T Nation

Chris_ottawa's Training Log


Just kidding


LOL! I need to be able to deadlift 300 first


Just asking, since you’re not competing for a while, are you planning to test your maxes anytime soon?
Also, how often should I test my maxes? I’ve just finished the 12th week of your program, so I was wondering if this week was a good time


No, it seems like a waste of time to me. To actually test your maxes you would need to peak, which will involve more time spent on something that won’t pay off in the long run. It’s not worth it outside of a meet. If you just decide to max out one day you are likely to be disappointed and you still won’t know what you are capable of. I just go for some heavy singles, doubles, or triples to get an idea of what I would be able to lift if I was peaked, but not actually maxing out.

As for you, you could deload and start back again with higher volume and more reps, basically just alternate between volume and intensity blocks. If you are starting to feel beat up and need a break then it’s probably time for a deload. You should try to figure out how many weeks of hard training you can take before you start to overreach, that way you can plan your training cycles more effectively.


I forgot to mention, the work in my basement got rescheduled to Wednesday, which is convenient because it doesn’t interfere with my training schedule.

Monday, October 8 - main bench day

Bench press - rest pause singles - 30 sec. rest +reset
360x4 singles - I was expecting more, I guess that time I did 11 singles with 350 was an anomaly of some sort. Still a good thing I deloaded last week because I wasn’t feeling it at all. The first two singles here were fast enough, the third was noticeably slower, then 4th was al all-out grind from about midway to lockout. It didn’t seem possible to get another single in so I stopped there. Next week I will increase rest periods to avoid stalling.

Plyo pushups
3x5 - 45 sec. rest - these were good and explosive, unlike last week

CAT bench
280x3x6 - 90 sec. rest

Slingshot bench - regular grip
395x3, 2 - It seems like with a closer grip I stretch the slingshot more, this is not really any easier. Hopefully more carryover though

Floor pause DB flys
45’s x15, 15, 12 - 1 rep more than last time

Chin ups - wide neutral grip - paused at the top
bw +30x8, 7, 6, 6


Tuesday, October 9 - Main squat day

SSB squat
405x3 - could have done a couple more reps, not too hard but it’s a starting point. Feels weird since I haven’t done these in a long time.

Hatfield squat
485x5 - I was thinking 455 would be a good weight to start with since I haven’t done this lately, I did a double and it was easy so I stopped and added 30lbs. This felt heavy and awkward but not very challenging, probably could do 3 more reps.

CAT squat - SSB
330x5x5 - 2 min. rest - The first two sets felt easy, it felt like an empty bar after having 485 on my back. It quickly went downhill from there though, I wasn’t grinding reps or anything but it felt hard and my quads were burning, the VMOs in particular. I was thinking that maybe 2 minutes was too long for breaks between sets, good thing I stuck with the original plan.

Since I’m always concerned about depth, all squats today looked at least parallel and most were below. The SSB makes it easier to hit depth though, I should be consistently squatting a few inches below parallel to get the most out of this.

SSB pause squat
295x6x2 sets - This didn’t really feel hard or anything but my quads were fucked and I was tired, it was one of those mind over matter type of things.

Snatch grip RDL
445x8x2 sets - This almost killed me. My glutes died here.

Dead bug
3 sets, not even counting reps but not many. It was hard too, my whole body felt beaten, trying to coordinate bracing with moving my arms and legs was not as easy as expected.

I can’t believe how those squats totally destroyed my quads, the volume wasn’t even that much either. I’m guessing someone will ask why I’m doing what I’m doing, so here is the explanation: part of the reason I’m doing my heavy squatting with the SSB (actually a transformer bar in the SSB setting) is to give my arms and shoulders a break from squatting with a straight bar. Both of my forearms feel shitty, my shoulder don’t feel particularly bad but they could be better. Only my right bicep is bugging me this time, and I blame the knee wraps for that since I was doing 5-6 sets in them the last few weeks.

Aside from that, I’m also thinking about switching to high bar squats since I have issues with depth and in the past I was able to squat just as much with high bar. I also seem to be stronger in a more upright position, which a higher bar placement allows, plus my shoulder mobility is not great and I get arm pains but if that was the only issue I would just deal with it. The only possible problem with high bar squats is that your upper back strength becomes a limiting factor, so SSB squats are a good way to build up my upper back and the movement pattern is pretty close to high bar as well. As for the Hatfield squats, I’m doing those mostly because I don’t want to get weaker by doing all my squats with a bar that forces me to use less weight, plus they have a training effect themselves.

I think I mentioned this before, at least partly, but a little over two years ago I switched to high bar and squatted like that in a meet, that was my first 200kg (440lb) squat. I was always concerned about squat depth since I was competing in a IPF-affiliated fed and I don’t have great mobility. In December the year before I fucked my back up pretty bad, which is why I switched to sumo deadlifts, so I got back to training with light weights (I was doing 60%x5x5 and slowly building up) but it seemed like I was lucky if I actually broke parallel. Once I was fully recovered and training hard that seemed to be the main thing holding back my squat, I was putting at least equal effort into lowering the weight (not always successfully either) as I was putting into lifting it and I wasn’t making a whole lot of progress.

So anyway, at that time I had two squat day and a deadlift day, one day was SSB squat (I had no problem hitting depth on those) but as I was getting closer to the meet I decided to switch it to high bar squats just to get a little more specific. I hadn’t done a high bar squat in maybe a year but I set some big rep PR that would have put my estimated max at the same level as my low bar squat, plus I was hitting depth no problem. So I decided to try high bar for my main squat day the next week, I was supposed to work up to a single with maybe 90% or so, I squatted that no problem, high bar, and hit depth as well. So I said fuck it, I’m going to squat high bar. The meet went well, I went 8/9, only missed my 3rd bench but otherwise hit all the numbers I wanted at that point. The only thing was that my upper back started to round on my 3rd squat, I still got it but it was an al-out grind, I even burst a blood vessel in one eye. After that I decided to switch back to low bar and managed to squat 40lbs more last summer, I should have actually gone for 500. But between gaining a few pounds, my quads getting way bigger, and trying to squat in knee wraps it seems like maybe high bar is a better choice at this moment. I’m going to stick with this template (light high bar squats before DLs on Friday) for two mesocycles, then have high bar squats a my main squat and see how it goes. At worst it will give my arms and shoulders a break, the transition from high bar to low bar is pretty easy.


Thursday, October 11 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench w/ mini bands
worked up to a heavy triple, about 2 reps short of failure: 305x3x2 sets
The bands are supposed to give up to 35lbs of tension, so I’m guessing about 50 at lockout with the two combined since they aren’t fully stretched.

Close grip bench (bands off)
This is where I fucked up
325x1 - Felt way too easy, flew right up. I did 335x3 a couple weeks ago, I started thinking that maybe benching with bands first had some sort of potentiation effect.
340x2 - failed 3rd rep, triceps gave out. Stuck about 2/3 of the way up.
315x3 - probably could have done 5. I will go with 325 next week.

Military press
225x4, 3 - could have done one more on both sets. This was harder than expected, I was thinking 2 sets of 4-5 but my triceps are fried from the bands. Oh well, this is still OK.

JM press
225x6x4 sets - first set was challenging enough, last set was real hard

Face pulls - holding the peak contraction for a moment to change things up and make this more challenging, since I’m stalling on the regular version
light band x20, 17, 14, 11 - 1 minute rest


Friday, October 12 - Light squat/deadlift day

Squat - high bar
315x2x6 - 45 sec. rest
My adductors were sore and tight as hell, this wasn’t easy. I had this issue a while back that every first squat workout after a deload would leave my adductors messed up for the rest of the week but it went away after I improved my internal hip rotation. As I mentioned before, my quads were sore before I even finished squatting on Tuesday but I didn’t even notice any adductor issues until I woke up on Thursday. This morning it was worse, my quads felt about 90% recovered but my right adductor cramped up when I got out of bed. It was hard to squat, the first 1/3 of the descent was me fighting against my adductors but after that I descended easily. Bar speed was OK but could be faster, obviously the adductor thing messed me up. Depth was no problem, I was surprised considering my issues.

485x10 singles - 1 min. rest - Again, my adductors fucked me up. It was hard to get into position, getting down to the bar was at least as hard as lifting it. Some reps were a little stiff-legged and about halfway through they didn’t move too fast, but at least it wasn’t a struggle. In the past when I had this issue my adductors would usually loosen up after a bit, not today.
My plan here is to add 10lbs each week to the singles for 2 mesocycles, at the end of that I will be doing singles with 555. Probably not 10, but several for sure. Then some heavy triples for my top set and I should be pulling over 600.

Standing hip thrust (AKA RDL w/ band around waist)
I was planning to do deficit deadlifts, 425 for 2 sets of 8, but seeing as I had to fight to get down to the bar I thought it would be a bad idea. Adding another 1.5 inches would make it worse and probably turn it into a SLDL. Who knows, maybe it’s for the best. I’m undecided on what to do next week.

Barbell row - trying not to cheat
315x8x2 sets - I was going to do 3 sets but my whole lower body feels messed up, the bent-over position feels terrible.

Overhand hold
340x12 sec, 3-4 sec. - 90 sec. or so between sets - Probably feeling like crap and being frustrated had something to do with it, my grip wasn’t holding up. I did 330 for 2 15 sec. holds a couple weeks ago, I thought this would be OK. I will drop a couple lbs. off the bar next week and work back up.


Monday, October 15 - Main bench day

Bench press - rest pause singles - 45 sec. rest
365x4 singles, failed 5th. The first two moved fast, 4th stalled close to lockout but I thought I might be able to get another one. Based on how fast the first two moved and how I was able to grind the 4th one I think I could get 385-390 on a good day. Still not 400 though, still not happy. I get the impression that all the racking an unracking (which I do myself) makes this not much easier than doing all the reps in one set.

Plyo pushups
3x5 - 45 sec. rest

CAT bench
285x3x6 - 90 sec. rest

Slingshot bench
400x2x2 - could have grinded out a 3rd rep on each set but it would have been more tiring than it’s worth and I was already tired. Those CAT benches are light (80lbs down from my singles) but I try to move them as fast as possible so it does get tiring. I cut the downset here too, seems like it’s not worth it and my triceps are getting plenty of work already.

Floor pause DB flys
45’s x15x3 - time to increase the weight here. My guess is that cutting the slingshot downset made this a bit easier. Pecs were burning though, nothing left on that last set.

Chin ups - wide neutral grip - paused at the top
bw +30x8, 8, 7, 5.5 - didn’t make it all the way up on the last rep. I decided to go for more reps rather than increasing the weight and stalling sooner.


Tuesday, October 16 - Main squat day

SSB squat
420x3 - maybe could do 2 more, felt harder than it looked on video. Depth is good though. I think I want to aim for 500 on this by the end of the next mesocycle, not for a 1rm but for an easy-ish single or even better a double.

Hatfield squat
505x5 - Maybe 3 more reps

SSB CAT squat
340x5x5 2 min. rest - not nearly as bad as last week, quads held up and it didn’t feel terrible until the 4th set.

Paused SSB squat
305x6x2 sets - Looks like I figured out the bottom position on these. These were real deep and moved fast too, despite the fatigue.

Snatch grip RDL
455x8x2 sets

Dead bug
or maybe dead powerlifter, hard to say. 3 sets of some reps, feeling like a dying insect. At least I had an excuse to lay on the ground.


Thursday, October 18 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench w/ mini bands

Close grip bench - no bands

Military press

JM press

Face Pulls
light band x23, 18, 15, 12


LOL, at least you were doing something somewhat productive. After hard squat or Deadlift days, I just lay on the ground “foam rolling” my back


Friday, October 19 - Light squat/deadlift day

Squat - high bar
315x2x6 - 45 sec. rest - felt way better than last week, quads and adductors aren’t sore or tight at all. Only issue is that on some reps I shifted slightly to the right at the bottom, but that’s not a big deal at this point.

495x10 singles - 1 min. rest - first few were easy and moved fast, by 4-5 it started to feel kind of hard. I think I’m going to increase rest to 90 sec. next week, it should be challenging but I don’t want to get to the point where form goes to shit or I can barely finish the planned work.

Standing hip thrust
light band+290x12x3

Barbell row
320x8x3 - this was way easier than last week, now that my lower body isn’t crippled. I could have done more reps but I will just stick with the same scheme and try to maintain some degree of strictness while increasing weight each week.

Overhand hold
325x15 sec.x2 - barely held on. The first set was worse, the bar rolled down to my fingertips. I don’t enjoy this at all but hopefully it will prevent me from having any grip issues in the future.


Monday, October 22 - Main bench day

Bench press - rest pause singles - 45 sec. rest
370x4 singles - 1st one flew up like nothing, 4th one came to a full stop halfway up but somehow I still managed to grind it out. It was the slowest bench I have ever finished. I always sucked at grinding reps on bench, if it didn’t move at a decent speed I would fail, but it looks like that has changed. I think some big PRs are coming soon.

Plyo pushups
3x5 - 45 sec. rest

CAT bench
290x3x6 - 90 sec. rest - the last 3 sets were really fast, like I just somehow figured out how to blast the weight up like never before.

Slingshot bench

Floor pause DB flys
50’sx12, 12, 10

Chin ups - wide neutral grip - pause at the top
bw+30x8, 8, 8, 6.5 - failure on the last rep


Tuesday, October 23 - Main squat day

SSB squat
435x3 - hard but not a 3rm yet

Hatfield squat
525x5 - could do a couple more, seemed easier than how I remember last week.

SSB CAT squat
350x5x5 - 2 min. rest - This 5x5 thing always leaves me exhausted and unmotivated. 5’s seem to make this significantly harder than 3’s or 2’s, even with equivalent volume

SSB pause squat
315x6x2 - It moved well but I would be more than happy to do something like leg press and leg curls after the previous work, it’s hard to keep moving.

Snatch grip RDL
465x6x2 - I was planning to do 8x2 but 8 would have been a 10rpe on the first set, 6’s are more than enough.


Thursday, October 25 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench w/ mini bands
325x2x2 - went for 3 on the first set and failed at lockout.

Close grip bench
335x3x2 sets - a couple hard triples, was planning to do 2 on the 2nd set but it felt sort of easy so I did a third. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

Military press
235x2 - failed the 3rd rep, again. My triceps just couldn’t finish it
210x5 - I actually decided to do a down set ahead of time, not due to the failed rep. I think I would have been better off starting this block off lighter on this and doing more reps, but it’s kind of late to change that.

JM press

Face pulls - holding the peak contraction on each rep
light band x25, 20, 16, 13 - the last two sets hurt, not fun at all


Friday, October 26 - Light squat/deadlift day

High bar squat
315x2x6 - 45 sec. rest - these are starting to feel good, feels like I’m jumping out of the hole. It will be interesting to see hoe it goes with more weight and knee wraps.

505x10 singles - 90 sec rest - Good overall, just had a couple of later reps where the bar wanted to drift away from me but it wasn’t a major issue. My hands are getting beat up though, the knurling on this bar combined with the dry air at this time of year isn’t good.

Standing hip thrust

Barbell row

Overhand hold
330x15 sec. x2 - honestly not sure if I held on for 10 or 15 sec. on the 2nd one, I closed my eyes and squeezed the bar as hard as I could until my grip gave out but it was like I had some sort of momentary lapse in consciousness, I couldn’t remember what exact time was on the clock when I started. Oh well. This didn’t feel good either because my hands are all sore and mashed up.


I tried to look this up on YouTube to no avail. Can you explain or have a video of this and explain the purpose? I’ve incorporated banded hip good mornings that I saw Paul Carter doing and wonder if it’s similar


It’s a RDL with a band around the waist anchored behind me. The standing equivalent of a hip thrust, which is better for several reasons such as actually being able to fully extend your hips and also it’s not such a pain in the ass to set up.


The purpose is glute work.