Monday, January 31, 2011

Squat day, smolov day 1 week 3

Gorgeous day today after a little rain yesterday. Got out of work a little early and hit the iron.

Started with Results and MGPM. Did a little dynamic work and a little bar work and got to it.

Wore loose briefs and knee sleeves. Also wore elbow sleeves throughout for the accessory work.

265kg 4 sets of 9 reps

Setup makes such a huge difference. Tight, firm back, arch low back, head up, big breath...bang. Took the weight down slowly, tried not to get ballistic on the reps, and worked them out. Frankly, it was pretty easy. I felt them, no doubt, but overall strength is improving.

I still feel the scar when I walk -- jostling lights it up for brief moments, almost like an electric shock. But it does seem smaller when I palpate the area. And vigorous massage doesn't hurt nearly as much as before.

Super'd curls with Bradford presses. Yeah, well.

It was a great day, and I was very happy to be back in the rumpus room.

Hope all have a great night. Off to eat and batting practice.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bench day, 3 rep + smolov day 4

Long, hard week. Work's been tough and is going to get tougher until May, honestly. I need to find a better way to make time for training, because this three times a week way far apart is limiting progress. Has to be.

Started with Results and MGPM. Did some dynamic work and some bar work -- honestly, I just wanted to get to it.

I wore loose briefs for squats and elbow sleeves for bench.

I blew a good 30 minutes setting up and getting used to the Free Spotter at the beginning.


200kg x 3 felt heavy
210kg x 3 felt much easier
230kg x 3 not bad at all

I didn't rep out -- saved it for next time. But I felt like I had several in the tank.

Did a bunch of sets of DB snatch with some weight. Who cares?

310kg 10 sets of 3 reps

These were not bad at all. Honestly, without having to walk the thing out, they were fairly easy. I could tell a huge difference in effort between reps that were set up carefully and well and those that weren't -- real eye opener. Maybe I've always adjusted while walking out. Getting used to squeezing the lever before lifting wasn't hard at all. I love this gadget.

After my sets I put on my Ace Squatter over my briefs and tried a rep with the straps down and one with straps up. Straps down felt great, but straps up felt like it was trying to pull me backward. I'll have to get used to it again if I'm gonna compete this year, so I may start throwing it on more. Sucker's tight, so getting it off after pumping a little was tough.

Quiet night with the wife after she's been gone for a week. Of course, it's almost 7 and she's still not home -- gotta love a workaholic wife.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Deadlift day, 3 rep + smolov day 3

Finally got under the bar. Been a busy weekend, and this week will be tough. In the meantime, I knew a DL day with a second-half smolov day in it was sure to be brutal.

Started with Results and wore loose briefs, knee sleeves, and belts. I wore my Spud DL belt for the DLs and my EliteFTS leather belt for squats.

Did some dynamic work and some bar work -- not a lot of either. I had the heater on to start to get a pig sweat going. It worked.

260kg x 3 went up fine
280kg x 3 felt very heavy
300kg x 3 went up pretty easily -- go figure

No idea why, but my setup for the last must have been better. It was much easier than the second set.

7 sets of 5 reps at last week + 10%

Felt really good. Sucked wind badly, but the weight went up fine. I had a couple of wobbly reps that I had to slow down and settle before I started shooting vertebrae across the room, but it was fine.

I did sets of one-arm dumbbell snatches with 30kg between squat sets. Not hard, but more wind sucking.

It's Sunday night, the Steelers are up, and I'll likely have to fire an employee this week. All in a day's work.

Have a great week, all. Take of yourselves.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Idle thoughts

I'll train today if I can make time -- my wife invited people over for dinner, which means I'm cooking. As a former chef, everyone expects big things, so even comfort food has to be special. Nothing is simple. But watch if you remain interested, because today will be a DL and Smolov day.

I ordered a Free Spotter from Shermworks mostly because it cost me a tenth of a set of beam power hooks from Crepinsek. We'll see if it works as well as advertised and solves my walkout whining -- it should act a lot like a monolift. We'll see. The assembly sure is inexpensive.

If it works as well as I hope, I'll spring for the olympic dumbbell type as well and get back to heavy arm-isolated chest work. I hope.

Bob's got me thinking about competing soon, so I contacted Rudy at Overkill Strength and he's making a shirt for me. I've got a good Metal Ace squatter I occasionally use, so I will start dusting it all off and practicing in it. Guess it's time to put my money where my mouth is again.

Work has been an unruly beast lately -- recent changes have given me much, much more detail work to do, which just sucks time like crazy. Getting tough to catch up where I used to have time to cruise. I do like being busy, though, just not fond of details.

Not sure if I can cram two training days in this weekend, since it's a third and fourth Smolov day. May be too tough to do without a recovery day. We'll see.

Anyway, lots to do today. Gorgeous, hot day here. Hope you all have a great day.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Military press, 3 rep, smolov week 2 day 2

Gorgeous, hot day here. Yeah, I know, but I pay a huge sunshine tax to be hear. And honestly, I wouldn't mind leaving anymore; I used to think I'd be here forever, but things have changed.

I went into today expecting death slathered on a pain biscuit. Didn't quite turn out that way.

I started with the usual elixirs, a lot of dynamic work, and some bar work. I wore elbow sleeves for the military press with neoprene wrist supports. I wore loose briefs and knee sleeves for the squatting. For the chins I wore sweat.

Military Press
130kg x 3 too easy
140kg x 3 still too easy
150kg x 3 still way too easy

Gotta go up, apparently. Military press intimidates the crap out of me with my balky right shoulder, but we had none of that today. Depth was below the chin, kept everything smooth and relatively slow. No pain anywhere.

Chins The usual with chains, four sets with everything. Did the last two hanging from a 2" rope for grip, which was good.

Squat 275kg , 5 sets of 7 reps

The last set I wandered a little -- think my setup was lacking and I stupidly muscled it out. Thankfully, no problems. Had a few twinges in the left quad, but nothing bad. Left knee now hurts a little, but some ice will likely fix it. Nothing bad. The weight went up pretty easily and smoothly today.

Great day. Gonna go make a huge lasagna and eat brownies while it cooks. Gotta love it.

Stay strong, all.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Squat day, smolov day 1 week 2

This lifting took place yesterday. It was a gorgeous day, downright hot, and the rumpus room was about 85. I sweat like a pig and loved it.

I started with Results and Shelby mix, drank MGPM (1/3) per instructions just prior to lifting and drank the rest during. I don't know whether the stuff helps anything, but it's carbs and protein to which I add a bunch of maltodextrose. I have to say I like it. The taste is fine (reminiscent of a blender shake -- oats) and I feel good when I use it. Not as hungry while training.

Used my loosest briefs, knee sleeves, EFS leather belt. I wore Nike Frees today because they were more available.

I warmed up with a lot of dynamic work for quads, hips, and glutes, did a bunch of step-ups to start activating everything, and warmed up quickly with the bar -- my jumps were well over 10%...more like 20% or 25%. Usually it's the last 10% that get me going anyway, so I'll do a bunch of reps with next to nothing (200# or less) to get everything greased and get up to weight quickly.

4 sets of 9 reps with day 2 weight from last week.

Weight goes up around 10-20# each week in Smolov. 10 pounds seems silly with kg plates, so I usually go with 10kg or 20kg increases. This one was a 20kg hop. I had thought I might have to back that down to avoid ugliness, but today convinced me not to worry about it. It's just those walkouts that I love so much.

Honestly, the weight on the shoulders isn't bad. If I have a good belly full of air and keep my chest up, I'm fine. If not, my low back and obliques complain a little, and that makes me start thinking. Thinking is bad. I usually re-rack and reset at that point. None of that this time.

I drop down into the hole slowly until at least one side hits a pin and then come up immediately, as smoothly as possible. Everything worked like a champ. No video today because I was recharging the camera battery, but I'll get it up next time (now tomorrow).

Anyway, these were pretty easy, all told. Color me surprised. Sets were 180s apart.

While squatting, I did sets of assistance work:
Step-ups three sets with chains over the shoulders
Bradford presses I had something like 40 kg on a regular 1500# bar. Check out exercise index and see Julia Ladewski show how it's done.
Curls yeah, I know. I did really heavy one-arm curls just because. Because Wendler told me to in his 5 Ways article last week. Because I was looking for an excuse? Because I was never a frat boy and want to know the experience? Whatever.

My body weight is still pretty much the same -- within a 5 pound variance -- but I can tell my legs are bigger since starting this. The briefs fit differently. Not sure what to do with that. I'm all for leg size increases, despite the clothing/wardrobe issues that presents. But body weight staying put is odd. Something else is being eaten. Gotta increase the calories again.

It was a gorgeous day. I didn't post yesterday because I had to hustle out for a date night with my wife, which was deliriously awesome. Anyone in the area ought to try out Blue Fin Sushi in Encinitas. Great experience. Chef wouldn't take any of my sake, though -- something about booze and sharp knives. Wimp.

Have a great day. Today is full of baseball for me; next session is tomorrow.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bench day, 5 rep + smolov day 4

It's rather cool here, which means it's in the 60s. My parents in the Southeast are in the middle of an ice storm, so I have nothing to complain about. The skies are bluebird. Gorgeous.

Big day today. Knocked off a little early so I could get the training in. I was a little intimidated, as Smolov day 4 is heavy and a lot of sets.

Started with Results, Shelby mix, MGPM, a fair amount of dynamic work, and some bar work.

I wore neoprene wrist supports for bench and loose briefs and knee sleeves for the squatting. I also added the EFS leather belt for the primary work sets.

185kg x 5 reps easy
210kg x 5 reps not bad
220kg x 5 reps felt pretty heavy for some reason

I'll never understand how week to week the perceived effort changes for me. These felt heavy, though they went up ok. Didn't break any blood vessels, no shoulder pain, nothing odd. Just heavy.

295kg x 10 sets of 3 reps

Walkouts at this weight just suck. Sorry to whine, but they suck. I make them about four inches to clear the hooks at this point and I still hate them. Went to the hole very slowly every rep and came up fast. The weight moved fine -- could have lifted a bit more. Quad felt good, though my left knee isn't always happy. I think in all this quad business I tweaked something in that knee that I'll have to deal with someday.

While I'm whining, ten sets is kinda boring. I alternated some oblique work using suitcase lifts with a light, high-rep fly just to do something else while I caught my breath.

This is the end of week one for Smolov -- week three is gonna kill me. Either that quad will tear or I'll venture into PR land. I'm feeling good about the latter at this point.

Hope everyone has a great evening, and War Eagle!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Deadlift day, 5 rep + smolov day 3

Warm, overcast day today. The boy had his last Little League tryout, which is a bit of a formality but it meant I stood around for several hours. On top of that, it's a day to DL and squat, and I have to admit I entered into it with trepidation.

I started with MGPM, Shelby mix, and Results (not in that order). I wore loose briefs and knee sleeves for the whole session.

I pulled a fair amount for warm up and got to it:

200kg x 5 pretty easy
220kg x 5 still easy
240kg x 5 still easy

I realized later that I had read my log incorrectly and used lighter weight than intended. That's fine with me because of what followed.

7 sets of 5 reps with 265kg

Honestly, not bad. All were to below parallel. Used a leather EFS belt after warm up. Felt good.

DL and a tough squat day in one session made me nervous. I'm gonna eat a horse and massage my scar for the afternoon watching Seattle beat NO. Wouldn't that be fun?

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Overall update

My low-back is a little sore today, and overall I feel a little achy. My quads feel tight, but not sore. Obliques are a little sore.

There are several weather fronts rolling through, so some of my tiredness and overall feeling may be due to barometric changes.

Any way you slice it, I'm tired and glad I'm off until tomorrow. Wife's back today, so it'll be a good night for a glass of wine and some snuggling on the couch. Yeah, I'm whipped, and proud of it.

Hope everyone else's day is going well.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Military press, 5 rep + smolov day 2

Cloudy today -- supposed to get more rain for the next two days. Guess it's rolling in.

Started with Results, Shelby mix, MGPM. A tutti-fruttipalooza. All I needed was to add grape BCAAs and I'd have likely had Carmen Miranda hallucinations. BCAAs are one of those things I can't tell do anything at all. Bad combo -- tastes like ass, costs money, no apparent benefit. They tell me BCAAs are the bomb.

Did a modicum of dynamic work and a lot of bar work for warm up. Had the sweatshirt and heater rolling again. Brings back bad high school memories.

Wore neoprene wrist support for military press and chins. Wore loose briefs (not feeling so loose today, though that's probably in my head) and knee sleeves for the squats with my EFS leather belt.

120kg x 5 easy
135kg x 5 still easy
145kg x 5 again, easy

Chins with all my chains, three sets to fail

Set the chain height so that two links were on the ground when hanging, so almost all of the pull up was full-load bearing. As I mentioned before, I'm doing these with all the chains I have, which amounts to a 2Xbodyweight chin. Not great, but better than many.

Smolov squat, day 2

240kg x 5 sets x 7 reps to below parallel, same setup as yesterday

Felt surprisingly good. I'll have rough video up shortly for those with the url.

Between squat sets I did standing hammer curls with a bunch on the skinny DBs to avoid boredom. I'm not someone you want bored.

No idea how long it took. Maybe a little over an hour. Too long, no matter what -- tough to get all of that in inside 50 minutes. But I'm determined to get my mind wrapped around my quad(s) in a productive way. We'll see if I can do it and not overtrain. I'm feeling a bit worn out 30 minutes later, I have to admit.

Wife comes back tomorrow and I can't wait. Haven't shaved in several days -- gotta fix that first. That and hide all the chocolate chip cookies I made, which are several kinds of awesome.

Hope everyone reorients to the real world smoothly this week. Take care of yourselves and those for whom you're responsible.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Squat day

I'm due for a 5/3/1 rep day for squats, but decided to make a change for a few reasons.

First, as I noted a week or so ago, more volume in my legs makes the scarred left quad feel better. I can't explain that, but I have much, much fewer spasms in the scar area when I am spending more quad time under tension. Much less triggering, which means much less stabbing pain -- I'm all for that. Less pain means less paranoia, less feeling as though the big, fat scar is gonna tear loose sometime soon and open up a canyon in that muscle. And I'm a wide squatter, so I think about it a lot.

Second, hitting heavy maxes just sticks a cattle prod in my paranoia. Hitting lots of 70% squats doesn't. Some, if not most, of this game has to be handled between the ears. So I enter a one-rep max day with trepidation. Maybe if I can get a few hundred fairly heavy reps under my belt per week or two, I'll start to trust the leg. Plus, it might help raise my leg mass, which would be some nice red-eye gravy on that hambone.

So I decided to fold a Smolov or Smolov Jr. cycle into my 5/3/1 routine. Who says I have to stick to convention. Screw that.

Today was day 1. Since it was a 5/3/1 squat day, I did the Smolov work and assistance work. For future days, I'll do the Smolov work as one assistance set (if I can stand it). I'll probably do several cycles with conservative max assumptions before I do another max test.

Gorgeous day. Wife's been out of town for several days, so I'm lonely. I like the rhythm with her around much better. Warm today, but I started with sweat shirt and beanie on to get a sweat on. Heater was pumping too. I was soaked pretty quickly.

Started with the Results, Shelby mix, and MGs Powdered Muscle. Wore knee sleeves, EFS belt for heavier sets, and loose briefs.

I rolled, rolled the crap out of it with the knobby stick , and did a lot of dynamic work. A lot. I did very little bar warmup, but rather took big leaps in weight to get to workout weight quickly.


220kg x 4 sets of 9 reps

Really pretty smooth. Felt good in the leg. A little funkiness in my left knee, but not enough to lead me to change anything. Depth was below parallel -- I dropped slowly until I hit the pins, which were set at two inches below parallel. Came up as quickly as I could.

Afterward, I loaded up the SSB with 100kg and did a superset of step-ups (sets of 10) and lunges (sets of 10). I think I did three sets before I decided breathing was a good option.

I must admit that my time between the squat sets had to be at least 3 minutes each set because I kept running inside to check on the Bama game. Sue me.

Last time I did a Smolov or Sheiko cycle, I was obliterated by the volume (particularly Sheiko). Not this time. Felt pretty normal. We'll see how I feel after a week of this, though.

Great day. We'll see how it goes.