4 Days of Gains

This week has been pretty crazy; dealing with a flooded house and a wrecked vehicle.  Concerning training, all was steady in the gains department.  I wrote about Monday, but the rest of the week has been a mystery to you all.  Well, here’s what really happened:

Tuesday – Upper Body

Tuesday was cool.  Strength on the bench is increasing and we annihilated shoulders with heavy shrugs.  Had to make it snappy, due to an early morning dentist appointment.

Exercise: weight x reps x sets

Warm-up (15 min)

Flat bench press:

  • Bar x 20 x 1
  • 135 x 7 x 1
  • 225 x 3 x 1
  • 225 x 2 x 1
  • 245 x 3 x 1 @9 RPE

Note:  This is the hardest movement for me to grow strong in.  I can do push-ups for days, but not bench heavy.

Flat bench db flye:

  • 20 x 12 x 1
  • 25 x 12 – 16 x 2

Super-set


Shrugs:

  • 90 x 12 x 1
  • 225 x 10 x 2
  • 135 x 20 x 1

Note: This is the only Smith Machine exercise I’ll do.

Dips:

  • Bodyweight x 12-15 x 4

 Wednesday – Squats and Deads

With my legs still sore from Monday, I performed the following:

Warm-up (20 min)

Deadlifts:

  • 135 x 6 x 1 – Conventional
  • 225 x 4 x 1 – Conventional
  • 315 x 3 x 1 – Conventional
  • 315 x 3 x 1 – Sumo
  • 385 x 1 x 1 @ 8 RPE – Sumo
  • 405 x 0 x 0 – SUMO FAIL!!

Note:  Never underestimate how important it is to rest at least three days, after performing squats, when you plan to deadlift.  This proved to me that you are not as strong when you have not had the proper rest.  Hitting sub-max weights, next week.  Tested limits, this week.

Low bar squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 10 x 1
  • 225 x 5 x 1
  • 275 x 3 x 1
  • 315 x 3 x 1 @ 9 RPE
  • 225 x 1 x 1

Note:  My legs and back were so shot after performing that lest set of 315 that I could barely do 225 for 1 rep!

Thursday – Upper Body, Again

Warm-up (15 min)

Flat bench press:

  • 135 x 10 x 1
  • 185 x 5 x 1
  • 225 x 3 x 1
  • 245 x 3 x 1
  • 265 x 1 x 1 @ 10 RPE

Barbell row:

  • 95 x 10 x 5

Incline cable flye:

  • 35 x 12 x 2
  • 40 x 10 x 2

Seated Hammer Strength dip machine:

  • 180 (each side) x 10 – 12 x 4

Hammer Strength shrugs:

  • 90 (each side) x 10 x 1
  • 135 (each side) x 8 x 2
  • 180 (each side) x 8 x 1

Friday – Squats and Deads

Low bar squats:

  • Bar x 10 x 1
  • 135 x 7 – 8 x 2
  • 225 x 4 x 1
  • 275 x 5 x 1
  • 315 x 3 x 1 @ 10 RPE!

Note: Lower back and legs clearly too smoked to squat heavy for a third day in a week.  I like this because it means that I have much room to grow when it comes to frequency, IMO.

 Deficit deadlifts:

  • 135 x 7 x 1
  • 185 x 6 x 1
  • 225 x 5 x 1
  • 275 x 3 x 1 @ 8.5 RPE

Note:  Once again, back toasted after doing heavier squats for a third time this week.  Lowering the amount of days I squat heavy, next week, should resolve this.  Maybe only hitting a deadlift movement once per week  will help, too.

Super-Duper-Set


Preacher curl:

  • 40 x AMRAP x 4

Note:  This is performed on two separate machines: one with a close grip and one with a wide grip.  Do AMRAP on both machines, back to back, before moving on to tricep push-downs.

Tricep push-down:

  • 50 x AMRAP x 4

Lying leg curl:

  • 30 x AMRAP x 4

Close grip push-ups:

  • Bodyweight (??) x AMRAP x 4

This concludes a week of what I like to call gains.  I learned a bit, too.  I need to squat lighter, versus heavier, on more days of the week.  I also need to not go all out on deadlifts, unless feeling awesome, due to the fatigue factors I’m working with.  We’ll see how next week goes.  Gonna squat 5 days, next week!!

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Monday – SQWAAATS!

Hit squats, this morning.  Upon arriving, I received a cool gift from my training partner.  It’s a Harbinger HumanX chalk ball, which totally eliminates my need to carry around a container full of chalk.

After performing my usual squat warm-up, I went to work performing the following:

Exercise: weight x reps x sets

Low bar squats:

  • bar x 10 x 1,
  • 135 x 7 x 1
  • 185 x 4 x 1
  • 225 x 5 x 1
  • 275 x 3 x 1
  • 315 x 3 x 1
  • 365 x 1 x 1 @ 8.5 RPE

Note:  Squats are feeling a lot stronger!  If I can just hit above 400 at my next meet, I’ll be happy.  I hit 402 at my second meet, but bombed at 425 during my third meet last February.

Walk -outs:

  • 405 x 1 x 2

Note:  We loaded the bar up to 405 lbs. and walked it out of the squat rack.  After supporting the weight for about 3 seconds, we then re-racked it.  Doing this will enable our CNS to start adjusting to heavier loads.

Leg Extensions:

  • 60 x 12 x 1
  • 60 x 15 x 1
  • 45 x 12 x 2

Note:  Ended the workout with some leg extensions so that the bodybuilder in me would be happy.

Overall, great workout.  Getting stronger and feeling on track for my next meet!

Weekly Training Review

While my wife and I were at the beach, this weekend, my house flooded!  However, I was not going to let that ruin my training.  Luckily, the motel that the insurance company booked us a room at was only a 10 minute ride to the gym.

Monday – Heavy Squats & Calves

I thought I’d be ruined from all of the stress my nerves had to endure during the catastrophic weekend, but I was pleasantly surprised.  After my usual squat warm-up, I hit the following:

Low bar Squats: bar x 12 x 1, 135 x 5 x 1, 225 x 5 x 1 @ 7.5 RPE, 315 x 2 x 1 @ 8 RPE, 335 x 1 x 1 @ 9 RPE,     225 x 10 x 1 @ 8 RPE.

Note:  I focused heavily on my breathing with each set.  I took in a breath, from the belly up, before each rep.

Sitting calf raise: 55 x AMRAP x 3

Tuesday – Heavy Bench & Upper Body

Performed my usual upper body warm-up and then performed the following:

BB bench press: bar x 15 x 1, 135 x 5 x 1, 225 x 3 x 3, 245 x 2 x 1, 265 x 1 x 1 @ 9 RPE

Note: Very happy with my bench progress.  I feel the added weekly frequency has really helped out!

DB flyes: 25 x 15 x 1 (bench flat), 30 x 12 x 1 (bench slightly inclined), 30 x 12 x 1 (bench flat)

Note: I use an adjustable bench, when I do these, and will adjust it with each set.

BB bent rows: 95 x 12 x 4

SUPER-SET –

  • Close grip bench press: 95 x 20 x 1, 95 x 12 x 1, 95 x 13 x 1
  • Hammer curls: 35 x 8 x 2, 25 x 10 x 1

Db lateral raises: 25 x 8 x 2, 15 x AMRAP x 1

Wednesday – Deadlift , Squat, & Accessory Movements

After my usual squat warm-up, which also primes me for pulling, I performed the following:

Paused deadlifts on a deficit: 135 x 6 x 1, 205 x 6 x 1, 205 x 5 x 4

Note:  I performed these in a conventional stance, beltless, and standing on a 45 lb. plate.

Low bar squat: 135 x 10 x 2

When you've had enough squats for one day. #squats #cowabunga #powerlifting

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Note: I was smoked after doing these!  I could barely step out of the rack after my last set.

Lying leg curl: 60 x 12 x 5

Thursday – Upper Body

Began the workout with my usual upper body warm-up and then performed the following:

Exercise: weight x reps x sets

Bench lock-outs: 135 x 10, 225 x 6 x 2, 225 x 3 x 1

Note:  We don’t have power racks in my gym (arrrrgghhh!), so I made due with using one of the squat racks with lower safety bars.  Also, attempted to throw up 315 lbs. and it didn’t budge!  LOL.

BB overhead press: 95 x 12 x 3, 95 x 10 x 2

Note: My arms gave out quickly when I started working on these.  I guess those lock-outs fatigued me pretty good.

Machine rows: 4 sets x 10 – 12 reps

Dips: bodyweight x 12 x 4

Sliding curls: 50 x 8 – 10 x 3, 40 x 6 x 1

Standing calf raise: bodyweight x 10 – 12 x 5

Friday – Squats and Laughs

Today’s workout was the best I have had in a very long time!  My younger brother surprised me by joining in, along with a friend I haven’t seen in years.  After warming up, reminiscing on old memories, and laughing until I cried, I hit the following:

Exercise: weight x reps x sets

Low bar squats: bar x 10 x 2, 135 x 7 x 1, 185 x 5 x 2, 225 x 5 x 3, 275 x 3 x 2, 315 x 3 x 1, 365 x 1 x 1 @ 9 RPE

Note:  We cracked up the entire time we did these.  So much fun.

BB shrugs:  We had 225 lbs. on the bar, but I lost count of reps and sets cause we were catching up on life.

Note:  I think we did 5 sets of 10 reps (???)

CONCLUSION

Overall, fantastic week of training.  Made some PRs, ran into no injuries, and had a chance to workout with family.  I wish every week was this awesome!  House is still a wreck, btw!

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Weekly Training Review

This week has been crazy hectic, so I am combining my entire week of training into one blog post.  Though things out of the gym were as crazy as it can get, training has been on point.  Also, I got a new camera.  No more cloudy videos and pics!! Here’s how the training flow went each day, with some minor notes.

Monday – Heavy Squats and Deadlifts

Today I worked up to a few  reps of 315 lbs on the squat and then performed some back-off reps with 275 lbs.

After squats, I hit some Sumo deadlifts.  I’ve been lifting conventional for a few months and was curious to see how good my sumo was, currently.  I worked up to a heavy single of 405 lbs and then called it a day.  Had two more days of squats coming up and didn’t want to fry my CNS too bad.

Monday grip & rip. Cause it's fun. #deadlift #powerlifting #mastersofgravity

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Tuesday – Heavy Bench and Accessory Movements

Today I warmed up for the bench press in a way I never have before.  I did a circuit of lat pull-downs, cable triceps push-downs, cable curls, and face pulls for 4 sets of 10 – 12 light reps.  This really got the blood moving and I felt more prepared to hit the bench press than ever before.

With that being said, I worked up to a 2 rep max that I have yet to hit on the bench press.  Following bench, I did some bodybuilding type movements for my entire upper body, except the shoulders.

Wednesday – Moderate Squats and Moderate Bench

Yes, more squats and bench press work.  I have been reading about how tweaking frequency can produce gains, either in power or muscle, and figured why not give it a go.

First, I hit squats because I wanted to be fresh when performing them.  I worked up to 5 sets of 5 reps @ 8 RPE.

I didn’t want to destroy my CNS, so I moved on to some hack squats for 10 – 12 reps after I felt I was it was time to move on.  I hit some sitting calve raises while waiting my turn on the hack squat machine, too.

Next, I hit the bench press for 5 sets of 5 reps @ 8 RPE.  I actually felt pretty strong, so maybe this hitting bench for multiple days in a row will pay off.  I’ll continue it until my body tells me otherwise.  If any tendonitis or aches kick in, I’m going to back off a bit.

Thursday – Upper Body and Light Bench

After performing my upper body warm-up circuit, I started the workout with some overhead presses for 5 sets of 5 reps @ 8 RPE.  I used as much weight as I could without sacrificing my form.

I immediately followed the OHPs with 2 supersets of side and rear lateral raises, accomplishing roughly 15 reps a set.

Once my shoulders were toasted, I moved on to some chest presses via the Hammer Strength machine.  I worked up to 4 sets of roughly 12 reps with some moderate weight.  Felt really good, considering this is the third day in a row I have performed some chest action!

My back started to become very jealous of not getting as much attention as my arms, so I hit the Hammer Strength seated rowing machine for four sets of 10 to 12 reps.  I made sure to alternate my grips from close to wide on each set, creating some variation in the movement.  Got a really good burn off this one.

After all of this upper body action, I figured it was time to hit abs.  Other than performing a handful of abdominal vacuum holds each night, I really don’t do much for abs.  I feel my abs get hit enough with all of the power moves I perform, but still hit them with isolation exercises at least twice a week just in case.  Did a few super-sets of hanging leg raises and ball sit-ups to end the workout.

Friday – Day 3 of Squats

Started today off pretty rough!  I woke up 30 minutes late, due to the volume on my alarm being too low, and could only get some squats in.  I planned on doing more, but did what I could with the little time I had.  After warming up for about 20 minutes, I worked up to a set of 315 lbs. x 2 reps @ 9 RPE.  Then, I dropped back to 225 for AMRAP.  I hope my squats go up, soon, cause 315 still feels a bit heavy to me.  Regardless, I’m going to keep nailing them until they progress.

Well, that’s it for this week!  Overall, with all the madness life was delivering to me throughout the week, I was pleased with my performance in the gym.  Looking forward to the weekend, now!

Prayer Request

I know I don’t request these much, but I feel the need to do so on this one.  For those of you that do not watch the news, there were 9 people shot during an evening church service in Charleston South Carolina last night. The guy who did it sat in on an hour-long church service before murdering 9 of the church members.  The guy who did it is still on the run, last I heard.  He’s young and obviously not too smart, so I’m sure he will be caught soon.

The first thing I could think of, other than the families of the victims, was the fact that non-believers will look at this as ammo to prove to themselves that there is no God.  They will then use the question “If there was a God, why would he allow people to be shot in his house?” as a means to pull other lost souls into darkness.  I then thought to myself, how would I answer this question if approached by it.  As soon as I thought up this scenario, I immediately answered my own question with a simple fact – We live in a fallen world and God never promised us 100% protection from evil while we are on this earth.  He did, however, promise us the strength to defeat evil by overcoming the damage that is done when actions like this are carried out.  Also, this kind of stuff goes on around the clock and around the world.  Christians are being killed every single day; but only the stories that the news channels feel will get them the most ratings are being presented to us.
Please keep the families of those that lost their earthly lives in your prayers.
We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. – 1John 5:19 
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Great Squat and Deadlift Session

Really good workout, this morning!  I’ve been watching Chris Duffin’s YouTube videos, lately. They are both hilarious and extremely informative.  After watching one of his videos, I decided to start this morning’s workout with a  warm-up he recommends that activates and engages all of the muscles that are involved in the movements for the day’s workout.  Normally, I jump on treadmill or elliptical as a warm-up; following some full body stretching.  Never again!  I still did some full-body stretching before I did the Duffin warm-up, however.  I actually broke a sweat during this warm-up!  After a fantastic warm-up session, lasting about 15 minutes, I performed the following:

Exercise: weight x reps x sets

Low bar squats: bar x 7 x 1, 135 x 6 x 1, 225 x 6 x 3 @ 8

Conventional deadlifts: 135 x 7 x 1, 225 x 6 x 1, 315 x 6 x 1 @ 8

Hack squat: 90 x 12 x 3

Leg curl: 45 x 12 x 3

This workout lasted about an hour and a half, but I enjoyed every minute of it.  I feel I could’ve added a bit more weight on the squats, but wanted to see how my body felt doing deadlifts in the same workout.  Actually wasn’t too bad!  I’ll raise the weight on the next workout.  Tomorrow, we hit upper body!

Appreciating Blessings

Do you ever have a random moment in your day in which you stop to appreciate the many blessings you have in your life?  I do.  I can remember a time when all I thought about was my misfortunes and I dwelled on the bad decisions I had made in life.  I could easily do that very thing, today, but the side effects from doing so are very negative.  I get a much better response when I stop to think about my blessings.  I tend to appreciate the smaller blessings more than the bigger ones, honestly. There are so many small moments in the day that I make sure to soak up.  Whether it be to take in the fact that the moment is a blessing or to engrain a memory to reflect back on when the days of my youth have long passed me by.  Some of those blessings include:

  • Simply waking up with great health.
  • The fact that I live in the USA.
  • Having the ability to lift heavy objects.
  • Having a great job and my bills paid.
  • Having a beautiful, loving, Christian wife.
  • Having a little dog that is one of my best friends.
  • Seeing God bless others.

This list could go on for days; but these are just a handful of blessings I stop to appreciate, everyday.  I feel that if I had I made this a habit, earlier in life, I would not have spent so much time wondering in the dark.

John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

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