T Nation

Alpha's Work IV


#1

Well, now that the third log is completely full and locked up, it is time to start the fourth.

As most of you reading this already know, I keep these logs going to hold myself accountable, answer any questions people may have, hopefully be a source on motivation and give back to the T-Nation community that has given so much to me. So if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to add them here.

Since the beginning of Alpha's Work III I have opened my own Strongman, Powerlifting, Sports Conditioning Gym in Westminster, Maryland USA - named NEVERsate Athletics. We have had a few people come visit and train with us from T-Nation and if any of you are in the area or are visiting, feel free to come by. I'd Love to have you with us.

Other resources that compliment this log are my gym's website (just watch any of my videos to get the address, I am not allowed to post it here) - and my Youtube page https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjwdgG3wUw
I'd love it if you would subscribe and like the videos you would enjoy seeing more of so I know what to record and what to not waste my time with.

All of that said, here we go...

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"The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else." --Arnold Schwarzenegger
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Current stats: 6' Tall, 225-245lbs on average, depending on if I am cutting for a Strongman show or fight/submission grappling tournament.

Current Squat PR: 660lbs - Goal by the end of the log: 700lbs

Current Bench PR: 500lbs T&G/475lbs Paused - Goal By the end of the log: 500 Paused

Current Deadlift PR: 685lbs - Goal by the end of the log: 700lbs

Current Push-Press PR: 365lbs - Goal by the end of the log: 405lbs

OTHER Current PRs and Goals for the Log (You can find all current PR vids on my youtube page)
Current Front Squat PR: 485lbs - Goal: 500
Current Log Overhead Press PR: 315lbs - Goal 350lbs
Current Strict OHP PR: 285lbs - Goal 315
Current Farmer's Handle Deadlift PR: 780lbs - Goal:800lbs
Current Yoke Walk PR: 900x50' - Goal 1,000lbsx50'

Ok, I think that is a long enough post for right now. I hope many of you choose to check in from time to time and ask some questions and give some advice. Thank for making my previous logs as successful as they have been. I'm going to try my hardest to make this one the best yet.

Thanks for all of the support!


#2

Looking forward to following along. BTW, impressive numbers all the way around. You are a beast. Thats a solid 475 bench given you have very little arch, and it doesn’t look like much leg drive…All muscle and power. Not criticizing, as I will never be anywhere near as strong as you. Also, that 365 push press is solid, and Fast,


#3

You have my attention.


#4

Did you ever figure out why you almost passed out front squatting?


#5

I was checking all weekend hoping there would be a 4th log haha. You are an inspiration Alpha, and these logs are truly a great gift.


#6

In again. Keep 'em coming brother.

Question if I may: could you let us know how sleep affects your training and progress? It is clear that you have been incredibly busy lately, including some travel. Curious your thoughts on sleep.

Thanks!


#7

Hey Alpha congrats on the new log. Hope you hit all your goals. You are inspiring everyone and making them and myself reflect on our own goals.


#8

#9

Ecchastang: Thanks brother! Yea, I have trouble getting much arch at all because of breaking my back twice, it just doesn’t have the mobility it should. I have a feeling I can beat that bench number right now, just need to be start about when i take my attempts at it. It is great having your input around here, you are a smart guy, chime in whenever you want


biker: Awesome man, welcome to the new log!


usmccds: Yea man, I think lifting strumpet hit it on the head. I think I drive the bar so far back into my throat that it cut off my carotid arteries near my collar bone. I am going to play with bar placement and see if I can’t remedy that sooner than later. I KNOW you are coming by my gym soon!


Roran: Thanks brother! and thanks for the continued support!


CaptainNeeda: Great to have you back man! ahhhhhh sleep. I am a terrible person to ask about this. I think sleep CAN really help or hurt your training but I think it is a very case by case thing. I have never slept well ever since I was like 5. I can count on one hand the number of nights I have slept in one place all night. (I always get up and jump from bed to couch to floor to bed to couch). If I don’t take medication I literally WON’T sleep all night. Right now, (when I am able) if i am going to sleep for 8 hours, I need to take 2 Prescription meds, Z-12, ZMA and melatonin. Even then, i am guaranteed to get up and change places (as stated above) at least twice. I think I have kind of learned how to get by with very little sleep, but know that I am not running optimally. When i do sleep well, I perform better so there is no doubt in my mind that it helps. I just don’t seem to be programmed to do so. I wish i could.

I wish I could answer more intelligently about it, but all I do is deal with it. If people have the ability to get 8 hours a night, I would definitely recommend it. I know it plays a huge role in recovery and mental focus. Jut wish I could get more of it.


Blackiebluewings: Thanks so much man, it means a lot that you would say something like that!


Whiteflash: Hahahahaha I really do love you and your sense of humor brother!

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"You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle.? --Shannon L. Alder

"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with?? --Lance Armstrong

MONDAY, 02FEBRUARY2015 - Work For Tomorrow
Wave 1/Day 1

CONDITIONING: At the Top of Every Minute for 12 Minutes
5 Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pulls - 88lb Kettlebell
10 Kettlebell Swings - 88lbs Kettlebell
15 Kettlebell Goblet Squats - 88lb Kettlebell

STRENGTH GIANT SET: 10 Rounds, Adding weight every round
1a. 3 Deadlifts: 500, 520, 550, 570, 585, 570, 550, 550, 500, 500
1b. 3 Barbell Bent Over Rows: 275, 315, 335, 365, 385, 385, 385, 385, 365, 365
1c. 3 Barbell Flat bench: 365, 385, 405, 425, 405, 385, 365, 365, 365, 364
1d. 8 Ab Wheel Rollouts: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
Rest :90 Seconds

ACCESSORY GIANT SET: 5 Rounds, Adding Weight Every Round
1a. 3 Double Pause Deadlifts: 405, 455, 475, 500, 500
1b. 8 Plate Loaded Reverse Hypers: 140, 180, 230, 230, 230
Rest :60 Seconds

EVENTS: 5 Rounds
5 Reps of Stone to Shoulder: Used 205 Stone every round
50 Foot Farmer?s Walk: 3 Sets with 275lbs each hand, 2 Sets with 300lbs each hand


NOTES:

  • That was a lot of work.
  • Pretty happy withe the 585x3 deadlift. I am hoping to get 605 next week or the week after
  • Bench felt good, 425x3 wasn’t that bad, but I kinda felt a nagging pec strain from the last time I tried 500 so i backed it down pretty fast so I didn’t set myself back at all.
  • The double paused reads have really seemed to be what it getting me out of my deadlift rut. I am going to keep these in for the foreseeable future.
  • Farmer’s and stones went well, but I was smoked by the time I got to these!

#10

This setups looks almost identical to your old routines. Any reason for the switch back?
Also this routine is what caught my eye sometime last year, and got me following. The sheer amount of weight moved in one session is crazy.


#11

On your website, in the most recent article New Programming For February, at the end of the Conditioning paragragh you wrote “Nothing can last forever and always start your next exercise.set before you are ready.”

I’m curious if “before you are ready” implies that you purposely don’t want much recovery? For instance, with the 100 pullups/4 burpee box jump penalty, we should get back to pullups immediately after the burpees even if we aren’t recovered enough to crank out more than 5-10 each time, or maybe even less. Am I understanding correctly?


#12

In of course.


#13

Definitely in!


#14

Hey Alpha,

I will be following like usual.

Interesting to hear about your sleep. I kind assumed you would be one of those guys that puts his head on the pillow and be out like a light globe, as you obviously do your fare share of work. Without been too intrusive, can I ask if something is bothering/worrying you? I find I sleep less better when I have things going on in my life and head.

tweet


#15

Roran: Yea man, it is. I have never made strength gains like when I perform these types of workouts. I am always open to trying new things, but sometimes you ave to fall back on what works. I’m not saying that this type of training works for everyone, but it sure does for me. And there is no waiting around, which I like. Between giant sets you literally have enough time to assess your last set, write down your new numbers, add the weights, grab a sip of water and get right back into it. The worst part of working out for me is downtime. And with this, there is none. I love it. It is a solid block of work from the minute you step in the gym until you leave. Hopefully the rest of my athletes will see as much benefit as I do with these. I can honestly say that I worked harder and am more sore from yesterday’s workout than I have been in a long time.


elliottcorum: Yes, i 100% intentionally intend there to be no recovery. At my gym we push the mental side of training just as much as the physical. The way life, fights, competitions and trials usually go is that you are never feeling 100% when 100% effort is demanded of you. Your body has the reserves and will find them but often our brain’s are what stop us. Training like this tempers your mind and forces you to do more than you want to. Done enough you become intimate with that feeling of shutting your brain off and driving forward. This is something I feel we lack in our society and I am doing my best to build it back one athlete at a time.

Thus, when I program something like the pull-up block from today, I am essentially saying, “perform or there will be consequences”. Just like there are in every area of real life. People will find a way if they are pushed into a corner. This is just kind of pushing them into a corner.

So once you finish completing the penalty, take the time to shake out your arms, get a few breaths and get right back on the bar.

Like I have said countless times here and on my site. This type of training is not for everybody. Some people will scale the workouts, which is fine with me, but if you want to be elite you need to train like it. Listening to what you mind tells you to do will never get you there. I hope that answers your question man, thanks for asking.


Spar4tee: Awesome brother! It is always a pleasure when you drop in


Barbedwired: Thanks man, I really appreciate what you bring to the table


theBird: Great to have you man! and as far as sleep goes…Well, with my line of work, there is never a time when something about it is not on your mind. Between that, a completely erratic schedule over every timezone imaginable, and opening a new gym/website, i have plenty on my plate. However, it is not worry in my mind that keeps me up. It has been this way ever since I was like 5. I had a pretty horrible incident around that time that kind of created a sense of “protector” in me. I know that sounds crazy, but ever since then I haven’t been able to sleep. It is not like I am up thinking about it, but body just doesn’t like to shut down.

It is actually funny, I was over at my best friend’s house (a guy I grew up with) the other week and we were talking about sleep overs. We were laughing because he was reminiscing about how we would always pull all-nighters and how it would wreck him but it never seemed to phase me. Truth be told, if I don’t put myself into a medicated state, I usually won’t even get sleepy until I have been awake for around 36 Hours. Even then, if the sun comes back up, i wake right up and can go about my day like nothing has happened. It is great for my current line of work but not so great for my personal relationships. I have had a sleep study done and I just laid there until they let me go…It is just one of those things man. I WISH I could sleep. I love it when i can, it just doesn’t happen that often. I hope that answers your question brother

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“Give me but a firm spot on which to stand, and I shall move the earth.” --Archimedes

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits one-self, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” --William Hutchison Murray

TUESDAY, 03FEBRUARY2015 - Work For Today

CONDITIONING
Complete 100 Dead Hang Pull-Ups, but every time you drop off the bar, complete 4 Burpee Box Jumps as a penalty

  • Did this in 4 sets of 25

STRENGTH & SKILL
At the top of Every 2 Minutes for 20 Rounds, Complete
1 Barbell Snatch - Worked up to a 275lb snatch…This is, by far my worst and weakest lift.
30 Foot Handstand Walk



#16

Alpha, I wonder if your sleep issue is/was related to your brain tumor. Might be worth looking into, as it seems pretty unusual/uncommon, asfaik.


#17

Good to see the new log up. I will be following and stealing ideas.


#18

Alpha Dude! I’m totally in for the new log! And I can empathize on the sleep problem, so I learned to run little sleep and take 5 min cat naps whenever and wherever I can i.e. on the ground while an animal water is filling, while my grandma is on the stationary bike ect. lol


#19

I’ve been doing the morning ruck now for two and a half weeks. I really like getting up and moving in the mornings.

Quick questions though, did it impact your hunger in any significant way when you were doing them? I’ve added around 1000 daily calories to my diet in the last 3 weeks and am still constantly hungry. I’m gaining weight slowly but still looking lean.


#20

MattG35: Yea man, my endocrine doctors have actually discussed that before. The tumor really messes with my hormones, but they say not in a way that would be consistent with my sleeping problems. My sleep doctor literally has no idea and just choses to throw medications at the problem. Is what it is man. I am not sweating it. I only mention it because of the question that was asked. If this is the worst thing that happens to me in my life, I will be a happy man!


markws: Great to see you back in here man, steal away!


FarmerOwen: Yea man, you gotta figure out what works for you!

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“You are only a prisoner when you surrender.” --Tad Williams

“Are you desperate or determined? With desperation comes frustration. With determination comes purpose, achievement, and peace…” --James A. Murphy

WEDNESDAY, 04FEBRUARY2015 - Work For Today
Wave 1/Day 3

So I had to break up this session into part late last night and part early this morning due to certain things going on in my life. I worked out yesterday morning, (posted yesterday) but then had to go back last night to get this in:

CONDITIONING: 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, Reps of
Burpees
Double Unders x3 (10 = 30 DU’s)

STRENGTH GIANT SET: 7 Rounds
1a. 50’ Yoke Walk: 540lbs, 630, 720, 770, 810, 770, 770
1b. 3 Weighted Pull-Ups: 115lbs, 135, 160, 170, 180, 180, 170
1c. 3 Strict Presses: 185lbs, 205, 225, 245, 255, 235, 225
:90 Seconds Rest Between Rounds

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Then I hit some squats this morning @0500. Didn’t have much time so I just walked up to a relatively heavy single
135x3, 225x3, 315x3, 405x3, 455x3, 500x2, 520x1, 550x1, 570x1, 585x1


NOTES:

  • Conditioning was a little easy, I was literally done in a few minutes.
  • Yoke walks were not a little easy…Throwing them in as part of a giant set was awesome, but definitely taxing.
  • Weighted pull-ups went ok considering I had done the 100 bodyweight ones from the workout earlier in the day.
  • Strict presses went about how I expected. Should be getting heavier and heavier triples as I progress in the upcoming weeks.
  • I was actually surprised at how well the squats went today. After the yoke walks just hours prior, I figured my hips would be shot and I would have a pretty weak day. As it turns out, the only limiting factor was actually my right elbow. All kinds of things hurt you after heavy yokes, and this time the floating pain landed on my elbow.

i don’t think anything is really wrong with it, but it definitely was painful getting under the weight in a squat. I was favoring that side a little bit (I could tell on my concentric portions) but it wasn’t horrible. I think having the yoke on my back just hours before actually helped me mentally a little bit because 585 didn’t feel heavy on my back at all. My reps normally slow down a few inches out of the hole and I tend to pitch forward just a little bit at that stage. Be it the yoke or something else, I cannot say for sure, but all of my reps were smooth and relatively fast.

Good workouts so far in the new programming. Feeling strong. Beat up, but strong