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Strength, end of week 58


Didn't lift on Monday or Wednesday of this week, too much work, not enough rest, blah blah blah.



Leg press on 45° angle press platform, only counting weight by the plates I used, as I don't know the weight of the platform and the angle means I'm only lifting half of the weight anyway.

5x(2x45 lb plates), 5x(4x45), 5x(6x45), 5x(8x45)

Power cleans: 5x135

OHP: 5x45, 5x75, 5x105, 5x140

Deadlift: 5x195, 5x245, 5x295, 5x340, 5x380

Pullups @ BW: 8,6,4


Someone was doing squats with the pins set really high so I didn't feel like taking the extra time to work in and reset everything. Did leg press on the angled leg press platform and power cleans instead. Power cleans I don't do regularly so I'm sure my form wasn't the greatest and didn't try anything heavy as it was just warmup anyway. I somewhat liked doing them, probably work them into the routine at some point. Happy about hitting both OHP and deadlift today. Had great energy, sipped a bit of coffee before the workout, focused myself right before the work weight lifts. Not lifting since last week probably helped by giving me a whole week to recover. Pullups were shit, but doesn't matter as they are just icing on the cake anyway (assistance).

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Strength Week 61


I've been skipping a lot of workouts lately. My energy and mood have been pretty shitty, between lack of sleep from my son not sleeping consistently and a friend of mine dying from cancer. I just haven't been feeling it on the days that I've decided to lift. My last few workouts definitely attest to my poor mind/body state, as I've struggled more than I should have. I need to make sure I am eating enough as well.


I weighed myself once last week after waking up for shits and giggles and the scale showed 192 lbs. I guess I'm eating enough because that's about 3 lbs heavier than I was the last time I weighed myself. My wife says my back is looking bigger, so as long as she still thinks I look good then that's all I really care about.


Last week Friday:

Squats: 5x225 lbs

OHP: 4x145 +1 push press

Deadlift: 3x390


Shitty workout. Deadlift was fail. By the start of the 4th rep there was no leg drive left in me and it was all lower back. Felt the back rounding right off the floor so I dropped the bar and called it a day.



Squats: 5x155 lbs, 5x195, 5x235, 5x275, 5x315 6x45 lbs plates!

Bench: 10x45, 5x95, 5x135, 5x175, 4x210

Rows: 10x45, 5x75, 5x115, 5x155, 5x190

[email protected]: 17


Depth wasn't the greatest on squats, but it looked like I was about parallel. Put out a huge effort to get it done, happy I finished all 5. Asked for a spot on the bench given the rough time I had with it the last time (barely got 3 reps before having to dump the bar over one of the pins in the power rack ). Managed 3 no problem, spotter applied practically no pressure on #4 and minimal on #5. Could have done 4 without the spot, so calling it as such. Powered through the rows, pretty good lift. Ran short on time so only did one set of BW dips, then stretched out and headed back to work.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Week 63


Had a 10-day break from working out due to various reasons (mostly because I wasn't at work on my regular workout days and the rest of my schedule didn't permit gym time). Got back into the gym this past Friday and decided to change it up just for a couple workouts due to my eating being shit over the previous two weeks and having low energy. Went at 80-90% of my normal work weight and went for max reps.


Friday, 04/27/2012

Squat, well below parallel: 8x275 lbs (~87% of last work weight)

Bench: 9x175 (~83%)

Row: 11x155 (~79%)


Felt off going into the gym, so used my last warmup weight from the previous session's work weight and went for max reps. This way I wouldn't have to deal with having a shitty workout and most likely not hitting any of my goals. Could have muscled out 1 or maybe 2 more reps on squats but my form went to shit fast after rep 5.


Todays' lifts:


Squat, ATG: 15x225 (~71%)

OHP: 10x115 (~79%)

Deadlift: 7x345 (~88%)

Pullups: 8,4 xBW

Kettlebell clean and press, each arm: 5x45, 5x50


Went for max reps again at the lower weights, same as last time. I usually go pretty light with squats on deadlift day, so amped it up a little by making sure all the squats were all the way down, hams touching calves, and went for broke. I had more strength left in my legs, but I ran out of steam and didn't want to dump the bar. Need to work on my conditioning! OHP was pretty good. Was hoping for more but also started to gas out at the end. Held it up a little too long on rep 10 to catch a breath and had nothing for the next one. Was hoping for more on the deadlift as well, but was happy with 7. Probably out of energy from the squats and OHP. My gym set up a rack of kettlebells up to 50 lbs, so I figured I'd give it a go. I alternated kettlebell clean and press with pullups. I feel pretty worked right now, especially my shoulders and core. Feels good!

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Week 63


Squat: 5x165 lbs, 5x205, 5x245, 5x285, 5x320

Bench: 10x45, 5x95, 5x135, 5x175, 4x210

BBRow: 10x45, 5x75, 5x115, 5x155, 5x195

Low-incline dumbell press: 10,10,10,6,5x50 lbs

Rope-grip machine tricep pulldown: 3x10x80 lbs


Tried a Vega Pre-Workout Energizer sample today (thanks, Robert!) - gave me plenty of energy going into the workout. I was practically bouncing by the time I got to the gym. Still feeling pretty energetic, even 4 hours later. Squats went really well, hit them pretty confidently. Was feeling great going into bench but stalled on the last rep. Rows were pretty good though, started to use a little momentum to get the bar up towards the end. I'll probably have to try 200 lbs a few times before I can complete a strict form set. Since I failed at the bench but still felt like I had tons of energy left, I hit up some dumbell presses and tricep work as supplemental exercises today. I'm really frustrated by my lack of improvement on bench press. Not sure how to proceed from this point. Either I continue to push forward and advance really slowly on bench, or I switch to another program to see if my gains improve.


Discussing finances with my wife lead to the conclusion that I need to reign in my protein powder spending and either find cheaper powder or just increase the amount of protein rich food I eat (tofu/tempeh). I might just drop the "meal replacer" protein mix and only use the RAW protein powder instead. It will be a little cheaper, but the meal replacer has lots of other goodies in it.

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End of week 63 of Stronglifts (still at a slightly modified 1x5)


Glad to finally have completed a full week of lifting again after having 7 partial weeks in a row, a few of which I only lifted one day during. My hands were a bit cracked today, so I applied the crazy glue and medical tape and got to work.


Squat: 5x135 lbs, 5x165, 5x225

Pause squats: 2x2x165

OHP: 5x45, 5x75, 5x110, 3x145

Deadlift: 5x195, 5x245, 5x295, 5x345, 5x390

Pullups @ BW: 5,5,7

Kettlebell clean and press, each arm, superset: 5x25, 5x30, 5x35, 5x40, 5x45, 5x50


Had a vega pre-workout energizer again today. Not as bouncy as I was on Wednesday, but still elevated energy levels. I probably didn't even need it today as I felt pretty good beforehand. It was my last sample anyway and it's a little too expensive for me to justify using it on a regular basis. Read something online yesterday about pause squats so I gave it a try as part of the warmup. Same as a regular squat, but descend to parallel over 6 seconds, pause at parallel for 3 seconds, then explode up. I could have gone heavier, as they were pretty easy at 165.


Thought I would hit the OHP today, but was stupid and switched my grip a little on the final set which changed the dynamics and I couldn't compensate.


I knew I would hit the deadlift today and I didn't disappoint myself I noticed however that on the heavier sets I was hitting the tops of my knees with the bar on the way down. I figured out that I'm not pushing my hips forward enough at lockout, so the bar isn't sliding down my quads. I need to work out squeezing my glutes hard at the top and shoving the hips forward.


After pullups I decided to hit the kettlebells for more clean and press action, as I enjoyed it last time. The superset pyramid wore me out, but I could have probably continued to 60 lbs. My gym only has bells up to 50 lbs

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Strength week 64


Missed Monday as I wasn't in to work, so no gym time. I'll do another 3 consecutive workouts including today and then I have a 2.5 week vacation during which I'll be in Germany.


I've put on weight! I am currently at 196 lbs, up from about 188-189 last time I weighed myself back in October/November. It would only make sense, as I am definitely getting stronger, which means more/denser muscle fiber, which means more mass. Still have no idea what my bodyfat % is, so I'm not sure how much of it is lean mass. I'm sure I'm not over 20%, even though my stupid biometric scale has me at 23%!


Today's lifts:

Squats: 5x165 lbs ATG, 5x205 ATG, 5x245 ATG, 5x285 parallel, 5x325 parallel

Bench: 5x45, 5x95, 5x135, 5x175, 3x210

BBRow: 5x45, 5x85, 5x125, 5x165, 5x200

Rope grip tricep arm extension: 3x5x120


Hit the squats, although I lost count during the set. I'm pretty sure I did 5, but not completely sure. Going to up the weight anyway. If I didn't hit 5 I'll probably find out next time. Pissed about the bench. I just can't get better than a partial set at 210. I need to figure out how I'm going to proceed. I should probably just bite the bullet and buy Wendler's 5/3/1 ebook and give it a go. Completed the rows, but used some leg drive so I'm going to repeat the weight next time. Did some tricep arm extensions again, a bit heavier this time at lower reps. Had no trouble banging these out.

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End of Week 64


Why do I even bother counting weeks anymore?


I realized that even though I've put on a bit of weight, since I'm going to be on vacation and not able to maintain my normal eating habits I'll probably loose a bit of that. I wonder how much I'll drop...


Today's lifts:

Squats: assorted sets up to 5x225

OHP: 5x45, 5x85, 5x115, 3x145

Deadlift: 5x195, 5x245, 5x295, 5x345, 3x395

Pullups @ BW: 5,5,7


Workout was shit today. Still not able to complete the OHP at 145. I guess I should try a deload, on OHP and bench as well. I'm wondering if the assistance work I've been throwing in is what's screwing with my main upper body lifts. Going to keep pullups, but drop everything else. Or maybe I'll start 5/3/1 when I get back from break at the beginning of June. Grip was shit today, could tell on my 3rd deadlift warmup already. Bar was slipping down my fingers by rep 3 on the final set so I didn't even try for #4. Bar just seemed fucking heavy today. Shouldn't have been, given how easy I hit 385 last week.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Strength week - Intermission!


I'm currently in Bonn, Germany, on a work trip with a bit of vacation tagged on. Not a lot of vegan eats to be had here - there is one good although pricey vegetarian/vegan place I've found called Cassius Garten (http://www.cassiusgarten.de/). It's buffet style and is priced by weight. If you just eat salad it's not so bad, but start piling on the heaver stuff (protein sources) and it gets pricey fast. My one full plate cost me 16 Euro (~$21). There are a few asian and indian places around that probably have some vegan fare. One that I tried today, Taj India (http://www.taj-india-bonn.de/), had some decent vegan options. Other than the Cassius Garten which was by definition veggie/vegan, everyplace else has a whole lot of meat on the menu. Not surprising to me though, I'm pretty familiar with German food and eating habits.


I was itching to move some weight, since my last session was almost 2 weeks ago, so I looked up a couple of gyms in the city that will do 1-day free guest passes. Health City (http://www.healthcity.de/unser-angebot/healthcity-bonn-all-inclusive) and Fitness First (http://www.fitnessfirst.de/lifestyle-club/bonn.html). I asked one of my local coworkers about the two clubs and she recommended Fitness First, as it was a larger gym with more options. I checked it out and it had the requisite barbells and squat rack so I was good to go. Had to do a bit of math though, since I'm used to working in pounds and of course here everything is in kilos. I much prefer kilos anyway, but it's easier at home to just go with the numbers on the plates.


Today's lifts:

Squats: 10x20 kg, 5x60, 5x80, 5x100, 5x120, 5x140, 5x150 (~330 lbs)

Bench: 10x20 kg, 5x40, 5x60, 5x80, 5x90, 3x95 (~209 lbs)

BBRow: 10x20 kg, 5x40, 5x60, 5x80, 3x90 (~198 lbs)

Dumbell press, each arm: 10x10 kg, 5x20, 3x25 (55 lbs), 4x20

3k run, moderate pace


I'm not marking anything as failed on this workout, since it's off schedule. I'm just happy that my lifts are still at decent levels, given my poor eating (really low on quality proteins) I was only planning on going to 140 kg on squats, but felt pretty good after pushing it up so I went higher. My depth seemed poor (felt slightly above parallel) on some of the reps, and my form was a bit off. The bench there was a bit strange. The top rack on it was really high, I actually had to push my shoulders up off the bench to clear the bar and to rack it again. My ass came up a bit on the last two reps of the last set, but as soon as the bar cleared a few inches off my chest I mashed it back on the bench. Rows were OK, did 5 reps but used a bit of hip drive on the last couple so I'm calling it as 3. Wanted to work my shoulders a bit more so did some standing dumbell presses, but my strength was pretty spent by then so performance was poor (as I thought it might be). It was a nice night so I went for a quick jog afterwards. There's a nice stretch with a pedestrian way in between two parks that a round trip ended up being just about 3k. I probably won't be able to find a gym again until I get home, as I'll be out in the country for the next week. Glad I got this in. Feel much better. Now I'm going to stuff my face with some Tofu.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Finally back to the gym after an extended break. I could come up with plenty of excuses, but I won't. I just didn't get my ass in gear until this week.


I've decided to give 5/3/1 a go, starting next Monday, so I needed to get an idea of where I stand with my lifts. I worked up to a set of 5 at a reasonably easy weights (by no means my 5RM) and then incrementally went for a low 1RM. I probably could have done 5-10 lbs more on each lift. I went low because I've lost some strength over the past 6 weeks (not including the vacation workout I had in Bonn a few weeks back) and didn't want to risk overdoing anything. That and I don't mind starting a little light and working back up again. I'm not looking to compete in any strongman comps, I just want to be reasonably strong, which I already consider myself. Everything from this point forward is just a bonus.



Squat: 5x265, 1x315

Bench: 5x165, 1x220

BB Row: 5x165, 1x205


Squat was starting feel heavy right away so I made 265 my x5 set instead of the 285 I originally planned. Started feeling my back strain a little around 295 and I barely made the one rep at 315. I might have been able to power out 325 but no reason to risk it. I was pretty impressed with my bench, considering I could barely hit 3 reps at 210 six weeks ago. Maybe I was over-training my chest? BBRow was about where I suspected it would be. So I lost a bit of strength over the break...


Today, Friday 6/22/12

Squat: 2x5x135, jump-rope before and between sets

OHP: 5x115, 1x150

Deadlift: 3x335, 1x395


Squats/jump rope was just a warmup today, as my legs were damn sore from Wednesday. Since the power rack was in use, I power-cleaned all the OHP sets. Deadlift went OK. My back and legs were sore and pretty worn out. I should have been able to pull more weight than that but I'm OK with it. 5x185, 5x235, 3x285, 3x335, 1x375, 1x395. I probably could have hit 405 but the extra 10 lbs is not a big deal. I was happy that my form was pretty good until I hit 375. I thought it would have been worse earlier. On the last two pulls my legs were practically useless and I ended up pulling stiff-legged. I don't mind starting a little lower and working back up. This weekend is going to suck - not looking forward to the soreness.


I am looking forward to starting 5/3/1 next week though.

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1RM -> target (90%):

Military: 150 -> 135

Deadlift: 395 -> 360

Bench: 220 -> 200

Squat: 315 -> 285


Cycle 1


Monday, 6/25/12


Jump rope: 5x100 jumps


Military Press:

5x90 lbs




Dips: 10, 10, 9 @ BW

Chins: 3x5 @ BW


Legs were pretty sore over weekend, but not as bad as they were on Friday. Thought I'd be able to bang out more dips and chins, but they were harder than I anticipated. Cut the sets at 3 as I was starting to feel worn.




Jump rope: 5 sets alternated with sets of 2xchins



5x235 lbs




Glute ham raise: 3x5

Hanging leg raise: 3x5


10 reps of deadlift wore me out. I kept the assistance a bit low to not completely burn myself out. I could have done more sets/reps on GHR, but as this was my first time doing them and after the big deadlift set I wanted to pace myself. I left the gym feeling like I've had a great workout though, so today must have gone well.

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Hey Veggie, thanks for stopping by. I've currently programmed bodyweight as my assistance exercises with only one exception, dumbbell rows on bench day. Figured I'd give the bodyweight stuff a go as I'd really like to up my endurance on them a bit.


My current 3/week, 5-week cycle program looks like this:


Military 5/3/1




Deadlift 5/3/1

Glute ham raise

Hanging leg raise


Bench 5/3/1

DB rows



Squat 5/3/1


Ab roller




Jump rope: 5 sets alternated with sets of x2 pullups


Bench press:

5x130 lbs




DB rows: 10x20 lbs, 3x10x25, 30x30

Hanging shrugs: 5x5


I was hoping to get more reps on the bench, but just didn't have it in me. Rows seemed harder than I though they should be, but I've never this much volume in rows before. Totally sapped my upper body strength for the pullups I wanted to do at the end, so finished with hanging shrugs at about 5" ROM to at least get some more work in. Doing the pullups during warmup probably wasn't a good idea, although I doubt I would have been able to do more than 2 reps per set after the rows anyway. I won't be lifting on Wednesday as I'm off work for the holiday, so I have the whole week to recover from today.


I'm looking forward to getting the volume up on the bodyweight exercises. It would be nice to be able to do sets of 10 pullups. This weekend I was horsing around at a friend's house and decided to see if I could do a flag pole. Almost, but not quite. I could hold my legs out for a small fraction of a second before they dropped to the floor again. That's something else that would be cool to be able to do.

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The body weight stuff's great for feeling fit. If I do BW dips I do no less than 100 reps.

Regarding the pull ups, I found doing sets of five between warm up/working sets worked well. Until I got the 50 . Before 5/3/1 I would do mainly hammer grips, once I could get 4x10 I started adding weight.


What I found was once I got onto 5/3/1 & tried Wendlers protocol of pull/chins between OHP/bench sets I could easily doing the 5x10 twice a week with my body weight. Just this last week I added in weight again but my pull up volume is double what it was 6 months ago (body weight)


Borit but big is fantastic, give it ago:)

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Thanks VS, I'm enjoying the BW stuff so far. I'm looking forward to getting a bit more work on pullups in to get my reps up. That's the one BW exercise I really feel lacking on. As far as BBB, I'm not really interested in hypertrophy so that's probably not an option I'm going to take.


5/3/1, Cycle 1 Set 1


5 sets Jump rope alternated with 5 sets x3 pullups







pullups 5x3


Didn't feel like taking the time to do the programmed assistance today, so just did more pullups. It was a late workout and I just wanted to finish so that I could go home. I alternated pullup sets in between the squats as well to cut down on time spent. I should have gone ATG on the final set of squats, but just wasn't feeling it so went parallel and left it at that.

Edited by asparagus
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5/3/1 Cycle 1 Set 2

Monday's work:


5 sets jump rope


Military Press

5x45 lbs






Dips 4x8xBW

Pullups 5x4xBW


Today's work:


5 sets jump rope



5x175 lbs






Glute ham raise 5x5

Hanging leg raise 5x5


My gym doesn't have a GHR bench, so I've been doing them on a back raise bench. I've never done them before let alone in a proper GHR bench so I don't know if I'm missing anything. In anycase I am definitely feeling the work in the hammies so it must be doing something. It feels a bit awkward on my knees though, but no pain or discomfort.


Now I just need to figure in a way to get some conditioning back into my workouts...

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5/3/1 Cycle 1 Set 2


Today's work:


5 sets Jump rope



5x45 lbs






DB Row: 10x30 lbs, 10x40, 23x60

Pullups: 3,3,3,2,3,3,3 alternating grips each set


Just like last week, pullups were shit after DB rows. Really happy about hitting 8 reps on the 90% bench weight. Last week I could only hit 8 reps at the 85% bench weight and was a bit disappointed by it. So far I've been able to hit 8 reps on all my 90% weights and I'm predicting squats won't be any less. Went a bit heavier on the rows this time, as last week was pretty easy. I'm pretty worn out now though

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5/3/1 Cycle 1 Set 2


Today's work:


5x100 Jump rope



5x135 lbs






Lunges 5x10 each leg

Ab wheel 5x5 on knees


Strength was a bit lacking on squats, ended it with only 6 reps. Should have been able to do 8, although I did go a little deeper than parallel. Someone in the gym commented that I need to keep my chest up so that I don't bring my torso forward as much. I didn't realize I was doing it, so I'll have to pay attention in the future. Since my workouts were sporadic the past 2.5 months or so, I haven't been squatting as much and I'm probably getting sloppy with my form. Also, I was up to 330 lbs for reps 2.5 months ago. I couldn't have lost that much strength that quickly?


I alternated the assistance work sets to cut down on time. I've never done either exercise before. The ab wheel was tough, even from my knees. Damn I thought my core was tougher than that! I need to find a pad or mat to put under my knees - doing it on cement sucked! The lunges wore me out and kept my HR a bit elevated, which was nice. My abs and legs are sore now!

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Thanks Mini - So far I'm enjoying it, but I think I'll have to get a few cycles in at least before I can pass judgement on it myself. Since I'm doing 3/week, that should take me just under 4 months. I got really good results from Stronglifts 5x5, but that was as a beginning lifter. I had also thought about switching to Stronglifts Intermediate or Madcow, but since there were a number of other strength lifters here working through 5/3/1 and praising it I figured I'd give it a go. Mostly because I liked the assistance work aspect of it.


5/3/1 Cycle 1 Set 3


Today's work:


5 sets of x100 Jump rope alternated with 5 sets of x2 pullups



5x45 lbs






Pullups: 6x4, alternating grips

Dips: 5x8


Felt great today. I fully expected to hit 5 reps at 130, so I'm happy I didn't disappoint myself. Pullups were easy. I originally planned for 5x4, but threw another set in at the end. Next Military day is a deload, so I'll be deloading on the pullups as well. Next cycle I should be able to hit 5x5, maybe add a set.

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We'll see how it goes, Mini. This weekend I'm looking forward to hanging out with my 1 year old son as my wife goes out to party Saturday and Sunday for her friend's bachelorette party.



5/3/1 Cycle 1 Set 3


Today's lifts:


5X100 Jump rope alternated with 5x2 Pullups



5x185 lbs






Glute Ham Raise: 4x6, 1x7

Leg Raise: 5x8


Happy about my lifts today. Was only going for 5 on the final DL set but felt good so went for another. I might have even been able to squeeze out 7, but called it good at 6. I could also have done 5 sets of 7 on GHR - next time. Leg raise was hard at 8 reps.


On a side note, I smiled to myself when I overheard a couple guys talking while weighing themselves. One of the guys looked to be close to my height, perhaps an inch or two shorter, but looked more muscular than me and leaner (larger muscles, not just ripped). He stepped on the scale and told his friend he was 175 lbs and wanted to get up to 190. I weigh 195 - I guess I just have denser muscles.

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5/3/1 Cycle 1 Set 3


Today's work:


5x100 Jump rope alternated with 5x2 Pullups


Bench Press

5x45 lbs






Dumbbell rows: [email protected] lbs, [email protected] lbs

Pullups: 5x3, alternating grips


I actually hit 6 reps on the final bench set, but my ass came up a bit on the last one so I'm not counting it. I've also decided that I'm going to skip the deload week as I'm coming back from a deload to begin with. I'll see how I feel next cycle if I'm going to skip that one too. I want to keep the 95% sets at 5 reps as that is what I was doing with Stronglifts. I think that should be a possibility as I'm only increasing the target every month instead of every week. I guess I'll find out over time. So far I like the assistance work. I feel like I'm getting a more well rounded workout.

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Thanks, although for some reason I feel my bench should be higher compared to my other lifts, but it is what it is and will advance in time along with the rest of them.


So after that Deadlift session last Friday and the whole "muscles are denser?" thought I started to think a bit more about my body composition. Yesterday I got a bug up my ass about it and tried to do a skinfold fat test on myself, which is pretty much impossible to do, so I just used my best estimate based on my pinches. From my estimates I think I'm in the 18-22% range, which is higher than I expected. I'm sitting around 192 lbs for weight right now, but am a little bit weaker than I was previously when I weighed 196.


Today's lifts:


5x100 Jump rope alternated with 5x2 pullups



5x135 lbs






Ab wheel: 6x6

Lunges: 6x10 each leg


My legs were sore for 5 days after my last squat/lunge workout, hopefully they won't be sore as long this time. Although I could have stretched and foam rolled a bit more often which would have helped. Was hoping for 6 reps on the final weight but settled for 5. I'm a bit disappointed because less than 3 months ago I was hitting 325 for 5 reps on squats. Nothing bad happened other than 6 weeks of inactivity. I can't believe that I lost that much strength in such a short time. Maybe I should have stuck with the Stronglifts schedule until I got back up to my previous level before switching to 5/3/1. Well, I'm going to stick with the new program for a little while anyway. I might just continue to skip deload weeks. If I do that I'll be back up to a 5x325 squat in 5 months, whereas with Stronglifts it probably would have taken only 2.

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