It isn’t that cold here. Right now, we’re experiencing a bit of a cold spell, but it’s nothing crazy.
I figured out what is bugging my left hip/leg, it looks like it’s the rectus femoris. My glutes are tight too, that might be causing other muscles to tighten up. Before doing my usual lower body mobility stuff today I rolled my glutes with a lacrosse ball and in some positions I felt tightness at the top/front of my left quad so I rolled that part with the ball, there were some real sore spots around there but it made my leg feel way better. At the end of my mobility stuff I rolled my quads with a PVC pipe, it hurt like hell but both my legs feel way looser now. I just need to keep working on this and hopefully it will go away, sometimes my hips feel fine for months at a time but every once in a while the left one starts acting up and can continue for weeks or months, nothing serious but it can cause some discomfort and it certainly doesn’t help my lifts.
I had issues with tight hips since before I got into PL, they are better now than they were before because I couldn’t even squat to parallel at one time. Doing work where I stand 8-10 hours a day plus walking a lot or a riding a bike are probably all contributing factors.
Monday, November 26 - main bench day
390x1 - I tried for a 2nd single and failed a few inches short of lockout, right around the height of the hooks. The first one was good, slowed slightly at the sticking point but kept moving the whole way, I would say I should be able to handle another 15-20lbs. I probably should have rested a bit longer before the 2nd one, I didn’t really keep track of the time but I think it was about 4 minutes. I got used to short breaks between heavy bench singles and I was anxious to kill it on the 2nd try but it didn’t work out. That’s OK, at least I did get 390. This also isn’t exactly a peaking block and other stuff I’m doing is causing fatigue so I can’t complain. I’m expecting to bench over 400 at my next meet.
430x1 - Didn’t try for a 2nd rep, I already learned my lesson.
310x3x4 - 90 sec. rest - by the end I really feel this in my triceps
355x4 singles - 2 min. rest.
Floor pause DB flys
50’s x15, 15, 13 - only one rep more than last week, pecs were burning
Chin ups - wide neutral grip - paused at the top
bw +45x8, 6, 5 - the first set felt really strong, maybe those curls are paying off. Short breaks (2min.) so performance drops, but it’s chin ups so I don’t care.
Tuesday, November 27 - Main squat day
490x1 - 50/50 chance of getting another rep, not worth the risk. This wasn’t fast but I didn’t grind it out either, got a good pop out of the hole but from about halfway up it was slow. I get the feeling these will transfer well to squatting in wraps because the sticking point is about the same. This is 10lbs over my best squat in sleeves and this is with a safety squat bar (transformer bar in SSB position to be exact), I squatted 480 in a meet last year and I think twice in training after that but I never went over 480. This looks like I could handle at least another 25lbs, next week I’m going for 500, based on that and the fact that my SSB squat was always around 10% behind my straight bar squat I should have about a 525-550 squat in sleeves. Not amazing, but it’s progress, put on some wraps and give me a few months and I should squat over 600.
605x3 - Could have done another rep but it would be a near-death experience. The weight didn’t feel that heavy on my back but squatting it was another story.
SSB CAT squat
390x2x6 - 90 sec. rest - faster, more explosive, and less fatiguing now that I switched to doubles. That was a good idea.
Dead squat -SSB
380x4 singles - 3 min. rest - each rep felt like my head was going to explode. I did something like 465 with the transformer bar in “back squat position” and the pins a notch or two higher but with the bar set like this it’s way harder, as soon as the bar leaves the pins it pulls me forward.
Snatch grip RDL
505x4 - only did one set, this is hard on my back after all the squatting. Not worth the extra fatigue to do more. Could have done 5 reps but it would be a 5rm. If anyone is wondering, I lower the bar until it’s about 4-5 inches below my knees. If I could set up for conventional with a neutral spine I could probably pull some big weights, but it’s not worth blowing out my back.
Thursday, November 29 - Bench assistance day
Close grip bench
350x2x2 - I’m sure I could have done 3 on the first set, I just didn’t want to push my luck and I was planning to do another set anyway. 2nd one was a bit slower but not a struggle, a 3rd rep might have been there too. My best comp. bench triple is 350, and I think I might have lifted my ass off the bench when I did that, if I’m at the same level on close grip with my ass down then that is a sign of some significant progress.
Close grip 2 board
365x2x2 - Definitely could do another rep on each set, maybe even 3 on the first set. This is barely any overload though, it’s like I can lift about 20lbs more with 4 inches less ROM, definitely a weak spot.
255x0 - failed halfway up, my triceps were fried from close grip benching and it wasn’t going anywhere. Pretty disappointed, but the road has to end somewhere.
235x2x2 - did 2 sets to make up for the first one, this was actually supposed to be 230 but whatever. It still sucks though, I did 225x4 last week, not sure I could have done a triple on the first set today. It’s a combination of my triceps being fatigued and the fact that once you get heavy enough on overhead pressing every pound makes a significant difference. Next block I’m going to do higher reps on this (8-12) and 3 sets rather than 2, try to get some shoulder growth. Josh Bryant told me that your overhead press should be roughly 70% of your bench, if it’s less than that then shoulders are a weak point. True my triceps are fatigued, but if I can bench around 400 then I should be able to do at least close to 280, I have some work to do here. Bottom end strength is good but I need to build up my shoulders and triceps more than anything.
255x6x2 - I felt some tension in my left elbow here, it didn’t hurt but I feel something. Maybe I should drop these out in the next block, I need my elbow to get better.
super mini w/knot x15, 13 - crazy pump in my triceps from these, plus it makes my elbows feel good. Maybe some skull crushers and pushdowns would be better than JM presses, at least for a couple months.
Accessory circuit - 2 min. rest between rounds
Fat grip barbell curl - 65x25, 19, 15
Band pull apart - super mini x25, 18, 15
Side raise - 20’s x15, 10, 8
My back, hips, abs, and glutes have been a bit cramped up since Tuesday afternoon, I felt alright after training but standing all afternoon at work got me all cramped up. I should have laid down with my feet up to relax my back instead of updating my training log, I should have known better. Right now I have a few minutes to do my hip mobility stuff before work, I better go and do that. I feel better after training, but until the last few warmup sets today it was hard to arch and I just felt stiff as a board. I think the dead squats have a lot to do with it since I’m starting in a low position, I have to use my hip flexors to pull myself into position and the exercise itself is very hard on the glutes. It’s like everything just locked up on both sides.
Friday, November 30 - Light squat/main deadlift day
High bar pause squat/vertical jump between sets
315x2x5 - 1 min. rest
505x3 - could have probably done 2 more reps, this felt good today. Only issue is that I felt like I lost tension in my upper back on the 3rd rep, but in the video it wasn’t noticeable at all. Now I just need a big PR from the floor.
CAT DL - deficit w/light bands (around 120lbs tension at the top)
380x3x4 - 90 sec. rest - fast of the floor, hard to lockout. This really forces me to keep my hips in the right position, if you fuck up the bands will let you know. It actually felt heavier at lockout than the 505, maybe because I didn’t get psyched up for these or maybe I was a bit tired from the heavy triple. Either way, it went good.
Standing hip thrust
light band +315x12x2 - glutes were aching after this
375x6x2 - could do more reps but I’m trying not to cheat too much. The weight feels light in my hands.
345x15 sec., rest 90 sec, only 10 sec. on 2nd round - same weight next time until I can get 15sec.x2. I barely held on for the first set too.
Monday, December 3 - Main bench day
395x fail - tried twice, failed just past halfway both times. My last warmup was 365 and it was easy, I was sure I had 395 but I was wrong. Looks like this is the end of the road with my heavy single experiment. It did get me some progress, my bench PR went from 375 to 390 and if I had actually peaked rather than attempting PRs every week I could likely get 400+, but it’s not happening today. Oh well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, at least this was the end of the block.
Slingshot - skipped this since 430 was hard last week and things aren’t going great so far, not worth failing again.
315x3x4 - 90 sec. rest
370x1 - the plan was to do 2-3 singles, the first one was a grind from start to finish. I rested about 4-5 minutes and went for a 2nd one but couldn’t get it off the pins, no gas left in the tank. Whatever, this was still a 5-10lb PR and it’s 95% of my bench PR. I need to work on shoulders and triceps more than anything.
Floor pause DB flys
50’sx15x3 - PRs on everything except the competition lift. At least I know I’m not getting weaker.
Chin ups - wide neutral grip - pause at the top
bw+50x6, 4, 4 - not that great but I probably didn’t try too hard either. When it gets to about 50-60lbs added weight I find it’s hard to do them without cheating so I did a few less reps, or at least that’s my story.
I think I’m going to try benching 3 times a week, progress has been slow for quite a while and there’s a chance that a bit more frequency will get things moving. My bench took off when I first started actually training for PL when I went from the standard 5/3/1 split with one bench day and one OHP/upper body assistance day to benching 4 days a week. I switched to 2 days a week after getting stuck with higher frequency stuff, but looking back it seems that I consistently made the best progress benching 3 times a week. My squat and deadlift are doing well with my current setup, if I make each bench workout a bit easier (as in less volume) and just add a 3rd one it shouldn’t be any harder to recover from and it might actually benefit my squat and dl because the workout the day before won’t be as taxing. I’m thinking Monday, Thursday, and Saturday will be upper body days, about the same total amount of work but split between 3 days.
Tuesday, December 4 - Main squat day
500x1 - I could probably manage another 20lbs, but this is good enough for now. 20lbs over my best straight bar squat in sleeves. I felt like my upper back lost tension but as far as I can tell it didn’t round at all, I’m going to start doing some upper back good mornings to make sure it doesn’t become an issue.
Here’s the video, I figured this was worth posting:
625x1 - I was planning to do at least a double but getting all psyched up for that 500 squat drained my energy a bit, I’m sure I could have done another rep or two but I didn’t really have the willpower at this point. Plus I still have the rest of the week to go, can’t burn all my energy right now.
SSB CAT squat
400x2x6 - 90 sec. rest -easy enough
Dead squat -SSB
400x1 - I could have probably done another single or two but it would barely be worth it, this felt at least as hard as the 500 anyway. Better save some energy for a deadlift PR on Friday.
Snatch grip RDL
Great job with the SSB!
Chins +50, 375rows and 500+ RDLs are also pretty good.
Why low reps on Hatfield’s?
Because it’s the end of an intensity block. I would have gone for 2-3 reps but I just didn’t have it in me to grind that out after the squat PR. And anyway, high rep Hatfield squats are torture, once you are doing about 8 reps or so your breath becomes a limiting factor. It’s an issue with SSB squats but with Hatfields you are handling significantly more weight and you don’t even have your hands on the handles so it really pushes down on your chest, it’s pretty much impossible to get a deep breath. If I was doing them for volume I would rather do something like 5x5 instead of 3 sets of 8.
Ok maybe I didn’t have a good idea of what Hatfield’s were for because I thought they were for like doing a lot of work but now that I think about it there’s no reason they have to be like that. You can load em up and overload with less volume ez
Doing a lot of hard sets of Hatfield squats is not fun at all, believe me. When the weight is heavy enough you are straining as hard as possible the whole way up and it’s only your arms that keep the weight moving, it seems like something you could easily overtrain on. Josh Bryant uses them for some of his powerlifters in the offseason but from what I have seen they either do 2 hard sets or 5x5. Just because you are using your hands to help move the weight doesn’t mean it’s easy.
It’s sound like a lot of work lol and that could be good or bad like you said.
Hard to quantify how much work is being done I guess too?
Maybe we’ll be seeing it in more and more programs and being used by more coaches but it’s a complicated tool to apply I guess
Not really complicated, just don’t overdo it. The main reason I was doing them the last while here is to stay used to heavier weights while focusing on a squat variation (SSB) that limits how much weight I can handle. This way once I get back into wraps the heavier weight won’t seem like such a big deal. That 500 wasn’t easy to actually squat but the bar didn’t even feel that heavy on my back, before once I got around 500 it would feel like the weight is crushing me and it was hard to walk out, not anymore. The walkout actually feels worse with Hatfield squats since your hands aren’t on the bar.
Thursday, December 6 - Bench assistance day
Close grip bench
355x2, 1 - first set was basically a 2rm, maybe could have doubled another 5lbs. 2nd set felt like I could have done a double but that was enough for today.
Close grip 2 board
370x2x2 - a couple hard doubles
240x2x2 - 2nd set actually felt better than the first one.
Band pushdown - I cut out JM press to give my elbows a break
light band x7, 6 - this band isn’t as light as it sounds, I was thinking to do 4 set with it but it was too much for that
super mini band w/knot x15, 13
Next block I’m going to keep doing these and also do floor pause tricep extensions, those seem like a good choice and they should be easier on the elbows than JM press. I like JM press but I’m starting to get the feeling that it doesn’t like me.
Accessory circuit - 2 min. rest between rounds
fat grip barbell curl 65x25, 20, 16
band pull apart - super mini x 25, 19, 16
side raise - 20s x16, 11, 11
My arms feel like they want to drop off after that circuit, it’s a good thing I train at home because right now anyone could beat me up and I would be defenseless. I probably couldn’t drive either, I need at least half an hour to get back to normal. Hopefully it’s worth it.
In other news, the meet that I was planning to do next is officially on the calendar, CPF Iron Annihilation at Hostyle Conditioning April 27-28. That give me over 4 months to get stronger and put up some big numbers. When I was planning to do that meet in October that I never ended up doing I was saying I wanted 600/400/600, right now that doesn’t even sound like much of a challenge so maybe a 1700 total is what I should aim for.
Right now I should be able to squat in the upper 500’s (in wraps), I already benched 390, and I should be able to pull at least 600. I’m also not going to cut any weight or anything so I will compete at 275, I weigh approximately 250 at the moment but I have no intention to get any bigger or fatter. If things go well then in the summer there is CPF nationals where I can attempt a drug tested WPC squat world record, at 242 in wraps it’s 280kg/616lbs in the sub-master division (33-39 years old). Yeah it’s a second rate record, but it’s a start.
I checked in with your log too late. Would’ve flown up there and beat you up because you talk a lot of shit lol
I’m certain you can smash those goals. Will be sending you good vibes to keep the injuries away and gains coming