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

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Quick upper back night -


1-arm rows, using DB to 120 lbs. then EZ bar after that -

1x5 @ 120 lbs. each arm

1x5 @ 155 " "

1x5 @ 175 " "

1x2 @ 195 " "

1x20 @ 120 " "

Just testing how it felt to go heavy with 1-arm rows again, could have been worse!


Wide-grip pulldowns -

1x12 @ 260 lbs.

1x20 @ 225 " "

1x25 @ 195 " "


Behind the back shrugs -

3x20 @ 365 lbs.


That was it, short and simple, lower back stuff on Wednesday!

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Good work staying disciplined with the squats. It must be frustrating at times, but I'm sure it won't be long at all before you're back in a weight range you're accustomed to.


And I know you said you weren't happy with how your overhead presses went...but I'm still pretty damn impressed! Subtract 100 and that's around what I've been struggling with

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Definitely glad to be back to squatting again, and I'm looking forward to watching my progress shoot up over the next few months!


Lower back stuff today -


Tire step-ups to warm up, 3 rounds of 3 minutes with 1 minute between sets


Face down on incline bench DB raises, 3x20 @ 10 lbs. per hand


Deadlifts -

1x10 @ 135 lbs.

1x8 @ 185

1x6 @ 235

1x4 @ 275

1x2 @ 325

1x2 @ 355

1x2 @ 365

1x2 @ 375

1x1 @ 385, Kirk said a single with that weight was fine, went up easily, then it was a change to sumo squats to switch things up and learn proper form there. Finally realized, I never used to push my knees out at the start, which is why my sumos always sucked. Finally starting to learn the right form (even if I'll only be doing them for a few weeks in between regular pulls), so that was good. Just a light 2x10 @ 135 so I could get a form diagnosis and learn the proper technique.


Afterward, played with the 175 lb. stone for some single motion loads to 48" -



Moved on to the 240 lb. stone next, got it pulled to my chest once, but kept slipping out every other time. There's no Tacky (pine tar resin used to assist with grip on stones) for me to use there, and the stone is pretty clean, so next time I bring my Tacky with and have fun with the 240 lb. size for a bit.


Finished up outside on their new small tire (only 400 lbs.), bad treads make the first drive a bit tougher but it's so light, once you get it to the waist it practically flips itself 4 sets of 5 flips back and forth for speed and that was it.


Skateboarding tomorrow night, then it'll be lifting again Friday!

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Took a week off due to what started as being overworked, then it changed to being wiped out and I couldn't get any motivation to train. Oh well, I guess it was time for a bit of a break


Did a pre-emptive lower/upper back day today, as I have my usual eye surgery coming up in 12 hours and won't get to train until at least Saturday after my recovery.


Pull-ups -

1x2 @ bodyweight, 5 seconds up, 5 second hold at top, 5 seconds down each rep

1x1 @ 45 lbs. added

1x1 @ 70 lbs. added

1x1 @ 80 lbs. added

10x8 @ bodyweight


In between pull-ups, I did some sumo deadlifts to keep working on developing proper form. Most sets went well, but at the end, I could feel my form breaking down a bit, without Kirk to kick my ass I probably did a few reps that weren't great.

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x12 @ 225 lbs.

Then I laddered down and back up with 225, done as 10 reps, 8, 6, 4, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 to finish. Had 1.5 to 2 minutes max rest between pull-ups and deadlifts, so I tried to keep it moving.


Once that whole thing was done, I alternated some back extension machine work with some straight bar seated cable rows.


Extensions -

4x20 @ full stack


Cable rows -

4x20 @ 220 lbs.


That was it for today, just wanted to get one more workout in before the next 3 day layoff. Wish I'd squatted this weekend, I'll have to get to it Saturday or Sunday to make up for it. With doing lighter sumo DLs for a bit, that'll give my lower back some added recovery so I can start pushing those squats again soon enough!

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Thanks, Medman!


Surgery went fine as usual - I swear, they're injecting less into my eye to cut corners, I don't have the same 3 days of blurry vision that I used to during the earlier treatments. Which is fine by me, so long as things stay the way they are


Yeah, it looks like I'll be changing the deadlifts up every 4-6 weeks as per Kirk's instructions. He's a big proponent of keeping things changing in frequent cycles, and I'm assuming I'll be back to defeceit deadlifts or something else in a month once the sumo pulling phase is over with. Can't argue much with a guy who pulls in the 600s at 220 lbs. bodyweight It feels good to be able to deadlift and not feel like my back is going to explode - funny that all it took was someone to point out a potential weak spot (my QL) that may have been giving me false signals as if it were a disc issue for so long. Not to say I definitely don't have any excess wear and tear on the discs, but once I learned to take it slow and stretch that damned QL out properly before and after training, things have been on the up and up! Now, as long as I stay leashed in and don't go renegade on my usual "I feel great, let's try to max out every 2 weeks!" bender, I think that it's very reasonable that I'll be deadlifting in the 500s again this fall/winter.


Going to watch what I eat like crazy and do lots of walking for the next few days, hoping to get that squat session in on Saturday, Sunday at latest!

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First day back, legs and chest -


Plate-loaded incline bench press machine (the one I don't like much, got "banned" from the gym with better equipment as the franchisee who runs it wants me to sign over to his club, which I'd rather not do, so my key card no longer lets me in!)

1x5 @ 90 lbs.

1x5 @ 180

1x8 @ 250, superset with 1x8 incline BB bench @ 135 lbs. with no break

1x8 @ 260, " "

1x8 @ 270, " "

1x15 @ 180, no superset


Squats -

1x8 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x3 @ 185

1x2 @ 225

5x5 @ 250, just bumping it up a bit each session, keeping all sets easy enough, next time will be 260-270 lbs. When I get to 5x5 @ 315, I'll drop the weight slightly, up the reps, and work my way up to the mid 300s. Not planning on squatting "heavy" (as in, what used to be heavy) until late fall, so the next 3-4 months are simply re-learning optimal form and adapting to proper squats again.


Crucifix flyes lying flat on floor -

3x25 @ 20 lb. DBs


Horzontal leg press machine -

3x25 @ 300 lbs.


Seated leg curl -

3x18 each leg @ 90 lbs.


That was it, keeping it short and sweet for a bit, should get some upper back work in tomorrow!

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Upper back yesterday -


Pull-ups -

2x2 @ bodyweight (234 lbs. clothed)

1x2 @ 25 lbs. added

1x1 @ 45 lbs. added

1x1 @ 75 lbs. added

4x6 @ 45 lbs. added, most sets done as 5, then a few breaths before finishing the last rep


Barbell rows -

Worked up through some warm-ups, but when I loaded 275 lbs. on, I was gassed after the 3rd rep (was aiming for 8 but was too beat down from only 4 hours' sleep), decided to scrap the rows on the first real set, moved to Hammer Strength plate-loaded low rows -


1x20 @ 320 lbs.

" " @ 360

" " @ 410 lbs.

1x30 @ 270 lbs.


45 degree angle pulldown/row movement with dual rope cable attachment. Set up like I was going to do face pulls, but instead of focusing on rear delts, I just rowed it in with the elbows to just below the collarbone. 3x20 @ 170 lbs. for those


Wrapped up with some pull-up starts, where you basically start from a hang in the pull-up position, then activate the lats to initiate a pull and shrug yourself upward just a few inches then repeat -

1x10 @ 45 lbs. added

1x20 @ 25 lbs. added

1x30 @ bodyweight

The start of a pull-up from a complete hang is my weakest point, figured I'd put some effort into trying to correct that a bit.


Wrapped up with a few sets for biceps work -

slight incline DB tabletop curls (bench set on first notch of incline, maybe 15 degrees, elbow on foam pad) -

12 reps @ 50 lb. DB, then drop weight immediately for 12 reps @ 25 lb. DB, done for 3 sets total


Thats was it, lower back stuff tomorrow!

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Woke up REALLY tired and achey today, didn't feel like training but had to get it done for my lower back stuff.


Didn't have any idea that things were changing up again so soon, Kirk has me doing ultra-wide squats to work on my knee instability (right knee caves in a bit on squats and deadlifts) and hip strength, so I had to squat again just 3 days after the last session I'm still tired from


Warm-up, 3 rounds of 3 minutes of step-ups on the small tire, then 20 crunches immediately afterward, reduced time between sets to less than a minute.


Then, it was time to learn new squatting technique to keep that knee in place -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x10 @ 95 lbs.

Ladder sets of 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and up to 12 again @ 135 lbs., each set focusing only on getting the proper stretch and working to keep my knee flared out so it didn't fold in. Didn't really start to have things click until about the 3rd to last set, but it was getting better. Flexibility is an issue here with getting to parallel, kept feeling like my groin was going to tear apart when trying to go low, so Kirk had me cut all the squats a few inches high until I get more comfortable with them.


Rack pulls from 18", just above kneecap height -

1x5 @ 225, 275, 315, 365, 405, all easy enough


Finished with 2 sets to goof around with the small 170 lb. stone, each set was alternating 5 reps of single-movement loads to upper chest height, then row to chest, for 10 movements per set.


That was it, need to take it easy today to recover and may take tomorrow off, should be back to training on Friday!

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Different gym on the road two days ago, some light shoulders and upper back work just to get a session in -


Standing strict BB overhead press -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 95 lbs.

1x3 @ 135 lbs.

1x1 @ 185 lbs.

3x12 @ 135 lbs., keeping it light


Seated row machine, 1 arm at a time -

4x20 @ 240 lbs. per arm (max stack), felt more like 160-170ish in weight, not even close to 240.


Shoulder press machine -

3x20 @ 120 lbs.


Pulldowns -

3x20 @ 200 lbs.


That was it, just simple and light, should get one more session in before heading home tonight!

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Quick pre-flight workout last evening -


Power cleans -

1x10 @ 135 lbs.

" " @ 140

" " @ 145, just having fun for some endurance stuff


Close-grip BB flat bench -

1x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 185

3x5 @ 205

1x10 @ 185

1x20 @ 140

1x50 @ 115, done as 25, then sets of 5 alternating wide and narrow grips with 15-20 seconds rest between until all sets complete


Ab machine -

3x25 @ 100 lbs.


Cable pull-throughs -

3x20 @ 120 lbs.


That was it, in and out in less than an hour, should be back to normal workouts starting Tuesday!


As a side note, I've been eating SUPER clean the past few weeks, I think things are finally kicking back in for fat loss, as periodic mirror checks are always looking better and better Might finally get an updated BF measurement this week so I know where I stand, then I should probably make it a habit to get them done monthly. We'll see if I do it, or if laziness prevails!

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Weighed in yesterday, was shocked to say the least. Pretty much bone-dry at 227 lbs., I haven't been this low in around 7 years. Things have definitely taken a turn for the better fat loss-wise, but I'm starting to feel WAY too small, so I'm going to shift gears for a bit and start the rebuilding process again, aiming to keep bodyfat from increasing but hoping to work back to around 235-240 and more solid by year's end. When Courtney tells me that I look like I'm getting too small, it's time to fix that problem Diet will stay clean, but instead of the 2500-3000 cal/day I've been going in, I'm upping the non-lifting days to about 2600-2700 and lifting days will be around 3300-3500 cal. Just want to bring it back SLOWLY, no more of the old "get strong at all costs, no matter how fat I get" stuff!


Upper back and another shoulder day today. I'm going to do more of the old-style workouts, most workouts will be primarily lower rep stuff again (with the occasional few high-rep sets or a rare high-rep only day), since that's always been best for me in the past. Some assistance work and secondary sets may still be higher rep to keep up my conditioning, but main work will start with lower sets. Bulk of my sets will be 5-8 reps, a few here and there that are higher, but time to start lifting heavier!


Overhead half-press lockouts in the power rack (bar starting about 2" above top of head height) -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 185

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 245

1x5 @ 255

1x8 @ 225

1x12 @ 205

1x20 @ 185

1x30 @ 155, done as 15, rest 20 seconds, 15 to finish


Barbell rows, bar starting and ending on floor each rep -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 245

1x5 @ 255

1x5 @ 265

1x5 @ 275

1x15 @ 205

Was feeling good with these a few weeks back, not the best right now, but it'll come back


Blue cable w/handles overhead standing press, stepping on cables far from center to increase tension considerably (felt like about 50 lbs. at bottom, closer to 80 at top)



Seated straight bar cable low rows -

3x20 @ 240 lbs. (can't add any more weight at that gym, wanted to do lower rep stuff!)


DB hammer curls, cheat-style with some body english on all reps -

1x5 @ 50 lb. DB each arm

1x5 @ 60

1x5 @ 70

1x5 @ 80, the last few of these needed a LOT of work to keep 'em moving


DB pummel curls (

for video of Glen, the owner of the training facility for my Wed. deadlift sessions, giving a demo)

3x25 @ 25 lb. DBs - first 20 were good, the last 5 sort of turned into flailing hammer curls


That was it, probably going to be made to do more painful wide-stance, groin-tearing squats again tomorrow, will post once it's done!

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Lower body stuff again today with Kirk -


Tire step-ups, 2 rounds of 3 minutes


Spidermans (forward lunges w/ a twist to the side of the trailing leg), 1 round of 3 minutes, had to keep taking breaks, these were killing me


Ultra-wide stance squats -

1x15 @ empty bar

1x10 @ 135

1x8 @ 135

1x6 @ 135

1x4 @ 135

2x2 @ 185

2x2 @ 225

Just working on improving hip flexibility and keeping that right knee from caving in, probably won't be squatting heavy with Kirk for a bit, so I think I'm going to keep my weekend leg day in there for now either Saturday or Sunday, starting back up this weekend.


Rack pulls from 18" -

1x5 @ 275 lbs.

1x5 @ 335

1x5 @ 385

1x5 @ 425

1x5 @ 445

All sets easy enough, lower back definitely getting stronger again.


That was it, nothing too crazy, will be doing some upper back and chest work Thursday or Friday!

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Legs and chest last night -


Flat BB bench, wide grip -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x3 @ 185

1x2 @ 205

1x1 @ 225

1x1 @ 235

1x1 @ 245

3x12 @ 185

2x20 @ 140


Wide stance squats to a 16" box, working on increasing flexibility with that stance -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 185

1x5 @ 225

1x2 @ 275

1x1 @ 295

1x12 @ 205

Just working on keeping the right knee stable and hitting a depth just an inch or two above parallel (will get that down to parallel once my flexibility goes up for wide stance!)


Seated leg curls -

2x20 @ 170 lbs.


Hip adductor/abductor work for flexibility, just some moderate weight stuff to get a good stretch.


That was it, didn't make it too tough or complex, just doing that 2nd leg/lower back type stuff between my Wed. training days to keep getting stronger!

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Jason X - the ultra-wide squats I normally do on Wednesdays are with feet around 4 to 4.5 feet apart from toe to toe, feet angled out around 60 degrees. Basically, what I've been doing is almost exactly like a wide sumo deadlift position but squatting instead. So, if the bar were on the floor as if I were to do a sumo deadlift, my toes would only be a few inches in from each inside plate on the bar.


The biggest killer is hip/groin flexibility. It felt like I was being split in half the first time (hence 135 lbs. being the max weight I used), but gets a little better with each session. I have the feeling this will only be done through July before I'll be back to deadlifting normally, but it's an interesting diversion and hopefully will help get that hip strength in line and keep that knee from knocking inward!


205x12 for deep, narrow to medium stance squats would have killed me last night. Hitting a box a few inches above parallel, combined with the shortened ROM on the wide stance really makes higher rep work a whole lot easier for now

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Ugh, here we go again with one more minor setback....


Had to start up with an antifungal medication about 10 days ago as the skin on one of my feet was getting really flaky and itchy. Had been on it twice over the last 5 years, figured that it would be like any other time. Unfortunately, that's not the case.


I just haven't felt at 100% energy lately since starting back up, but didn't think much of it. Then, I started to get some other side effects (appetite WAY down among other things), and last night, ended up with the chills and a short-term fever of 103 degrees (which was down to 99 by morning). I felt like I was dying, so I had to get to the urgent care clinic today to get blood work done and see why it's not sitting well with me this time around. So, for the next few days it'll be limited activity while I let the existing drugs clear my body and I try to recover as best I can to feel normal again. Seriously, I think it's in my destiny to get whatever bad side effects are possible from medications every damned time. Hence my loathing for taking ANYTHING medicine-wise that isn't 100% necessary, so if the skin problem comes back, I'll just cope with it for a while and try something considerably more natural before going back to harsh meds first. There's something to be said about how many medications out there might help one thing, but can make 10 other things worse along the way.


Bodyweight down to a mere 224 lbs. after lost appetite for the past 10 days and sweating buckets all night, gotta work back up when I feel better later this week!

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Thanks, Adena - I'm already slightly on the mend as my energy has come back a bit from a day of no medication, but now, I've got a sore throat so I've got something else to contend with as well Oh well, I changed my Wed. training to Friday, so hopefully I'll be well enough again in time for it!

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Thanks, everyone!


Well, had my follow-up visit today, got some weird news out of it.


Seems that it may or may not have been the anti-fungal medication that put me in the bad state after all. Starting yesterday, I developed a few small bumps on my hands and the bottoms of my toes that are sensitive to the touch and made walking a bit uncomfortable (I just thought I had a blister or two at first). Turns out, my doc is 95% sure that I contracted hand, foot & mouth disease somewhere in the last week or two. That explains a lot, so I had more blood drawn again to verify, it'll be confirmed on Monday if that's it. Nothing I can do if that's what I've got except wait a few more days for it to run its course, and then life returns to normal.


Doc said also that my immune system should have probably prevented me from contracting it, but of course, the wonderful side-effect of my eye medication is that it can weaken the immune system. So, one more goofy problem under my belt, hopefully next week will be normal again...whatever that means for me

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