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

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Thanks, guys - I need all the inspiration I can get on the comeback trail starting over again


Legs and shoulders today -


1-arm standing semi-strict DB overhead press (slight side lean, as little as possible, on the last few reps)

5x8 @ 85 lbs.


Squats -

1x8 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

1x3 @ 275

1x3 @ 315

1x1 @ 365

1x1 @ 405

5x5 @ 315

Felt like I was finally finding my groove again at the end, the 405 felt tougher than it should have (I don't think I'd be good for more than 20-30 lbs. heavier in my condition now), so I'm going to bump up the 5x5 by 20 lbs/week and aim for hitting 405 for sets in 5 weeks (the last week will just be a 10 lb. increase). Gotta get that form hammered back down!


Blue cable w/ handles standing OHP



1/4 squats (around 10" ROM)

2x10 @ 500

1x10 @ 570

I feel that I'm really weak in the core right now. It used to be that until I slapped 750+ across for 1/4 squats nothing seemed heavy, but right now, 500 makes me wobble a bit. Nothing gets me back in gear like forcing some heavy weight to be held for a bit, so these will follow regular squats for the next 5 weeks. First set I did I re-set on each one and fired it up hard with glutes and hams primarily, and that set nearly killed me. The two afterward were just tapping the pins on each rep, much much easier and I was feeling far more quad-dominant, which I need to avoid. Looks like I'll be doing lots of re-sets between reps to make it count as much as possible...


Once I hit my goal at the end of November or the first week of December, I'm chaning the leg program to front squats and good mornings for 4 weeks then hitting heavy full squats again in the new year. I used to make better progress with really short cycles and lots of variety, so that's the aim this time around.


Went home, did 3x15 on the Glute/Ham and that was it. Feeling good, eye is coming along just fine (working out seems to clear out the leakage that blurs my vision so that's my excuse for starting earlier than after a full month of rest ), and I aim to get my freakin' squat back over 500 at the start of 2008. Wish me luck that the surgery keeps holding out, at least, longer than last time!

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  • 5 weeks later...

Well, a big gap with the missing posts, but may as well start fresh from today in case they don't make it back!


Chest and my first leg day today - took it REALLY easy on the legs because I don't want any risk to my lower back, so here's what went down -


Palms-in flat DB bench -

1x10 @ 60s

1x5 @ 80s

3x8 @ 100s

Much easier than last time, should be back to sets of 10-12 in a few weeks no problem.


Front Squats -

1x10 @ 135

1x3 @ 185

6x2 @ 205

Again, very light, just testing the waters, don't need any more injuries so all leg work will be very light through December until my core gets stronger again and I don't have to worry about my lower back all the time.


Close-grip bench, done for 1/2 ROM (around 12" from pins to lockout)

2x10 @ 225


Barbell step-ups to 18" box -

2x8 @ 95 lbs. each leg

1x8 @ 115 lbs. each leg

Steadiness was the main factor here - I'm really, really bad with these, but it sounded like a fun squat alternative to play with and I could still do some good with a really light weight that wouldn't make my back cave in.


Finally, wrapped up with some plate-loaded squat machine work for a few sets (can't feasibly lean forward, so that makes it much safer during the healing process)

1x10 @ 180

1x20 @ 270

Last set of 20 really took the wind out of me - feeling very sluggish after yesterday's Field Roast gorging (and too much wine spread out is leaving me extremely bloated as well).


Should be good again in a few days, some upper back work, then next week we'll start some light lower back stuff to keep the rehabbing up!

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Yeah, sorry about the missing posts. As of now, nothing we can do. It really sucks, especially for all the new members from the last month who had their accounts removed.


Thanks for keeping the log going All the best big man!

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Upper back today, just a throw-around workout to have some fun and test the lower back supporting strength -


1-arm DB rows -

1x5 @ 75

1x5 @ 100

1x5 @ 120

1x5 @ 150 (switched to an EZ-curl bar)

1x5 @ 165

Felt good, worried at first that the lower back would be under a bit of stress from the positioning, but no problems at all. Hoping to work back up to hitting a couple reps at 200 lbs with each arm again.


Neutral-grip seated cable rows -

2x12 @ 205

1x20 @ 135


Barbell Hise shrugs -

1x20 @ 315

3x20 @ 405

1x10 @ 315, bar rode too low, cut it short. Ended up resting on my rear delts - not the ideal spot for shrugging. Felt good with these, can put some weight on my back again with no problems. Won't be going too heavy on these for a bit - want to work to sets of 20 @ 500 by end of the year, then I'll have some good core stability back again.


Hammer Strength seated row machine -

1x15 @ 360 lbs. wide grip

1x15 @ 450 lbs. narrow grip

1x55 @ 180 lbs wide grip (that was a LONG set to complete!)


1-arm shrugs on Smith machine -

2x20 @ 125 lbs.

Didn't feel good for some reason, oh well.


1-arm cable shrugs from odd angles -

2x25 @ 55 lbs.


Nice long workout, endurance is keeping up which is good, just want to keep volume high while I heal up through December, then once things are going well again I'll drop down to the old "low rep/moderate set" programs and try to get stronger than before.

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Wanted to lift yesterday, but Monday's 16 hour workday killed me for the following 24 hours, so there was no way to train effectively until today.


Shoulders and some light lower back work to rehab -


Hang power snatch -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 95


Power snatch from floor -

2x2 @ 135


Standing overhead strict press -

1x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 185

1x3 @ 205

1x3 @ 210

1x3 @ 215

1x3 @ 220

1x2 @ 225 (crapped out on 3rd rep, stopped at top of head height)

2x12 @ 135


Did one push press to put a little more weight on - did an easy single rep @ 250 and felt my tricky left knee shout back at me because I double-dipped under the bar a bit (a tiny jerk, I guess), so I had to cut that short.


Rehabbing lower back, did some Romanian DLs -

3x10 @ 225

Very light, very easy, but not going to do anything with any heaviness for another month or so until I KNOW I'm not going to get wrecked easily.


Went to the Hammer Strength plate-loaded shoulder press - did one set of explosive presses with each arm with 45 lbs. on each side, tossing the handle out of my hand about 3-5" at the top of each rep for 8 reps each arm.


Finally, wrapped up with some seated good mornings, 2x20 with a very light 135 lbs. Felt good, no stress on the lower back at all, will play it safe with these for a good while. Bottom position was about 3-4" above parallel - didn't want to go all the way down, but enough that I'd get some work in and know if I was going to have any problems. So far, so good!


Some vertical pulling upper back stuff in a few days, will post when it's done!

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Too much work and too little sleep meant a few extra days off, hit the gym tonight for a back workout now that I'm feeling well rested.


Warm-up -

Hang clean to overhead squat -

2x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 95 lbs.


Barbell rows -

1x5 @ 135

1x3 @ 225

1x10 @ 250

2x10 @ 265

Lower back felt good, very nice to not feel like it's straied, still will take the rest of the month easy on it before getting too heavy on anything.


Hammer Strength plate-loaded row machine -

1x15 @ 320 wide grip, fairly difficult

1x12 @ 410 narrow grip, high hand position, too easy

1x30 @ 270 narrow grip, low hand position, much more difficult


Barbell Hise Shrugs

1x10 @ 225

3x20 @ 425


Bodyweight rowing on chin bar parallel handles (legs slung over bar out in front) -

2x18 no added weight


1-arm cable shrugs -

2x30 @ 100 lbs. each arm


Cable face pulls -

2x20 @ 55 lbs.


Took my time, had fun, felt good, can't ask for more than that today. Getting ready to be a shut-in at work for the rest of the week, so workouts will be few and far between through the 20th, but I'll get out to lift every chance I can!

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Been a REALLY stressful and long work week so far - didn't even think I was going to get to lift, but at 11 PM I mustered up the last bit of motivation I had and forced myself to go for a quick 40 minute workout.


Some pulls for the lower back and chest work to keep it simple -


Snatch-grip high pulls from the floor (all to mid or top of chest height) -

1x10 @ 135

1x5 @ 185

3x8 @ 225

These winded the heck out of me - I honestly felt like I was going to pass out cold on the last set. My lack of endurance is showing, and combined with my long days and lack of sleep, I'm really in trouble right now!


DB bench, palms in presses -

1x5 @ 65s

1x5 @ 85s

3x12 @ 90s - No failure on any set, just wanted to keep up with some moderate weight maintenance stuff today

2x20 @ 65s - just to burn myself out nicely with some high reps


Seated Good Mornings, just about 3" above parallel at bottom position -

2x20 @ 165 lbs.

Just keeping it light again, no desire to chance anything with my back for a few more weeks


Machine incline press to cap things off -

1x20 @ 130 lbs, done light but the close grip killed my triceps so I had to take a few breaths between the last reps.


Lower back extension machine -

1x20 @ 200, but since every machine is different weight is pretty inconsequential


Just enough to maintain a bit tonight, probably won't get to lift again until the weekend, will do a good upper back day when I get the chance!

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Quick & dirty light upper back workout tonight on 40 minutes' time -


Seated cable row - single-arm rope handle

1x5 @ 100 each arm

1x10 @ 100 each arm

1x10 @ 110 each arm

1x10 @ 120 each arm


Seated row - straight bar, very wide grip

1x15 @ 210

2x20 @ 170


Dip station shrugs (lower slightly, shrug up with arms locked instead of dipping down) -

3x25 @ bodyweight, pain on hands is the worst part, handles very uncomfortable


Barbell Hise shrugs -

1x10 @ 315

1x10 @ 405

1x10 @ 500

Didn't feel stable at 500, dropped weight for a marathon set

1x100 @ 225

Took nearly 2 minutes, had a few set downs with a few quick breaths between, finished up and that was it for these.


Cable machine side shrugs (pulling in and slightly down on each handle, standing in center between them)

2x25 @ 100 each hand


That was it for today, just a back maintenance day, will get some leg work in on Sunday! Lower back is still holding out well, can't wait for January to start doing heavy lifting again and reduce the high rep stuff to being an occasional thing instead of the norm.

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Thanks, LTV! Just give me a few months of what (hopefully!) will be recovery training to get back to normal and I should be even more inspiring by summer, barring too many more rounds of eye surgery to put my training on hiatus.


Last few days have been a nightmare of work - 13-15 hours at the shop, come home, sleep, wake up, repeat. Tonight I FINALLY had some time and energy, so I figured I'd get back to the gym again and make the most of it.


Shoulders and legs (still going squat-free, but my Xmas gift to myself next week it to start squatting light again )


Standing strict overhead BB press -

1x20 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135

3x5 @ 200 - took more work than I'd hoped, but that's what stress will do to me. Still, made the target even with a rough week, which was nice.


Hammer Strength plate-loaded squat machine (to parallel or just below) -

1x10 @ 180, 320, 340, 360, 380 and 410, none too difficult, just keeping the leg strength up for the good stuff since the back has healed up quite well so far.


Seated overhead BB lockouts, around 6" to lockout overhead -

1x5 @ 250, easy

1x3 @ 300, not so easy, last rep terrible, dropped weight

1x20 @ 225, had to take a few breaths between the last few reps, still made it. Dropped the height by 3" so last set was around a 9" ROM, from about 6" over top of head to lockout

1x12 @ 225

That one nearly killed me. Had to re-set on the last few reps and break myself to get them done, but they got done nonetheless


1-legged Romanian Deadlifts with DB -

2x20 each leg @ 55 lbs. - just re-learning form, but even at a light weight, these kill my hamstrings


Blue handled cable standing overhead presses - stood further out on cable, felt like around 25 lbs. at bottom position and around 45 lbs. at top

1x30, 1x20


Seated leg curl to wrap up -

1x20 @ 150


Legs and shoulders cashed after this, felt good to get to lift, hope to get back on Friday and do some upper back work!

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Today was one of those days where it felt like things clicked in the gym and I feel good, like I'm actually getting back on track.


Upper back and Triceps/Chest day today -


Power snatch to warm up -

3x3 @ 135


Barbell bent over row -

1x5 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

1x5 @ 275

1x5 @ 280

1x5 @ 285

1x5 @ 295

Felt good, a bit sloppy on the last 2 for 295, dropped the weight a bit

1x15 @ 225 - this winded me quite well, aiming to eventually be able to bang out 20 reps at that weight without needing to take 5 breaks in the set to complete it.


DB flat bench, palms-in -

10x5 @ 100s

1x10 @ 100s

Just did some high volume with no failure for the first 10 sets with the 5s, managed to eke out 10 on the final set, feeling better about these again for sure.


Hammer Strength plate-loaded row -

2x12 @ 410 narrow grip, high handle position (this thing has 5 or 6 different grips you can take on it with 2 sets of handles)

1x25 @ 360 narrw grip, palms-in


Hammer Strength plate-loaded incline bench, hallistic presses pushing the handle out about 5-6" on each rep with max speed -

2x10 @ 35s on each side

Just light with ballistic presses, no need to go heavy


Bodyweight rows on Smith machine bar, feet propped on an inclined bench about 3' out in front -

3x15 @ bodyweight


DB Hammer Curls -

1x6 @ 65s


Fried after this, not sore but completely spent. Took a bit longer today to rest more between sets and keep fresh for each lift, took about 90 minutes from start to finish including warm-up of about 10 minutes.


Definitely feeling good, some lower back and shrug work in 2 days!

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High volume chest press with 100 lb db's...



what a beast.


Give me a few months and I'll have that up to 120s Truthfully, I feel that if I hadn't done that set of 10 at the end I could have done another 4-6 sets of 5 without any problem. My biggest problem is that the 24-hour gym I go to more often only has DBs up to 100, so not much choice beyond that unless I can train earlier, which should be happening after the holidays are done

Edited by VeganEssentials
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Tested the lower back today, things went well!


Shoulders first, though -


Standing overhead strict presses -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x5 @ 135

1x2 @ 185

1x2 @ 205

1x2 @ 225

1x1 @ 240 - took some work, but not too much to discourage me. Added 10 lbs. more to hit my old max for a standing strict press, made 250 go up more easily than expected. Good enough for now, no need to go past the old PR since there'll be time for that later. 260, here I come, finally being able to strict press 99% of my current bodyweight!


Did a few sets of doubles for snatch-grip high pulls to see how the lower back was feeling, seemed good, decided to test the deadlift waters -

1x3 @ 315

1x1 @ 365, 10 second hold at top

1x1 @ 405, 10 second hold at top

1x1 @ 425, 20 second hold at top

Felt good, no struggle, lower back was holding up well, but I decided to stop there for the day. Maybe would have been good for 465-475, but why press my luck - live to lift another day Dropped the weight a bit:

1x5 @ 315 to finish up.


Standing 1-arm strict DB press, slight side lean -

1x6 @ 100 each arm

1x18 @ 70 each arm, triceps fried before my shoulders did


Seated Good Mornings in the power rack -

1x20 @ 185

2x20 @ 200, all sets easy, feeling good!


Got the IronMind Cables for an early Xmas gift, took them to the gym and played around with them a bit. Clipped the handle to a cable carabiner at a low level and did some 1-arm pressing with just 3 cables on it (around 45 lbs. estimated resistance at top, probably 25 lbs. at bottom)

2x20 each arm, felt tougher because the cable was cross-way behind me so stability was more difficult here.


Wrapped up with some cable machine partial sumo deadlifts to shrug, something that I used to have fun with. The 2 handles have a 3 foot bar you can connect between them - I sit on the floor, put the bar low, and have a pulling range from just below knee height to lockout when I lean back and come in full contact with the floor and my torso. Did 3x25 with 220 lbs - the DL part was easy, the shrugs afterward were tough because the angle change of where the bar is during the lift really hits some different spots in the traps. Good stuff for a finisher.


A few days rest, should get to lift this weekend, upper back day coming up again soon!

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Hey, Eric!


Just working to build grip strength back up a bit - I haven't done much for it in a long time, and since I wasn't planning on many sets/reps for the DLs I figured I may as well have some fun with it. I believe that I made nearly a fully minute holding 500 a few years back, so I'd like to get back to that point. Just for fun, that's the name of the game!

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Thanks much for the compliment. I'm quite pleased to have matched my best strict overhead press - a little more work and I'll be aiming to finally get 300 overhead with some leg drive to get it started, so that's the spring 2008 goal by March (and, a 275+ strict press, too! )


*NOTE* - after a quick weigh-in, I found that I came in tonight at 271 lbs, which is a very odd gain since I was only 263 a week ago and am neither bloated nor had I eaten for some time before hitting the scale. There goes my plan to get to that bodyweight strict press soon

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Secondary upper back day today, gym all to myself from 6 to 7 PM, not a single soul braved the terrible weather to make it there (which was just fine by me )


Warmed up for a few minutes, started with bodyweight pull-ups, which I haven't done unassisted in a long time, 4 sets of 5 reps to be quite a surprise. Last set I did 3, rested about 10 seconds and did the last 2, but all in all, it was quite nice considering last time I tried them I was lucky to get sets of 3, and that was about 10 lbs. lower in bodyweight. Looks like getting back to the heavy rowing is paying off in pulling on a vertical plane as well Next time, I'm adding 3 reps, going to work to eventually get to 30, then start upping the reps per set. It'll take some time, but it WILL work eventually!


BB shrugs next, went light because I haven't done them in a long time -

1x20 @ 135

1x20 @ 225

3x30 @ 315

Felt good, happy to have done these after a long break.


V-position chins on Smith machine bar with feet elevated in front of me on an incline bench -

3x20 at bodyweight

The first half would be like chins, but as I wore out at the end they were practically horizontal bodyweight rows. Still, I used to struggle to hit 15-18, so making 20 was a nice thing.


1-arm cable shrugs from various angles, mostly at chest to head height (focusing on scapular retraction)

3x30, changing the angle every 10 reps, weight was something like 75 lbs. on cable machine


1-arm seated pulldowns at around 60 degree angle, pulling elbow into hip each rep

1x20 @ 80 lbs. each arm

Back was pretty fried after that, called it quits, felt good to be out when most people were avoiding the gym, waiting for their New Year's resolutions before setting foot back in again


First squat day in nearly 2 months will come on Tuesday or Wednesday night, very much looking forward to it!

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Very light re-introduction for squats today -


Started with my token chest/triceps workout with palms-in flat DB benching first -

[email protected] 55s

1x5 @ 75s

2x10, 1x14 @ 100s

Tried for 15 on the last set, just missed it a bit.


BB box squats -

1x10 @ empty bar

1x10 @ 135

4x10 @ 225, first 2 sets to a 12" box (just about 1-2" below parallel), resting back and re-setting between each rep. Last 2 sets were to a very low box at about 10", well below parallel. Just did a light touch on the first set, 2nd set at this height was half light touch, half sit down and re-set each rep.


My legs were surprisingly tender for using this weight, but 5-6 weeks of no squatting will do that


That was it - very quick on the night of Xmas, will lift again on Friday. Unfortunately, my bad news is that my eye condition seems to be taking a turn for the worse, so I'm expecting surgery #3 to possibly be in my future very soon. Working to get a checkup before the 31st when I'm scheduled, hope that it is just a fluke with my vision, but if not, I'm looking at another 3 weeks or so of no training coming up Oh well, nothing I can do about it, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll be better news when I get checked out in the next few days!

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Crap day.


Wanted to get at least 1 more good back workout in before my expected surgery within the next week, tonight was not meant to be.


Warmed up, was aiming to get lots of low-rep heavy rowing in, but it didn't get too far -


1x10 @ 135

1x5 @ 225

3x3 @ 275

Plan was for 10 sets of 3 @ 275, but in between sets I started doing shrugs, and on my first set which I started after the 3rd set of rows, I managed to get one of those terrible pains from pulling a small muscle in my back to where it felt like someone was ramming a knife into my ribcage. So, 1 set of shrugs into it (warmup set where I managed 42 of my 50 reps @ 225) and I got knocked out. Tried to row after that, but it hurt too much bending down to get the bar, so I retired only 18 minutes into lifting. Terrible.


Moved my eye exam up to tomorrow, expecting some not-so-great news since my vision is getting cloudy again, which most likely means surgery within a week. If they can get me in tomorrow I'll get it over with, but it may wait a few days. If I get time I'll try to lift again before I go in, since I can expect 3 weeks or longer of a rest afterward with no more lifting. Oh well, nothing I can do but wait until tomorrow for the news.

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Oh well, bad news as expected -


Heading back for another round of eye surgery tomorrow, so no more lifting for a while I had the feeling that things were not working well after the last week of my vision getting worse, and that confirmed it. Now they're talking about a new approach where I'll need another type of laser treatment, but this one has the fun side effect of causing some permanent blindness in the spot it hits. Great. But, it's this or watch my vision fade away over the next year or two, so not much choice.


Well, back on the diet wagon for a while. I'll be doing a good deal of cardio and working to get down to 260 or slightly below, not much I can post about training so watch this space in around a month for updates!

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