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

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Definitely working on becoming a beast, give me a year and if I don't get hurt, I think it'll become reality


Upper back and chest day today -


Weighted pull-ups, narrow grip -

1x3 @ bodyweight (244 lbs. clothed and bloated)

1x3 @ 25 lbs. added on

1x3 @ 45 lbs. added on

3x3 @ 72.5 lbs. added on (we have some shop-lathed 71.5 lb. plates, that plus rope to tie it on waist = 72.5 lbs. total)


2" diameter axle flat bench press -

1x5 @ 145 lbs.

1x3 @ 195

1x2 @ 245

Put on Slingshot -

3x8 @ 275 lbs., met goal for that one this week

Took off Slingshot -

1x3,5,7 @ 250 lbs.

First set, had bad setup, stopped at 3 despite feeling like I could do more. 2nd set, lost my hand spot a bit on 5th rep, felt good for more but stopped. 3rd set, got 6, then got pinned under the bar (safety pins set where bar will sink just about 1/2" into chest), rested 10 seconds, pressed it out from dead stop fairly easily, called that rep # 7 I don't think I did more than 5s with 250 when I was pressing years ago, so to get to that spot and better already with only a few months' bench work is a good sign that things are on the right track.

1x25 @ 150 lbs. to rep out some light weight to finish, was easier than it used to be for 20 @ 135 lbs, definitely learning how to press better after all these years. So, let me say there is hope for those who have old injuries, had poor form that haunted them for years, etc. - just keep at it, try new approaches, and you might just surprise yourself


Chest-supported barbell row on row rack -

1x10 @ 225 lbs.

1x10 @ 235

1x10 @ 245

1x20 @ 205 (done as 15, rest 10 seconds, 5 to finish)

DEFINITELY getting much more upper back strength now, for so long my lower back weakness has been holding me back, but trying new lifts and working to finally get that damned lower back stronger without going too far too fast has been good to me.


Horzontal bench press machine, no weights, Elite FTS bands wrapped around for tension (around 100 lbs. starting tension, around 200 lbs. lockout tension)

3x20, palms-in pressing, all sets speed reps done fast


Hammer Strength plate-loaded vertical pulldown machine -

2x15 @ 250 lbs.


Face down on incline bench DB raises in "Y" position -

2x15 @ 20 lb. DBs


That was it, a good day indeed, but I managed to smash my index finger in our crappy DB rack, so that might bother me for a few days. Good thing I've got deadlifts coming, I can just strap in and not worry about it. Should be lifting again tomorrow or Tuesday!

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Took today off, was energtic but considering the side of my index finger is quite blue and red today from the smash in the DB rack, I figured it best not to get back to training immediately


Looking forward to deadlifting tomorrow, though! If my lower back can just keep coming up to meet my upper back strength, I expect some great things come 2012!

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Hey, Adena! Nothing too serious, must have slammed the vein in the side something fierce as it was pretty nasty looking for a few days, but is pretty well back to normal now.


Lower back and shoulder work last night -


Standing strict overhead BB press -

1x5 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x3 @ 165

1x2 @ 195

1x1 @ 205

3x1 @ 220, first time going this weight in ages, wasn't easy but just wanted to see how it would go.

3x8 @ 165


Deadlifts, still using new technique and working to make it feel better each time -

1x5 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

1x3 @ 275

5x10 @ 315

Back still feeling great, no pain, all sets felt good for 12-15 if I'd pushed it, but I will keep showing restraint for as long as I can while rehabbing.


Hammer Strength plate-loaded shrug machine -

3x50 @ 300 lbs.


That was it, wasn't super energetic last night and didn't want to train for too long, so it was a short one.


Should be lifting tomorrow for some upper back work!

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Yesterday was rest, felt extremely burned out from the quick change of weather in the 70s down to 50s during the day, so a long sleep-in was necessary rather than training. Got into the gym tonight just as the other guys were on their way out, rare I cross paths with anyone much these days but at least got to chat for a bit with other lifting dorks


Just upper back and a bit of biceps work tonight, went fairly heavy and felt good -


Barbell row on rowing rack (I swear, this thing is a godsend, can row heavy and never have any lower back strain as the chest support pad really helps, except I lose my wind early from the pressure on the abs that doesn't let you get much breath after a bit) -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 185

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 255

3x5 @ 285

2x8 @ 255


Hammer Strength plate-loaded 45 degree angle pulldown machine -

1x10 @ 360 lbs.

1x10 @ 390

1x10 @ 420

1x8 @ 450, started to really get heavy at that point, last 2 reps weren't so hot


Barbell Hise shrugs in the rack, to get used to some actual weight on my back again -

1x10 @ 325 lbs. (used 55 lb. non-flexing powerlifting bar, added 10 lbs.)

1x10 @ 415

1x10 @ 505

1x20 @ 415

1x50 @ 325, amazing how light 325 feels after having 500 on your shoulders for a minute


Some light biceps work to keep 'em healthy to wrap up -

1x10 @ 50 lb. dumbell hammer curls, strict

1x15 " ", slight cheat on last rep

1x20 " ", cheated on last 5 reps with a little body English to swing when I was worn out


That's it, might try to get in earlier tomorrow to do some light event training for something different, otherwise, it'll be squatting on Sunday. Got my twice-yearly eye surgery coming up next Wednesday, so I'm hoping to get at least 2-3 more sessions training before I have to take my usual 4 days off!

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Glad you like the straps! I figured I'd just send them even though the others were okay. Since I'm sure that now you've tried them in addition to the others you bought, you'll find that the narrower fit on the IronMind ones (which also aren't excessively long and let you keep a better hold on the bar) work out well, especially if you felt like you were drowning in the other ones you have. Now, time to set some PRs with those things!

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Will keep you posted on those hoodies, I think about 7-12 days and we should be restocked!


Legs and chest today, came off a stressful night with less sleep than normal and not enough food yesterday, so it was a grinder tonight -


Squats, as deep as possible -

1x3 @ 135 lbs.

1x3 @ 185

1x3 @ 225

1x3 @ 275

10x5 @ 305, skipped ahead an extra 10 lbs., but was so gassed from benching in between, I couldn't get those extra 2 sets in. Still, can't complain about it


Benching w/ 2" diameter axle -

1x5 @ 145 lbs.

1x2 @ 195

1x1 @ 235

1x1 @ 265

Put on Slingshot

1x1 @ 265, flew up like 135, great confidence booster for the hard sets -

3x5 @ 295, not easy, but got 'em done

1x15 @ 235, barely made it

1x14 @ 235, pinned under bar in rack when going for the 15th, didn't budge, that was enough


Glute/ham raises -

2x25 @ bodyweight


Horizontal bench machine w/ resistance bands -

3x25, about 100 lbs. tension at start, around 150 lbs. at finish, done for speed as fast as possible


That's it, simple stuff, dead tired, going to bed early. Got one more session on Tuesday before eye surgery, so I plan on making it count!

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Didn't train from Monday through Friday due to eye surgery, but back in action tonight with chest/back training -


Barbell bench w/ 2" diameter axle as usual -

1x5 @ 145 lbs.

1x3 @ 195

1x1 @ 235

1x1 @ 265

Put on Slingshot

1x1 @ 305

1x1 @ 315

10x1 @ 320, just hammering out plenty of singles with only 10 lbs. less than I've maxed out at, definitely a good session with those

Took off Slingshot

2x10 @ 220 lbs.

1x18 @ 175

1x25 @ 145


Barbell rows in rowing rack setup -

1x5 @ 155 lbs.

1x5 @ 205

3x10 @ 250

2x2 @ 315, thought I'd try going heavy, but body wasn't ready for 315 for reps yet


Hammer Strength plate-loaded 45 degree pulldown setup -

1x5 @ 450 lbs.

1x5 @ 500, tough and ugly, but a success

1x8 @ 450

1x15 @ 360

1x25 @ 270


Barbell shrugs -

4x50 @ 275 lbs., high-rep work, 2 sets in front, 2 sets behind the back


Called it a day after that, good to train again after a break, should be deadlifting on Monday!

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I'm coming to town next week!


"If" it works, let's see if we can get a workout in! I'll potentially be in WI Sunday night, and Monday night. Not totally sure, but attending Chicago Vegan Mania on Nov 5th and then flying out on the 8th from Chicago. Hoping to swing by to do some holiday shopping at the store, and if it works, a training session too!


See you soon.

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Lower back and overhead pressing day -


Deadlifts -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x3 @ 225

1x2 @ 275

1x1 @ 315

1x1 @ 335

5x5 @ 345

Been hunched over my desk too much lately with poor posture, which makes my lower back ache after deadlifts, but worked through it. Sets felt easy enough, but still going to take it slow for the coming months.


Standing strict overhead press with 55 lb. Axle -

1x5 @ empty axle

1x5 @ 105 lbs.

1x5 @ 145

1x3 @ 175

3x7 @ 190, felt great with these tonight

2x4 @ 205

Shoulders felt stronger than usual after plenty of rest, will probably try for 230 or so strict press in a few weeks to test


Rack deadlifts from mid kneecap height -

2x20 @ 315, working on fast lockout speed pulling each rep


Seated partial axle press in the rack, bar starting out grazing top of head -

3x12 @ 200 lbs.

1x25 @ 150


Row shrugs in rowing rack (face down toward floor, bar hanging down below, shrug up) -

3x20 @ 225 lbs,


Bench shrugs in rack (bar held at lockout position, shrug upward) -

2x25 @ 250 lbs


Enough for the day, rest tomorrow, upper back work coming up again soon.

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Lost much of the past week of training due to long days at work, but got in for some chest/upper back work last night -


BB rows on row rack setup -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 185

1x5 @ 225

3x5 @ 285

2x12 @ 225


Flat bench w/ 2" diameter axle -

1x5 @ 145 lbs.

1x3 @ 195

1x2 @ 235

Put on Slingshot, testing max today even though I didn't feel great

1x1 @ 285

1x1 @ 305

1x1 @ 325

1x1 @ 340, new PR by 10 lbs.

Took off Slingshot

1x1 @ 285

1x1 @ 290

5x2 @ 270

Considered going for 300+ raw, but was pretty beat after the 340, so I figured I'd hold off on the raw heavy attempts for another few weeks.


Hammer Strength plate-loaded pulldowns -

3x10 @ 300 lbs.

1x20 @ 230 lbs.


10" diameter log benching in the rack -

3x12 @ 205 lbs.

1x20 @ 165


Hammer Strength angled pulldown/high row -

3x20 w/ white and orange mini-bands for resistance, all pulls for speed, weight unknown (by about 18 or so, it was tough to get a full pull, definitely exhausting)


Should be squatting in two days, will be out of town tomorrow but hope to be back in time to train on Tuesday!

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Thanks, veggiesasquatch!


Long work week, didn't get to train until last night, wanted to do a good leg/shoulder workout, but only half of it went well.


Standing strict overhead press w/ axle in the power rack -

1x5 @ empty axle (55 lbs.)

1x3 @ 145 lbs.

1x2 @ 175

1x1 @ 195

10x2 @ 210, definitely a good strict pressing day with these today.

1x10 @ 175

1x15 @ 145, shoulders fried at this point


Squats, reducing reps as my CNS feels taxed to hell lately and don't want to go overboard -

1x5 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 185

1x3 @ 225

1x2 @ 275

1x2 @ 315

10x2 @ 335, just wasn't feeling good about squatting today. Lost two weeks with eye surgery and not getting to squat last weekend as planned, just felt loose and lower back wasn't happy with squats either. I swear, I miss one week of squats and I feel like my form goes to crap for stability. Guess I'll drop weight a bit next week and up the sets to hammer down technique better again after the bit of lapse.


Sled pushing on new area w/ astroturf, had a lot more drag resistance than I'd originally expected as compared to asphalt -

2x250 foot pushes w/ 350 lbs.

1x250 foot drag w/ Ironmind harness w/ 350 lbs.


Just didn't have much more in me last night to do any other leg assistance stuff, called it early, figure I'll just have to squat again sooner than later.


Hope to get some upper back work in tomorrow, then deadlifts and chest on the weekend!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Haven't lifted at all this past 10 days, extremely long days at work and all free time has been spent trying to get things ready for this week (Black Friday week for business plus holiday with family = zero personal time for a while), but I'm hoping to get in to train tonight and possibly once more this week if I can. Feeling like crap after being stuck at a desk so much lately, lower back in knots (funny how NOT lifting makes it feel wose than when I lift heavy), no energy, but hopefully soon I'll be back in action as normal!

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  • 1 month later...

Been a while, but time to get back to business again!


Almost zero training the past 2 months, as is clearly visible by my log. Basically, I got so wrapped up with work in November trying to accomplish as much as possible by year's end, I decided that I'd let my body rest up/heal up a while and start back up after Xmas. Good news, left knee pain is greatly decreased (hope it stays that way once I get back to leg training again!), but lower back is a complete mess. Been doing lots of reading lately, the general conclusion I've come to is that yes, the injuries I sustained years ago really put things in a bad place, but all the accommodating I've done to pamper it since then have only made things worse. Sitting hunched over for too long while rounding my lower back, sitting leaning to one side in the corner of the couch at night, sleeping on a bad mattress on my side with my hips in a divot in the center, and general lack of proper posture seem to have just made things a nightmare. Some days I'm fine, other days I step down a tall curb and it feels like someone poked a knife into my lower vertebrae. So, plan for 2012 is to do one thing only - GET HEALTHY AND FIX THE INJURED AREAS. I can't realistically expect to ever get all my strength back if I'm battling the same problems every year, so the new outlook is, make sure the knee is good, work to learn how to get that lower back fixed up (most likely going to buy the Bullet Proof Back system, which gets rave reviews from long-time lower back pain sufferers who learn to reduce or stop all symptoms from the program), and have some fun this year. All previous expectations of "I will be back to full strength in one year or less" have proven to just keep me always feeling depressed about lack of progress, so no more lofty expectations on that end, this year is about solving problems so that one day, there will actually be potential for me to be stronger than at my prime!


Long winded stuff, but did get my first workout in last night, will follow up with details!

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Decent return via an upper back and shoulder workout last night, weight was WAY up from eating too much and no exercise this last few months, whereas I used to hover around 235-238, I came in at 246.5 yesterday, and it all feels like it's hanging around my midsection (every pair of jeans is WAY too tight!) So, began a new clean eating program yesterday as well, all crap food eliminated (since I think I ate triple of junk food through the holidays), and it's back on!


Weighted pull-ups -

2x2 @ bodyweight (250 lbs. clothed)

2x6 @ 45 lbs. added

1x5 @ 45 lbs. added (failed on 6th rep, even with a bit of cheat kick to get moving at the start)


Standing strict overhead barbell press w/ 2" diameter axle -

1x10 @ empty axle (55 lbs.)

1x3 @ 145 lbs.

3x8 @ 175 - felt much easier than expected after a long layoff

2x12 @ 150 - now I felt where the lack of training affected me, endurance turned to crap, tough to complete as shoulders were on fire by reps 9-10 on each set


1-arm row on machine deadlift setup (we got a new Hammer Strength deadlift machine setup for simulating car deadlift training, tried to put it to use somehow) -

3x12 @ 165 lbs. each arm, didn't like the stress on lower back, so probably won't do these again


Standing overhead half presses in the power rack with 2" axle (Kirk acquired a new power rack since I was there last time, one of those huge ones that a 9 foot tall man could squat in and still have plenty of clearance!) -

3x20 @ 150 lbs., easy pressing, just a "burnout" type set to push my endurance a bit. Bar started and ended each rep on pins with height set where axle was just grazing the top of my head


Hammer Strength plate-loaded high row machine -

1x20 @ 90 lbs. plus green bands attached (about 110 lbs. resistance at start, close to 200 lbs. at finish)

1x20 @ 120 " " (about 140/230 lbs.)

1x20 @ 150 " " (about 170/260)

1x20 @ 180 " " (about 200/290)

Just doing lighter speed rowing for endurance sets to get the heart rate up a bit, all sets done quickly, every rep fast


DB front raises (makes my shoulders feel looser after pressing) -

3x15 @ 25 lb. DB each arm


Band pull-aparts -

3x20 w/ black band


Nothing too complicated, just trying to keep stress off lower back as much as possible for a bit, felt good while training but some sharp pains in my spine afterward despite most of the lifting being non-aggravating. That's why this year is about solving that problem, I don't want to still be griping about my back after 2012.


Should be doing some leg work tomorrow or Saturday - I received an IronMind hip belt for Christmas, so I can start slowly to get back to leg training without having any bar stress on my back, since the weight will be underneath and supported by the hips and glutes instead. Should be interesting, hopefully it will help me on my way back up!

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I have been having that problem as well. Dislocated shoulders, partially torn MCL etc...


Tell me about it! Injuries suck, but the one good thing about getting older is that I'm finally wise enough to understand that I can't just keep training through everything that happens A lesson learned late, but better late than never!

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NYE light leg day training along with some easy chest work -


Flat BB bench -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x3 @ 185

1x5 @ 220, 225, 230, 235, 240

Definitely not feeling back to speed with these after the first session, usually takes a month to get the groove back.


Hip Belt squats with weight hanging from loading pin, done standing on two stacks of plates about 16" tall (with hanging weight on pin between two stacks for full ROM reps to parallel)

3x20 @ 135 lbs., very easy going light with the hip belt

1x20 @ 185

1x20 @ 225, just starting to take some effort at this weight with high reps

Just learning how to use the hip belt squat setup, a bit tricky at times, but pain-free on the lower back and definitely gave the legs a bit of work, albeit light. Might try to set up with a barbell next time, just to see if it works a bit more easily than via loading pin.


Close-grip flat BB bench -

3x25 @ 135 lbs.


Glute/Ham raises -

3x25 @ bodyweight


Short and simple for last night, was pretty tired but I'm committed to getting stuff back on track again, so no excuses not to make it. Good news as well, left knee that was giving me trouble this past fall barely hurt after the hip belt squats last night and is 99% pain-free today, so hopefully the time off really let things heal up for whatever it was that had been giving me trouble. If it does hurt again like it did before, though, it'll finally be time to get it checked out, fingers crossed that it was only a small issue that will work itself out with more time and careful training. I'm not going to keep doing the same old "I'm starting to get my strength back, so screw the injuries, let's keep going!" stuff - this is definitely the year to swallow ego and get healthy so I'm not wheelchair bound by the time I hit 40 in just over 2 years, so it will be light lower body work for months to come until I get the knee and lower back pain under full control. Once the injuries aren't haunting me, THEN it'll be time to push harder than ever, but for now, slow and steady!

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