T Nation

Cre-Tate-ing Strength, Size and Shredded


We now join this program in progress...

So for the most part many people, including myself, want to be bigger, stronger and lean as can be. Chasing all three rabbits at once is futile.

I've developed a plan for this year, or at least a good portion of this year to achieve all of these goals, well at least the bigger and stronger. The leanness will only be around for so long (hopefully much of the summer).

The plan involves using Dave Tate's Maximal Strength program from PN (for strength) and his Trilogy e-book (for leanness and maintaining as much size as possible). I'll follow that with a hypertrophy program to add some size before repeating the process.

Current Maxes:
Squat: 365 x 2 w/ belt
-I have done 385 in the past for 1, but that was 2 years ago)

Deadlift: 435 x 1 (just chalk)

Bench Press: 265 x 2
-By far my weakest movement. I very much want to get to 315 and beyond this year.

Within the Maximal Strength program I have already completed the first 3 weeks (Preparation Phase) and am half way through the 1st week of the Max Strength Phase (Week 4).

I'm currently weighing 192lbs, which is almost 30lbs more than I weighed on stage last October. My diet has been sub-par from November to January and I've recently started a Carb Cycling Diet to reduce the size of my squat belly. :slight_smile:

A quick recap of this week up to now.

Monday night:
Rack Pulls -> worked up to a 3RM of 425lbs
SLDL - 3 sets of 6-7 reps at 300lbs (using straps)
Cable Crunches and 45 degree back raises - 4 sets of 10 reps
Rack Chins - 2 sets of 10 reps with 40lb bb across my lap.

Wednesday night:
2 Board Presses -> worked up to a 3RM of 245lbs
-probably could do 255 if I had a spotter
Partial Pin Presses - 3 sets of 5 at 245lbs
Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 8 at 30lb DB's
Chest Supported T-Bar Row - 3 sets of 10 reps at 125lbs
12 minutes of Med.Intensity lifting
Did some more rows and barbell curls.

Tonight is dynamic effort squat day and will involve me determining my 1RM Box Squat. I am currently using a Box Step as my box, with 4 risers. My understanding is that each riser is 2" tall and the step is 3" in height, meaning a 4 riser step is approximately 11" off the ground. I've definitely noticed a strength increase in my squat since incorporating box squats.

I'm going to keep this log updated with posts, measurements, stats, pics and vids to ensure my progress is monitored.


A recap of the weekend.

Friday night was DE Squat Day.

I worked my way up to a 1RM of 355. I probably could have done 365 if I had a spotter, but played it relatively safe and squeezed out 365.

This was followed by some GHR's (3 sets of 8) , Hanging Leg Raises ( 2 sets of 15) and then to finish, I SS'd Good Mornings with Pull Downs. 3 sets of 8x155lb Good Mornings and 3 sets of 12x160lb pull downs.

The weekend was supposed to be DE Bench but I had plans to train arms (BB style) with a friend of mine.

We SS'd everything starting with:

Bent Bar Pressdowns and Standing BB Curl
4 sets w/ rep range at 8-12.

Incline DB Curls and Skullcrushers
3 sets w/ rep range 12-15.

Strict single arm overhead DB extensions
3 sets w/ rep range 12-15

Single arm DB Preacher Curl
3 sets w/ rep range 10-12

Rope Presses and DB Hammer Curls
3 sets to failure

I had a very hard time washing my hair Saturday night. My arms were cramping severely. :slight_smile:

Sunday, instead of doing the DE Bench program I had, I just did some back (primarily rows).

Standing Face Pulls, UG Pull downs, Seated Rows, UG BB Rows and Shrugs.

Weighed in at 194.5lbs this morning.


Fairly quick workout last night.

Week 5 - Day 1 of ME Lower Body

I get a reprieve from squatting this day.

Started off with SLDL and worked my way up to 2 sets of 6 reps at 315lbs. On my first set at 315 I went for 7 reps and had AWFUL form. Nearly wrecked my back and swore at myself aloud when I racked the bar. Somebody beside me thought I was talking to them when I blurted out 'f'n idiot!'.

Cable crunches.
4 sets of 15 reps at 150lbs.

Back Extensions
4 sets of 10-12 reps w/ 45lb plate

UG Pulldowns
2 sets of 15 reps at 140lbs

Performed some MI Single Leg Presses and leg extensions to cool down.

Today is an off day. I'll likely do 20-30 minutes of LI cardio..


Last night was ME Upper.

Week 5 - Day 2 - ME Upper

2 Board Press - Worked my way up to heavy singles for 6.
**clearly not my strongest movement so I am very much hoping this will improve my bench numbers.

CG SM Lockouts - Had to use the smith machine as some kid was in the power rack doing shrugs with 275. Right next to him in the squat rack was a fully loaded bar with, you guessed it, 275lbs.

2 sets of 5 x 245lbs

Standing DB Lateral Raises
3 sets of 8 x 30lbs

T-Bar row
11 x 140lbs
8 x 165lbs

Finished up with some V Bar pressdowns for reps super-setting with weight ab crunches.

Weight this morning was at 192lbs.


Compared to your other numbers your bench is right where it is suppose to be. 315 would make your squat and deads weak.


You're very much correct. It's a mental thing for me. I feel I can make easy progress on my squat and deadlift but the bench just inches along.

I am aiming to hit 450 squat, 500 dead and 315 bench this year. I think those numbers would be somewhat even on a squat to dead to bench comparison.

But like you said, I'm pretty close to 'ratio' now, so just need to make the small improvements everywhere.


Weekend Update

Friday night was DE Lower. (It was a late workout)
8 sets of Box Squats
8 x 2 x 215lbs - explode off the box

3 sets of 8.
I'm using the pulldown station to do these and am really controlling the negative, using a small push up to get momentum moving back up and then squeezing the hammies

Hanging Leg Raises
2 sets of 14 reps

Supersetted Good Mornings with Lat Pulldowns (for time sake)
10 x 155
10 x 175
10 x 195

Lat Pulldowns
3 x 10 x 150

Finished up with some seated calf presses and leg extensions.

DE Upper

Bench Press
8 x 3 x 135lbs
Really focusing on form and exploding off the chest.

Wide Grip Pressdowns
5 x 175lbs
6 x 175lbs

Rear Laterals - Reverse Machine Flyes
3 x 10 x 135lbs

Seated Rows
10 x 180lbs
10 x 200lbs
10 x 200lbs

Finished up with some V bar presses and BB Curls. (12-20 rep range)


Another update...

Monday night was supposed to be ME Lower Body but unfortunately work got in the way (to the tune of 14hrs) and I didn't make it in.

I got to the gym late Tuesday night, combined with a subpar diet on Monday and Tuesday and it was a tough workout to plow through...

Tuesday - ME - Lower Body

Close Stance Box Squats (4" below parallel)
Worked up to 3RM of 295lbs.

I expected a 3RM around 315-325, but I don't think I had enough juice in the tank from what I ate or didn't eat to start the week.

6 reps@ 315lbs
6 reps @325lbs

Making progress with the SLDL's

Standing Cable Crunches
14/10/12/14 reps @ 140lbs

Skipped 45 Degree Back Raises as my lower bak was on fire.

Assisted Pullups
8 @level 3
10@level 4

Cool Down was 100 reps on leg press w/ 2 plates per side and 30 leg extensions @180lbs. I used the 10 second rule for both exercises, meaning I did AMRAP, rested 10 seconds, then did more reps till I reached the prescribed # of reps.

Last night was ME Upper Body. I actually got into the gym early as I had the day off.

Wednesday - ME - Upper

Close Grip Incline BB
Worked my way up to a 3RM of 175.
Horrible I know. I really find this movement difficult on my right shoulder, particularly at the bottom of the movement. I will see how next week goes in terms of the 6 heavy singles.

Close Grip Partial Pin Press
1 set of 5 @ 245lbs.
-Pretty much same weight as last time.

Standing DB Laterals
3 sets of 8 @ 30lbs
-This is much easier now than it was in the 1st 3 weeks.

T-Bar Rows
10@ 150lbs
9 @ 160lbs
10@ 160lbs

Finished up with high rep incline hammer strength (90lbs/side) and high rep Hammer iso rows (115lbs/side).


The diet has been better since Wednesday.

Tonight was DE Lower Body.

DE Box Squats

10 sets of 2 reps @ 185lbs.
Focused on dropping hard and exploding up.

GHR's - on Lat Pulldown
2 sets of 8.

I showed these to Court and made her do one.

Hanging Leg Raises
15 reps, 20 reps.

Good Mornings
8 reps @ 185lbs
10 reps @ 185lbs
8 reps @ 205lbs

Lat Pulldowns
2 sets of 15 reps @ 150lbs

Finished up with leg presses, free motion lat pull down (new machine), leg extensions and machine crunches.


Sunday - DE Bench

A. Bench Press
8 sets of 3 reps @135lbs

Read Cressey's article on 7 Habits of Highly Defective Benchers this week so I had a few focus points.

  1. Row the weight. I.e. Pulling the bar down. I don't think I've ever been doing this effectively. I could definitely feel my lats engage when I focused on pulling the bar down.
  2. Speed. Accomplished all 3 reps within 5 seconds.

B. Rear Cable Flyes - On FreeMotion equipment
12/14/14 @ 12.5lbs/side

On my last set I dropped the angle to be pulling from waist level up and back as opposed to should level. Much better pull in the rear delts.

C. Seated Rows
1 set of 6 reps @220lbs.

Finished up with 12 minutes of 2 set/max rep exercises:
HS Bench Press
T-Bar Row
DB Press
Yates Rows
Bent Over DB Laterals


I was supposed to complete ME Squats on Monday night but I stayed home to take care of my ailing GF.

Last night I finally got to the gym around 9:30pm as I had an earlier appointment that ran 2.5hrs.

Tuesday - ME - Lower

A. Close Stance Box Squats

Worked my way up to 6 heavy singles.


Each set/rep went up pretty easily with the exception of the 365. I struggled to get off the box, but once I was moving, it wasn't too bad to lock it out.

Q: I am finding that I am coming out of the hole moving forward sometimes as opposed to up. Any mental cues I could use to help correct this?

2 sets of 6 reps @ 325lbs
**Small increase from last week.

C1. Cable Crunches
15 x 55
14 x 70
12 x 85
12 x 85
C2. 45 Degree Back Raises
15 x 35
12 x 35
10 x 35
20 x BW

I had to use one of the 'new' FreeMotion machines for the Cable Crunches since the 4 pulley systems were in use by couples 'toning' their hyooge arms.

It was actually a pretty good machine as it operates on independent weight stacks per arm.

D. Assisted Pull Ups
2 sets of 10 @ #4

Finished up (quickly) with 20 rep leg press (4 plates/side) and leg extensions (max rep @ 180).

Crawled home and into bed.



ME - Upper Body

A. Close Grip Incline BB
6 heavy singles

Form on 185 was pretty awful.

I find the CG Incline a difficult movement for me. I'm certainly nowhere near strong on it, so it was rather humbling to have a ME day and be in the 100's.

B. DB Laterals
3 sets of 8 reps @ 30lbs

C. T-Bar Rows
8 reps @ 180lbs
6 reps @ 180lbs

Finished up with the Delt Triad using 20lb DB's. 3 sets of 12 reps/exercise.


Weekend Update...

Friday night was RE Lower Body

A. Box Squats
8 sets of 2 reps @ 67% - 220lbs

B. Hanging Leg Raises
2 sets of 20 reps

C1. Good Mornings
10/10/8 @ 205lbs
C2. Lat Pulldowns
14 x 150lbs
12 x 160lbs
8 x 170lbs

Pretty quick workout.


RE Bench

A. Bench Press
8 sets of 3 reps @ 135lbs

Form felt much tighter today.

B. Wide Grip Pressdown
8 x 175lbs

C. Reverse Flyes
3 sets of 10 @ 145lbs

D. Seated Rows
2 sets of 6 reps @ 220lbs



ME Lower Body

A. Wide Stance High Box Squats (4" above parallel)
Worked up to a 3RM of 425lbs

I forgot my camera as I was going to capture this on vid. I'll have to bring it next Monday so I can capture the 6 heavy singles

The progression to 425 went like this

Everything was butter until the 5th rep at 405 which I had to earn.

The 2nd rep at 425 wasn't the best rep but I refocused on the last rep and squeezed out 425.

2 sets of 7 reps @ 325lbs.

At this point I am officially 'fried' from lifting.

C. Kneeling Cable Crunches
12/12/11/10 @ 150lbs

D. 45 degree Back Raises
3 sets of 12 w/ 25lb plate

My lower back at this point is on fire.

E. Assisted Pull Ups
8 reps @ #3 (which is approximately 85% of my weight)

Finished up with 3 sets of high-rep leg press with 5 plates a side and then some leg extensions before leaving.

I actually wanted to leave after the back raises as I was sweating worse then a pig at a 4th of July BBQ. I'm actually surprised Court didn't mention anything when I was chatting with her. Maybe she's gone soft and is being nice?

I met Ouroboro last night as well. She was doing Good Mornings with 175. I've only seen two people do Good Mornings with heavier weight then that at this gym. Tight form.


Wednesday Night

ME Upper

This week was a deload from heavy weights.

A. High Rep DB Press
2 sets of 15 reps @ 75lbs/ 1 set of 14 @ 75lbs
**The 2nd set was incredibly difficult. I really had to push to get 15. My final set I was only able to get 11 reps. I put the DB's down, waited 10s and squeezed out 3 more. In between sets I rested 5 minutes (and needed every second).

B. Partial Pin Press
8/6 reps @ 245lbs

C. Standing DB Laterals
3 sets of 8 @ 30lbs.

**I can't believe how easy these are now. I'll move up to 35's next week.

Finished up with some D handle pull downs, rope press downs, skull crushers, seated cable flyes and seated cable rows (All 2 sets using 15+ reps/set).

I felt pretty wiped once this one was over. It was a good session for a 'deload'.


Friday Night

RE Lower

Or so it was supposed to be.

After a conversation with Court online this morning I decided to max out on my deadlift.

I also decided to try dl'ing sumo-style.

I maxed out at 445lbs.

My lead into this went like this.

failed at 455 **barely moved the bar off the floor.

However, after some coaxing by another gym member, I tried 445 and squeezed it out.

Finished the night up with some GHR's and Pull Downs (super sets). Some T-Bar rows and some leg extensions.

Not bad for a Friday night.


Saturday - DE Bench

A. Speed Bench Press
8 sets of 3 reps @145lbs

My form is much better on the bench now. It'll be interesting to see how much I can press in 2 weeks.

B. Wide Grip Pressdowns
3 sets of 6 reps @195lbs

C. Reverse Machine Flyes
2 sets of 10 reps @150lbs
1 set of 10 reps @145lbs

Finished up with some seated side/front db lateral supersets, dips, rope presses and single arm overhead db extensions.


Week 9 - last week before I test the maxes

Before the workout even started I was severely disappointed that I couldn't find my camera to videotape the squats (this happens when you and your girlfriend each own your own place and not all your stuff is in one locale). Sufficed to say I had a bit of a mood to me getting to the gym.

A. Wide Stance High Box Squat

Worked my way up to 6 heavy singles


I dropped it back down to 405 because there's only a handful of people I trust spotting 4+ plates and I didn't feel like bothering the same guy for each single.


7 x 325lbs
7 x 335lbs

C1. Machine Crunches
C2. 45 degree Back Raises

D. Assisted Pullups
7 @3
7 @3

Finished up with some V seated Rope Pulldowns.

This was a super long workout. Nearly 1.5hrs! Yikes!



CNS = Fried.

Had some leftover angst and anger I needed to rid myself of.

Decided to trains "quads".

A. 10 x 10 Deadlifts

10,10,10,10,9,10,8,10,9,10 x 265lbs

B. Leg Press

10 x 1/2/3/4/5/6 plates/side
5 x 7 plates/side

C. Leg Extensions

3 x 30 reps (10 out/10 in/10 straight)

Finished up with Standing Calf Raises


I didn't realise you had a log over here. In fact until today, I've never ventured over to this section. Thanks for the compliment on my good mornings. Remember, I'm totally vain about my back. Plus I know people are staring at my ass when I do them. It's the only action I'm getting lately other than the chiropractor.

Where are you doing GHR's? Court said they don't have one in Burlington. Was she lying to me?

You should know, Court is never nice.