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

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Hit some quick shoulder and trap work yesterday -


Strict presses -

2x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 185

1x3 @ 205

1x2 @ 225

1x1 @ 225, failed on 2nd rep.

Bad night's sleep, tense week, not eating much took its toll today. So, punishment time came next with 5x10 @ 135 just to make sure I got them all in. 3 sets in front, one set in back, and one set alternating front to back between lockouts.


Medium-wide grip shrugs -

1x10 @ 225

1x10 @ 315

1x8 @ 385

1x8 @ 435

1x3 @ 485 (I suck when it starts to get heavy with shrugs...)

1x30 @ 315


Saw on the way out that the crappy squat, calf raise machine has side handles next to the shoulder pads, decided to try to use it like a viking press with the 160 that was sitting on it at that time. Did 1x20 just to test it, wasn't too bad but due to the angle the weight lessens at the top by a considerable amount. Felt like 130 off the start and only about 90-100 lbs. at the top, but still kind of fun to goof off with and perhaps I'll try it heavier some time again if I remember it.


Today, back work -


BB Rows -

1x10 @ 135

1x8 @ 225

1x5 @ 275

1x5 @ 285

1x5 @ 295

1x10 @ 225, done as perfect form with no upper body movement and parallel to the ground. Rows are getting better again, back is feeling good, let this be the start of finally making some freakin' progress again.


Hise shrugs in the rack -

1x8 @ 315

1x8 @ 405

1x8 @ 495

1x8 @ 585


Bottom-up 1/3 squat (12-14" ROM) to 5 second hold (practice for a low yoke setup)

1 x 585

1 x 675

1 x 765 - took me 2 tries as the first one I was too far back, knee wasn't happy with it even though it went up fairly easily, enough of those for today instead of going to 815 as I'd hoped to hit.


Alternated pulldowns with face pull sets with about 30 seconds between them -

Pulldowns with very wide grip - 2x8 @ 190

Face Pulls from 1/3 squat stance - 2x12 @ 108


Wrapped up with GMs to parallel -

1x10 @ 225

1x10 @ 275

1x2 @ 300 - wanted 10, but knee was a bit tender after 2nd rep, called it quits a bit early to give it a few days' rest.


Training at NX on Tuesday and Wednesday, will hopefully get a few days of training in this weekend but with moving our businesses to the new location I never really know how it'll go. Problems are expected, so we shall see how much training I actually get done this weekend.

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  • 3 weeks later...

No NX training this week it seems, so I hit Ballys for a quick 50 minute session -


BB Rows -

1x8 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 275

2x4 @ 315

1x10 @ 225 wide grip, slow reps

Rows felt good, next week I'll do some high-rep rowing with sets of something like 3x12 @ 250 just to beat myself up nicely.


Close grip flat BB bench

1x10 @ 135

1x10 @ 225, 1-2 second pause each rep

1x2 @ 245

1x2 @ 265

1x3 @ 275 - was easy, felt good for maybe one more rep

2x20 half reps off the chest @ 135

Triceps were thoroughly fried after these - when you have a hard time pushing 135 off your chest you know you're done for!


Hammer Strength single-arm pulldowns -

2x10 @ 275 (135 each hand)


Hammer Strength low row -

2x20 @ 90 each hand


Just wanted to test the rowing and benching today, the Hammer machine stuff just for filler since I didn't feel like loading and unloading a bar during the last 10 minutes while I was in a rush. Feeling good despite still being low on sleep and high on stress, let this hopefully be the start of good training again.


Squats and overhead work coming on Thursday!

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Richard -


The stress is finally wrapping up since our move is complete - once I assemble my desk tonight it'll all be done, which will leave me in a much better state. It certainly can't get any worse, that's for sure!


Two workout updates for now -


Been slightly sick for the past 4 days, but not too bad. Occasionally slight chills, a bit run down, but other than that still well enough to lift and work, so here's the logs for now.


Friday was leg and overhead day.


Overhead presses -

2x5 @ 135 strict

1x3 @ 185 strict

1x3 @ 225 slight push

1x3 @ 245 push

1x2 @ 265 push

1x1 @ 275 push

Wanted to finally get 275 again after feeling way weak overhead this past few months. Didn't have to fight too much to get it, probably good for 280-285 with some work, so I'm only down 10-15 lbs. from the old max. Not too bad.


Squats -

Did some front squats up to a single @ 275 between overhead presses to warm up, then straight to back squats.

1x3 @ 315, paused 3 seconds at bottom of each rep

1x3 @ 265

1x1 @ 405

1x1 @ 435

Today was a test of squat strength, which was pathetic. 435 was a real battle, so I'm down about 90 lbs. from last year. Hooray. Gotta work that crap hard and bring it back up!

1x10 @ 315

This would have once been easy, but the last 2 reps felt like I was going to die. Bad endurance, bad strength, bad everything. Nowhere to go but up from here.


Seated 1-arm DB press -

1x10 each arm @ 80 lbs.


No more time for that day, did the workout in 40 minutes and it was over.


Today was back day, didn't fare all that badly, despite eating all of about 400 calories for the first half of the day before lifting.


BB Row -

1x8 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

3x12 @ 250

Went as planned, could have probably made it with 10 lbs. more or added one more rep, happy that the rows are coming back up again, aiming to get 3x10 @ 275 in a month or two at most.


BB Shrugs -

1x10 @ 225

1x10 @ 315

1x10 @ 385

Wasn't feeling it today, rows winded the hell out of me, did one last set of 8 snatch grip hang pulls @ 225 to mid chest followed by 1x20 @ 315 and that was it.


Seated DB curls -

1x10 @ 50 lb DBs hammer curls

1x10 @ 50 lb DBs regular curls


Only had 35 minutes today because I screwed around at home too long, called it a day and that was that.


No idea what's coming this week - gotta leave a message at NX to get something set up, hopefully by mid-week I'll be back on track there.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Layoffs and stress are finally coming to their close (not that I don't have my share of problems and stresses still, but that can't stop me now!), so it's time to start lifting again and get my crap back in gear after the holiday madness.


For legs, I'm going to stop full squats until late February and just work my lower back with Good Mornings and overload with heavy partial squats, so here was today's workout:


Good Mornings to about 2" above parallel -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x10 @ 135

1x10 @ 225

1x10 @ 315

2x10 @ 340

1x15 @ 315

These definitely went well - it was hard last week to make 2x10 @ 315, and I seem to be re-adapting quickly. Aiming for sets of 10 @ 375 in around 8 weeks - we shall see!


Did some overhead standing strict presses (my light overhead day of the week) between the GMs -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x10 @ 135

5x5 @ 185

I'll be alternating between low weight/high reps and mid-heavy medium reps for a month or two, hoping to eventually get 5x3 @ 225 so I can crank them out easily enough for more than 2 sets before crapping out.


Next were 1/3 squats with around a 12" ROM (1 pin higher than the GM height, about 2.5" above navel height on me) -

1x10 @ 405

1x20 @ 500

I'd intended to do 3x10 @ 500, but I had little time left and had to force out one death set to make good on it. Got through 17 before I had to set the bar on the pins and take a few breaths, after 20 I collapsed and had to lie down for a minute and leave a sweat outline on the mats. I'd like to get to sets of 10-15 with 600 lbs. by March, so I'll be hitting these every other week and adding 20 lbs. each time.


Time for one last set when they called to kick everyone out, hit the lying leg curl machine, set a light 100 lbs, did 2-legs-up, 1-leg-down for 20 reps total (10 down each leg) and I could barely walk without cramping up.


Good enough for the day, feeling better about doing higher reps and less weight since the low rep stuff was burning me out a lot, gonna work to make it happen this year and finally get stronger than I was in early 2006 when I was at my prime.

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Ultra-quick back and chest day -


40 minutes tops to get my lifting in, my triple espresso I'd taken for a bit of pep wasn't sitting right and it made for a not-so-great day (but still productive)


DB Rows -

1x5 each arm @ 70

3x18 each arm @ 120 lbs. (I'd kill for some 150-180 lb. DBs right now...)

The first set went well, 2nd set was REALLY tough on the last few reps, 3rd set had to be done as 6 reps, 5 breaths, 6 reps, 5 breaths, 6 reps. Still, finished it out and felt like falling over dead when I was done.


DB Incline presses -

1x8 @ 60s

1x10 @ 100s

1x8 @ 100s

Could tell that it would drop quickly on set #3 due to how tired I was, opted to postpone this lift until next time


Tried a set of Hammer Strength pulldowns with 135 per arm, but after 2 reps I was cramping up and realized that any lifting for the back was done for. Terrible.


Bench lockouts in the power rack -

1x10 close grip @ 225

1x5 regular bench width grip @ 315

1x15 close grip @ 225

Close-grip sets had about a 6-7" ROM from pins to lockout, wide grip sets about 4-5"


No more time, and since I was so worn out that was enough anyway. Deadlifts, shrugs and more to come on Saturday's workout!

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And today, the struggle continues....


We're embattled in a war with our new landlord over our sign in front of our building, and he's being a royal a$$ about it (coming up with terms not in the lease, claiming we have to spend $500 to get the sign changed and more headaches than we need...) so I turned that frustration around and hit the gym even though I didn't plan on it until tomorrow.


Deadlift lockouts from mid-knee height -

1x8 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

1x5 @ 405

1x5 @ 455

1x5 @ 500

Just testing the waters here, but the lower back is doing well and so far, so good. Last time I tried 455 it was still hurting, but no pain and no strain and I'm feeling strong so we'll work toward 600 in a few months before I start DL'ing from the floor.


DLs were alternated with Overhead Smith machine shrugs (not counting counterbalanced bar weight, plates only) -

1x20 @ 90

1x20 @ 180

1x20 @ 270

1x40 @ 270

Pushed the last set well past where I thought I'd make it, which was good. Thought about 50, but that'd have put me under, so 40 was pretty darned nice anyway.


Squat machine Hise shrugs (shrugging with shoulder pads on as it I were going to squat with it) -

3x25 @ 810 lbs.

Not bad, used to fight to get 20, 25 was not all that difficult. Nowhere else to add weight, so I can only increase reps with it.


Preacher Curl Machine -

1x9 @ 70 lbs. each arm

Yes, dreaded arm work thrown in for some biceps strengthening. That's the only reason, I swear!


Got home afterward since I only had 50 minutes to lift, did a few sets of 25 unweighted reverse hypers and 3x15 back extensions with a 25 lb. EZ curl bar across my shoudlers plus one more biceps set of 20 reps on the EZ curl bar @ 95 lbs. (some body motion to get the last 10 reps moving, but not excessive cheating)


That was all for today, not all high reps but still mostly done in that manner. I'll work to get back to low-rep training (more sets, though) come late February, but for now this is how it will go!

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Back to leg and overhead day again!


Started with alternating sets of strict overhead presses with Good Mornings, about 60 seconds rest between each set, get a drink, and repeat -


Overhead strict presses:

2x5 @ 95

1x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 185

5x2 @ 225 - PR for not crapping out sooner as I'm usually only able to get one rep after the 3rd set, if even. This felt good, next week I'll drop to 175 lbs. and do sets of 8-10 as I'm finding that alternating light and heavy weeks is doing well for me this past few weeks.


Good Mornings to about 2" above parallel in the rack:

1x5 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

1x3 @ 365

1x3 @ 385

3x3 @ 405

1x20 @ 315

All sets went well, lower back is getting very strong again and in another month we'll see how this impacts my going back to full squats again. I'm hoping to get back above 500 again by the end of March, and if things continue to go well I don't see much problem with that. The last set of 20 was a killer - did breating reps after 15, may have been able to get 1 or 2 more but I still had to slump over the preacher curl bench for a few minutes when it was done. Oh yeah, lesson for the day is, watch your hand position when you rack the weight. I wasn't really paying much attention on the 2nd set at 405 and pinched the corner of my hand about an inch below my pinky and that wasn't fun at all - basically, I pinched a blood blister that immediately exploded, so I had to get a half dozen band-aids and cover up the damage to finish my workout. Live and learn.


After the GMs I had 5 minutes left until closing did 2 sets of lying leg curls, one with the full stack for 10 and the 2nd set for 20 with 150 lbs. (which really means nothing on a machine, I suppose). 2nd set was tough - first 12 reps were sold, then it was the old 3 breaths between each rep to cap it off.


A day or two of rest, then it'll be back and chest day again!

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Tried to train on Tuesday, stupid tension due to a near court battle with our new business landlord had my mind in a haze so I just goofed around a bit for my back day, working up to some 1-arm EZ bar row sets of 5 at 150 lbs - nothing much, just wanted to do someting that made me feel like I wasn't moving backward. Issue is resolved (to the tune of my losing $1000 on the dumbest situation ever...) so it's back to business in the gym.


2nd week of deadlifts in the rack, the lower back is holding up well, better than expected. Nothing heavy for a month or two for any max attempts, just taking it easy and continuing the rehab (I think that the GMs for leg day are doing wonders on the back as well). So, DL just below kneecap, about 16" from what I can guess (18" is mid kneecap on me)

2x5 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

3x10 @ 405

Lower back pumped and sore, but I could have done another few sets of 8 if I'd felt the need. Endurance is what kicked my ass most of all. Not going to push it with anything too heavy until mid to late February, now is the time to get healed.


Hise Shrugs on stupid squat/calf raise machine (lower back tired out, didn't feel like resting a bar on my shoulders much since stability would fail quickly) -

2x30 @ 720 lbs (felt like half of that due to the slight 5-10 degree angle.


Seated overhead press lockouts, about 6" ROM to top of lift, no back support, just sitting on a bench -

1x2, 4, 3 @ 295

Nothing much, tired as hell by that time, just felt like doing a few. Noticing that on seated lockouts my right shoulder pushes back hard, so when I set the weight back on the pins it's always uneven, with the right side being about 2" behind my head. Gotta watch that - it never happens with standing presses, only when seated. Weird.


Cable machine Kelso-inspired shrugs, 2x20 at odd angles done single-arm just to crap myself out.


Tired, headed to the office for about 30 minutes, then went home and did a few random sets of Roman chair sit-ups and back extensions with a 25 lb. bar tucked behind my head (3x15 each) and that was it.


Sunday will be leg day, moving to do more GMs and some half squats for endurance, will report when done!

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Leg day today as planned, but forgot to do any overhead work, so I missed out on that completely. Oh well, there'll be time for that later.


Good Mornings to about 2" above true parallel -

1x10 @ 135

1x8 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

3x10 @ 370

Felt good and strong on these - wanted to go for more than 10 on the last set as I was feeling good for 12-15 on the others, but the bar slipped out of the groove twice and I spent too much time fumbling around with it and decided 10 was plenty.


1/2 squats in the rack (tapping pins or resting on pins briefly with each rep) at navel height, about 15-16" ROM or something close)

1x10 @ 405

1x5 @ 500

1x5 @ 545

1x20 @ 405

Just testing my ability to stay solid and not lean forward, all sets were great and I'll be good to push this up quickly over the next few weeks.


One set of lying leg curls for 20 @ 170 and one set of 50 reps full stack on the back extension to cool down and I was done.


Got home, had the urge to do just a bit more, so I grabbed my 2.5" thick handled DB and did 2x15 curls alternating arms @ 42.5 lbs. Between sets, grabbed the IronMind Heavy Hammer and did some wrist work with it, front and back levers and one set of side levers resting the bottom on a table top to avoid any cheating. Felt good, wrists were strong (only 7.5 lbs. on the handle, but lots of reps), and that's it!


Back and chest on Tuesday, info once it's done!

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Coming off of some sort of weird stomach flu thing that screwed with me the last 2 days, wasn't feeling all too into it for lifting but still made it out for a bit. Was supposed to be back and chest day, but opted to do some overhead stuff instead of chest since I missed it on Monday. Decided to goof on some machines instead of being serious, except for the overhead -


Hammer Strength Pulldowns (2 separate handles on machine) -

1x10 @ 90

1x10 @ 180

1x8 @ 320

1x5 @ 360 for PR on reps at that weight, took off plates and did 1x12 @ 180 immediately afterward


Overhead presses in the rack -

1x5 @ 135 strict

1x3 @ 185 strict

1x7 @ 225 push press, winded WAY too early, knew it wasn't going to be good if I couldn't make it to 10. Decided not to push it today since I'm not feeling great, dropped the weight down a bit and did 2 more sets -

1x15 @ 135 strict

1x14 @ 135, done as Bradford presses, over the head, to the back of the neck, and back over again to the front, 7 each way


Screwed around on another pulldown machine for something or other for 2x10 (can't recall the weight - does it really matter anyway?) and that was it. Short workout, 2 more days of rest then it'll be back to 16" or 18" deadlifts on Friday.


Oh yeah, had to work for a bit after I was done lifting, so I decided to do some push-ups to fill the gap of the not-so-rough day in the gym. I did sets no less than 15 and no more than 30 and did 200 total in around 50 minutes (took some solid rest between sets - I kept forgetting to do them while replying to email messages!) I don't think I've ever done more than 100 push-ups in a day, even when I weighed 80 lbs. less. I'm sure I'll be regretting it tomorrow if my twitching right tricep is any indication of what's to come...

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Rack DL day on Friday, didn't go as well as planned -


Was in a rush and dove in a bit quickly, headed straight for the 18" DLs (mid kneecap height) in the rack -

1x10 @ 135

1x10 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

1x5 @ 405

1x3 @ 495

2x2 @ 545

1x12 @ 405

Felt a bit of a twinge on the 2nd set of doubles with 545 - not in the lower back (which was good), but just a few inches to the right of mid-center on my upper back, so I have a minor pull that'll be irritating me for another day or two (2 days in and it's 80% better already). After that, I decided to call it a day and headed out - I'd wanted to get 4-5 sets of doubles with 545, but it wasn't meant to be just yet.


Should do some leg training tomorrow, not sure what it'll be but I'll post when it's done!

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Middle back strain kept me out of the gym for a few days, but as has happened before, I go to lift when it is subsiding and it magically disappears completely. Weird stuff.


Decided to do some squats today for the first time in a little over a month (after the previous disappointing squat trials of December), and it was much better since focusing more on GMs and leaving the standard squat behind for a bit.


1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 225, 3 second stretched pause at bottom each rep

1x3 @ 315, 2 second pause at bottom

5x1 @ 405

2x1 @ 425

2x1 @ 445

1x1 @ 465, fought a bit but I was getting worn out


Just wanted to test the waters, and the assistance work is helping quite a bit. Still not back over 500 yet, but give me another month or two and it's on. Much better than when I was buried by 455 last time I squatted, which made me want to cry into my knee sleeves.


Did 1 set of 2/3 squats (about 9" above parallel at bottom pin height) for a double with 500, and that was it.


Just testing the waters today, and if I hadn't had a sore and stressful last week it may have been even better, but I'll take what I can get. I'll be leaving the squats behind for another month to do GMs and some 1/2 squats, then it's back to business and I'll work to get to at least 485 or so again by that time.


Back and shoulder day Friday, will report when it's done!

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Shoulders and light back work today -


Standing strict overhead presses -

1x20 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 185

3x6 @ 205

1x3 @ 225

Felt good, normally before 3x6 @ 205 would have been tougher, gotta start working those strict presses harder again after a bit of a layoff on them.


BB Shrugs -

1x10 @ 225

1x20 @ 315

2x10 @ 405

1x30 @ 315 (10, 3 breaths to rest, 10, 3 breaths, 10 more to finish)

Still suck at shrugs, but I haven't done any in a month so this is my re-intro to them, I suppose.


Goofed with some pulldowns, a few sets with nothing over 210 to avoid screwing up that tender spot in my back (which is now 95% better). Did some Hammer Strength single-arm rows afterward up to an easy 10 reps with 160 per arm, back held up fine, will start with BB or heavy DB rows again next week since the back is good enough.


Wrapped up with some overhead Smith machine shrugs, working up to 20 rep sets @ 280 (not including crappy counterbalanced bar), then did 3x40 reps @ 180 just for the hell of it.


Felt decent, back injury almost gone in a weeks' time, will be back to some rack deadlifts again on Sunday!

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Ultra-quick deadlift workout today -


16" deadlifts in the rack (bottom of kneecap height)

1x10 @ 135

1x10 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

3x10 @ 425

Felt good, just an exercise in endurance since I'm still working to re-develop my DL and won't do any pulling off of the floor until March when the lower back is tough enough again.


That was it - 20 minutes, went back to work, goofed with some push-ups until I hit 250 total over an hour (kept forgetting to do my sets!) and that's it for today. Might get one last workout on Thursday afternoon before I leave for Vegas for work that evening (I get to spend 2 full days looking at shoes - hooray!) and that'll be it until next Monday or Tuesday. Will try to get a leg workout in before I leave, otherwise, it's time for a weeklong layoff until I return!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Leg day today (well, at lest, most of it...) Felt good, which was nice since I've had a cold the past 2 days and thought it may be a crappy workout, but I decided to grind it out and pretty well set a PR in everything, which was nice.


Good Mornings to about 2-3" above torso being parallel with floor -

1x10 @ 135

1x10 @ 225

1x10 @ 315

1x5 @ 405

2x5 @ 455 (PR - don't belive I've done more than 2 reps at that weight)

1x20 @ 335 (PR on reps - had to fight for 20 @ 315 before, barely winded with 20 lbs more this time, very nice!)

The sets with 455 were tough, and I could feel my back saying "Don't go heavier!" with these, so I'll wait a few weeks before going up to 475. Still nice to see 455 go down so easily for sets of 5.


Hise Shrugs in the rack -

1x12 @ 405

1x12 @ 495

1x15 @ 585 (PR on reps)

Felt good with these, solid and stable, should help with yoke stability a bit next time I get back at one again.


Single-leg DB SLDLs with arm holding DB opposite of standing leg -

1x12 @ 65 each leg

1x12 @ 75 " "

Just playing with these a bit, had fun with them in the past training at NX, would like to work up to some sets with the 120s and beyond once I re-learn how to balance with them and not feel like falling over halfway through the sets.


Hise Shrugs on the squat machine (sticking with non-conventional shrugging for the rest of the month)

3x35 @ 760 (full stack, probably actually half that weight)


Lying leg curls -

1x10 @ full stack, dropped to 120 lbs, did 10 more and I was done.


Definitely felt good and solid, less aches than I usually experience with GMs, looking forward to lifting again Sunday or Monday going back to some rack DLs!

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Lower back felt good today, so it was rack DL day! 18" from near top of kneecap, with some overhead pressing thrown in as well.


Started with standing overhead presses -

2x5 @ 135 strict press

1x3 @ 185 " "

1x1 @ 225 " "

1x2 @ 235 " "

1x2 @ 240 " "

1x1 @ 245 " " (tried for 2, but 2nd rep just got to top of head before I stalled out)

Still, some heavier strict presses, and hit a relatively easy single at just 5 lbs. less than my PR, so I'm feeling confident that I can hit around 260 in a month without any problem. Aiming for a bodyweight strict press of 275 sometime this year, we'll see how soon I get there.

Felt like going a bit more, did 1 set of 2 @ 275 for a push press, both reps quite easy, but I dipped a bit much bringing the 2nd rep down and my left knee was not happy with it, so I stopped there. Still, I fought to get back to a single at that weight only a month or so ago, so in March I'll finally go for 300 overhead and make it this time.

Finished with 1x15 @ 135 just to get something with high reps in for strict presses.


Next, on to 18" DLs in the rack -

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

1x5 @ 405

3x8 @ 500

Not long ago my back was having a hard time hitting a set of 4-5 at this weight for 18" DLs, so making 3x8 was nice. Next week I drop the pins down to around the 13" mark, lighten it up and go from there. I seem to always make progress with changing the height around and going between higher rep/low rep stuff, so I'll keep on this through March and finally pull off the floor again in April.


Goofed on the last 10 minutes with some fairly light machine overhead presses with palms facing in just to have a log-like feel to some pressing and that was it.


A day off, then Thursday will be upper back and chest work.

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No workout today since two days ago I spent my morning sick with the flu (in the ugliest ways possible), so the past few days have been recovery and hopefully tomorrow will be training again.


Just when I feel like I'm getting ahead again, something kicks me back a few steps. Just a bit more to make the end result that much more worthwhile, I suppose!

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Post-illness training for light upper back work today -


Barbell rows -

1x10 @ 135 lbs.

1x5 @ 225

3x5 @ 295

Felt okay, but I wasn't high on energy and those stupid octagonal plates kept moving around every time I'd let the bar hit the floor. Can't stand those things. Hoping to hit a relatively easy 3x5 @ 315 lbs. soon and finally start moving beyond that mark.


Hise Shrugs in the power rack (set bar in squat position on shoulders, shrug upward as high as possible with bar moving vertically) -

1x20 @ 405

1x20 @ 500

1x20 @ 550

1x20 @ 405


Goofed around with some back extensions and some machine rowing movements for about 15 minutes until it was time to go, nothing too noteworthy with any of that for the remaining 5-6 sets I did to wrap things up.


May hit the gym tomorrow and get some leg work in, will post back if it happens!

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Still not back to normal yet post-illness, but did some leg and shoulder stuff anyway to keep things moving.


Overhead pressing in the rack -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 185

1x1 @ 225 (all strict to this point)

5x5 @ 240 push press just to get the feel back without going heavy, will bump 10 lbs. per week every other week, alternating push and strict press weeks.


Did a few front squat doubles with 240, then a pair of singles with 275, then just played with back squats working to an easy double rock bottom at 405. Finally felt ready for some Good Mornings -

1x10 @ 350

1x10 @ 375

1x10 @ 405

Wanted to do more, but the energy for GMs was failing fast due to a week of reduced eating (appetite still sucks, I'll be lucky to get 2500 calories in today.)


Not yet content to finish things up, set up the bar in the rack for about a 10-12" ROM for bottoms-up 1/4ish squats, wanted to get the feel of starting with a yoke again (albeit with a smaller diameter bar), and did a few sets -

1x10 @ 500

1x10 @ 585

1x5 @ 675

1x1 with 15 second hold @ 765

Felt good and solid, all came up easy, let's see how I handle it in a few weeks when I finally touch some implements again.


New gym, tried some silly plate-loading shoulder press machine, did a few goof-off sets to have fun, did 3x15 lying leg curls to wrap up legs and that was it.


Tomorrow is rest, Tuesday will be rack DLs if the back gives me the OK, otherwise, some light upper back and chest stuff and that'll do it.

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Got sick for the 3rd time this month (now it's sinus drain/sore throat kind of crap), but I wasn't going to let myself get off track so I did my back workout anyhow.


BB rows -

1x10 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

3x8 @ 275

1x3 @ 315

1x12 @ 225, slow, squeezed each rep with picture-perfect bodybuilder-esque form just to get a set with no cheat whatsoever


Close-grip bench -

3x5 @ 225, 3 second pause on chest each rep

Just a few to see how they feel again for some nowhere-near-failure sets, triceps still a bit fried from overhead stuff the other day, can't say I'm looking forward to close grip benching again any time soon (but I'll start in March anyhow.)


BB Hise Shrugs in the rack -

1x10 @ 405

1x10 @ 495

1x10 @ 545

1x10 @ 495

Just some lighter sets to get a few in. Core is getting more and more stable from these and the heavy partial squat stuff, which is quite nice.


Wrapped up with goofing on some 1-arm cable rows and pulldown machine stuff for a few sets and that was it. Felt good despite feeling like I was dying earlier in the day, now to take 2 days off and hit some rack deadlifts when I get back in town on Friday.

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Missed implement training at Kirk's as I'd hoped to do this weekend - spent my Saturday coughing up chunks of green crap and wheezing, which meant lifting would have to wait a few more days.


Today, no more coughing, no more headache or dizziness, which meant it was time to lift again. Still a bit weak from the beatings I've received from illnesses, but it turned out to be a decent day -


Standing overhead press -

2x5 strict @ 135

1x5 strict @ 185

1x3 push @ 225

1x5 push @ 250

1x5 push @ 255

1x8 push @ 225

Winded like hell after these, breathing wasn't great but felt okay otherwise.


Rack deadlifts, done mid-shin (lowest setting in rack, about 5" above ground position bar maybe 12" or so?) -

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 315

1x3 @ 405

1x3 @ 455

1x5 @ 500 - definintely the surprise of the day, I was just hoping to get 2 or 3 since this was 3" lower than any pulls I've done in ages and I keep thinking I'm going to suck terribly when I drop the height down lower. First 4 reps were quick and smooth, but sucked the wind out of me, took about 8 deep breaths and pulled the 5th with a slight hitch at top. Still, This gives me the confidence to believe I can FINALLY pull over 500 from the floor again, but I'm not going to do anything off the floor until April. 5 more weeks of rack stuff, now staying at 16" or less to really hammer a lower pull and in April I'll see how much over 5 I can pull again. It's about freakin' time!


That was it - I was wiped out completely just from that little bit of lifting, but I feel good for actually doing better than expected, so next week I'll be working endurance at that height going for sets of 8 @ 455 just to beat myself up nicely. Getting anxious to see where I pull from the floor down the road, and I can safely say that the combination of Good Mornings and rack DLs have really made a difference in my comeback from lower back injuries and will definitely remain staples in my training for a long time to come. If only my reverse hyper wasn't such a piece of crap that I could actually use it with more than 10 lbs. on it (never, EVER buy one from New York Barbells / TDS!) I'd probably be even stronger in the lower back. Oh well, better late than never, from a guy who wondered last summer if I'd ever deadlift more than 400 without hurting myself again.

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Okay, the good and the bad today, starting with the bad...


Finally went to the doc yesterday, diagnosed with some pretty bad bronchitis (which is why I've been sick for 3 weeks now...), so I have to take a crapload of meds for 10 days, with the antibiotic being some weird crap that apparently increases chances for tendon/ligament injuries when doing anything athletic. So, I've got a week and a half of no lifting coming, but I postponed my startup on the meds for a day to get a farewell lifting session in, which is the good part.


Felt pretty healthy overall despite still being ill, so I decided to squat and see what I could manage -


1x5 @ 135 front squat

1x5 @ 135 back squat

1x3 @ 225 front squat

1x3 @ 225 back squat

1x1 @ 315 front squat

1x3 @ 315 back squat (all squats back squats from here on out)

1x2 @ 365

1x1 @ 405

1x1 @ 455

1x1 @ 475

1x1 @ 500 - Woo hoo, my first 500 in a long freakin' time, which was a serious mental boost. Just my Rehbands and that's it, may have cut it an inch short, but it wasn't a terrible fight so I feel that if I were healthy I may have had another 20 lbs. in me. Still, pretty nice, so I kept on going with lighter stuff -

1x6, 1x5, 1x4, 1x3, 1x2 all at 405 to hit 20 reps total between all sets. Legs were quite fried, but all that lower back work as paid off big dividends since my back feels great with no strain at all.


GMs in the rack, about 4" above parallel, forcing myself to push my ass back far -

1x20 @ 315


1-legged DB SLDL (DB in opposite hand)

1x10 each side @ 75 lb. DB (not hard, but tired as hell by this time)


Close-grip bench (hands about 16" - 18" apart)

1x10 @ 135

1x3 @ 205

1x3 @ 230

1x4 @ 275

1x10 @ 225

1x25 @ 135


Lying leg curls -

1x30 @ 120 lbs.


Beat to hell, but I feel great, a good sendoff to a layoff ahead of me. Good part is I'll be away on business for 4 of the 10 days, so I hadn't planned on lifting as much anyhow. So, see y'all back in a week and a half when I'm feeling better!

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I ceased my old antibiotics after a few days since I just didn't feel comfortable taking something that could leave me open to injurt, so I went on a new one that'll be done for in 2 days and doesn't carry the same risks. So, I've been able to train again this week, getting a few last workouts in before I head to the expo in LA tomorrow morning.


Tuesday was back day, nothing too eventful except some barbell rows, 3x6 @ 300 lbs. which I'd been aiming to get before February was over but it took just a bit longer.


Tonight was overhead pressing and deadlift day!


Overhead presses in the power rack -

1x20 @ empty bar

2x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 185

1x1 @ 225

1x1 @ 250

1x1 @ 275

I was planning on trying to hit 300 lbs. overhead tonight, but I just wasn't feeling it so I'll wait a couple weeks and give it a go later.


Deadlifts in the power rack - still working on pulls that aren't starting at the floor but are getting closer to it.

Warmed up through 455 starting about 6" above floor height (lowest pin setting in the rack), then loaded up to 515 lbs. and started there -

1x1 @ 6" off floor

1x1 @ 4" off floor (standing on a pair of 45 lb. plates to shorten distance)

1x1 @ 2" off floor height (standing on a double stack of 45s)

Felt good, not much struggle with any of these, will come back down to this low pull in a few weeks again and go for 535 or more.

Moved the pins up to where the bar was 18" off the floor, just near the upper kneecap height on me, did a few more sets -

1x3 @ 500

1x1 @ 545

1x1 @ 585

Failed at 605, just getting too worn out from going heavier. Dropped the weight for 2 last sets -

1x5 @ 500

1x10 @ 405


That was it in the gym - went home, did some horizontal back extensions on my basement machine for 3x20 with 40 lbs. behind my neck, then a light 3x15 with 20 lbs. on the reverse hyper machine (which I've finally fixed the stability on...for now...)


Lower back is fried, I've got a 5 day layoff in front of me due to travel, back lifting again next week!

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