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Building a Better, Bigger, Stronger AF787

Week 5, Day 5 (Deload Week)

Pause DL (135 x 5 x 1), Should be 90% of Week 4
Pause DL (135 x 5 x 1), Should be 90% of Week 4
Conventional DL (135 x 5 x 4), Should be 90% of Week 4
Pause Squat (175 x 5 x 3), Should be 90% of Week 4
Underhand grip EZ bar rows (70 x 10 x 2), Should be 90% of Week 4
Walking DB Lunges (30 x 8 x 2), Should be 90% of Week 4
Leg Curl (90 x 15 x 3), 90% of Week 4

DLs

  • Not sure if this is because I was working at such a light weight, but I’m feeling a really nice pop off the floor that I wasn’t previously(even at the lighter weights) now that I’m focusing more on driving out with my feet. Once I’m fully recovered, I’m excited to see if it transfers over to the heavier weights because it will be a game changer in my DLs.
  • Because of the low weights, I opted to do multiple reps rather than singles, with the objective being working on movement patterns

Squats

  • I could have gone heavier, but didn’t want a repeat of Saturday. Instead focusing on technique and getting a better descent into the hole.

Lunges

  • These felt way better than I anticipated!

Recovery is going slower than I had hoped, but that’s life. I’m going to do the best I can with lower body and give it time before pushing harder. However, I should still be able to train upper body with my desired level of intensity.

2 Likes

Week 1, Day 1

BB Squat (225 x 3 x 1), RPE 6
BB Squat (230 x 3 x 1), RPE 7
BB Squat (235 x 3 x 1), RPE 8
BB Squat (225 x 3 x 2), 85% of Set 3
Bench w 3 count eccentric and pause at bottom 185 x 3 x 1), RPE6
Bench w 3 count eccentric and pause at bottom 185 x 3 x 1), RPE6
Bench w 3 count eccentric and pause at bottom 175 x 3 x 2), 95% of Set 1
DB Bench Press (60 x 12 x 3), RPE 8
Leg Press (225 x 8 x 3), RPE 8

Squat

  • Feeling way better than last week and pumped that I’m already back into the 200s!

  • Doing a better job with tempo into the hole

  • I need to work a little on depth and making sure I’m hitting parallel/slightly below on every rep. I think part of it is just mental with me thinking/feeling that I’m going lower than I actually am.

Bench

  • I’m pleased with my starting weight given the slow eccentric and pause at the bottom. I might have slightly overshot my RPE, but my left shoulder is also feeling some aching from my flu shot yesterday. I’ll adjust accordingly next week and either maintain or increase the load accordingly.

  • The first rep is sometimes still a little funky so I’ll need to work on that. The cue to remember here is just to break at my elbows first.

  • My coach also gave me the cue of thinking of applying more force through the outer parts of my hand (ring and pinky fingers) and that seems to be making a difference coming off my chest.

DB Bench and Leg Press

  • Actual loading is lower here than what I can do just because getting in and out of position with the DBs and the compression at the bottom of leg press is potential irritation for my back.

  • Overall pleased with recovery, now to just get that last 10-15%!

3 Likes

Week 2, Day 2

Deadlift (245 x 3 x 1), RPE 5
Deadlift (250 x 3 x 1), RPE 7
Deadlift (255 x 1 x 1), RPE 8
Deadlift (215 x 3 x 2), 85% of Set 3
Pendlay Row (95 x 7 x 3), RPE 7
Under grip Lat Pulldown (120 x 12 x 3), RPE 7
Ezbar Spider Curls (40 x 15 x 3), RPE 7

Deadlifts

  • These felt good, and I was able to go heavier than I had expected. I held back on adding more weight to make sure I’m not going to aggravate my injury.

  • I’m still working on foot drive. When I really get things right the bar feels weightless at the bottom, and I get a good pop off the floor. Something about this has also seemed to have fixed my back position on the first rep- there used to be some slight rounding, and then everything would become flat from rep 2 onward.

Pendlay Rows

  • It’s been awhile since I’ve done these, and they felt way easier than I remember. I could have gone heavier, but similar to DLs just being mindful of easing into things they might irritate my back.

Ezbar Spider Curls

  • I just need to make sure I don’t get sloppy with my range of motion, or use momentum.

I woke up feeling really good and almost completely normal. Unfortunately, post-workout I’ve been feeling some tightness in my lower back. It’s a little bit odd since I actually felt totally fine while during my deadlifts. In any case, I’ll continue to monitor things and make adjustments to my workout as needed. I do feel better after doing a circuit of rehab exercises after my workout so hopefully I didn’t make things worse.

2 Likes

Physique Update (Between October - November, top and bottom)

Obviously not a huge amount of time to see any major differences physically, but happy with the leanness and definition I’ve been able to maintain since the start of my bulk. I’ve gone from 185 to 187.

3 Likes

Week 1, Day 3

Safety Bar Squat (180 x 4 x 1), RPE 6
Safety Bar Squat (155 x 8 x 2), 85% of Set 1
Bench Press (200 x 2 x 1), RPE 7
Bench Press (185 x 4 x 4), 90% of Set 1
DB Skullcrusher (20 x 2 x 12 x 3), RPE 7
Seated Lateral Raises (15 x 12 x 3), RPE 7
Face Pulls (47.5 x 12 x 3), RPE 7

Safety Bar Squats

  • I could have gone heavier, but again being careful with my back. I actually feel okay today and the tightness from yesterday is mostly gone.

  • Now that this is my 5th week doing these, they’re starting to feel more ‘normal’.

  • Overall good, but just work on squeezing out that last bit of depth below parallel

Bench

  • Pumped to start the phase off at 200! I think this is the first time I’ve started a phase this heavy!

  • Sometimes on the first rep I let the bar go far too forward after unracking and they throws everything else off down the line.

  • Be more conscious of breaking at the elbows first.

DB Skullcrusher

  • Get a vid next time to check ROM.

Seated Lateral Raises

  • I feel these way more than standing, which is interesting because I don’t find that I tend to swing a lot with my upper body when doing the standard variation.
2 Likes

Week 1, Day 4

Larsen Press (175 x 5 x 1), RPE 6.5
Larsen Press (165 x 5 x 3, 95% of Set 1
Pause Dips (BW x 10 x 3), RPE 8
Pull-Ups (BW x 10 x 3), RPE 8
Wide Grip Cable Rows (90 x 12 x 3), RPE 8
Seated Lateral Raise (15 x 15 x 3), RPE 8

Larsen Press

  • These just felt really off today as far as getting my traps and back set on the bench. The actual pressing was fine.

Pause Dips

  • Be a little more patient with my pause on sets 2 and 3

Pull-Ups

  • My range of motion is fine, but my coach wants me to adopt more of a lat pull down type motion and my chest is puffing up/reaching toward the bar.

Wide Grip Cable Rows

  • I like the change up from the standard/more narrow grip
1 Like

Lookin good dude!!!

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Thanks @wanna_be !

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Week 1, Day 5

Pause Squat (225 x 5 x 1), RPE 5.5
Pause Squat (215 x 5 x 2), 95% of Set 1
SDL (65 x 8 x 3), Supposed to be RPE 6
Leg Extensions (100 x 15 x 4), RPE 7
Seated DB Curls (20 x 15 x 3), RPE 7
Cable Curls (42.5 x 17 x 3), RPE 7

Pause Squat

  • These felt the best squats have felt in about two weeks! Really smooth in terms of my descent, and getting that last bit of depth I’ve been working for.

  • After racking the bar on my last set, I felt a slight tweak/something tighten up in my lower back. Before continuing with the rest of my workout, I took some time to do some mobility/rehab work and they started to feel things loosen up.

SDLs

  • Really conservative in terms of weight to protect my back, but a chance to really focus on technique.

Seated DB Curls and Cable Curls

  • Really focusing on quality and form here
1 Like

Week 2, Day 1

BB Squat (245 x 3 x 1), RPE 7
BB Squat (265 x 3 x 1), RPE 8
BB Squat (275 x 3 x 1), RPE 8
BB Squat (225 x 3 x 2), 85% of Set 3
Bench w 3 count eccentric and pause at bottom 195 x 3 x 1), RPE 7
Bench w 3 count eccentric and pause at bottom 195 x 3 x 1), RPE 7
Bench w 3 count eccentric and pause at bottom 185 x 3 x 2), 95% of Set 1
DB Bench Press (65 x 12 x 3), RPE 8
Leg Press (225 x 10 x 3), RPE 8

Squat

  • My coach thinks that my bracing needs a bit of work, and that’s the root of my back issues. I focused a bit more on that today and could feel an almost immediate difference. In particular, the descent felt more smooth and I finally feel like I could get a bit of a bounce out of the hole.

  • My back is still getting a little irritated post-squat, so I’m going to drop the weight next time even though I technically can handle the load.

  • We may also change programming to give me a rest from doing so many high intensity sets, though I was honestly enjoying it. Of course, not something we have to abandon forever, but at least in the short-term.

Bench

  • I surprised myself by being able to hit 195, but based on how warm-up felt I thought it was doable.

  • Doing a better job of not letting the bar drift too far forward.

  • I also focused a bit more on making sure I take a deep breath prior to starting to rep to help lock everthing in.

  • I could see myself getting to 215-220 by the end of this phase which is super exciting!

DB Bench and Leg Press

  • Mainly same notes as last week. DB bench felt a little easier than I anticipated and on leg press I worked a bit on my bracing ala squats.
1 Like

Week 2, Day 2

Deadlift (135 x 5 x 5), RPE 5
Pendlay Row (105 x 7 x 3), RPE 8
Under grip Lat Pulldown (122.5 x 12 x 3), RPE 8
Ezbar Spider Curls (45 x 15 x 3), RPE 8

Deadlifts

  • With how my back was feeling went low on intensity and also changed the rep scheme to just be straight sets of 5.

  • Spent quite a bit of time working on bracing as well

Pendlay Row

  • These felt more comfortable/easy last week despite the bent over position, which was nice.

Ezbar Spider Curls

  • Got a video and happy with my ROM, and with pretty minimal swing.

Other

  • For some reason I felt really frustrated, annoyed, and negative about things today. I took a few minutes to just clear my head and get back on track, mainly remembering to be grateful for what I could do. My head is back in a far more positive space now.
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Week 2, Day 3

Safety Bar Squat (140 x 4 x 4), Lowered intensity to protect back
Bench Press (210 x 2 x 1), RPE 8
Bench Press (195 x 4 x 4), 90% of Set 1
DB Skullcrusher (20 x 2 x 15 x 3), RPE 8
Seated Lateral Raises (15 x 15 x 3), RPE 8
Face Pulls (50 x 15 x 3), RPE 8

Safety Bar Squats

  • Same story… could have gone heavier, but again being careful with my back.

Bench

  • Wow - surprised myself by hitting 210!

  • Working in the 200s is still a mental challenge for me. What’s especially interesting is I feel the nerves more in the descent and then as I press, I actually start to relax.

  • Keep working on that control, which I know is also partly a mental thing.

Accessories

  • Decided it was a better play to add reps, rather than bump up weight and lose some form.
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Week 2, Day 4

Larsen Press (185 x 5 x 1), RPE 7.5
Larsen Press (175 x 3, 95% of Set 1
Pause Dips (BW x 11 x 3), RPE 8
Pull-Ups (BW x 11 x 3), RPE 8
Wide Grip Cable Rows (90 x 15 x 3), RPE 8
Seated Lateral Raise (17.5 x 15 x 3), RPE 8

Larsen Press

  • Getting into a good groove with these as far as progress. These are also starting to feel more secure on the bench with less flopping around.

Pause Dips

  • I turned around so I’m facing outward / the opposite direction from normal. The bars are slightly tilted so I realized that was part of why I kept leaning forward so much last week.

Pull-ups

  • Continuing to really work on my chest position and that lat pull down motion. It makes a huge difference in what I feel in my back, but also makes these way harder. :joy:

Accessories

  • Rows it made more sense to add reps, while lateral raises felt better to add weight.
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Week 2, Day 5

Pause Squat (225 x 5 x 3), RPE 5
SDL (95 x 8 x 3), Supposed to be RPE 6
Leg Extensions (105 x 15 x 4), RPE 8
Seated DB Curls (22.5 x 15 x 3), RPE 8
Cable Curls (45 x 17 x 3), RPE 8

Pause Squat

  • I think I finally figured out why I keep re-injuring my back. I have some pain in my upper left thigh (right around where my quad starts) when I hit depth on squat. I believe it’s actually been there for a few weeks if not longer. However, while lifting at the heavier weights and all the technical changes Ive been trying to make, my brain was just too overloaded to be aware of what is going on in my body as a whole. Now, working at a much lower intensity, I’m noticing these things. In particular, I’m feeling a bit of twisting as I come out of the whole, which is most likely my body trying to compensate for the injury in my left thigh. This explains why the descent was never an issue, but I always felt something was off after re-racking the bar.

  • Approach going forward is to remove both frequency and intensity when it comes to legs for the time being. In particular, I’m going down from squatting 3x a week to just once. In addition, my coach has put in slow eccentrics, which will mean less force/velocity my legs have to handle going down into the hole.

  • My split is going up to 6 days of lifting a week, going chest and arms, legs (squats and accessories), back, full upper (push emphasis), legs (DLs and accessories), and full upper (pull emphasis). Since men’s physique doesn’t really emphasize legs, the idea is to focus on building up my upper body more which will also give my legs more time to recover and rebuild.

  • In a much better mindset now that I’ve had a chance to talk things through with my coach and shift gears to a plan that will help me achieve my goals while staying healthy.

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New Training Cycle (Might not have been clear from my previous post, but I’m already course correcting and hopping on the new game plan as of today.)

Week 1, Day 1

Bench Press (185 x 4 x 1), RPE 6
Bench Press (195 x 4 x 1), RPE 7
Bench Press (180 x 5 x 3), 95% of Set 2
Smith Machine Skullcrushers (Bar + 15 lbs x 12 x 3), RPE 7
DB Lateral Raises (20 x 12 x 3), RPE 7
EZ Bar Spider Curls (45 x 15 x 3), RPE 7

Bench

  • In September, I was benching 175 at the start of a phase for RPE 7, so huge progress for me to start a phase 20 pounds heavier!

  • Everything is starting to come together, but I want to keep cleaning up those little details. Something I need to become more consistent about that’s really helped is making sure that I take a deep breath before starting each rep.

Smith Machine Skullcrushers

  • This is my first time doing these, and I prefer this to traditional EZ bar or DB variations. I feel like it’s way easier to isolate/focus on my triceps, while not having to worry about stress on my elbows. I may ask my coach to make this a more regular exercise selection.

EZ bar Spider Curls

  • Same weight as last week, but these actually felt easier / lower RPE

Week 1, Day 2

3 Count Eccentric Squat (175 x 4 x 1), RPE 6
3 Count Eccentric Squat (185 x 4 x 1), RPE 7
Squats (165 x 5 x 2), 90% of Set 2
Leg Press (200 x 10 x 2), RPE 7
DB Lunges (10 x 2 x 20), RPE 7
Leg Curls (100 x 15 x 3), RPE 7

Squats

  • Still going a little lighter to play it safe. Once I get into the 200s is when I start to feel compromised, so slowly building back up.

  • My main focus here is to really work on the technical adjustments so that they’ll be automatic by the time I can squat ‘normal’ again.

Lunges

  • Really good depth and focusing on quality especially at the lower weights. Honestly, it’s not so much depth that worries me in terms of the injury, but any funkiness on the way up. I’ll slowly titrate this up as I feel more comfortable.

As I mentioned before, just feeling much better mentally, and not worried about temporary strength loss.

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Week 1, Day 3

Pendlay Rows (110 x 10 x 2), RPE 7
Cable Rows (125 x 12 x 2), RPE 7
Parallel Grip Lat Pull-Down (120 x 12 x 3), RPE 7
BB Upright Row (70 x 12 x 3), RPE 7
Single Arm Preacher Curls (20 x 12 x 3), RPE 7

Pendlay Rows

  • The starting position gave me some back discomfort previously, but that seems to be mostly gone now. In addition, I can do these with more weight at the same RPE.

Cable Rows

  • I noticed that my touch point on my torso can shift a bit, so work on making that consistent next time.

Lat Pull-down

  • I’m enjoying the change-up from the traditional grip here. Really felt this in my back afterward (in a good way).

Preacher Curls

  • Good being patient/focused and not rushing through these.
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