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Chris_ottawa's Training Log


Friday, December 7 - Light squat/main deadlift day

High bar pause squat/vertical jump
315x2x5 +1 jump - 1 min. rest

555x2 - Not sure if a 3rd rep was there so I cut it at 2. First rep was good but 2nd was hard, after looking at the video it appears I let the bar drift forward slightly somewhere below my knees. 3 reps would have been a PR, but at least I know I’m not getting weaker. I have been feeling a bit burnt out since last Friday, I still managed to get a squat PR but I can only keep pushing for so long and excuses are worth nothing. The other mistake I came to realize was that I’m pulling from the floor on the 2nd and 4th week of the block, it would be better if it was the 1st and 3rd so after next week’s deload I will do that in the next block. I don’t really care how much I pull from a deficit, it’s just a means to an end, but I need to see some progress on my pull from the floor.

Isometric/CAT deadlift
5-6 sec. pull on 675 on the floor, rest 3 min, 435x2, rest 3 min., repeat 3 times
The doubles came up like nothing, it felt like I was just guiding the weight up. I suppose that’s a indication that the isometrics are working. I certainly hope so because I don’t enjoy this at all.

Standing hip thrust
320x12x2 - I get the feeling that it’s time to switch this for something else

Barbell row
395x5x2 - some nice light rows to finish off the week

Overhand hold
345x 15 sec, 6 sec - I wanted to skip this but I knew I would regret it. 2nd round was worse than last week (10 sec) but I did what I had to do. Not bad considering I feel like death.


Hmm. How does it usually look when you fail your deadlifts?


The last time I failed a deadlift was sometime in the spring, it hasn’t happened since. Either I can’t get the bar off the floor or I get it a couple inches up but my hips get out of position and I’m stuck right there. There are times that it feels hard around knee level but I have never failed that high up since I switched to sumo, except one time when I was about to puke.


Monday, December 10 - Main bench day - deload


Floor pause DB flys
35’s x12x2

Chin ups - wide neutral grip
bodyweight x5x3

Next block is going to be a bit more volume and less intensity for bench, volume was already low and intensity was high so I mostly cut intensity on bench for this deload. I won’t be doing the same thing for squat and deadlift, I’m going to start squatting with the straight bar and knee wraps so I don’t want to cut intensity too much and deadlift will continue with what I have been doing for the last month so my regular deload protocols should be fine.


December 11 - Main squat day - deload

SSB squat
450x1 - felt easy enough. No Hatfield squats, overloads on a deload don’t make much sense and next week I’m planning to do a couple triples with 485 so this is more than heavy enough.

360x2x3 - 90 sec. rest

Paused SSB squat
315x4 - no use in deloaded dead squats so I did this instead.

Good Morning (SSB)
185x6 - I didn’t feel like switching bars and loading and unloading a bunch of plates to do one set of RDLs so I did this, same idea more or less. I haven’t done a good morning in a while so I didn’t know what was an appropriate weight, this was light so I did a few extra reps and called it a day.


Your training is always so clean and impressive. How long have you been lifting?

I would guess 5+ years with the insight to body feedback and the way you program


Lifting in the womb.


I have been training seriously for about 5 years, 4 years since I got into powerlifting.


Thursday, December 13 - Bench assistance day - deload

Close grip bench
250x2 - I couldn’t believe this was actually a “work set”.

Close grip 2 board

Military press

Band pushdown
super mini x12x3

Accessory circuit - 2 rounds
fat grip barbell curl - 65x15
band pull apart - super mini x15
side raise - 20’s x10

My basement is cold and this workout was easy, didn’t even break a sweat. I’m looking forward to some real training next week, I definitely needed this deload though.


Hmm speaking of Deloads I’m wondering when my Garrett Blevins AI Powerlifting program throws in a deload. Been about 5 weeks now, 3 more weeks peaking and then test. Maybe after that


Based on what you are saying there wouldn’t be a deload until after the test, and maybe not even then. There are some people and coaches who never deload, in my experience that isn’t a good way to go. You basically have to never really accumulate much fatigue for it to work. Mike Tuchscherer used to be like that but always pushed volume and intensity, he wrote an article years ago titled “You are NOT overtrained!”, shortly after that he overtrained and ended up with a bunch of overuse injuries that still prevent him from deadlifting and back squatting. He also now programs deloads for his lifters.

All I can say is see how things go and what sort of progress you make, maybe Blevins’ coaching is not for you. Obviously it works for him. Especially since you are going to compete in wraps I think that Chad Wesley Smith might be better if you are into this AI coaching thing.


Yeah. I’ve actually seen people’s JTS AI Coaching on the AI Coaching FB group. Some guy posted both because he has done both

Obviously can’t directly compare them but we can see JTS uses RPE pretty heavily. Tbh I’m not at all fluent in RPE


It’s pretty simple if you are familiar with the feeling of pushing close to failure. If you are used to 5x5 or 8x3 or those sorts of schemes (which I have seen you doing in the past) then it can be hard to get used to. I take RPE into account but I don’t use it to decide working weights every session, I just figure out a starting point (which can also be based on percentage) and go from there, if things are too easy or too hard then I adjust and make bigger or smaller jumps the following week.

What do you think of AI coaching so far?


The style is what I like (mostly lol). Blevins has been coached by all sorts from TSA to Sheiko and he draws from all his experiences.

I like the sub max low rep (2-4) high set work. I invariably bitch about sets of 8+ reps on squats but that’s a preference thing more.

Would be nice to get some recommendations as to how to space out workouts during the week. Day 1 Heavy DL, Bench and Rep Squats is disproportionately taxing

The assistance work has been hit and miss. On the initial questionaire it asked for your style of lift e.g. (wide grip bench sumo etc.) and where/how you fail.

For squat it gave me pause on the half way down which I admit I thought was a dum dum exercises before but is actually pretty neat. I’ve been doing 60-40 pause halfway down to pause in the hole squats though just to cover all my bases. Been good though and I can tell my positioning has improved with less of a chest fall pattern

Deadlift unfortunately did not have an option to say “I fail at my Knees because I round my back off the floor at true max or else I fail to break the weight off the floor” so I went with failing at the knees and the system gave me pauses at the knee. Like has been discussed about rounding the back off the floor there could be a couple of causes. One of those is like your just not strong enough so your body compensates to help you break the weight off the floor and compromises your position so pauses won’t really help that compared to just doing the comp lift. Or working on cues like “patience off the floor” or bracing/back tightness

Not much accessory work which I can’t say I’m comfy with because I’m paranoid I’ll lose all my show muscle so I’ll have a hard time beating up my gym nemesis at the physique show (TBC). Maybe it’s because I’ve only seen the strength and peaking phases. After the test it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

I don’t think one can criticise the fatigue management of the program because it regulates on the fly and continually adjusts volume on your feedback. The more cycles you do the better it can zero in on your effective volumes in each phase.

Side note the pre survey was extensive but I would’ve liked to have seen a lifter preference section eg I could have said stop giving me high rep squats you cunt. Obviously there’s too many preferences to account for but at least options

That’s all I got off the top of my head.

Gonna make a note of all this and come back to copy pasta this into my log when I review the Ai coaching


Also Sheiko book is out. I’m still procrastinating on Scientific Principles of Strength Training so I’ll catch up on it later


You would have been better off saying you fail right off the floor. Paused deadlifts are alright but I think I get more out of deficit dl, although those aren’t as popular with sumo DLers.

I see it as one position is the strongest to get past a particular spot but maybe not the strongest at another spot and can also cause sticking points of its own. Same thing with good morning squats, your quads can’t move the weight so they shift it to the hamstrings and lower back but you end up in a potentially worse position higher up. In most cases the “textbook form” is better in the long run, but there can be exceptions. I can’t think of anyone of note that pulls sumo with a round back though.

I was waiting for that book to come out a long time ago, now that it’s here I’m hardly interested. I should probably go ahead and buy it because I know I will learn something for sure, it just seems like the wait killed my interest. It’s like if you have a girl playing games with you and wasting your time then one day she says to come over, it’s easy to lose interest.


Probably lol. Might be able to change it in the post block survey

I think pause deadlifts are good for certain lifters reinforcing good positions. Technically sound lifters who maintain position may not get much out of it.

Deficit sumos are used by some lifters um Chris Bridgeford I think. Doesn’t seem to be that popular though.

I guess maybe pause deadlifts can challenge your position without smashing you with near max weight or RPE 9.5+ sets which is where the back rounding usually occurs in sumo. I’m kind of on the fence with it tbh.

Sacrificing position for speed off the floor is real common I think. Especially with everyone hearing you should be explosive and shit. Conventional boys trying to blast max weight off the floor but just end up rounding. Maybe everyone should try changing the idea to as fast/explosively as possible while maintaining position

Yangsu Ren USAPL 83kg DL Record Holder (not sure if current) pulls round back sumo. Sean Noriega loses position all the time. The freaky Amanda Lawrence gives 0 fucks about flat backs. I don’t know if these guys are truly better this way or if they are just so strong they just progress regardless and don’t feel the need to change anything.

Also that’s a strange analogy but sure why not


Friday, December 14 - Light squat/main deadlift day

Paused high bar squat/vertical jump between sets
315x2x5 - 1 min. rest - My left hip/quad (rectus femoris I’m quite sure) was bugging me since I woke up this morning, I don’t know what was going on while I was sleeping. I rolled it with a lacrosse ball but that didn’t do much, it felt messed up until my last warmup set and was fine after that. It seems like the more stuff I do to it before training the worse it is, the time I cut the planned 535x3 deadlift set at 2 reps because it cramped I was stretching it before training. I guess all I can do is go in and lift, it always feels better after I get moving, save mobility shit for off days. What a pain in the ass.

500x1 - This moved really fast, it took a little effort to get it off the floor but it was like if you’re trying to pull something away from another person and they let go, it just flew to the top. 500 has never moved so fast. I think those isometrics are paying off - @guineapig - take note.

405x3x3 - a couple extra reps to make up for the isometrics, no way I’m doing that shit on a deload.

Standing hip thrust
290x12 - instead of doing two sets with half the reps I just do one set and get it done, this deload business is tedious sometimes

Barbell row

I’m looking forward to some big lifts in the coming weeks. Bench press is the only thing I’m not too sure about how to approach at this point, I need a break from max/near max lifts for sure but it also seems like lighter high rep benching does nothing for me. Sure it can add mass but I’m already too weak for my size, that’s the last thing I need. I had a plan but then I looked back through some old training logs and got the idea that it won’t get me anywhere, I need to sort out the details by Monday.


Monday, December 17 - Main bench day

Touch & go bench
80%AMRAP: 315x6 - I was expecting a couple more reps, I guess I’m all fast twitch muscle fibres now or something. I wasn’t really sure what an appropriate weight to start off would be so I thought I would do an AMRAP set, it looks like I found it without even trying. I’m not going to pause my bench for now (although I will pause close grip) and I’m just going to do one set a week, just to change things up and focus more on some variations. Hopefully that will get things moving.

Floor press
285x6x3 sets - I was thinking 295 but I did 275x2 as a warm up and it felt kind of hard so I changed my mind. Good thing too, because this wasn’t easy.

Close grip incline
185x12, 10, 8 - fatigued fast on this. I really feel this in my front delts, which is what I want.

Floor pause DB flys
55’sx 10, 9, 8 - I’m still making progress so I might as well keep doing these, doing them on the floor is good because it prevents to much stretching which is no good. I didn’t have a whole lot of energy left for this, but that’s OK.

Band pushdown
super mini w/ knot x12, 12, 11

Chin ups - wide overhand grip
bodyweight x12, 11, 8, 6 - I kept the breaks short (2min.) and stayed about 2 reps from failure but fatigue really caught up after the 2nd set.


Tuesday, December 18 - Main squat day

Squat w/ wraps - Titan Signature Gold - 6 revolutions
485x3x2 sets - This went better than I expected. First rep was kind of fucked up and my right knee started to cave in as I came up but it didn’t stop me. I’m wearing a black shirt and loose dark blue shorts plus the lighting sucks in my basement so it’s hard to judge depth but all reps look to either be to depth or very close to it, which is very good considering that I had issues with that in the past and this is my first time in wraps or squatting heavy with a straight bar in a few months. The limiting factor here is technique, the weight is sort of heavy but I’m sure I could do at least 5 reps if I was going all out, its just that everything feels a bit awkward and if I was used to this the bar would move way faster. In any case, this is a good start to this block.

These were also high bar squats. I could put the bar a bit higher but it feels better where I have it now, and anyway with my old low bar technique I wasn’t absolutely as low as I could possibly go. This bar placement allow me to stay a bit more upright and is easier on my arms and shoulders, I also am using a slightly narrower stance. It’s much easier to hit depth like this too, which is half the reason for this.

CAT squat - knee sleeves in case anybody is wondering, no way I’m doing this in wraps
355x3x8 sets - 90 sec. rest - Moved nice and fast until the last couple sets, there were a few slow reps in there. Legs, glutes, and low back were all getting tired. This is was easier than CAT squats with the SSB, especially for 5’s, those were horrible. I could have probably gone heavier on this but I don’t have a 1rm to work off of, I squatted 500 on the SSB so I figured this would be a decent starting point.

Pause squat
335x6x2 sets - baby weights, but I was tired by this point so it wasn’t that easy. Could manage maybe 2-3 more reps.

SSB good morning
205x10x2 - I figured it was time for a break from my snatch grip RDLs, I was thinking of doing some other RDL variation but I couldn’t make up my mind so I went with these. I think that I get more out of RDLs but doing them all the time is no good either so these are alright for now. I can’t handle nearly as much weight on this, but that’s not really a problem.

Upper back good morning (SSB again)
95x20x3 - First time ever doing these. With a higher bar position the upper back can become a weakness and can round on heavy squats, that’s not currently an issue for me but I don’t want it to become on either. As they say, and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so here we go. Oddly enough, I feel this in my lats (as well as the rest of my upper back), I didn’t expect that at all. This was light but it’s my first time so I didn’t want to break my neck, it did feel hard by the end though.