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Hany's Training Log


I'm only one week to finish 12 Weeks BBB challenge, and since I lift my TM 5 x 1 for BBB (the past week and for coming week) it crossed my mind to check strength tables to see at which class I am in. It was a shock to me, the result were:

My stats are:
Weight class: 75 kg
Bench Press: 105 kg
Deadlift: 155 kg
Press: 75 kg
Squat: 125 kg

Those numbers put me in the following classes:
Bench press: Intermediate (only 10 kg to be credited Advanced)
Deadlift: Intermediate (only 30 kg to be credited Advanced)
Press: Advanced!!!!!!
Squat: Intermediate (30 kg to be credited Advanced)

Those numbers show that I do well with bench press, and very well with press. My numbers for deadlift is acceptable and my progress is good. Squat is not progressing parallel with other lifts.

I think I need to change my mind and forget my worries about bench and press, and focus more on my core. I believe that my core is the culprit of slow progress in squats and deads.

Conclusion: no need to do GVT at all, I will start to focus on the core and lower body. The next cycle will be refreshment (basic 5/3/1 with body weight assistance) followed by 3 cycles of 5/3/1 + FSL with more wise selection for core exercises.


Possible but I doubt it's the whole reason. I'd go with lower back instead. Why? Because for you to press what you do your midsection needs to be pretty strong. It's obviously strong enough to keep you in position to get your own bodyweight overhead.

Now look at squat and DL. Strong abs are important, but will they be enough to let you actually move more weight than you can now? Probably not. What if your lower back gets stronger? My bet would be that you'll be able to move more weight than you can now because my experience has been that when squatting or pulling and I struggle, it is my lower back that picks up the slack and locks the weight out.

Now, I seriously doubt your upper and middle back are letting you down. Why? Because you use the same DBs for rows as I do. Your upper/middle back is as strong as mine, or close to it in that respect.

Following on from what I said before, I would instead focus on making your lower back stronger, then your legs (hams/glutes first, then quads). Good mornings, paused squats, front squats, paused front squats, BB rows and lunges should be your friends.


@MarkKO Thanks for the detailed reply my friend. I thought that lower back is part of core that’s why I used “core” term. I totally agree with your comments.

What do you recommend for hams/glutes? as you know I don’t have access to gym, hence, only BBs DBs and bench are available. I think RDL, GM, Glute bridges are the only available, or there is something I’m missing?

Also for BB row, do you advice high reps using moderate weight or heavy weight for low reps? As I believe later will stress lower back more.


You are, of course, correct. It usually gets misused, and that's exactly what I did. My bad.

A kettlebell swing analog: use a DB. It'll do the same thing. Start with 16 kg or as close as you can get for 100 total reps. Also reverse lunges with bar held as for front squats. They are horrible, horrible things but do everything you need.

As heavy as you can go for sets of 10 or more, torso angle as close to the start of a DL as possible. With rows, I generally think heavy AND high reps is the way to go.

In terms of sequence, this is what I'd suggest:

DL day

531 sets
Paused front squats 5x2x70 kg 2-3 second pauses in the hole. Add 5 kg every cycle.
BB rows 5x10x60-80 kg

531 sets
Snatch grip DL 5x2x90 kg. Add 5-10 kg every cycle. Can be done from deficit in addition to snatch grip. I did (about 15 m), but have no prior back injuries.
Reverse lunges 5x10x40-60 kg

That's really, really close to what I did when I was starting out. I'm not at all saying you're just starting out, but because it worked well (squat 150 to 180 and DL 180 to 215 in three months) I have no hesitation recommending it to you my friend. I based the suggested loads on your squat and DL.


@MarkKO great and detailed advice as usual Mark!!! Thanks so much. Let me sum it all up and show you my plan after I finish 12 Weeks BBB challenge (only one week left) and the deload week.

Refreshment Cycle:

Duration: 3 weeks
Main: 5/3/1 basic
Assistance: body weight training (no weights will be used)

Sister's Wedding Vacation:

Duration: 1 week
Activities: Diving and cardio

Lower Body Strength:

Duration: 4 cycles, 12 weeks

DL Day:
Main: 5/3/1 sets
FSL: 5 x 5 @ FS%
Paused front squats 5x2x70 kg 2-3 second pauses in the hole. Add 5 kg every cycle.
BB rows 5x10x60-80 kg

Squat Day:
Main: 5/3/1 sets
FSL: 5x5 @FS%
Snatch grip DL 5x2x90 kg. Add 5-10 kg every cycle.
Reverse lunges 5x10x40-60 kg

Press Day:
Main: 5/3/1 sets
FSL: 5 x 5 @ FS%
Incline bench press 5x10
Pull Up: 5 x 5
Band pull apart

Bench Day:
Main: 5/3/1 sets
FSL: 5 x 5 @ FS%
BTN press: 5 x 10
Kroc row: 2 x 10 (very heavy sets)
band pull apart

What do you think???


That looks good. The only change I would suggest is for the Kroc rows work up to one all out heavy set of at least 20 reps. Pick a weight that you can only just manage that for and use that. It's how they're meant to be done.


Saturday 3-September-2016
12 Weeks BBB Challenge
Cycle 4, Week 3, Day 1

It is my last week in the longest challenge I've ever tried. I had a very good cheat day last weekend (Thursday) and it was 2 months since my last cheat day. Anyway it wasn't a real cheat, it is only 600 kcal over my regular daily intake! but I enjoyed myself folk meals (fried eggplant, fried pepper, hard boiled eggs, tahina, fried potato and bread) which were very yummy :slight_smile:

After such cheat, I had to treat myself with a good workout, so today's went very good

Main Lift: Squat
1 x 5 @ 95 kg (6 RPE) ATG
1 x 3 @ 105 kg (7 RPE) ATG
1 x 1 @ 120 kg (> 8 RPE) parallel

BBB: 5 x 1 @ 125 kg, all done parallel with 2 sec pause at bottom


RDL: felt energized and decided to give myself a kick in the ass!!
1 x 5 @ 90 kg
1 x 4 @ 95 kg
1 x 3 @ 100 kg

Hip Thrusts: 2 x 10 @ 70 kg

Abs: 2 x HIIT circuits


Sunday 4-September-2016
12 Weeks BBB Challenge
Cycle 4, Week 3, Day 2

Another good day. Again took small meal at lunch time in office (slice of bran toast + peanut butter) 3 hours prior to training, and a banana plus cup of coffee 30 minutes before training. Felt very light, no bloating and energized.

Main Lift: OHP Press
1 x 5 @ 57.5 kg (6 RPE)
1 x 3 @ 65 kg (8 RPE)
1 x 1 @ 75 kg (9 RPE) it was perfect set, better than last week with complete lock out and start from collar bone

BBB: 5 x 1 @ 77.5 kg (TM), failed to do the prescribed sets, it goes:
1 x 1 @ 77.5 kg (with slight leg drive)
1 x 1 @ 75 kg
1 x 1 @ 72.5 kg
1 x 1 @ 72.5 kg
1 x 1 @ 72.g kg

Snatch Grip High Pull:
1 x 5 @ 57.5 kg
1 x 3 @ 65 kg
1 x 1 @ 70 kg

Pull Up: 3 x 5 @ body weight (full ROM till chest)

Landmine press: 3 x 8 @ 25 kg

Band pull apart: 100 reps (35, 35, 30)


Wednesday 7-September-2016
12 Weeks BBB Challenge
Cycle 4, Week 3, Day 3

I had shifted my deadlift workout from Tuesday to Wednesday as I return home late from job and had some issues to do for the family. Still not recovered well from last squat session and my sleep pattern is awful this week.

Main Lift: Deadlift
1 x 5 @ 115 kg
1 x 3 @ 132.5 kg
1 x 1 @ 147.5kg

BBB: 5 x 1 @ 155 kg
Failed to do any rep, felt CNS is burning :frowning:


Front squat:
1 x 8 @ 60 kg
1 x 6 @ 60 kg
1 x 5 @ 70 kg

Good morning:
2 x 5 @ 60 kg


When is the big wedding?!?


@countrygirl2016 It will be by 20th of October 2016 in Hilton Sharm El Sheikh Resort, Egypt. I will be very happy if you can join us, and I can arrange accommodation in Hilton for you also.


That's an awesome place for a wedding. How's the weather? Still warm enough to enjoy the beach?


The Australian term: buggered. You'll come good mate. That BBB challenge is tough.


Thursday 8-September-2016
12 Weeks BBB Challenge
Cycle 4, Week 3, Day 4

I finished my last workout of the challenge 30 minutes before. It was AMAZING workout today. New bench press and Kroc Row PR. Even my wife did a wonderful job today and raised her 1RM for bench press to 52.5 kg which is more than here body weight (she weighs 48 kg) and did a full rep of pull up. We are so proud and happy today. Thanks for all of you my friends for your motivation and support.

Main Lift: Bench Press
1 x 5 @ 80 kg (6 RPE)
1 x 3 @ 90 kg (7 RPE)
1 x 1 @ 102.5 (8 RPE)

BBB: 5 x 1 @ 107.5 (TM) PR, all done full ROM with perfect form


Pull Up: 5 x 5 @ body weight

Kroc Row: 2 x 20 @ 45kg (PR)

Closed Grip Bench Press: 2 x 10 @ 60 kg

Band pull apart: 180 reps between warm up and assistance

Abs: 3 HIIT circuits

My deload just started. Going to deload with 4 days of Cosgrov's 8 drills complex.


Temp in October has an average of 30 at the day, so it will be very suitable for beach party. I hope you can come to the party Mark. I will stay another 6 days after the wedding in Domina Coral Bay Resort; the biggest resort in the middle east and located also in Sharm El Sheikh, and it has a very good pavilion gym on beach front. I always stay there during my vacations and enjoy my workouts while breathing fresh sea air.


@hanymamdouh I very much appreciate the offer to join the celebration. I really wish I could but it would be too much of a time crunch to arrange. I hope you have an awesome time and relax. I'm jealous and would love the beach party!!!!


Great work mate! That's awesome. I'm particularly impressed with the Kroc rows, I doubt I could do two sets of 20 at 45 kg.


Thanks bro, I’m sure you can do it. Kroc row is my favorite exercise for back since 20 years. I used to do it since I was 17 years old. Even when I was obese; I used to do it regularly beside the push up.


Saturday 10-September-2016

It is my first deload day after completing 12 Weeks BBB challenge. Everything is ok, no soreness or general fatigue. My nutrition is still the same, I didn't increase or decrease. I can't tell if today's deload was tough or not as I've done complex since 2 months.

Cosgrove's 8 Drills Complex: @ 45kg

1 x 6 : 8 RPE
1 x 5 : 7 RPE
1 x 4 : 7 RPE
1 x 3 : 5 RPE
1 x 2 : 3 RPE
1 x 1 : 2 RPE

Abs: 3 HIIT circuits


That explains two things, at least partly: why you're good at Kroc rows, and why you press well.