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


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Today was a quick make-up day for the shoulder workout I didn't get in yesterday - it was supposed to be outdoor training, but weather was terrible being about 45 degrees and raining all day so I had to stay inside.

 

Started with standing barbell shoulder presses, done strict with no leg drive -

 

1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 185

1x2 @ 205

1x1 @ 215

Attempted to hit my old PR of 225, didn't get past top-of-head height. Oh well, been a while since I focused on strict pressing.

1x2 @ 185 and I was done with these

 

Moved next to 1-arm DB presses done fairly strict - no leg drive in the standing set, but a slight side lean on the last few reps:

 

1x7 w/ right arm @ 100

1x6 w/ left arm @ 100

 

Decided to do one lighter set seated, so I threw in 1x10 with each arm with a lighter 75 lb. DB and that was it for these.

 

Wrapped up with goofing around on some weird cable shoulder press machine to try it out - didn't feel too bad since the handles on the cables were free and independent on the machine, but still, does any machine REALLY work all that well? Did the following sets in single-arm style -

1x12 @ 50 each arm

1x10 @ 80 " "

1x10 @ 100 " "

 

I could barely move my arms at all after this since my shoulders were so sore, so I headed home and wrapped up the shrugs in my basement. Just a few sets as done earlier last week with the IronMind Eagle Loops to prevent grip fatigue, done single-arm style for the following:

 

1x10 @ 130 lbs per arm

1x10 @ 150 " "

1x6 @ 175 " "

1x3 @ 200 " "

1x20 @ 100 " "

 

That was it - I'm trying to incorporate some direct shrugging work in on 2 days per week to get some additional upper back mass tossed on, but that's about the only chage to the usual training schedule.

 

Tuesday will be squat day again as usual, will report once it is done!

 

Ryan

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Squat day today, and what a day it was!

 

Goal for the day was to simply set a new PR with 430 lbs. for 5 reps in a set, but it ended up much better than that!

 

Did the following sets of squats -

1x5 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 225

1x3 @ 315

1x1 @ 405

1x1 @ 430

Next set was supposed to be 5 reps with 430, but I went until I couldn't go any longer and did 7, much to my surprise. Very nice! Didn't stop there since I still felt great, so I did 2 more sets:

1x1 @ 460 - popped up as easily as 405, so one more!

1x1 @ 485 for a quick PR - this one came up as easily as the 430s did, so going for 500 in 2 weeks will be a snap. Aiming to hit 500 for a double or triple before year's end, and I'll do anything it takes to get there!

 

Next, did some 1/3 ROM squats in the rack, about a 13-14" movement -

1x5 @ 545

1x5 @ 600

 

Dropped the pins low and did some bottom paused squats to stretch out. Just 3 singles @ 315 with 5 seconds at bottom to stretch.

 

Next, some low position Zercher lifts from a parallel bottom squat position -

1x3 @ 315

1x1 @ 405

1x1 @ 475

Getting better with these! Hamstrings got REALLY tight on the last single rep, so I had to stop before hitting 500, but I'll do it again soon.

 

Finally, wrapped up with Good Mornings, setting new PRs with these as well -

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

1x5 @ 350

1x3 @ 375 (50 lb PR!)

 

I was thoroughly destroyed afterward and had nothing left to give for benching, so I have to do it in 2 days along with back work at that point. It will get done, though, and I'll post the back/chest workout when it is complete on Thursday night!

 

Ryan

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Wow, impressive heavy weights (as always) Ryan!

 

What are Zercher lifts?

 

Maybe i'll start doing good mornings, too. I'm not sure if they fit in my routine, though, as it already has SL deadlift and squats in the same whole body wokout.

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Daywalker,

 

I had a friend take this video clip back about a year or so ago when I first did a Zercher rack lift with over 400 lbs. - this is at a slimmed down bodyweight of about 240 lbs. back then:

 

http://www.veganessentials.com/veganfitness/134-3457_MVI.AVI

 

Basically, the lift can be done any number of ways, ranging from off the floor (the most challenging, requiring a really strong lower back and lots of flexibility) to doing them for short-range lifts with a hold to simulate strongman events. What I do is somewhere in the middle as of now, but I'll be incorporating doing them off the floor and from a short ROM in the future again. Fun lift, but it takes a while for your arms not to get scraped up by it!

 

The Good Mornings have come along quickly for me - I still remember hurting my back trying to do a double with 205 about 2-3 years back, so knowing that I can do nearly twice that much now is quite nice. Definitely seems to be helping with my squat, so if you get the chance to include them I highly recommend it!

 

Ryan

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Today was back and chest day to rack up some more PRs!

 

 

Started with barbell bent over rows:

1x10 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

3x5 @ 295 - PR from only having done sets of 3 last year when I'd row more often

 

Next, moved to Hise shrugs in the power rack:

1x10 @ 405

2x5 @ 515

1x20 @ 315

 

Time to bench again, 2nd session in about 3 months, first time in around 4 weeks:

1x6 @ 135

1x3 @ 225

1x2 @ 255

1x2 @ 270

1x1 @ 285 for a new 5 lb. PR (not much, but it is still something!)

1x18 @ 135

 

Came home and had the urge to toss in 2 last sets of rows with the 2" thick DB handle:

1x10 @ 140 per arm (had to take breaks twice per arm - grip was giving out!)

1x20 @ 105 " "

 

That's it for today. Should be able to get some event training done this weekend, and I'll post when it is over!

 

Ryan

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Today was strongman event training day - I got late to the meetup, but still did some fun stuff. Lots of goofing around, but the following stood out -

 

Farmer's walk about 100 feet with 240 lbs. per hand (480 lbs. total), drop the implements, turn around, grab them and head back. I felt like I was going to pass out on the last 25 feet, but everyone kept shouting for me to finish so I wrapped it up to the end point.

 

Attempted to lift the farmer's handles with 330 lbs. on each for a 660 lb. total, got them a few inches off the ground but couldn't lock out. Too tired from the carry beforehand. I'll need to work this hard for next year because I'll have to make at least 290 lbs. per hand for 75 feet for the competition!

 

Tire flips, just had fun doing a few sets of 3-4 flips with a 670 lb. tire. Nothing too big, just working on form as they were giving me pointers on how to flip it even faster.

 

Stones - Did a few quick single-motion lifts with the 220 lb. stone without stopping to lap and re-grip, then went straight for a new PR on the 320 lb. stone, making what looked to be impossible from how far away I was from the platform. Somehow I tossed it far enough out from my chest to get it straight on the 54" loading platform, making this 20 lbs. heavier than my previous best. Tried it a second time and just missed the load by a few inches, banging the stone off the edge of the platform, but all in all, it went up easily so I'm definitely getting stronger with these. 340, here I come!

 

That was about it for the day - I'll be waking up soon to get my deadlift and overhead lifts in, then next stop is squat day on Tuesday as normal. I'll post again when the next session is complete!

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Deadlift and shoulders day today!

 

Started with barbell clean and push presses -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135

1x5 @ 185

1x7, 1x5, 1x4 @ 225

Was hoping to get 7,6,5 on my sets but I think I'm not fully recovered from yesterday's short training session plus I had a lousy night's sleep. Next time it'll happen.

 

Moved next to deadlifts, still working to get form back and regain confidence -

1x5 @ 225

1x3 @ 315

3x5 @ 425 - all sets done easily, still gas in the tank but was gasping for air after each set (my endurance still sucks.)

 

Wrapped up with seated overhead lockouts in the power rack. First sets were done with a very short ROM of about 5" -

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 275

1x2 @ 300 (didn't feel stable on these for some reason - had a hard time with the support)

Followed up with 2 sets done with about a 10" ROM, done from about 3" over forehead height to lockout -

1x8 @ 205

1x8 @ 225

 

Got kicked out at closing at the end of these sets, headed home and finished up with 3 sets of single-arm shrugs using the IM Eagle Loops and a weighted loading pin. An easy 3x10 @ 155 lbs. for each side and that was good for the day.

 

Squats coming again on Tuesday if I'm feeling good, Wednesday if I'm worn out still from the DLs.

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Leg and chest day today!

 

Started with squats, felt good from the start:

1x5 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

1x3 @ 315

1x1 @ 405

1x1 @ 455

1x5 @ 405

1x5 @ 415

1x4 @ 425 (stopped at 4, knew I wouldn't make the 5th rep)

Working up some endurance as I'm finding the alternating my routines in 3 week cycles works well for me again - one week heavy singles or doubles, one week heavy sets of 5-8, the 3rd week speed work with 10x2 for a moderate weight. Next week is light speed work week, the following week is the goal of a 500 lb. raw squat!

 

Next, did some low rep benching just to do it and continue the goal of eventually hitting a meager 300 lbs. just to know that I actually did it.

1x5 @ 135

1x2 @ 225

5x2 @ 250

All sets went well, no slowdown or sticking points, feeling a bit more confident in benching even if it is only my 2nd consecutive week done all year (in addition to the 2-3 other sessions I had back in spring).

 

Next for legs did some GMs:

1x5 @ 225

1x10 @ 275

1x10 @ 300

1x10 @ 315

Getting better with these, hope to crack 400 for a few reps in December.

 

Wrapped up with a few power snatches just for fun, using the 135 with bumper plates that someone had left for 3x3 and that was it.

 

May finally get back to some grip work tomorrow, Thursday will be back day and maybe shoulders if I have enough time.

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A day with 2 new PRs is a good day indeed, so here's how it went -

 

Met with Sensless at my normal gym today to set some good PRs, and started with squats -

 

1x5 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

1x3 @ 315

1x2 @ 405

1x1 @ 425

1x1 @ 455

1x1 @ 500 - new PR by 15 lbs!

Egged on by Sensless, we put 545 on the bar and I gave it a go. Got a few inches up but crapped out, more from my mind failing before my body did. Felt light as hell coming out of the rack, so give me about 4-6 weeks and this one will go down too. Loaded up 525 afterward, same thing - came up about 6", stalled and quit early. Soon enough it will all come to me, aiming for 550 after the new year and 500x5 before spring.

 

Moved to benching next to go for the 300 mark, with success!

1x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 225

1x1 @ 255

1x1 @ 275

1x1 @ 300, slow and ugly but still done successfully, probably 10 seconds to get it all the way up

1x8 @ 225

 

So, I finally hit a 300 bench and made my 500 squat goal nearly 6 weeks ahead of the original schedule, putting me to aim for a 320 bench and 530 squat before January 1st. I plan to make these and keep going up in 2006!

 

Ryan

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Michael - I don't know about a 500 bench any time soon! I'm aiming to hit 350 for a single and 315x5 sometime in 2006, but honestly, I don't plan on pushing the benching as hard as other stuff. For strongman training only incline benching has much application, since the flat bench doesn't simulate any events or give added strength for much of anything. Steep inclines, however, will help with overhead pressing, so I'll definitely be working those more now that I've gone past 300 for flat.

 

Today was a quick session for shoulders and back!

 

Started with strict presses in the rack:

1x5 @ 135

1x5 @ 185

3x3 @ 200

Just wasn't feeling it at the start, and since my strict presses aren't great it wasn't destined to be a hugely eventful day for this one.

 

BB Rows were next:

1x10 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

3x7 @ 275 for a PR on reps with that weight

 

After that, just goofed a bit since I had around 10 minutes left. Did 2 sets of Hise shrugs in the rack, 1x8 @ 405 and 1x8 @ 500. After that, I went home and did one set of 20 rep single-arm shrugs with the IM Eagle Loops on a loading pin @ 150 lbs. That was it - nothing too brutal since I hope to get some event training in this Saturday, then deadlifts on Sunday!

 

Ryan

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A bit of strongman stuff done today -

 

Met with the group and started off with some deadlifts to warm up, doing double-overhand grip sets up through a triple at 405 before the grip gave out since I always use mixed-grip for pulling. Nothing too heavy, just enough to get feeling good and warmed up.

 

Did some flipping with the 670ish tire, probably about 20 flips total done in sets ranging from 3-6 flips each, some uphill (noticeably harder) and some downhill. Technique and speed getting better.

 

Wrapped up with a really quick round on the stones to a 52" platform. Did 3 loads with the 275 lb. stone to start, a really easy single with the 320 lb. stone (much easier than last time), and a slightly assisted load with the 350 lb. stone. Another session or two and the 350 will be owned, which is way ahead of what I thought since I'd originally guessed it would be a few months until I'd get that thing loaded on the platform. Two guys nudged it when I was about halfway up to loading it so that I wouldn't lose it (nobody else wanted to load it, so when they took it down, I was told I had to make sure it went back to the top again!) Gotta be able to get 380+ for next summer, and I think with more squats, deadlifts and practice on stones it will happen for sure.

 

Rest for a few, squats again on Tuesday!

 

Ryan

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Squat and bench day!

 

Speed work for both, so it was a quick session of back-to-back sets between squats and close-grip benches with no rest except to get a drink after each round:

 

8x2 @ 335 for the squat

8x2 @ 235 for the close grip bench

 

All sets done in quick doubles aiming for top speed coming up on each rep. Do squats, do benches, drink, come back without a break.

 

Next, did some 1/3 squats, about a 11-12" ROM from the pins to lockout:

1x5 @ 500

1x5 @ 590

1x5 @ 680

1x1 @ 730, 10 second hold at lockout

 

Did some good mornings next to hit a new PR:

1x5 @ 225

1x3 @ 315

1x2 @ 365

1x2 @ 385

1x1 @ 405 - kind of sloppy, needed work

2x2 @ 225

 

That was plenty, back and shoulders on Thursday!

 

Ryan

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Kind of a goof-off day today, but a PR for overhead pressing came out of it.

 

Started with some DL lockouts from an inche above the knee. Bar had next to no knurling and my hands were sweating from the get-go, so it wasn't a great time. Just a few quick sets:

1x10 @ 315

1x5 @ 405

1x5 @ 495

1x5 @ 585

1x3 @ 675, bar was starting to slip so I ended up there.

 

Decided to try for a push press PR since I haven't done one in a long time. Got in the rack and had a go at it:

1x5 @ 135

1x1 @ 225

1x1 @ 245

1x1 @ 265

1x1 @ 280 for a 5 lb. PR. Seemed to be easier than expected

1xfailure at 290, crapped out at top of head height. Another few weeks and I'll give the 290 a go again, hoping for 300 by year's end.

 

Did one single with a strict press at 225 that went up pretty well, failed at 230.

 

5 minutes to go, hit up some weird cable overhead press machine since I could keep my hands inward to simulate log positioning. 3 quick sets of 8 with 100, 120 and 140, all of which felt much more like 30-40 lbs. lighter than the listed poundages compared to DB work.

 

Went home, still felt refreshed, did some grip work that I've been sorely neglecting. Worked some plate pinches up to a few 3-5 second holds with 35 lb. plates, pulled the 42.5 lb. blob a few times, got pissed off at missing 170 lbs. on the Rolling Thunder handle and that was about it. Gotta get back to tossing in grip stuff 1-2x per week to get on track again.

 

Hopefully some event training this weekend, otherwise it'll be deadlifts and whatever else sounds good at the time.

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Event training today!

 

Got to train at a new place today - the guy's family owns a metal fabricating facility and the boiler room has been turned into a strongman's paradise! Just about anything someone could need for event training was there, so we did as much as our bodies would allow.

 

Started out warming up with some power snatches and clean & presses with 135 to loosen up. 3 quick sets to get started, then it was on!

 

Opened the heavy stuff up with yoke walks outdoors - apparently the one we used swings REALLY badly, making it a lot harder to manage easier weights, so hopefully when I can use a good yoke again I'll be much better for it. 3 walks of about 80-100 feet with 420 lbs. to start, then I went heavier but didn't fare so well, only making around 10-20 feet total with 620 lbs. Once I get to where I can keep it more stable I should be able to make the full distance with the weight easily enough.

 

Did 2 quick sets of farmer's walks with 210 lbs. per hand for 80 feet - just felt like going light on these.

 

Went back inside and played with the stones a bit. Just going lighter on them for a higher platform, made 2 loads with the 250 lb. stone to 63", much higher than I've had to load one before. First time was pretty ugly and struggled, second load was fast and smooth. Did 3 or 4 loads for speed to the 53" platform as well, but nothing much more than that. No heavy stones today, maybe next week.

 

Next, did 18" deadlifts off a special device attached to the largest power rack I've ever seen, working up to 540 lbs. for a good single. Did a seriously ugly 585 lbs. that took forever to lock out on my 3rd try, so this again is proof I need to start deadlifting a lot more. Come next summer I have to be hitting 750 or more to be remotely competitive with it, so I definitely need to train this regularly.

 

Finally, took the dragging sled outside in the parking lot again and did backward walking pulls until I almost threw up. The weight wasn't super-heavy, but pulling 330 lbs. around for sets of 50-100 feet will make you feel like you're going to die. If you ever want to make your legs feel solid like tree trunks, get a sled and drag that thing around because my thighs were so pumped I couldn't squat down to sit when resting.

 

A few days off ar in order, squats again on Tuesday!

 

Ryan

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Squat day today!

 

Sensless and I went to meet up with Pete, the guy who has the excellent strongman equipment and other stuff, to train at his place. Unfortunately, he wasn't there as we'd expected, so we hit my usual gym up about an hour later after waiting around a bit.

 

Started with squats -

1x5 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

1x3 @ 315

1x2 @ 405

1x3 @ 455

1x2 @ 475 - attempted 3 reps, nearly died on the 2nd one

Crapped out a bit early here, so we moved next to 1/2 squats

 

1x5 @ 405

1x3 @ 495

1xfailure at 585 - too burned out from the full squats still

 

Sensless asked if I could power snatch the 185 that was set on the lifting platform, so I did a few pulls first and snatched it with relative ease.

 

Finally, wrapped up with a really quick round for overhead presses -

1x5 @ 135

1x1 @ 225

1x1 @ 245

1xfailure @ 285 - was greedy for a new PR, but too dead from squatting

 

Probably will take it easy this week due to the holiday, maybe some deadlifts or something on Sunday.

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Haven't felt too healthy all of the holiday weekend (digestive issues, slight headaches), so I took a semi-light day in the gym tonight just to maintain for back and chest work:

 

Barbell rows -

1x8 @ 135

3x12 @ 225 (had to rest between a few reps, but wouldn't stop for more than a few seconds until all 12 were done in a set)

 

Close-grip (14" space between hands) bench press -

1x8 @ 135

3x5 @ 245

1x10 @ 185

1x10 @ 135

 

Hise Shrugs in power rack

1x10 @ 315

3x10 @ 405

 

Overhead shrugs

1x15 @ 195

1x12 @ 265

1x15 @ 195

1x15 @ 105

 

That was it - all done in about 45 minutes for a quick stop. I feel better after getting done with this, hopefully I'm getting past feeling crappy!

 

Ryan

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Ryan, the wider stance and lower bar position you recommended in my journal, for squating, was very helpful. While my form still needs work, it was much improved thanks to your advice .

 

One question, do you have a suggestion for keeping the bar held in place across the rear deltoids. I notice it was harder to keep the bar from slipping in this lower position. It also put a little more strain on my wrist, but maybe I’m not holding the bar quite right .

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Daniel,

 

Glad that the form changes have helped a bit! A few things to keep the bar in place a bit better so that it doesn't slip off so easily -

 

1. Grip further out on the bar toward the collars. I find that if I keep my hands in closer to my shoulders it puts more strain on my wrists, but if I move my hands out to about 8" from the collars then I get a better grip and have no wrist pain at all.

 

2. Make sure you pull your shoulder blades in and tighten your traps before you get under the bar.

 

3. Do some additional trap/upper back work to build a better ledge for the bar to sit on. Hise shrugs (set the bar in a squat position and shrug upward with it on your back) will do a bit and get you more comfortable to have the bar riding lower, and just about any other shrugging movement will work for this as well. The more mass you carry in that are, the more stable the bar will be.

 

4. Finally, if you can get away with it, rub some chalk across your back where the bar will rest as this will keep it from slipping down as well. I've only done this a few times, but I can definitely say that it works. If you have to be covert about chalk use, wear a white t-shirt and chalk up before you head in to lift (such as in the parking lot or locker room bathroom). This way nobody will see it on you, and the only trace will be a bit of residue on the bar when you're done (which can usually be wiped off easily with a damp towel.)

 

Even doing a few of these things will help greatly, so hopefully they'll work well for you! My traps were slashed to pieces the first few times I started doing low-bar squats, but after a few workouts your skin will toughen up and you'll rarely ever take a beating from them (unless you do dozens of sets or something where you get under the bar again and again). Hopefully these tips will help a bit!

 

Ryan

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Squat day today!

 

Trained with the guy who has the super-nice equipment at his business and set a new mark in the squat today.

 

First, warmed up with some olympic lifting just to warm up. Did a few sets of 50kg (110lbs) for some pwer snatches and power jerks. Did a few more doubles in clean and power jerk with 70kg (154 lbs) and finally a few last doubles with 90kg (198 lbs). Made some attempts to power clean 120kg (264 lbs) but kept missing it by an inch and I lost it on 3 tries, so nothing spectacular there. It would have been relatively easy to get overhead if I could clean it, but that's a weak spot of mine for sure.

 

Headed to squats next -

1x3 pause low on pins @ 315

1x3 @ 405

1x2 @ 455

1x2 @ 495 + a third assisted rep (basically, I was scolded mid-set for stopping at 2 so I stepped back from racking and did the 3rd with some help)

 

That was it! Short and sweet, hit a new mark with the heavy stuff and it was good. Hope to do some event training tomorrow back there again, will post when it's done!

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Sweet, you're so close to 500

 

Will - I actually did hit 500 just a few weeks ago, but I thought it would be a while until I could get that amount for more than a single. To hit just a few lbs. shy for a double without an assist was a big surprise, so I was pretty pleased with that. I'm aiming for 500x3 within the next 2 months or so and 500x5 by summer, but hopefully I can reach these sooner than expected if today is an indication of progress!

 

Ryan

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