T Nation

A New Animal: JDM135 for 1-2-3-4 plates

Nice work. I like the addition of dowels so they don’t slide apart. Did you glue the dowels in?


They are pressed in for now. Should stay without glue, because the receptacles for them are oversized, but nbd to tap them out, add glue, and back in again, if it turns out its needed.

2 thoughts on deadlifts in '22.
One is, ROM progression would be fun. Like, maybe I can hit my goal weight now from 4.5" blocks, so train that, then remove a layer of blocks every couple weeks, until I’m pulling from the floor. The ROM progresses and weight stays the same.
The other thought is, I have an Alsruhe program and I like the look of it. I know the conditioning aspect would prevent me from quickly chasing my squat and deadlift goals, but once I adapt to the conditioning I’d make progress there too; maybe I’d be better served to follow his program and eventually achieve the goals organically?

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@T3hPwnisher this literally just happened, I had nothing to do with it I swear! My 5 year olds taking turns on the equipment… where did they get this idea, someone’s blog?


Hah! The next generation.

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I should dare them to actually try it on the swiss ball now.

Nerts to that: dumbbell Fran


I had them doing floor-to-overhead while I did sandbag work. Was good for em. But here I was just laughing at the similarity to your famous swiss squat photo.


50 BSS per side, 50 pushups.
Sandbag work:
Squats, actually going deep this time, 3,7,10,7,3 - 30 total.

I’m stopping this little “deload” right now. 2 weeks with no barbell could have been interesting, and I promised it to myself during a time of hating training and eating, so I could convince myself to stick out the tough stuff for a little longer.
But now that I’m doing this, it feels ridiculous, and effort is being left on the table. (Yes that’s the point of a deload, but) At this moment I feel like I have the energy and drive to seriously train, so why waste it doing cable curls? Sure, I’m still going to want to DB C&P, and do lots of sandbag stuff, but my goals require a barbell so I’m getting back to it.
Starting tomorrow morning.
Alsruhe’s “The Minimalist” program.
This program emphasizes conditioning in a way I’m just not ready for - and that’s why I’m going to run it. It might really mess me up, meaning weights may stay pretty low, but that’s OK - on the other side of this (and I can quit anytime) I’ll have more work capacity and a new level of conditioning. The program is focused on the “big 4” but features a lot of movement variety, I’m excited to try something new.

And I’ll save that second week of “deload” for a time when I need it.


This is why I have been using heavy weight low volume deloads for over a year now. I like moving heavy weight and so does my body (it tells me so all the time by being really sore and creaky :joy::joy:).


50 BSS/side and 50 pushups during morning coffee.

Wave 1 Week 1 Day 1 of The Minimalist.

Deadlift focus.
I won’t be logging details, you can buy the exact program from Alsruhe for $25 or watch his youtube video to get the gist of it.
30 minutes of drenching sweat, minimal rest, pushing myself in ways I’d not have thought to try - which is exactly why I need to run this.

Top set: Deadlift 2x315
Backoff work: 1x12x255

For the backoff work, he gives you a brutal “freedom” of choice:
Take as many sets as you want to get the reps in - can do singles if you want! But here’s the catch: EVERY SET requires 30 seconds of swings and 60 seconds of plank.
It’s great motivation to get more reps in a set than you otherwise would!

Each session has a 10-minute “finisher” and if you’ve ever seen Alsruhe’s finishers… they aren’t fun.

With the backoff fit into one set I was able to finish the whole thing in 30 minutes, which was essential due to time constraints at home. Barely got through the morning on time!


Deloads are what you do when you are deathly sick from the flu.

Those deadlift blocks are cool as shit, btw.

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Those are fucking cool mate. I wish I’d been smart enough to do that when I did ROM progression.

You’re going to love ROM progression by the way. It’s awful and it works really, really well.


Great! Thanks guys.
I haven’t used them yet, and hope to soon, but I’m going to see how things shake out with The Minimalist before trying a dedicated ROM Progression plan.
The Minimalist does incorporate some block pulls, so I’ll be able to use them at least occasionally.

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1/11/2022 Tuesday
“The Minimalist” wave 1 week 1 day 2: Bench and Row
Today’s highlights, bench and row each 1x2@195 and 1x12@155.

Changed the order of the lifting days around to accommodate my gym vs home schedule. I expect to keep this rotation unless something forces an audible:
Monday - deadlift - home
Tuesday - Bench/row - gym
Thursday - Squat - gym
Friday - Press/pullups - home

The “finisher” was a complete workout on its own for gods sake. Wiped me, I couldn’t do another pushup. I’m not proud of how I performed on it, but it’s a bar to beat next time.

I can’t speak highly enough of this program - at this stage, obviously I can’t speak about RESULTS, but I can speak about EFFORT - this program is structured in a way that makes me do more than I thought I could do, and makes me do things I wouldn’t have thought to do, without it. Plus I haven’t read ahead very far so it’ll be full of surprises.
Like today, dumbbell pullovers - I have no experience with these, and I felt an unexpected feeling in my lats. And my entire upper back is SORE - I’m guessing those brutal “tempo RDLs” worked something I’ve never trained before.
And there seem to be abs EVERY DAY? AAHGGGGG Exactly what I needed.


Sore as hell today. Off day. Could have used a 1 mile run but baby stuff. NBD I’m working hard enough.
Other life things are happening too. Things are good.


1/13/2022, Thursday
The Minimalist, Wave 1 Week 1 Day 3:
Pause Squats. Pausing for a full second or two at the bottom.
Top set was 4x195
Volume was 12x155, 8x155.
Really wanted to knock out all 20 in one set to avoid the extra 6 burpees and 25 ab thingys but couldn’t get there.
I wasn’t up to the challenge on the ab thingys. It calls for 25 hollow rocks, 6 sets of 25 in my case. Nobody would call what I was doing a hollow rock, especially not at the end.
These workouts are brutal and really push your conditioning. Which is the point.

I’ll share today’s finisher:
EMOM, as many rounds as possible.
Front squat 40% 1RM (I underestimated and used just 55lbs)
-first round 2 reps
-second round 4 reps
-third round 6 reps
-And so on, until you roll into the next minute completing your reps.

I’m proud to say I stayed in for 10 rounds. It became brutal at the end. 16 reps finished with just seconds to spare, 18 reps finished as the clock started the next minute, so no rest -just rack and unrack - before starting 20 reps, which took over a full minute to complete. All in all 110 front squats. Light weight, but fast.

Was totally fried at the end of this.


1/14, Friday
The Minimalist, Wave 1 Week 1, Day 4:
This made me grow. I can feel it. Haven’t had an upper body stimulus like this in a long time.

For the structure and logic of the workout, see the program. Here are my totals today:
Pullups, wide grip:

Push Press:
3x155 (Tried heavier and couldn’t)

Ab rollouts: 6x6. Curved each rep to one side a bit, alternating.

Then this, which should have taken 10 minutes but took me 21:06 and was absolute hell!
I’m not used to any pullup volume - have barely done any since recovering from tendonitis - and was already fried from the above.
10, 9, 8, … 1 reps each:
-Pullups, bodyweight
-Strict press, 95lb

Couldn’t even get the first set of 10 presses without racking for a breather, so I knew it was gonna be hard. It was. That’s a great “challenge” and I’d love to see more attempt it, with appropriate load of course. I’m looking forward to absolutely crushing my time next time I attempt it.
Entire upper body - lats, biceps, forearms, shoulders, traps - were so pumped and tight… I’ve said it every single workout, but I’m really glad i’m doing this program. It pushes me to places I wouldn’t take myself.
Push Press


1/16 Sunday
Sandbag. 5 over shoulder, shoulder carry driveway, 5 burpees over bag, repeat. 8:05. Most likely a time PR but its still not easy.


Looking forward to seeing how The Minimalist works for you! I’ve been lurking around Alsruhe’s programs for months. Planning on starting his RPM Full Body program in late March once I’m done with 531 Boring But Big.

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Awesome! I haven’t read that one, but I’m sure it’s good.
Previewed the upcoming week’s sessions today, and theres a lot of variety! Block pulls on deadlift day, z press on press day, floor press on bench day; squats are regular this week but were pause squats last week. Makes it interesting.