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Building a Better, Bigger, Stronger AF787

Week 5, Day 2 / Deload

3 Count Eccentric Squat (195 x 3 x 1), 90% of Week 4
3 Count Eccentric Squat (215 x 3 x 1), 90% of Week 4
Squats (190 x 5 x 1), 90% of Week 4
Leg Press (225 x 10 x 1), 90% of Week 4
DB Lunges (17.5 x 1 x 12), 90% of Week 4
Leg Curls (95 x 15 x 2), 90% of Week 4

Squats

  • Still working to get rid of that slight arch in my back. I’ve also noticed that I’m slightly rounding my back at the bottom.

  • While fixing these things, I can’t let myself get too mental or I’ll start going down into the hole at a snail’s pace again which isn’t a good thing.

2 Likes

Week 5, Day 3 Deload

Pendlay Rows (120 x 5 x 1), 90% of Week 4
Cable Rows (125 x 10 x 2), 90% of Week 4
Parallel Grip Lat Pull-Down (125 x 10 x 2), 90% of Week 4
BB Upright Row (70 x 12 x 2), 90% of Week 4
Single Arm Preacher Curls (17.5 x 10 x 2), 90% of Week 4

  • A new trainer started at my gym. Got some good comments on the quality of everything I was doing which was nice to hear.
2 Likes

Week 5, Day 4

Close-grip Larsen Press (160 x 7 x 1), 90% of Week 4
Close-grip Larsen Press (160 x 7 x 2), 90% of Week 4
BB Incline Bench (125 x 9 x 1), 90% of Week 4
BB Incline Bench (125 x 9 x 2), 90% of Week 4
EZ Bar Overhead Tricep Extensions (30 x 12 x 2), 90% of Week 4
Upright Rows (70 x 12 x 3), 90% of Week 4

Larsen and Incline Press

  • Really focused on control on my descent and keeping things stable up top. Did a solid pause at the bottom of each rep and my chest was feeling huge despite the lower intensity and number of sets.
2 Likes

Week 5, Day 5

Deadlift (285 x 2 x 1), 90% of Week 4
Deadlift (305 x 2 x 1), 90% of Week 4
Paused Deadlift (275 x 3 x 1), 90% of Week 4
SDL, 3 count eccentric (205 x 4 x 1), 90% of Week 4
Leg Curls (95 x 10 x 2), 90% of Week 4
Leg Press (225 x 15 x 1), 90% of Week 4

  • Nothing exercise specific to note, but I decided to stop using / looking at my phone between sets despite sometimes having 3-5 minute rests in ‘normal’ training weeks. I’ve done it in the past and found that it helps a bit with focus and intensity during the workout.
2 Likes

Week 4, Day 6

Weighted Neutral Grip Pull-ups (BW + 15 x 5 x 1), 90% of Week 4
BW Pull-Ups (BW x 7 x 2), Rather than fussing with the assisted pull-up machine I decided to just bang out some regular pull-ups
Machine Rows (95 x 10 x 2), 90% of Week 4
BB Upright Rows (60 x 15 x 2), 90% of Week 4
Single Arm Preacher Curls (17.5 x 15 x 2), 90% of Week 4

New training block starts on Saturday!

2 Likes

Week 1, Day 1

2-Count Pause Bench Press (180 x 4 x 1), RPE 6
2-Count Pause Bench Press (165 x 4 x 3), 92% of Set 1
Tricep Pushdowns (52.5 x 15 x 3), RPE 8
DB Curls (30 x 11 x 3), RPE 8
DB Lateral Raises (20 x 12 x 3), RPE 8

  • First session of 2022 is in the books!

Pause Bench

  • I probably could have gone heavier here, but given what I’ve mentioned previously about thinking that I tend to overshoot RPE at later points of the training cycle, I decided to stop at 180.

  • Great control and solid pause on these.

  • I need to keep working on making sure the bar doesn’t drift too far forward so I don’t get jammed at the bottom and make what should be a relatively straight-forward lift need some finagling

Accessory Moves

  • Focusing on quality here. I didn’t hit the top of the rep ranges set by my coach, but I will grow into those over the coming weeks and then bump up weight.

  • Crazy pump and felt huge after I finished the lift even though I didn’t feel like I did anything all that out of the ordinary compared to usual.

Also, first physique update of the year. I’ve definitely put on some mass since the start of the bulk, but am starting to lose some definition, which is of course normal. I started this bulk at around 175 and am now up to 191. 2022 NPC dates are starting to come out and it looks like late June / early-mid July is what I’m gunning for. Again, no real expectations as far as placement, but using this mainly to drive positive behaviors, motivation, and mindset.

3 Likes

Week 1, Day 2

Pause Squat (235 x 5 x 1), RPE 7
Pause Squat (210 x 6 x 3), 90% of Set 1
Pause DL (300 x 4 x 1), RPE 7
Pause DL (275 x 4 x 2), 90% of Set 1
Leg Extensions (100 x 12 x 3), RPE 7
Leg Curls (95 x 12 x 3), RPE 7

Pause Squat

  • Felt stable and controlled, no issues with the injury
  • Looking for just a little bit more depth and making every rep consistent. Sometimes I can rush a rep or two here and there

Pause DL

  • Felt strong and like I could go heavier, but wanted to be careful to not go out too heavy in Week 1 and not give myself room to grow
2 Likes

Week 1, Day 3

1-Arm DB Row (70 x 12 x 4), RPE 7
Lat Pull-Down (120 x 11 x 4), RPE 7
DB Curls (30 x 11 x 3), RPE 7
Face Pulls (50 x 12 x 3), RPE 7

1-Arm DB Row

  • Been awhile since I’ve done these, and especially at such a high rep range. I think the last time may have been back in 2020 when the gyms were closed and I was using my adjustable DBs at home!

  • I noticed that I seem to be twisting/turning my torso less at the top to finish the rep compared to before.

Accessory Moves

  • Good patience and pacing here. As was the case before, the plan is to bump up reps to get to 15 reps and then try adding weight.
2 Likes

Week 1, Day 4

Bench (190 x 3 x 1), RPE 7
Bench (160 x 7 x 3), 85% of Set 1
Standing OHP (65 x 10 x 1), RPE 6
Standing OHP (60 x 10 x 2), 90% of Set 1
DB Skullcrushers (20 x 2 x 15 x 3), RPE 7
DB Lateral Raises (20 x 15 x 3), RPE 7

Bench

  • I tried a set at 195 as well. While I could have made 3 reps fine, I stopped after 2 reps since I knew it would have put me above an RPE 7. Once I got to the downsets, I knew that was the right move.

  • Feeling more steady and controlled all-around.

Standing OHP

  • I can’t remember when the last time these were in a program for me, so understandable that this number is a bit low, along with being at high-ish reps and just an RPE 6. However, I still couldn’t help but think this is weak AF, because it is. In any case, only going up from here!

Skullcrushers

  • Really focused on keeping my elbows in tight and not letting them flare out and was pretty successful in that regard.
2 Likes

Week 1, Day 5

Squat (185 x 7 x 1), RPE 4
Squat (205 x 7 x 1), RPE 5
Squat (225 x 7 x 1), RPE 6
RDL (185 x 7 x 1), RPE 6
RDL (185 x 7 x 2), RPE 6
Leg Press (315 x 10 x 3), RPE 7

Squats

  • These felt particularly good, especially compared to Leg Day 1. Just a much easier time hitting depth and not letting my back arch as much. Only difference I can think of was not using the platform.

RDLs

  • It’s been awhile since I’ve done these, but felt a little awkward while trying to lockout. Felt good as far as feeling everything in my hamstrings and not rushing the reps though.

Leg Press

  • Happy about feeling well enough in my thigh to start pushing the numbers here a bit more.
2 Likes

Week 1, Day 6

Incline DB Press (4 x 65 x 10), RPE 7
Pull-Ups (BW + 5lbs x 9 x 3), RPE 7
Cable Rows (125 x 15 x 3), RPE 7
Incline DB Curls (17.5 x 15 x 3), RPE 7
DB Lateral Raises (20 x 15 x 2) and Upright Rows (70 x 12 x 2), RPE 7

Incline DB Press

  • Going to have to get a video but for some reason it feels like I’m pressing forward a bit, rather than going straight up. Otherwise, consistent with tempo, getting a decent pause at the bottom and not rushing reps

Pull-Ups

  • Had debated on just doing bodyweight vs. weighted since this is supposed to be AMRAP, but in the end I chose light weight. Similar to my accessory moves, I’m going to initially work on adding reps here before increasing weight.
2 Likes

Week 2, Day 1

2-Count Pause Bench Press (185 x 4 x 1), RPE 5
2-Count Pause Bench Press (170 x 4 x 3), 92% of Set 1
Tricep Pushdowns (55 x 15 x 3), RPE 8
DB Curls (30 x 13 x 3), RPE 8
DB Lateral Raises (20 x 14 x 3), RPE 8

Pause Bench

  • I’m really happy with how much more consistent bench is feeling and looking from one workout to the next.

  • Still need to work on making my torso feel really locked in.

Triceps Pushdowns

  • My coach gave me the cue of pulling to my hips and it seemed to make me feel things a bit more in my triceps compared to last week.

  • My coach wants me to work on having daily positive affirmations. I’m not really sure what made him pick up on it in my most recent check-in, but I’m glad he brought it up because I think it is true. There’s alot of negative self-talk going on upstairs, even if I don’t necessarily feel it on a day-to-day basis.

2 Likes

Week 2, Day 2

Pause Squat (245 x 5 x 1), RPE 7.5
Pause Squat (215 x 6 x 3), 90% of Set 1
Pause DL (310 x 4 x 1), RPE 7.5
Pause DL (280 x 4 x 2), 90% of Set 1
Leg Extensions (100 x 14 x 3), RPE 8
Leg Curls (95 x 14 x 3), RPE 8

Pause Squat

  • Squats are feeling better than they have in awhile, but when I watch myself on video there’s definitely stuff to keep cleaning up. In particular, my elbows are starting to drift away, and I’ve noticed I’ve reverted to my death grip on the bar.

  • I did a good job of walking myself back from the ledge and not letting myself get too frustrated that these didn’t look the way I wanted them to.

Pause DLs

  • These are working wonders for my positioning. I’m finally getting rid of the slight rounding of my back on the first rep and I’m feeling strong coming off the floor.
2 Likes

Week 2, Day 3

1-Arm DB Row (75 x 12 x 4), RPE 8
Lat Pull-Down (120 x 15 x 4), RPE 8
DB Curls (30 x 13 x 3), RPE 8
Face Pulls (52.5 x 12 x 3), RPE 8

1-Arm DB Row

  • Lost some steam as I got to sets 3 and 4 so just be more patient with my rest times. Otherwise these felt solid.

Lat Pull-Downs

  • Next week I’ll add weight and start working towards 15 reps again
2 Likes

Week 2, Day 4

Bench (195 x 3 x 1), RPE 7.5
Bench (165 x 7 x 3), 85% of Set 1
Standing OHP (70 x 10 x 1), RPE 6.5
Standing OHP (65x 10 x 2), 90% of Set 1
DB Skullcrushers (22.5 x 2 x 15 x 3), RPE 8
DB Lateral Raises (22.5 x 15 x 3), RPE 8

Bench

  • I’m trying a new approach where I do what’s supposed to be my top set and add another 5 lbs and just see what I can do while staying in RPE. I actually did a set of 200x3, probably the most confident I’ve ever felt benching 200 for reps. I didn’t doubt myself at all which was a huge mental victory.

  • For my back off sets I’ll always calibrate off my actual top set unless I was way under RPE

Overhead Press

  • Being good about pushing myself through my arms and forward, but need to be careful with my back and not arching/leaning back too much.
2 Likes

Week 2, Day 5

Squat (195 x 7 x 1), RPE 4.5
Squat (215 x 7 x 1), RPE 5.5
Squat (235 x 7 x 1), RPE 6.5
RDL (205 x 7 x 1), RPE 6.5
RDL (205 x 7 x 2), RPE 6.5
Leg Press (315 x 12 x 3), RPE 7.5

Squats

  • Ended up squatting in flats by mistake. The main reason for using squat shoes was to help me with hitting depth. Interestingly enough, squats felt way better in flats than I can ever remember them feeling. One thing I noticed is that in flats I can do a much better job if driving forward with my feet and knees. I think it’s proof that all of the pause squat and controlled eccentric work is starting to pay off. I also noticed my back arches less in flats. We’ll see if this ends up being a more permanent change.

RDLs

  • Switched to mixed grip since I felt that was going to be a limiting factor and so why weight bumped up so much compared to last week.
2 Likes

Week 2, Day 6

Incline DB Press (1 x 70 x 9, 3 x 65 x 11), RPE 8
Pull-Ups (BW + 10 lbs 9, BW + 7. 5lbs x 9 x 2), RPE 8
Cable Rows (127.5 x 15 x 3), RPE 8
Incline DB Curls (20 x 15 x 3), RPE 8
DB Lateral Raises (22.5 x 15 x 2) and Upright Rows (80 x 12 x 2), RPE 8

Solid ending to the week. For my big lifts, I decided to go for a heavy top set and then drop the weight back and go for higher reps, all while hitting my prescribed RPE. Accessories are getting to a point where I can start bumping up the weights now that I’ve hit the top of my rep ranges.

1 Like

Week 3, Day 1

2-Count Pause Bench Press (195 x 4 x 1), RPE 7
2-Count Pause Bench Press (175 x 4 x 3), 92% of Set 1
Tricep Pushdowns (57.5 x 15 x 3), RPE 8
DB Curls (30 x 15 x 3), RPE 8
DB Lateral Raises (22.5 x 15 x 3), RPE 8

Pause Bench

  • I had a couple moments where I felt like I was either not the strongest when unracking or getting stuck off my chest (not so much a strength issue, but more like I wasn’t in an optimal position to start the push off my chest). However, I didn’t let that get to me and instead focused on making the next set be better.

  • Really in a good spot mentally with my training. I’m coming into each session with a high level of confidence and belief that I can execute my training plan. I’ve been doing more visualization before sets and just thinking about getting bigger and stronger every day.

1 Like

Lookin swole bro! Also if you’ve mentioned this before I totally missed it!! Have you competed before?! That’s awesome you’re going too, regardless if you have before or not.