T Nation

Fireman's Powerlifting Log

This is my first shot at an online log. Hoping it’ll motivate me a little more. Training has been getting a little stagnant and boring lately.

A little about me. I’m 29, 5’7, 181 lbs. I’m a fireman in the Cincinnati area. I love lifting heavy and getting stronger. I think lifting has a good carryover to my everyday life as I’m involved in strenuous activities throughout the day. Whether it be in firefighting activities or medical details, strength plays a part every day.

Lifting background. I’ve been lifting since Freshman year in High School, 1999. I started to get stronger in baseball. So I have about 14 years under my belt. The majority of my training was bodybuilding type. In '04 I did a Bench Press only competition. I hit 265 @ 142 lbs. In '05 I started getting into heavier lifting. Hurt my back doing rep deadlifts with straps. Compressed some discs. Could barely walk for weeks. Definitely couldn’t squat or deadlift. Thought my heavy lifting days were over before they even started. So I spent the next few years doing mostly upper body stuff, back to bodybuilding type training. In '09 I started reading into some Westside Barbell material as suggested by my gym owner Wayne Smallwood (holds national bench press records in the 60 and 70 year old divisions). I had been doing DE bench for years under Wayne’s suggestion, not knowing where he got the idea from. So I picked up the Book of Methods and watched hours of Westside guys and seminars on youtube. Every article I could find. Finally, I started squatting and deadlifting again. I was determined to get back out there. I was rehabbing on my own, seeing a chiropractor 3x a week. Did a Police and Fire competition last year. Finished 2nd in the push/pull 181’s with a 765 total. Looking to top that this year in June, full power meet.

So I ran Conjugate Periodization for most of my powerlifting training. Pretty much up until last year. I voluntarily transferred to one of the busiest companies in Ohio, and it has taken a toll on my recovery. Not sleeping much, if at all, every 3rd day. So, I decided I needed a change from the constant ME days. I also had to leave my gym due to my schedule and preparing myself for the baby I have on the way. Due April 16th! So, I’ve built my own gym in the basement of my home. Forced to train solo. Saved up some money and went shopping at Rogue Fitness in Columbus, OH. Awesome equipment and good prices. Most importantly its AMERICAN MADE!!

I’ve played around with linear periodization, 5/3/1, Juggernaut Training, Sheiko, RTS, and now Block Periodization. I really enjoyed Mike T’s RTS, which pretty much is Block Periodization. I just needed the actual numbers to start out with as opposed to the RPE’s. I’m learning the RPE’s and have started incorporating them in my workouts. Especially on lifts I don’t have 1RM’s for.

So hopefully, someone will read this and maybe learn something or someone will have some words of wisdom for me. Hope you enjoy.

Best All-Time Gym Lifts
Bench 360 @ 199
Bench 330 @ 181
Deadlift 490 @ 181
Squat 325 @ 181

Best Comp Lifts
Bench 290 paused @ 181
Deadlift 475 @ 181

Numbers are a little everywhere, I know. I did some experimenting with gaining weight. And, well, it worked! However, my back injuries came back. I learned the lighter I was, the less my back hurt. Unfortunately, my numbers suffered from that. So, I’m actually trying to get into the 170’s and build up to 181. That seems to work pretty well for me approaching a meet. I’m right around 181-185, now.

Trying to catch up on my previous weeks training.

2/4

Bench

Wide Grip BP (Index on rings)
180x6
180x6
185x6
190x6
195x6

GC Bench (Index on smooth)
155 4x15

DB Triceps Ext.
4x15

Band Triceps
4x25 w/ light band

Chins
4x AMAP

BB Curls
4x20

25 minutes of cardio

Relatively easy day. I moved fast. Probably got done in about 80 minutes. In this first block I’m trying to raise my work capacity so the rest periods are quick. Higher rep sets to promote hypertrophy. My weakness in the BP is at the bottom, like most raw lifters. So I like the WG BP. Probably wont do any competition grip BP for a few weeks.

2/6

Deadlift

Comp. Deadlift (Conventional, double overhand)
275x6
275x6
285x6
295x6
300x6

Rack Pulls
275 4x6

BB Rows
4x15 @ 6 RPE

Shrugs
135 4x20

Hanging leg raises

25 min cardio

Weakness in my deadlift is definitely all of my back. Upper and lower. I’ve only recently started incorporating the rack pulls to develop upper back strength. I suck at them, so that’s why I’m making myself do them. But I try to do some kind of pull or row everyday. I also try to do double overhand grip on my deads as long as I can. I feel it strengthens my grip for lifting and everyday life. Also helps balance out my upper back from the heavy mixed grip lifting. Got my ass kicked in at work the night before, so I slept most of the day before getting up to train.

2/9

Bench Accessory

Chest Level Pin Press
155x6
165x6
175x6
185x6
185x6

Floor Press (paused)
155 4x15

BB Tri Ext.
70 4x15

One arm BB Row
50 4x15

OHP
70 4x10

Rear Delt Raises
10 lb plates 4x20

BB Curls
4x20

2/10

Squat

SSB Squat
135x6
135x6
155x6
165x6
165x6

DB Split Squats
4x15

Seated Ham’s, Mini Band
4x50
Superset with
Hypers
4x20

Ab Fallouts with Bands
4x15

25 min cardio

Another relatively easy day. I was aiming for about a 6-7 RPE on the main lifts. I have a max on the SSB but I think I’m a little stronger now. Big fan of the SSB! NOTHING, perfects your squat more than using the SSB. I’ve felt HUGE improvements in my squat after using the SSB for a few months. Again, my weaknesses are in my upper and lower back, and this hammers them both, along with your legs and ass. Video is SSB with 155. Hopefully I plugged it in right and it works.

2/11

Bench

Wide Grip BP
190x5
190x5
200x5
200x5
205x5

WG Incline
135x15
135x15
155x15

DB Tri Ext.
4x20

MG Bar Tri Ext.
4x15

Chins
4x AMAP

Band Low Row
4x25

BB Curls
4x15

Aimed for about a 7 RPE for the main workout of the day. Felt good. Been off for a few days and can really tell the difference in the gym. A little sore from my SSB day but didn’t have a real effect on my bench set up.

2/12

Deads

Deficit deads (6in box, double overhand)
225x5
245x5
275x5
295x5 (had to strap up on last 3 reps)

Cambered Bar GM’s
135x10
155x10
175x10

BB Row
95 3x15

Shrugs
135 2x20
135 2x10 w/ doubled mini

Hanging Leg Raises
3x20

25 min cardio

Another good day. Felt fresh. Going to stick with the deficits for awhile, puts my back in a compromised position. Hopefully it’ll have good carryover to upper and lower back strength. Tried to do all reps double overhand, but had to strap up on the last 3 reps in my top set, as you’ll see in the video. Not really concerned with my grip today. Trying to give my left elbow a break from the mixed grip. When I get closer to the transmutation phase I’ll do more without the support. GM’s felt good. Might have pushed it a little too hard on the last set, but I feel fine. I try to do some form of GM w/ every deadlift workout. Usually its with the SSB, but I wanted to play with the Cambered Bar today.

2/13

Active Rest

Seated Ham Machine
45lbs 4x20

Seated Leg Ext.
45’s 4x20

45 Degree Hyper
4x20

Ab’s

This was all done at my Part-Time fire job. Was able to get it in without interruption. A little low back soreness from yesterday. Other than that felt good.

2/14

Another Active Rest

Cable Tricep Ext.
4x25

Standing Cable Flies
4x15

This was all I could get done today. Did this at work and was interrupted during the workout. Would’ve liked to have done some cardio, but maybe I’ll hit that tomorrow.

2/15

Bench Accessory

Chest High, Pin Press
185x5
205x5
215x5
225x5
225x5

DB BP
55’s 4x20

DB Extensions
25’s 4x20

Standing Tri Ext. Avg. Band
4x25

Seated BB MP
65x12
65x12
75x12

DB Row
65x15
85x15
105x10

Band Pull Apart, mini
3x20

Hammers
4x20

No sleep last night so this workout wasn’t that good. I got what I wanted to get, but I was definitely dragging ass. Took me about 2 hours for this one. Not good. Hopefully I can bounce back tomorrow.

12/16

Squat

Box Squats
175x5
185x5
195x5
205x5
205x5

Speed Pulls, light band
185x1
185x1
225x1
225x1
275x1
275x1
315x1 4 sets

Lying hamstring ext. w/ DB’s
4x10

Seated hamstring, mini bands
2x50

Hanging Leg Raises
3x20

Good workout today. Again, tried to keep it around a 7 RPE Had a friend come over and lift. First time I’ve box squatted in a while. Thought I’d play around with it. Not a big box squat advocate. I think there is some carryover to a free squat, but not as much a SSB squat or a front squat. Haven’t done speed pulls in awhile either. Felt pretty good. My friend is the last guy in the video. He has some freakishly long legs, so he basically has to table top his pulls. If anyone has any recommendations for long legged lifters I could pass along to him, please feel free to comment. Video is top sets of the day, except for my pull.

12/18

Bench

Wide Grip BP, Index on rings
205x4
215x4
225x4
225x4
230x4

Floor Press, Multi Grip Bar
155x15
165x15
170x15

DB Extensions
25’s 4x20

JM Press
75 3x15

Chins, dead hang
10 sets of 3

Face Pulls, mini band
4x25

BB Curls
3x20

I’d give today’s work about a 7.5 RPE. Felt crappy. I tried mixing some coconut oil in my coffee and I may have overdone it. Felt nauseous the entire workout. That sucked because I actually got some sleep at work last night. That’s rare. Felt great this morning, till I drank that crap. I’ve been considering carb-backloading but I don’t think I have the will power. Or the taste for coconut oil and coffee. DISGUSTING!

2/20

Restoration

Decline BB BP
135 5x20

Superset w/

Chins, Dead hang
10x3

Standing Tri Cable Ext.
4x25

Superset w/

Face pulls
4x25

Did this at work without interruption! Backs been a little sore. Big improvement today, compared to yesterday. Hopefully a better day tomorrow.

2/21

Dead

Conv. Deadlifts
275x4
295x4
305x4
315x4
335x4

Deficit SLDL
135 4x10

SSB GM’s
120 4x10

Hanging Leg Raises
4x20

DB Side Bends
50 4x15

20 Min Cardio

Worked up to about a 7.5 RPE today. Tried to find where my form starts breaking down on the dead. Seems to be right around 335. In the video you can tell a difference in tightness between 315 and 335. Upper back starts to round a little bit. Thinking maybe I should spend some time in this range and work out some kinks so I can lock out that 500. That’s the goal anyway. Reps felt good, good speed. I used sets of singles instead of just repping them out.

2/23

Bench Accessory

Pin Press, chest high
205 10x5

Chins
10x5

DB Ext
30’s 4x15

Rear Delt Raise
10lb Plates 4x20

BB Curls
5x10

Switched it up a little today. Just read an article about GVT. I’ve heard about it for some time but was too lazy to do it. So I tried it today. Not bad. My bench has felt a little stale lately so why not mix it up. It’s obviously more for bodybuilding but the reps were low and I didn’t go too heavy.

2/24

Squats

SSB Squat
210 10x5

SSB Box Squats
120 3x10

Hamstring Curls, mini band
3x50

Hanging Leg Raises
3x20

Superset w/

1 Min Planks x3

Yep, I did another AGVT workout. Felt great. It’s kind of similar to what I used to run when I started lifting weights. I did mostly 3x10 with a certain weight. If I hit all 30 reps, the next week I would bump it up 5-10 lbs. I would stick with the weight until I could string together 30 reps. I know this is nothing new, but its been so long I nearly forgot about it. It’s almost like Sheiko in a sense. Im considering doing this for a few weeks. I still have enough time before my meet. Then I can get back onto Block and peak for the meet. We’ll see. I couldn’t find too much info on AGVT as it relates to powerlifting. Mark Bell mentioned it in a Power Project video for hypertrophy. We’ll see.

2/25

Bench

WG BP
220 10x5

DB Rows
60x10
80x10
100x10

MG Bar Tri Ext.
70 3x15

Standing Tri Pull Downs, Avg. Band
4x25

Face Pulls, Mini Band
4x25

Hammer Curls
4x20

2/28

Bench Accessory

Pin Press, @ Chest
215 10x5

DB BP
65x12
85x12
105x9

DB Tri Ext.
30s 3x20

Band Overhead Ext. Avg Band
4x25

Standing MP
95 3x10

Weighted Chins
BW+10 10x5

Another good deal. Felt sore as hell from yesterdays workout. Surprisingly my lower back feels pretty good, my upper back is thrashed. Which is good. I really tried to focus on my upper yesterday during the pulls. I’m probably going to be hurting from the weighted chins. Finally got a belt I could strap weight too. Havent done weighted chins in a long time. Felt good!

3/2

Squats

SSB Squats
220 10x5

Cambered Bar Box Squats
135 3x10

Seated Hams, Mini Band
4x50

Hanging Leg Raises
4x20

1 Min Planks x4

I was actually surprised I could make it through the main set. I didn’t think I would be able to get all 10 sets. I did, and with decent form. I can definitely tell my upper back is getting stronger in the squat. That used to be a huge weak point for me. I would start to break at the upper back at about 80%. I don’t think that will be an issue now. I must say, I’m really enjoying the AGVT. I know its more of a bodybuilding template, but I’ve kind of made it my own. Using what I’m weak at. I hope to continue for a couple more months before I start working up to my meet.

3/5

Bench

Wide Grip BP
230 10x5

DB Flyes
30s 3x10

Tri Ext
25s 4x20

DB Pullovers
50 3x20

Rear Delt
4x20

DB Rows
100 10x5

Hammer curls
30s 4x20