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Asparagus Strength Journey


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Thanks a lot for the tips on squatting, VE! I was very happy to hit my 200/300/400 bench/squat/deadlift goals, now I'm definitely going for 300/400/500! Hoping to hit it at least by the end of this year, if not sooner.

 

I decided that I'm going to go back to the basics with a 3-month round of Madcow and then go back to 5/3/1. When I restart 5/3/1 I'm going to program in more weighted assistance, rather than all the bodyweight stuff I was doing previously.

 

I ended up signing up for Gold's gym free 7 day trial membership so that I could lift on my break, as the school (work) gym was closed for the holiday. Only made it there twice - hit one squat/bench/row workout and one squat/OHP/deadlift workout at the entry weights for my Madcow cycle. I didn't really like it there - a few too many meatheads, and the knurling on their barbells was crap.

 

So my Madcow schedule will look like this:

Monday

Squat/Bench/Row

Wednesday

Squat(light)/OHP/Deadlift

Friday

Squat/Bench/Row

 

Weights increase weekly by 2.5% over the initial levels, rounded to what I can fit on a bar with 2.5lbs plate increments. Squat/Bench/Rows increase on Friday with a heavy set of x3, followed by the same weight on Monday x5. OHP/Deadlift increase each week with a heavy set of x5. Squats on Wednesdays are light to recover a bit from Monday and to save strength for the Deadlift. If I can't finish the heavy set, I don't increase the weight.

 

Today:

 

Madcow Week 1

 

5x100 jump rope w/ 5x3 widest grip pullups

 

Squat

2x5x45 lbs

5x115

5x160

5x205

5x245

5x285

 

Bench

5x45 lbs

5x80

5x105

5x135

5x165

5x195

 

Barbell Rows

5x45 lbs

5x75

5x100

5x130

5x150

5x170

 

Lifts were easy for the most part. I did all squats low bar, below parallel, save the last set. For some reason I have a mental block to getting below parallel on the final heavy set. I should have been able to get below parallel on the squats, but for some reason when I saw my hips hit parallel in the mirror I stopped. I've tried not looking at them when i squat, but I find it hard not to watch my form. I have been using the mirror as an aid to make sure I'm getting the right depth ever since i started lifting. I went a little light on rows to make sure I had my form in check, since I haven't done BB rows in 7 months.

Edited by asparagus
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Madcow, Week 1

 

5x100 jump rope / 5x3 widest grip pullups

 

Squat

5x45 lbs

5x115

5x160

5x205, 3 seconds down, pause, explosive up

5x205, 3 seconds down, pause, explosive up

 

OHP

5x45 lbs

5x75

5x100

5x120

5x130

 

Deadlift

5x135 lbs, slow and steady, hook grip

5x205, hook

5x260, hook

5x315, over/under

5x360, over/under

 

Again, just the start of the 3-month cycle, so these weights are less than what I can actually lift for 5 reps. I'm giving myself the recommended 3 week build-up period, to hit my last 5-rep bests in week 4. Seems that I've put on a bit of weight since I last checked prior to my 1RMs last month. The gym scale told me 200.5 lbs clothed, so probably around 199 lbs. However, that is with half a day of eating and hydration behind me, but also a bowel movement. I'll check again in the morning at home, although it will still probably be close to that high as I already had my bowel movement today. I didn't think I had kept up enough food intake over the 2 week break from work, but I guess so! I usually lose weight on my vacations because I tend not to eat as much when I'm not at work where I can structure my mealtimes properly.

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Cheers, guys!

 

I checked my weight the morning after and I was at 199 lbs, although that was after breakfast so probably closer to 198. However, 198 is still a bit higher than my usual 195-197 range, so it's something! It's a bit weird seeing 200+ lbs on the scale though, never wanted to get up that high. This is the most I've ever weighed. My previous heaviest from when I was a younger lad (also did some lifting then) 16 years ago was 190 lbs. I'd really like to see how strong I can get at 200 lbs. While I like the thought of higher strength with a bit more weight, I don't really want to have to increase my eating to support the added mass. I'm eating a hell of a lot as it is and don't care for it.

 

MadCow Week 1

5x100 jump rope, 5x3+ widest grip pullups

 

Squat

5x155 lbs

5x165

5x205

5x245

3x290

8x205

 

Bench

5x80 lbs

5x105

5x135

5x165

3x200

8x135

 

BBRow

5x75 lbs

5x100

5x130

5x155

3x175

8x135

 

Farmers Walk:

2x25m @ 75 lbs each hand, 1 minute rest

2x25m @ 85 each hand, 1 minute rest

2x25m @ 95 each hand

 

Everything went fine today, no real stress on the lifts, as expected. The x8 sets after the heavy set were interesting. Felt it a little on the squats but it was pretty easy after the bench and rows. Felt a little saucy after the main work and felt like doing a little grip work but didn't want to just hold on to a bar. Decided to use the EZ-curl bars instead of dumbells, probably pissed off some gym curl-bros in the process, whatever. Wasn't sure how heavy to go, but found the grip challenging at the lighter weight due to the length of the bars and the lack of knurling in the center of the bar. The bars ended up shifting a little and tilting forward and backward during the sets. Next time I'll do it with dumbells, however if I keep this up that will only last so long as the heaviest dumbell we have is 110 lbs. I'm sure with knurling and the much shorter lever-arm of the dumbells it will be much easier.

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Thanks guys, things are well and I'm happy with the results I'm getting.

 

MadCow Week 2

 

2x200 jump rope w/ 2x6 widest grip pullups

 

Squats:

5x45 lbs

5x115

5x165

5x205

5x245

5x290

 

Bench:

5x45 lbs

5x80

5x110

5x140

5x10

5x200

 

BB Rows:

5x70 lbs

5x95

5x125

5x150

5x175

 

Everything was easy today. Decent depth on the squats, a slight bit below parallel on the heavy set. Gym was packed with New-Years-Resolution-but-only-for-the-next-2-weeks slackers, but I managed to get in on a barbell and hold it for the duration of my workout. Had a student athlete Rugby player work in with me on my sets at the same weights, he made them look easier than they felt while I was doing them, even though they were easy to me too. A couple more weeks and it should start to get really challenging.

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MadCow Week 2

 

200, 200, 100 jump rope w/ 3x5 wide grip pullups

 

Squat

5x115 lbs

5x165

5x205 3-count descent w/ pause at bottom

5x205 3-count descent w/ pause at bottom

 

OHP

5x75

5x100

5x120

5x140

 

Deadlift

5x135 slow for form check, hook

5x205 hook

5x260 hook

5x315 over/under

5x370 over/under, chalk

 

Gym's still pretty full, I've had to vary my warmup to compensate. Power rack was in use for rows so I had to clean and jerk the bar for the first two sets of squats. When life gives you lemons, punch life in the balls, then do some squats. Although this probably doesn't qualify as "lemons", I still stand by the saying. Everything else went fine as expected until the last set of Deadlift. For some reason my form felt off, even though I concentrated on it for all the lead-up sets. First rep went OK, second I felt my balance shift a bit forward to my toes and I pulled it back, the 3rd and 4th just seemed a little off, the final rep was OK.

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MadCow Week 2

 

200, 200, 100 jump rope w/ 4x5 widest grip pullups, 1x10 narrow angled grip pullups

 

Squat

5x45 lbs

5x115

5x160

5x205

5x250

3x295

8x205

 

Bench

5x80

5x115

5x145

5x175

3x205

8x145

 

BB Rows

5x70

5x100

5x125

5x155

3x180

8x125

 

Good workout today. Some guys were using the power rack for some crazy pullup/upperbody/core work so I had to clean the bar from the safety pins to the rack for the first 4 sets to keep it out of their way. The heavy triple felt harder than I was expecting it to be, hopefully I'm just having an off day. Everything else went fine.

 

I realized today that the Uni is closed on Monday, so I won't be able to make it to the gym. Next week might have to be a short week in which I do my normal Monday and Wednesday lifts on Wednesday and Friday, and then the following week I keep the same weights and start again.

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Hey mate i had one question how did your Chest respond to the 5x5 , I will be completing 3 month it on 24th Jan and i haven't seen much development in terms of Chest mass although for strength i am hitting my PB every week . Chest is one area i have always struggled , I have come down to 3x5 on all my lifts and i was thinking that what else can i incorporate to aid some chest development as everyone says that do not fuck with the program . You've been on this for a while so i thought you're the best person to give me an advice on the same . You can check my pictures on my Log if you want .

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Dips are a great exercise choice, I agree with that sentiment. Leaning forward when you do them puts more emphasis on the chest, keeping in a more upright position hits the triceps more. Do them after your benching if you don't want them to take strength away from your main chest exercise(s).

 

How's your weekend going Asparagus?

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Hey mate i had one question how did your Chest respond to the 5x5 , I will be completing 3 month it on 24th Jan and i haven't seen much development in terms of Chest mass although for strength i am hitting my PB every week . Chest is one area i have always struggled , I have come down to 3x5 on all my lifts and i was thinking that what else can i incorporate to aid some chest development as everyone says that do not fuck with the program . You've been on this for a while so i thought you're the best person to give me an advice on the same . You can check my pictures on my Log if you want .

 

First off - everyone's body will develop differently, and everyone has different strengths. Take a look through chewbaws' log (http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=18133), as he also had less chest development than in other areas (his deadlift is huge!).

 

Personally, I have broad shoulders and they've always been somewhat strong, which helps a bit in benching. Looking back at my 5x5 log, I was fine on bench 5x5 until 170 lbs (~0.9x bodyweight). That was at about 16 weeks in. As far as mass developement, it took a number of months (probably at least 6) before it seemed like I had developed nice pectoral mass. ** HOWEVER, aesthetics was never my goal, so I didn't keep track of that or care much about it. That being said, my wife sure was happy with the aesthetics of it!

 

Keep in mind, Stronglifts 5x5 is not designed to build mass, it is designed to build strength. A bit of mass will come with strength, but not as much as if you were on a hypertrophy program. Bodybuilding/strength training is a long-term journey. Be patient, be persistant, and you will reach your goals. In my opinion, once you can bench press at least 1xBW, then you can add in some hypertrophy work to increase your mass. I think you should develop a strong basis first.

 

I agree on the "don't fuck with the program" bit, until the program no longer suits your needs. Each program you come across has certain goals in mind and is tailored to help you reach those goals. Once you've gotten to the point that you are no longer progressing on Stronglifts and you want to add muscle mass, check out Wendler's 5/3/1 Boring But Big template (http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/the_boring_but_big_3month_challenge&cr=).

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Good session considering you think it was an off day ?! Strong benching mate.

thanks. I realized later Friday evening after I wrote up the entry why the squat seemed more difficult. Since I was sharing the power rack, my focus was a bit off and I proceeded to lift my final set in the same method as my warmups - full depth! My ass wasn't on my ankles, as I had the normal (not high) bar position, but I was below parallel and my hams were squashing my calves. I even recall one of the guys saying "damn, you go all the way down" and I said yeah, but didn't think any more about it. Going to try it full depth again this Friday and see what happens.

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Hey mate i had one question how did your Chest respond to the 5x5 , I will be completing 3 month it on 24th Jan and i haven't seen much development in terms of Chest mass although for strength i am hitting my PB every week . Chest is one area i have always struggled , I have come down to 3x5 on all my lifts and i was thinking that what else can i incorporate to aid some chest development as everyone says that do not fuck with the program . You've been on this for a while so i thought you're the best person to give me an advice on the same . You can check my pictures on my Log if you want .

 

First off - everyone's body will develop differently, and everyone has different strengths. Take a look through chewbaws' log (http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=18133), as he also had less chest development than in other areas (his deadlift is huge!).

 

Personally, I have broad shoulders and they've always been somewhat strong, which helps a bit in benching. Looking back at my 5x5 log, I was fine on bench 5x5 until 170 lbs (~0.9x bodyweight). That was at about 16 weeks in. As far as mass developement, it took a number of months (probably at least 6) before it seemed like I had developed nice pectoral mass. ** HOWEVER, aesthetics was never my goal, so I didn't keep track of that or care much about it. That being said, my wife sure was happy with the aesthetics of it!

 

Keep in mind, Stronglifts 5x5 is not designed to build mass, it is designed to build strength. A bit of mass will come with strength, but not as much as if you were on a hypertrophy program. Bodybuilding/strength training is a long-term journey. Be patient, be persistant, and you will reach your goals. In my opinion, once you can bench press at least 1xBW, then you can add in some hypertrophy work to increase your mass. I think you should develop a strong basis first.

 

I agree on the "don't fuck with the program" bit, until the program no longer suits your needs. Each program you come across has certain goals in mind and is tailored to help you reach those goals. Once you've gotten to the point that you are no longer progressing on Stronglifts and you want to add muscle mass, check out Wendler's 5/3/1 Boring But Big template (http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/the_boring_but_big_3month_challenge&cr=).

 

 

Thanks for such a detailed reply mate , really appreciate the feedback , I am still 15 kgs off my bodyweight when it comes to benching , but squatting every workout and doing max every workout is kinda putting me off now , i am thinking of switching to a Hypertrophy oriented routine , i came across one which lets you do Squat , Bench , Deads on Separate days for a set of 5x5 and then lets you add a Assistance Exercise for 3x8 . I have been on Stronglifts for 3 months and i am thinking of trying out this mix of Strength and Hypertrphy routine for 6 weeks or so and then jump onto something like 5/3/1 . As i will be relocating in a months time or so and that will affect my lifting and once settled in a new place only then i will start something established as 5/3/1 .

 

I will keep working on my bench and will get back to you on how it feels once i get my bench to my bodyweight .

 

Thanks again for the reply

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Madcow Week 2.5

200, 100 jump rope w/ 3x3 pullups

 

Squats:

2x5x50 lbs

5x115

5x165

5x205 slow descent, 1 sec pause at bottom, explosive up

5x205 speed set 1 second/rep, holding breath

 

OHP:

5x75

5x100

5x120

5x140 superset w/ 5x140 push press slow negative

 

Deadlift:

5x135 slow for form, hook

5x205 hook

5x260 hook

5x315 over/under

5x375 over/under, chalk

 

30x30 lbs kettlebell swings

 

Since this is a by-week, due to not being able to lift on Monday, I messed around a little today and tried some different stuff out. I tried to do a muscle-up on my first warmup set of pullups and almost got it. When I loosened my grip to transition to the "up" part, my left hand slipped off the grip and I couldn't complete it. I'll try again next time, and hopefully I'll be able to get it. I will probably start doing my warmup pullups explosively to build up the power for it.

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MadCow Week 2.5

 

200, 200, 100 jump rope w/ 3x5 widest grip pullups

 

Squat:

5x70 lbs

5x110

5x165

5x205

5x255

4x295

8x205

 

Bench:

5x85

5x115

5x145

5x175

4x205

8x145

 

BB Row:

5x70

5x100

5x125

5x155

4x180

8x135

 

Farmer's Walk

2x30mx80 lbs each hand

2x30mx85

2x30mx90

 

Dumbbell finger hold, each hand, superset

5 lbs @ 20 seconds

10 @ 20

15 @ 20

20 @ 20

 

The main workout went fine today, except for taking a bit long. The gym was really crowded when I went - I'm going to have to try to get into the gym earlier on Fridays. I psyched myself up for the heavy sets, worrying that i might have trouble with them but forgetting that they should be easily doable. I hit all of them without trouble, good depth on squats, good form on bench and rows. Felt like throwing a bit of grip work in at the end. The farmer's walk was great, last 5 meters each way on the 90 lbs the dumbbells were in my fingers and I was squeezing as hard as I could. The finger hold was just a bit more punishment. I pinched the hex-end of the dumbbell with my fingertips and held it for 20 seconds then moved on to the next weight up. I tried to pick up 25 lbs after the 20 lbs set but couldn't hold the grip. Next time I decide to to this (probably next Friday) I'll start with 10 lbs and see if I can hold the 25 lbs at all again.

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MadCow Week 3

200, 200, 100 jump rope w/ 3x5 pullups

 

Squat

5x45 lbs

5x120

5x160

5x205

5x250

5x295

 

Bench

5x85

5x115

5x145

5x175

5x205

 

BB Rows

5x70

5x100

5x125

5x155

5x180

 

Lifts went well. Depth was OK on the squats, below parallel but I wanted to go deeper - just didn't happen in the execution. Bench went up with just a hint of leg drive on rep 5, looking good for progress there. Last time I did BB rows I started to have trouble finishing a set of 5 at around 200 lbs. I set my starting weight pretty low on this one, hopefully I can progress on it for a while. Hopefully all the Kroc rows I was doing during 5/3/1 will have helped.

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