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Lava2007 SGSS - Virtual Meet Prep (December 2018)


11 June 2018 - Squat Bodyweight: 217lbs
Low Bar Squat 285x5, 325x3, 365x3, 5x10 265lbs
GHR 2x10 bodyweight, 2x10 25lb plate

Played like 3 hours of basketball and a few hours of dodgeball today. If it gets me sweating, I consider it conditioning.

Felt good today. 365x3 with 1 or 2 RIR is pretty good for a 1+. One more cycle of squat and bench hypertrophy!!! The end is nigh!!! 335 for 5+, 350 for 3+, and 370 for 1+. 370x3 would tie a PR for me (although that’s when my hip flexor was at its worst back in February) which would be a great way to end hypertrophy.

The 5x10 was one of the biggest mental challenges I’ve faced in lifting in weeks if not months. Wow. Rep 5 on every set felt slow and bad, and I had to redouble my focus to make it through. It was hard mentally but physically I was fine. I’ll be sore tomorrow for sure, but today was a good day. I’m thinking my MRV is lower than 5x10 with a compound barbell movement… something to take into consideration in the future I suppose.


12 June 2018 - Bench Bodyweight: 215lbs
TnG Bench 185x5, 215x5, 245x9 (tied PR), 2x10 195lbs, 1x10 185lbs, 4x5 185lbs
Close Grip Floor Press 3x20 110lbs
Overhead Cable Press 4x15 50lbs
Prone Rear Delt Raises 1x10 20lbs, 2x10 15lbs
Tight DB Arm Circles 5x10 each way 10lb DBs

The children

Decided to go all out on this amrap set today and tied my old PR at 245lbs. Not awful. I think my volume sets suffered because of it though because I struggled with 195 and then dropped to 185 and struggled with that too. I had a great chest pump and decided to call it for chest movements after my 50 reps.

I tried a new exercise today. Arm circles with dumbbells. Amazing for traps. It got my shoulders pretty well too. I saw a shoulder vein for the first time today. A small one in my left shoulder. Does that mean my body fat % is going down?!?! That could be exciting.

Anyways, back work tomorrow. I think I’ll delve into some light deadlifts and RDLs to work on my form and tightness since it’s been so long since I’ve picked something up off the ground. I’m praying that deadlifts will go the same way as squats and only bother me a little bit during warm ups. Squatting heavy feels better than squatting light while warming up, which really makes no sense intuitively, but I’m okay with it that way. I’ll get up to 315 tomorrow and cap it there, maybe do like 3x5-10 depending on how it feels. I’m hopeful.

My schedule is pretty tight these days. Wake up, make lunch, go to work, get home at 6:15, go to the gym at 6:30, be home by 8. Relax from 9 to 11, then repeat. It’s not the worst possible summer schedule, although it’d be better if I had the whole weekend off. Being in college sucks during the summer. Being out of college probably makes the summer suck even more lol.

One thing I’ve noticed lately is that my neck is thin compared to the rest of my body. I’ve got big arms, a broad chest, my legs are a good size, but my back and neck are lacking. I think neck is mostly genetics, like calves, which is unfortunate. There’s not much you can do to make your neck bigger. I’ll keep searching for things to do but I don’t expect to find anything great.


13 June 2018 - DEADLIFTS!!! Bodyweight: 216lbs
Conventional 225x5, 275x5, 315x5
Sumo 3x2 405
Squat Stance 405x2, 425x1, 445x1
RDL 315x8, 275x8

1.5 mile nature walk with the kids today

VICTORY. I deadlifted today with no pain!!! I had slight discomfort in my left glute after 445, but it went up easy. I decided to back off and do RDLs. They felt great and strong.

Possibly squatting tomorrow. We’ll see.


Geez man if you keep making gains I’ll never catch you. :joy:

Nice work


Hahaha! It’s very possible that you end up pulling 445+ at the end of dark horse which would put me way behind you! I’ve got about a week left of hypertrophy before I start back in on strength work. I think I’ll plan out my stuff for DH tomorrow.

I don’t reckon I’ll be pulling anything over 365 for a vast majority of my training sessions over the next 10-12 weeks though. Paused deads are the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I can’t see myself pulling major weight that way, but the nice thing about that is that my weakness is exposed now. Time to temper the weak link!


I think this is very true Lava.

You could work on your traps, Snatch Grip High pulls for sets of about 8 should be good for hypertrophy. CT has an article about it.

Great lifting mate.


I can’t wait to see how you attack this darkhorse program.


@losthog @mortdk thank you guys. I’m excited for it too.

Yesterday’s (awful) workout:

16 June 2018 - Bench Bodyweight: 216lbs
Paused Bench 200x3, 230x3, 260x1 (anti-PR)
DB Bench 1x3 60lbs
Prone Bench Rear Delt DB Raises 3x10 15lbs
Side Planks, Front Planks, Stretching

Took 19,866 steps at work yesterday. If each step is 1.5 feet, that comes out to over 5.5 miles walked in 9 hours. My legs are dead right now.

I really don’t know what happened to me. That was the weakest my bench has felt since I started strength training almost a year ago when my true 1RM was 275lbs. I took 3-4 days off between bench sessions, ate ~180-200g protein every day all week, and hydrated, so I don’t know where I went wrong. Truth be told, I was going to shoot for 6-7 reps of 260 yesterday. I knew the way 200 felt meant that that wouldn’t happen, but 230 felt like 265 normally does.

I think it can be traced back to 2 things: first, I have a lot going on that is clouding my mind right now. This has not been a stress free, carefree summer that I’m used to. I just finished a 55 hour work week, I have stupid personal life drama that I can’t seem to get rid of, and the most annoying of it all is a doctor’s appointment that I can’t seem to fit into my schedule. I can’t take a day off work for it, and I work 9-4. So there’s not a lot of wiggle room. I called them, they said they could fit me in at 10. I told them respectfully that that wouldn’t work for me, and I need something early so I can be at work at 9, or something at 4:30 or later, but apparently doctors offices don’t operate like that. It’s infuriating. The second thing is that it’s been ungodly hot since Friday, and I think that hurts me a lot. It was fine for football and baseball, but even for throwing, once it got to 85+ degrees my performance absolutely tanked. I credit my Irish and Norwegian heritage for allowing me to handle the cold flawlessly (I love winter and late fall) but 85+ destroys me. The highs starting on Tuesday will be like 80-82 which is perfect for me.

So for now I’m at a weird spot. A couple shitty sessions in a row (excluding the deadlifts) has got me down. I think this high volume is really catching up to me now. At first, I was chomping at the bit to get in and do 200 reps of pressing movements or squatting movements, and now I barely meet the required 5/3/1 reps and getting my 5x10 feels like a monumental challenge mentally and physically.

It may be time for me to take a few more days off. I rested Friday, basically had a deload yesterday, and I’m taking today off completely except for stretching. Tomorrow night I’m throwing some shot, I’m gonna get coached up on rotational shot so I can have it in my repertoire. I might lift on Tuesday, I might not. I’m trying to hold off as long as possible so I can be fresh and mentally ready to go. I’ll most likely deload when I come back and then start dark horse. This high volume stuff has truly gotten the best of me. I need to find my notebook where I wrote down my dark horse stuff, or just find a new notebook and rewrite it. Maybe I’ll just put it into Excel. Either way, dark horse begins later this week… let’s go!!!


Take it easy friend, lots of work, lots of walk, lots of mental and personal stuff is all taking a bit away from strength.
Be prepared and fresh for the darkhorse. It’s brutally hard.
You do the ME lift and thinks the worst part is over, then doing volume with 80% of that, on paper it looks easy, but just wait and see.
Good luck with everything mate.


@mortdk is right the ME and V work are brutal but I find I recover during the DE work and I am usually ready to attack some accessory work.

It will be interesting how you stack the variation lifts with your experience in the gym. We start wave 2 tomorrow. Enjoy the break, refresh, and get ready to ride the darkhorse. I usually can handle 6 weeks on and need a day or two to recharge. Starting week 3 I’m run down like 6 weeks and have 6 weeks to go


@losthog @mortdk sounds harder than any program I’ve ever done… I’m looking forward to it! I know I’ve said it several times, but tomorrow I’m definitely going to make a little write up for my dark horse plan. You guys are both killing it though, I can’t wait to see your guys’ videos of yourselves smashing old PRs. Beautiful stuff


18 June 2018 - Squat & Deadlift Bodyweight - 216lbs
Low Bar 275x3, 315x3, 365x1, 385x1
Paused Conventional 3x5 275, 1x3 315
RDL 315x8, 275x8

19 June 2018 - Dark Horse Bench Bodyweight - 214lbs
Warmup: Band walks, GHR, PVC pipe mobility, OHP, hamstring and hip stretches

Max Effort:
Paused Spoto Press 95x3, 135x3, 185x3, 225x3, 235x3

  • Barbell Rows 185x5, Leg Raises 10lb DB x5 for my giant set


Dynamic Effort:
EMOM 10x3 155lbs


Nothing today besides work

I really like this style. The giant sets (which I forgot to add box jumps to) felt weird at first but by the end I was feeling very powerful. I think I could’ve gotten 245 or 250 on my ME but something tweaked in my left pec on my 2nd rep of 235. I may have been foolish to continue the set but my 3rd rep felt fine; I just didn’t want to take any chances by going up in weight.

I felt stronger after each set. By the end, I think I could’ve gone up to a 15 or 20lb dumbbell for leg raises and 185lb rows felt like easy money. I don’t know how any of that works, I’ve never progressively felt stronger throughout a workout like this before, I LOVE IT!! The amrap was the hardest part for sure; that was the first time I ever AMRAP’d a barbell variation so it was tough. Today was also the first time I did Spoto presses. I liked them. I got a really good chest pump doing them so they’ve already curried favor with me.

The EMOM was super easy as it’s supposed to be. I focused on keeping my upper back tucked and rowing the bar to my money spot right above the bottom of my pecs. I was pleased that the bar speed was still there even after all that Spoto pressing.

Tomorrow will be a rest day. I’ll take a walk after work and then cook up some meat for the rest of the week.

This is what I planned out late last night in terms of movements, of course following the guidelines that Alpha set out in terms of frequency and set/rep schemes:

Phase 1: Spoto Press, Front Squats, and Paused Conventional.
Trying to build strength off the chest, quad strength, and back strength through the lower portion of a deadlift.

Phase 2: Close Grip Bench, Box Squats, and Deficit Sumo.
I want to shift from chest strength to tricep strength, build explosiveness out of the hole, and take my new quad strength and use it to build my sumo deadlift over a great ROM.

Phase 3: Pause Bench, High Bar Squats, and Sumo Block Pulls.
Word to my man @mortdk, I’m doing this to go heavy while still utilizing variations that have a realistic carryover.

Every cycle has a lower body movement that focuses on quad strength. This is because my biggest squat weakness is my hips rising too fast in heavy squats. After I focused on front squats for a few months, I SMOKED a 405lb squat with no deviation between the rate at which my hips and the bar ascended from the hole. High bar also incorporates a good amount of quadriceps, but it also keeps the bar on my back. It’s a nice midpoint between low bar and front squats.

@losthog great call on this Dark Horse. I’m already loving it. What are your guys’ favorite giant set movements? For right now, the only thing I can think of to do is a barbell antagonistic movement (rows for bench, good mornings for squats, OHP for deadlifts) and leg raises. Box jumps are going to be a staple for upper body days, but what should I do for lower body days? Pushups? Med ball throws? Idk. Let me know!!


Hey Lava

Darkhorse is awesome two things comes to mind looking over the setup.

The first one is you do not have OHP as a main lift. Darkhorse is a 4 lift a week program.

You really should do it.

And it brings me to the second bullet. After the spoto press and volume sets you have as I see it a bench press for emom set.
The emom should be the OHP comp setup.

I’ll give an example of the bench day
First do a 10 min metcon of some kind.
Then the main set like this
Barbell row, spoto press, leg raise and then a set of either conditioning or strong man stuff (jump rope 20 seconds, burpee, ergo rower)
Then the volume keeping the giant set setup.
Then emom OHP.
Assistance if you can.

The giant sets on the other days:
Pull up, OHP, oblique exercise, condition/strong man

Squat variation
box jump (explosive primer), Squat variation, hang leg raise, condition/strong man.

Deadlift variation what is opposite of deadlift - livelift (Brian joke)
KB swing, dl variation, plank, condition/strongman.

Brian says do oblique on press days and straight abs on lower.

Hope it makes sense mand.

Good luck with the Darkhorse, see you on the other side :slight_smile:


I like how you turned this into a three day program. Nice creativity!

Giant sets can be any antagonist movement. I try to keep it in the same plane. Bench: fat boy pull ups, Bb rows, seated cable rows, face pulls, single arm rows, landmine rows…

DL: (this one is harder). Brian suggest explosive movements to prime the hip. Kettle ball swings, barbell thrust, live lifts

Squats: box jumps, again this one is much harder to pair with. Standing ab crunches, pull through,


@mortdk thanks for clearing that stuff up for me bro. I think since I don’t care much for OHP as a main movement I’ll utilize it as assistance instead of giving it its own day. I know it’s healthy for shoulders to press in both planes, so I won’t just ignore it. I think it could be a very useful (maybe my most frequently used) giant set exercise. But I will do my 10x3 EMOM OHP on bench days from now on–I must have misunderstood Alpha in the video. Part of the reason for me not wanting to give it its own day is that I can’t think of 3 OHP variations, and another reason is that I’ll never be testing it. I prefer a slightly higher frequency of bench/squat/deadlift to including OHP and giving it a day all to itself. Thanks again for the giant sets information though, those are all fantastic. I’ll definitely implement the squat giant set tomorrow when I squat!!!

@losthog thanks mate! What do you mean by “live lifts?” And yeah, deadlift is tricky to find an antagonistic movement for since it uses your whole body already in the first place. Do you think OHP could work? Maybe:

Deadlift variation + OHP + hanging leg raises + box jumps (or pullups)?


It’s a joke, in Alphas videos he say’s what’s the opposite of a dead lift - live lift :slight_smile:

When will you be doing your bench emom then :slight_smile: ?

If you train 4 days a week I would recommend doing OHP.
You don’t have to test it. And 3 variations, first wave that thing where you sit on the floor, second wave pause at eye height, third wave push press.
What I think is really really good about this program is you do a variation for one lift and go hard on that. You go really hard on a OHP variation, then you shift your focus to bench and the comp setup, and bench 10 sets kind of fresh, you can focus on that lift in a non fatigued state.

However if you do only train on 3 days, then it gets a bit tough. I think doing emom sets after the hard work on the main giant set, would make the emom sets not so dynamic.

For the DL day:
KB swing, DL variation, Hang leg raise or plank, strongman or conditioning stuff
Instead of antagonist movement for lower body you start with a dynamic movement.
Quad dominant for squat day (box jump) and hip dominant for DL (KB swing).


Yep. Mort is on top of things


You make many good points. Very well, I will do OHP!! I’d like to strict press ~200lbs and press my body weight sometime in the next year. Push press is my strength, strict press is my weakness :confused:

I’ve had 2 workouts that I haven’t posted yet. Will post in a little while


On Thursday I was scheduled to front squat to a 1rm for the day. I got up to 275x1, no problem. 295x1 moved well (I got a video) but I re-fucked my SI joint. Not great. It set me back about 3 weeks I’d say. So I didn’t lift Friday, but Saturday I was feeling okay so I deadlifted in my basement. Worked up to a 300x5 for paused deads with some pain. I sat for about 5 minutes and went to do my 240 for an amrap, then my 2x10, and I couldn’t get the bar off the ground because my back hurt. So I ended the session there.

Today I did some yardwork and I was able to walk around a lot. I did some bird dogs, side planks, band clams, and a few stretches that are supposed to help with it, and they did. I felt pretty good. I’ve been using my electric stim machine right above my SI joint pretty much nonstop all weekend and I think it helps a little bit.

So I think I’m going to be indefinitely suspending Dark Horse until I’m back to normal. It might take one week, it might take 8 weeks. I really don’t know. All I know is that I’m tired of injuring myself and rushing back into things. For that reason, I’ll only be doing single leg exercises for lower body (thankfully my bench can continue as planned).

Right now I’m still trying to figure out how I will proceed in terms of programming. Rehab will be at the forefront of every gym session, meaning core work and glute work comes first every single day regardless of what I’m doing. For lower body, I think I’ll just try to keep heavy loads off my spine; I may do some sets of 20 or 30 with 135lbs so I’m able to practice the skill of barbell squatting. Single leg dumbbell squats, single leg deadlifts off blocks, goblet squats, and high rep barbell squats is just about all I can think of to do right now.

For upper body, I’ll proceed with the Dark Horse. Because I don’t want to load my spine or compromise my lower back, I won’t be overhead pressing anything except for light dumbbells. I will probably switch to some sort of push pull legs split and do my own thing. Really the only thing I’m not changing is the bench workouts. Those will continue as I had planned them, but everything else is going to be different.

I was thinking about it a lot once I hurt my back again during front squats, and I decided that it’s better to dedicate a month or two now and then get back on the horse than to try to ride with one foot in the stirrup. I need to get fully, completely, totally situated and healthy before I try to push this stuff. I’m 20 years old. I have time. I used to think I would be done once I hit 30, maybe 35, but you guys are living proof that age is just a number. It doesn’t mean shit if you’re still hardcore enough to put in the work and get after it to make gains.

Layne Norton is a world class powerlifter and he hurt his back like 9 months ago. A few weeks ago he squatted 95lbs for 5 reps, not because he’s abnormally weak all of a sudden, but because he is ruthlessly meticulous and careful with his rehabilitation. He didn’t decide to throw 405lbs on his back a month after he got hurt like I did (which definitely didn’t help me at all, although it didn’t hurt me that I could tell) and rush back into things. What he’s doing/done is what I’m striving for. He’s a world class powerlifter in his mid-30s I believe and he STILL took 8 months off from compound barbell movements because he knew it was the right thing to do for his long term health and goals.

I’m sitting in my basement right now looking at my whiteboard where I wrote my goals for 2018. 465/335/495. The odds that those numbers fall in the next 6 months are pretty low. However, the odds will be infinitely zero if I keep pushing and end up hurting myself even worse. I’m cutting my losses right now and changing my weight lifting lifestyle.

Single leg work will force both legs to work equally as hard, essentially eliminating imbalances. It should also improve flexibility since my ROM will only be limited by one leg instead of two; THAT is something I need to work on and improve.

Anyways, I’ll write some shit out later and figure out exactly what I’m going to do for legs. I’m disappointed that I can’t join you two on your dark horse journey, but I need to do what’s best for me at this point. I can’t keep up with you two brutes with such a glaring weak link in my body, but I wish you both the best of luck and I’ll still be posting my workouts and stuff. I just wanted to clear things up so you guys don’t think I just quit because it was too hard–I actually thoroughly enjoy doing giant sets with the main lift. I’ll probably keep that for this new leg stuff.


Damn Lava I’m sorry to hear that.
Hopefully you’ll recover soon.
I had a stiff SI joint a couple of years ago, sometimes I can feel it fMlares up a bit.
I couldn’t bend over and tie my shoes or pick anything up from the ground, getting out of bed was a nightmare.
My PT gave me one exercise I’m still using. I’ll try to explain.
Stand next to a wall, shoulders to the wall and feet in normal position a bit away from the wall. Bend the arm that’s between the body and the wall to 90 degree, palms up.
Now you kind of have a joint at the elbow, the trick is to push the hips too the wall, straight legs and only move over the elbow and the hips. 10 reps each side 3 times a day.
It’s a very tiny little movement, looks and feels a bit stupid, but it helped me.
Then there’s tons on videos on the internet with all sorts of exercises to relief the SI joint.
Try them out.
And can’t wait to have you back to lifting again :slight_smile:
But being healthy means a lot more than chasing some stupid numbers, getting hurt.