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

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Took a few days off as the marthon leg workout killed me far more than I expected. Was out of town for the weekend, came back today and went straight to the gym for a shoulders/back workout -


Standing overhead press -

1x20 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135 strict press

1x3 @ 185 " "

1x1 @ 245 " "

1x1 @ 265 - had a bit of leg drive to get it started, wasn't too hard but stopped increasing weight there to work on more volume

5x3 @ 225 push press, just to test out my weird knee that gets pain on push presses. Not too bad this time.

10x5 @ 135 strict presses - first 2 sets were wide grip behind the neck, remaining 8 sets were all standard presses in front. Wanted to just put some volume in there and find my groove (overhead pressing hasn't felt as comfortable as it should this past few months), and halfway through the light sets I found my best positioning again and even when I felt like falling over, I found every set to be extremely easy.


Between the overhead pressing, I did some fairly light upper back work in between - basically, finish an overhead set, go straight to back set, rest 30-60 seconds and repeat until done. All back sets were easy, done at 5 reps/set and all sets felt good for 8-10 reps or more, just pushing in some volume moderate weight for maintenance work -

V-bar pulldowns -

10x5 @ 180

These were super-easy - should have added 20-30 lbs. at least to make them a bit of a challenge, but I didn't want to go very heavy at the start and decided to just keep the weight the same.

Wide-grip pulldowns -

5x5 @ 200

Wide-grip cable rows -

4x5 @ 200, 1x5 @ 230

Last set of 230 was done as they were sending someone around to kick everyone out - so, I made all 40 sets (including the one overhead empty bar warmup) in 52 minutes, making it a nice endurance kicker as well.


Tomorrow is likely to be a day off, but next time I head back Tuesday or Wednesday it'll be leg day again, going for tons of sets to keep hammering form home better than ever. I'll post back once it's over!

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Back to leg day again, but from a really tough and stressful day yesterday plus the fact that I'm STILL a bit gassed from last week, I didn't follow my original plan completely.


Started with squats -

1x5 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

1x2 @ 315

1x1 @ 365

1x1 @ 415

15x2 @ 365

These felt way too hard today - something wasn't right, so I realize that I may only be able to do the mega-set routine as an occasional thing maybe once every month rather than a staple for recovery's sake (or, at least, do fewer sets!) Cut it off there, moved to the Hammer Strength plate-loaded squat machine just to keep the abuse going in a manner I could work with -

1x10 @ 360

1x10 @ 380

1x10 @ 410

1x10 @ 450

1x5 @ 500

1x5 @ 550

1x5 @ 600

Of course, this is nowhere near as tough as a real squat, but I put toes off the foot plate (it's angled about 5 degrees upward) to make it more hamstring-focused since my form for using my hams is off and I'm getting all quad-dominant like I used to be. Gotta get away from that.


Finished with 2 sets of single-leg presses, only about 3" of heel on the plate, done light to stretch my hamstrings out a bit before leaving. 2x15 for each leg at a light 180 lbs. and that was good enough for today.


Tomorrow off, attending a candy convention to seek out some new vegan goodies, Thursday will be chest, shrugs and some seated GMs for good measure. Will report back once it's done!

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Have you tried using a smith machine and placing your feet really far forward??? When I say far forward I mean with heels 8inches or more infront of the bar. Its very uncomforable and an annoyance to get low but it really hits the hamms different than anything I've ever done. Its gotta be really weighed down though...otherwise the machine will rock. If you can get low using this it'll make squatting free weights much easier. The trick is pushing back and up...I must admit its not even remotely fun to do these since it feels so awkward.

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Haven't used the Smith for squatting in a long time, but I tried to mimic that kind of feel with the Hammer squat machine. The foot plate is really long in front, so I put my feet way forward and would hang around half of my foot off so I was forcibly pressing off of my heels and going about 2-3" below parallel on every rep. It worked a bit, but still, I may have to give the Smith a try for that just to see how it feels. I tend to avoid that thing as much as possible, but perhaps a small re-visit won't be too bad. I'll give it a shot next week and see what goes on with it!

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Today was the ultra-quick moderate weight/high volume workout for chest and back. Bad stressful day, but forced myself in for 40 minutes to do the following:


Band assited pull-ups (one leg through band stretched over pull-up station, takes about 30 lbs. of weight off at bottom, only around 5-10 lbs at top)

10x3 @ bodyweight


DB Bench -

10x4 @ 100s


Would do pull-ups, then 30 seconds rest, bench, repeat for all 10 sets.


That was the bulk of it - then goofed with a few other things for fun -


Hammer Strength plate-loaded wide grip low row -

2x10 @ 250 lbs - very light, purely for speed pulling, would normally do a lot more weight but I was already getting fried.


Hammer Strength plate-loaded incline bench -

3x8 @ 90 lbs ballistic presses - each rep, push as hard as possible, throw the handle out of my hand around 3-5", catch and repeat. Not hard, just working on ballistic strength with maximum force pressing each rep for speed.


Horizontal row-style pull-ups (feet slung over bar at back end or rack, handles in front)

3x15 @ bodyweight, used wide grip,


Cable face pulls -

2x20 @ 60 lbs.


That was it - just an endurance plow-through workout, will go back to regular training next week with more weight, lower reps and focusing on getting stronger again.

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Well, on Friday I get the bad news I'd hoped would be some time down the line rather than sooner - my eye treatments are not holding as long as hoped (even though they were a complete success at the start), so I'm scheduled to go back in again in 10 days for the next round. Apparently the blood vessels are starting to form near the macula again (which explains why reading just started to get more difficult), so soon enough I'll be slapped with another $800 dollar treatment (thank you, insurance, or I'd be paying around $5000!), and I'll be out of commission for a few weeks again. Most likely for around 2 weeks, 3 on the long side, but again, it'll be another slow re-entry back once I can start training. It sucks, but that's what I was told could well happen - the first few treatments may not hold more than a few months, but after a handful of them I should eventually find that they'll last up to a year or two between them. So, I'll be training as much as I can until I go in, tonight for a lower back day -


Power snatch -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 95

3x3 @ 135


Snatch grip high pulls -

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 245

1x5 @ 265


Seated Good Mornings to about 3" above parallel -

1x10 @ 135

1x10 @ 185

1x10 @ 225

1x10 @ 275

1x10 @ 300 - PR, felt easier than expected, getting better with seated style

1x20 @ 205 to finish myself off with them


Cable machine pull-throughs -

2x20 @ 75 lbs

Not hard at all, just very tired tonight so I didn't go too heavy with them


Hammer Strength plate-loaded incline press shrugs (stand on seat, lean back, shrug away!)

1x25 @ 270

1x25 @ 360

1x25 @ 450

1x100 @ 270 - had to stop after 50, take 5 breaths, then 25, 5 breaths, 15, a few more breaths, 10 and finish up. Took about a minute to complete


Didn't feel much like barbell shrugs today, so the machine ones seemed fun. Felt decent, but the ROM is a bit shorter due to the weird angle. Still, a bit of direct trap work for fun.


Tomorrow will be a long work day so no training, Tuesday will be upper back and shoulders!

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Hey Ryan,


Sorry to hear that man. Luckily you do have insurance. So many of us don't and it sucks. I hope your treatments go well and everything gets sorted out. Sorry to hear you'll be out of commission for a while but I know you'll bounce back strongly as you always do.


I'm back into training consistently again and you are one of the role models I have. I'll be reading through old pages of your log for some strength exercises. I'm trying to do more compounds movements and more strength work to really put some size on.


Best of luck man and hang in there and bounce back when you're ready to.

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Back and shoulders day today, just a medium-intensity day with pretty decent volume thrown in for good measure.


Standing strict overhead press -

1x20 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135

1x2 @ 185

1x2 @ 205

1x2 @ 225

5x5 @ 185


V-Bar pulldowns -

8x5 @ 200

Just working on volume, definitely not going too heavy here.


Behind-the-neck power jerk in the rack -

1x5 @ 185

4x5 @ 205

Just working on form, haven't done these in months, felt pretty easy again.


Wide-grip pulldowns to just above sternum -

5x10 @ 180

Volume again, I'm not good with wide-grip stuff so it's all about getting a feel for it. No sets to failure, felt good for at least 4-5 more on each set.


That was it - just a good 45 minutes to get in there and my day is done.


Tomorrow is off, Thursday will be leg day, not sure what to do for it yet since it doesn't pay to work on a program basis with another layoff ahead. Maybe some heavy partials or something just to be different for that day - we'll see!

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Quick fairly light chest/leg workout today -


Power snatch -

3x3 @ 135


Snatch grip high pulls in power rack, starting from about 3" below knee height -

1x5 @ 135, 185, 225, 275

Not feeling too bad on these, even the 275s were pulled to mid-chest height so it was a strong start.


Close-grip bench (hands about 16" apart), 3 second pause on chest each rep -

10x2 @ 225

Just working to get my form back again, not hard by and means, no stalling on any presses, just pause and push it up as fast as possible.


Rock-bottom paused squats (about 4-5" below parallel to where I cannot sit any lower), 3-5 seconds paused at bottom on each

1x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 225

1x2 @ 315

1x1 @ 365

1x1 @ 385

The 385 took a lot out of me - that one was a fight.

3x2 @ 315

3x5 @ 225


Squat and walk - do a squat, walk with the bar on shoulders for about 30 feet, turn back, get into the rack again and squat once more to complete a set -

3 sets @ 315, all squats done rock bottom with a few seconds paused.

Haven't done these in ages, still fun to do. Used to do them with 405, that'll take time to work up to that again with paused rock-bottom squats.


Close-grip bench again -

3x20 @ 135, just light volume done fast touch-and-go


Plate-loaded squat machine - trying to have some fun tonight, hit this up to finish off -

Facing into machine sets: 1x10 @ 180, 2x10 @ 270, 1x10 @ 320 all paused at rock bottom to where I couldn't go any lower, close stance. Much harder than sets done facing away.

Facing away from machine sets: 3x20 @ 360, just below parallel on each, no pause.


That was enough for today, just a fun day to get in one last leg workout before the layoff. Upper back day on Sunday, lower back on Tuesday before doomsday comes!

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I always found that ATG tends to stretch me out (as a warmup) so it makes standard parallel squatting feel easier, but when going heavy, it makes it so that I have to get my form down right because if you raise too much off the toes nothing good happens. I'm trying to learn to be less quad-dominant, and occasionally this helps me get back in my groove. Plus, it takes out all the stretch reflex from the squat - you don't have any natural rebound at the bottom with a pause, so you've got to focus on technique to get things in line to get it back up again. It only de-stresses the quads momentarily - once you start back up, you've got as full ROM as you can get, and if you can take a weight all the way down, you can do it much more easily from parallel, no question.

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Getting down to the wire before surgery time on Wednesday, this is the 2nd to last workout I'll be getting in for back day -


Barbell row -

10x3 @ 280

Lots of sets, low reps on this one so form could be perfect.


Barbell Hise shrugs -

1x10 @ 315

1x10 @ 405

5x10 @ 500

3x20 @ 405

Used a Manta Ray on this one (thing that locks the bar in place on your back and supposedly makes it "more comfortable"), and all it did was pinch the hell out of me and give me some nice welts. I'll stick to doing them normally later on when I get back to them.


1-arm rope rows -

2x20 @ 85


Hammer plate loaded low row -

2x12 @ 450 narrow grip

1x20 @ 270 wide grip


1-arm shrug on smith machine (weight in plates only, not counting bar) -

1x30 @ 100 lbs

1x20 @ 130 lbs

1x20 @ 150 lbs

2x30 @ 100 lbs


Rope pulley face pulls -

2x20 @ 85 lbs.

1x20 @ 45 lbs.


Blue cable low row (wrap cable around base of machine, stretch it way back, sit backward on a steep incline bench and row)

2x20, actual weight of tension unverifiable, felt like around 50 lbs. at start and 75 lbs. at finish


That was it, just a fun day of high volume lifting to get a good day in before I do one last shoulders/lower back day on Tuesday evening. Then it's layoff time for a few weeks - gotta do all I can before it gets back to that point!

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Last night was my lifting farewell until the late half of the month when I'll be healed enough to get back in the gym - it was a shoulder/back day done like this:


Standing strict overhead presses -

1x20 @ empty bar

2x5 @ 135

1x2 @ 185

1x1 @ 205

1x1 @ 225

1xfail @ 235 - just wasn't feeling it too well with the anticipation of today's surgery on my mind.

3x3 @ 205

3x10 @ 135


12" deadlifts in the power rack -

5x5 @ 405

None of these sets were all that tough - feeling better in the lower back again, but of course, I'll have to fight again to get that strength back after the layoff. Oh well.


Seated 1-arm DB presses -

3x10 @ 60 lbs.


That was it - a nice little farewell training day, now it'll be 3 weeks of ultra-clean eating and some good long power walks to shed a bit more weight. I should finally get my weight below 260 for the first time in ages, as I think that with less fat I'm much more suited to be in the 250 lb. range. We'll see how things go once I get back on the diet wagon again!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the kind words, Ralst!


Well, I jumped back with some training at the 2-weeks mark like last time, but I probably went heavier than I should have I planned on keeping things lighter, but I just couldn't help but add a little weight on today.


Power snatch -

1x10 @ empty bar

3x2 @ 135


Standing strict overhead press -

2x10 @ 135

2x3 @ 185


Hammer Strength plate-loaded row -

1x15 @ 360 lbs.

1x12 @ 410

1x10 @ 450

1x20 @ 360

1x50 @ 230 (did 25, rest 5 seconds, did 10, rest, 10 more)


Blue cable standing overhead press -

1x25 with single cable, both arms

1x15 with double cable, single arm at a time


Kneeling pulldowns (no seated one to do them on at my 24 hour gym!)

2x15 @ 130


Face pulls -

2x20 @ 55


I'm going to take a few more days off, and this weekend I'll hit some leg work in my basement, just doing some light front squats and glute/ham raises and stuff of that sort. I won't go heavier again for at least another week, but it did feel good to get back in for a day!

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Did a light training day today since I'll be heading out of town tomorrow and Sunday, just keeping it on the low side of things so that there's little effort for another week or two of the end of my month of healing up -


Front squats - 1x12 @ 135


Close-grip barbell floor presses - 4x20 @ 135


EZ Bar curls - 3x20 @ 85


Glue/Ham raises - 3x15 @ bodyweight


That was it, 25 minutes and it was all over. Two days off, then some light lower back work and I'll keep on the road to recovery!

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Did a light chest/deadlift day today, I'm not going to move anything heavy for a bit longer so it's just re-conditioning and regaining form at this point -


Deadlift from floor -

1x10 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

4x5 @ 315

1x10 @ 315

Felt good, back stronger than last time post-surgery (I didn't diet and lose any weight this time around, which probably helped a bit ) Only thing was on the last set of 10, I was sucking wind like crazy because I've spent the last 3 weeks sitting on my butt doing a whole lot of nothing. Next week I'll hit some 15" rack DLs or something and add another 70-90 lbs. on to them.


DB incline bench -

3x15 @ 75s

First 2 sets were easy, last set required a rest at 12 and struggled to get the last 3. Bench has definitely suffered a lot after the layoff, but I did do some close-grip floor presses two days ago so that probably didn't help with littel time to recover


Back extension machine - 2x30 at some random weight to cool down


Incline BB press varying angles -

3x15 @ 135 lbs.

Again, not good at all, but then again, I didn't expect much from these, just playing around a bit.


Went home, felt like doing a little more lower back work, hit some bodyweight reverse hypers for 2x30, then some weighted horizontal back extensions on the glute-ham setup, 1x20 w/ 25 lb. EZ curl bar behind my head, 1x10 w/ 55 lbs. behind my head.


That's it for today, tomorrow is off then Tuesday will be some upper back work!

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Back day today, just keeping it moderate for weight but with a few higher rep sets in there as well -


Power snatch -

1x10 @ empty bar

3x3 @ 135


Seated row, wide handle w/ palms facing in -

3x10 @ 210 lbs.

2x20 @ 160 lbs.

Went for a full stretch on each, no cheating it back, bar touching chest on each pull.


Dip station shrugs (shrug up instead of dipping down)

3x25 @ bodyweight


Wide-grip pulldowns -

2x15 @ 160


Standing face pulls on cable machine -

1x20 @ 120

1x10 @ 120, dropped to 85 for last 10 reps (was really worn out, was time to leave!)


All done in around 30 minutes, low rest time, just working endurance and building a comeback up again.


2 days until leg/overhead press day, may start squatting light again around 315 lbs. just to test, we'll see when the time comes!

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