200...it will be the first time I've lifted 200lbs of free weight (I've lifted "big" numbers on leg press machines, but those use a mechanical advantage and obviously don't count).

 

Some great numbers there! The ex-girlfriend comment must have been a buzz

 

Thanks! Yeah, it was a nice little boost before my last exercise of the day (pull ups).

 

I'll be posting my new numbers after my next workout tomorrow...I'll be aiming for a 195lb deadlift and 175lb squats, along with an 85 lb overhead, though I'm not confident I'll be able to get all the reps on that one.

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A summary of the last couple of sessions...

 

Squat: 5x5 @ 175lbs (PR, 133% BW)

Bench Press: 5x5 @ 115lbs (PR, 87% BW)

Pendlay Rows: 3x5 @ 100lbs (PR, 76% BW)

Weighted Dips: 3x5 @ 25 lbs (PR)

OH Press: Failed miserably on my first attempt at 85 lbs.

Deadlift: 1x5 @ 195lbs (PR, 147% BW)

Weighted Chin-ups and weighted neutral-grip pull-ups: 3x5 @ 10 lbs (PR)

 

Two sessions ago, I had a really friendly and experienced powerlifter in the squat rack next to me (squatting 420 lbs with great form, which you don't ever see at this gym), so I took the opportunity to speak to him about my form on a few exercises. He told me I was doing well, but made some minor corrections to my squat and deadlift form and gave me some great hip flexibility exercises. As a result, my 175 lb squats felt better than my 160 lb ones did last week! My 195 lb deadlift also felt f'in great, and I'm psyched to break 200 next time!

 

He also told me his personal preference for barbell rows was a supinated (underhand) grip, and showed me his form for that one. My gym partner got all excited because he has a boner for bicep exercises, so it looks like we might switch from Pendlays to supinated rows, or maybe alternate between the two.

 

Basically, everything has gone great except for the fact that I need to deload my overhead presses. The time I nailed the 5x5 at 80 lbs, I realize I had skipped squats because of my hip muscle soreness. This time, trying them after heavy squats, 75 lbs was all I could manage. I guess I didn't appreciate how much more energy I have before squats vs after, so I might have to deload and work my way back up to attempt getting 80 lbs in my "after squat" state.

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do you use an alternating grip on your heavy deadlifts? that should take grip out the equation if you do. although farmers walks are great work anyway.

 

Yeah, I started doing mixed grip a couple of weeks ago and it made things a whole lot easier. Next up, I'm going to get myself some chalk when I'm doing some serious lifts (maybe when I hit 2X bodyweight).

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Here's a summary of my results from the past week:

 

Squat: 5x5 @ 180lbs (PR, 136% BW)

Bench Press: 5x5 @ 115lbs

Pendlay Rows: 3x5 @ 100lbs (PR due to better form)

Weighted Dips: 3x5 @ 30 lbs (PR)

OH Press: 5x5 @ 80 lbs (PR*)

Deadlift: 1x5 @ 205lbs (PR, 155% BW)

Weighted pullups: 3x5 @ 10 lbs

 

After nailing the 180lb squats, I had basically no energy left. I've never been so devastated after a set of anything, ever. It made me realize my previous record of 80 lbs on the overhead press didn't really count, because it was done on the day I skipped squats for the sake of recovery. When I tried 85 after squatting, I just had nothing left in the tank. So yesterday when I lifted 80 lbs on the overhead after squatting, I considered it a personal record, since I had never lifted that much after having squatted. I think I'll probably do 80 lbs one more time before re-attempting 85...80 was near failure as it was.

 

Dips are getting crazy hard, but I haven't failed yet. Next up is the 35 lb plate.

 

Deadlifts are my pride and joy. First time I've lifted over 200 lbs of free weight, and I did it for the full 1x5 yesterday, which is over 1.5x bodyweight for me.

 

Just did my 3x5 of pullups with a 10 lb plate, so next up I'll be doing chins with 15 lbs. I've been doing chins/pulls with 3 grip positions (one per workout that I'm supposed to be doing chins on), moving from the easiest (supinated, i.e. chins), to hardest (pronated, i.e. pullups), and only adding more weight once I've succeeded with the chins. Not sure if I explained that well...in any case, it lets me do my pullups with a different grip/different muscles each time, moving from easy to hard before adding weight. I always go from arms locked out at full extension, up until I touch my chest to the bar at the top. No partials here!

 

Also, after a couple of weeks of my weight being stable at 132 (though I think I traded a bit of fat for muscle in that time), I realized that, because of how busy I've been, I hadn't been eating enough. I've upped the calories significantly this week and am hoping to start gaining again.

Edited by medman
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Wow, congrats on all the PR's! You'll be an ant soon enough at this rate

 

Thanks! I'm certainly trying. Yesterday, there were two guys who set up 180 on their squat next to me. After I finished warming up and moved to my work weight of 185, I saw them look at me and say something like "Ok, time to bring it" and added 10 lbs. My gym buddy and I then watched as they proceeded to do a few sets of squats with half a proper ROM. These guys easily had at least 60 lbs on me. Made me feel quite ant-like

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Wow, congrats on all the PR's! You'll be an ant soon enough at this rate

 

Thanks! I'm certainly trying. Yesterday, there were two guys who set up 180 on their squat next to me. After I finished warming up and moved to my work weight of 185, I saw them look at me and say something like "Ok, time to bring it" and added 10 lbs. My gym buddy and I then watched as they proceeded to do a few sets of squats with half a proper ROM. These guys easily had at least 60 lbs on me. Made me feel quite ant-like

 

A girl did that to me the other day. To a certain extent, I'm happy just to see girls attempting squats, but what kind of a victory is it if you're going to 45 degrees instead of parallel?

 

You're doing well, Ant Man!

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A girl did that to me the other day. To a certain extent, I'm happy just to see girls attempting squats, but what kind of a victory is it if you're going to 45 degrees instead of parallel?

 

You're doing well, Ant Man!

 

Thanks, Adena!

 

It's funny, isn't it? Because I work out at a university gym, there's so much macho bullshit, so I'd say probably 75% of the guys I see at the squat racks have horrible form and/or are doing partial reps. They're more worried about the number of plates people will see when they look over than they are about getting a proper workout.

 

I talked with one guy who was doing 115 lb squats ass-to-grass who seemed embarrassed that he was lifting so little. I tried to tell him how awesome it was to see someone with such nice form. He actually felt like he was underachieving on squats, when in fact he was working harder than anyone else there.

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Your squat is so much higher than your bench. Mine is the complete opposite. I don't understand this at all. You mentioned that guy going all the way down with 115 on the squat. I barely feel comfortable doing that with like 80 lbs. I feel like I'm gonna fall over or something. But I can throw up twice that on the bench with no problems. This doesn't make any sense to me. What could I be doing wrong? I see a similar theme on everyone's logs. Squat is WAY higher than bench. Not mine.

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My guess is either that there's something going on with your form, or that's just the way you're genetically programmed. I remember you had issues with the deadlift and injury, partly because of the length of your legs and things like that. Maybe it's possible that you're mechanically disadvantaged on squats? And maybe you're just genetically destined to be great at bench. Right now, my bench of 120 yesterday is the highest I've ever lifted. Bench has always been a weak point for me. And I have progressed very slowly on bench (improving by maybe 30%) vs squat (almost a 100% increase) since starting stronglifts.

 

Have you ever done a high volume squat routine though? My previous encounters with squat were pathetic (I could bench more than I could squat, and I really couldn't bench that much!!), but doing stronglifts with a 5x5 squat ever 2-3 days whipped my squats into shape like you wouldn't believe. I think I started at 95 lbs under 3 months ago, and did 185 yesterday. Keep in mind I'm just aiming to break parallel, I'm not doing ass-to-grass because my hip and ankle flexibility aren't there yet.

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My guess is either that there's something going on with your form, or that's just the way you're genetically programmed. I remember you had issues with the deadlift and injury, partly because of the length of your legs and things like that. Maybe it's possible that you're mechanically disadvantaged on squats? And maybe you're just genetically destined to be great at bench. Right now, my bench of 120 yesterday is the highest I've ever lifted. Bench has always been a weak point for me. And I have progressed very slowly on bench (improving by maybe 30%) vs squat (almost a 100% increase) since starting stronglifts.

 

Have you ever done a high volume squat routine though? My previous encounters with squat were pathetic (I could bench more than I could squat, and I really couldn't bench that much!!), but doing stronglifts with a 5x5 squat ever 2-3 days whipped my squats into shape like you wouldn't believe. I think I started at 95 lbs under 3 months ago, and did 185 yesterday. Keep in mind I'm just aiming to break parallel, I'm not doing ass-to-grass because my hip and ankle flexibility aren't there yet.

 

If you do aim to do ass to grass squats at some point, it helps to have a much narrower stance, and sometimes people even elevate their heels. You might already be able to do deep squats like that.

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If you do aim to do ass to grass squats at some point, it helps to have a much narrower stance, and sometimes people even elevate their heels. You might already be able to do deep squats like that.

 

Hm, maybe I'll start trying empty bar squats to see if I can get the balance down. It's only recently that I developed enough hip flexibility to properly squat below parallel, though, so I think it will be a while before I can do full squats.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's been a while so here is an update of my last couple of sessions! My bodyweight is currently hovering around 136-137 in the morning.

 

Squat: 5x5 @ 175lbs*

Bench Press: 3x5, 2x4 @ 125 lbs

Pendlay Rows: 3x5 @ 105 lbs

Weighted Dips: 3x5 @ 35 lbs

Overhead Press: 5x5 @ 85 lbs

Deadlift: 1x5 @ 230 lbs

Weighted pullups, chinups: 3x5 @ 15 lbs

 

*I got as high as 185 for my 5x5 squat, but found I was doing my reps way too slowly, which was causing a lot of hip flexor pain even on rest days. I dropped down to 155 and focused on doing nice, deep, below-parallel squats and exploding up with speed instead of my previous "you-can-tell-how-much-I'm-struggling" pace. I've now made it back up to 175, and am doing the reps with far better form than ever before. Deeper (I've been working on hip flexibility), and FAR faster. As a result, I haven't had hip pain in weeks, while before I had it for 1-2 months nonstop. I'm excited to break 185 and beyond with my better form and increased power!

 

I barely failed my last bench attempt at 125...I needed a bit of help from my spotter on the final rep of the last 2 sets, but feel confident I can get it next time and then go for 135.

 

Overhead press was a b*tch. Between my poor shoulder flexibility and being tired from doing killer, slow squats, I used to be spent before even attempting them. I've been increasing my shoulder flexibility (by hanging from a chinup bar at home), since my problems were partly due to my tight lats. Dropping my squat weight and fixing my form also made a huge improvement. Today I rocked 85 lbs on the overhead, which was a real accomplishment for me. I think I posted an 80 lb press in this log, but I later realized I did it on a day I skipped squats due to knee soreness. As soon as I tried pressing after squatting again, even 75 lbs was too much. So I basically worked up from 75 lbs to 85 lbs in the time since my last post on this log.

 

Ah, now for the deadlift. My pride and joy!! Last time, I pulled 2 plates for a total of 225, and today made it 230. I feel like absolute death afterwards, but haven't had any issues with rounding my back or anything like that. Getting ever closer to that 2xBW lift!

 

Pendlay rows have been a learning process. I haven't been able to increase the weight much, but I feel I'm doing it with better form each time (avoiding using hip drive, etc). Wanted to make sure I'm actually doing Pendlays (keeping completely immobilized hips) before moving up in weight. My strength has definitely been improving on this despite a relative lack of change in the numbers.

 

My weighted dips have maxed out at 35 lbs and I think I'm going to have to drop the weight and build back up. My tiny little arms can't seem to handle 40 lbs yet, especially after bench!

 

I just finished doing chins and pullups with 15 lbs on the weight belt, and am moving up to 20 lbs next session.

 

Overall, I think I'm doing well considering it's exam season! I took a week off 2 weeks ago, both for studying purposes and to give my body its first true rest week in 2 or 3 months.

 

Other than that? A month ago I started doing 4 hours of Krav Maga a week with the Canadian director of the IKMF (the international krav maga federation). It's intense, but so far I've been able to keep up both the class and my lifting. Other than one day where we did 2 hours of nonstop striking practice, after which my upper body was so completely destroyed that I could only do my squats the next day. Bench etc just wasn't going to happen. As my conditioning improves I'm sure I won't have any more days like that.

Edited by medman
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Thanks guys! Yeah, taking the squats down when I realized my form was bad, and taking that week off were the two best decisions I made since starting stronglifts. I was feeling worn down/on the verge of hip injury all the time, so ignoring that could only have had terrible consequences!

 

I think I need to take a picture on my next deadlift day like your 185 one, Adena!

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