From the Ground Up

Welcome to my first log on T-Nation

In a nut shell I want to be good, if not great, at all things lifting.

The bulk of my 6 years of training has been primarily powerlifting in nature and has gotten me to a 425lb squat, 320lb bench, and 550lb deadlift (competition) in the 198lb weight class. More specifically I have done Bench, Squat, Deadlift, and OHP only for almost all of my training (Think: CT’s Original HP Mass program).

Unfortunately, the world of weights involves much more than the Big Three, leading to a more recent desire to master other disciplines and ultimately gain more complete control of my body.

Recently (9 months or so), I have been adding more olympic lifts into my training and have really enjoyed the High Pull as well as the Clean and Press, as I have always enjoyed explosive lifting.

Unfortunately, I have identified a rather gaping hole in my skill-set as a lifter, primarily my mobility, relative strength, and shoulder positioning.

My current method for addressing this problem is to train using only my body weight, focusing on relearning proper positioning and movement patters as well as improving mobility.

Long Term I hope to perform at high level in all three of these disciplines (Powerlifting, Weightlifting, Gymnastics) as they seem like very complimentary endeavors rather than competing ones. More specific goals will evolve over time, I’m sure, but right now my focus is on what it should have been from day one: proper movement and building my body From the Ground Up.

Here I am this morning, 6.28.13, at about 195lbs

6.28.13; 195lbs

My only lifting video so far: High Pull (or Chinese Pull) 225lbs

My last three workouts…

This circuit (is definitely challenging, but each exercise is not so difficult that I can’t execute it well):

10 Squats (forcing my knees out for vertical shins)
3 Supinated Pull-ups (pinkies touching; dead hang in between)
15 sec Handstand (in as many sets as it takes to total 15sec)
3 rolling pistol squats (each leg)
5 ring rows (with blast straps)
10 supinated push-ups (focusing on keeping forearms vertical)
6 hollow body rolls

8 rounds (50min)

Felt completely wiped out. Later in the day abs, hip flexors, and upper back were already sore.

8 rounds (45min)

Already took 5min off of my time and didn’t feel quite as bad doing it. Positioning on squats already feel better and it took fewer sets to get into a better position. Still needs work, obviously.

9 rounds (45min)

Was able to get through an extra round in the same amount of time. As expected, improvements are coming quickly since I’m so bad at this kind of stuff (particularly from a cardiovascular standpoint). Squats still improving and now I am focusing on keeping a more vertical torso while also keeping my knees in the proper position.

Bumped up handstand to 20sec, but am still needing several sets due to balance.

Used a pronated hand position on push ups as I have a feel for the shoulder and arm position now and want to work on my wrist flexibility for when I move on to more difficult exercises (plance variations).

Although I will slowly change the exercises to more difficult variations as I improve, for now at least I plan on always making the first circuit the easiest variation as I don’t want to get too ahead of myself in these workouts. If i end up getting to a 5th variation (for example) it will require me to go through 4 rounds before hand so I will have done all of the variations leading up to it.

Today’s workout will be different. My brother is in town and is on day 8 of CT’s 10 Day Layer System. I’ll use today as a chance to lift something heavy other than my body and keep some sort of familiarity with power cleans, OHP, and Front Squats. I will probably continue to have heavy lifting days in my program periodically so I don’t have to start back from scratch on the strength lifts when I get back to them.


9 rounds

Squats getting much better by the end of the workout. Hips opening up a lot and I’m able to keep my feet flatter on the ground rather than rolling out onto the sides.

Handstand balance still improving. Made the entire 15sec without resitting on one of the sets.

Left shoulder (that I’ve sublocated twice in the past year) felt a little dodgy in the past few workouts, so I really focused on activating my lats and holding my shoulders in position and it feel better, but still a little strained right around my collar bone.


Doubled the reps and halved the sets

20 squats
6 pull-ups (still close-grip supinated)
30sec hand stand
6 rolling pistol squats per leg
10 ring rows (feet on ground)
20 push-ups (supinated)
12 hollow body rocks

4 rounds: 40min

hand to break pull ups and push ups into 2-3 mini sets for the last two rounds

left shoulder still a bit achy during pushups

10 rounds; 50min

Feel like my left lat/teres major isn’t activating enough/quite right compared to my right and that is causing my left shoulder to bug me. I’ll try rolling it out and keep focusing on maintaining proper position and see if that’ll straighten things out. Not sure of any other way to tackle it or “turn on” my lat so to speak.


Gave the body-weight circuit a break tonight in lieu of some “heavy” weight so I don’t forget what it feels like. Didn’t go as well as I had hoped, but it has been a while since I’ve picked up a barbell.

Clean and Press and Front Squat
5(225x1) 5 sets of 225x1

Slight Decline Bench Press

Neither exercise was to failure, but both were very heavy, particularly the push press, and I needed to nail the form as much as i could. Looking at the videos both exercises look much easier than they felt.





Front Squat

Back Squat


Nothing big for training today. Pretty beat up as it is and didn’t have access to any equipment. Did some actual pistol squats today though, rather than rolling pistols, so that’s improvement.

Squats: 2x10
Pistol Squats:3-5 sets of 3-5 or so
Push-ups: 2 or so sets of 10
Head Stands: 4-5 sets of 10-35sec
Hollow body rolls: 2x10
Very forward push-up position: 3-4 sets of 10 second holds

These were done more or less as a circuit

Certainly not a very taxing workout in any sense, but I am glad I did something. It was mostly my brother and I sort of goofing off with some body weight stuff.


Got home from my brother’s late, but wanted to get something in before bed…

Pull-ups: 10x3
Push-ups: 10x10


Amended the circuit a bit today to make things a little more difficult for a few exercises…

Squats: 10
Pull-ups: 3
Handstand: 20 sec
Pistol Squats onto a low box: 3 each leg
Ring Rows: 5
Push-ups: 10
Hollow Body Rock: 10

5 rounds

Not too difficult today. Went fairly slow because I was walking my girlfriend through all of it. The low box pistols were tougher than i expected, possibly even tougher than regular pistols. Handstands and Hollow Body Rocks were feeling good and my balance was better.


Changed up the workout a little again today. Rather than one giant circuit covering the entire body, I did supersets with exercises that covered the same body parts. The total work load on each exercise was a bit less because of this, but at least theoretically and subjectively, the density of work was higher.

A1. 3 Pull-ups
A2. 10 sec straight bar full tuck front lever

B1. 10 Body weight Squats
B2. 3 Low box pistol squats each leg

C1. 1 Support (knees on elbows) to handstand
C2. 8 Push-ups

D. 15 Hollow Rocks

Time: about 35min?

It was good to get back to front levers and support to handstand a bit and I enjoyed not being out of breath the whole workout. On the down side, I was getting a lot more burning in the muscles this way, which isn’t too bad after all, haha.


Good workout today. I realize I haven’t had any videos or photos up for a while, so I’ll try to work something worth filming into the workout soon.

Squats: 10
Pull-ups: 3
Support to Handstand: 20 sec
Low Box Pistol Squats: 3 each leg
Straight Bar Full Tuck Front Lever: 10 sec
Push-ups: 10
Hollow Rock: 10

6 rounds (50 min)


Squats: 10
Pull-ups: 3
Support to Handstand: 20 sec
Low Box Pistol Squats: 3 reps each leg
St. Bar Full Tuck Front Lever: 10 sec
Push-ups: 10
Hollow Rock: 10

7 rounds (40 min)


Workout was tough today. Not sure why. Performance was ok; I just felt drained.

Squats: 10
Pull-ups: 3
Support to Handstand: 20 sec
Low Box Pistol Squats: 3 reps each leg
St. Bar Full Tuck Front Lever: 10 sec
Push-ups: 10
Hollow Rock: 10

6 rounds (45 min)