Calvert and Milo Barbell

The other really cool application for velocity is figuring out meet attempts. I hadn’t considered it until Chris Duffin mentioned it in passing.

People say things like “if you’re feeling good” or “that moved quickly”, but how do you translate that into actual attempts?

So I used the speed of my warmup sets, estimated my 1RM – based on how things were going that day – and then made decisions around that. It was pretty spot on.

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Lower volume day for the strength work.

Windmills: 50# x 6 (each side)
Bottom + Full Press, Chains: 85# x 1 x 3; 75# x 2 x 3
BB Curls: 75# x 7
Barbell Jumps: 135# x 5
3” Deficit Deadlifts, Paused below Knee: 255# x 3 x 3
Side Press: 50# x 5 (each side)
Jefferson Squats, 5 mats: 265# x 10 (total, 5 each side)
Upper-back Meadows Rows: 35# x 22 (each side)
Straight-leg Situps: 41# x 9
Behind-the-Back cable lateral raises: 5# x 27 (each side) - 7 links
Across-the-Front cable lateral raises: 5# x 27 (each side)
Cable overhead extensions: 7.5# x 20 (each side)
Cable cross-body uppercuts: 7.5# x 20 (each side)
Chest files on foam roller: 7.5# x 17
H2H Kettlebell Swings: 55# x 11 (each side)


  • Decided not to submit another deadlift attempt.
  • Sides of low back were quite sore and stiff yesterday. Maybe from reintroducing Jefferson’s? Fine today.
  • Upper chest is weirder than I thought. It’s basically a different muscle with different innervation. You can flex it without involving the rest of the chest – relax your chest and hold your arm at the top of an “uppercut” movement and you can feel it with your other hand – which means you can train it specifically. So experimenting with training that.
  • Broke out my Nike Romaleos today for presses and jumps. Been a long time. Threw a few super-light front squats in to get a feel. Will be using these shoes more.
  • Pelvic tilt during the deadlift may be a source of pain. Trying to keep the low back more consistently positioned across the whole rep. Squats may help with this.
  • Knees have been a cranky, especially right. Not sure if it “started” with deadlifts on Wednesday or maybe Jeffersons on Friday. Mostly notice it with stairs.

You can see how I start to lose my low back positioning toward the third rep here; switches from neutral to a bit arched. This is what I’ve been doing unintentionally in my prior deadlift sets, which I think is leading to some low back/upper hip pain.

This is what I’m going to work on. It’s basically like I’m not rotating my pelvis back quite enough. Erectors seem plenty strong. Could be glutes or hamstrings, or something else. TBD.

EDIT: I think I see part of the problem now. First rep my knees aren’t fully extended at the pause and knees are still in front of the bar. Second and third rep my knees extended “early”.


Medium volume. Press, Clean.

Press, Paused at Forehead: 95# x 3, 4, 3, 4 (4 sets)
Barbell Jumps: 155# x 4 x 3


  • I’m getting a flu shot today, so wanted to get the presses done asap.
  • With the pause, I kept losing count. Couple extra reps I guess.
  • Videoed them from the back, and it looks like my grip is still a bit too narrow; forearms not vertical at the sticking point/pause

Higher Volume strength work. Deadlift, Press, Bottom Deadlift.

Windmills: 55# x 3 (each side)
Barbell Jumps: 155# x 3
Deadlift: 255# x 3 x 3 (fastest was 0.68 m/s)
Press: 95# x 4 x 3 (fastest was 1.02 m/s)
BB Curls: 75# x 8
Barbell Jumps to Power Clean: bar x a few, 95# x a few
Bottom Deadlift to Knees: 265# x 3 x 3
Side Press: 50# x 2 (each side)
Jefferson Squats, 5 mats: 265# x 12 (total, 6 each side)
Upper-back Meadows Rows: 35# x 24 (each side)
Straight-leg Situps: 41# x 10
Chest files on foam roller: 7.5# x 18
Behind-the-Back cable lateral raises: 7.5# x 8; 5# x 20 (each side)
Across-the-Front cable lateral raises: 5# x 28 (each side)
Cable overhead extensions: 7.5# x 21 (each side)
Cable cross-body uppercuts: 7.5# x 21 (each side)
H2H Kettlebell Swings: 55# x 12 (each side)


  • :joystick: Leveled up my deadlift working weight to 265. Hit my velocity target of 0.66 m/s (~71% ish, so estimated 1RM is ~365)
  • Was hoping I’d also do the same with press, but nope, not yet.
  • Side presses just weren’t happening. Got 2, failed 3 on the right. 50# x 6 is still the target.
  • Jeffersons are clearly a very different exercise than deadlifts. Doing them one after another makes it very clear. Lots more back in the Jefferson’s, actually.
  • forgot to drop the pulley weight to 5# for those lateral raises, so did 8 on each side then dropped and finished the set

Ignoring my recent goals, my original goal of:

I feel like I’m basically there. I do look better in a t-shirt, in my own opinion.

Last weekend, some guy at the playground said something that suggested maybe I did Crossfit.

And the funniest. My (almost 3 year old) son was poking my shoulders and asking why my body was “squishy”. Made me laugh, like when my daughter asked me “what are those bumps?”

Traps, upper back, shoulders, posture, “thickness” have seen major improvements. Arms and legs have grown but are still “scrawny”.

Anyway, I guess this all says I’m doing the right things.


I’m having a few doubts about my overhead press programming. I’ll give it [at least] another 2 weeks and make a decision.

A few directions to go:

  • increase baseline volume (same everything else)
  • move to a higher intensity range (same everything else)
  • drop frequency, redistribute the volume across 3 or 4 days instead of 5 (same everything else)

I did some math. (Surprise?) Since I started tracking velocity stuff it does look like my press has been going up, just slowly. There’s a LOT of variation, so I don’t trust this number at all, except to say “it IS going up”. However, if I were to trust it, it’s something like 3-5 pounds a month.

(See how low that R^2 value is… anything under 0.9 probably shouldn’t be trusted)

I’m pretty sure that could be better; Power to the People worked better, I think. Similar volume and frequency, but a higher intensity range.

Confounding factors: I did that comp prep and submission stuff. And I adding Calvert + BB stuff back in.

So I’ll give it more time.

Lower volume. Press, Clean.

Bottom Press to Forehead: 95# x 3 x 3 - paused at top
3 Jumps, 2 Power Cleans: 95# x 3


  • First time actually doing that 3 jumps, 2 power clean thing. Got the bar up, banged my collarbone/sternum a few times, generally clumsy and uncoordinated.

I looked at the data a lot more, and I’m just being impatient.

95 pounds is 76% of my tested 125 max. My goal is to work with it until it becomes 71%. That means my new max would be 134. Obviously it’s going to take some time to add 9 pounds to my max.

If I look at the “peak estimated 1RM”, I trust that trendline a bit more. Not a lot more, just a bit. It suggests a rate of ~4 pounds of month.

Translated: that means I’d be sticking with a working weight for 6-8 weeks before increasing it.

In real life, I’m up late trying to do some correlation analysis across a moderately large dataset:
about 40 million interactions between 4,000 distinct entities. I’m not happy with the results. They’re not matching with my intuition, and I’m not sure which is wrong.

Analyzing lifting data is a break from that…

Here’s another interesting thing I also pulled together. This is the actual volume fluctuations for the Press training, per my coin-flip-based Russian Roulette program. Looks like Sheiko’s examples.

I haven’t been at it long enough, but one thing I want to look into is the relationship between INOL, volume, and my 1RM (real or estimated). It’d be really interesting if there was anything resembling a linear relationship – it takes X reps at 71-76% to increase my max another 2%.

There’s probably some interesting bits in there too about how cumulative weekly fatigue affects velocity later in the week.

Nothing particularly important, just kind of interesting things to look into.

Oh, also, I read a bit more into INOL. It seems most people talk about it in terms of “fatigue” and using INOL to understand and limit it. But if you look at Prilepin’s chart – which INOL approximates – it also suggests there’s an “optimal” value, not just a “maximum”.

Translating from Prilepin into INOL terms, the average “optimal” INOL for a single lift in a single session is 0.75.

Taking that a step further, and back to Olympic Weightlifting, it looks like the Soviets generally trained 4 days a week, for a weekly “optimal” INOL of 3 per lift.

My current training is around an INOL of 0.5 per lift, with a weekly INOL of 2.5 for the press and 1.5 for the deadlift. These are knobs I can turn (per my previous post of “where to go from here”).


That’s great news! How much has the BW increased?

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It fluctuates, of course, but 7-9 pounds since late June.

I was “145-147” on Jun 26. I’m about 154 right now.


That’s good, how much has your press increased since then?

Somewhat over 10 pounds, although the starting point was the first time I’d pressed in 7 years, so I’m not sure how much that counts. Most of that could literally just be technique improvement.

At this rate I’ll have to be 300 pounds to press 250 :slight_smile:


Haha I’m sure that applies to a few of us!


Quite literally true for many i think.

Thats all most of us can hope for.

Seriously. Ive been logging here for 3 or 4 years. My press 1rm went from probably 115 to 140 back down to 125 over that time. Bodyweight correlates. Technique focus helps, along with 2x/week or more frequency. Nothing else seems to.

(Im saying 125 now because with this shoulder pain im not going to try, but i think it would stop me from getting 135 but 125x1 is probably still in the bag).

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Now that I think about it, for my 140 press long ago, I weighed 10 pounds more than I do now.

Weird if bodyweight is the reason. I thought I was “stronger” but maybe not by that much.

That makes those historical records of 225+ at 175 all the more impressive.


It was a late night. Tired and not super motivated. Took my time working through these during my workday. No rush.

Medium Volume strength work. Bottom Press, Deadlift.

Bottom Press to Forehead: 95# x 4 x 3
Front Squats: 95# x a few – to “prepare” for the receive position
3 Jumps, 2 Power Cleans: 95# x 2; 115# x 1
Windmills: 55# x 4 (each side)
BB Curls: 75# x 9
Deadlift: 265# x 3; 275# x 3 x 3 (fastest was 0.63 m/s)
Side Press: 50# x 6 (right side); x 5 (left side)
Jefferson Squats, 5 mats: 265# x 14 (total, 7 each side)
Upper-back Meadows Rows: 40# x 12 (each side)
Straight-leg Situps: 46# x 5
Chest files on foam roller: 7.5# x 19
Behind-the-Back cable lateral raises: 5# x 29 (each side)
Across-the-Front cable lateral raises: 5# x 24 (each side)
Cable overhead extensions: 7.5# x 22 (each side)
Cable cross-body uppercuts: 7.5# x 22 (each side)
H2H Kettlebell Swings: 55# x 13 (each side)


  • With the randomization, there’s a 1/4 chance I’ll end up doing a “bottom press”. A 1/16 chance I’ll do it two sessions in a row. This was that time I guess.
  • Since I wanted to stick in the 71-76% range, I realized I needed to bump up to a 275# working weight, not 265#, for deadlifts.
  • Side presses felt a bit rough on the shoulders.
  • Power cleans went a bit better today than yesterday. Still quite “off” though.

Another month down. Fourth month back. Freeform month in review.


  • Writing this first, so I don’t forget it.

  • Using a 5 day rolling average, I was 150.5 at the beginning of the month and 154.0 at the end of the month. 3.5 pounds.

  • Some opinions say weight gain should be faster than that, other data shows muscle can’t be built faster than that, but I think I’m on the right path.


  • I wasn’t perfectly healthy all month, but I also didn’t get sick. Some hints of sinus stuff, some hints of esophagus stuff, but both were managed before they grew into anything problematic.

Competition stuff:

  • Did my first competition, sorta. Video submissions when I’m the only person in my age/weight class was weird. I got first place for my age/weight class…

  • Actually, final results came in, and I was dead last of the men - 5th of 5 when adjusted for weight. I’m not surprised. I’m not “untrained” but I’m not far from it either.

  • I learned a bit about comp prep, namely, that I didn’t really need to do it with how I trained in August. Maybe an extra day of rest and that’s it.

Training in general:

  • Calvert stuff came back in; only 1.5ish weeks of it, but it’s back (with some modifications)

  • My press probably got stronger and my deadlift actually got stronger. I’ve done a ton of pressing and deadlifting.

  • I’m pretty happy, psychologically, with my Easy Strength/Sheiko cross (+ CAT + VBT). The time commitment feels right, there’s a comfortable amount of variation, and I definitely feel like I’m getting better, even if not stronger. From videos, it also looks like my technique is getting much better. It’s a good “fallback” routine if there’s not time for anything else.

  • Power cleans are coming along. I’m starting to get the hang of doing them right and front rack is manageable.

Physique Progress:

  • I have a more established means of doing cable work, so I can use it for vanity work.

  • I adjusted some things to focus specifically on physique. Goals: Widen the delts, thicken the upper chest, improve the tricep hang.

  • I’m experimenting with “lengthened partials” from the stretched position. Seems to be working, so far.

  • Legs are being neglected a bit. May turn my Tuesday/Thursday days into front squat or “Calvert squat variation” work.

  • Overall, though, things continue to move in the right direction.


  • Nothing hurts too much, and nothing has held me back from what I tried to do this month.

  • Shoulders aren’t 100% pain free in all ROMs, but continue to work fine, and are no longer affecting my sleep.

  • I feel like my overall mobility is better at the end of the month than the beginning. Hip and shoulder mobility seem really quite good now. A few of the Calvert exercises seem to be very important for that (windmills, leaning side presses, jefferson squat) at least when added to pressing and deadlifting.


Physique check in


Woke up Saturday morning feeling really good with my hip mobility. Kind of a weird thing to notice; I’d never noticed it before. The heavier deadlifts felt good on Friday, so maybe that?

This weekend I had a bit of weird inflammation thing going on. Esophagus, then appetite, then coughing stuff up, then mood and general achiness/exhaustion. Mood stuff was intermittent. Went to bed earlier than normal last night to see if I can offset it. Feel ok-ish today though.

September was good, October may be off to a rough start. It’s also the start of our main seasonal change; from warm and sunny to colder and rainy. Mostly just two seasons here in the PNW.

Lower Volume strength work. Press with Chains, Deadlift.

Press with Chains: 75# x 3; 85# x 2 x 3
[break for meetings and such]
2 Front Squats, 3 Jumps, 2 Power Cleans: 95#, 115#, 135# (missed last rep)
BB Curls: 75# x 10
Deadlift: 275# x 3 x 3 (fastest was 0.62 m/s - slower than Friday’s peak)
Side Press: 50# x 6 (both sides)


  • I adjusted my loading chain, so the chains aren’t dangling at the top, and it’s a bit lighter at the start. Last time I did my first set with 85 and it felt too heavy. This time I used 75 and it felt too light. Either way, still around +30 at the top. So either 105 or 115, depending on the set.

  • Today didn’t get off to a great start (outside of the gym). I’m not feeling great. I called off for the rest of my work day after lunch, which was halfway through my deadlift sets. I may do a few more things, later. May just focus on R&R.

  • I read this quote earlier:

I have a friend who is around 45 and is a former competitive Oly lifter. He told me once: “There are days when I come to the gym and feel like not doing anything. So I squat and go home”.

That’s today for me. Do [most of] the hard work, skip the fluff work.

Although, I’ll probably still get it done by tonight. After an afternoon of rest.

6 each side, finally

EDIT: later.

Right knee is still bugging me a bit, so decided against Jefferson’s until Wed.

Did some chest and delt stuff.

Cable cross-body uppercuts: 7.5# x 37
Behind-the-back lateral raises: 5# x 33 (ish)
Cable cross-body uppercuts: 7.5# x 24
Foam-roller chest flies: 7.5# x 20 - slower eccentric, hands-to-the-floor stretch

Everything was CAT style with partials targeting the stretched portion.


Straight-leg situps: 46# x 6


Still feeling sick. No real symptoms other than exhaustion. (I’m confident it’s not the gym, although the idea of Calvert-induced illness is amusing. That’s been the only real change.)

Well, ok, esophagus was still acting up yesterday. But nothing else.

Higher Volume. Press, Front Squat, Bottom Press.

Press: 95# x 3 x 3 (fastest rep was 1.04 m/s)
Front Squat: 135 x 2; 115 x 3; 125 x 3, 3 (altogether, 4 x 3)
Bottom Press to Forehead: 95# x 3 x 3


  • Front squats are new. My right knee has been bugging me for a week and a half now, and I haven’t been getting as much quad work like the squats I used to do, so maybe I need some squats. (I also think it may be due to bad knee position on a set of Jefferson squats.)

  • Mostly, though, I’m using these to train the front rack position. I’m using it as mobility and accessory work for doing [power] cleans. 125# is the right balance right now for “front rack discomfort”. My legs and back can handle more; this is where my right shoulder/elbow/wrist are limiting me.

  • Press is, I dunno, not seeming to improve. When the straight lift comes up in the rotation, it’s kind of like a test day. I get a chance to “level up”. It’s still not moving faster than last time this happened, so I’m a bit discouraged. But like I said last week, I need to give it more time. (And, like I said last week, I’m still tempted to run Power to the People with this lift.)

Another analysis!

Power to the People, if you do it like this:

  • 5 days a week
  • 2 sets, a set of 5, then 90% of that for 5
  • add 5 pounds each session for presses
  • when you can’t hit 5 reps on the first set, drop 30% and start over

Then it comes out to 50 reps a week with an average intensity of 72.2%, ranging from 55% (first backoff set) to 90% (last top set).

You know, that’s not so different than 48 reps a week with an average intensity of 73%…

It’s just stable volume with variable intensity vs stable intensity with variable volume.


Feeling much better today, despite the oppressively dim gray weather. The gray I don’t mind; but I could use a little more brightness.

Medium volume strength work. Bottom + Full Press, Top Deadlift.

Bottom + Full Press: 95# x 4 x 3
Front Squats, Jumps, Hang Power Cleans: 95#
Windmills: 55# x 5
BB Curls: 80# x 5
Side Press: 40# x 10 (each side)
Top Deadlift: 315# x 4 x 3
Jefferson Squats, 5 mats:
Upper-back Meadows Rows: 40# x 14 (each side)
Straight-leg Situps: 46# x 7
Cable cross-body uppercuts: 10# x 27 (each side)
Behind-the-Back cable lateral raises: 7.5# x 20 (each side)
Across-the-Front cable lateral raises: 7.5# x 14 (each side)
Cable overhead extensions: 7.5# x 23 (each side)
Cable cross-body uppercuts: 10# x 25 (each side)
Chest files on foam roller: 7.5# x 22
H2H Kettlebell Swings: 55# x 14 (each side)


  • The 1-1/2 rep presses felt like some solid work. A little more grindy than fast, but that’s fine. Mentally I’d like to go up in work weight, but I’m still getting a lot out of this.

  • Actually, the psychology is weird on this one. I’m calling myself on it. I’m doing the “planning” thing. In my head I’m planning on hitting a certain milestone by certain dates, and I feel like I’m falling behind. It’s affecting me negatively. But it’s all in my head. I need to remove the timeline, and only focus on the actual goal of “get 95 lbs moving faster”.

  • One of the symptoms of that negativity is when I catch myself saying “well, it’s not improving, but it’s still ok because…”

  • The top sets of Sheiko’s “deadlift off blocks” is typically programmed like: 80% x 3, 85% x 2 x 2, 90% x 2 x 1. (Triple, two doubles, two singles.) So given my baseline is 75% with 275, I targeted 85%, which came out to ~315, 86%.

  • One pattern I’ve seen in a few places is to use two – and only two – accessories per lifting day. Notable examples: Sheiko usually uses 5 sets of each, and the Chinese Weightlifting program usually uses 6 sets. (For 10 and 12 total sets, respectively.)

  • Those side presses last time were too heavy. I was following the recommendations in one of the Milo courses, but I’m switching to his later take in Super Strength:

You should use a bell of such a weight that you can repeat the movement ten or twelve times. […]

It is just as much of a mistake to use a bell which requires all your strength to put it aloft. If you think this is a “lift” and waste your time in seeing how much weight you can push to arm’s length, the development you get will be very disappointing. If you use a moderate weight and do the exercise correctly you will get simply wonderful shoulder and back muscles. The back muscles are developed through the act of contracting them as you lower the arm. The deltoid is developed by the act of raising the bell, but even more by the way you lower the bell. […]

If you are a light man 50 lbs. should be your limit; if you are a big man you can go as high as 65 lbs., but you must always keep firmly fixed in your head the idea that this is a developing exercise and is not a lift in any sense of the word.

  • Jefferson’s on Friday, depending on right knee. It does feel better today.

  • Almost everything is PRs, that’s why I don’t call it out… beating the log book is the point, right?