Begin...The Rest is Easy

Weighed 291, worked more than normal, 0 exercise (except my normal 7k steps), got high watched good omens and had 4 too many cookies. Should be back at it for lower strength tomorrow

Didn’t weigh in this morning but ate about half a dozen cookies last night so I’d guess at least 291

Lower Strength
BS: 2x3, 1x4 325
DL: 3x3 375
Leg Press: 2x15, 1x30 420
Hamstring curls: 3x10 200

Lower back was sore going in but it loosened up nicely, my form needs some work though on both of the big lifts. I think I’ll back off intensity and get some more volume in next week. My legs feel plenty strong though, imagine I have at least 400 for squat and 450 for deads

Yesterday weighed 292, stretched for about 20 and did some light abs, lower back is sore and uncomfortable need to stop doing heavy squats and deadlifts for a minute to let it recover then I need to actually fix it. Still have some version of a cold. Also think quitting smoking is getting a lot of garbage in my lungs freed up, which is nice but leads to a lot of congestion.

Today: 291, pretty bloated

Upper hypertrophy
Incline BB bench: 3x8 155, 1x9 185
Seated cable row: 3x10 130
Seated flies: 3x8 140
Lat pulldown: 4x12 100
Lateral raises: 3x8 25
DB shrugs: 3x12 50
Standing cable row: 3x15 62.5
Tricep rope pulldown: 3x10 52.5
Bicep DB curl: 3x10 30

289.5, maybe a bit dehydrated, drank for the first time this Year but not as bingey as normal, also smoked 2 cigs and walked 16k steps

Lower Hypertrophy
10 min walking
10 min stretching
Leg press 4x12 550
Step ups to low box: 3x10 80lb (40lb dumbbells)
Bad girls: 3x15 80
Good girls: 3x15 60
Quad extensions: 3x12 130
Hammy curls: 3x10 200
Calf raises: 3x10 holding a 60lb dumbbell

So I avoided front squats for my lower back but still felt like I got a good lower workout. I think I’m going to start doing more single leg stuff because the step ups felt weird on the left hip, which not coincidentally is where my back hurts. The step ups felt like a solid workout, especially for my grip and lungs. My legs feel like they are blowing up and getting strong quickly, I think I could squat in the mid 400 range if my core was stronger.

Weekly recap:
Technically lost .5 lbs (count my Sunday weigh-in) but I think it was just alcohol fueled dehydration. Not surprised, I ate a lot this week and ate a ton of carbs yesterday and today so I’m bloated. Lifting felt good for the most part, my lower back sucks it has since I hurt it when I was 14 but it can definitely be better than it is now. Going to keep off of it, so to speak, and add in single leg work, stretching , core work and mobility to try and get where I need to be to power lift comfortably.


I warm up for squats like this:

30 seconds a side of couch stretch, pigeon stretch, supine twist and hurdler stretch.

Then I do some core activation for a bit, especially if my back feels off.

You could also do 50-100 air squats a few times a week.

For wraps, the Elite FTS Normal wraps would probably be good for you. Plenty soft and stretchy but if you want you can still crank on them.

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Welcome, thanks for following along.

I am definitely going to have to figure out what those stretches are but I was telling the gf that I needed to incorporate a stretching routine in my lifting, so this is well-timed.

Funnily enough those are the exact wraps I bought, I’ve only used them for a light Incline session but I have a heavier bench today so I should be able to test them further.

293 morning weight, not a surprise really, will try and keep it a little lighter next week but I’m not trying to do much more than body recomp right now so it isn’t a huge concern. Hitting heavy upper early in the afternoon as I’m mostly off due to MLK day!

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Warmed up with couch stretch, pigeon stretch, supine twist and hurdler stretch a la @MarkKO, felt good, then did some band work on my shoulders (pull-aparts, shoulder dislocations, 10 push ups ), and some fetch with the dog.
Heavy Upper:
Bench: 2x3, 1x7 275 (wraps)
Incline DB Bench: 3x12 65
BB Row: 2x5, 1x8 185 (belt)
Pullups: 1x5
Lat pulldowns: 115 1x10, 130 1x8, 145 1x8
OHP: skipped
EZ Curl: 3x11 65
Skullcrushers: 3x12 45

For some reason I’ve agreed to play the first game of a doubleheader for a basketball team I occasionally play with, going to take Tuesday off, feeling somewhat fatigued already.

Nothing super noteworthy except my fatigue and bench press. I got the wraps on a little tighter than for the incline bench and they definitely gave me some confidence and support. I think I’ve tried to press 275 maybe 2 times in the last year, so I’m surprised the sets of 3 felt great and the set of 7 happened, especially when I hit the j cup on the 6th rep.

Will keep doing this program, as planned but probably won’t try an amrap on bench again, in order to keep ohp in the rotation.

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Woke up at 290.5 yesterday, took the day completely off exercise apart from my 6k steps i normally get.

289 this morning after eating a little light yesterday. Not sure how lower strength will proceed, will likely play it by ear.

Back felt the best it has in a few weeks today.

Wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do when I got in but the gym was absolutely packed (6pm is an awful time to go, but I had a meeting run late) but a rack was open.

Did the same stretches as before, some good mornings with the bar and tried to stretch my hips by putting my foot on the safeties.

Lower Strength
BS: 135x10, 185x5, 225x5 (paused), 225x3(belt), 275 4x5 (belt)
DL: literally nowhere to do them and I wasn’t sure I wanted them anyway, tbh
Single leg, leg press: 3x10 90
Leg press: 4x12 360
Standing calves: 3x20 holding 40
Sumo: 70 2x10
Seated hamstring curl: 4x12 160
Incline walk: 10 min

So I think stretching is helping me a lot but I think I’m also realizing I’m being kind of stupid. I’ve always squatted high bar or pretty close to it and tried to transition to low bar when I re-started squatting. I feel strong leg wise but my core isn’t ready for it, especially since I don’t have the form down pat. So I switched to a more vertical squat today and most everything felt better, but a bit weaker. I want to find a happy middle here. Part of the realization came when I hit 185 with a wider stance, my lower back and hip flared for a second. Not really sure where to go from here except get my form better, my mobility better, and maybe try some sumo pulls (my hip felt weird with 70lbs) to get the hips where they need to be.

In any case, I got a solid quad pump and the lower weight and narrower stance seemed like a winning combo, we’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

Been meaning to add this. Drugs + booze v near sobriety + lifting

What you’re describing is probably nothing to do with weak abs or core. More likely it’s a combination of poor bracing and, if it’s the hips hurting, quite possibly some weakness in the hamstrings and glutes although that’s no given.

Wide stance (how wide is your wide?) can also fuck your hips

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Yea, my bracing has been getting a ton better as I re familiarize myself with the movement (it’s felt better the last two sessions but I still have to remind myself essentially every rep or I don’t do it).

I feel like my hamstrings are solid but getting the glutes stronger and more active is probably something that needs to happen anyway.

I’m not sure how to describe my wide stance, I think I’m a bit more narrow relative to my body than whatever shitshow this video contains. I’ll try and get a video for next time.

Woke at 290, bit bloated but within the normal range.

Upper Hypertrophy:
Incline bb: 175x8, 185x8, 205x8 (wraps)
Pec dec fly: 3x12 130
Straight arm pulldown: 3x10 52.5
Face pulls: 3x15 32.5
Tri pulldown: 3x12 32.5
Lateral raises: 3x10 20
Standing curls: 25x12, 30x10, 35x8, 40x6
Wide grip cable row: 3x12 72.5

Mediocre commitment to the back, it was somewhat sore going in, but could’ve done better. Pressing is feeling strong, wraps help. Saw someone on here saying they were pulling facepulls from below their head, so I pulled from about nipple height. Definitely way better trap engagement.

Going to cardio/yoga/rest tomorrow

Yesterday: 290 (10am), little dehydrated, stretched and did some foam rolling. Ate pretty much everything in my house, which luckily was less than it could’ve been.

Today: 292.5 (8am), upper back is oddly sore, lower back is still a bit off but certainly heading the right direction, going to hit lower Hypertrophy today. I might take a few days to hit spots I feel like need improvement then test out some doubles (not feeling ready for 1rm). If I go this route I’m going to do one of three things: continue with what I’m doing now, jump on a pl-centric program, or just do my own thing.

Current program (phul), has done a solid job of getting strength back and adding size but I don’t really like the upper lower split nor the lack of variety in the program, so I end up messing with it too much. Heavy deadlifts and squats on the same day lead me to feel like I’m not doing enough on either. Separate days for these and OHP is a strong preference. The assistance work volume is solid if not maybe a bit excessive.

My Own Stuff, is usually a 4 day split with the goal to do a Major lift or a variation each day but I usually bail at least once a week. My own programming got me to 1300+ pretty quickly and I enjoy it the most, of anything I’ve tried. The bailing and my general inability to focus on anything longer than 30 seconds is why I don’t just do this all the time.

PL, need to do research but I ran 5/3/1 for a bit a few years ago. I think what I’m looking for is low/mid volume, high intensity for the big lifts and quite a bit of accessory work (I’m still vain at heart, even if it’s not currently reflected)

So, I’ll hit the gym, see how I feel then set a tentative plan for February.

Fetch, 10 min walk to gym, 15 min incline treadmill session, couch stretch, pigeon stretch, supine twist, hurdler stretch, some generic hip and lat stretching.

Lower Hypertrophy
FS: 3x8 205 (belt)
DB Lunges: 25 x8, 20x8, 0x8 (fuck me)
Leg Extension: 4x10 120
Leg Curls: 3x15 150
Calves: some x some

So this was a weird one.

I tried to FS the bar after the first 4 stretches mentioned and was still too stiff, did some more hip and lat stuff and got somewhat comfortable. Threw 135 on and did 3x5 was still somewhat stiff but felt solid in the movement. Did 185x5, bracing my ass off and finally felt good about moving to a working set. Threw my belt on and braced as well as I could and hit 7/8 reps really well on the first two sets. Tightened my belt one notch (hooray, my gut might be shrinking marginally), and absolutely crushed my last set.

The DB lunges were a nightmare, I grabbed 25lb dumbbells because I remember using 45lb plates years ago and figured I’d be fine. About 65% of the way though my body decided it couldn’t remember how to do these without looking like a complete jackass. Dropped 5lbs for the next set, was a bit better but my left knee wasn’t feeling it. Ended up going weightless for the last set and these felt fine, found a groove and it didn’t hurt anything. Seriously need to incorporate these, not being able to do a lunge is pretty fucking embarrassing. Nothing else really of note but this workout feels glute and hamstring deficient.

See if I can make a decision on what I want to do going forward.

Woke up late at 291.5, feeling lethargic, lean and bloated (makes no sense, I know).
15 min bike, pull aparts, dislocations
Upper Strength:
BP: 255 3x5, 1x6
Incline DB: 90 3x6
BB Row: 205 3x5
Lat pulldown: 115 3x10
OHP: 145 3x5
EZ Curl: 75 3x10
Overhead extension: 37.5 3x10

Took forever, feeling worked, will update more later

So, I haven’t figured out what I want to do yet, in terms of training or short term goals so I’m going to stick with this for the time being. The “Power” training sessions are about 5x harder than the “Hypertrophy” sessions but since I’m not sure what I want and this seems to be getting me stronger, I’ll stick with it for the time being. Another weird part is I feel like I’m getting a back workout almost every session. Deadlifts, BB Row, FS, Cable Row are each scheduled one day per week, which is probably why I feel the way I do.

Weekly Update:
Weight: Gained 2lbs from last week, I think when accounting for hydration levels nothing actually happened here. I imagine I’ll be down a pound or two tomorrow, so still not much to worry about here. Again would prefer it slightly lighter but I’m not going to sacrifice strength at this point.

Health: Feel a lot better, thanks to some helpful tips the lower back is feeling a lot better (probably 90%) and it isn’t really limiting me at this point.


  • Upper:
    My bench feels great, I think the incline is probably about close to my previous strength levels and my flat is coming pretty close, rep wise. Top end is probably 335-345. My OHP has been neglected partially due to the program structure and partially due to my laziness, in any case 3x5 @ 145 isn’t too bad, I imagine I have at least 205 top end.

  • Lower:
    Didn’t push too hard this week, skipped DL entirely and realized I can’t do lunges anymore (laugh/sob). My squats felt tighter and faster, will need to keep monitoring the lower back but otherwise I see a lot of improvement coming. Adding in stretching and single leg work seems like it should be a permanent move.

Weighed in at 289.5, despite eating 5-6 mochi last night. Feel pretty bloated today, imagine I’ll probably drop another pound or two by tomorrow’s weigh-in.

Taking a deload week this week (including today off). Plan on doing a similar routine with way less weight and some more arm and glute stuff.

289.5 again today, need to get late night snacking under control before the cut (march 1- june 1).
15 min incline walking
Normal 4 stretches + leg lifts
Deload Day 1:
BS: 4x3 225
DL: 4x3 225
Glute Bridge (bench): 3x10 95
Calves: 1 min of slow standing raises
Back extensions: 3x10

Not much here, took it easy both the bridges and extensions hit me more than I thought they would, need to get more glute work on the menu.

I also took videos of all 4 squat sets 2 with oly shoes, 2 barefoot. I’ll see if i can figure out how to upload them. I don’t imagine they’ll be super useful as they’re using somewhere between 50-60% of my max but who knows.

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