T Nation

Excelsior's Log


After MANY years of lurking around here (since '05-'06 even though my profile says I joined in '08) I’ve decided to put up my own log. I’ve been working out off and on since high school having played football, track, cross country and even competitive cheerleading(and not the clap my hands and yell type of cheering…well not the only type of cheerleading). After college, I went away to college to cheer for a major SEC college where my freshman year I easily put on 30lbs in a few months(lean mass) after training with the same guy who got me into cheering in the first place. I went from ~150lb to 185 in that short time frame but was still relatively weak, especially in the shoulders and arms which as you can imagine, if you’ve ever seen competitive cheerleaders, they hold girls above their heads with one arm for sometimes extended periods of time.

The training I did with my friend there definitely helped but it was mostly due to “noob” gains since high school football did some kind of periodization that left me spinning my wheels and not really getting any stronger. After my one year at the SEC college I ended up moving back closer to home due to an illness of a family member and just trained sporadically with no real place to workout(my parents house didn’t have much room for my weight bench anymore).

Fast forward to now, I’ve recently gotten back into training with a circuit that helped my conditioning before jumping onto Starting Strength from the beginning of November to the beginning of January. My lifts went as follows:
Squat: 225lbs-3x5 --> 330lbs-3x5
BP: 160-3x5 --> 220-3x5
OHP: 110-3x5 --> 150-3x5
DL: 200-1x5 --> 375-1x5

After taking a forced deload due to getting nauseated/ill and then dealing with an ER visit for my daughter, I came back after about 1-2 weeks off picking back up with Madcow’s 5x5. I felt that Starting Strength was too much for me at the those weights and pushing it left me unable to recover properly before the next workout. With recovery in mind I decided to go from Starting Strength to Madcow’s so that my progression would still be linear but only every week instead of every workout. I’m about to start my fifth week on Sunday and my lifts are now at:
Squat: 350lbs-1x5
BP: 225-1x3
OHP: 150-1x5
DL: 375- 1x5

From here on while still on madcow’s it should be a weekly PR until I stall. I’m not sure exactly when that’ll be but I know I won’t make it a full 12 weeks but even going another 2-4 weeks would be nothing but PR’s. I know that’s something that many here don’t see as often if their more advanced but in all honesty the PR I felt best about was the 225 for reps. That’s been something I’ve wanted since high school and I finally got it 10 years later with only a few months of work. I’d kick myself for that but it wouldn’t help me to achieve my new goals. So I’ll leave it at that. If there’s any questions about anything ask away. I’m always lurking and who knows, this log might keep me more accountable than the last few times I had to stop short of my goals(I’ve hit 220 for reps multiple times before being derailed due to life and what not). Anyway, have at it and kudos to anyone who actually read this long intro.


Today started my 5th week of madcow 5x5 with squats and bench press.
45lbs- 2x5

Bench Press:

On squats, the 350lbs felt heavy enough. Apparently so much so that I could feel myself drift forward on the last rep, but was able to get the rep without any complication or slowing down the bar speed too much. It wasn’t a grind for the rep, just felt out of the “groove.”

Bench felt great. I’ve had issues with my right shoulder for years now but not even an inkling of discomfort or even soreness. And as I said in my initial post, 225x5 was a goal for me since high school. My white whale if you will. Now that I’ve finally gotten it I’m not letting it go and intend to go as high as possible over the next ten years. My next achievement for bench to reach for is going to be 315 because, well, it’s 3 plates, but I’ll have plenty of mini goals to strive for until then. Hopefully it won’t take me nearly as long to get to 315 as it did to get 225.


Today was week 5 day 2 of madcow 5x5 so squats were kind of a deload while I continue to push OHP and DL higher for more PR’s on each one.
45lbs- 2x5
175lbs x5

Overhead Press:

135 with fatgripz- 2x5
335x5 w/ straps
385x5 w/ straps

I know I shouldn’t rely on the straps so much for deadlift but in all honesty I let my grip hinder me too many times before. I’m not exactly in a push to go for a competition or anything. Maybe one day, but not now. I just want my lifts to be as high as possible. If and when the day comes I decide to do competition I’ll put A LOT more emphasis on my grip training. After I stall out on this phase of my training, I’ll put more work in on grip strength with more chinups/pullups, plate pinches, etc.

The 385lbs deadlift did not leave me winded much less lightheaded. I probably could have done many more reps with it had this been a 5/3/1 template, but only went for the 5 reps stated in the program. Again, no rush and no need to risk injury from fatigue, but 405lbs for reps is going to be right around the corner(2-3weeks) and that’ll be another achievement I can cross off the list.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


Today was week 5 day 3 and I had no energy or motivation whatsoever. Whole family’s been sick this week and I’m sure I’ve got a bit of it feeling rundown and headaches here and there. Decided it would not be in my best interest to do a full session and left it with just the bench for the day and I even cut that short too. I really could not focus for anything after work.

Anyway here’s what I DID do:
Bench Press:
115lbs x 5
140 x 5
170 x 5
195 x 5
230 x 3 (still a PR)

This is the first time I’ve done any training during the Lenten season which means no meat on Fridays for me and didn’t realize how much it would take it out of me if I didn’t prepare accordingly. Diet today was probably subpar which didn’t help my energy or recovery from whatever I feel like I have. I’m going to take the weekend to see how I feel. If I’m good to go for another week I’ll pick it back up. If not, I’ll do a 5/3/1 7th week protocol then move on to the next phase of my training which will consist of the prep and fat loss program from 5/3/1 Forever.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


R&R is important for recovery. Finally getting around to doing something I’ve been wanting to do for months. Everybody enjoy you’re weekends even of it’s not a day off.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


So after consideration of how my last session went on Friday, I decided to deload this week so that I could move onto the Prep and Fat Loss program from 5/3/1 Forever. Deload went fine, but it seems as though I may have run into trouble with my assistance work.

Here’s how it went for me:
Bench Press

Assistance supersetted
plate raises w/ 25lbs: 3x12
pullups: 3x10
good mornings at 45lbs: 12, 7(sharp pain in left hamstring), 12

The second set of good mornings I felt a sharp pain in my left hamstring around rep 5. 6 and 7th reps the pain persisted so I ended the set there. I used the safety pins on the rack to try and “foam roll” my hamstring. The pain went away through the last set but was still tight which is why I could hit 12 reps without a problem. Now about an hour or so post workout it seems the tightness and soreness are there with a vengeance. Looks like no more hamstring work for a bit including my deadlifts this week unless this heals up quick enough.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


It’s been a while since I did a legitimate deload and I could feel it tonight. I did squats tonight and they felt HEAVY. I’m not even sure why since my left hamstring has felt fine with maybe slight soreness and the last time I did squat I was doing 350lbs for 5 reps.


curls (65lbs)- 3x10
plate raise(25lbs)- 3x10

Hopefully after a good run of the prep and fat loss program after this week of deloading I’ll be feeling much more energetic and just all around better and stronger.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


Last day of my deload, I lumped my press and deadlift together.




pullup(neutral grip)-8, 6, 5, 4

Good Morning:
45lbs- 3x10

Considering earlier in the week my hamstring had a sharp pain, I was reluctant to do the deadlifts. No pain whatsoever so I even decided to do some good mornings and even those felt good with no pain. Come Sunday, I’ll be starting the Prep and Fat Loss program for 6 weeks.