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Bobcat on Cressey's Max Strength

I’ve been around T-Nation since 2001 but rarely post. That iss going to change this year. I’ve always frowned upon those who make New Year’s resolutions because more often then not, those resolutions are broken after about two days.

After the roughest year of my life, I’ve decided that I’m going to make some resolutions and keep them. In 2008 I was riddled with health problems for the first time in my life; mostly problems outside of my control. At the time the problems arose, I was in as good of shape as ever.

I was the strongest I had ever been in my life, my diet was in good order (I’ve followed John Berardi and Body-4-life’s protocol for 3+ years). When the problems occured everything sort of fell apart.

I weighed a lean 170 at the time and looked pretty good naked (though a bit small). A month later I was down to just over 150, which was depressing because I’m your classic ectomorph (I started college weighing 140 and had to work my tail off to jsut to get to 160). Gaining quality weight is incredibly difficult for me so going from a hard 170 to a skinny-fat looking 154 in less than a month plain sucked.

Anyway, I started to get life back in order in October and expect to make a full recovery, though it will certainly take time. Throughout my ordeal I continued going to the gym, sometimes with lackluster efforts and results and have gained back 10 lbs once lost. Still, I’ve got a long way to go.

Here are my all-time prs
Standing Vertical jump-34’ is my best measured

Here are my goals for the program:

  1. Gain 10 lbs by end of program
  2. Bench Press at least 280
  3. Box Squat 315
  4. Deadlift 385/improve technique
  5. Improve posture
  6. Work on foam roller every day

Today was “Packing day” on Cressey’s program. My Stats were:
Height: 5’10
Weight: 164 lbs
Max Box Squat: 265 lbs (can do more but technique gets iffy)
Max BP: 240 lbs
Max DL: 315 lbs (can pull more but technique falls apart)
3 rep Max Chin: 55x3 (almost 65x3, pleasant surprise)
Broad Jump: Will measure soon

While my numbers on the squat disappointed me I was quite pleased with the rest of the workout. I’ve been abusing my foam roller/tennis ball and the results are already apparent. Though my knees have not been an issue of late, I have had trouble with them in the past (extremely tight IT band has been a problem in right knee).

My right front delt seems to develop a trigger point anytime I do a lot of bench pressing, though the pain is not severe so I am hoping the foam rolling/tennis ball helps.

Today I felt no pain at all in my shoulder and I also noticed that one side didnt overpwoer the othe ron chins, which has been a problem in the past. I’m not sure if its the foam rolling/warm-up that is responsible, but I actually felt very good physically.

Anyway, I look forward to completing the program. I may try Nate Green’s spring or summer plan after 16 weeks.

It’s a great program.

I was the first on the boards to keep a log and I’ve kept up with everyone’s journal who’s run it so far, haven’t seen much disappointment if any.

Good luck!

[quote]IronAbrams wrote:
It’s a great program.

I was the first on the boards to keep a log and I’ve kept up with everyone’s journal who’s run it so far, haven’t seen much disappointment if any.

Good luck![/quote]

Thanks for the info Abrams, its always good to hear from someone who has tried a program before.

I actually started with phase one’s Saturday workout today seeing as how it was Saturday and I’ve been itching to get at it. Today went well because my nutrition and sleep is in good order after eating garbage throughout the holidays (pretty atypical of me).

a1.Chins-4x6 w/ 25 lbs added
a2.1 Arm DB push press-4x6 60lbs

b2.1 arm row-60x8,60x8,65x8

c1.kneeling ext rotation-10.5x12
c2.side bridge-3x30 sec

I felt good coming out of the gym today. I know I can go heavier on the push presses and chins, but I really made an effort to get the technique perfect. I think I’m going to love doing close grip chins. I’ve always done lots of chins, but never with the hands so close together. Definitely a different feel and I’m excited because I think I’m going to progress well on them.

Also, I already feel like my posture is improving, especially regarding my head and neck.

Abrams, you might be able to answer this or I may try to catch Cressey in his locker room. On db rows, does he want you to really focus on protracting the shoulder before initiating the row? The way I did them today almost made the movement look like 2 movements. Should the protraction and row take place simultaneously?

Looking forward to tomorrow and the technique practice.

I never thought about it too much, but I know Cressey and Robertson are definitely on the same page with regards to rowing:

Today’s workout went alright. I know I could have pushed a little harder on squats, but I was more concerned with technique. My biggest problem at this point seems to be almost falling onto the box when I get to the last 2-3 inches. I had no trouble off the box and will definitely add weight next time (10lbs, more if I can keep the technique together).

Speed deads went ok; different because of the head down posture. Lunges were tough because of limited space; my college gym wouldnt let me take the weight into the hallway b/c some dbag stole a couple dumbbells last year. I managed to get them in, but only because it was 11pm and nobody was there. not sure how I’ll do the lunges with the spring break crowd overflowing the place during the day.

I think i’ll do what abrams did as far as reporting weights used (so as to encourage people to buy the book).

Box Squat-235x4 (all 5 sets, rather light)
Speed dl-175 lbs all sets
Lunges- 40lb first set, 45s on others
rev crunch/plank as directed.

Also, nailed my nutrition today, perhaps thats why I felt so strong.

meal 1=30 grams whey isolate upon waking

meal 2=3 whole eggs, slice of toast, apple

meal 3=Turkey burger, apple, spinach

Snack-protein after after class

meal 4=turkey burger, green beans, salad

postworkout-50 grams Whey Isolate, bowl of cheerios 30 minutes later

meal 5-turkey burger, yogurt, greens.

40 minutes of basketball shooting
I figured this would be an ok substitute for energy work on a bike/elliptical. For the better part of my life I played most everyday and have missed not having it as much over the last year or so.

Despite not playing at all over the last two months my skills are still pretty sharp, thgough my timing is a little off. I like to hit the court and shoot a couple times a week just in case an alumni tourney comes up. From there I can get back to where I was in my prime with 3-4 weeks of intense practice/conditioning.

My plan is to alternate basketball with technique practice, though that may change.

I didn’t get to the gym until almsot 11 pm which isn’t best for me. I started back to class and with the university gym’s seated cable row upstairs and benches downstairs, there was no way I could alternate. Even if I could, its so crowded that I’d have a hard time with supersets. So I drove two hours home to workout.

BP: 205 lbs on all sets
Low Incline DB Press: 75 lbs on all sets (barely)
Seated Cable Row: 130 lbs all sets
Y raise: 3 lbs all sets
Lying DB Ext rotation-8lbs all sets

The workout went ok despite fatigue. I do wonder, is it normal for my shoulders to pop/click when doing y-raises? It doesn’t hurt, I’m just wondering if I’m doig something wrong. I went light, trying to focus on technique.

Also, my db external rotation is weak weak weak. 8 lbs felt too heavy on the last set. Based on Poliquin’s rationale, its no wonder my bench press hasn’t improved.

Today was technique practice/energy day.

14 minutes on bike, 6 minutes on elliptical

25 pushups
70 lbs on tricep pushdowns
50 lbs on cable curl
3 lbs lying db ext. rotation
plank for 30 seconds
db dls with 60 total lbs.

I am quite sore from lastnight’s workout.

Today’s workout was exhausting. Bulgarian split squats seem to torture me more than any other exercise. The only exercise I hate more are 20 rep squats. Also, my rack pull suffered a bit b/c I did not have straps. I know Eric does not advocate strpas on dl’s from the floor, but I assume he is OK with them on rack pulls. I imagine I could pull about 100 lbs more for six reps with the straps. My grip is certainly a limiting factor for me (small hands, girly wrists don’t help, grip training has done only so much)

Also, I didn’t remember front squats being so tough. I am experimenting with the crossover grip so maybe that had something to do with it.

A.Front Squat-185 lbs for 6 reps all sets
B.Rack Pull-275 all sets
C.BG Split Squat-100 lbs total on all sets
D1)Pull Through-110x10 all sets (will go heavier next time)
D2)Reverse Crunch-3x12

Looking forward to tomorrow’s workout. Loved doing it last week and plan to bump the weights a bit on some exercises!

Definitely beat up from yesterday’s workout. I don’t think there is a muscle between my kneecap and waist that isn’t extremely sore. It’s been a while since I’ve done front squats so I’m guessing that those were the culprit.

It took a little while to get going today as a result. Anyway, I did the same workout last week b/c I needed to get a workout in before starting the program. Next week I’ll be reducing the volume.

DB Push Press 4x6 at 65 lbs
Chins 4x6 + 30lbs
Pushups-as directed
1 arm DB row-3x 65 lbs
Face Pull (subbed for kneeling ext rotation)
Side Bridge-3x30 sec

I added weight on the first three exercises. Definitely not the euphoric feeling I had last time I did this workout. Last week the chins and push presses were rather easy. Pushing it this week took a lot more out of me. I can now see why Cressey has you mix up the volume from week to week.

Also, the machine I use for kneeling ext. rotations was out of order; definitely not cool. I did do some light ext rotations during technique practice so it shouldn’t be too big a deal. I just happen to like doing programs by the book so as to be sure I’m giving the program a fair chance.

Also, 1 arm db push presses weren’t exactly explosive. I was moving the weight as fast as I could, which I hope is enough. The last set was probably my best; it took me a while to get going today.

Also, I almost feel as though both IT bands, inner thighs have more adhesions now than when I fist started. That or I’m pushing harder. Is that even possible?

Well, I’m now one week closer to super strength. Tonight’s workout went pretty well. I rocked (not literally I might add) on box squats. I did go a little light last week, but still going from 235 to 250 is a pretty good jump. Also, I had more left in me. I know I could have gotten 255 and probably 260, but seeing as how I already jumped 15 lbs in one week, I decided it was best left for another day. Also, the box I sued tonight was a bit lower than the box at my university gym. I wish I could stick to one box, but I have no choice but to travel.

A.Box Squat-245x4, 250x4, 250x4, 250x4
B.Speed DLs-190 all sets
C.Lunge-45x8 on all sets (struggled on set 2)
D1.Reverse Crunch
D2.Prone Bridge (messed up the first two sets, used hands instead of forearms)

I should mention that my right shoulder flared up a bit. I’m almost sure it was from the 1 arm push presses. Right now, my body just doesn’t like those. I’ll spend some extra time on the foam roller/ball tomorrow and see if that helps.

Hopefuly, tonight’s workout won’t leave me as sore as the front squat workout.

Are you training at the Ping Ctr at OU? I went to grad school there 96-97.

[quote]danjo228 wrote:
Are you training at the Ping Ctr at OU? I went to grad school there 96-97.[/quote]

Sure am. Don’t know when you last visited the weight room there, but the place has kind of gone downhill over the years (I started undergrad there in 1998). The equipment is great, but its just too cramped. When I went back for grad school a couple years ago I was surprised to see so many people not picking up after themselves.

Good to see another Ohio alum on T-Nation!

That’s too bad. I haven’t been there since my last final. That’s a shame, it was in great shape when I was there.

Good luck with your training.

Lastnight’s workout

BP-210x4, 215x4, 215x4, 215x4
DB press on slight Incline-80 lbs all sets
Chest supported row (in place of cable row)
90x9, 80x9, 80x9
Prone Trap raise-5x12
Lying ext rotation-5x12 all sets.

Weights were up a bit and again, I probably could have pushed a little bit further on the bench press. Unfortunately I had to substitute a chest supported row for the cable row. For some reason, my college gym moved the cable row upstairs to the cardio/fitness area so it wasn’t practical. I went lighter on the side external rotations and felt I got more out of them.

I did some technique practice today focusing more on biceps, triceps, pushups, scap pushups and external rotators. I’d never done rotator work for high reps before; definitely felt like they got some work today.

Also played pickup basketball. I found out lastnight that my old high school is having an alumni basketball tournament in march, so I will be playing hoops rather than the other energy work on most days.

I’m hoping this doesn’t slow down my gains much; definitely going to have to increase calorie intake.

My body felt a little beat up today. My pecs are definitely sore and my legs (especially hip flexors and and everything below the knee) courtesy of basketball yesterday). I didn’t mention this, but my conditioning level was actually pretty high for not having played basketball or done any running in months. Running felt easy; could be a by product of the foam rolling & my last training program (I was doing WS4SB).

I made my mind up going into the gym that i was going to push it today and not let any soreness slow me down. As a result, all of my lifts were up a bit.

A.Front Squat-190x6, 195x6, 195x6, 195x6
B.Rack Pull-280x6, 285x6, 285x6
C.BG Split Squat- 55 lbs on all sets
D1.Pull Through-120x10 all sets
D2.Reverse Crunch-3x12

I did bite it on one set of split squats courtesy of relaxing at the bottom. I just added another rep to the final set. I was doing these quite often during WS4SB, but today my balance was awesome in comparison. Maybe my glutes are starting to fire a little better.

Today’s workout

A1.DB Push Press-70lbs, 4x6
A2.Close Grip Chin-40 lbs, 3x6
B2.DB Row-65lbs, 3x7
C1.Kneeling Ext Rotation-7.5lbs, 3x12
C2.Side Bridge-3x30 sec

Not as sore from front squats this time, which helped a great deal. Not a great training atmosphere at the gym today.

Note: Though I upped the weight on push presses, I didn’t have the nagging shoulder pain of last week. Increasing the weight on thsoe and chins is going to be much tougher next time though. We’ll see what happens. Also, I keep meaning to take some pcitures and check my weight. Will try to do that in the next few days.

This program is awesome.

I began week three today and was again pleasantly surprised. Looking back, I can think of only a few programs that worked so well for me. Advanced GVT, the Soviet Squat Cycle and Training For Maximal Size (all posted on T-Nation by the way). Unlike those programs though, I’m not having the aches and pains.

I felt a little tired going to the gym this morning; I typically train in the late afternoon or evening. Still, I got it going pretty quick and had a good workout.

1.Box Squat-255x3,260x3,260x3,260x3,265x3,265x3,265x3,265x3
2.Speed DL-195 all sets (finally getting these down)
3.DB Lung-45x8,45x8,45x8,45x8
4a.Reverse Crunch
4b.Prone bridge

Today, I box squatted what I maxed at during pretesting. My form was good, In fact, the last two heavy sets were undoubtedly my best. I really hope I can continue making progress like this throughout the program; right now it looks like I will annihilate the goals I set during pretesting.

Also, my glutes are definitely starting to get into the act more. I can tell a big difference on dls.

A few pics. my observation: I need to eat and my back is either a.)my strong point or b.)I have some issues to address.


Damn man, lookin ripped.