Boatguy's Iron Hussar Experiment/Self Flagellation Comeback Log UPDATED/FINI

(stole the Iron Hussar Experiment from a S&C thread on a different forum from several years ago - guy basically beat the shit out of himself for a month or two to see how much punishment he could take and still recover/improve)

I’ve had to take the last couple months off due to chronic tennis elbow (trying to let it heal), ITB, then a training course for work which kept me out of the gym for over a month, followed by a Scotland trip with the wifey (which we just got back from yesterday). Designed this beat down while I was sitting around, and thought I’d throw up a log for the fun of it.

Tested bench today, got 285 which makes for about a 50 pound drop (and pretty close to what I was expecting). That’s the only one I’m testing, so I can use it to figure percentages for the next 4-6 weeks using 531 (only lift which will follow 531).

So this ‘program’ will be based around two things, the program outlined here:
( Myofibrillar Growth & Conditioning – The Program ); and a little something I’ve done a few times over the years. Forget where I read this and have not been able to find it again, but some coach had proposed front squatting every day for two weeks. Weight would start at 50% of 1RM and increase by 5 pounds every day - this adds up to 65 pound increase in the two week period, with the point being to drastically improve form while also inducing rapid growth of the quads. I don’t recall what the set/rep scheme was supposed to be, so I’ve always used 5x5 - the idea being that the daily workout is ‘easy’, the intensity factor comes from daily use and weight increase (sneaking up on volume). I am going a bit stupid with this one this time however, as I intend to start at 135 (5x5) and continue increasing by 5 pounds every day until I basically can’t. Goal is to do this for 6 weeks, but we’ll see what happens. This would see a drastic increase in poundage, approximately 210 pounds added by the end. At whatever point I end this (6 weeks or ‘can’t go on’), I will wait about a week and then test my 1RM.

So breakdown will look something like this, with some modifications possible along the way.

Front squat every day (in addition to what’s listed below)
Saturday - KB HIRT (from article) (exact set/rep scheme still TBD)
Sunday - just front squat
Monday - KB HIRT (ditto)
Tuesday - pull up workout (weighted, haven’t decided on set/rep here either, maybe 531), bench BBB
Wednesday - KB HIRT
Thursday - haven’t decided yet
Friday - Bench, pullup BBB

Abs and calves will be added most days, snatch grip high pulls will probably go every other day or something similar, and I may try to add some direct arm training. As weight goes up on front squats, this will easily become a 2-a-day routine. Goal is to gain size and strength back in rapid fashion, along with the conditioning element from the heavy-ass KB swings. Biggest bell I have is a 53, so I made a T-bar contraption from pipe which will allow me to do heavy swings using 25# plates - should be big enough to accommodate 150+ pounds for swings (I’ve done swings with 150 and 200 pound KBs before, when I was lifting at a strongman gym in VA). Also (on the subject of KBs), I will use tubular nylon and fat grips to put DBs in the same position as KBs for the overhead pressing since I don’t have access to much in the way of kettle bells.

Starting this debacle tomorrow, so strap in - it should be fun.

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11 MAY 2019
Day 1

Considering I’ve front squatted 405 a couple different times over the last few years, using 135 as a working weight is very emasculating. Due to the amount of time I took off, I have no idea what my max would be right now, which is why I’m starting where I am.

Front Squat - 135 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
Rack SGHP - 135 x 3, 3, 3; (supersetted with front squats)

After finishing those, I moved to the KB portion of the workout which looked like this:

KB Swing (using t-bar for more weight) 75# x 25 reps
2 minutes after swings, DB OHP 30 x 8
4 minutes after swings, DB OHP 45 x 3 (single arm)
7 minutes after swings, DB OHP 35 x 6
Repeated for 4 total rounds

Didn’t use the grips and nylon this time, just did regular DB presses. Monday will be the next time I do the KB portion, and I found out we have the appropriate size bells for the weights I am currently using (found them in another room of the gym I rarely go into). So I will use those until I progress upward - at that point I will probably try the grips/nylon thing.

12 May 2019
Day 2

A.Front Squat - 140 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Ab Wheel - 10, 10, 10; (supersetted with front squats)

A. Standing Calf Raise Machine - 100 x 12, 12, 12;
B. Bodyweight Dip - 8, 8, 8;

Elbow is almost healed, but still a little pain when I tried curling - did 1 set of 8 screw curls, and there was still some minor pain/cramping feeling at the same site. I’ve been dealing with tennis elbow for going on 8 months, but it finally seems to be getting better.

Today looks very light on paper, which it was. I scheduled it like that on purpose so that Sunday would always be a quick day in the gym.

13 May 2019
Day 3

A. Front Squat - 145 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Rack SGHP - 145 x 3, 3, 3; (Multi-angle BPA x 30 after the remaining front squat sets)

Swing 85 x 25
2:00 after swings - KB OHP 30 x 8
4:00 after swings - KB OHP 45 x 3 (single arm)
6:00 after swings - KB OHP 35 x 6
Repeated for 5 total rounds

Shortened the time period a little today. Original program calls for 10:00 rounds, with the sets of presses 2, 4, and 7 minutes after completing the swings. Instead, I set a timer for 2:00 and start it as soon as I complete swings, then reset before starting each set of presses. Ends up being right around 1:30-1:40 rest between presses on each round, with total for the round probably being right around 9:00 total (not sure how long 25 swings takes). Following the round scheme to the letter right now, which is 4 rounds day 1, 5 rounds day 2, 3 rounds day 3. Might just average it and do 4 rounds each day, that would make for a more consistent amount of time in the gym. Today was close to 90 minutes (if not over), partially due to this and partially due to running into one of my old Sea Cadets who is joining the Army (hadn’t seen him in a while and ended up chatting a bit).

Again, good session but not a dick dragger, which is a good thing considering the total amount of volume per training week that I will be accumulating. We’ll see how I’m doing in a couple weeks when I start getting closer to a challenging front squat weight.

14 May 2019
Day 4

A. Front Squat - 150 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Cable Twist - 27.5 x 10, 32.5 x 10, 37.5 x 10;

Pullup (531 Spinal Tap v.2)(TM - 70) -
warm up - BW x 10, 35 x 5, 40 x 3
work - 45 x 3, 50 x 3, 55 x 3, 50 x 3, 55 x 3, 60 x 3, 50 x 3, 60 x 3, 65 x 3;
Seated Smith Machine Calf Raise - 180 x 15, 15, 15;

Pullups at these weights were more challenging than I was expecting. For those who are unfamiliar, Spinal Tap is a variant of 531 where you do all three weeks worth of lifting in one session. I had planned on doing variant 1, which uses the same rep counts as the original template (3 x 5, 3 x 3, 5/3/1), but by the time I got to the working weights I knew I had a good chance of missing reps in the 5 range. So I went with variant 2: 3 reps for everything regardless of percentage. Solid, challenging workout. Supposed to increase the TM and do it again next week, I’m thinking I’ll use the same weights and either do v.2 again (with the intent of getting better quality reps - several of them today were grinders), or attempt v.1 with these weights. When I do bench on Friday, I’ll also do BBB pullups (5 x 10, probably doing neutral grip). I’ll make the determination for next week based off of how that goes.

Hit the calves good today. Walking afterward was no issue, but I had some pretty serious leg shakes any time I stood still after those.

15 May 2019
Day 5

A. Front Squat - 155 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Rack SGHP - 135 x 3, 145 x 3, 155 x 3; BPA - 30, 30;

Swing 100 x 25
2:00 after swings - KB OHP 35 x 8
4:00 after swings - KB OHP 53 x 3 (single arm)
6:00 after swings - KB OHP 40 x 6
2:00 minute rest before swings again
Repeated for 3 total rounds

Increased KB weights today, still felt good. Definitely got the HR up a little higher during/immediately after swings, and the presses with the 53# bell were a little slower than previous (but still a good speed - definitely not a grinder). Other than that, good speed on all pressing weights.

16 May 2019
Day 6

A. Front Squat - (135 x 5) 160 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Ab Wheel - 10, 10, 10, 10;

Darden Bicep day 1 - EZ Curl 60# - Narrow - 12/Medium - 12/Wide - 8

This was a short, pretty easy day. Started doing a warm up set at 135 before the working sets. Supersetted ab wheel sets between the 5 working sets.

Wanted to start doing arms, so I started one of Ellington Darden’s arms routines except I only did the bicep portion - didn’t want to (potentially) burn out triceps the day before benching. I’ll do the tricep portion after benching tomorrow.

17 May 2019
Day 7

A. Front Squat - (135 x 5) 165 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B; Rack SGHP - 145 x 3, 155 x 3, 165 x 3;

A. BPA - 30, 30; MX Row - 92.5 x 8, 8, 8; 1 Arm Cable Row - 52.5 x 8, 8, 8, 8;
B. Bench (531 Spinal Tap v.1) (TM - 255) (135 x 10) 165 x 5, 190 x 5, 215 x 5, 180 x 3, 205 x 3, 230 x 3, 190 x 5, 215 x 3, 245 x 1;
Darden Tricep day 1(modified) - Bench 165 x (UH)8/(OH)8/(OH Wide)2/Pressdown - 52.5 x 10;
Toe Press - 180 x 15, 15, 15;
A. Reverse Pec Deck - 60 x 12, 13, 15;
B. Pec Deck - 90 x 10, 10, 10;

Longer day today, due to the Spinal Tap bench. That went pretty smoothly, no struggling to get any of the reps. So TM goes up for next week, yay. Followed that up by trying to do Darden’s tricep day 1 - had some issues with the prescribed exercises. Didn’t expect to be as weak on the underhand bench as I was - tried starting with 185, did 1 rep and said ‘nope’. 165 was a better weight for the first two sets, but wide grip was all chest and bothered my shoulders - not sure how wide grip is going to do anything for tris. So I threw in a set of press downs just for something to ‘finish’ the routine. Have seen some local muscular fatigue from both the bicep and tricep portions of that so far, but no real ‘pump’ as he espouses in his article. I’ll keep going with it though, and see what happens.

Did toe press to finish up with calves, but was waiting for the wife to finish her thing so I threw in the pec deck stuff rather than just sit there. So of course she finished after my first superset, and now she is waiting on me for the next two. She’s used to it though, she has just about always finished before me at the gym.

18 MAY 2019
Day 8

A. Front Squat - (135 x 5) 170 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Ab Wheel - 10, 10, 10; Cable Twist - 37.5 x 10, 10;

KB HIRT - Swing 100 x 25/OHP 35 x 8/53 x 3/40 x 6
4 Rounds

One week in, today starts week 2. Still pretty light on front squats, but starting to feel it a little - probably combination of fatigue and slow increase in weight.

Decided to just do 4 rounds of the KB program each time rather than go up and down in number of rounds. Stuck with weights from last session, and I’ll probably stick with them for the entirety of this week before attempting another increase.

Went for Day 2 of the biceps thing I started, and stopped after the first rep of reverse curls. Immediate pain in elbow - still having issues with tendonitis on the outside, and I should have known better than to attempt something that puts that much stress on the elbow. Regular curls (and tricep movements for that matter) didn’t seem to bother it, so I’ll reconfigure, regroup and attempt again. Really getting tired of this tennis elbow thing, every time I think it’s getting better I have another flare up.

19 May 2019
Day 9

A. Front Squat - (135 x 5) 175 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Rack SGHP - 135 x 3, 155 x 3, 175 x 3; BPA - 30, 30;

Gironda 8x8 Pressdown - 70 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 80 x 8, 8, 8;

Easy day Sunday, once again. Front Squat rep speed has slowed slightly, but nothing much. Or maybe I’m overanalyzing.

Did pressdowns today for triceps, using Gironda’s 8x8 protocol. The lateral head of my tris has always been lacking (at least in my opinion), so these have always been a bit of a staple. Gironda’s protocol (for those who don’t know) is 8 sets of 8 with short rest periods. I’ve only used it for arms, but apparently he would run golden era bodybuilders through a total body workout using this protocol - that must have been a nut buster. These give a decent pump to the tris, which is part of the reason I’ve been a fan of them for the last few years.

I’m dropping the other arms thing I started, it had me using some really odd position lifts which caused my tennis elbow to flare back up. It never really went away, though a couple times I thought it was almost gone. To get my arm size back where I want it, I’ll mainly do tricep movements since they don’t really bother it. I’ll also do any curl variations which don’t bother it too much. I am going to do bis and tris (in some form) 2-3x per week, as long as it doesn’t exacerbate my elbow. I know it won’t help any, but I’m sick of dancing around it and if it doesn’t make it any worse then we’ll move on for now and I’ll revisit it when I’ve got the cash to get the appropriate peptides and fix it (in a couple months, most likely).

20 May 2019
Day 10

A. Front Squat - (135 x 5) 180 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Body Saw - 10, 10, 10; Paloff Press - 37.5 x 10, 10;

KB HIRT - Swing 100 x 25/OHP 35 x 8/53 x 3/40 x 6 – 4 rounds
Seated Smith Machine Calf Raise - 200 x 13, 13, 13;

Front squats felt good, still not moving a lot of weight obviously. Need to remember to stretch my quads, they’re starting to feel a little stiff (go figure). Starting tomorrow (unless I forget) I’m going to add a second warm up set of 5 before the working sets. Like I said above, still not a lot of weight but enough that I want to warm up a little more before hitting them. Up till now, even with the warm up set the first working set feels a little slow and stiff. A second warm up set should help with that.

KB stuff felt good today. Presses with 53 feel about the same as they have since I started, but the other weights feel like they are almost flying up. Think it may be time to increase weights again, though that probably means I’ll have to strap or tape a 2.5 plate on my 53 since it is the biggest one I have access to right now.

21 May 2019
Day 11

A. Front Squat - (135 x 5, 155 x 5) 185 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Rack SGHP - 155 x 3, 175 x 3, 185 x 3;

Pullup <531 Spinal Tap v.2>- (BW x 5, 5, 40 x 3) 45 x 3, 50 x 3, 55 x 3, 50 x 3, 55 x 3, 60 x 3, 50 x 3, 60 x 3, 65 x 3;
Underhand Incline Cable Flye - 50 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10;
Gironda 8x8 Dip - BW x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8;
KB Swing - 53# x 100 - 2:45

Good day, but took it out of me. I don’t think I’ve ever done this amount of volume in one session on weighted pullups before last week. Had hoped to do the Spinal Tap v.1 rep counts this week, but just wasn’t feeling it. Still, more of these reps felt solid than last week, so that’s still progress.

Did some upper chest as a BBB move, followed by dips (same as pressdowns the other day). I feel like I’m not getting the conditioning aspect so far, so I threw in a quick little finisher, 100 KB swings for time. The way I do this one is I pyramid up to 10 reps and back down (when pyramiding, square the top number and that tells you your total rep count). I switch hands back and forth, so all odd numbers on one hand, evens on the other. Seems like you would end up doing more reps on one hand vs. the other, but it actually balances out.

Given how much volume I’m doing for legs during this, I’m trying to figure out how to work in some conditioning work without effecting the front squats.

22 May2019
Day 12

A. Front Squat - (135 x 5, 155 x 5) 190 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Ab Wheel - 10, 10, 10, 10;

KB HIRT - Swing 100 x 25/OHP 35 x 8/53 x 3/40 x 6 - 4 Rounds
Standing Calf Raise Machine - 100 x 15, 15, 15;
Gironda 8x8 EZ Curl - 55 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8;

Same ol same ol. Planning to add a little weight for the KB routine on Saturday, by taping 2.5’s on all the 'bells. I figure I’ll start there for a workout and see how rep speed is effected (if at all). If there’s no effect on speed then I’ll bump up a full 5 on the following KB day.

Did EZ bar curls today, since that movement gives my elbow the least amount of grief. Not a lot of weight obviously, but I haven’t been curling for several months and I did the 8x8 protocol (short rest between sets). Felt pretty good, overall.

23 May 2019
Day 13

A. Front Squat - (135 x 5, 155 x 5) 195 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Rack SGHP - 155 x 3, 175 x 3, 195 x 3;

24 May 2019
Day 14

A. Front Squat - (135 x 5, 165 x 5) 200 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5;
B. Ab Wheel - 10, 10, 10, 10;

A. BPA - 30, 30; Straight Arm Pulldown - 67.5 x 8, 72.5 x 8, 8; MX Row - 97.5 x 8, 8, 8; 1 Arm Cable Row - 52.5 x 8, 8, 8;
B. Bench - (135 x 10, 155 x 5) 170 x 5, 195 x 5, 220 x 5, 185 x 3, 210 x 3, 235 x 3, 195 x 5, 220 x 3, 250 x 1, 265 x 1, 280 x 1, 295 x 1;
A. Reverse Pec Deck - 60 x 15, 15, 15; B. Pec Deck - 90 x 10, 100 x 10, 10;
Gironda 8x8 OH Cable Extension - 60 x 8, 8, 70 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8;

Today was a bit longer day, but a good one. I was feeling pretty good, so I threw in the Joker singles at the end of benching just for the hell of it. 295 was a grinder, but otherwise felt decent. Might have been able to go up one more time, but that rep would have been ugly as sin.

Tried doing DB overhead extensions, but my lats and pecs were pretty pumped which served to limit ROM in my shoulders. So I went with the cable version, which is a little more forgiving.
B. Bench - (135 x 10,

Kinda lost ‘motivation’ to keep posting in here a while back - if you search me you’ll find multiple logs I started at one point or another which petered out.

Anyway, closure on the front squat portion of the experiment - I started at 135 5x5, adding 5 pounds each day. This past Sunday (Father’s Day) was when I decided to call it. In that amount of time (5 weeks) I only missed three days lifting - Memorial Day since the gym was closed, and then a couple weeks ago I missed two days consecutive due to a funeral. Working weight on Sunday (final day) was 300 pounds, still for 5x5. I decided to call it there because I’ve barely been doing any conditioning through this and I’m starting to notice the lack, and my knees were starting to get sore and achey. Oddly, they would feel stiff in the mornings, but while lifting they felt great (motion is lotion). Later this week I’ll test my 1RM front squat and see what (if anything) this did for me.

I’m finishing up this week with the KB program, then I’ll be traveling for work soon - after that I’ll go back to a ‘normal’ routine. ‘KB’ swings the last couple weeks have been at 125 - I say ‘KB’ because I’m using a homemade t-bar contraption for swings in order to increase loading. I’ll be interested to see where my deadlift is following that.