12/5/2014: updated to keep current training description, current goals, and current PR's on the front page:
Current Primary Goal
[i]10 sets of 10 pull-ups in 20 minutes at bodyweight 195 pounds[/i]
Programming note (posted 12/5/2014):
As anyone who flips through my log can see, I tend to get on little "kicks" where I really focus on something for 4-6 weeks, then inevitably change things around. I've been pretty good about sticking to my pull-ups as a tracker of progress, and I've started mixing in some isolation work to bring up a few weaknesses (or at least maintain what little I've got - biceps, I'm looking at you - as I try to lean out a bit).
I really like my morning "50 pullups plus a little pump work" routine, and I also enjoy unwinding after work with a few rounds of kettlebell swings. So I'd like to build a little program around both of those constructs and stick with it for three solid months. This will get disrupted for most of December, as I travel and the school gym is closed, but when I return in January & the new semester begins, this is what I'd like to do:
AM - 50 pullups plus pump work
PM - 150 kettlebell swings plus pump work
Both of the daily workouts will have the same structure: ten rounds of (5 pullups) or (15 kettlebell swings) plus a selected isolation exercise (cable curls, seated rows if at the University gym; EZ-bar curls, lat pulldowns, chest press, whatever if using my apartment fitness center) in between, spread over 20-25 minutes.
Weekends will always be a wild-card from the list of :
Kettlebell Workouts (if my GF is visiting me, or I am visiting her)
Gym Workouts (with brother and/or dad if the occasion allows)
The dual focus on pull-ups and kettlebell swings should be fun.
I'll be doing this "as best as possible" for the next month, but once the Uni gym closes and I go spend a week at home for the holidays, this exact structure will not be practical - I'll get a workout in every day of some type, but at home it will be a hodgepodge of kettlebell stuff and yoga classes. So this will pick up in earnest just after the New Year.
Long-Term Performance Standards & Rationale
100 Pull-Ups in 20 Minutes (achieved as 20x5, working towards 10x10)
5K Run: 20 Minutes (currently on hold; nursing a bum wheel)
Brief explanation: although not a CrossFit guy, I am an all-around athletic guy that enjoys a number of different activities. I have been a specialized athlete at various points (powerlifting, football, and distance running) but for the time being prefer to exercise for health, wellness, and enjoyment. I do love traditional powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting, but the convenience and enjoyment of doing kettlebell workouts at home (or even on the road!) has won me over for the time being. Plus, a nagging feeling that I really should be better at pull-ups and push-ups has inspired me to carve a program mostly of pull-ups, push-ups, and kettlebell workouts, although I'll still visit the gym for a more "traditional" workout once in a while, and I'll probably do occasional workouts with my dumbbells at home to get a little isolation work. I've just ordered some gymnastics rings and will look for creative ways to do pull-ups with them anywhere and anyway that I can think of.
I have a ton of respect for all of the strength sports (bodybuilding, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, strongman, etc) and try to follow each to some degree. I'm just trying this Activities Guy thing out for awhile. This does not make me better or worse than anyone, it's just what I like to be
Longer background on who I am and where I came from:
Childhood: My father and his best friend (former offensive lineman at Colgate) were into powerlifting. He read a lot of Dan John material and enjoyed Westside Barbell material as well. For as long as I can remember, my father had a bench and squat rack, originally with an old 30-pound bar and Standard plates rather than Olympic barbell and plates. I started lifting when I was nine years old, using an empty bar for squats and bench presses. Form was always a focus over weight and my father was quite careful with my progression. I was a bit sporadic: my dad would ask if I wanted to lift, and sometimes I'd say yes, other times I'd say no, but I built a nice little foundation. By the time I was in seventh grade, I could comfortably bench and squat 135 pounds.
I was extremely active as well: playing soccer, basketball, and baseball as a wee 6-7-8 year old, then eventually moving into sports that suited my husky build (football taking the place of soccer when I turned 9, wrestling taking the place of basketball in eighth grade, and shotput/discus replacing baseball that same year).
Teen Years: As most of us do, I had a big growth spurt from ages 12-14, and I started to take lifting a bit more seriously. I did a bench-and-deadlift meet (the Sarge McCray meet in New Jersey, put on by the WNPF) in eighth grade, benching 175 and deadlifting 265 as a 181-pounder. The next spring, in ninth grade, I did a full meet and went 235 squat, 220 bench, 350 deadlift as a 198-pounder. Powerlifting was now more useful to train for football than anything else, but I really enjoyed lifting (much more than my teammates generally did) and took it quite seriously. My father also really enjoyed reading and lifting; he was a big fan of box squats, reverse hypers (we eventually bought a reverse hyper as well) and Westside-style training, and once we acquired an Olympic bar and bumper plates, we also began to do power cleans and snatches as well (I never did master the full lifts). We subscribed to Powerlifting USA and Milo, and watched Olympic lifting & Strongman contests on TV whenever we could (WSM reruns appeared on ESPN2 a lot). So I grew up with a fairly well-rounded knowledge of the strength sports.
My best lifts in high school were a squat around 365 (our HS weight-training coach allowed very high squats to count for maxes, like 8-inches-or-worse-high, but good form was too ingrained in me to squat obscenely high just for a big number), 315 bench, 425 deadlift, and 250 power clean. I was about 5-11 and 215-245 pounds throughout high school (fluctuated a bit between football season and wrestling season, and actually cut to 215 as a senior for wrestling after staying in the heavyweight class the two seasons prior). I had a thick chest and broad shoulders, but I was sorta strong-but-fat; I never had any "semblance of abs" or even very much definition other than my thick chest and shoulders. I had a decent HS sports career (three-year starter on good football team, qualified for state wrestling tournament, scored consistently in the shotput in big meets) but possessed no real special talent other than being a big body that worked hard, which is enough to be a pretty good high school athlete.
College: I played Division III football and had a modestly successful career, starting 29 games at left tackle over four years (23 consecutive as a junior/senior), twice named to our All-Conference team, playing in the Division III playoffs as a junior and then an ECAC bowl game as a senior. I was one of the only kids on the team that prioritized maintenance lifting during the season, and the summers before my junior/senior year were arguably the greatest strength gains that I ever had.
All-Time PR's (these are all from summer of 2007, the summer before my senior year of college football; I am not worried about approaching these numbers again, just providing for relevant background info)
Squat: Hardest to pin down because I never really approached a 1RM in training. I box squatted 315 + bands for ten doubles (several times, that was a favorite workout) and did front squat 315 for a triple (no bands). If I had to hazard a guess, I probably could have back squatted in the low 400s.
Bench: 3x365, 22x225
Deadlift: never pulled a max single that summer. Occasionally loaded the bar to 405 and pulled a couple of reps after cleans, but the power clean was my main "pull" exercise. Given that I power cleaned 315 a couple of times, I suspect I could have pulled about 500 if I trained for it.
Power Clean: 315, 6x275
Power Snatch: 3x185