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Chris_ottawa's Training Log


Thursday, December 20 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench (paused)
295x6 - maybe could manage another rep

Close grip slingshot
345x6x2 sets

Military press
185x11, 8, 7 - Fatigued fast on this, probably could have started off 10lbs lighter. I will keep the same weight next week and go for more reps. I was pausing the bar on my chest for the last while to make things more challenging, after a while it felt normal so I’m back to not pausing reps here. I have limited options for overhead pressing at the moment.

Neutral dumbbell pushups with super mini band
10, 7

Skull crusher
95x15, 15, 8, 7 - first set was easy, next set was all out, not much left after that. Kept breaks to 90 seconds, no time to screw around with accessory stuff

Face pulls
light band x25, 15, 11 - 1min. rest

Side raise
20’s x20, 11, 8 - 1 min rest again


Friday, December 21 - Light squat/main deadlift day

Squat/vertical jump
315x2x5 - 1 min. rest - This is with the transformer bar on 1A, which is pretty much the same as the so-called spider bar sold by EliteFTS, just slightly less camber. It seemed like it had me leaning forward more than I would like, next time I will set it so it’s not angled back quite as much. It felt a bit awkward, but that’s to be expected with a new exercise.

550x2 - Not what I was hoping for. 2 weeks ago I pulled 555x2 (for the 2nd time) and I pulled 545x3 a couple months back, I figured I would settle for a small PR and pull this for a triple but I cut it at 2, 50/50 chance another rep was there and it probably would have been ugly to so it’s not worth it. Oddly enough, it wasn’t so hard to break the floor but it slows when I get to knee level. I suppose the isometrics are working but I’m having some other sort of issue. I’m not getting out of position though, right now my technique is solid but performance just isn’t what it should be. It seems like doing a bunch of heavy-ish singles for my DL training was a waste of time in terms of getting stronger but at least I appear to have ingrained the proper technique. Before I had issues with my hips shooting up and that isn’t happening, but I haven’t gotten any stronger either. I am a bit sore from squatting, but that doesn’t make it any better. Next week deficit pulls, the week after I going for 560x3 and if that doesn’t happen then I need a different strategy.

Isometrics/CAT deadlift
overloaded bar on the floor/450x2 - 3 rounds, 3 min. rest
First double felt slow, the next two were better.

315x10x3 sets - feels like cardio

Barbell row
355x10, 8, 7

I skipped the overhand holds, for the last few weeks something in my right forearm is a bit irritated and I think this might be part of the problem. That’s also why I dropped the barbell curls. It’s only the right side, I think it might have to do with my job because I do the majority of work with my right hand. It’s not a major issue, but I don’t want it to become one either. I should do some myofascial release stuff on my arms more often, they do have a tendency to get sore and achy from time to time.


Good post! The learned Doctors say isometrics increase strength at the joint angles that you are in(+/- 15 degrees) when you do the work. If you’ve been doing them off the floor, you may be in a different joint angle, unaffected by the isos when the bar is at your knees.

I’d love to see what happened if you did a few weeks of Iso work just below your knees. Or maybe right at your knee caps?


I wouldn’t do more isometrics after this for a while, it’s something that can burn you out real easy. At this point I wouldn’t try isometrics at the knees, it would be better to just do pauses at the knee unless it becomes a major issue.


Monday, December 24 - Main bench day

T&G bench
320x6 - this ties a PR, the 1st rep was paused that time but that makes no difference and it was also at the end off a high rep training block. I take this as a good sign. My left elbow also feels better, no pain or tightness.

Floor press
290x6x3 sets - each set felt like I could probably do 2 more reps, I was fatigued by the end but on the last set it felt like I figured out the groove for this exercise and it moved just as good as the first two. In the past, floor press seemed like it helped my bench a lot, hopefully it will pay off this time.

Close grip incline
190x12, 12, 11 - looks like my endurance for high rep work is coming back. Last set I couldn’t do another rep, but that’s OK. I’m also trying to put max force into each rep rather than just easing them up until it feels hard, that should hopefully result in better carryover to strength rather than just hypertrophy.

Floor pause DB flys
55’s x12, 10, 9

Band pushdown
super mini band w/knot x15, 15, 9 - triceps died on the last set

Chin ups - wide overhand
bodyweight x 12, 12, 8, 7


Yes, it’s Christmas, but I still trained today. With weights in my basement it’s hard to say no. My mom is Polish so for us the 24th is the main thing, I went to her house last night for dinner. Today I also had to work at noon, it’s my regularly scheduled shift (I cook for a nursing home) so there is no way to get out of it. I woke up and opened some presents with my wife and kids, hung out with them for a couple hours and went to train. My wife went back to sleep and the kids were playing with their toys so nobody can complain. I just thought I should get out of the way before posting my training for Christmas day.

Tuesday, December 25th - Main squat day

Squat w/wraps - 6 revolutions, Sig. Gold which I will stick with I think
490x3x2 sets - this was OK, misgrooved the last rep on the first set and it was kind of hard but the next set was way easier. I wore a singlet so that I can judge depth easier, since that’s a problem, it looks like all my reps are right at parallel. It’s not the wraps though, I recorded 405x1 in sleeves and it was the exact same. I’m not far off, it would pass in some meets too, but I’m not taking any chances so I need to go a little bit deeper. For now I’m making small jumps in weight from week to week and really trying to focus on technique, I feel a bit shaky in wraps and it’s a question of dropping low enough at a high enough speed while keeping a fairly heavy weight balanced on my back. On the plus side the walkout feels easy, 490 doesn’t feel like much on my back after doing Hatfield squats with 600+.

CAT squat
360x3x8 sets - 90 sec. rest
I recorded a couple sets, everything is to depth but only like 1-2 inches below. I think maybe a bit more mobility work before squatting would help, I felt stiff during warmups and only now I’m hitting depth but not by much. It felt like I was going ATG but I wasn’t.

Pause squat
345x6x2 sets - this should help with the depth

SSB good morning

Upper back good morning


What do you think the best carry over from these were?


Quads, back, and getting used to heavy weights. I never had issues with the walkout until I got close to 500 but now it doesn’t feel like a big deal. It’s just hard to squat it properly.


Thursday, December 27 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench - paused
300x6 - felt easier than last week with 295

Close grip slingshot
355x6x2 sets

Military press
185x12, 8, 7 - again, not much left after the first set. At least I did one rep more than last week. I guess my triceps are fatigued a bit at this point.

Neutral DB pushups w/super mini band
11, 8 - one more rep on each set

Skull crusher
100x15, 12, 9, 7 - 5lbs makes a big enough difference on this

Face pulls
light band x25, 17, 12

Side raise
25’s x13, 10, 7 - I used 25lb plates instead of loading the adjustable DB handles, it made this a bit awkward but whatever.


Friday, December 28 - Light squat/main deadlift day

Squat - transformer bar set to 1.5A
315x2x5 +vertical jump between sets - 1 min. rest
My right adductor was bugging me, I will get into that at the end of this. I did some PNF stretching and such and loosened it up, only issue is that it felt like I didn’t get as much of a bounce out of the hole. Probably better not to do stuff like that right before training if it can be avoided.

560x2 singles - This didn’t go as planned, I wanted at least a double and would have pulled it for 3 if it felt like it was there. I pulled it for one rep, which felt good and wasn’t a grind or anything, then got in position to pull a 2nd one but it just felt like nothing was there so I stopped. I wasn’t too happy with that so I figured if I can’t do a double I would at least do two singles, it moved about the same as the first one. I’m not going to bother posting a video because its nothing exciting, but I would say this looked like a conservative 2nd attempt. Probably could have pulled another 30lbs today, maybe more, but that’s not the objective at the moment.

Isometric/CAT dl
460x2x3 sets +isometrics on the floor, 3 minutes rest

325x10x3 - my glutes were real sore from this, I sat down after the 2nd set but had to stand because my ass hurt too much. Hopefully that’s a good sign.

Barbell row
360x10, 7, 6

So the other day I came across something talking about adductor mobility and activation, it wasn’t anything incredible but one thing that I thought was a good idea was rolling your adductors with a ball on a bench. I have tried various things on my adductors and I find it’s hard to put enough pressure in the right places, and as I have mentioned my adductors are sometimes tight as hell after the first squat workout after a deload. Also, I have some issues with my left hip/leg.

Well, I tried rolling my adductors like that and the left side was incredibly tight and painful, it wasn’t bothering me before that but once I rolled it I was really feeling it. The right side wasn’t half as bad. So I tried doing the PNF stretching stuff that was recommended in the article, my adductors (and the left on in particular) felt better after but then yesterday my leg was aching again. Sometimes things like this get better before they get worse. So yesterday I did the ball on the bench thing again and opted to do PNF tactical frog stretches instead, I used to do those for a while but at some point my adductors were loose enough for my liking and pushing it further just made them feel sore.

Again, this last night and this morning the left side felt all messed up, just kind of achy and abnormal. So I rolled my adductors and did some stretching (not tactical frog, some less intense stuff) before training, it felt better but like I said it seemed to make me lose some of the stretch reflex at the bottom of the squat. From my experience, if I just keep doing this stuff regularly then after a couple weeks it should get better. I cant say whether my left adductor alone is responsible for most of my hip issues but it’s certainly part of it. When one muscle is tight and overactive it’s common for the antagonist muscle to tighten up as well. In recent times it’s my psoas (hip flexor), rectus femoris (hip flexor), and TFL (hip flexor/abductor) that have been giving me problems, all on the left side, and now I see that my left adductor (which is also one of the main hip extensors) is fucked, so this is starting to make sense.

Aside from that, I’m getting frustrated with my deadlift. I had some momentum for a while and was adding 10lbs to my 3rm each week, in retrospect I could have just continued with what I was doing until I pulled some heavy singles or go back to high rep stuff which seemed to pay off as that is what I was doing before I started setting PRs every week. Instead I did a bunch of heavy-ish singles with the intention of adding weight each week until I was pulling some real heavy singles, for multiple singles, but each week as I added weight it got proportionately harder so I figured I wasn’t getting any stronger as a result of what I was doing and abandoned that plan.

Now since the last mesocycle I decided to go back to the heavy top set/CAT volume work format, plus alternating isometrics one week and deficit DLs the next. It’s hard to say if it’s a result of the isometrics or the singles I did previously but the one good thing that came of all this is that I appear to have no form breakdown on heavy pulls. The problem is that I also don’t appear to have gotten any stronger, or at least not in any measurable way. I got the feeling that I would be better off just concentrating on puling from the floor and the isometrics for now so I’m going to stick with that for this block.

Part of the issue is that singles get you good at doing singles, not reps, so now that I’m pulling top sets for multiple reps (or at least trying to) I’m not ahead of where I was previously. The other thing is that the adaptations from isometrics are mostly specific to heavy singles as well, you don’t do a set of multiple isometric pulls but rather a series of them with several minutes and pulls with a moderate weight in between. In the end, PL is a sport that is about lifting the most you can for a single rep so that’s not necessarily a bad thing either and in the past I sucked at doing multiple heavy reps so maybe in two weeks I will just pull something heavy to get an idea of where I really am. Before my singles thing a couple months back I pulled 545x3 and 555x2 (which I matched a couple weeks ago and was mad I didn’t get 3) so I should have at least 600 as my 1rm and hopefully more by now.

The real question is what to do make consistent progress, and I’m not too sure what that is. Isometrics are definitely not something to do all the time. Spending a couple months doing high reps (including deficit DLs) and then switching to heavy triples and CAT singles really paid off but it doesn’t really fit with what I’m doing at the moment either. In the past I was doing multiple hard sets of 3-5 reps and making progress like that, that’s another option. I’m like a kid in a candy store, too many options and I don’t know what to pick.


Monday, December 31 - Main bench day

T&G bench
325x5 - I wanted to go for 6 but I wasn’t sure I would get it so I stopped at 5. The first 3 reps moved really fast, I’m surprised I only got 5 but I guess that has to do with having more fast twitch muscle fibres and just not being used to so much reps. This ties an old PR, but I think my ass might have come off the bench back then and it stayed down today so that’s a plus. Next week I want 330x5.

Floor press
295x6x3 sets - getting harder each week but the reps aren’t dropping off yet.

Close grip incline
195x12, 12, 10

Floor pause DB flys
55’s x14, 10, 8 - push the first set hard and paid for it after

Band pushdown
light band x8, 5, super mini w/knot x10, 9 - The light band was a bit too much and the super mini is not quite enough, I thought I could manage with the light band but I had to switch after two sets. This worked out alright in the end. Breaks were 1 minute, which explains why I went from 8 to 5 reps.

Chin ups - wide overhand
bw+10x10, 10, 8, 7 - Stayed a couple reps short of failure. I didn’t expect 10lbs. to make this that much harder, but the belt probably weighs 5lbs too. I guess energy was low at this point, but it’s good enough I suppose.

Bench seems to be alright, half the reason of switching to higher reps was to give my joints a break from the maximal weights. Next block I’m going to start pausing my benches again and doing a couple more work sets, I guess I will start doing CAT bench again at some point too but I will just go with a few harder sets for now. Not sure if I will do rest pause singles in this meet prep, if it looks like I’m making some decent progress with more conventional methods then I won’t do that but it’s still an option.


Happy new year big guy. I’m watching for that 600/400/600 soon


Thanks! Good luck with your meet too.


Tuesday, January 1 - Main squat day

Squat w/ wraps
495x3x2 sets - I lifted it, but I’m still not happy. 1st set: first two reps right at parallel, misgrooved the descent on the 3rd and cut it high, probably would have dumped it otherwise. 2nd set: first rep actually looked just barely below parallel, fucked up a bit on the descent on the 2nd one but nothing terrible, last rep was not too bad but I tipped forward slightly on the way up. So overall I scored 1 out of 6. I could go on and on with excuses for this and that but really I wasn’t feeling it today and also since I started trying to fix my adductors they feel kind of weird. They don’t hurt and they don’t really even feel tight, it’s just that when I squat it’s like I’m aware of them and before I didn’t think about them at all, I think that plus not being totally focused is what made today not so great. Maybe it’s because I have high expectations, but I was more satisfied with the last two weeks than today.

Also, last few warmups were 375x1 and 425x1 in sleeves, both right at parallel again, and 465x1 in wraps, not quite to parallel. So flexibility is half the problem, the wraps plus a somewhat challenging weight make it harder to coordinate everything.

CAT squat
365x3x8 sets - 90 sec. rest
Some reps borderline depth, some well below parallel. Ideally when I squat in sleeves I want to be 2-3 inches below parallel, I figure that will make it that much easier to hit depth in wraps but as you can see I have issues. Doing most of my squatting with the SSB also contributed to it because the hip position at the bottom is slightly different, I got stronger but my technique needs to be sorted out before I can go any further.

Pause squat
355x4x2 - I wanted to sets of 5-6 but I was running out of energy at this point, 4’s were more than enough.

SSB good morning
215x10x2 sets

Upper back good morning
115x20x3 sets


Thursday, January 3 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench - paused

Close grip slingshot
355x6x2 sets - last rep was a real grind, surprised I finished it.

Military press
190x11, 8, 7

Neutral DB pushups
+super mini band x 12, 9

Skull crusher
105x15, 12, 9, 7

Face pulls
light band x25, 18, 14

Side raise
25lb plates x14, 10, 7

Not feeling too energetic lately but this went well. Around this time of year I always feel a bit lazy, must be the lack of sunlight. Only major concern lately is squat depth, other than that I just need to get stronger on everything.


Today was my worst workout in recent memory. I’m not fatigued or anything, the problem is my upper/outer glutes are totally cramped up. As I mentioned before I was trying to loosen up my adductors, that must have caused other stuff to cramp up.

So what happened yesterday is that on my 2nd set of side raises (yes, fucking side raises) my lower back cramped up a bit for some reason. It was nothing major and obviously side raises don’t really involve the lower back so I did another set and then put away my weights an stuff. While I was doing that, my left lat cramped up severely so I tried stretching it, that caused the other lat to cramp up. I did some stuff to loosen them up and my back felt better too, the one good thing that happened was that when I was rolling my adductors I hit a spot on the left side that made it completely relax, I think I may have solved that issue and they feel fine now.

Later in the evening I ended up driving around and sitting a lot, my back was feeling a bit crampy but nothing major and I tried to loosen that up a bit. When I woke up, my lower back felt alright but now my glutes were cramped as well as my left lat. I sorted out the lat but my glutes weren’t quite feeling right still, I wasn’t sure what I could do so I just thought I would warm up and start lifting and see how it goes. Here’s what happened:

Friday, January 4 - Light squat/main deadlift day

1-1/4 squat/vertical jump between sets
315x2x5 - This is with a straight bar, I figured I need to sort out my bottom position for my comp. squat and the 1-1/4 thing should help with that as well plus improve mobility to some degree. I was stiff and achy at first but by the end I felt better and I was squatting well below parallel. I guess the fact that your glutes are stretched at the bottom is a good thing in my case here, but they still weren’t 100%

-I was supposed to pull 570 for at least a single-

Warmups felt weird because of my glutes, once I put on the belt for 425 it actually felt a bit better but the lockout felt shaky, I guess it’s because my glutes weren’t working right. Last warmup was 525, it was alright but just didn’t feel solid at lockout and could have moved faster. Then I tried 570, it didn’t leave the ground but then I realized I only pulled for like a second and a half. I waited a few minutes and told myself that if I cant lift it then at least I would do a 5 sec. isometric, I went and tried to pull as hard as I could but my glutes hurt like hell and I gave up after a second or so. I said fuck it, I’m done for today.

I’m going to relax a bit and try to loosen my glutes up, plus work on my adductors, then I have to go to work. I could have tried to get some work in but it doesn’t seem like there is any point, isometrics are useless if you don’t apply full force and all the other stuff will probably get me more cramped up. Sometimes I feel achy and by the time I’m warmed up, not today. All I know is that your muscles are all interconnected and when one thing is out of balance then other things will be too, loosening my adductors had some unintended side effects. Anyway, I will be back next week and plan to kill 570, maybe go for 585-590 if it feels good. At least I’m not injured, that’s all I can say.


Following this just to learn. Thanks for posting this information


Did you drink enough water throughout the day and the previous few days? If I don’t drink enough I get ridiculous cramps especially during bench in my legs, glutes, and low back


I drank plenty of water, I’m certain that hydration has nothing to do with it. The issue is that I started doing a bunch of mobility work to loosen up my adductors, the left side was particularly tight and I have been having trouble squatting to depth. Part of it could be that other muscles tightened up to compensate for the adductors being looser, the other part of it is that to stretch my adductors I have to get into some uncomfortable positions and I already noticed before that it was making certain other muscles get tight. Like the tactical frog stretch bothers my TFLs so I was rolling them with a lacrosse ball first and some other stuff had my hip flexors cramping.

Logically speaking, if I have tight adductors but my knees never cave in when I squat then my medial glutes must be doing something so I suppose it makes sense that they would cramp once the antagonist muscle relaxes. That’s all I can really conclude. The funny thing is that on Wednesday I didn’t train (it’s always an off day) and I went all out with mobility stuff. On Thursday I felt fine and didn’t do too much mobility work because I know it can make you sore and achy the next day but I happened to release my left adductor and things just got worse from there. The way I felt this morning I considered skipping my workout altogether, which is not something I do normally.


Do you ever get cramps at night?
I’ve been getting pretty bad calf cramps that wake me up. They used to happen once a month or so, but recently, they’ve been happening at least every other night, sometimes twice. I looked online for causes but none of them apply.
Do you know of anything that’ll help?