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

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Yeah, it was REALLY bad. I hadn't trained there in a few years, not sure what changed with their uneven flooring, but the combination of the slope donward combined with the cruddy rack they had (the safety supports were loose and felt like they may not hold up well, which added to my fear of potentially getting crushed if things went wrong), it was a recipe for disaster for squats. I was close to changing my membership to go there since they're another 24-hour location, but knowing that I wouldn't feel right squatting there killed it for me. Oh well.

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Two weeks off due to holiday madness followed by a nasty cold, finally got to train again last night for some shoulders and a bit of upper back work -


Pull-ups -

1x12 @ bodyweight (238 lbs. clothed)

1x10 " "


Standing BB overhead press -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x3 @ 135 lbs. press in front

1x3 " " power jerk behind the neck

1x3 @ 185 press in front

1x3 @ 185 power jerk

1x2 @ 205 press in front

1x2 @ 205 power jerk

Just wasn't feeling it for going heavier on my first session back, opted to stay light and did some wide-grip behind the neck strict presses -

3x10 @ 135 lbs.


Seated cable row, straight bar, narrow grip -

1x5 @ 275 lbs.

1x5 @ 295 lbs.

1x2 @ 315 lbs., just wasn't feeling it at that point, form broke and I quit heavy back work for the day


1-arm standing DB press -

1x8 each arm @ 100 lb. db, slight dip and drive up, but not much assistance

1x12 " " @ 75 lb. db, done strict each arm


Wide-grip pulldowns -

2x25 @ 205 lbs.


Hammer Strength plate-loaded shoulder press -

1x14 @ 180 lbs. (failed on 15th rep)

1x30 @ 90 lbs.


Wrapped up with 2x10 cross-body DB hammer curls @ 60 lb. DB with a bit of cheat and that was it.


Deadlifting tomorrow!

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Thanks, Robert - it feels good to be back again!


Quick deadlift/light trapezius assistance work day, Kirk finally got sick and had to cancel, Bally's it was -


Rack deadlifts from 6" off normal floor height (lowest pin setting in rack) -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

1x5 @ 365

1x5 @ 405

1x5 @ 425

1x12 @ 315, more gassed from weak post-cold lung capacity than worn out any other way


Dip shrugs -

3x25 @ bodyweight (237 today fully clothed)


BB Hise shrugs in the rack -

1x10 @ 315

1x10 @ 405

1x10 @ 495


Back extension machine -

1x50 @ full stack


Came home, did 3x25 bodyweight reverse hypers and 3x25 Roman chair sit-ups, that's it for today


May look to change things with Kirk for a bit to make Wednesdays my squat day and just spend a month or two doing some medium weight rack pulls for a bit with slow increases. My deadlifting isn't going super-well, so I think it's time to alter it a bit and do less lower back work and get my legs strong as hell again. When my deadlift is strong, it doesn't necessarily carry over to my squat (beyond letting me good morning the bar up more from lower back strength), but when my squat is strong, EVERYTHING else seems to be strong, so I'll be looking to switch up a bit and see where it takes me by March after a few months of leg work focus.


Upper back and chest work Friday, tomorrow might take a nice walk if it hits 30 degrees and isn't too cold out, we'll see soon enough!

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Thanks, Hilary! Good to see you back again!


Quick light lower back and chest work tonight, stressful last few days, completely wiped out physically but forced it out today -


Flat close grip BB bench -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x3 @ 185

1x2 @ 225

1x1 @ 250

1x1 @ 265

3x5 @ 225


Close-grip incline bench, about 30 degree angle -

2x10 @ 160

1x12 @ 135


Palms-in neutral grip DB press, arms in at sides during reps -

3x20 @ 65 lb. DBs


Romanian deadlifts -

1x15 @ 135 lbs.

1x15 @ 225

1x15 @ 250

Gassed quickly on these, lung capacity from sickness is still terrible. Cut a set short instead of going to 275 as planned.


Back extension machine -

3x25 @ 200 lbs.


Cable pull-throughs -

2x20@ 120 lbs.


Triceps pressdowns -

3x20 @ 100 lbs., done with 1 straight bar, 1 set V handle, 1 set rope handle


That was it, 80 minutes in and out, upper back tomorrow then on to leg work on Wednesdays!

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Thanks, Rob! I'm feeling better now in all areas except my lung capacity for endurance still is suffering (that, and I still have to blow my nose about 20 times per day 16 days after the cold started up...) Other than that, feeling much better, so it's business as usual now!


Upper back day, quick 50 minute session from start to finish -


1-arm rows, starting with DB then loading up EZ bar after 1st set -

1x12 @ 120 lbs. each arm

1x10 @ 165 lbs. each arm

1x6 @ 190 lbs. each arm


Wide-grip pulldowns -

2x10 @ 285 lbs.


Icarian horizontal row machine -

2x15 @ 220 lbs.


V-handle "stretcher" pulldowns to sternum -

2x15 @ 170 lbs., lats killing me with the extended stretch each rep, very tough to finish


Rope handle face pulls -

2x20 @ 160 lbs.


Just 2 work sets of 5 different movements alternating horizontal and vertical stuff a bit, moving to get back to making sure I hit upper back every 4-5 days again while making sure one day is heavier, one moderate.


Tomorrow might go skateboarding for a bit (got out last week Thursday, which was a lot of fun), depending on time constraints, leg day on Wednesday!

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Squat day! Happy to be focusing on leg work again, not too bad after a month or so off from leg training for a restart -


Roll out on foam roller


1 set of 3 minutes of bodyweight squats touching the floor on each rep


Working in the Monolift right now vs. the rack, still need to get used to a wide stance setup properly so that's what I'll be using for a while.


1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x3 @ 225

1x2 @ 315, put on belt and squat briefs afterward

8x2 @ 365 to work on form, still having issues with knees collapsing in. First 2 sets not so good, sets 3-7 form was MUCH better, final set started to lose it so that's where we ended it. Muscular endurance totally fine, but Kirk could tell my body needs a slow re-introduction to squatting again so we won't push it too hard for a few weeks


Reverse hypers to finish up, I've used my crappy machine at home but never a "real" one that actually worked the way it should. Did 5x20 @ 90 lbs., definitely hurting all the way from my hamstrings through my spinal erectors, they did me in properly since I've never known how brutal they can be.


That was it, felt good afterward, plan is to work up to a belted/briefed 500 in the next few months, then take out the briefs to get that raw strength back up properly. Will also be doing some assistance leg stuff with lower back on Sundays now, either light front squats, moderate medium stance squats for low reps or some heavy partials.


Upper back and shoulders Friday!

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Got in a quick shoulders/upper back workout Friday night, not feeling particularly movitvated so I kept it short so I could stay focused, get in, and get out.


Standing strict BB overhead press -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 185

1x3 @ 205

Used these as more of a warm-up than anything else, moved to 1-arm standing DB overhead press -

1x10 each arm @ 100 lb. DB

1x8 " "


Pull-ups -

1x5 @ bodyweight

2x5 @ 45 lbs. added, full hang on all reps with a second or two at the bottom, still working to improve my weakest spot, which is the first 4" or so of ROM from the full hang with weight


DB rows -

2x15 @ 150 lb. DB - went to Gold's Gym tonight, so I finally had access to DBs over 100-120 lb. Both sets pretty easy, showing that there's a world of difference between using a DB for rows and rigging up an EZ curl bar that's a pain the ass to keep balanced.


Cable face pulls -

2x20 @ 150 lbs.


Overhead shrugs in the Smith machine -

1x20 @ 180 lbs (not counting bar)

2x20 @ 270 " "


Was getting ready to leave, saw some plate-loaded lateral raise machine, did a few quick sets to wrap up shoulder work with 2x20 @ 50 lbs. on it and that was it.


Rest day today, tomorrow is lower back and some light leg work!

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I had to look up "Monolift " to see what it was. Watched some youtube vids, but I am still not very clear on what this machine/attachment is supposed to do, or how it benefits the lifter...




The monolift isn't anything spectacular - basically, with the advent of all the gear used in powerlifting, it was one more device that was supposed to be "for safety", but makes the setup on squatting much easier. Whereas with a regular rack you have to walk out your squats, with the monolift, you get into position, lift it just an inch or two off the hooks, then someone releases the hooks back so you don't have to walk your squats out. This is part of the reason that squat numbers went up a lot combined with the equipment that came about over the past decade or two, as some people had strong squats but the walkout and walk back in after the rep took a lot of energy out of them.


I'm not a big fan of the monolift (I don't mind walking my squats out), but since Kirk wanted me to squat wide, it's much easier for me to get into proper position and stay there when I don't have to walk it out. Eventually I'll be back to rack-only, but for now, I'm just working to make sure my form is as solid as possible due to my inward-collapsing knee situation when I'm not perfectly tight on form, so that's why we're using it!

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Ahhh...yes, I see it now. I did notice in the youtube vids that it permitted the squatter to "squat in place". I don't mind walking my squats out either, so I probably would not be inclined to use one.


Don't have knee problems, never have...lower back can be an issue for me, if I am not careful...

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Yeah, the Monolift isn't anything special, and I'm actually already looking forward to doing things the normal way in a few months


Lower back and light assistance leg stuff today -


Deadlifts in the rack at lowest setting (setting makes the starting pull about 6" higher than normal off-the-floor height) -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

1x5 @ 365

4x5 @ 405

Wanted a 5th set, but my CNS was screaming "Don't push me too hard!" after 4, so I'm not going to go too far overboard when my body tells me to take it slower like that.


Light leg presses, ultra-wide stance, deep as possible pushing off heels only (most of shoe off the plate), flaring knees out to simulate the positioning for wide-stance squatting -

2x20 @ 270 lbs.


Cable pull-throughs -

3x20 @ 120 lbs.


Seated single-leg curls -

2x20 @ 90 lbs. each leg

1x25 @ 70 lbs. each leg


Thick blue band good mornings, band wrapped behind neck and other side under feet -

2x20, focusing on being explosive and making sure to drive hips through hard


Hip adductor machine -

2x20 @ 250 lbs.


Hip abductor machine -

2x20 @ 250 lbs.


Keeping with the hip stuff as my hips and groin were REALLY tight after last week's squat session, definitely need to loosen up again more.


That's it, Sundays for lower back will either be slow progression of 5s adding 10 lbs. per week, or, dropping weight slightly and bumping reps to 8-10, depending on how things are going on that day. Will soon be moving away from machine assistance leg stuff as well and moving to some speed squat doubles, front squats or dead stop half squats, not sure which yet, will wing it for a few weeks and settle in better once I'm used to the new schedule.


Upper back and chest tomorrow!

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Feeling good today (rare after a lower back and leg work day), so I got in my 2nd upper back workout for the week plus chest/triceps stuff for good measure -


Pull-ups (239 lbs. clothed today) -

10x6 @ bodyweight

Kept it pretty easy, lots of sets, not that many reps, rather than the usual 3x10-12 or something similar


Flat BB close grip bench -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x3 @ 185

5x3 @ 230 lbs., all reps paused on chest

1x10 @ 185, paused each rep on chest for 1-2 seconds each

1x20 @ 135, " "

Triceps already getting worn out, not a lot left in the tank


Icarian horizontal row machine, something that actually feels decent for a machine row to use once in a while on light back days -

4x15 @ 220 lbs.


Hammer Strength plate-loaded incline press -

3x12 @ 200 lbs.


BB wrist curls, haven't done them in quite a while so it seemed like the time to do a few -

3x8 @ 135 lbs., bar rolling down near fingertips each rep


DB cross-body hammer curls, some cheat on reps -

1x12 @ 60 lb. DB each arm

1x8 @ 70 lb. DB each arm


That was it, mission for my 2nd back workout is to keep it easy and leave something in the tank, I don't want to be worn out for Wednesday's squat session, so I'm trying to finally learn a little more self-control.


I was happy after lifting because I saw two old friends who stopped by to say hello - my formerly-vanished spinal erectors are finally coming back into view again That definitely made me happy after feeling for 3 years like my lower back was going to be a hollow cavity used primarily for storing extra shirts for the gym Now to just get that problem area stronger and stronger again....


Tomorrow is rest, unless of course we keep getting more snow, then it may be a "cardio shovel workout" day.

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Monolift squatting again today -


Warm up with rolling out, band around ankles walks for 50 feet and back in various stances, and one 3-minute set of bodyweight squats, then over to the Monolift to get things started.


All sets w/ blue band squats to 15" box (near zero tension at bottom, roughly 200 lbs. at top)


1x15 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135 lbs. + band

1x5 @ 185 " "

1x5 @ 225 " "

Belt goes on now

12x2 @ 275 " "

Getting MUCH better with my setup and keeping the bad knee from caving in, finally didn't have Kirk shouting at me to watch that damned knee like I'm used to hearing


Glute/ham raises, couldn't fit into setup properly as I'd either have too much room between myself and the pad or I'd have my private parts squished into it, so these weren't great -

3x15 @ bodyweight

1x10 " "

1x5 " ", hamstrings cramped up on rep 5 so I called it quits


One final set of walking lunges for what was supposed to be 3 minutes straight. Probably spent 2 minutes doing lunges and a full minute gasping for air periodically, that was it for the day.


Tomorrow may go skateboarding for a bit, upper back and shoulders on Friday!

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Didn't train on Friday as planned, body was just completely wiped out from the brutal sessions last week, so I had a few extra days to recover. Lower back and some easy leg stuff tonight -


Speed deadlifts -

1x2 @ 135 lbs.

1x2 @ 225

10x2 @ 315, no more than 45-60 seconds between sets


Squats, medium stance to about 3" below parallel, trying to keep them semi-speedy throughout -

1x2 @ 135

1x2 @ 225

1x2 @ 315

1x2 @ 320

1x2 @ 325

1x2 @ 330

1x2 @ 335

5x2 @ 315, all sets no more than 60 seconds between including warm-ups


Blue band good mornings, band under feet and wrapped around behind neck/traps -

2x30, all reps fast with hard glute/ham squeeze


Adductor machine to work on hip/knee stability -

2x20 @ 250 lbs.

1x50 @ 175 lbs.


Abductor machine, again for hip/knee stability work -

2x20 @ 250 lbs.

1x50 @ 175 lbs.


Back extension machine -

2x30 @ 200 lbs.


That was it - if I do a 2nd squat session, it'll be low on other leg work for the day as with this one. In and out quickly, should be doing some upper back and shoulder work tomorrow or Tuesday!

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Upper back and shoulder workout tonight, started off a bit rough but got slightly better as time went on -


Standing overhead press -

1x10 @ empty bar, press to front

1x3 @ 135 lbs. " "

1x2 @ 185 " "

1x2 @ 185 power jerk behind the neck

1x1 @ 205 strict press in front

1x1 @ 205 power jerk

1x1 @ 225 power jerk

2x6 @ 185 strict press to the front

1x12 @ 135 " "


Wide grip pulldowns, slight lean back -

2x12 @ 270 lbs.

2x6 @ 310 lbs.


Hammer Strength plate loaded shoulder press, starting about 4" off shoulders -

2x7 @ 250 lbs.

1xfail @ 300 lbs. (thought I might get 1-2 reps, only got halfway up on the attempt)

1x15 @ 180 lbs.

1x30 @ 90 lbs.


Icarian horizontal row machine (was going to do DB rows, just didn't feel like it today)

3x18 @ 230 lbs.


Lean-away cable lateral raises -

1x15 @ 30 lbs. each arm

1x20 @ 20 lbs. each arm


V-handle pulldown "stretchers"

2x15 @ 175 lbs.


Dip shrugs -

2x30 @ bodyweight


Cable face pulls -

1x20 @ 180 lbs.


Got in late with 55 minutes left, they turned off the lights on me after the last set, could have used just 2 more minutes....


Planning on some light...ugh...cardio tomorrow, squatting heavy on Wednesday!

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Leg day!


Warm-up of rolling out on foam roller, 3 minute set of bodyweight squats followed by 30 crunches (followed by locked-up abs and a minute of lying in pain on the floor...), then on to squatting in the Monolift to a 15" box, blue bands with near zero tension at bottom and 200 lbs. added at lockout -


1x5 @ bands + bar (bar is actually 55 lbs. as it's a power bar), total top tension @ 255 lbs.

1x5 @ bands + 145 lbs.

1x5 @ bands + 195

1x5 @ bands + 235

1x2 @ bands + 285

1x2 @ bands + 305

3x2 @ bands + 325

9x1 @ bands + 325, only 45 seconds rest between singles

Felt my workout pants split wide open on the first single, had to complete the workout with a total blow-out in the arse of my pants, so be it.


2 sets of 3 minutes of walking lunges, 1st set spent about 2:20 actually lunging with less time resting, 2nd set was about 1:45 of actual lunges, a bit over a minute of gasping for air and trying to get moving as my quads started to lock up nicely.


1 set of middle-back pull-throughs, new movement Kirk has been working on, I'll try to get clip up soon of what they look like. He claims they've helped his middle back strength greatly, may as well give 'em a try.


4x10 glute/ham raises, hams sore from lunges so I didn't get many reps in.


Stretched and rolled out, a good day overall with fewer problems of the right knee caving in, things are looking good for squatting!


Should get some chest/triceps and light upper back stuff on Friday again!

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I hear Kirk's been kicking your butt!


Nice work!


Thanks again for getting me to re-think power this past August. I'm back in action and even squatting.


Looking forward to seeing you 6 weeks or so! Planning to stay a few extra days in the LA area?

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Hey, Robert!


Yep, Kirk has things moving in the right direction, it was high time I did something different and let someone else take charge of my core training for a while Been a good thing to see you squatting as well! Not sure how much extra time we'll have after the expo, I know we're going to be around Monday for some R&R in Huntington Beach as we usually do after it ends, we're trying to stick around a bit longer as well, but it's up in the air right now. I'll keep you posted!


Chest/upper back stuff tonight -


Close-grip flat BB bench -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x3 @ 185

1x2 @ 225

1x1 @ 245

1x1 @ 280, moving on back up!

3x4 @ 225, 2 second pause on chest each rep

1x10 @ 185, 2 second pause on chest each rep


DB rows -

2x16 @ 150 lb. DB each arm, wanted 18-20 but endurance sucked tonight.


Hammer Strength plate-loaded incline press -

1x18 @ 180 lbs.

1x15 @ 180

1x8 @ 250


Overhead shrugs in the smith machine -

1x20 @ 180 lbs. (not counting counterbalanced bar on sets)

1x15 @ 270

1x12 @ 320

1x10 @ 360

1x20 @ 180


Weighted pull-ups -

2x4 @ 45 lbs. added, total weight 283 lbs.


DB cross body hammer curls, minimal swing on reps -

1x15 @ 55 lb. DB each arm


That was it, quick session for an hour, lower back and maybe some leg stuff on Sunday. Left knee is bothering me today, I think that the ill-fitting glute/ham machine at Kirk's messed it up a bit as I had to flare my legs out strangely to fit into it properly, feels like I may have inadvertently done a mild hyperextension along the way. Oh well, slightly better today for the knee, hoping that it'll be good for Sunday!

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Definitely hyperextended the knee, it's about 40% better, but I had to take it easy tonight to get more healing in before getting too heavy. Calf and hamstring attachment at the left knee are both tight and sore, pain under kneecap is almost gone but the strain is still fading slowly. Shouldn't be anything to worry about, but no more glute/ham raises on the crappy setup at Kirk's, I'll just do them at home where I actually fit into the setup properly.


Rack deadlifts from 15" (just under bottom of kneecap) -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

1x3 @ 405

1x3 @ 455

2x8 @ 405, endurance was terrible, but got it done for now.


Seated leg curls -

3x15 @ 110 lbs. single leg

1x30 @ 70 lbs. " "


Seated leg extensions -

3x20 @ 110 lbs. both legs at once

1x20 @ 65 lbs. single leg


Back extension machine -

1x3 minutes (140 reps total) @ 150 lbs.


Hip adductor machine -

1x30 @ 200 lbs.

1x100 @ 160 lbs.


Hip abductor machine -

1x30 @ 200 lbs.

1x100 @ 160 lbs.


Wrapped up with some of Kirk's middle back exercise stuff, start with wide stance squat position, unlock knees slightly, bar resting in squat position, lean forward until head nearly touches the ground letting upper back round over, then extend upper back only without the lower back having any part of it (video will eventually make this whole thing clear - the explanation makes it too complex!)

2x30 @ 20 lb. bar

1x15 @ 45 lb. bar

2x50 @ red cable w/ handle, other end wrapped around cable tower support


That was it, lots of light endurance stuff for lower body, deadlifting nothing crazy, just keeping maintenance for now. Upper back and shoulders tomorrow!

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Upper back and shoulders work tonight -


1-arm rows using bar jammed into corner w/plates on other end, grabbing end of bar on 2" diameter area (used straps on heavy sets, grip wouldn't have held up long enough) -

1x15 @ bar + 25 lbs. (bar weight in hand is probably 25-30 lbs. added to plate weight)

1x15 @ bar + 50

1x15 @ bar + 75

1x15 @ bar + 100

1x15 @ bar + 125

3x12 @ bar + 150, felt pretty good, close to 180 lbs. in hand so it wasn't light, but worked well in a pinch!


1-arm standing overhead press, slight side lean near end of sets, no leg drive -

3x20 @ 65 lb. DB each arm. 1st set was all 20 easily, 2nd set was 18, rest 10 seconds, 2 to finish on each arm, 3rd set was 15 reps, rest 20 seconds, 5 reps to finish on each arm.


Inverted rows in power rack on top using pull-up handles w/feet slung over back end -

3x30 @ bodyweight (238 lbs. clothed tonight), 1st set overhand grip, 2nd set neutral grip, 3rd set chin-up grips


1-arm cable lateral raises, used band that goes around arm (slung it on at the elbow) rather than using a handle, figured it would take any cheat out of being able to angle the lower arm when shoulders get tired -

1x20 @ 20 lbs.

1x20 @ 25 lbs.

1x20 @ 30 lbs., last set pretty tough


V-handle pulldown "stretchers" -

3x25 @ 140 lbs.


Band pull-aparts -

3x20 @ yellow band, hands about 18" apart at starting position


Wrapped up with 1x50 overhead half presses w/ empty 45 lb. bar, then immediately did 1x15 front raises with it, and that was it.


Just some higher rep stuff tonight, didn't feel like going too heavy, but it was a good day. Those rows have me feeling beat up in some weird spots in my core from stabilizing it, we'll see how happy I am when moving around come morning when I have to plow out 12" of so of snow to be able to leave the house!

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