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Getting Serious about Getting Big


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I'd say your form looks pretty good on both the lifts. True, you could get a little deeper on the squats. You are so close to actual parallel, so it shouldn't be too hard to adjust your depth. Did you record your warmup lifts also to compare depth/form? You should - that way you can see if you have a form issue only when it gets heavy or if you need to do some serious form work from the getgo.

 

The RDLs looked fine, the only bit of rounding I noticed was at your shoulders towards the end of the set. That's not really a problem as long as your mid and lower back stay tight, locked, and straight.

 

Nice lifting!

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Thanks for the suggestions Asparagus! I didn't record my first warm up set but I know just from visually checking myself in the mirror that I get at least a little lower with less weight when I'm squatting. There's always room for improvement! But I'm glad to see that I don't have any glaring issues with form.

 

Today I hit shoulders and triceps, just finished 15 minutes ago or so, and now I'm beyond ready to go grab a beer and hop on the train home.

 

Military Press

10 reps x 55 lbs

5 reps x 65 lbs

5 reps x 70 lbs

5 reps x 70 lbs

 

Close-Grip Bench Press

5 reps x 65 lbs

5 reps x 65 lbs

 

Arnold Press

12 reps x 20 lbs

12 reps x 20 lbs

10 reps x 20 lbs

 

Dumbbell Kickback

10 reps x 15 lbs

10 reps x 15 lbs

12 reps x 12 lbs

 

Behind Head Skull Crusher

12 reps x 40 lbs

12 reps x 40 lbs

12 reps x 40 lbs

 

Dumbbell Front Raise

12 reps x 12 lbs

12 reps x 12 lbs

12 reps x 12 lbs

 

Tricep Pushdown

40 reps x 30 lbs

40 reps x 30 lbs

 

Dumbbell Shrug

40 reps x 20 lbs

40 reps x 25 lbs

 

 

BW is starting to sit pretty solid around 125 lbs and my shirt sleeves fit real tight around my biceps after I'm done with upper body workouts. I couldn't be happier with my recent results.

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Back and Calves and Abs

I LOVE DEADLIFT DAY

 

Deadlift

10 reps x 115 lbs

6 reps x 135 lbs

5 reps x 155 lbs

6 reps x 145 lbs

6 reps x 145 lbs

 

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

12 reps x 80 lbs

12 reps x 80 lbs

12 reps x 80 lbs

 

Calf Press

15 reps x 290 lbs

15 reps x 290 lbs

15 reps x 310 lbs

25 reps x 270 lbs

 

Dumbbell Side Bend

15 reps x 45 lbs

15 reps x 45 lbs

15 reps x 45 lbs

 

T-Bar Row

10 reps x 90 lbs

10 reps x 100 lbs

10 reps x 100 lbs

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a real shit week with going to the gym last week. Monday's workout (chest/biceps) was a complete wash - I just didn't have the energy and hadn't eaten right for the previous 48 hrs or so and consequently I just wasn't moving the plates I wanted too and after about 20 min decided to call it good enough and let my body recover rather than beating myself up. The rest of the week was all just a little off due to stuff going on in my personal life that took precedent over training and eating right, although I still got in the gym and did at least shortened versions of what I usually like to accomplish.

 

This weekend I went to my parents house for mother's day, even though I'm the offspring that lives furthest away and usually busiest, neither of my siblings were able to make it this year so I took it on myself. I ended up getting in a pretty big argument with my father about nutrition and training that was extremely frustrating. My younger brother and I both train hard and are both pretty extreme ectomorphs and have always been the skinny kids so both of us are looking for good ways to get a little more bulk. My dad keeps coming at both of us and speaking very negatively about our training because according to him wanting to bulk is just a vanity thing and a waste of time, and furthermore neither of us will ever be able to achieve it because of our genetics. He thinks it's especially stupid for me because I'm a female and apparently shouldn't be bulking, but he also thinks that because I'm pretty butch that I'm trying to make people think that I'm a guy, so I always have to remind myself to take his criticisms with a large grain of salt. He also has some really ill-informed opinions about nutrition and in order to prove how "informed" he thinks he is he sent me a paper published way the hell back in 2000 about how vegetarian protein sources are low quality... I just can't even argue with him any more, because he's a brick wall when it comes to taking in new information and he's very set in his ways. It really sucks to have your parent tell you that the one thing that has done the absolute most for you in terms of self esteem and body image is a pointless and vain pursuit.

I also was unable to eat as well or as much as I do at home while I was there over the weekend, as I didn't really plan for how meat and dairy based my parents' eating is, and when I weighed myself last night before dinner (so probably a pound or two heavier than I would be first thing in the morning) I was back down to 118 lbs. I'm not happy about it, and although I don't see any loss in mass visually I still can't wait to get that weight back up. I feel like my lifts yesterday suffered slightly from the lost body weight, but hopefully I can make a full recovery in a week or two. It's time to start pounding down the food like no tomorrow!!!

 

 

WORKOUT 14MAY2013

 

Bench Press

10 reps x 65 lbs

5 reps x 75 lbs

5 reps x 75 lbs

5 reps x 75 lbs

 

Alternating Hammer Curl

6 reps x 30 lbs

6 reps x 30 lbs

6 reps x 30 lbs

 

Wide-Grip Incline Bench Press

10 reps x 65 lbs

8 reps x 65 lbs

8 reps x 60 lbs

 

Alternating Dumbbell Curl

10 reps x 25 lbs

10 reps x 25 lbs

10 reps x 25 lbs

 

Dumbbell Bench Press

12 reps x 20 lbs

10 reps x 25 lbs

12 reps x 25 lbs

 

21's

21 reps x 40 lbs

21 reps x 40 lbs

21 reps x 40 lbs

 

Pec Deck

20 reps x 63 lbs

20 reps x 63 lbs

Edited by BeansNBroccoli
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Awesome work BnB. Really hitting the compound lifts hard. That will definitely help you grown . Form looked good in the vids. You might be able to get a little lower on squats (as already mentioned), but I think it is fine. Some just aren't made to get below parallel. Myself included.

 

Do you know how many calories you are eating a day? Are you consistently gaining weight? Just wondering . Good luck!

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Hey thanks! I actually dropped my squat weight for my working sets ~10% last week and I felt like I was able to get a much better ROM, so I think I'll be sticking with the slightly lower weight for a week or two before bumping back up. I can definitely get below parallel and it's a lot easier when the weight is lower, so I decided to back off the weight and focus on getting the form absolutely perfect before going back up. I figure if I'm not fully activating my gluts I might as well just do leg press, so I've gotta do everything I can to get low on those squats.

 

I eat around 2500 kcal/day, and for the past month or so (prior to last weekend) I was gaining pretty consistently and had gotten myself up to 125 which I was quite proud of. I know I'll get back there and be able to push further and get bigger, but this past weekend I had very little to eat at my parents house that wasn't a highly processed carb like bread or pasta. On my drive home Sunday I was feeling so veggie deprived that I made a stop at a convenience store and shot two V8s and one Green Machine down in the space of an hour or so, just to have some greens in my system that were easy to get in on the road. I've got my diet pretty dialed in, this weekend just did a number on me from the lack of adequate nutrition combined with a lot of stress. Oh well, I put on the weight once and I'll do it again! I have no doubt that I'll be able to get it back within a couple weeks and thanks!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Okay, so I fell off the wagon for a couple weeks. No, not the vegan wagon, but the lifting wagon. I've been having a lot of trouble fitting gym time into my schedule since I stared with a new lab, especially because I'm job hunting like crazy right now and that's a full-time job in and of itself. However, yesterday I decided it was time for no more excuses. I don't want to lose what progress I've made and I want to keep pushing harder and I'll get back into a gym as soon as I can. For the time being, I dusted off my copy of P90X and I'm going to make an attempt at sticking with it (or at least as close to the program as my schedule allows). This means I might be doing 2 a days on weekends to make up for some missed time during the week, but I figure it probably doesn't hurt for me to do a Yoga X session in the morning and upper body in the afternoon/evening.

Yesterday I stared Day 1 which is Chest, Back and Ab Ripper X. I didn't go quite as all-out as I could've because I haven't done the program before and I wanted to make sure that I could maintain good form and actually get through the entire 75 minutes. I read enough blog posts yesterday from people that couldn't get through Day 1, and I didn't want to make that mistake. Of course, I may be in slightly better starting condition than those people, but I didn't want to take that for granted. When I revisit this workout next week I will go harder, that's for sure. The whole workout is essentially variations on push-ups, pull-ups, and some weighted rows. Pull-ups are a weakness for me, so I did the first round un-assisted with low reps and allowed myself to use assistance and crank out more reps on the second round. The Ab Ripper X workout was also something new for me, as I don't usually do a lot of straight ab work. Usually I've done a little core assistance work on the roman chair and whatnot, but I feel like I get enough core workout from keeping everything tight and using good form for squats and deads. However, I kept at it and matched the trainers on-screen almost rep for rep throughout Ab Ripper X, but I've definitely got some room for improvement (that's the whole point, right?).

 

Anyway, right now my plan is to try to stick with this P90X for a couple weeks and if I find myself working out efficiently at home and enjoying it, at that point I'll try to find a few more plates to add to my at-home-gym arsenal. Currently I've only got 45 lbs in plates, an EZ-Curl bar, and a couple empty dumbbell bars, but it was enough for this first session. I had to keep my reps higher than I would've liked optimally, but it's a start and I don't necessarily want to invest the time/money in finding new plates if I'm not going to be able to keep up the motivation to work out at home.

 

 

BIGGER NEWS THOUGH: Yesterday I made a KILLER chickpea salad that functions like a mock tuna salad. Used homemade vegan mayo, a few cans of chickpeas (one processed into the mayo for thickness and one mashed up by hand for bulk), fresh grated carrots, celery, onion, and a few sheets of nori crumbled up and processed for that "ocean" flavor... so good. If anyone's interested I'll type up the exact recipe but I've gotta say that nori made all the difference and really elevated it from a boring chickpea salad to something much more exciting.

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I've been following the first week or so of P90X pretty well, with a couple days of substitutions. Last night I took a 22 mile bike ride with my girlfriend down Lake Michigan, which was absolutely gorgeous and a nice light workout. I like P90X and all, but I also decided this weekend that it's time for me to actually join a gym. The gym at the school where I work is all torn up for the summer, so unless I join up somewhere I'm out of luck. I've been checking out the Y and a couple other gyms in the area, hopefully I'll make a decision and sign on this weekend so I can just get back to it. Until then, I'll push hard at home to keep my conditioning up and take advantage of the gorgeous weather for getting in some good runs and bike rides I'm sure my pittie could use a good run or two, as well hah

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  • 2 months later...

Back in the game, after not having a gym for >two months.

First day of the first cycle of 5/3/1 was yesterday. For my starting approach, I’m going to keep things simple and use the Boring But Big version. Yesterday I realized that I have lost more strength over the past two months than I had anticipated, so I’ll have to modify my starting 1RMs, but that’s okay. I guess it’s better to start lower so that I have more room to grow, and so that I’m in a zone where I’m comfortable working on form and keeping myself really tight.

 

Pre-Supps

50 mg DHEA

1000 mg Trib

6 g Creatine

2 g BCAA

B-Complex

 

OHP

5x35lbs

5x40lbs

3x50lbs

5x45lbs

5x45lbs

(originally I was shooting for hitting >5x50lbs at the end but I knew I would hit failure and decided to leave it in the tank)

 

Bench Press

4x10x45lbs superset with…

Kroc Rows

10x45lbs

3x10x40lbs

 

Lat Pulldowns

3x10x75lbs

 

The overall plan is to keep things nice and simple and heavy, hit 5/3/1 4 days out of the week, and take as many bike rides and go for as many runs as I feel like. I’m riding ~7 mi a day just for my commute now, so it’s nice that I have that every day regardless of what else I might do for conditioning.

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Tuesday is going to be Deadlift working sets with Squat assistance for power and then some ab work for vanity’s sake. Deadlift day always gets me all excited. I think that I probably underestimated my 1RM for deads a little but I’m not concerned, strength training being a marathon and not a sprint, blah blah. I still feel it this morning, so I know I pushed myself even if it wasn’t all the way out to my limit. Here’s what I got up to yesterday (pre-supps same, same post-training protein shake as always):

 

Deadlift

5x55lbs

5x75lbs

5x95lbs

5x105lbs

5x115lbs

10x125lbs

 

Squat

5x10x65 lbs

 

Machine Ab Crunch

3x10x50lbs

 

Dumbbell Side Bend

3x10x45lbs

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Felt like a beast at the gym yesterday. Keeping the ramp up gradual, because that’s the idea with 5/3/1. The whole philosophy right now is to keep it simple and big, and to not fuck around with vanity lifts. I’m focusing hard on keeping my form precise and staying tight and explosive, especially with the high volume accessory lifts. Continually leaving the last rep in the tank. Staying on top of my eating and sups and hydration. Biking every day. Feeling wonderful. I’ve got a 5k coming up in a week, super stoked.

 

Deads

5x65lbs

5x85lbs

5x115lbs

5x135lbs

5x145lbs

5x145lbs

8x145lbs

 

Squat

5x10x70lbs

 

Roman Chair Leg Raise

3×15 (superset with…)

Dumbbell Side Bend

3x10x45lbs

 

Today is Bench, OHP for accessory and some messing about with upper body lifts. Bench press is without a doubt my weak point, so it’s time to hit it hard. I’m armed with new creatine and some builder bars today, no room for excuses.

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When I started getting more serious about training a year ago, I loved chest/bi day. I loved the pump and I loved doing curls and it made me feel tough. My form was only so-so and I did leg press because I was convinced my back couldn’t handle conventional squat. Then I discovered powerlifting, and now all I want to do is deadlift all day. Oh well. Balance.

Also, I did my bench press with dumbbells today because all three of the benches were busy and my bench press isn’t strong enough to really require the barbell. I also feel like I can better squeeze and target my pecs when I use dumbbells, which I assume is an indication of an issue with my barbell press form, but I’m not sure how to correct it.

 

Dumbbell Bench Press

5x20lbs

5x25lbs

5x30lbs

5x30lbs

5x30lbs

 

OHP

5x10x45lbs

 

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

3x10x72lbs (superset with…)

21′s

3x21x35lbs

 

(this is a record of 8/30/2013)

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Wednesday was a rest day more or less, except for a 3.5 mile walk home from the bar at night with my girl. Sometimes we just get to talking and get too impatient for the bus so we just wander. Yesterday I got into the gym for bench day, and today I’ll be walking/light jogging a 5k with my partner for her birthday. It’s a run technically but she cracked a rib on her bike the other day so we’ll be just taking it easy.

 

Bench Press

5x45lbs

5x45lbs

6x55lbs

5x65lbs

5x65lbs

3x75lbs and dumped the bar

 

Overhead Press

10x45lbs

5x55lbs

6x55lbs

6x55lbs

6x60lbs

(loaded this one similarly to an OHP working day because I couldn’t get into the gym on monday)

 

Machine-assisted Dips

3×10 @85lbs

 

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

3x10x20lbs

 

Bench press is so difficult for me and yet I don’t get the satisfaction of a good sweat like I do with deads and squats. So much work to be done.

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I've been following the first week or so of P90X pretty well, with a couple days of substitutions. Last night I took a 22 mile bike ride with my girlfriend down Lake Michigan, which was absolutely gorgeous and a nice light workout. I like P90X and all, but I also decided this weekend that it's time for me to actually join a gym. The gym at the school where I work is all torn up for the summer, so unless I join up somewhere I'm out of luck. I've been checking out the Y and a couple other gyms in the area, hopefully I'll make a decision and sign on this weekend so I can just get back to it. Until then, I'll push hard at home to keep my conditioning up and take advantage of the gorgeous weather for getting in some good runs and bike rides I'm sure my pittie could use a good run or two, as well hah

 

 

Hey neighbor, what part of the city do you live in? You might try Charter Fitness on Belmont (my gym). It's usually not that busy during the day, but can be around the regular rush hour times. The good(?) news is that there is an XSport just down the street, which seemed to draw away a lot of the jerks milling around. That being said, there are some not-so-great people remaining. Hey, it's cheap ($19.99/mo) for Chicago.

 

Chris

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Hey Chris! Thanks for the tip. I actually landed a gig at Northwestern a couple months back so I've been able to work in at the school gym, but I will keep that in mind if anything changes! I looked around at a lot of gyms and was just really disappointed with the lack of powerlifting set-ups (including a "trainer" at the High Ridge YMCA who looked at me like I was a crazy person when I asked if there was floor space to deadlift). Luckily, there's always powerlifters at universities! Northwestern has some pretty good space and nice plates (which may sound silly, but they've got handles on them which make them really easy to move around), and they haven't seemed to be too busy to work in so I'm happy for the time being

 

Last friday was the 5k, and according to RunKeeper our group ran/walked a total of 10.2 miles that night. The closest train stop to the run start was about 2 miles away, which we chose to walk as a warm up instead of waiting for the bus, and then we walked around a LOT after the run. My partner managed to run the entire way because she’s such a badass. No cracked rib holdin’ that girl down. So proud of her. We all ate like crazed beasts at the end of night.

Yesterday was OHP + Bench assistance. Hit bench with dumbbells. I think I’m starting to identify my problem areas with the barbell bench – namely TOO much arch, not enough drive downward from the scapula. I’ll try to keep that in mind on Thursday when it’s bench day.

An update on supplements, as well – I started a microgreen supplement that contains milk thistle to help support my liver and kidney as I’m loaded with DHEA and the Trib. So far so good with the DHEA and Trib, I really do feel as if they’re helping with muscle growth, and there’s no question that my vascularity is increasing. I feel like I see a new vein every single time I’m pumped. Fantastic. I’ll keep on for another month or so and then have a month off cycle.

 

OHP

5x30lbs

5x35lbs

5x40lbs

5x45lbs

5x50lbs

5x55lbs

5x60lbs

5x60lbs

 

Dumbbell Bench Press

5x10x20lbs

 

Kroc Rows

3x10x40lbs

 

Alternating Hammer Curl

5x25lbs

3x10x20lbs

 

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

3x10x72lbs

 

Today hittin deads w/squat assistance. My favorite day of the week.

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I took a couple days off and got into the gym yesterday. Right back in for deadlifts and hit a PR of 10x155lbs, roughly 1RM of 207 @125lbs (1.66xBW). Felt really good and I’m not too sore today because of it. Right on. I’ve been modifying my schedule a lot because I’ve been busy, but I’m still getting in there and hitting it whenever I can. Yesterday had to be quick so I just got in went hard on my deads to get that PR then worked out some more big compound movements with some squats and RDLs and called it a night.

 

Deadlift

5x95lbs

5x95lbs

5x115lbs

5x115lbs

3x135lbs

3x145lbs

10x155lbs

10x135lbs (I felt like I still had a deload set in me so I went for it)

 

Squats

10x65lbs

10x65lbs

10x75lbs

(This weekend I’m going to work in some heavier 3 or 5 rep sets because all of this higher volume low weight work I’ve been doing with the squats has my confidence up)

RDLs

3x10x95lbs

(Forgot how much I love RDLs. These’ll be back a lot more)

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Thanks for the encouragement guys!

 

I’ve got the apartment to myself this weekend due to my partner being out of town visiting some of her family, so I took my time at the gym today. I plan to get up early tomorrow and go hit squats and try to put some bigger numbers up there. I can already tell I’m going to feel this one tomorrow.

 

Bench Press

5x40lbs

5x45lbs

3x50lbs

3x65lbs

3x70lbs

3x70lbs

3x70lbs

4x75lbs

 

Military Press

7x40lbs

10x30lbs

8x30lbs

8x24lbs

 

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

3x10x15lbs

 

Alternating Hammer Curl

3x10x20lbs

 

Behind Head Skull Crusher

10x35lbs

10x40lbs

10x40lbs

 

Alternating Dumbbell Curl

3x10x15lbs

 

Dumbbell Shrug

3x10x40lbs

 

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

3x10x72lbs

 

Machine Chest Press

10x50lbs

10x65lbs

10x65lbs

20x35lbs

 

Usually I steer clear of machines but I made an exception today at the end of my workout… I just wanted to play around and maybe I’ll incorporate this chest press machine in from time to time to really exhaust the pecs. I liked that I felt comfortable enough to bust out a burn set at the end, too. I can feel it all across my chest still.

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Yesterday I got into the gym and essentially just did my OHP and bench reps and then I was out. Not too much to record. I was so excited to get home to my partner after her being gone all weekend that I kind of rushed through things, but at least I got in there and got the big lifts up.

Today I went to the gym over my lunch break because students have started trickling back onto campus and my usual time (5-ish) is starting to get busy. I’m lucky enough that I can come and go from the lab and as long as I’m there for 8 hours/day I can pretty much pick when those 8 hours are, and the gym is less than a five minute walk away so I cruised over during my lunch. In general I like training over lunch, especially on leg/back days, because then I don’t have to hop on my bike with my pack right away after lifting. I used to train over lunch all of the time at my old lab, so I know it’s a timing that works well for me. I also like lifting on a pretty empty stomach, and I’m emptier before lunch than I am a few hours after lunch so it’s a win/win. The only thing I took prior to lifting today was creatine. I’ll be taking all of my supps now with lunch (pad thai, eating as I type, excellent multitasking skills).

Anyway, last night I only slept for four hours because I was up waiting for the GTA V release and then playing GTA V and then lifted on an empty stomach and pulled 5x175lbs for the first time. It’s not technically a PR because that only calculates out to a 1RM of 197, but it’s still the heaviest I’ve actually ever picked up so I’m stoked on it. I also hit leg press today instead of squats because the squat rack was busy and I hate smith machines. I noticed a squat machine in the machine room after my leg presses so maybe I’ll make use of that in the future, although I really really like leg press. I can’t help it. After deads and leg press I pretty much just hit the things that I felt like hitting. I’m finding more and more that I’m following the spirit of Boring But Big but not necessarily the 5/3/1 template. I think that because I’ve only been lifting seriously for a year or so and four months of that was off time that my strength gains are coming along very quickly without me having to follow a strict template, so perhaps 5/3/1 is something that I would pursue more stringently when I feel that I am hitting a plateau and for the time being I will just continue in the BBB mindset, hitting two main compound lifts every time I go in and using one for work sets and one for assistance, then lifting around those sets with whatever else I think needs work or whatever else I feel like lifting that day.

I keep reminding myself that I do this for fun, and I shouldn’t get upset with myself for not following a strict template if I’m having fun lifting and seeing both strength and mass gains. It’s all good.

I can’t wait to go home and pop in GTA V again tonight.

 

Deadlift

8x95lbs

5x115lbs

5x135lbs

5x145lbs

5x155lbs

5x165lbs

5x175lbs

5x175lbs

6x145lbs

 

Leg Press

10x220lbs

10x220lbs

10x240lbs

10x260lbs

10x280lbs

 

Alternating Dumbbell Curl

10x25lbs

7x25lbs

10x20lbs

 

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

3x10x72lbs

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