Small Victories, Victories None-the-less

One of the things I like about training is that you can chalk up every little advance as a win. As long as you keep going for weeks and months you’ll wind up better off than you are today. It’s that kaizen principle I’ve blogged about before (although the link eludes me).

With that said, today wasn’t great but I got some things done that I really needed to. My deadlift has always been my pet lift and in the past has remained pretty decent even when the rest of my training goes to hell. Ever since my big cross-country move my back has been touchy and my deadlift has suffered. The last time I tried to pull I basically couldn’t even complete the movement without pain. I needed to take a few steps back along the progression but I wasn’t willing to do it. Now, going back in with a clean slate I came in with the same plan I would take with a brand new client and I got through the session without any pain.

Instead of warming up with a single rep at 315 and then jumping up by 50 pounds until I got to my working set, I started out with 225. I also started pulling off a fairly tall block (maybe 5 inches?) and added a 1/2 inch rubber mat under my feet until I got to a block height that allowed me to get the most range of motion I could without pain. That wound up being 3 mats.

block pull: 225×1 (no mats), x1 (1 mat), x1 (2 mats), x1 (3 mats), 275 x 1, 5,5,5

invert rows on rings bw x 3 x 10 superset with

1LRDL 3 x 10 L and R

I got to reading Eric Cressey’s blog and found some stuff by the Posture Restoration Institute about being stuck in “right stance”. I wanted to test and see if I was capable of standing on my left foot and pulling a band across my body from right to left. Turns out I really can’t, so that’s a movement I’m going to start working on.

After those pulls and the weird band work, my torso musculature feels all stretched out and tired. I’m definitely shaking something loose, so to speak, and I hope my back/deadlift yield dividends because of it.

Small Victories, Victories None-the-less

Another Better Than Nothing Day

Well, I should have known today wasn’t going to be a strong day. No wonder, when I checked my log my last full recorded session was almost a month ago. With all the bullshit in  between and this odd week it’s no wonder I wasn’t on my game. At least I got some meaningful work in and I’ll be in a better position to drop back a wave or two and start over next week. (Trying to stay optimistic.)

medium grip bench (MGBP, pinkies touching rings): 45×5, 95×3, 135×2, 185×2, 225×1, 275×1, 295×1, 305×5,5,5 The last recorded workout I got 5,5,7 here so I thought I would be fine repeating those weights for this wave, maybe even getting 8-10. I was wrong. These were tough and I barely got 5 on my last set.

close grip bench press (CGBP, pinkies 1/2″ inside rings) I took one rep with 235. It felt horrible so I stopped, which I’ve never done before. I should have been good for 3-5×10 here.

conventional stance deadlift: 315×1, 365×1, 405 x 1 (switched from double over to mixed grip), 455×0 (added belt) This is where things got really cruddy. I didn’t feel right on any of my warm-ups and to make matters worse I left my good Inzer belt at home so I was using the shitty loner belts at the gym. (Sidenote: why do those things even exist? Who designed those things and what are they good for? They’re a single ply of leather softer than my normal dress belt and they’re about 1 1/2 inches wide in the front and 4 in the back. It’s like an uncomfortable and stupid looking variant to not wearing a belt at all.)

At any rate, I went to pull 455, broke it off the ground and got about 6″ off the deck when I just said fuck it and set it down. I could tell it wasn’t right and if I had pushed the issue that day I would have hurt myself. The only thing more demoralizing than having to miss a deadlift is missing a deadlift with a weight you should be getting 10 times. I had to just turn my music up a little, avert my eyes a little more to avoid talking to/contacting anyone and just tried to go about the rest of my workout. At least I’m proud I didn’t just give up and leave or cut my planned ancillary work short. One of my goals is to do what my old partner Scoops would make me: do what’s on the paper and if it really doesn’t work or feel right, change it for next time.

2/1 concentric/eccentric cable row: 45 x 2 x 10 L-R These are something I’m playing with. I use a single handle on the cable row and use both hands for the concentric and then lower with one hand, doing all the whole side for one side then switching. This was also confirmation I did the right thing backing off the deadlift because my back gave me some twinges just setting up for this.

I supersetted these with 1-leg hip extensions off the bench for the cable rows. bw x 2 x 10 L-R. These felt pretty good and I got a pretty decent glute pump so I don’t feel like I accomplished nothing for my pulling muscles. Next week I’m going to do 1-2 sets of pullups before I get to these.

I finished with some ab and lower back work.

back extension on the 45° bench. bw x 2 x10 At the top of each movement I do essentially a reverse fly with my arms in a neutral 45° adducted position. I squeeze the top as hard as I can, trying to get my mid and lower traps. (I call these “Titanics” in my log, like the I’m King of The World Pose.) At the same time I squeeze my glutes even harder so as to counter the natural lordosis that comes with the upper back extension.

supersetted these with weighted prestretcher crunches 75 x 2 x10 I used to do these with a rolled up yoga mat but I didn’t have anything like that and I don’t know if I want to buy one just for this movement. A half foam roll would work great but they don’t have one and I don’t want to mutilate my good one. I tried an “Ab Mat” which sucked and I tried a whole foam roll which was better but a little too aggressive. I could take the sleeping mat that I was issued, (which has been unrolled once since I hit the fleet) but I would look like a dork carrying that in and besides it’s big and unwieldy. I’ll have to raid the linen closet and see if I have a big not-so-nice towel I can steal.


Another Better Than Nothing Day

Weird Training Update

I’ve been out of the area, eating a terrible diet and not exercising. We have an odd training schedule so I had to do my military and deadlifting on the same night tonight.

military press: worked up to 185 x 3 x 3

conventional deadlift: worked up to 485 x 3

conventional deadlift for reps: 245x 3 x 15 I did these beltless and double overhand. I hate how hard these are and how pathetic I feel doing them.

I supersetted my rep deads with rep military press with 135 x 10,10 and had to gut out the third set rest-pause style with 5,3,2 reps.

Weird Training Update

An Update!

Monday AM

ran a mile or something

Monday PM

military press: 115×10

conventional deadlift: 465×5,

speed safety bar box squat to above parallel: one plate per side against heavy bands 15×2 and real fast

conventional deadlift: 225x3x15

pullup: bw + 35 x 5,5,8.5

some random arm work including a pointless dropset

My back and abs were both fried from all those pathetically light reps.

Tuesday AM

ran two miles or something

Tuesday PM

military press: worked up to 175×5, 4

barbell curl: 95 x 5,5,10 I’ve decided I’m going to start doing these 5/3/1 style

close grip tricep pushup things to a box with feet suspended: 3 sets of 20

some other random arm work including a pointless drop set I don’t remember what exactly I did but it totalled about 100 reps

Wednesday AM

Did nothing because I’m a lazy POS

Wednesday PM

military press: 115 x 10

safety squat bar squat to parallelish box: worked up to 350×5, 310×5,8 That first set was real hard and a misload

safety squat bar squat to parallelish box, reverse heavy bands: 350×12?, added thin bumper and banged out a few more reps. I like the term “mechanical dropset” for these.

stiff leg to blocks: 115 x 3 x 15

neutral grip chins: bw + 25 x 10,10,9
random arm work including a drop set

Thursday AM

ran a couple miles

Thursday PM ( trained especially late)

bench press: worked up to 315×4

conor press (leg press chest press): two plates per side x 5 x 15 superset with

machine row: 100 x 5 x 10

california press on leg press: worked up to 35 per side plus double mini bands x 2 x 12

scoops press on leg press: 35 per side x 10?, empty sled x 15,5,5 rest-pause

lean away single arm dumbbell curl: 30×10, 35x2x10, 35×10,30×10?25×6? (drop sets) I really like this movement…

trap III raises: 8 pounds x 10

horizontal scap shrug-row: 75 x 10

trap III raise: bw x 15

One of my priorities on this wave is getting arms that look like I actually lift weights so I’m trying to add a total of 200-300 reps of arm work per week.

An Update!

Midweek Training Update

Monday PM

Worked up to 505×5 and 405 x 12 conventional deadlift.

weighted pullup: worked up to bw + 75 pounds x 3 x 3 then bw + 25 pounds x 10

3 full trips down and back pushing the sled at a sprint with 100 pounds

random extra work

hanging braced knee raises, bw x 30

Tuesday AM

ran 5 minutes at 7.7mph or something/walked one minute at 3.3mph and 0.5% incline on the treadmill for 21 minutes or so then I stopped and pussed out because I felt like shit. I covered maybe 2.5-2.8 miles.

Tuesday Afternoon

pulled the sled walking forward with a hip belt and 100 pounds for 12 minutes

Tuesday PM

worked up to 185 x 3,3,3.5 military press

pretty sure I didn’t do any extra curls or dips or anything, just sled work

braced hanging abs, bw x 30

Wednesday AM

ran one mile in 7 minutes flat on the treadmill at 0.5% incline

Wednesday Afternoon

This was actually only 45 minutes or so after the run and I drink one of those little kids cafeteria sized half pint cartons of skim milk.

Walked for 10 minutes straight, forward with a hip belt using 70 pounds. I usually do this in rounds, but today I was doing it so gently I just kept going.

Wednesday PM

worked up to 385 x 5,5,7 straight bar squat to a high box, about three fingers above parallel. My hip has been bugging me so I went just a little higher, wore a super loose pair of groove briefs, slathered myself in horse oil and taped my hip.

dragged the sled forward with a hip belt, did 5 lengths of the basketball court with 300 pounds

Upper body sled work:

  • two lengths of rows with 145
  • two lengths of presses with 145?
  • one length of curls with 100
  • one length of extensions with 100
  • two lengths of face pull with 100
  • one length each way of lateral raises with 25
  • 50 reps each direction of neck work with 25
  • carioca a bunch of lengths with 25 to try to get my hip to cooperate

and… one set of braced hanging knee raises, 35 reps


Midweek Training Update

Conorcentric Only Conditioning

See what I did with that title? It’s a little play on “concentric only”. Yeah…

Conventional deadlift: 225×1, 315×1, 365×1 (all double overhand to here), 405 x1, 455×1, 495×1, 525×3, 405×15

weighted pullup: bw + 75 x 3 x 3

bodyweight pullup: bw x 14

back braced hanging leg raises, bw x 25

TONS of sled work:

15 minutes of forward dragging, in 5 minute rounds, 2 plates

one full trip of rows with 2 plates

one full trip of curls with one plate

one full trip of reverse sled pull with two plates

one full trip of neck work with an empty sled (This amounts to about 50 reps in each direction)

I guess this seemed like a lot more volume when I actually did it. It doesn’t look like much all written out.

Conorcentric Only Conditioning

Mediocre Running and Pulling!

I ran the Minnesota Zoo 5K in 25:42 on Saturday.

Today I pulled and it was very slow and bad feeling. I worked up to one single at 500 x 1. A set of pullups with bw + 60 pounds x 5, a set of axle curls with axel + 10 + 5 x 5 and bw x 35 prestretcher crunches.

Tonight I did 30 minutes of steady state on the elliptical, level 16 and started at 6.5 mph and slowed to 5.0ish by the end but kept my heart rate up around 170.

Mediocre Running and Pulling!