Barley1 - Fiready Log

Workout # 26

Pump–OH Bar Hang BW +10lbs x 45 seconds, DB lateral raise 12.5lbs x 10, DB Upright Row 40lb DBs x 10
Stimulate–BB Overhead Press 110lbs x 30-10-20, DB lateral raise 10lbs x 30-10-20, Trap Bar Carry 235lbs x 50 steps, Trap Bar shrug 155lbs x 10
Flutter–DB Lateral Raise

Pump–Calf raise onto plate 155lbs x 15, Trap bar calf raise onto plate 155lbs x 12, Standing calf raise (no plate) 155lbs
Stimulate–Trap Bar farmer’s walk on toes 155 x 40 steps (these were hard!), DB single leg calf raise 60lbs x 30-10/30
Flutter–DB single leg calf raise 40lbs (too light)

Pump–Wide stance squat, narrow stance squat, regular stance squat all 160lbs x 8
Stimulate–Regular squat 180lbs x 30/10/20
Flutter–Squat 135lbs

Pump–Bench press 165lbs x 10, Incline DB flies 40s x 10, Pushups BW x 10
Stimulate–Bench press 140lbs x 30/10/20
Flutter–Bench press 115lbs

*The weights felt really heavy today, too, even though everything moved about as expected. About three exercises in, I realized a possible culprit: I stopped drinking caffeine to resensitize myself to it. I’ll add a Monster Zero in before my workout on Thursday and see what happens.

Overall, this is one of the hardest workouts in the series. Squats, as usual, sucked the life out of me. Will hold the weights for another workout. Stil gunning for a stimulate set with 185 or more. Looking forward to my nighttime Surge and bed.

Strangely, I noticed that on almost all exercises, I run out of steam on the last negative at around 15-20 seconds. At roughly the halfway point on the final negative, all I can do is resist the weight as it descends… I couldn’t stop the weight to hold it in place even if I wanted to. The same thing happens with pushups in the chest block… the last few pushups are always hard. Without the previous pump sets, I’m probably good for 30 or more.

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Workout #27
Weight: forgot to weigh myself this morning

Pump–BB Row 165lbs x 8 (add weight), NG Chins BW +10lbs x 8, DB Pullover 65lbs x 10 (add weight)
Stimulate–DB Pullover 70lbs x 30/11/30
Flutter–DB Pullover 60lbs

Pump–Close-grip bench press 165lbs x 12 (add weight), Band pressdowns x 12, Close-grip bench press 125lbs x 12
Stimulate–OH DB triceps extension 40lbs x 30/10/30 NO REST 23lbs x 3, NOPE, rested 20 seconds and dropped to 20lbs x 10
Flutter–OH DB triceps extension 26lbs

Pump–Narrow grip curl 75lbs x 8, Chin up BW x 8, Wide grip curl 55lbs x 8
Stimulate–12.5 DBs for Zottman, Hammer Curls x 10, BB Curl 45lbs x 30/6/5/30 (had to take a breather after six reps)
Flutter–BB Curl 45lbs

Pump–Bench press 165lbs x 10, Incline DB flies 40s x 10, Pushup x 12
Stimulate–Bench press 140 lbs 30/6/3/25 (had to take a breather after six reps)
Flutter–Bench press 115lbs

*Had some caffeine before the workout. Holy cow does that make a difference! Weights felt light, moved slightly better than expected. Relative to earlier efforts, I felt strong. Chest, however, was hard after frying my lats and triceps. For me, judging weights is still not an exact science. /In the case of curls, I simply can’t go light enough with my equipment to knock out 30/10/30, so I adapt.

It looks like there are only about three of us still doing the Surge Challenge workouts. That’s wild.

After some thought, my medium-term plan will be to stick with the workouts–and keep eating–for the next eight-nine weeks or so, then I’ll start to taper back the calories. I’m easily the biggest I’ve ever been, but would look better leaner. Additionally, I’m curious as to how this added size would affect my strength when returning to more traditional training.

Does anyone know what the Surge Challenge looks like long-term? Does it stop at 24 weeks? 30? Go indefinitely?

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Same thought for me. Planning on starting to trim up at end of month through end of year. I’ll keep this training, just reduced calories and add incline walks on treadmill.

Sounds good, man. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

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Workout #28
Weight: 184.5 lbs

Pump–Wide squat 165lbs x 8, Narrow squat 165lbs x 8, SLDL 145lbs x 8
Stimulate–Front squat 115lbs x 30-10-30 (add 5-10 lbs), Goblet squat 40lbs x 30/10/30 (add 10 lbs), Split squats BW x 10
Flutter–Goblet squat 40lbs

Pump–Calf raise raise onto plate 155lbs x 18, Trap bar calf raise 155lbs onto plate, Standing calf raise 155lbs x 12
Stimulate–Trap bar carry on toes 155lbs x 40 steps, Calf raise 60lb DB 30/10/30
Flutter–Calf raise 40lb DB

Pump–OH bar hang 45 seconds, DB raise 12.5lbs x 10, Row 40lbs x 10
Stimulate–BB Overhead press 115lbs x 30/10/30, DB raise 12.5lbs x 30/10/30, Trap bar carry 235lbs x 40 steps, Trap bar shrug 155lbs x 10
Flutter–DB raise 12.5 lbs

Pump–Wide curl 75lbs x 8 (oops, should have done narrow curl), Chin BW x 8, Wide curl 55lbs x 8
Stimulate–Zottman curl, Hammer curl, Regular curl 12.5lb DBs 30/10/30 for all
Flutter–BB Curl 55lbs

**Overall, workout was pretty good. The trap bar fell out of my hand during the carry around step 40. Did partials on the biceps curls to finish the 30/10/30. The inroad is so great, there’s just no way I can crank out FROM reps. Front squats and military press felt good–time to tell add a few pounds. Haven’t done goblet squats in years. Probably should add a few pounds there, too.

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Workout #29
Weight: 184.8lbs

Pump–Bench press 190lbs x 10, Incline DB flies 40s x 12, Pushup BW x 12
Stimulate–Bench press 145lbs x 30/10/30
Flutter–Bench press 125lbs

Pump–BB Row 170lbs x 8, NG Chin BW x 8, DB Pullover 65lbs x 8
Stimulate–DB Pullover 75lbs x 30/10/10! (the resistance curve on pullovers is weird. I couldn’t control past the halfway point on the way down)
Flutter–DB Pullover 60lbs

Pump–Close grip bench press 155lbs x 10, Red band pushdown x 12, Close grip bench press 125lbs x 6! (felt weak here. triceps were already fried from bench press and pullover)
Stimulate–OH DB extension 36lbs x 30/10/30 NO REST drop to 20lbs x 10 (I forgot if I was supposed to do 30/10/30 here or the regular reps. I mixed the two methods because my brain doesn’t work. Ended up doing the 10 second holds and 10 regular reps).

*Chest felt strong and got a great pump in it, lats, shoulders, and triceps–even though I felt as weak as a kitten doing the triceps exercises.

I skipped calves. It takes a long time to set up for them. I’m preoccupied with other dumb grown-up stuff, too. I’m an educator. The school system I work for is on strike. This means my son is without childcare, which means he and I are hanging tight these last few days. Hope this all ends soon.

I tried the slow negative dip. I got into position and my right shoulder felt really unstable so I bailed. I have this weird problem with some exercises–moving fast is fine, but slow movements can cause issues. When moving slowly, I can feel something sliding across my shoulder–probably a tendon. It gets to a point where it feels like it will “pop,” and I occasionally have to dump some exercises like overhead press, dip, chin, and lateral raises on the negative, but only if it’s slow. It’s weird, I know.

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8-26-22 (getting caught up on logging)

Workout #30
Weight: 188lbs

Pump–Wide squat, narrow squat, regular squat 165lbs x 8
Stimulate–Regular squat 185lbs 25-10-20 (keep weight the same for a while)
Flutter-Squat 135lbs

Pump–OH bar hang x 45 seconds, Lateral raise 12.5lbs x 10, Front Row 40s x 10
Stimulate–BB Overhead press 120lbs x 30-10-30, Lateral raise 12.5lbs x 30-10-30, Trap bar frame carry 235lbs x 40 steps, Shrug 155lbs x 10
Flutter–Lateral raise 12.5lbs

Pump–Narrow grip curl 75lbs x 8, Chin BW x 8, Wide grip curl 55lbs x 8
Stimulate–Zottman, Hammer, Regular curls ALL 12.5 x 30-10-30
Flutter–BB Curl 55lbs

*Skipped calves to race my kid up to a couple days of camping. The district strike ended on Thursday, so back to work for me and back to school for my kid. Thank goodness!

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Workout #31
Weight: 186lbs

Pump–Wide stance squat 165lbs x 10, Narrow stance squat 165lbs x 10, SLDL 145lbs x 8 (too light–can add 5-10lbs to this)
Stimulate–Front squat 120lbs x 30-10-15, Goblet squat 60lbs x 30-10-15, Bulgarian split squat BW x 10 each leg (I did these with a 10-sec hold at the beginning and end. It hurt,)
Flutter–Goblet squat 40lbs

Pump–Bench press 170lbs x 10, Incl flies 40lbs x 12, Pushup BW x 12
Stimulate–Bench press 145lbs x 30-5 NOPE, dropped weight to 135lbs for 30-5-30
Flutter–Bench press 115lbs

Pump–BB Row 170lbs x 8, NG Chin BW x 8, Pullover 65lbs x 8
Stimulate–Pullover 70lbs x 30-10-20
Flutter–Pullover 60lbs

*Back to school this week. I lift at home. Setting up for calves/forearms takes a long time, so I’ve been skipping them. Hopefully, we’ll settle into a routine soon and I can add them back in.

It’s still crazy to me that doing squats affects my bench strength so much. After a few sets of hard squats, I guessed that I should use 20 less pounds on the bench press for the pump portion. That felt about right. I should have used about 125lbs–20lbs less than when chest is first–on the stimulate section. I guess the drop in strength is the result of CNS fatigue?

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Workout # 32
Weight: 186 lbs

Pump–Narrow grip curl 75lbs x 8, Chins BW x 8, Wide grip curl 55lbs x 8
Stimulate–12.5lb DBs for Zottman, Hammer, DB curls, all 30-10-30
Flutter–BB curls 55lbs

Pump–Close grip bench press 170lbs x 10, Red band press down x 12, Close grip bench press 135lbs x 10
Stimulate–OH Triceps DB Extension 40lbs 30-10-25 DROP to 23lbs 20-10-20
Flutter–OH Triceps DB extension 26lbs

Pump–OH bar hang x 50 seconds, Lat raise 12.5lbs x 10, Front raise 40lbs x 10
Stimulate–BB Overhead press 115lbs x 30-10-20, Lat Raise 12.5 lbs 30-10-20, Shrug 155lbs x 10
Flutter–Lat raise 12.5lbs

Pump–Wide squats, Narrow squats, Regular squats, all 165lbs x 8
Stimulate–Regular squats 185lbs x 30-10-20
Flutter–High bar squats 135lbs

*I skipped the frame carry due to lack of time.

I’m leaning towards wrapping up the 30-10-30 workouts–I have four more–then spending 4-6 weeks trying to lose a bit of fluff. Afterwards, I’d pick up where I left off, using Darden’s 1 1/2 rep system for another six weeks. I kinda think this Pump Stimulate & Flutter system would wreck me if eating at a deficit. Lately, I feel kind of bloated and gross, but definitely stronger and more muscular than I’ve ever been. I think I’d look much better about 10lbs lighter. Thoughts, comments, and criticism is all welcome.

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Workout # 33
Weight: 186.2 lbs

Pump–BB Row 170lbs x 8, NG Chinups BW x 8, Pullover 65lbs x 8
Stimulate–Pullover 70lbs x 30-10-20
Flutter–Pullover 60lbs

Pump–BB Bench press 185lbs x 10 (barely), Incline DB flies 40lbs x 12, Pushups BW x 12
Stimulate–Bench press 135 lbs 30-10-20 (barely)
Flutter–Bench press 115lbs

Pump–Narrow grip BB curl 75lbs x 8, Chin up BW x 8 (last three reps were partials), Wide grip BB curl 55lbs x 8
Stimulate–12.5lb DBs for Zottman, Hammer, Regular (last four reps were partials) all 30-10-30
Flutter–BB curl 55lbs


*Took a while to get into the workout. Wasn’t really feeling the lat section of the workout until the flutter phase. Focus and motivation began to pick up during the Chest section and held steady through the Biceps portion. Weird how that works sometimes.

I have three more 30-10-30 workouts to go, all involving Legs/Thighs. I’m feeling a little worn down and am itching for a change. Looking forward to wrapping this up, then taking 4-6 weeks to trim down a bit. I think losing 8lbs or so is reasonable–and will then reassess.

My plan for the next six months, roughly speaking, will be: (1) cut (2) finish 3rd cycle of Surge challenge (3) Thibs layer program (3) Thibs pendulum for athletes…maybe cycling back to the Surge challenge from time to time.


Workout #34
Weight: 187.4lbs

Pump–Wide squat, Narrow squat, Regular squat ALL 165lbs x 8 (scarily enough, for me, this is beginning to feel, gulp, too light)
Stimulate–Regular squat 185lbs 30-10-20
Flutter–High bar squat 135lbs

Pump–Overhand bar hang 50 seconds, Lateral raises 12.5lb DBs x 15, Front raise 43lbs x 10
Stimulate–Overhead press 115lbs 30-10-25, Lateral raise 12.5lb DBs 30-10-20, Trap bar frame carry 235lbs x 40 steps, Shrugs 155lbs x 10

Pump—Close grip bench press 155lbs x 12, Red band pressdown x 15, Close grip bench press 125lbs x 10 (had to work for the last few)
Stimulate–DB overhead triceps extension 40lbs x 30-10-25 NO REST drop to 23lbs x 30-10-20
Flutter–DB overhead triceps extension 26lbs

*I’m really curious to see how the size and strength gains, especially during the pump sets, would transfer over to more standardized lifting. Prior to the Surge Challenge, I don’t think I’d done sets of more than six for squats, like, ever. And that was always with long rests. Same with bench press.

Two more Surge workouts–one with Legs, one with Thighs–then time to lose some fluff. Strangely looking forward to the mild agony of a cutting phase.

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I decided today to take a little break from the surge workouts and I’m going to do 5/3/1 Krypteia with a slight modification. I need a break from 30-10-30. I absolutely dread those sets but I do believe they work. I plan to jump back to the surge workouts after 6 weeks(ish). I’m looking forward to seeing how your cut goes.

By the way. Impressive squat poundage for the 30-10-30 set. I couldn’t imagine doing it with 185 pounds! I can barely do a whole 95.

Thanks, I appreciate the comment. I think most of my Surge Challenge gainz have been in my lower body and delts.

To be fair, I haven’t used the updated recommendations–30 seconds or less between exercises–because I lift in my basement and have somewhat limited equipment. I’d have to use less weight to make that work.

I’m with you on the workouts. I dread some of them (ahem, Legs/Thighs), but they seem really effective, especially that first phase that began and ended with the holds in the stretch position and included pauses and slow negatives. For me, those sets hurt to point I’d sometimes have to take a break midway. I dreaded those way more than the 30-10-30.

To me it seems as though with the 30-10-30, most of the set you’re just building up to a couple really hard reps and that one terrible, horrible, final negative.

I wonder if it’s possible to burn out on intensity. I don’t have the burning desire to train I did and feel the need for a break.

Hope you keep updating your log with your 5/3/1 Krypteia results–interested to see how it goes.

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I think mine have been in my biceps triceps and thighs. My chest has always been stubborn and something I really want to grow and catch up with other body parts.

I tried to stick to 30 seconds between methods and it’s hard. Especially in my garage gym.

I’m with you on 30-10-30 I absolutely dread the 30 second negatives. A lot of times the first isn’t terrible and then I get about 8-9 reps in the middle and then the last 30 seconds sucks horribly.

I’ll update my log and let you know.

it’s 100% possible to burnout on intensity. I would say look at/adjust your caloric intake and sleep. Aim for 8+ hours of sleep, or think about having a “refeed” day where you eat at maintenance calories for a day or even 2, if you have been training really hard in a deficit. I usually find doing that helps me a ton. I usually increase the calories (using almost all carbs) up roughly 500cals back to maintenance. I like to keep it “clean” with a big bowl of oats, milk, and fruit, but even that extra nutrition in the evening when you want to relax and sleep usually helps a ton. The other thing to watch: caffiene. While it helps short term, if you keep using it because you feel burned up, it’s probably a better idea to give the stims a rest, and use food/rest/sleep as mention above, instead of trying to hammer through. Hope some of that helps.

I appreciate the insights.

It’s hard to know what other members thought of the intensity of the Surge workouts, but the attrition rate seemed really high.

For long-term planning, do you think cycling intensity is the way to go? Like a few weeks of straight sets, nowhere near failure, then ramping up intensity a few weeks at a time?

I’m guilty of abusing caffeine when starting to grind. I cycle off from time to time and, man, is it sweet when I cycle back on.

I haven’t started cutting yet, but I’ll experiment with refeeds if I feel like I’m starting to burn out.

Thanks again.

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It’s all a balancing act. You have to balance Intensity with frequency and volume. You also have to be getting enough rest/nutrition in between sessions to recover. I have found that the programs from the T Nation team are extremely well thought out and planned. Guys who burnout probably make a few mistakes:

  1. Hit it too hard and use too much weight. You are probably better off starting a little below what you THINK you can do. It’s easy to look at a prescribed percentage and think “well my last max was 300# so I should use 75% of that”…when that was a lifetime max that you did 16 months ago and havent come close to that since lol.
  2. Slam the stims
  3. Don’t eat at or even above maintenance calorie ( if you are using a muscle building/hypertrophy plan, ideally you also want the extra cals to fuel growth. Otherwise you can just breakdown too fast) and dont sleep enough. I would also add that you probably dont want to go on any weekend benders or binges either if you are serious about training.
  4. ADD IN THEIR OWN EXTRA WORK. This is huge, a big mistake is adding work on to these programs imho. Again these guys are experts and they design programs EXACTLY how they want them to go. Adding in extra accessories, cardio, abs, etc in order to get to your goal faster, will most likely just make you fatigued and cause burnout rather than accelerated results. Most any program is going to take 6-12 weeks for serious visible results, so always go into a program playing the long game, it’s a series of sprints for a marathon.

Hope these tips help, just some things I have learned over the years

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Yes, all this is very helpful–it’s kinda like a systematic checklist to make sure everything’s in order. I’m grateful you took the time to write all that up.

I may be guilty of #1, pushing too hard. And I definitely slammed some sweet, sweet caffeine before today’s workout. I’ll scale both back next week.

While I agree on the quality of the plans here on T-Nation, I wonder, though, with the Surge Challenge, if there’s a typo in the final two-week phase. Five of the six workouts–two in a row, one off, then three in a row–involve heavy, near-failure squatting. Today, I just didn’t feel recovered. My 44-year-old hips and low back aren’t happy, nothing moved smoothly, and the weights felt twice as heavy as they should. I felt this way six weeks ago–my last time doing this part of the cycle–too.

Anyhow, I’m just thinking out loud here. I’ll be sure to eat a little extra and plan on a little more sleep before Friday.

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Workout #35
Weight: 185.6lbs

Pump–OH Bar Hang x 50 seconds, Lateral raise 12.5lbs x 15, Front raise 43lbs x 12
Stimulate–OH BB press, 120 x 30-10-30, Lateral raise 12.5lbs x 30-10-20, Trap bar frame carry 235lbs x 40 steps, Trap bar shrug 165lbs x 10
Flutter–Lat raise 12.5lbs

Pump–Wide, narrow, regular squats ALL 170lbs x 8
Stimulate–Regular stance squat 185lbs x 30-10-15
Flutter–High bar squat 135lbs

Pump–Bench press 175lbs x 10, Incline DB flies 43lbs x 10, Pushup BW x 10
Stimulate–Bench press 125 x 30-12-30
Flutter–Bench press 115


*Wasn’t really feeling it today. Shoulders went okay, but squats were an absolute grind. My low back was aggravated on the first step of the Trap bar carry, so squatting was probably stupid. The voice of a much younger Barley (my college nickname) started screaming in my head: “You got this, bro!!” I got through the reps, but everything felt terrible. The weights felt heavy and I couldn’t really find a groove. I was also more out of breath than last time. I think two heavy squat sessions in a row is simply too much for me and I wasn’t fully recovered.

Benching and overhead pressing also felt all kinds of heavy.

I’ll make sure to have an extra helping of rice and vegetables at dinner and get to bed a little early.

One more workout to go.

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Workout #36 the end of the second cycle
Weight: 186.2lbs

Pump: Wide stance squat, narrow stance squat 165lbs x 10, SLDL 155lbs x 8
Stimulate: Front squat 120 x 30-10-30, Goblet squat 50lbs x 30-10-30, Split squats BW x 10–beginning and ending with 10-second holds
Flutter: Goblet squats x 50lbs

Pump: BB Row 155lbs x 9, NG Chin up BW x 8, Pullover 65lbs x 8
Stimulate: Pullover 70lbs x 30-10-30
Flutter: Pullover 60lbs

Pump: Close grip bench press 155lbs x 10, Red band pressdowns x 15, CG bench press 135lbs x 8 (and these were a grind)
Stimulate: OH DB Triceps extension 40lb DB x 30-10-10 DROP to 23lb DB 30-10-30
Flutter: OH DB Triceps extension 26lbs

Pump: Narrow grip BB curl 75lbs x 8, Chin up BW x 8, Wide grip BB curl 55lbs x 8
Stimulate: Zottman, Hammer, Regular DB curls ALL 12.5lbs x 30-10-30
Flutter: BB curl 55lbs

*As of yesterday, I completed two cycles of the Surge PSF Challenge. Time for a break. Even after eating a ton and getting extra rest, these last couple workouts have been a grind. The world got dark for a minute during the squats, I was huffing and puffing like a locomotive, and the weights felt heavy–so heavy I went lighter than usual on a few of the exercises. They were still HARD.

It seems like the intensive squatting the last two weeks is simply too much for me to recover from. In roughly ten days, I’ve pushed squatting near failure five times. I’m not exactly young, but I don’t think even a college-aged Barley would have fared a whole lot better. When I run this again with the 1 1/2 method, I’ll change the workouts so I’m only squatting 3-4 times the last two weeks, either by skipping squats or subbing another body part. Feedback, as always, is welcome.

In the last thirteen weeks, I’ve made the most significant gains of my lifting career. In all, I’ve gained about 15lbs without even really trying. My arms are about .75" larger. My legs, which I never measured, stretch my cargo shorts. All my shirts are too tight in the sleeves and across the chest.

It’s been a hell of a ride so far and I don’t think I can express enough gratitude to @Tim_Patterson and @Ellington_Darden for including a middle-aged, burned out teacher in this program.

I’ll spend the next 4-6 weeks running more traditional–and boring–straight sets in a mild deficit. Afterwards, I’ll jump back into another six weeks of Pump, Stimulate & Flutter Surge Challenge using 1 1/2 reps and eating to grow.

A few days to rest and recover, then back at it.