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Chris_ottawa's Training Log


Friday, November 16 - Light squat/main deadlift day

Paused high bar squat/vertical jump
315x2x5 + 1 jump after each set - 1 min. rest
Each set felt better than the last, this was good and moved fast too. The jumps are supposed to carry over to the DL more than anything, I felt like I didn’t get anything out of them when I did this in the past but my DL technique was a bit off and I was fucking around with that, hopefully I will have better results this time. High bar squats also feel good, even when I squat low bar I feel better when I’m as vertical as possible. I have sort of long femurs which mean I have to bend forward more, upper back strength can be an issue with HB squats and that is why I’m doing all the SSB and Hatfield squats. Plus I can use a full grip instead of thumbs over like this.

Deficit deadlift (sumo)- 35lb plates = 1.25"
The plan was to work up to a triple at about RPE8, I got 485x3@7.5. It’s a decent starting point, I will go for 505 in two weeks. Last rep my hips shot up a bit before the bar left the floor but it was still easy, I definitely had 2 more reps in me. I’m going to alternate between deficit one week and pulling from the floor the next, deficit pulls seem to help my DL but after a heavy top set and CAT work it’s debatable whether they are worth doing

CAT deadlift - deficit w/ light bands
365x3x4 - 90 sec. rest - The bands are supposed to give 50-80lbs tension, they aren’t fully stretched so I would guess that combined they add 110-140 at the top. I’m doing these to improve speed off the floor and also to keep my hips from getting out of place, if you squat or pull with bands and you hips rise too quick the bands give you a good kick in the ass. Next week it’s isometrics (overloaded bar on the floor) and CAT pulls from the floor.

Standing hip thrust
305x12x3 - my glutes were aching after this

Barbell row
335x8x3 - nothing exciting. I’m going to move the weight up fast for this block and do some heavy rows by the end.

Overhand hold
335x15 sec. x2 - 90 sec between sets - barely held on for the full time on the 2nd set, the bar was down at my fingertips.


Who needs grip strength when you have hook grip?


When you’re too much of a pussy to put up with the thumb pain like me


People say that but tbh can’t relate lol. I haven’t been hook gripping too long but what I learnt is:

  1. Find your hook grip technique. Find the way to sit the bar right in the sweet spot where it’s not crushing bone and secure like not moving around and scraping and ripping your skin. If someone can’t do one rep then I think their hook grip needs changing up.

  2. Maybe most important don’t do reps with hook lol. Maybe some freak masochist can do 8s with hook but stick to <3 and use straps for more reps.

  3. Chalk. Like crazy. All around the thumb and nail.

@BOTSLAYER has a cool video series on hook grip


I just don’t want grip strength to become a limiting factor at some point. A lot of people never train their grip and once they get to a certain point they can’t hold onto anything close to a max.


Last year I did some high rep training for a bit and was pulling sets of 8 with hook grip, it makes your thumbs feel like they are going to explode. The last time I did it, my thumbs turned purple for the rest of the week. Never again. I can handle up to 5’s with hook grip but mostly I do triples or less.


Monday, November 19 - Main bench day

385x2 singles - 2.5 min. rest - went for a third and failed, it felt like my upper back wasn’t tight enough and I misgrooved it coming off my chest, I moved it back too soon and it ended up in a spot where I have nothing so that was it. Not really worth re-trying, a 5lb PR single repeated twice is not too bad. I was just expecting more since last week was so good, but now that I’m getting close to an actual max every 5lbs makes a difference.

425x1 - I was determined to get a double, failed again. I could have rested longer but it’s barely worth it. This shows that I still need to work on my triceps more than anything, bottom end strength is good and should continue to improve but it’s the top 1/3 where I have an issue.

CAT bench
305x3x4 - 90 sec. rest

Dead bench
340x5 singles - 90 sec. rest - heavier than last week but also felt better. More speed off the chest should mean a bigger bench overall.

Floor pause DB flys
50’s x15, 15, 12

Chin ups - wide neutral grip - paused at the top
bw +40x8, 6, 5 - I went all out on the first one and didn’t have much left after that. This is probably some kind of PR, and at a higher bodyweight, but it’s chin ups so I don’t really care.

Tomorrow’s objective: 480x2 SSB squat


Not long til the big 405 now


Question: How much should I be doing on pin press/ deadbench?

I started a new program to accelerate my bench and it looks much like this. I notice your are doing dead bench. What percentage are you using for that lift?


I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing for 2 more weeks, the planned weights are 390 and 395 but if I feel like I can get 405 no problem I will go for it. 405 is still nothing really, I’m not going to waste time chasing a gym PR rather than actually getting stronger. I’m going to stop the singles for a couple months, but now that I see that this works well for me I will have to do it again leading up to my next meet.


It depends. Last week I started with 80% of my dead bench PR but it was too easy so I increased the weight. If you are looking for a number to start with then do 8 singles with 70% and short breaks (1 min. or less). Add 10-20lbs each week, reduce the number of singles, and increase rest periods as you go on. Josh Bryant says you should be able to dead bench about 90% of your max bench, if you can do 95% or more then bottom end strength is not limiting you so you need to work more on speed and triceps.


Tuesday, November 20 - Main squat day

SSB squat
480x1 - I told myself I was going to do a double but it didn’t happen. I would say I had about a 70% chance of getting a second rep, but it would have been a grind and it’s probably not worth the extra fatigue. On top of that, if I failed it would really suck, squats are by far the worst lift to fail (unless you bench with no safeties and no spotter). Anyway, I definitely have more in me, I’m going to go for 490 next week and 500 the week after. You never know, I might still end up doing a double. It sounds like I’m talking shit, but a couple months back when I was squatting in wraps I only did a single for my top set a few weeks in a row and then doubled 545 out of nowhere.

Hatfield squat
585x4 - this was hard, could probably do another rep but it might kill me. I was tired after this.

SSB CAT squat
380x3x5 - 90 sec. rest - the first set felt slow but it got better each set until the last one, I started running out of energy again there. Next week I’m going to switch to doubles, this is almost 80% and I want to focus on speed more than endurance or work capacity.

Dead squat - SSB
360x5 singles - 2 min. rest - not easy, but somehow these always make me feel more energetic after. Hard to explain.

Snatch grip RDL
495x4x2 - I think I should switch these up for something else, this is fucking heavy to be doing at the end of a hard workout. My back can’t take much more heavy loading, if I keep pushing it I will end up all cramped up.


Thursday, November 22 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench
345x2 - failed 3rd rep, misgrooved it and got stuck too far down. I need to push it back towards my face more. When the weights get heavier, being slightly out of the correct bar path can be the difference between an easy rep and a missed lift. Based on the first two reps and last week’s 340x3 I definitely should have had the 3rd one.

1 board: 365x2 - probably could do 3 but I don’t want to risk failing again
2 board: 375x1 - failed the 2nd, couldn’t lock it out. I didn’t think of it at the time but I probably could have racked it instead of dumping it on the pins. 2 board height is a real weak point for me, I have a lot of power off the chest but with this I lose it and it’s all triceps.
3 board: 385x3 - maybe could have done 4 - I wasn’t even going to go for 3 but 2 was easy. At this height I have improved leverages and it gives a significant overload, with 2 boards it might even be harder than a 1 board.

Next week I’m just going to do regular close grips and 2 boards, the other board heights seem unnecessary and the 2 board is a big weakness so I better work on it.

Military press
250x1 -fucking failed the 2nd rep. Once I get used to failing it starts happening too often, and it’s always on bench/pressing lifts. Last week I did 245x3, you would think I could at least manage a double here.
225x4 - probably could do another rep. This was OK, it makes me wonder what the hell happened on that first set. Maybe it’s all in my head.

JM press
250x7, 6

Band pushdown
super mini w/knot x12, 10

Accessory circuit - 2 min. rest between rounds
Barbell curl w/ fat grips - 65x22, 17, 14
Band pull apart - hold peak contraction - super mini x23, 16, 13
Side raise - hold peak contraction - 20’s x13, 9, 8

I’m not too happy with my performance today, but that’s just how it is sometimes. Pushing too close to failure too often is not good, and I’m failing reps that I should be able to get anyway. Maybe it’s the weather, right now it -15c, apparently -25 with windchill, this is the kind of weather we normally get in January. Other than that I have been eating and sleeping well and I feel good so there is no reason my lifts should suck today.


Just one of those days. No worries big guy


How do you deal with cold weather? I live in Shanghai where the highs are still nearly 20C and I’m already starting to feel the cold. Next year, I’m probably going to end up on the US East coast for university. Any tips?


JM press looks strong! Looks like you got the kinks worked out


Yeah, the CBD oil seems to have fixed my elbows plus I’m doing less sets of JM press so I don’t aggravate it but still get my triceps stronger. Also I’m wearing elbow sleeves for my upper body days, except for heavy comp. bench.


Stay inside as much as possible, wear jogging pants under my jeans when I go out, drive everywhere I go.

Where on the US east coast are you going? Unless you are somewhere around Vermont or Maine it should be significantly warmer than here, it won’t be 20C but it should be less horrible than winter in Canada.


Friday, November 23 - Light squat/main deadlift day

Paused high bar squat/vertical jump

315x2x5 - 1 jump after each set - 1 min. rest

535x2 - I was going to go for a triple but after the 2nd rep I got this sort of cramp at the front of my left hip, I got into position to pull the 3rd rep but didn’t even go for it because my hip felt weird. This set was a bit harder than I expected, the way those 2 reps felt I would say I could have managed 4 if it wasn’t for the hip thing. My left hip has been bugging me on and off for a while, sometime it’s the psoas, other times it’s the TFL or maybe rectus femoris. I have been working on hip mobility a bit more than usual lately, maybe it’s backfiring. Anyway, as soon as I stood up my hip felt fine. I’m not too happy about this but I feel better about it than yesterday, yesterday I physically couldn’t do the reps I wanted to but today I stopped because something felt off. 535x3 should be easy after all those singles I did with 515 a few weeks ago.

Isometric/CAT deadlift
overloaded bar on the floor x5-6sec./420x2x3 - 3 minutes between each iso. and CAT set. - This is to increase strength off the floor. Deadlift isometrics are exhausting, it’s the equivalent of grinding out a max deadlift for 5 seconds. Each rep is an out of body experience. My left hip got that cramping feeling after the very last rep, but only slightly. At least I know I can pull singles no problem, it’s pulling myself back into position that is the issue.

Standing hip thrust
light band+310x12x2 - reducing assistance volume to compensate for heavy shit

Barbell row

Overhand hold
340x15 sec. x2 - 90 sec. break


NYC most likely