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

Squatting I Can Feel Good About

I was going to add an exclamation point to the title, but I’m not actually that enthusiastic about it. I can feel just good about it, not great. Also, I had to get all my training done, in and out the door, in two hours tonight which is a rush for me. I know, everyone on the internet only train for an hour to optimize hormone levels but it is what it is.

bench press: worked up to 320 x 3 x 3 This setup felt weird but I got my required number of reps so I’m okay with it.

floor press: 135xsome, 185 x 3 x 12 I don’t really like floor press. It’s a weak movement for me, it doesn’t feel right and it seems to bother my wrists, especially with a fat bar. I used a regular Texas power bar for these tonight.

pullup: bw x 3 x 12 Kept these simple. I supersetted them in with my floor press and squat warmups.

close grip Conor press against double mini bands: quarter per side x 15 reps

safety bar squat to just above parallel box: worked up to 330×3,3,12 I think this was a PR with the safety bar. I don’t know if it’s because my waist is back up or what but since my hip has been healed up my squatting has felt much stronger.

Just a reminder:  I almost always warm up with an empty bar, if even for a few reps. It’s always better to be more cautious in your warmup if in doubt. This doesn’t mean you need to take a bazillion sets and reps, in fact I would advise the opposite. I would reccomend keeping the reps low and adding sets. In fact, I notice we often warm up with 1-3 reps so a warmup to 315 on the bench would typically look like this:

45×5, 95×3, 135×1, 185×1, 225×1, 275×1, 295×1, 315×5

This accomplishes several things. It maintains the same movement you want to use for your heavy weights, it doesn’t tire you out, it lets you feel heavier weights in a progressive fashion, and it gives you an opportunity to add in “speed work” if you make sure and do your warmups as explosively as possible.

My conditioning work after the break.

Continue reading “Squatting I Can Feel Good About”

Squatting I Can Feel Good About

Friday Run/Restoration/Lift


Ran one minute @ 10.0mph and walked one minute @ 3.3mph for 10 minutes, covering a little over a mile. Then I did 10 easy minutes on the elliptical for no reason at all.


Pulled the sled forward with 100 pounds for 12 trips.


safety bar high box squat: one plate for 10 reps This is some easy extra work I do when I remember. It did not treat my hip well.

bench press: 45×3, 95×3, 135×3, 185×1, 225×1, 275×1, 295×1, 315×1, 350×1,1,2 I got to maybe three board territory before I got stuck on rep three.

leg press chest press: worked up to 3 plates per side and a 25 for 7 reps then did a drop set ith 3 plates down to one plate.

barbell scoops press: worked up to 185 x 14 then did 28 reps with 115

machine high row/face pull: one plate for 12 easy reps

Friday Run/Restoration/Lift

Bare Minimum Amounts of Squatting and Conditioning

I had no muscle or joint soreness today but I was just exhausted. I didn’t want to get out of bed.

AM Conditioning

ran a mile in 7:29 on the treadmill with a 0.5% incline

PM – Squat Session

warmed up as always with the safety bar to about 300

then straight bar parallel box squat: 135×1, 225×1, 315×1 (add belt), 365×1, 395×1, 425×1,1,2

I got stuck pretty hard on the 3rd rep on that last set. It didn’t feel that hard, I think I just got into some kind of stupid position. That first single really hurt my hip.

reverse band safety bar to high box (probably three fingers above parallel): three plates x 10, dropset to two plates x 11, dropset to one plate and got a few. It was so light at the bottom it wasn’t productive so I just stopped.

Sled Drags: three sprints down and back with 200#, then five trips of recovery work walking with 100#

Bare Minimum Amounts of Squatting and Conditioning

Military and an Unreasonable Amount of Conditioning

AM Conditioning

I did some kind of interval running inside on the treadmill.

Recovery Session One, Lower Body

sled with 100#, 5 rounds of 3:00 (15:00 total) forward belt pulling

neck work, in all directions, sled + 25# x 30 reps each

Military Press and Acc.

military press: worked up to 185 no problem then got stapled by 210, even though I hit 205 for a triple last week. I think it’s a combination of cutting my margins too close the last couple weeks and my military suffering with any small weight loss.

So I salvaged it by going military press: 185 x 1,1,1,1,4

dips: bw + 75# x 2 x 10

barbell semi-strict curl: 105×15

one arm preacher hammer curl: 35×13 each side

reverse barbell curl: 75 x 10

back braced leg raises on stall bars: bw x 25

Recovery Session Two, Upper Body

tons of sled rows with 90#

a couple trips of curls with 1 plates

a couple full trips of presses with one plate

a trip of extensions with 1 plate

a trip of lateral raises with empty sled

neck work, 50 reps in each direction with empty sled

Yeah, that’s 4 sessions. Excessive? Yes.

Military and an Unreasonable Amount of Conditioning

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