T Nation

Chris_ottawa's Training Log


It’s not the end of the world, this meet didn’t really mean anything anyway and it’s not like I went out of town and spent a bunch of money. The main thing is that I’m healthy and getting stronger, bad days can happen to anyone.


So anyway, the plan at this point is to take a few days off from training, on Thursday and Friday I will do some light, easy, fast workouts just to keep the blood flowing and not get too lazy. Next week will be deload-ish, but with different lifts and a different setup. I’m going to spend about 10 weeks focusing on improving body composition, mostly high rep training. I’m not cutting or bulking, I’m going to keep calories at maintenance level and try to build muscle while losing some fat.

Some people think that doesn’t work, but it does in certain contexts. I even asked Mike Israetel about this a while back. Basically, if you are new to training or have taken a long break then yes, it’s no problem to lose fat while adding muscle. If you have been training consistently for long enough it doesn’t work well, but the exception in my case is that my training volume has been very low for the last while because I was training for a meet. Mike Israetel called it a “detraining effect”, which sounds weird because peaking for a meet is the opposite of detraining but high rep/high volume training will be a totally different stimulus. I did this about two years ago, I ended up gaining about a pound or two but people were telling me I lost weight, I was in good shape at that time and set a bunch of rep PRs. Unfortunately I ended up getting gastroenteritis the week of the deload and spent a week on the toilet, I lost about 10lbs. when it was over - and that was after getting fully rehydrated. That was a major setback, I must say.


This has been my experience with high rep, big volume. I lose weight while keeping maintance calories. But I’m still under a year of training so who knows what will happen down the line.


Well, if you are losing weight then it isn’t really maintenance calories, I would assume that the increased volume increases your metabolic rate so you would actually need more calories to maintain weight. Like the time I lost fat while building more muscle a couple years ago, I had to eat more than I did during meet prep but my weight only went up by 1-2lbs in about two months and it could very well have been water weight too.


Another thing I’m pissed off about, some piece of shit stole my bottle of ammonia at the meet. I had it on top of my bag, I went to the bathroom and came back and it was gone. I thought maybe it fell into my bag because it was unzipped, I couldn’t find it and earlier today I cleaned out the bag and it is gone for sure. What kind of asshole steals someone’s ammonia at a meet? If I ever find out who did that, they will have a machine breathing for them. On top of that, the gym the meet was at actually sells ammonia too. Fortunately I had a few ammonia caps, I only had a few left and I ordered a couple bottles of ammonia recently, I brought the caps thinking I might use them for my last squat and deadlift because they are way stronger than the bottle stuff so I had those. Still, that’s fucked up. Piece of shit petty thieves.

I have been thinking about this squat depth thing, I know I had some squats that were a little high but from what I have seen and heard about WPC I thought even those would pass (watch some videos of squats in WPC meets, not just the multi-ply ones). I wasn’t trying to become some high squatting clown, my intention was to squat “slightly below parallel” and in the last while it looks like 90% of my squats were below parallel. But here’s the other thing, I was told by the judges at another meet that you will be judged more strictly on bigger lifts. These are two guys who judge international IPF meets, by the way. So maybe that was part of the issue, my squat isn’t anything amazing but my opener was actually the 2nd highest in my flight, and probably that whole day. Pro aka untested lifters were the day before. So seeing as I was opening with double what some other guys were squatting they might have been a little stricter than they would have been otherwise, I think I did cut my first attempt a bit high because I was nervous but on the last one the side judge told me that I was right at parallel. Looking at the diagram in the WPC rulebook, parallel appears to be the required depth for a squat to pass. I don’t have video and I’m not trying to accuse the WPC of being more strict than the IPF and internet ATG Nazis, I’m just trying to make sense of this situation. In any case, the moral of the story is to always squat below parallel and not expect loose judging because you can get fucked over like I did. And I’m not married to the WPC, there are IPL and WRPF meets around here now and then and those two feds don’t seem to pass bullshit squats so regardless of what other people may or may not be doing my intention was always to squat in a manner that will pass anywhere. Unfortunately I didn’t, oh well.

I was saying that I’m done squatting with wraps and it was a bad idea and so on, but at this point I feel like I want to give it another shot. I wanted to squat in wraps just for an added challenge and to make things more interesting, plus you can obviously lift more (could carry over to DL as well) and there are some meets now and then where you can win money and they don’t care if you use wraps or not. I kind of like wraps, they felt horrible the first few times I used them but I got used to it and started liking it, I just need to consistently squat a couple inches lower and I should be good. All the other meets I did were IPF-affiliated so I was obsessing over squat depth for the whole training cycle, here I guess I got overconfident, thinking that they would pass just about anything so my squats were fine when they weren’t. Anyway, I’m not doing anything in wraps for now but when I have another meet planned (no sooner than the fall, at the earliest) I might get back into them about 3 months out.


I guess I’m back to obsessing over squat depth again, IPF or not. I used the red slingshot wraps, which are fairly stiff, I bought a 2.5m pair because I didn’t know which meet I was going to do and when I decided on the WPC one I was thinking of buying a 3m pair (because they are allowed and shout have more carryover) but I wasn’t confident in my ability to hit depth even in the 2.5m pair so I decided against it. I looked around at other options, Pioneer/General Leathercraft has wraps the call “Guardian” (used to also be sold as APT Black Mamba) which are supposed to have lots of rebound and not much casting, according to their chart. I was thinking that maybe those would be better for me but I wasn’t sure how long they would take to arrive and I didn’t want to fuck around with different wraps too close to a meet. At this point, I think I will buy the (a 2.5m pair) and learn to squat to actual unquestionable depth. Not some ATG bullshit, but consistently below parallel. I can only blame myself for bombing out, the only fed that anyone blames for red lighting good squats is the IPF, outside of that it all depends on who is judging. My depth wasn’t 100% consistent but I thought that WPC wasn’t so strict on depth, I was wrong.


I think this is becoming a real boring training log. Don’t worry, next week things will get more interesting, rather than me venting my frustrations.


Nahh not boring, it’s always nice to hear the thoughts people have, when things goes against them.
I’ll be looking forward to next week.


Thank you for the kind words.

Right now I just want to lift bigger weights and to a higher standard, make my squats pass in any fed. I know I can do it because IPF is the one every complains about and I only ever got one single red light for squat depth in an IPF-affiliated meet. There is an RPS meet in October in Kingston (about an hour drive), I might sign up for that but I will have to cut my hypertrophy/recomp block down to one month if I want to get enough practice in wraps and peak properly. I’m going to order those Pioneer wraps, hopefully shipping will be quick since I’m just taking the basic design rather than getting a fancy customized pair.


Monday, May 7 -Main bench day

Bench press - first rep paused
270x10 - could do at least two more reps, aiming for sets of 8-10 though

Wide grip bench - all reps paused, minimal arch and leg drive - trying to focus more on building muscles than the actual bench movement pattern
255x10,8 - both sets had another rep in the tank, you can see that my work capacity sucks right now though.

Incline close grip
185x10,9 - one rep in the tank again

Flys w/ super mini band
35’sX12,8 - this is funny, I was doing this for sets of 12 during my peaking phase and now I can barely do 12 after a few high rep sets.

Chin ups - supinated grip
bodyweightX10x3 sets

I’m starting off with relatively few sets and adding weight and sets each week, doing too much in the first week will cause too much muscle damage and won’t give me room to progress. Volume tolerance is low right now, but that also means that I shouldn’t need much to get a training effect either.


By the way, this workout felt easy in a way. Performance dropped steadily but I don’t even feel tired after.


Tuesday, May 8 - Main squat day

I ordered a new set of knee wraps and they arrived yesterday (Guardian wraps from Pioneer/General Leathercraft), I had been debating on what I want to do and I decided that I would do one work set in wraps each week before moving onto other stuff. I need to work on my technique in the wraps, unless I want to give up on wraps and in that case I should probably do some low bar squats.

Squat w/ wraps
440x4 - The goal here was to do an easy set of 5 (I was doing doubles with 485 a few weeks ago, and that was after heavier work) but my technique felt a little shaky. I haven’t really squatted since the meet (over a week ago) so that’s understandable. I could have grinded out another 2-3 but that was not the objective. Looking at the video, everything looked about borderline depth, I was wearing shorts so maybe it was better than I think but I would say another 2 inches and I’m good. These wraps feel totally different from the red Slighshot wraps, way more stretchy and less uncomfortable. I was only getting 7 revolutions with the slingshots, I wrapped myself the same way without really trying to pull them tight and I had enough extra wrap for at least another revolution, could probably get 9 with some effort. These ones don’t bind up as you descend, it seems like I stopped myself around parallel out of anticipation, can’t really say how the rebound compares just yet since I didn’t even wrap them too tight.

Wow, too much commentary
Hatfield Squat
405x10,6 - I did 315x10x3 sets last friday (beltless too) for my active recovery/fucking around day, I figured this would be an appropriate starting point. The weight wasn’t really that much of a challenge, the problem that I had was breathing. Squatting with a SSB for high reps is always a bit of a challenge because the pads press down on your chest, the fact that my hands weren’t on the bar made it even worse plus the last month I was doing mostly singles and doubles. First set was rough, rested 5 minutes and I was determined to do 8 but I was getting light headed and gasping for air so I had to stop. In a couple weeks I’m sure I will do much better, after all this is the first week back.

Paused SSB squat - beltless
275x8, 255x8 - wanted 275x10 but it didn’t happen, the weight feels real light but I just couldn’t maintain tension so I cut it short and took 20lbs off. Work capacity is worse than I imagined, a few months back I remember doing a triple in wraps, 325x4x10 sets, then a couple sets of high bar pause squats and RDLs. I would die if I tried that right now.

RDL - Snatch grip
315x10x2 sets - not really hard but I felt like I got hit in the head or something so just trying to get through this. The whole workout took way too long, I was trying to move fast but after those Hatfield squats I lost all perception of reality.

I had the intention of doing some ab stuff but decided to call it a day, feeling like death and I have to go to work. My workout ended about 20 minutes ago and I already feel like I’m coming back to life, I take that as a good sign. For real though, I’m shocked at how bad my work capacity is right now. My intention was to start back with an easy week but even that look like too much.


Thursday, May 10 - Bench assistance day

Close grip floor press - I have short arms, this is full ROM for me. Trying to work on pressing strength without leg drive and such.
255x10, 8 - could have done 1 more rep on each set, maybe 2 on the second.

Military press - full pause at the bottom - I was doing these touch and go for the last while, my thought here is that it should help with strength off the chest but it seems equally challenging
175x10, 8 - 1-2 reps left on each set. It looks like I’m pretty good at choosing weights, I planned the weight for this and floor press earlier this week.

Pushups - on dumbbells, neutral grip, with super mini band (same as before)
10,8 - second set was an all-out effort, no joke. Harder than I expected, probably because my work capacity sucks right now. Whatever. It’s a coincidence that I did 10 and 8 reps on this, that was not planned at all. I expected more.

Skull crushers
75x15,13 - trying to do these as strict as possible and feel the muscle working as oppose to moving max weight and messing up my elbows

Face pulls
super mini band x25x3 sets

I’m taking a break from curls for the moment, although supinated chin-ups should accomplish the same thing. I think I went too heavy too soon when I started doing barbell curls a while back, after a couple weeks something was hurting in my right forearm. I hate curls anyway, and face pulls pump up my biceps too.

On a side note, Josh Bryant is doing a seminar in Ottawa in June, of course I signed up. Hopefully I will learn something new.


Friday, May 11 - Light squat/deadlift day

1-1/4 squat - transformer bar
305x2x6 sets, 45 sec. rest
This is a squat where you go all the way down, come up just past parallel and then drop back into the hole and finish the lift (for one rep). Josh Bryant was using this with some of his guys to improve the bottom part of the descent, that’s exactly what I need so I’m giving it a shot. It felt a bit awkward since I have never done it before but I can get used to it.

385x10 - could have done another 2-3 reps although the last rep or two were looking a bit stiff legged. It seems like my glutes fatigue first and then my back and hamstrings take over. Only one set here. First couple warm ups were double overhand, then hook grip with a 5 sec. hold on the last warmup rep, work sets are all with straps because my thumbs might explode otherwise.

Deficit deadlift - standing on 35lb plates, 1-1/4 inches
345x10, 9 - could have done 2-3 more on the first set, last set I was having trouble maintaining technique at the end and struggling to stay braced so I cut it at 9. Overall, high rep deadlifts are way easier than Hatfield squats. They still aren’t fun but breathing is no problem. The deficit here is small but enough to make a significant difference and make it feel way more hip dominant, I think this is the exercise that has done the most for my DL in recent times. It wasn’t much because I only did it for a few weeks but speed off the floor definitely improved and these really teach you to get tight because otherwise it feels like your back might break.

Barbell row
295x12,10, 9 - energy and motivation were low at this point but sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to.

Overhand hold - this is with my power bar (NOT the deadlift bar) which is about 2mm thicker than a standard power bar and the knurling is basically smooth.
275x15 sec.x2 - I’m doing this because I’m using straps for my work sets and I don’t want my grip to get weak. This was not really challenging but it’s a start, only the first week back.

So next week I will add a set here and there and a few pound to most things, that’s the plan. By the end of the block I should be doing 50-70 working reps per workout on compound lifts, somewhere in that range. Increasing volume will pay off but not at the expense of weight, the weights need to go up because after all I am training for powerlifting.


Monday, May 14 - Main bench day

Bench press - 1st rep paused
275x10 - could do 2 more, also paused the second rep by mistake but I don’t think it makes any difference. According to a rep max calculation my 1rm would be about 385 assuming I could do 2 more reps, that sounds about right.

Wide grip bench - all paused
260x10,9,7 - could have done 2 more reps on all sets. Looks like work capacity has improved slightly.

Close grip incline
190x10,10,9 - another 3 on first set, 2 more on the last two.

Dumbbell flys w/super mini band
35’sx12,10 - same reps as last week on the first set but didn’t fatigue as fast for the second, that’s a good sign considering I did more sets, reps, and weight leading up to this than last week. I was planning to add another set to this but I figured my triceps need it more so I did one more on incline cgbp instead.

Chin ups - supinated
bodyweight x10x4 sets - adding a set rather than weight. I have a habit of adding weight fast to chin ups and stalling out, I want to keep progressing on this for a decent while. It’s not that hard but enough to stimulate something, and full ROM.

I’m not going to post any videos right now because I’m not doing anything too exciting, I don’t even know what a 10 rep PR would be because I haven’t done 10’s in so long but this doesn’t seem like anything to get excited about. Maybe in a few weeks that will change.


Tuesday, May 15 - main squat day

Squat w/ wraps
Same thing as last week, wanted 5 but cut it short because it is supposed to be an easy 5. All reps look to be below parallel but depth is not totally consistent, the 2nd rep was way below and others were somewhere between there and just barely depth. I have plenty of time to work on that so it’s no worry. These wraps make it way easier to hit depth but I also don’t feel like I get quite as much out of them as the red slingshots, probably wrapping tighter would bring them closer to the same amount of rebound but they are very stretchy so it’s hard to get them real tight wrapping myself and I train alone. These are fine for some offseason training but I think I will experiment with some other wraps, I have heard good things about Titan signature golds although they might be too strong for me right now (however they supposedly have less stopping power than the slingshots) and the Titanium wraps are supposed to be more of a mid-range wrap. The other good wraps that Pioneer makes sound like way too much stopping power, the Phantoms are supposed to have a lot of rebound but that is what Vlad Alhazov uses - they are the strongest and some of the stiffest wraps on the market. Probably not a good idea right now.

Hatfield squat
415x10,8,7 - This felt horrible but not half as bad as last week. Breath was the limiting factor on the 2nd set, on the third my glutes and quads were starting to die on me too. This is a brutal exercise, no joke.

Paused SSB squat - no belt
280x8,6 - felt much better than last week but my abs and back were having a hard time not collapsing on the 2nd set. Quads got pumped up like crazy.

Snatch grip deadlift
325x10x3 sets - I feel these way more in my glutes than I used to, probably because I spent some time doing them with a band around my waist.

This was hard but not as bad as last week, plus I did more sets, reps, and weight. Things are moving in the right direction.


Thursday, May 17 - Bench assistance day

Close grip floor press
260x10, 9, 7 - could have done another rep on the first two sets, maybe two on the first one, last one not sure if there was anything left. I sort of rushed my rest periods a little bit, this is Ok still.

Military press
180x10, 9 - could do another two on each set

Pushups - on dumbbells, neutral grip, with super mini band
12, 9

Skull crusher
80x15x3 sets - it seems funny that such a light weight can do something for me. Last set was hard, don’t think I could have squeezed out another one without cheating.

Face pulls
super mini band X25x4 - one set more than last week, trying to increase tension by standing further back but it’s hard to really measure.

Everything is moving in the right direction. I think I look a little but less fat but my muscles are definitely way ore pumped up than a month ago. Peaking phases always leave me looking soft and flabby and I was kind of flabby already coming into this last one.


Friday, May 18 - Light squat/deadlift day

1-1/4 squat - transformer bar in back squat setting
305x2x6, 45 sec. rest - I’m going well below parallel, hopefully this will carryover to squatting in wraps

395x10 - could do another 3 reps. After doing enough deficit work this feels like a block pull

Deficit deadlift
355x10, ,9, 8 - could do another 3 on the first set, two on the other two. Bracing was better than last week.

Barbell row
300x12, 11, 10, 9 - all sets pushed to the point where I would have to really cheat to get more reps in

Overhand hold - power bar with smooth knurling
280x15 sec. x2

It’s not easy, but it feels better than last week.


Monday, May 21 - Main bench day

Bench press - first rep paused
280x10 - Could have done another rep, probably not two. Felt slightly harder than last week but still did what I planned to do (10 reps).

Wide grip bench - paused
265x10, 9, 7 - two reps in the tank on each set

Close grip incline
195x10, 10, 9 - 2-3 more on the first set, one more on the second, 1-2 on the last

DB flys w/ super mini band
35’s X13,11, 9

Chin ups - supinated
BW +5 X10x4 sets

I didn’t want to add too much volume (only added 1 set of flys) because last week I was still a bit sore on Thursday but this didn’t really feel that hard. Of course the objective should be to increase weights more than volume but more volume can still be useful. Depending on how next week goes I might deload the week after or push it for another week, the first week of this block was hard because I wasn’t used to the high reps but I got used to it and I’m recovering well. Also no meet on the calendar so nothing to plan for.

The rough idea is to do two blocks of 4 weeks + deload (this one could be 5 as I said) and then spend a couple months working with heavier weights and lower reps, but nothing close to peaking. If there is a meet nearby that I want to do then of course I can peak but otherwise I will go back to this high rep torture. One thing that I have been neglecting to do for some time is this offseason-type work, I still got stronger with what I was doing but taking a break from heavier loads and improving body composition does pay off.


Tuesday, May 22 - Main squat day

Squat w/ wraps
445x5 - Could have done another rep for sure, possibly two. I wrapped my knees a bit tighter this time, 9 revolutions instead of 8 last time, it gave me more rebound but also gave me a sharp pain at the bottom of each rep on the skin around my knees. I cut the first rep a bit high as a result, the rest looked OK but I’m still not satisfied. I wasn’t expecting that much pain on each rep plus having the wraps tighter made them feel different overall. It will be a while before I get this wrap business sorted out, but I’m in no rush right now.

Hatfield squat
425x10, 8, 7 - first set didn’t actually feel too bad but the next two did

Paused SSB squat - beltless
285x8, 6 - I was planning to add another set here but after the first one I barely had enough energy for one more. I would have to reduce the weight or else it would be about 4 reps, hardly worth it. I was recently reading some stuff that Borge Fagerli wrote about training volume, based on what he said I think I should err on the side of caution because I am making progress and I also have a tendency to do too much volume which can kill progress altogether. What I have right now falls right into the guidelines that he prescribes, Eric Helms also said that he aims to give the minimum volume necessary for progress, even for advanced and elite lifters. A little more might mean faster progress but it also increases the risk of injury and will get you to the point of overreaching faster. Right now upper body days are kind of easy but leave me sore and this Tuesday squat workout leaves me feeling like I got hit by a train.

Snatch grip RDL
335x10x3 sets