T Nation

IronOne's Strength Journey

Figured I’d try to be more organized than scrabbling in my handwritten journal. Been training seriously for about 10 years, obviously including lots of up and downs. I’m 32, have a wife and 2 kids and no major injuries. Always battle a tight tweakable back, but that’s about it other than other aches and pains a 32 year old may have after 10 consistent years.

As stated, ups and downs have limited my progress at times, but I’m OK with that. My life is in a good place, so it’s time to refocus on powerlifting and general strength training. I’ve never competed, but a goal is now officially set to have competed within the next 12 months.

Curent training is based around below scheme, with 3 days per week Squat/Bench and third day added deadlift for 3s or 5s then a few back offs. On cycle 2.

Workout 1 4x8 at 70% 1RM
Workout 2 5x6 at 75%
Workout 3 6x4+ at 80% (AMRAP last set only, do 4 on the first 5 sets)
Workout 4 add 5 lbs to workout 1
Workout 5 add 5 lbs to workout 2
Workout 6 add 5 lbs to workout 3
Workout 7 add 5 lbs to workout 4
Workout 8 add 5 lbs to workout 5
Workout 9 add 5 lbs to workout 6
Workout 10 Warm up to a single at about 80-85%, and then do 3x5 at 60% (deload day)
Workout 11 4x4 at 80%
Workout 12 4x3 at 85%
Workout 13 4x2+ at 90% (AMRAP last set only, do 2 on first 3 sets)
Workout 14 add 10 lbs to workout 11
Workout 15 add 10 lbs to workout 12
Workout 16 add 10 lbs to workout 13
Workout 17 add 5 lbs to workout 14
Workout 18 add 5 lbs to workout 15
Workout 19 add 5 lbs to workout 16
Workout 20 Warm up to a single at about 80-85%, and then do 3x5 at 60% (deload day)
Workout 21 Set new max or next cycle.

Maxes currently are based off 280 bench and 325 squat. Both are purposely set low, so I can progress for awhile. Maxes are probably more along the lines of 315/375.

7-4-15 – Cycle 2 Workout 23 – Home Gym

Squats 6x4+
260x4, 4 ,4, 4, 4, 8

Bench Press 6x4+
225x4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 8

Conventional Deadlift 3s
275x3, 325x3, 345x3, 295x3, 295x3

Couple sets of curls/band press downs.

Body felt pretty good. Back was tight going in but loosened up. Felt stronger as sets went on, as indicated by the 8 rep AMRAPS, neither to failure, probably RPE 8.5. DLs were nothing real heavy, just keeping the pattern grooved. Next workout will be Monday or Tuesday.

7-6-15 – Cycle 2 Workout 24 – Home Gym

Squats 4x8
235x8, 8, 8, 8

Bench Press 4x8
200x8, 8, 8, 8

Standing OHP
115x 9, 9, 9

Laterals and Rear Laterals

Also did YTLs with 10lb plates randomly, probably 5 sets of 10 each movement.

Coming off two nights out of town with family, very little sleep, and dodgy nutrition. Got everyone back home and settled, took a small nap, then headed out into the 95 degree garage. Got through it, everything ached from not sleeping in my normal bed. Right shoulder has a mild case of tendonitis, probably from low bar squatting and benching 3x per week. Been smashing it with lax ball and hammering chins, rows and YTLs. It’s actually better now than a couple weeks ago, after tinkering with squat grip.

7-8-15 – Cycle 2 Workout 25 – Ayersley

Squat 5x6
250x6, 6, 6, 6, 6

Bench 5x6
215x6, 6, 6, 6, 6

Dips / DB Rows
+30x10 / 80x20 x 3

Glute Focused Back Ext +10 / Abs x 3

Did pull-ups in between squat and bench sets, +20 for all sets. Will progress to +25 in the next couple weeks. Good session overall, hit all reps without any form issues. No real aches or pains.

7-10-2015 – Cycle 2 Workout 26 – Ayersley

Squat 4x6+
265x4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 8
Chin-Ups +20x8, 8, 8, 8 (In between work sets)

Bench Press
230x4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 7
Pull-Ups +20x6, 6, 6, 6 (In between work sets)

Deadlift 5’s
275x5, 315x5, 255x5x2

Farmers Walk

Arms x 3

This workout took 2:10, which is too long. This is my longest workout, and rightfully so, but I should have kept pace up better. Once I AMRAP’d bench, I was absolutely wore out. Deadlifts we’re challenging just because I was worn out, and couldn’t get tight at that point. This was my first workout with my slingshot knee sleeves and gangsta wraps. I might hold off on the knee sleeves awhile, as I just don’t feel like I need them yet. Only reason I may keep using them is for longevity purposes. The gangsta wraps took all wrist pain away from my squats, which was the goal. Didn’t need them on bench press. Good workout.

7-12-2015 – Cycle 2 Workout 27 – Home Gym

Squat 4x8
240x8, 8, 8, 8

Bench Press 4x8
205x8, 8, 8, 8

135x6, 6, 6

Rear Delt & Lateral raises

Arms x 3

Good workout. Paused last rep of 4th set for a 5 count. Have plenty of room to continue improving with this scheme. I will complete the hypertrophy phase this week, have a deload workout, then enter the strength phase. As long as everything continues to go well,
I will probably go for a 3rd phase and continue milking. That’ll move maxes to 340/290. I took vids today of all work sets, so will try to compress them and post here to compare form as I contiune to add more weight to the bar. By the end of the next phase, I will test. Hoping for 405/315/475.

7-14-2015 – Cycle 2 Workout 28 – Ayersley

Squat 5x6
255x6, 6, 6, 6, 6
Chin-ups +25x6, 6, 6, 6 (between work sets)

Bench Press 5x6
220x6, 6, 6, 6, 6
Pull-ups +25x6, 6, 6, 6

Dips / DB Rows
+35x10 / 100x12 x 3

Glute Hyper / Abs
+65x10 / 10 x 3

Everything good. Looking forward to the AMRAPS Friday.

7-16-15 – Cycle 2 Workout 29 – Ayersley

Squats 6x4+
270x4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 10
Chin-ups +25x6, 6, 6, 6 (in between work sets)

Bench 6x4+
235x4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 6
Pull-ups +25x6, 6, 6, 6 (in between work sets)

315x1, 345x1, 375x1, 410x1, 315x3, 315x3, 315x3

Farmers Walks

Arms x 3

Great energy today. That 270x10 was not all I had, but I went into the set wanting 10, got it, then decided to rack BC I had a lot of work ahead of me. Could have grinded another bench rep, but again, knew I wanted to work up in singles on DL so saved it. 410 moved slow, but form held, and not bad considering all the prerequisite work that had been done. Time to eat, recover, and head into the strength phase.

7-18-15 – Cycle 2 Workout 30 – Home Gym

–Deload Workout–

Squat Deload
260x1 paused

Bench Deload
225x1 paused

115x10, 10, 10

Lateral/Rear Lateral
15x10/10, 10/10, 10x10, 10/10, 10/10

Strength phase starts Monday. All systems go.

7-19-15 - Conditioning

Hill sprints
50-75M x 6

Walk 2 miles

7-20-15 – Cycle 2 Workout 31 – Ayersley

–Start of Strength Phase–

Squat 4x4
260x4, 4, 4, 4 (paused last rep of each set)
Chin-up +25x7, 7, 7, 7 (in between work sets)

Bench Press 4x4
225x4, 4, 4, 4 (paused last rep of each set)
Pull-up +25x6, 6, 6, 6

Hip Thrust / DB Press
155x10 / 40x10 x 3

Laterals / Rear Laterals
20x12+12, 12+12, 12+12

Arms x 3

Transitioning into the strength phase. Was so easy today I didn’t even feel like I did anything, which is probably not a bad thing every once in awhile. Did light DB presses because the rack was taken and I didn’t want to clean 135 up, which is what I was supposed to do today for 3x7. I’m going to start phasing in hip thrusts to superset with OHP on this day.

7-22-15 – Cycle 2 Workout 32 – Ayersley

Squat 4x3
275x3, 3, 3, 3
Chin-ups +25x7, 7, 7, 7

Bench Press 4x3
240x3, 3, 3, 3
Pull-ups +25x6, 6, 6, 6

Dips / DB Rows
+35x10 / 85x20 x 3

Glute Ext / Abs
75x10 / 11 x3

Very little sleep last two nights, so energy/endurance was down. Still no issues with rep quality. Supersetting dips and high rep DB rows is not for the faint of heart; it was tough. Good workout overall considering the sleep circumstances. I’m hovering right at 198-200 lbs right now. Probably 15ish percent bf. Abs are visible. I’m going to clean up my diet and try to lean up a few percentage points. Nothing extreme.

7-24-15 – Cycle 2 Workout 33 – Ayersley

–196 lbs Morning Weight–

Squat 4x2+
295x2, 2, 2, 6
Chin-up +25x7, 7, 7, 7

Bench Press 4x2+
250x2, 2, 2, 5
Pull-up +25x7, 7, 7, 7

365x3, 3, 3

Farmers Walk

Arms x 3

Should have probably pushed for a few more with 295. Thought I was starting to lean forward so I racked the bar, but when I looked at the recorded footage, the 6th rep looked like the 1st. Squat is really progressing. Happy with 250x5 on bench after all the prior work. Still not getting to failure on any of the AMRAPs, rather stopping if I feel form is compromised. Even with that said, a 6th rep with 250 might not have been in the cards. Tough to say. Was pretty worn out after the long week, so did not work up to singles on DL. Recorded my footage with all 3 sets, and was not real happy. I really need to work on squeezing into my DL position better. It’s tough though, as I’m pretty tired when it comes around. All the reps moved fine, and form was not bad, just not as clean as I’d like. Good week of workouts with very bad sleep, all week. Time to grow over the weekend.

7-26-15 - Cycle 2 Workout 34 – Home Gym

Squat 4x4
270x4, 4, 4, 4

Bench Press 4x4 (all reps paused)
235x4, 4, 4, 4

135x 7, 7, 7

Hip Thrust
165x10, 10, 10

Laterals / Rear Laterals
15x15/15, 15/15, 15/15

Flew through this workout in under 90 mins. Weight was not very demanding, so kept rest times 1-2mins. I feel dialed in right now, and am hammering the correct assistance work to improve weaknesses (glutes, delts). I’m already getting my mind right for the AMRAPS coming up Thursday. I want 305x6 squat and 260x4 bench minimum. It will happen.

7-28-15 – Cycle 2 Workout 35 – Ayersley

Squat 4x3
285x3, 3, 3, 3
Chin-ups +25x7, 7, 7, 7

Bench Press 4x3
250x3, 3, 3, 3
Pull-ups +25x7, 7, 7, 7

Dips / DB Rows
+35x10 / 110x10 x 3

Glute Hyper / Abs
75x13 / 12 x 3

Low energy today. Lots of people around me have colds, hoping I’m not picking something up. In a sleep rut, that I hope I pull out of soon. All in all, everything went fine today though, lots of good quality reps. AMRAPS coming up Thursday.

7-30-15 – Cycle 2 Workout 36 – Ayersley

Squat 4x2+
305x2, 2, 2, 7 (Video)
Chin-Ups +25x7, 7, 7, 7

Bench Press
260x2, 2, 2, 4
Pull-Ups +25x7, 7, 7, 7

275x1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

Farmers Walk

Arms x 3

Exceeded my squat goal by 1 rep, and matched the bench. Squat went well; started to get a bit forward so called the set at 7 (see video). May have had one more on bench, but it would have been very close. I’d rather not fail a rep, as I want to try to stay the course and run one more cycle after this one concludes next week. Was knackered after Bench/Squat, so did some form/speed work on DL. The last reps we’re the best reps by far. I need to pay attention that all the weighted chins do not affect my strength work. I don’t think they are, but need to make sure on days that I’m low on energy that I space them out more, or only do BW chins on days that I’m not firing on all cylinders. Happy with this one.

8-2-2015 – Cycle 2 Workout 37 – Home Gym

Squat 4x4
275x4, 4, 4, 4

Bench Press 4x4 (paused)
240x4, 4, 4, 4

120x8, 8, 8

BB Hip Thrust
175x10, 10, 10


Very low energy today. Bad sleep last night, and had to workout early this morning, quickly, which complicated things a bit more. Everything always feels heavy when I lift at home in comparison to commercial gyms, but today it felt even heavier. Got all my reps in, and no injuries, so success. Program does not call for paused bench reps, but if I feel like I can get across the straight sets then I’m going to go for it on the lighter days. Today I add MAG-10 and ZMA to my Plazma protocol, so hopefully this will boost recovery even further. Upward and onward.

8-4-2015 – Cycle 2 Workout 38 – Ayersley

201.4 gym weight, clothed

Squat 4x3
290x3, 3, 3, 3
Chin-ups +25x8, 8, 8, 8

Bench Press 4x3
255x3, 3, 3, 3
Pull-ups +25x7, 7, 7, 7

Dips / DB Row
+40x10 / 85x20 x 3

Glute Hyper / Abs
85x10 / 12 x 3

Good lift, no real major points. Again, weighted dips supersetted with high rep DB rows is deathly. This is as close to puking as I generally get, as I def had to swallow down some regurgitation twice. It’s dual purpose work, as I’m progressing strength wise, and also tapping into some conditioning work. Will progress to +30 soon on pull-ups, 2 weeks or so. Bench and squat was good, reps in the tank.

8-6-2015 – Cycle 2 Workout 39 – Ayersley

Squat 4x2+
310x2, 2, 2, 6
Chin-ups +25x8, 8, 8, 8

Bench Press 4x2+
265x2, 2, 2, 3

Form work

Farmers Walk
100s x 3

Arms x 3

Spent. The AMRAP squat set really took a lot out of me, as I entered this session a bit burnt out and tired. Body is ready for a small deload. The reps on the squat set were clean, via video. Happy with this. Getting close to knocking on an all time PR of 315x10 from 6 years ago, but with much better form. Bench was fine, just ran low on gas. Didn’t do any more pull-ups, because I needed to save energy for the 265 reps. The 3rd rep of 265 moved fine, but a 4th would have been less than a 50% chance probably, just didn’t need it that bad. No heavy dreads, form work. Heading to the beach for the weekend, then will deload on Sunday with squat/bench, then plan to max squat and bench Wednesday, and MAYBE deadlift too. Will atleastwork up to a heavy single.


8-9-2015 – Cycle 2 Workout 40 – Home Gym

– Deload –


Bench Press



Got back from a weekend beach trip, and knocked this out real quick. basically worked up to 80% then moved on. Nothing major on the accessory work. Pump then moved on. I’m debating whether or not I even want to max, might just move onto cycle 3. Nevertheless, squat will be bumped 20lbs and bench 10, making maxes 345/290 for cycle 3.