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Week 3 Day 1

Squat 350x4x4 RPE too damn high for this weight
3-count pause bench 225x3x4,230,235x4 RPE 7 avg
Box DLs 295,305x12 RPE 7-8
Leg extensions light+mini x3x15 3 RIR
Weighted situps BW+45x2x15 2 RIR

Today was one of those days where you feel great going into the session, warmups feel like air and then the working sets come and pow everything goes to shit. A weight 10 pounds lighter than my top set last week practically felt like someone added 50 extra pounds to the bar when I wasn’t looking. With the exception of the 3rd set, which felt a little closer to what I expected but still not great, the reps were alarmingly close to grind territory. I bagged the 5th set because I didn’t see the need to keep smashing my head into the wall, lol.

Felt a little sense of redemption with the pause bench and box DLs, as they were smooth and the bar moved well. To be honest my performance on the squat wasn’t a total shocker given that I haven’t felt totally steady under the bar for the past couple of weeks. Plus work stress has been amped way up as well. I’m not sure whether to chalk it up to that combination or if it is related to the alternating periodization scheme the program has me on for squats. I don’t want to overanalyze this but at the same time I can’t keep with the status quo if it causes me to go spin my wheels (or regress).

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Week 3 Day 2

Bench press 255x6x4 RPE 7.5-8.5
Squat (tech sets) 275x2x4; 285x4 RPE 6
DB pullovers 80x3x15 2-3 RIR
Barbell shrugs 365x3x15 3 RIR
Band pushdowns light+mini x3x15 2-3 RIR
Hammer curls 35x3x15 2-3 RIR

Better day than Monday’s session, without a doubt. While all the reps weren’t moving fast, there were no hitches or anything across any of the sets. This might be the heaviest I’ve benched across all sets in quite a while. I’ll have to check on that. Squats looked and felt a helluva lot better than Monday as well. Granted, the bar weight was appreciably lower, reps were way more consistent across the board. I have another squat variation slotted on Friday, but I think I might change it up a little since I’ve been doing the pauses 1/2 way up version for 6 weeks and I want to avoid getting too adapted to that pause position.


Week 3 Day 3

Reverse band DL 535x2.8 RPE 9.5 (for the first 2); 435x2x3,445,455,465x3 RPE 6-7
Spoto presses 225x2x5;235,240x2x5 RPE 6-7.5
Pin squats 275x2x4; 285x2x4 RPE 6-7
Band good mornings mega monster+monster mini x3x15 2-3 RIR

Maybe I got a little too aggressive with the weight I picked for a 3RM, but had I not let myself get into a bad position around knee level I definitely would have been able to finish that 3rd rep. For that reason, I’m not bummed at all about registering 2 full reps; plus, according to the app my estimated max increased, and since this DL variation is similar to my regular pull it should bode well for the competition lift. Switched to pin squats for my Day 3 squat variation and damn are they hard. Hopefully they can help with my good morning tendency by cueing me to keep my hips and legs rising in tandem.


I really should have checked the calendar before I picked the meet I was going to compete in. It would end up getting bookended by two out-of-town conferences, so having to travel and stay out of town for this one was just too much. Luckily I was able to find one locally about a month later. I’m going to tweak my training cycle with this in mind, which will give me some time to get my squat training back on track.

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Week 1 Day 1
Transition week

Pause squats 275x2 RPE 6; 265,270,275,280x2 RPE 6-ish
Close-grip bench 205,215x2x3,225x2x3 RPE 5-6
Deadlifts 315,335x5 RPE 5
Front-foot elevated split squats 25x3x15 3-4 RIR
Weighted situps 35x3x15 3-4 RIR

So, with the change in meet date into mid-December, I’m afforded a little extra time to work my way back up on squats. For this strength phase, I will use the pause squat as my main variation and use the SSB and regular low-bar versions on my other two slots in the week. And with the transition weeks (mainly week 1) serving as a semi-deload of sorts, I can build up in an appropriate fashion rather than jumping straight into the heavy stuff right off the bat. Everything was easy, as was intended, although the split squats really sucked. Now I know why I never did them, lol.


Week 1 Day 2

3-count pause bench 230x2 RPE 6; 225x3x2, 230,235x2 RPE 6-ish
SSB squat 250x3x3 RPE 6
Lat pulldowns light+micro x3x15 4 RIR
Barbell shrugs 335x3x15 4 RIR
Band pushdowns light x3x15 4 RIR
Hammer curls 30x3x15 4 RIR

Still on the semi-deload and everything is light and easy as it should be. I am still weak as hell with the SSB, so no changes on that front, haha. Will hit some DL stuff on Friday and go watch my first college football game in person in 2 years. Even if it is against some scrub team, should still be fun to see a few friends in person.


Week 1 Day 3

Paused DLs (below knee) 425x2 RPE 6.5; 410x2x2,415,425,430x2 RPE 6-7
Floor press 205x2x3,215,225x2x3 RPE 6-ish
Squats 275,285,295x2x2 RPE 6-ish
Good mornings 185x3x15 4 RIR

Lol, I just realized I’m doing paused versions on all three lifts as the main variation. That could be a problem if I weren’t doing the comp lifts, but since I am, think I’ll be ok. Anyhow, everything was pretty light just like the previous two sessions this week and believe this transition week served as a good semi-deload. Gets a little heavier next week, but still well on the low end of RPEs.


Week 2 Day 1

Pause squat 285x3 RPE 6; 275x2x3,280,285x3 RPE 6-6.5
CG bench 205,215,225,230x2x4 RPE 6-7
Deadlifts (double overhand) 325,350x5 RPE 5-6
Front-foot elevated split squats 30x3x15 3-4 RIR
Weighted situps 45x3x15 3-4 RIR

Another relatively low impact day, but still fairly productive. Form on squats felt as good as it has in a long time. Yes, I know it’s not close to my 1RM but keeping things consistent has long been an issue for me with squatting and I think this reset has forced me to keep this in mind and get it corrected. True test will come when the bar weight climbs, but for now, I remain cautiously optimistic. Assistance work also on the lighter side, but I swear those split squats are the devil.


Week 2 Day 2

3-count pause bench 230x3 RPE 6.5; 225x4x3,230,235x3 RPE 6-7
SSB squats 255x3x3 RPE 6
Lat pulldowns light+monster mini x3x15 3-4 RIR
Barbell shrugs 345,365x2x15 2-4 RIR
Band pushdowns light+mini x3x15 3-4 RIR
Hammer curls 32.5x3x15 3-4 RIR

On the app pre-workout check-in, I told it I felt great and ready to get after it and it gave me extra back-off sets with practically no drop in weight. Plus, the last set ended up 5lbs over what was supposed to be the top set. Not to mention, a rep was added on to each bench set from last week as the transition week ramps up things into the regular part of the strength phase next week. Still, all things considered the sets were easy and while not like an empty bar, weight moved well.


Week 2 Day 3

Paused DLs 445x2 RPE 7; 420x2x2,425,435,445x2 RPE 6-7
Floor press 205,215,225x2x4,235x2x4 RPE 6-7
Comp squat 275,285,295,305x3 RPE 6
Good mornings 205x3x15 3-4 RIR

Not a bad session at all. Did screw up on the very first rep of my top set of paused DLs - I didn’t pause it where I was supposed to and it totally threw me off. Just finished it like a regular rep and did 2 more the way I was supposed to. More good squat practice, though I did let a little slop come into play on the first rep with 305. Cleaned it up afterward.


Week 3 Day 1
Strength Phase

Pause squats 285x4 RPE 6.5; 275x2x4,285,295x4 RPE 6-7
CG bench press 205x2x5,215,225,235x5 RPE 6-7
Snatch-grip RDLs 285,295x6 RPE 6
Front-foot elevated split squat 32.5x3x15 3-4 RIR
Weighted sit-ups 45x3x15 3-4 RIR

Sticking with pause squats for the main variation in this phase. This will force me to focus on form and setup as well as proper bracing throughout the lift, so I think there will be a real opportunity to make some improvements over the next few weeks. Decided to swap the technique sets for snatch-grip RDLs and my hamstrings are definitely not thanking me for that move. And these split squats are the devil.

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