Been thinking some more about future training and looking at the big picture. I’ve plotted out a few training cycles in excel which I think could work well for a while and I might try for several months next year. They are the following:
Cycle 1: 5s PRO main work then 5X5 FSL deadlifts and 50% BBB for other lifts with minimal other assistance- probably rows on upper body and core work on lower. Twenty minutes easier conditioning at the end of upper workouts and an extra day of harder conditioning. Focus of this cycle is conditioning. Deload at end of cycle.
Cycle 2: 5s PRO main then 5x5 FSL deadlifts and FSL BBB for other lifts, again with minimal assistance. Conditioning cut back to ten minutes of easier stuff at the end of upper days. More of a strength building cycle. Deload at end of this cycle too.
Cycle 3: PR sets with 3x5 FSL all lifts with slightly increased assistance, probably ~50 reps from each category each workout. Conditioning same as cycle two. This is more testing focused using what I built in the previous cycles. Not sure about whether to deload here, I’d probably just see how I felt as I got on.
Would then start back at cycle 1 and repeat. TM would start low (80-85%) and reset it using something like five forward, three backward or maybe just two runs through of this then go back a run through like TMs for cycle 7 are the same as for cycle 4.
This is inspired a lot by what I’ve heard about 5/3/1 recently. It’s not perfect and buying the book will probably help more but it’s what I’ve been thinking about with training in the future. May do some cycles back to back instead and change a few things slightly but I think it covers most aspects of training well. I wouldn’t attempt it unless in a calorie surplus and managing my recovery well.
Also after reading the four seasons of lifting articles by CT I’m considering an annual ‘cut’ sort of thing from around April/May to July and then to try and slowly gain weight the rest of the year. My thinking is this should keep me in check and hopefully looking reasonable. It’d be in my last term of university where I make all my own meals so it’d be my best time to lose a bit of weight and I’ll have exams so it’s also a good time to back off training a little. Again it could all change but it’s good to have my thoughts written down.
These felt the best they have in a while both in terms of speed and technique so I’m happy about that. A guy squatting next to me started talking to me about pause squats and asking me how I found them. He also said he was into powerlifting and that my squat looked good which was nice. Hopefully we get talking again because I could probably learn something from him.
Dumbell bench press superset with dumbell rows:
Did a set of ten hanging leg raises in the leg raise apparatus thing and then finished. My friend came with me for the first time since last September and he was taking his time between sets and then I was talking to that guy too so this took about 45 minutes and I’d already spent 15 minutes waiting for him to sign up so we didn’t have time to do anymore. I would have like to do some sort of assistance giant set just to finish off but it’s not a big deal. I’m looking forward to each training session at the minute which is really good.
Bench press (TM-72.5):
2x10x20, 5x40, 5x50, 5x57.5, 10x65, 10x45 Superset with: 4x10 band pull aparts and 2 chins
Ten reps with 65kg ties a PR but I think I slept funny and my chest felt really tight so things were a bit off. To match my PR anyway is definitely a good sign though, I’m confident at least 12 reps would be there usually.
2x5x20, 5x40, 5x60, 5x70, 5x75 Superset with: 6x10 band pull aparts and 12 chins
Squats felt strong today but slightly uncomfortable in my hip so I think I need to stretch out a little bit. Chins felt easier this week and I was able to do sets of two.
Lat pull-down: 50 reps Sled push: 5x20mx20
I felt tired after benching for some reason so I really didn’t want to run on the treadmill because it’s one of the most boring things I can think of. Instead I pushed the sled. All of it was done with no rest other than to move the handles to the other side when I changed direction. They’ve put a new turf down in the gym to push it on which is really thick and it makes it really hard to push which is why I went so light. Heart was going pretty fast by the end and I was even more tired so it did its job.
Losing weight doesn’t seem to be going very well but I do feel like I’m slightly leaner so maybe I’ve done more of a recomp. At the beginning of this I wanted to try cutting down without tracking macros but I don’t think I’m able to- at least I know for next time.
I don’t think I’ve pushed it that hard yet, it’s difficult to over such a short distance and the surface it’s on. There’s two little bumps along it where it gets stuck so the whole run is limited a lot by getting over those unfortunately.
Running I find difficult mentally, I think because it’s so boring, it just becomes a mental battle with myself and there’s nothing to distract me.
So after a bit more thinking and fiddling around I’ve settled on exactly what I’m going to do for the three upcoming BBB cycles. I feel better having everything well planned out and I’m very excited to start them. I’ll write it out below both for myself and anyone that cares.
Squat 5s PRO superset with chins
Squat BBB superset with chins and ab wheel rollouts
Dumbell incline press (25 reps)
Bench 5s PRO superset with pull aparts
Bench BBB superset with pull aparts
Barbell rows (5x5) superset with kettlebell swings (25 reps)
Sled (10 minutes)
Deadlift 5s PRO superset with chins
Deadlift 5x5 FSL superset with chins
Press ups (25 reps) superset with lying leg raises (25 reps)
Overhead press 5s PRO superset with pull aparts
Overhead press BBB superset with pull aparts
Dumbell rows (5x10 ramping) superset with split squats (25 reps)
Sled (10 minutes)
The only thing that’s changed since I last mentioned it is the assistance. I’ve brought a lot of it down from 50 reps to 25 and increased the frequency slightly in line with Jim’s more recent recommendations. I’ll be hitting abs, push assistance, lower assistance and using the sled twice weekly and do some sort of pulling every day which will work nicely. Chins will start at one or two reps each set and hopefully work up to sets of three across for 24 total reps- pull aparts I’ll just do sets of ten because you can’t really overdo those. Kettlebell swings I will do in sets of five and focus on them being as explosive as possible. I’ll probably do split squats and the roll outs as five sets of five too just to match up with the other stuff.
The main thing I’ve learnt with assistance, especially with an already challenging program, is not to push it. When I did hardgainers if I had 50 reps to do I’d start with 5x10 and push to near failure trying to get it done in three sets each week and as soon as I could I’d up the weight. In comparison, now I like to using something light and easy, take my time with the reps and try to feel the muscles working and I think as a result I’ll recover much better.
To explain; I didn’t realise the time and only set off for the gym, which is a 15 minute walk away, at 15:20 and had to be back for work at 16:30 which only gave me 40 minutes at the gym. Then as I got there at I realised it closed at 16:00 so I had even less time. I did everything as a circuit, basically change weights-deadlift-overhead press-repeat. I didn’t go for a PR set or even follow 5/3/1 for overhead press just because I didn’t want to mess around figuring out the weights but I still did a decent amount of work.
Ended up being a productive workout and shows what you can get done if you push the tempo.
Things felt really off and I’m not sure why. I feel like technically things feel different every time. I thought 5 reps with 85kg might end up a bit grindy with how I felt so I decided to do more of a ladder approach. I got videos of the sets with 75kg and 85kg which I’ll post below. Funnily pause squats felt quite easy. Felt pretty disheartened by the end of these though and really didn’t feel like doing the usual dumbell stuff.
Ab circuit (2 rounds):
Russian twists x10 each side
Sit ups x8
Lying leg raises x5
Did this mixed in with some stretches and felt a bit less sorry for myself by the end so did a little extra assistance stuff.
Trap bar carries superset with press ups:
Did this with basically no rest between sets. Got my heart rate up a fair bit. The empty trap bar felt heavier than 20kg which I assumed it weighed. Is there a standard weight for them and if so what is it?
Bodyweight last time I got weighed a few days ago was 86.2kg so at least that’s finally gone down and I definitely think I’m a little less fat.
Finally here’s the videos of the squats. I haven’t had a really good look at them yet but from watching them once between sets it seems I might be hyperextending as I unrack which is definitely something I’ve only started doing recently and I know that I walk around a fair after but I’m working on that. The main thing I want opinions on though is the actual squatting so please chime in with any comments you have. I might get videos of my other lifts too then create a form check thread.
Very sore from yesterday so this wasn’t particularly fun. I normally leave at least a day between work outs but I was busy Monday and it’s more convenient if I workout today and Friday so I went back to back. 70kg felt very slow and heavy but 75kg wasn’t too bad. I tried thinking less about technique and it did seem to help a bit.
Good PR for my last plus set in the near future and something to build on. An 11th rep may have been there but I wasn’t confident enough to try without a spotter or safeties.
Pretty horrible. Starting to understand how hard sled work can make you feel like you’re dying. Did it with no rest other than to move the handles to the other side every 10m (had to turn) until after the third run then had 30s then went back at it non stop again. I was thinking of running and mentioned it before but I think I’ll do this instead and try adding one more run each time until 10 then either add weight or go for time, maybe both on different days.
Good productive workout overall, going to try and remember to get weighed tomorrow morning. Excited to start the BBB program.
Squats felt very good today, the best they have in a long time. I wanted to take advantage of it and try something a little heavier to see how it felt so I decided to work up to my TM in triples. The first two reps felt very good then I misgrooved the third by trying to go a bit low but even that didn’t feel bad. I got a video which I’ll post at the bottom.
11 is a PR with 37.5kg I think but these 10 reps weren’t too bad and my elbow felt a bit funny anyway so it’s still decent. I keep sleeping on my side with my arm extended out and I think I keep over-extending it a bit which is making my elbow kind of stiff.
2x5x60, 5x80, 5x90, 5x100
Snatch grip deadlift: 2x3x80, 5x80
Used straps on the top set rather than struggling with my grip or having to use mixed grip and it felt so much easier. I had no idea it would be that different with my grip out of the equation. I think I’ll do this more often for my top sets if I’m getting plenty of grip work from elsewhere. Did three sets of three banded pull ups before first three sets too. Video below of 5x100 set and last snatch grip set.
Looking at the video; squats look fine other than the rep I misgrooved, deadlift my hips look a bit high and I need to stop looking up but other than that I’m not sure.
Basically where it was last time and close to where I started. This was the last full body template workout and the end of me trying to cut down a bit. Despite not losing basically any weight I do think I’m a bit leaner and more importantly I’ve learnt that I probably need to track what I eat at the stage to be successful with it. Going to eat a little more now to account for doing a bit more work and hopefully stay around where I am weight wise.