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

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I do highly recommend 5/3/1...if you haven't noticed from my blog haha By adding the respective 5lb to upper body & 10lb lower body (I add 2.5kg & 5kg being in the uk) to your 1rm each cycle works well for a steady gain.


I try keeping the mindset of "It's the millimetres that make up a mile" these days.


I think people under estimate how important upper back work is.  People want a thick, broad back but i believe if you train it to be functional then it's an area that has a great knock on effect...so I'm with you on that for sure! Shoulders are self explanatory, you need shoulders for everything.


If I you dont mind a suggestion towards the hip movement you mentioned, I used glute bridges & single leg glute bridges to help me "learn" to actually push with my hips. Even barbell bridges, these killed at first.


I'm sure you already know the above but just thought I'd help if I could:)

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I will definitely consider it in the coming months for 5/3/1, VS! And agreed fully on the upper back work, which is why I've never let it slide and made sure to keep hitting it hard when it was one of the few things I had left to train heavy on.


I was doing some barbell hip bridges for fun a while ago, might start putting those back in soon. It all starts to click after a few weeks of being back in routine, but even 2-3 weeks off of lower body work sets me back far on my form, so it's square one all over again!


This past few days, no training, after walking for nearly 8 hours/day for 3 days straight (and a good distance expected tomorrow), it's all I can muster right about now for any exercise. At the same time, this is the first Expo where I didn't eat my way from one end of the hall to the othter (tried to steer clear of most of the junk food this time around), so that has been the one good thing of this last few days. Will be back on track come Wednesday, either doing legs or upper back as soon as I fly home and have a day to get things back in order at work again!

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Hey Big Guy,


Hope you had an awesome trip!


Hope you had fun with the Vega crew too. I stayed busy working on various things but perhaps I'll make it back there in the future. I'll miss next year too, due to the cruise conflict. But someday I'll likely make it back to Expo.


Enjoy the training when you're back in the gym!

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First day back to normal training again, had a good session last night for chest and upper back -


Weighted pull-ups -

1x3 @ bodyweight (247 lbs. clothed)

3x10 @ 28.5 lbs. added on (27.5 lb. DB plus belt for hanging weight, 275.5 .bs. total weight)


Flat barbell bench w/ axle -

1x5 @ 145 lbs.

1x3 @ 235

1x1 @ 265

1x1 @ 285

1x1 @ 300, just to make sure I could hit it well enough, only stalled out for a split second at the change from mostly chest to more triceps on lockout (which is usually my strong point!)

1x8 @ 235

2x7 @ 235 (was going to be 8,7,6 but had a bit of extra strength on the last rep)


Hammer Strength plate-loaded high row -

3x12 @ 400 lbs.


DB flat bench -

1x10 @ 95s

1x15 @ 80s

1x20 @ 65s


Pulldowns -

3x15 @ 220 lbs.


Horizontal bench machine w/ bands -

3x20 w/ purple and orange band for speed reps, close neutral grip position for hands


Sled rows outside (being as it was in the mid 50s last night, seemed right to open the dock door up and get outdoors!)

1x20 @ 450 lbs.

1x20 @ 500

1x20 @ 550


9 decent working sets for bench, 12 for upper back, felt good but wiped out afterward.


May well head back tonight to do some prowler pushing and sled dragging work for the hell of it, we'll see how the day goes!

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Putting out some big numbers there!


Thanks, FH! Hoping to start finally putting up some decent numbers on the lower body stuff soon enough, last spinal decompression was yesterday, should be getting new x-rays on Monday or Tuesday to see how well it worked and how I'll be able to transition back to regular training again!

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Quick lower back workout last night -


Light rehab deadlifts continuing my slow rebuilding phase -

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 185

5x10 @ 235, still just adding 10 lbs. weekly for another month or two


Hyperextensions -

2x20 @ bodyweight

2x20 w/ 20 lb. EZ curl bar behind neck


Tested new tire that someone brought to the facility, smaller but dense and heavier than it looked, about 600-650ish by my guess, flipped one set of 3 and realized that I should probably not overdo it for too much on the lower back at once


Front squat harness shrugs -

1x20 @ 150 (135 + 15 lb. harness)

1x20 @ 200

1x20 @ 240

1x20 @ 290

1x20 @ 330

1x20 @ 350, decided to cap it out there


Got a reverse hyper machine in while I was away, but I'm not crazy about it. Not very comfortable to use, ankle strap too small, and it can't be bolted down and the compact size makes it unstable when you put some weight on for sets (front legs come off the ground an inch or two on each rep). Still, gotta make use with what you've got!

1x20 @ 50 lbs.

2x20 @ 100 lbs.

1x20 @ 50 lbs.

Only got to use a quality reverse hyper once before, and it felt much better than this one. Might just have to spring for a quality one for the facility soon since I plan to use it to keep up with my lower back rehab since my decompression treatments are complete.


Decided to do two quicks sets of seated DB hammer curls between the reverse hyperextensions since we now have quality dumbbells from 10 to 140 lbs. in the facility instead of a random mix of rusty hex DBs that only went to 80s and one set of 100s. Just 2x15 @ 45s with no cheat to call it a night.


Today was rest, tomorrow will be legs and shoulder work!

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Looking good here man! I think you're definitely taking the right approach with your lower back. Before you know it you'll be moving huge weight again in the squat and deadlift.


Also, where did you get your tire? I have one I picked up for free from a truck yard a year ago or so, but it's fairly beat up and not as big and heavy as I'd like.

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Looking good here man! I think you're definitely taking the right approach with your lower back. Before you know it you'll be moving huge weight again in the squat and deadlift.


Also, where did you get your tire? I have one I picked up for free from a truck yard a year ago or so, but it's fairly beat up and not as big and heavy as I'd like.


Thanks, RC and Mosh!


Yeah, going to go slow and steady on the back for a good stretch and not go full-force back in too soon. Despite feeling 90% better after 2 months of treatments, it's not a magic fix, and any damage I've done before can be done more easily this time around, so I'm really planning on taking it slow through summer before working on getting some heavy weights tossed around again. Basically, my spinal erectors are so far gone from what they used to be, it's like starting over again, but give me time and it'll all work out!


For the tires, I actually don't know where most came from that we have (they just would be at the facility one day, no idea who brought them or where they picked them up!) Though, I know in our area, most of the guys who have tires have gotten them from a place called Pomp's, which is a commercial/industrial tire repair/replacement service that handles big commercial vehicles, farm equipment, etc. Best best is if you can find someplace that handles that range of tires, you should be able to find a good free one as usually, they're happy as hell to have one less tire clogging up the yard (unless they do recycling on site to shred them to bits for use in other applications). That, or you could even check with someone at your city's public works dept. to see about what they do with the tires from their equipment, might be something that they'd have on hand that they're itching to get rid of, too!

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No training in a bit Last Sunday night, started to feel really fatigued. Next day, massive sinus infection and chest congestion plus sore throat. Lasted 3 days, sinuses and chest cleared up 90% but throat is still slightly sore AND my lymph nodes are swollen like golf balls. Still waiting on my test results from Saturday spent at the walk-in clinic (could barely swallow water, was NOT fun that day...), probably not strep as originally thought but they never ruled out possibility of other fun stuff like mono (doubtful, but you never know....), so while I'm fairly functional for work duties, training has been a complete no-go, probably won't be until this weekend. Oh well, the throat pain just means more vegan ice cream to numb the soreness for another day or two, I guess I have to look at the bright side

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Finally well enough to train a short session tonight, shoulders and upper back quick workout -


Weighted pull-ups (245 lbs. clothed tonight with no added weight)

2x3 @ bodyweight

3x5 @ 50 lbs. added / 295 lbs. total weight


Standing strict overhead axle press -

1x5 @ 145 lbs.

1x3 @ 175

1x1 @ 195

2x1 @ 205, just not ready to go heavy yet after being sick

2x8 @ 175

1x12 @ 145


Hammer Strength plate-loaded high row machine -

1x10 @ 360 lbs.

1x10 @ 450

1x10 @ 540, ugly but got 'em done


1-arm standing strict overhead DB press -

2x15 @ 70 lb. DB each arm, 1st set straight through, 2nd set did 13, dropped DB, rested 10 seconds and cleaned DB to finish reps on each arm


Pulldowns -

1x15 @ 220 lbs., wide grip

1x15 @ 220, V-handle


Done in about 70 minutes total, quick session, should be training again Sunday!

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Second session back again after two weeks of being sick. 98% better, still one swollen lymph node and a slight throat tickle, but I can't wait another freakin' week to get life back to normal. Quick leg session tonight:


Squats -

1x5 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 185

1x3 @ 225

5x10 @ 245, again all sets easy, just got really winded on final set (after rep 6, had to take about 5 breaths between each rep to finish, lungs still not 100% yet).


Glute/ham raises -

3x25 @ bodyweight


Leg press -

3x25 @ 250 lbs. plus black bands (about 50 lbs. resistance at start, about 100 at finish)


That was it, queasy afterward and didn't have anything left in me to bother with.


Lower back and chest likely in two days, trying to make sure anything interfering with legs will be normal by Thursday so I can play around on this:




Friend who owns the skatepark nearby just finished up this little beauty today, finishing the changes to the pool in the background as well this week, haven't skated in a few months but itching to get back out now that there's something new to enjoy.


So, plan is lower back and chest Tuesday, upper back Wednesday, skate Thursday!

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Hey, VS!


Hopefully someone will be taking video while I'm at the skatepark some time, if so I'll post it up here Still got decent balance (started skating when I was 12, nearly 26 years later much of it still has been retained), but the body doesn't cooperate like it used to. Not to mention, it hurts a hell of a lot more when I fall now, I seriously think that skateboarding is half fun, half self inflicted punshment now that I recall how much I tend to get knocked around doing it.


Axle is 2" diameter, so same as normal olympic bar sleeves all the way down. I love that thing, almost all my pressing is done with it these days. The axle just rests so much more naturally in my hands, it's hard to want to press with a normal bar again!


Lost most of last week to feeling wiped out after nearly 3 weeks of fighting to get over the cold I caught in California, but got in for upper back and chest last night -


Weighted pull-ups -

2x3 @ bodyweight (248 lbs. clothed last night)

1x5 @ 50 lbs. added on

1x4 @ 60

1x3 @ 70

1x2 @ 80

1x1.5 @ 90 (first rep decent, 2nd one was close, but not quite)


Flat barbell bench w/ axle -

1x5 @ 145 lbs.

1x3 @ 195

1x2 @ 235

1x1 @ 265

Put on Slingshot

5x2 @ 300 lbs.

3x5 @ 285

1x12 @ 250

1x20 @ 200


Icarian plate-loaded seated row -

1x8 @ 300 lbs

1x8 @ 310

1x8 @ 320


Horizontal banded bench machine -

3x20 @ double orange bands, alternating grips each set


Pulldowns -

3x15 @ 230 lbs., 1 set wide grip, one medium, one fairly narrow


Inverted rows -

3x20 @ bodyweight


Called it a day, should be in for some light lower back work tomorrow!

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It was meant as a compliment if it sounded otherwise? Skating kinda came out over here when I was aged about 13, disappeared within months then reappeared some yrs later but it's kinds stayed this time. I think we had a little skate park once but nothing major.

My other half has a long board but no nice long smooth roads round here!!! Would be pretty awesome seeing you on a board! Especially if you pull of some tricks?!I always loved bmx'ing & got pretty good at one point, along with some off road biking. About one of a few perks only being 5ft 10".


I have kinda small hands so I really struggle with the thicker bars, hoping my grip just steadily improves now going "strapless" on everything. How heavy is the bar unweighted?


Another great workout, your numbers are awesome, have you always been naturally strong or something you had to work on?....one day man haha

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And I hope my comment didn't seem to be against staking


Just saying I never took the time to get good at it, and never made it very far. I had a Rune Glifberg board that was pretty cool.


Ryan, every time I visit we rarely get to hangout outside of work stuff. Maybe next time we can skate and I can see if I'm still able to do an ollie.


Have a great one. Hope all is well.


PS, what is the slingshot you mentioned?

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Figured it was a compliment, VS! It was always odd being the big guy skateboarding - I averaged about 235 lbs. most of the time I was skating daily (minus all the muscle I acquired over the years, so it was always a chubby 235ish all the time). But, all the years spent praticing gave me a decent sense of balance, coupled with learning to fall to do the least amount of damage for being the size I was. Still a lot of fun, but I have just as much fun watching the younger generation come up and do tricks we only dreamed of back in our day, so even if I just go to spectate it's a good time.


The axle is 54 lbs. empty, I call it 55 as I throw on some steel collars on it that are about a half pound or so to try and get it close to 55 lbs total. It's tough to use for anything with deadlifting, rowing, etc. but for pressing, it gets me into a better position and feels WAY better than a normal bar.


I was never naturally strong (naturally large, yes, but I spent my first years lifting with a friend who referred to me as either "balloon man" or "super-wuss" for not having strength to match my size When I was just doing general bodybuilding, I never got that strong - only when got into doing other stuff like strongman and odd lift work did I finally realize that not every rep needs to be textbook, not every set needs to be done in the vein of "x reps for x sets = optimal", lots of heavy singles and doubles combined with squats, deadlifts and overheads that I'd ignored for years are what turned things around. Now it's just keeping my fingers crossed that my lower back will stay in decent shape to get my lower body strong again one day, gotta take it slow for a long time to ensure I don't make the same mistake twice. Not to mention, some strongman things like doing yoke training are off my list permanently, as that was one thing that really did make my situation even worse.


No worries, Robert, I knew what you meant! Hopefully you'll be back this way this summer, and if so, we'll have to find more time to hang out for sure. I still feel bad that I didn't have the chance to get to train with you while you were here, but next time, it'll be good to go. The Slingshot can be seen here for how it works: http://howmuchyabench.net/


It's a great training tool for overloading on bench, it works like a partial bench shirt by giving some assistance off the chest at bottom and lets you slam your triceps harder than normal by going heavier than you can normally do for chest work. It gives me about 30 lbs. or so extra above my normal bench weights for what I can use, you feel it as the bar hits your chest, but every inch back up, it does less and less to assist and about halfway to lockout, you don't get anything out of it (which is exactly when your triceps will kick in the most). I like to use it for a while, then test my raw bench every so often to see how much it can help me add on when I ditch it for a max single. I'm hoping to hit 315 without it again soon to tie my old PR close grip bench, so we'll see in a month or so if it's helping me out as much as I hope it is!

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Too busy to do much training this week, but got in tonight for a quick upper back session -


Pull-ups (250 lbs. bodyweight clothed) -

2x3 @ bodyweight

3x5 @ 57.5 lbs. added


Pulldowns -

3x10 @ 270 lbs., changing grips each set


Dumbbell rows -

3x15 @ 155 lb. dumbbell each arm (was originally just planning for 12s, but was easy, so 15 was better!)


Wide-grip plate loaded Icarian seated row -

2x20 @ 200 lbs.


Between those, I did 3 light sets of reverse hypers, 20 reps @ 60 lbs. to stretch out my lower back as it was a bit tight tonight.


Wrapped up with 2x30 for bodyweight shrug-ups from a pull-up hang (using lats and a bit of trapezius to shrug upward a few inches), then one set of barbell curls with 55 lb. heavy-duty power bar, 35 reps normal curl style, rest 5 seconds, change to reverse curl grip to finish.


Leg day again (finally!) on Sunday, looking forward to it!

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Never fail to be impressed when I read your workouts. Speaking of belts I have sent you a pm


Hey, VS!


Strength Shop guys are top-notch, they should be able to take care of you very well with their belts. I don't happen to have one (I'm just using a Rehband back support with an old Valeo canvas belt doubled around it for now), but I hear great things about their belts, not to mention they're supposed to also be competition spec-friendly for thickness and overall size. Definitely worth a go if you can get one!

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