T Nation

Chris_ottawa's Training Log


Tuesday, June 12 - Main squat day

Squat w/ wraps
465x3 - The plan was to do 4-5 reps, I ended up cutting it at 3 because the way I wrapped my right knee there was one spot at the bottom where it was pinching and digging into the skin at the back of my knee. Pretty sorry excuse but it hurt like hell, also this is just supposed to be a bit of technique work and I accomplished that. Could have done another 3 reps. All three reps looked to be just slightly below parallel, for the IPF it would be borderline and elsewhere it should pass. Still I should try to get used to going another inch or two lower so that depth is no longer an issue and also because I get a bit more rebound like that. This is only the third time using these wraps and last week was a deload, I think these will work out just fine but I need to be careful how I put them on and especially for rep work.

Hatfield squat
445x10, 8, 7 - matched reps from two weeks ago with 10lbs more. I was dead after the last set though, my upper back especially

Paused SSB squat
295x6, 6 - was planning to go for 8 on the first set but just didn’t have any juice left, I was exhausted. I wasn’t grinding reps or anything, there was just no energy there. Endurance/work capacity seemed a bit low yesterday too, I was expecting something like this

Snatch grip RDL
355x10x3 sets

My upper back and traps feel totally destroyed this evening, I can’t remember them being so sore.


Thursday, June 14 - Bench assistance day

Close grip floor press
275x9, 8, 6 - couldn’t have done more than 1 more rep on any set, reps are starting to drop off

Military press
195x10, 9 - could manage another two on the first, one on the second

Pushups - on dumbbells, neutral grip, with light band
x10, 8

Skull crusher
95x15, 15, 13

Face pulls
super mini band with a knot x25, 25, 25, 17 - ran out of gas on the last set. Hard to judge if there was more tension than two weeks ago but it definitely felt harder. Fortunately, it doesn’t really matter.


Friday, June 15 - Light squat/deadlift day

1-1/4 squat - transformer bar in back squat position
305x2x6 - 45 sec. rest

425x9 - could have done one more rep but it would have been a real 10rm. More or less equal to 2 weeks ago’s performance. Adductors felt kind of tight though, setup felt a bit weird.

Deficit deadlift
385x10, 8, 6 - First set was good but things went downhill quickly. Could have done more on the last set but I was struggling to stay braced so I cut it at 6. Obliques were feeling it.

Barbell row
315x12, 12, 10, 10 - a bit more cheating than I wanted but I got it done

Overhand hold - thick/smooth/stiff bar
295x15 sec.x2


Oh Boy! Bench Press Day!


You beat me to it by 7 minutes


Monday, June 16 - Main bench day

Bench press - 1st rep paused
300x8 - maybe another rep in the tank, I will try for 310x8 next week. It’s funny, when I decided to get into powerlifting this way my 1rm, now I doing it for 8 and I’m still nowhere near where I want to be.

Wide grip bench - paused
275x10, 8, 7 - could manage another rep or two on each set.

Close grip incline
215x10, 8, 7 - probably no more than one more rep on any set

DB flys w/super mini band
35’s x15, 15, 10 - pecs died on last set

Chin ups - supinated
bw+20x10,9, 8, 7

In case anyone is wondering, the reason I’m logging how many reps short of failure I am is because I’m trying to stay about 1-3 reps short of failure basically all the time. The times that my lifts started to stall are also times that I was going all out on a regular basis. Dan Green and other people have said that this is a good way to plateau, particularly on bench. So maybe an occasional rep max for a PR but try to avoid anything past 9rpe. Too much fatigue and muscle damage, not worth any additional benefits that it may have for one set since I’m doing multiple sets.


Great advice from people in the know


Tuesday, June 19 - main squat day

Squat w/ wraps
470x4 - could have squeezed out another 2 good reps. Technique looks solid except that depth looks right about borderline, same as Toubal Fatah’s failed lift the other day. I’m not going to compete in the IPF but I don’t want to count on loose judging either so I need to push for another 2 inches. I think that paused low bar squats will help because right now I don’t feel like I’m as solid as I should be in the bottom position and it seems like I’m shifting a lot of the weight to my quads rather than my glutes. Pause squats will fix that but I’m going to stay the course with what I’m doing here.

Hatfield Squat
465x8, 6, 6 - another 2 reps left on each set. This felt good, now that the weight is heavier I’m limited by my muscles more than my ability to breathe. On the last rep of that set of 10 last week I felt like I was going to black out. This isn’t like regular SSB squats because you can’t push the handles up, they compress your chest. It feels like drowning with a loaded bar on your back, shoulders, and chest.

SSB pause squat
300x6x2 sets - @8rpe on all squats today. No, this isn’t going to fix my squat w/wraps technique, the bottom position is totally different. This is basically ATG and upright, not the same at all.

Snatch grip RDL
375x8x3 sets - could do more reps but every set felt challenging right from the start, my body was pretty exhausted at this point. This is also 20lbs over last week.


Thursday, June 21 - Bench assistance day

Close grip floor press
285x9, 7, 6 - one rep in the tank on the first two, maybe two on the last. This is pretty close to my bench, and ROM is slightly more (the bar touches my chest on this) plus I’m using a close grip and no leg drive (legs straight out). The objective here was to increase pressing power without relying on leg drive as well as build up my triceps, looks like it’s working out.

Military press
205x9, 7 - 1-2 reps in the tank

Push Ups - on dumbbells, neutral grip, light band
13, 8 - big pushup PR on the first set, what a joke. Nothing left for the second one though.

Skull crusher
105x14, 13, 10 - triceps are dead after this

Face pulls
super mini band with knot x31, 25, 18, 12 - all sets pushed to the brink of failure and 1min. rest in between. It’s hard to increase intensity with bands so I’m getting creative, sort of. I might try using a light band next week but it might be too strong to do these properly. Maybe I will go back to band pull aparts in the next block.


So many questions!

How was the seminar?

Where do you lower the bar to, when you do the close grip inclines? Kinda low on your chest with elbows tucked, or higher with elbows out more?

Do you follow the same path on the close floor presses?

For the bands, have you tried choking or double chocking the band around your rack for more tension?


High on my chest, way higher than for bench. I keep my elbows out, try to get as much tension on the triceps as possible.

On those I touch approximately the same place I would on bench. I don’t really focus a whole lot of bar path, naturally you will have to push the bar back towards your face because if you don’t it will be off balance and want to fall towards your feet once you have enough weight on the bar. I kind of figured that out without thinking about it.

Yeah but each time you do that it adds a significant amount of tension, it can be more than switching to a stronger band. Next week I will see what it’s like with a light band, if it’s too much then I will choke it around the rack. For stuff like face pulls it’s a fine line between just enough and way too much.

The seminar is good. If there is anything I can complain about it’s that I know too much already. Most of the stuff Josh covered wasn’t new to me but I got to ask him a bunch of questions and get all the finer details. I also got 12 pages of notes.

Josh is a smart guy and his methods are pretty straightforward, aside from knowing how to effectively apply certain exercises and methods that other people haven’t had success with, I think his strong point as a coach is knowing how to adjust training based on individual differences. There are a lot of coaches that want the lifter to conform to the program but in reality it should be the other way around. If a particular training frequency or exercise isn’t working for a lifter it doesn’t necessarily mean the lifter has a problem.

Another thing that I have come to realized and that he confirmed is that pushing volume to the max and spending more time building work capacity than building strength is not necessary at all. Some coaches (like Mike Tuchscherer for example) fell into the trap of more and more volume, the thing is that if you are making decent progress with your current volume there is no sense in pushing it further. A lot of the strongest lifters never did any sort of high volume program, not because they were stupid or lazy but because they didn’t need to.


Thanks man. I think I’ve been tucking too much and touching too low.


Greg Nuckols has an article about that, look it up. Basically you don’t need to tuck much at all as a raw lifter, slight flare might be better. The cue “tuck the elbows” comes from geared lifting where you have to tuck your elbows to touch in a bench shirt, that also makes you touch lower.


Friday, June 22 - Light squat/ deadlift day

1-1/4 squat - transformer bar in back squat position
305x2x6 - 45 sec. rest - I’m well below parallel on these, I need to make my wrapped squat look like that

440x8 - could pull another one or maybe two reps

Deficit deadlift
400x9, 7, 6 - 1-2 reps in the tank on all sets

Barbell row
325x10x4 sets - this felt way easier than before. Also my back was feeling totally annihilated (muscular soreness and fatigue, NOT injury) after DL workouts but today it is still functioning properly. I guess my back has gotten stronger, which is what I wanted

Overhand holds - thick/smooth/stiff bar
300x15 sec. x2

Trying to crush the bar makes this easier, but my forearms are sore after.

  • the volume trap is easy to fall into! Especially if you started some kind of training(maybe any kind of training?) when you were young. Just naturally, you do tons more as you grow from a boy workload to a man workload. It’s easy to think back to this early “success” and decide that More More More is the way to go. For a mutant like Mike T, that could end up as lots of training.

-I checked out that Nuckols article. There was some good info, thanks for the tip. I tried some bench press isometrics to feel out the elbow position. Seems like strong lats would help.


Mike T actually didn’t do a ton of volume when he was younger (and at the peak of his lifting career), the high volume stuff started later and was what resulted in his current situation.

Lats don’t actually do a whole lot for bench pressing, despite what some people claim. They help you bring the bar to your chest with a tight bench shirt though.


I’ve heard this before, and I’ve always wondered why lats help so much in bench shirts. Does the shirt give so much support that you need to actively try to pull the bar into your chest? I’ve seen old vids of mark bell in multiply gear struggling to bring the bar to his chest and never really understood what was going on. (as you can tell I don’t know much of anything about powerlifting gear lol)


Yes. In a shirt you have to row the bar to your chest, unless it’s a weak shirt or just loose and that won’t add much to your bench. It’s not unusual for people to fail equipped benches because they can’t touch the bar to their chest. For the more advanced guys there is a small range of what they can touch and lock out, lighter and they will never touch and heavier they can’t lock it out.

Some people think that equipped lifting is cheating and the gear automatically adds weight to your lifts but it isn’t that simple, it is way more complicated than raw. I have never used a suit or bench shirt, only knee wraps and even those are more complicated than I expected if you want to get any carryover from them. Technique becomes more important than ever.


I’ve heard this a million times from weak people lol

This is something else I’ve been wondering, what is complicated about training in knee wraps? Do you only wear them on singles doubles and triples during meet prep? How would you change your program for competing in wraps instead of sleeves?


See recent entries in my training log, I’m in offseason mode and I’m still working up to one heavy-ish set in them, usually 4 reps. If I’m closer to a meet then yes, I would only do sets of 1-3 in wraps.

Technique in wraps is different from technique without them. You can use a light wrap that will not affect technique much but you won’t get much out of them, if you use stronger wraps then it can be harder to hit depth and they will also shoot your hips backwards when you come out of the hole if you aren’t used to them.

I see no point in competing in wraps if you aren’t getting significant carryover from them so I’m using a stronger pair, Titan Signature Gold. I have a pair of Pioneer Guardians which seem to be lightly stronger that Inzer Grippers, I barely get anything out of them unless I wrap my knees real tight and then it hurts like hell every time I hit the hole. The Sig Golds are surprisingly comfortable and don’t need to be insanely tight to get some good rebound, they have significantly more stopping power than the guardians (although less than the red Slingshots) so I’m still working on feeling out depth in them. Once I get everything sorted out I should be squatting close to 600. Or at least that is the plan…

You don’t need to drastically change your programming if you compete in wraps, you would just do your heavy sets in wraps. Some people like MarkKO can get away with minimal training in wraps and still be able to make them work, I think it has to do with your technique. More knee flexion = potential for more carryover from wraps BUT it will be harder to hit depth. Your sticking point will be much higher, somewhere in the middle for most people, so stuff like pause squats might not have the same effect although they will help you blast out of the hole faster as well as strengthen the bottom position. I found that dead squats starting a couple inches below where bar speed drops off helped a lot.