T Nation

Cal's Big Log


Right, time to stop fucking around. I used to have a log on FA but grew bored with it a while back. I'm not a figure competitor - I'm an office worker with a fat English arse who happens to like lifting heavy whenever possible.

I have a lot of challenges: I'm 42, so youth and hormones are not on my side, but mainly it's the accumulation of training injuries that slows me down. I have two problem shoulders (one I did in my twenties, the other started playing up last year), grumbly knees, a weird ham/glute pain that comes and goes, and a fucked right ankle. Really I should just be taken out back and shot, but I'm a stubborn old sod and will keep on training regardless.

A lot of my problems are caused by the inordinate amount of time I spend hunched over a computer (work and pleasure - I'm a compulsive gamer, which comes of being a former games journalist) so I need to fix my horrible anterior pelvic tilt and slightly kyphotic posture which should help with things like my squat, which is pathetic due to the fact I fold like a concertina once I put anything more than 30kg (66lbs) on my shoulders. So I've been doing light box squats and so forth to try and get the mechanics down before adding weight.

Anyway, I have not long come back from a nice holiday in Korea and Japan, so have been easing back into things. Today was the first day I've pushed myself much since I got back (jetlag was a bitch!)


12 x 50kg (110lbs) - this felt pretty good so decided I would see if I can improve my 1RM.
5 x 60kg (132lbs)
4 x 60kg (132lbs)
1 x 70kg (154lbs)
2 x 80kg* (176lbs)
10 x 50kg (back off set)

Now, I'm not too chuffed about the last lift. I told the guy I'd asked to spot *not to help, other than to hand off and then stay with the bar in case I had an epic fail. However, it felt as though it came up much too easily. He swears he didn't help, but I know for a fact it felt too light to be all me. So I'm going to have to try this again with a different spotter at some point soon.

Followed this with three sets of the following triset:

Chins (palms facing) x3
Decline push-ups (feet on a block) x10
16kg (35lb) kettlebell swings x15

I'm a bit disgusted at the chins - I could do 5 last week, but these are a real weakness for me. I am horrible at them, so I try to do them often. Aim is to get 10.
Incidentally, can't do pull-ups as the overhand grip aggravates my acromion.

3 sets of 16kgs (35lb) Kettlebell snatches, 12 reps per set (6 per arm)

3 x Superset:

10 x 25kg (55lb) straight arm pulldown on the lat pulley machine
15 x 16kg (35lb) kettlebell swings

After that I was pretty much done, other than having to carry the bloody kettlebell home (I have to take my own to the gym as the gym's few kbs are only to be used with the supervision of a personal trainer - lame. Fortunately the gym's round the corner from my home, maybe 300 yards or so).

Went home, ate a three eggs cooked in butter and a head of broccoli. Felt better.


woo hoo!

damn nice bench.

42 makes ya a baby. u have forever left to live. =+D


Fuck your bench press.

actually, it's pretty awesome. no suicide grip, I hope!!

Eggs taste best in butter. well, almost. sometimes i prefer bacon grease.

Take out the paragraph of cough*excusescough** and it sounds lovely.


Cheers. I use bacon grease when I have it - bought some bacon today, in fact. I know what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow.

And not excuses as such - more a case of what I'm working around and what I intend to fix. I had to fix my bench so it wasn't fucking up my shoulders as much, so next step is get my lower body mobility sorted so I can actually get to parallel when I'm squatting.

My hip flexors are as tight as banjo strings - I just need to be a lot more diligent about stretching and foam rolling. Feel free to kick my arse if I don't.


You started your log....awesome! Looking forward to following along. I've got two years on you, but I'm way new to training and therefore not quite as beat up.

That is some impressive benching.

I'm struggling with my squat at the moment as well. Welcome to the club.


Nice to see some girls my age logging their training. Age is so just a number.
Cal, your bench strength is excellent.
Injuries and general creakiness, I hear you loud and clear. Foam rolling, thorough warm-ups and pilates (!!) yes pilates has helped me get through the minor stuff. The stretching and focus on core awareness nicely compliments any heavy lifting. I've started investing my time and money in to seeing a good osteopath as well. I can say without hesitation that it has improved my upper body mobility 100% and healed almost completely both fucked up shoulders.
Looking forward to some vids too.


yeah, you have a killer bench....WORD.


Wow, nice bench. What is that in ratio to your weight?


I weigh 150lbs as of yesterday. It goes up and down (though not by a huge amount either way).


Sunday would normally be run day (I like to get out for some fresh air once a week or so, and have done a couple of 10Ks this year) but with my injured foot it wasn't going to happen. I sprained my ankle just before I went on holiday, which is a pain, but I'm aggressive rehabber and was able to walk on it fine for my holiday just 4 days later.

The real problem is that I have an extra bone in my right foot - known as an accessory navicular. It's a congenital abnormality that's present in roughly 10% of people and sometimes causes problems. I've been lucky in that mine has been asymptomatic for 42 years, but the sprain has disrupted it.

Net result is that running hurts, which is intensely annoying as I'd signed up for a 15K in December in aid of a stroke charity (both of my parents have had strokes). I'm seeing my GP next Monday and my physio a week on Wednesday, but for now, net result is no running.

Fortunately I can lift weights, so I went to the gym this morning to work on my squats. Now my bench isn't bad, but my squat is pathetic. It's mostly down to mobility issues. Obviously I have some problem with ankle mobility, especially at the moment. I also have very tight psoas, and no flexibility in my t-spine. The body of someone who has been sitting the past 20 years, in other words.

Box Squats:

1 x 20 x 20kg (44lbs) (ie, the empty oly bar)
1 x 15 x 30kg (66lbs)
3 x 10 x 40kg (88lbs)

Believe it or not, the last reps on those 40kgs sets were pretty challenging. Sad I know, but I will keep plugging away until it improves. The only way to get better at something you suck at is to keep doing it until you stop sucking. Oh and PS - used 6 risers. Baby steps...

Then I moved on to

3 x Superset:

RDLS, 10 x 50kg (110lbs)
Overhead squats with a 5kg bodybar x 15

I stood sideways to the mirror so I could see what my back was doing during the OHS. Good news is that my shoulder mobility is a lot better than I thought (all those dislocates paid off after all). Bad news is that my t-spine is as rigid as a steel girder and all the flexion is happening in my lumber spine. Note to self: make thorassic work on the foam roller a daily thing, not just when I happen to remember.

Finally, did some glute ham raises on the glute ham apparatus (it's one of those 45 degree ones) and a lot of stretching.

I have limited time to train on weekdays but I do what I can. The key is consistency.


For sure I understand a measly 40 kg on my back being challenging. I doubt I could squeeze any good-form ones out at legal powerlifting meeting depth. But I AM seeing bits and pieces of my squat improve over time and you will too.

What exactly are you doing for your thoracic spine on the foam roller? I usually roll out my upper back whilst laying over the roller.


Consistency is definitely it. That and progression. I'm jealous you have a glute/ham apparatus. Oh and "Hi", btw. :slight_smile:


Hi Arachne. :slight_smile: The glute ham apparatus isn't all that great - I prefer the ones where you are parallel to the ground. But this is a local authority gym and I'm just thankful there's olympics bars and a squat rack, to be honest.

Kimba - yeah that's what I'm doing. But it'll take a LOT to counteract 20-odd years of hunching over a keyboard. Funny thing is, my mother had the same problem. She made theatrical costumes for a living so she was hunching over a sewing machine or table rather than a computer, but we both have the same long spines (I'm 5'7 but was always taller sitting down than my 5'10 friend. If I'd had her legs I'd be over six foot. Ah well).


Welcome aboard!!! Your bench is awesome and your squats will come along too.


Today's workout:

Rack pulls (pins at knee height)

60kg (132lbs) x 8
80kg (176lbs) x 5
90kg (198lbs) x 5
100kg (220lbs) x 5
120kg (264lbs) x 1

Haven't done these for a while and don't think I've done 120 before, so I'm quite pleased with that. I tried to maintain good form but I find it really hard not to round my upper back as it's a bit kyphotic anyway.
Feeling optimistic, I tried going up to 125kg but that was the straw that broke the Cal's back (well not literally, but it didn't budge an inch). Called it a day on that movement.

Speaking of dodgy posture, next exercise was dumbell rows: 3 x 6 with the 28kg (66lb) dumbell
Grip was a bit shot bit the last set. My grip really is quite piss poor but it's actually better than it used to be.

Final exercise: Triset of:

Straight arm pulldowns on the lat machine, 6 x 30kg (66lbs)
Scap pulldowns, 6 x 50kg (110lbs)
Bent over dumbell raises, 10 x 4kg (9lbs) (I generally sacrifice weight for form on these)

Only did two trisets before I ran out of time.

Was happy today because the supermarket near work had a BOGOF on rotisserie chicken breasts at £1.39. Score!
Also got a placement today (I'm in recruitment) which means I won't get fired this month. Phew.

Looking forward to the weekend was I'm heading up to an amusement park in Yorkshire for what is possibly my last coaster ride of the year. Hopefully it won't rain too much, as it was pissing down when I left work and I got totally soaked coming home. Ah well, we've been pretty lucky with the weather until now.


Those are some impressive rack pull numbers. Do you deadlift and rack pull on different days in any given week?

I am a HUGE roller coaster fan. Never in the rain, though.


Not usually but as I'm hoping to boost my numbers I will likely end up doing just that. Today was really more a contingency plan. I generally do deadlifts off the floor rather than rack pulls, and deadlift day is usually Saturday. As I'm going away this weekend I thought I'd do a pulling exercise today, but as I was training today, early in the morning before work, I thought it prudent not to try and haul a big weight off the floor as the body tends not to be that great at pumping the synovial fluid around first thing in the morning.


Nice rack pulls, soemthing about rack pulls I find very satisfying and a big help to my DL lock outs.


Thanks. That's the other thing - if I'm going to fail on a DL, it's because I can't lockout. So hopefully these will help.


Your's is a fun read because I can almost hear the accent :stuck_out_tongue: Nice rack pulls.