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Chris_ottawa's Training Log


#325

Thursday, August 9 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench
305x5, 5 - This went well, probably could have done 2 more on the first set. Triceps feel strong today.

Close grip 2 board
330x5, 5 - maybe 2 more on the 1st, 1 on the 2nd

Military press
210x5, 5 - all 5’s today, all the same difficulty. This is with the bench almost vertical (more vertical than if I did this standing) and I’m also pausing at the bottom.

JM press
175x8, 8, 8, 10 - this felt kind of easy so I pushed the last set a bit harder. Triceps feel good.

Face pulls
light band x25, 23, 16, 14

So far bench/bench-related exercises are feeling good, I just need to get my squat back together.


#326

Friday, August 10 - Light squat/deadlift day

Squat - transformer bar in back squat position
315x2x6 - 45 sec. rest - felt good

Deadlift
490x3 - this was surprisingly easy, the bar drifted forward on the third rep (I think I might have started with my hips too high) but it was no big deal and I’m sure I could have got at least another two reps. This isn’t really a PR though, last year in the spring I pulled 510x2 (after 540x1) on a stiff bar, but this was way easier. At least my deadlift is looking good for a change.

CAT deadlift
435x10 singles - 60 sec. rest - felt good, fast, easy

Deficit deadlift
435x5x2 sets - same weight as CAT pulls, seemed like an appropriate weight. Could have done 2 more reps on each set, maybe even 3 on the first.

Barbell row
360x8x3 sets - last week I was thinking that I was cheating too much on these, I later watched videos of Ed Coan and Chris Duffin cheating way more than me. It if works for them it should work for me. Last week I wasn’t too happy with how things were going and started second guessing stuff, I will stay on the path I was on.

Overhand hold (stiff bar)
305x15 sec. x2 - down 15lbs from last week. Did it, but right hand started to open on the 2nd set. Interesting that my right hand is weaker even though I’m right handed.


#327

Monday, August 13 - Main bench day

Bench press - paused
350x2 - failed 3rd a few inches from lockout - this was the same story as last week except I actually failed the last rep, the first two seemed faster than last week and based on that it looked like I had 2-3 more in me. I think I wasn’t fast enough off the chest on the third one and couldn’t finish it. I know I’m not great at grinding reps but this was a surprise.

CAT bench
280x3x5 sets - 1 min. rest - nothing exciting, moved fast

Dead bench
315x5 singles - 1 min rest - kind of hard, haven’t done these in a while. I dropped Spoto presses after seeing Robb Phillipus tear his pec doing them. A couple months ago there was a guy on the forum (500+ bench as well) saying that Spoto presses were a high risk for pec tears and on top of that last year (the last time I did them) there was one occasion where I thought I had injured a pec doing them, either it was very minor and insignificant or it was just some sort of muscle cramp. Either way, all that was enough to make me think twice about continuing with them. I added a set to CAT bench to even out the volume.

Close grip slingshot
360x4x2 sets - went for 5 on the first and failed the last rep, I guess I got greedy but this is a real bad day if I’m failing twice. Didn’t plan on doing another set of 4 but 3 was easy so I went for it. Then did 325x7 for some extra tricep volume, I think I need it if I’m failing at lockout.

Floor pause DB flys
40’s x15, 15, 10 - nothing left on the last set

Chin ups - supinated - paused at the top
bw+35x6x3 sets, then bodyweight x4 reps right after the last set. I need to turn the bar around because I don’t like how these feel with the grip so close.

Overall it was OK but I’m still not happy. I’m not where I want to be and things got thrown off course with moving.


#328

Tuesday, August 14 - Main squat day

Squat w/ wraps
495x3 - this felt easy, I could do another 2 reps for sure. I got my camera working again (I think it was humidity messing with it) but the lighting sucks in this basement plus I was wearing a dark blue shirt and dark blue shorts (don’t ask me why, I just grabbed a random shirt) so I cant tell for sure how my depth was. I tried facing the other direction, the shadow from the plates isn’t the problem but rather the shadow from my arms. I just can’t win. My perception is that the first rep felt like I cut it high and the next two felt deeper, they were all close to depth at worst.

CAT squat
375x3x6 sets - 90 sec. rest - this felt better than recent weeks, could have moved faster but technique is solid. I recorded a couple sets and all reps were definitely well below parallel, I can’t see my hip crease but I can tell by the quad angle.

Dead squat
395x4 singles, after 365x1 for a warmup set - this didn’t feel harder than last week despite a 30lb jump, I take that as a good sign. This seems to really carry over to squatting in wraps.

Snatch grip RDL
435x6x3 sets - feels like I’m getting stronger

Ab wheel
10, 8, 7 - 1 minute between sets because I couldn’t wait to get this over with. I sat down after and my abs cramped up right away, had to do the “cobra” stretch to loosen them up.

Anyway, it looks like my squat is back on track. The original plan was to do some heavy 5’s and increase weight until I’m doing 4’s or 3’s and go from there but things got thrown off course so I figure that not so heavy triples with CAT work after would be the best course of action and it seems to be working. That might have been the way to go in any case. I think my bench is alright but really I need to stay focused, I should have had 350x3 for sure. On today’s top set I actually had that same thought of “hey, this is easy” after 2 reps but thought back to yesterday and made sure to stay tight, focused, and push hard. Then the 3rd rep was easy. Overconfidence will kill you, don’t take any rep for granted.


#329

Thursday, August 16 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench
310x5, 5 - could manage another rep on each set. 2nd set actually felt better, my setup was better (more tight) and it made a difference

Close grip 2 board
335x5, 4 - one rep left

Military press
215x5, 5 - I didn’t expect to get 5 on the 2nd set since the first one was hard but it seems like something just clicked and I figured out how to push harder. Hopefully it will carry over to bench.

JM press
180x8, 8, 8, 10

Face pulls
light band x25, 25, 18 15 - 1 min. rest

This went well. I need to see some gains in my comp. bench though, I have been saying that 400 is within reach for a while and it still hasn’t happened. If I don’t see any noticeable improvement in the next couple weeks then I will try a different strategy.


#330

Friday, August 17 - Light squat/deadlift day

Squat - transformer bar in back squat position
315x2x6 - 45 sec. rest

Deadlift
505x3 - This was easy, I thought I could have pulled another two reps but based on the video I could maybe do more than that. No form breakdown either. I know estimated 1rm’s don’t mean a whole lot but if I can do this for 5 I should be able to pull about 590. It’s still nothing special, but at least I’m going somewhere. I should post a video at some point, I have to leave for work in a moment though.

CAT deadlift
445x10 singles - 1 min. rest - fast and easy

Deficit deadlift
445x5x2 sets - both sets felt like I could pull another two, lately it has happened several times that the 2nd set is no harder than the first. I have no explanation for that.

Barbell row - aka cheat row, but not too much cheating yet
365x8x3 sets

overhand hold
310x15 sec. x2 - 1 min. between sets - hands started to open up on 2nd set but still held on. I think my thumbs are the weak link due to using hook grip, but for the same reason I think that’s probably not a big deal.

If things keep going this way I might have to sign up for that meet after all. I just need to see some more progress on my bench and consistently squat to depth and I will be happy.


#331

Monday, August 20 - Main bench day

Bench press
355x2 - wanted a triple but it wasn’t going to happen, 2nd rep slowed at the sticking point and 3rd would have been a certain failure. I could get 360-365 for a double. It looks like my bench is going nowhere, the high rep stuff added some muscle (my arms don’t even fit in some shirts anymore) but hasn’t translated to a bigger bench. I think after next week I will deload and try a different strategy.

CAT bench
285x3x5 sets - 1 min. rest
This went well. This seemed to help my bench a little bit in the past but right now I’m not sure. It works for squat and deadlift though.

Dead bench
325x4 singles - 90 sec. rest

Close grip slingshot
365x4, 4 - last set was an all-out grind, I should have probably cut it at 3
330x6

Floor pause db flys
40’s x15x3 - only pr’s are in stuff that doesn’t count

Chin ups - supinated - paused at the top
bw+40x6x3, drop set: bw x4 - on the last set of 6 the last two reps were a bit sloppy, I think I was several inches short of the top.

Bench is frustrating me these days.


#332

Tuesday, August 21 - Main squat day

Squat w/ wraps
505x3 - not really happy with this, strength is there but all reps were like 2-3 inches high. I figured out a better camera angle (issues due to new weight room and bad lighting) but I’m not happy with what I see here. Actually, almost nothing that I recorded today looked like good depth. Maybe my hips are tighter than usual, I was also in a shitty mood and had a hard time focusing, that could be the problem. Aside from that, I let the bar drift forward slightly on the last rep and it was harder than it should have been, still could have managed another reps though. Overall, I would just call it a bad day.

CAT squat
380x3x6 - 90 sec. rest - I didn’t record every set, but like I said the depth didn’t look good. Some reps maybe, others borderline or maybe slightly high. Not too happy. It felt hard too.

Dead squat
395x1 for a warmup, then 425x3 singles, 3 min. rest. These were hard. I could probably manage 455-465 for a max single.

Snatch grip RDL
445x6x3 sets

Ab wheel
11, 9, 8 - 1 min. rest

Not happy about anything today. Just when it looked like my depth issue in wraps was solved I have a shit day like this. At least I didn’t get weaker.


#333

Thursday, August 23 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench
315x5, 5 - both sets were hard, not sure I could get another rep.

Close grip 2 board
340x4, 3 - 1st set was a 4rm, nothing left. Not sure I could manage another rep on the 2nd.

Military press
220x5, 4 - maybe another rep on each set

JM press
185x8x3 sets, 9 on the 4th - last set was AMRAP but only managed one extra rep.

Face pulls
light band x25, 25, 21, 18


#334

Friday, August 24 - Light squat/deadlift day

Squat - transformer bar in back squat position
315x2x6 - 45 sec. rest

Deadlift
515x3 - This was kind of easy again, felt like I could do another two reps. I should be pulling 600+ soon at this rate, whatever I’m doing is definitely working for my deadlift.

CAT deadlift
455x10 singles - 1 min rest

Deficit deadlift
455x5x2 sets - could manage another 2 reps on each set

Barbell row
370x8x3 sets

Overhand hold
315x15 sec.x2 - 1 min between sets


#335

Monday, August 27 - Main bench day

Bench press
360x1 - failed 2nd rep at my new sticking point. Bench is going nowhere right now. A few weeks ago I did 345 for a hard triple, the next week was 350 for a double and failed the 3rd, last week was 355 for a hard double. This is no better than what I was doing a few months back. I’m going to try rest-pause singles for the next bit and see if that helps. I have added some mass to my upper body but it hasn’t helped increase my strength as of yet, I think I need to focus more on heavy lifts.

CAT bench
290x3x5 - 1 min rest
I get the impression that this doesn’t help my bench at all. At least it doesn’t make it worse.

Dead bench
305-335-360-failed 375
The plan was to work up to a hard single, 360 felt like I could manage more but 375 barely came off the pins. Josh Bryant has said that if you can dead bench more than 90% of your bench then bottom end strength is not limiting you, it seems that is my current situation. I still haven’t benched over 360. I think that working on my triceps and shoulders is the main thing at this point.

Close grip slingshot
370x3, 3 - both sets felt like I could manage one more rep. This is slightly below last week’s performance but I was fatigued from the heavy dead benches.
335x7

Floor pause DB flys
45’'s x12, 11, 9

Chin ups - supinated - paused at the top

+45x5x3 sets , drop set: bw x5


#336

Tuesday, August 29 - Main squat day

Squat w/ wraps
515x3 - Could manage another rep or two. All three reps were about an inch above parallel, another two inches and I’m good. Same old story with that, but I recorded my last few warm ups in sleeves and depth was about the same. I think my hips are tighter than usual and my bottom position is slightly off. I’m going to start doing pause squats as of next week, hopefully that will fix it. Also I was doing my squat stretches barefoot recently and I think that has something to do with it.

CAT squat
385x3x6 - 2 min. rest - didn’t hit depth on the first two sets, I recorded the last one and it looked and felt better. Also moved faster. I have my theories as to why this is a problem right now, I’m sure I will sort it out soon. On the plus side, wraps don’t seem to be limiting my depth.

Dead squat
Up to a heavy single: 395-435-465 - The last one was real hard, almost got stuck in two different spots.

Snatch grip RDL
455x6x3 sets - This and my deadlift seem to be progressing at the same rate.

Ab wheel
12, 10, 8


#337

Thursday, August 30 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench
320x5, 4 - possibly could have done 6 on the first set, could have managed 5 on the 2nd but it would have been an all-out grind so cut it at 4. This is very close to my regular bench, I did 320x6 (all out grind too) with only the first rep paused at the end of my hypertrophy block, this is approximately the same. I think I’m going to try using a closer grip for my comp. bench, between where it is now and close grip, and see how that works out. Close grip was always weaker but lately I have been doing a lot of close grip work and it’s catching up while my bench is stalled, maybe that’s a sign that I need to adjust my technique.

Close grip 2 board
345x3, 3 - another rep on each set. Not much of an overload, I lose the initial speed off my chest with the boards and it’s all triceps.

Military press 225x4, 3 - wanted 4 on the 2nd but I messed up the last rep, I let it drift forward and almost lost it so I brought it back down to my chest and re-did the rep but it was pretty hard. Reps are dropping off here, 5lbs is a pretty big jump relative to the weight I’m handling.

JM press
190x8x3, 9 on the 4th

Face pulls
light band x25, 25, 22, 20 - I know this is supposed to be an upper back/shoulder exercise but my biceps burn when I do these. 1 minute rest as well.

So I looked over my notes from Josh Bryant’s seminar and his bench press book, regarding my situation where I’m getting stuck 2/3-3/4 of the way up on bench and my dead bench is close to my bench PR he says to focus on CAT work, plyometrics, and technique. He says that the biceps work as a safety mechanism in the bench press to stabilize your arm but it can work against you because they maintain tension when you are trying to lock the weight out with your triceps, you have to overcome the weight as well as your biceps. That seems exactly like what is happening to me these days. CAT and plyometrics (I’m going to do plyo pushups) are supposed to help to overcome the inhibition from the biceps. Bench throws in a smith machine would work too but I don’t have one in my basement. Of course working my triceps should pay off too, so I will keep that up.


#338

Friday, August 31 - Light squat/deadlift day

Squat - transformer bar in back squat position
315x2x6 -45 sec. rest

Deadlift
525x3 - This was a bit harder than last week but still looks like I could have done another rep. The last couple days I don’t feel quite so energetic, I think it’s time for a deload.

CAT deadlift
465x10 singles - 1 min. rest - not as fast as last week, but not bad still.

Deficit deadlift
465x4, 2 - this is where fatigue hit me, decided to be conservative rather than beat myself into the ground.

Barbell row
375x8x3 sets - this didn’t feel worse than usual, probably because I didn’t push the deficit DLs.

Overhand hold
320x15 sec. x2 - my right hand gave out on the 2nd set at about 12-13 seconds, but I was pretty much exhausted so it doesn’t surprise me.

Deload next week, I need it. I could probably push it for a couple more workouts before performance really drops but I know rom experience that it isn’t worth it. This last training block was kind of messed up but I squatted 515x3 (although depth wasn’t good) and pulled 525x3 so something is going right. I think those Hatfield squats did me some good.


#339

Monday, September 3 - Main Bench day - deload

Bench press
325x2

Plyo pushups
3x3 - I didn’t go flying in the air like when James Strickland did these, I guess I need to work on explosiveness

CAT bench
265x3x3

Close grip slingshot
335x2x3

Floor pause DB flys
40’s x8x2

Chin ups - neutral - pause at the top
bw +15x3x3

I’m using a slightly narrower grip for bench, hopefully that will work better. My close grip bench is just about equal to my comp. bench so some isn’t right.


#340

You’re like Josh bryants guys if you fail like in the top half but I guess they are all close grip benchers.


#341

The thing is that I haven’t been using a close grip at all, it was ring fingers on the rings. I have been working on building up my triceps and they are noticeably bigger, I have several shirts that either barley fit on my arms anymore and a couple I can’t even wear but my bench is going nowhere still. Seems like I need a bigger belly and smaller arms and legs to buy clothes these days.

A few years ago a guy was telling me he has trouble locking out his benches and he was using a max legal width grip, maybe going too wide puts the triceps in a bad position or something. I thought it was weird too, but then I moved my grip out and got stuck the same way. When you think about it, having your arm out at an angle while supporting close to 400lbs does put a lot of strain on the elbow joint in the opposite direction of how it’s supposed to move, it would make sense that the biceps are trying to stabilize the joint to protect you. Anyway, I will see what happens in the next while.


#342

Maybe bar path then? I remember you are like fast off the chest but maybe you make a sticking point close to lockout. Or elbow position like you said. Maybe a Formcheck thread?


#343

Yeah, the bottom end is not the limiting factor at the moment. Last week I did a 360 dead bench and that was after a bunch of benching, including trying to do a double with 360 and failing the 2nd rep. When I fail it’s not normally like I get out of the groove, I just get to the point where it’s all triceps and I can’t get them to work.

I don’t think there is much use in asking for a form check, I have no glaring errors and there are only 2 or 3 people on this site who bench more than me, I doubt I will get anything useful. All you could say is “push it back more”, “push it straight up”, “tuck your elbow more”, “Flare your elbows more”. I have already tried all those things, the only thing that makes sense at this point is changing my grip because now my close grip bench is just about the same as my comp. bench.


#344

Are you prepping for a competition?