T Nation

Lived to Fight Another Day


#1

So I am finally able and healthy enough to begin training again, so I figured it was necessary to make a new log.

For those of you who do not know; and I am sure many of you do not; my last serious training phase concluded around late June and all training ceased in early-mid July.

The reason for the lay off originally was because I suffered a very bad pec strain and I was taking 4 online classes at my college and my EMT school was starting up soon so I figured I could use a break for a week or two to get my body and mind squared away.

As much as I plan for the future I sure never saw what was coming next..

After EMT school started it was work day and night; school 9-5 every day, 5-7 chapter exams every 2-3 days, and more homework and exams for my online classes. I was sleeping 2 hours a night, eating once or twice a day, taking a heavy amount of stimulants and to top it all off I got dumped by my girlfriend of a year. Needless to say it was stressful every hour I was awake. I was handling it all well until it started catching up to me physically.

With everything on my shoulders and my high expectations that I place on myself to perform; I started missing the warning signs that my health was declining. I was going into ketosis every single day for hours (type 1 diabetic), my sugars were high consistently daily, blood pressure started creeping up, and so did my resting heart rate.

At the end of July and the day after my girlfriend ended it; I was hospitalized for the early phases of Diabetic Ketoacidosis. When I went in my resting heart rate was 152, my blood pressure was 170's, and my mental state begin to deteriorate rapidly. By the end of my night there I couldn't remember anything past a 10 second time period. I found out I was severely dehydrated, was stripped of my electrolytes, and was lucky I came in when I did. They fixed me up and I was able to walk out of there by 4 AM the next morning so I could go to school that same day for 2 more exams.

Since that day I have been turning my health around and I am finally to a stable enough point where I can get my life back on track lifting wise.

So here we go... the story continues..


#2

Naturally I am going to be as weak as a middle school girl for awhile; but I have come up with a training cycle that should put me back in tip top shape fairly soon…

Here’s the first day.

Thursday - Deadlifts

A. Sumo Block Pulls off 3 mats (18" ROM) - 3 x 3 w. 275 (All sets beltless)

B. Sumo Block Pull Overload - off boxes and 1 mat (8" ROM)
280 x 5
310 x 5, 5

C1. Low Postion Sumo Dynamic Isometrics - 4 x 5 seconds w. 175
C2. Speed Pulls - 4 x 1 w. 175

D. Pull Ups Rest-Paused (20 sec rest) - Bw x 12, 6, 3
E. Band “Meadows Style” Stretcher Rows - 3 x 12


#3

Welcome back again!

I’ve been there where health had to take a back seat. My junior year in undergrad I got less than 5 hours of sleep everyday including weekends. The final week of the year I had the equivalent of 80 espresso shots. A month after school was over my blood pressure was still in the high 150s. That’s when I decided to do what was necessary to get to healthier levels. I was also stupid to keep pushing weight training to failure despite the conditions and ended up making little if any progress. Oh well, you live and you learn. Hopefully you’re able to stay on track now.


#4

[quote]lift206 wrote:
Welcome back again!

I’ve been there where health had to take a back seat. My junior year in undergrad I got less than 5 hours of sleep everyday including weekends. The final week of the year I had the equivalent of 80 espresso shots. A month after school was over my blood pressure was still in the high 150s. That’s when I decided to do what was necessary to get to healthier levels. I was also stupid to keep pushing weight training to failure despite the conditions and ended up making little if any progress. Oh well, you live and you learn. Hopefully you’re able to stay on track now.[/quote]

Geez man even thought it’s not a good thing, it’s nice to hear I’m not the only one our there who does half of the idiotic things I do lol

If you are ever in NJ and I am finally worth training with; hit me up. It seems like it’d be one awesome and interesting session!


#5

Friday - Back (TUT)

All my sets were done not really paying attention to reps, as much as making sure I hit 30 seconds worth of reps with the given weight unless noted otherwise. 90 seconds rest between all sets. Here we go…

A. Kroc rows (30 second sets)
105 x 13
65 x 20
45 x 24

B. Pull Ups (50 total reps, alternating between 2 different grips)
Wide Overhand - 9, 8, 8
Close-Neutral - 9, 8, 8

C. Meadows Pullovers (30 seconds)
50 x 10
35 x 15
25 x 20

D. T-bar Rows
2 plates x 15
1 plate x 30

This was a great back session… HUGE pump and it felt good to get some heavier dumbbell rows in again.


#6

Saturday - Shoulders

A. 1/2, 1/2, Full Seated DB Press (1/2 + 1/2 + Full = 1 rep) [30 second sets]
65’s x 3
45’s x 6
35’s x 9
35’s x 7

B. DB Shrugs
Set 1: 45’s x 10 Right arm, 10 Left arm, 10 both arms
Set 2: 45’s x 1 R, 1 L, 1 both x 10
Set 3: 45’s x 10 L, 10 R, 10 both
Set 4: 45’s x 1 L, 1 R, 1 both x 10
There’s were excruciating by the second set. If you want a burn in your traps give these a shot…

C. Rope Upright Rows - 3 x 12 w. 50’s

D. Crucifix Hold - 15 lb dumbbells x 30 sec x 1 set

E. Incline DB Lateral Raises (4 sec neg) - 15’s x 8, 7, 6

F1. Band Pull Aparts - light yellow band x 12, 12, 12
F2. Bent-Over Rear Delt Raises - 5 lb plates x 15, 12, 12

G. Around the Work w. Front raise combo
Played out like this:
12 around the worlds clockwise, 12 counter clockwise, 12 front raises to forehead with 25 lb plate
9/9/9 w. 25
6/6/6 w. 25

Another solid workout… another massive pump. I am not sure what the deal is but I actually am better able to hit my shoulders and back, along with cueing better other muscles and my form way better than I was able to before the layoff… either way I am loving the workouts and the 30 second sets are brutal.


#7

And a little explanation of my set up…

I am basically taking a little cheaters approach to bring back my strength and size by using a concentrated loading approach to my weekly schedule…

Day 1 - Deadlift Heavy (Strength focus: with emphasis basically on erectors, glutes, and hamms; a little pump touch up work on lats)
Day 2 - Back (Focusing on TUT for the lats)
Day 3 - Shoulders/Traps (Focusing on the yoked/power look. traps neglected on day 1 and 2, but still touched on those days as stabilizers, direct work this day)
Day 4 - Triceps and Biceps (Focused on size and has some shoulder cross over and lat crossover)
Day 5 - Squats and quads (Focused on High bar work with some front squat work; also focused on quads. High bar and front squat picked to indirectly put more emphasis on building further erector strength and bottom end strength for the deadlift)
Day 6 - OFF
Day 7 - Chest (Focused on size and TUT, more work directed to upper chest to keep building the shoulders and that power look)

Any comments and critiques are always welcome. I am usually set in stone for my programming beliefs and choices; but if I notice it’s not working after giving it enough time to see so, I always do refactor in suggestions during the re-drafting process and more often than not will play a big role it the next phase.

I just am one of those guys who prefers to learn via trial and error…


#8

Sooo spent a week doing some light pump work that wasn’t really worth posting to give me an easy week before my next phase. So here we go…

Week 1 - Day 1 - Sunday (Squat Day)

A. 4 sec pause Squats with Hybrid Cambered Yoke Bar (no belt or sleeves) - 4 x 4 w. 125

B. DL Stance Box Squats with Hybrid Cambered Yoke Bar (no belt or sleeves)
125 x 1
160 x 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

C. Goodmornings with Hybrid Cambered Yoke Bar (no belt) - 70 x 12, 15, 20

Did this workout super late and I doubt it would’ve been any easier earlier in the day lol Building up the strength off the floor…


#9

Week 1 - Day 2 - Monday (Assistance Day)

A. Leeman RDLs with 80 lbs in chain
Bar x 10
Bar w. 40 in chain x 10
Bar w. 80 in chain x 10
135 w. 80 in chain x 6
200 w. 80 in chain x 15 (belts and straps) Big PR here. Best ever was 225 x 6 w. 40 in chain and my back rounded

B. Yates Rows - 175 x 17 (Pretty Decent here too)

C. Cheat Shrugs - 225 x 25

D. Standing T-bar Rows
1 plate x 10
1.5 plates x 10
2 plates x 10
3 plates x 10

E. 2-arm DB Rows - 55’s x 15

F. DL Stance Leg Press
1 PPS x 50
2 PPS x 40
3 PPS x 20…rested 30 sec…10

G. Hack Squats - Empty machine x 20 (never do these and am starting light because I always do them wrong and tear up my knees)

Had a little more I was supposed to do but it was 2 AM and was feeling funky so I decided to live to fight another day. Feeling good.


#10

[quote]kjmont wrote:
Geez man even thought it’s not a good thing, it’s nice to hear I’m not the only one our there who does half of the idiotic things I do lol

If you are ever in NJ and I am finally worth training with; hit me up. It seems like it’d be one awesome and interesting session!
[/quote]

For sure!


#11

Do you have any specific goals you’re shooting for?


#12

[quote]lift206 wrote:
Do you have any specific goals you’re shooting for?[/quote]

Sick; let me know. And yes I would like to get back into powerlifting and compete in the next six months in some form of meet or strongman competition.

I have big plans and really am going to push the envelope with my training.

My goals for the end of the 6 months is:
555 x 1 and 500 x 3 deadlift
330 x 15 and 455 x 1 DL Stance Box Squat
a 510 x 1 deficit deadlift
and atleast a 315 x 1 close-grip pause bench

Very lofty goals for my current level right now but I was the strongest and biggest i have ever been when things all fell apart so it’s not that unrealistic given muscle memory.


#13

So this is the phase I have been prepping for…here we go…

Week 1 - Day 1

  1. 3" ROM Rack Pulls - 405 x 12

slight right bicep strain

  1. DL Stance Paused Box Squats with Hybrid Cambered/SSB Bar (Box slightly below parallel)
    Supposed to be one set but…
    1st set: 150 x 9/rested 60 sec/8 (bar was horribly unstable and tweaked my right knee)
    Rested 40 minutes and finally figured out how to complete the bar and make it stable
    2nd set: 140 x 16 (tweaked my left knee here)

  2. 2" Deficit DL 135 x 2, 2 (tried to warm up but knee was bothering me too much, shut it down here)

  3. Yates rows - 165 x 26 (Straps, No belt)

  4. Barbell Power Shrugs - 275 x 21 (Straps, No belt)

  5. Chest-Supported DB Rows
    25 x 10
    35 x 10
    45 x 10
    55 x 10

  6. 2-Arm Bent Over Leeman DB rows - 55 x 14

  7. DL Stance Hack Squats - same thing here, knees hurt, shut it down. Now I developed a horrible quad cramp, I couldn’t even stand… rested for 20 minutes

  8. Back Extensions - 35 lb plate x 12, 25 lb plate x 18, 22

  9. Banded Leg Curls - 2 elitefts short pro black bands x 20, 20, 20

now a bad right calf cramp

11.A Band Face Pulls/Pull Apart Hybrid Exercise (Hitting rhomboid and traps) - red band x 20, 20, 20
11.B Double Overhand Barbell Shrugs (No straps, strict) - 135 x 20, 20, 20

  1. Barbell Reverse Curls - 45 x 20/rested 30 sec/10/ rested 15 sec/ 5

Done.

All in all, it obviously didn’t go as planned and could’ve gone a lot better. That’s what I get for lifting dehydrated. However, I fought through and at east hit the majority of exercises that need to. Only thing I missed were the exercises listed and the calves and abs exercises… I called it because I started at 8:45 pm and finished at 2:05 AM. Decided I needed food and rest more than I needed to get that work in. I’ll make it up today.

Sidenote: I started running some D-Aspartic acid on Friday and I am defintely noticing some positive effects from it so far. I will keep this log updated on it and my overall opinion of it as time goes by…


#14

Week 1 - Day 2

  1. Bench
    135 x 10 (spoto)
    150 x 8 (spoto)
    165 x 6 (spoto)
    180 x 4 (spoto)
    200 x 2 (paused)

150 x 21 (spoto)

  1. Bar Dips - Bw x 20, 13, 14, 15, 16

  2. Standing DB Press - 40’s x 26, 17, 10, 7, 6

  3. Band Flyes - blue band x 20, 20, 16, 16, 16

Another night where injuries held me back… Pec is still painful but I hit all the weights I needed to. Another step forward…


#15

Week 1 - Day 3 -Saturday - Legs, Failing miserably, and Time to be Honest with Myself

A. Barbell Stiff Leg Deads (beltless)
All deep stretch and no locking out
135 x 6, 6
175 x 6
205 x 6, 6
145 x 26 Leeman style

Had to shut it down here. Heart rate hit 165 and my knee felt horribly unstable

So this is one of those hard times I have to take a hard look at myself and my training…

Right now I just cannot run a strength cycle; I really screwed myself up on this last layoff and lost too much mass. I am still semi-strong but my technique is too unstable and my joints are too iffy from all the muscle loss to be performing safely. I am going to have to do the smart thing here and focus strictly on gaining size back in a safe way until I am at a point where I have myself back to 100%.

Its a setback but I am still determined to hit my goals; however I cannot do that with knee issues, a pec that is in very bad shape, and all the minor problems I develop each session…

The story will continue… just not in the direction that I wanted…


#16

[quote]kjmont wrote:
Week 1 - Day 3 -Saturday - Legs, Failing miserably, and Time to be Honest with Myself

A. Barbell Stiff Leg Deads (beltless)
All deep stretch and no locking out
135 x 6, 6
175 x 6
205 x 6, 6
145 x 26 Leeman style

Had to shut it down here. Heart rate hit 165 and my knee felt horribly unstable

So this is one of those hard times I have to take a hard look at myself and my training…

Right now I just cannot run a strength cycle; I really screwed myself up on this last layoff and lost too much mass. I am still semi-strong but my technique is too unstable and my joints are too iffy from all the muscle loss to be performing safely. I am going to have to do the smart thing here and focus strictly on gaining size back in a safe way until I am at a point where I have myself back to 100%.

Its a setback but I am still determined to hit my goals; however I cannot do that with knee issues, a pec that is in very bad shape, and all the minor problems I develop each session…

The story will continue… just not in the direction that I wanted…[/quote]

It seems like you are pushing close to failure too often. Try not to worry about what you have done in the past and do things that will help you improve in your current state. Sometimes you have to give yourself some room for growth. Instead of thinking only about the sets/reps you need to hit, think about the training effect you want for all the muscles involved. If your technique goes to shit and you don’t engage all the necessary muscles, it probably won’t be very beneficial.


#17

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]kjmont wrote:
Week 1 - Day 3 -Saturday - Legs, Failing miserably, and Time to be Honest with Myself

A. Barbell Stiff Leg Deads (beltless)
All deep stretch and no locking out
135 x 6, 6
175 x 6
205 x 6, 6
145 x 26 Leeman style

Had to shut it down here. Heart rate hit 165 and my knee felt horribly unstable

So this is one of those hard times I have to take a hard look at myself and my training…

Right now I just cannot run a strength cycle; I really screwed myself up on this last layoff and lost too much mass. I am still semi-strong but my technique is too unstable and my joints are too iffy from all the muscle loss to be performing safely. I am going to have to do the smart thing here and focus strictly on gaining size back in a safe way until I am at a point where I have myself back to 100%.

Its a setback but I am still determined to hit my goals; however I cannot do that with knee issues, a pec that is in very bad shape, and all the minor problems I develop each session…

The story will continue… just not in the direction that I wanted…[/quote]

It seems like you are pushing close to failure too often. Try not to worry about what you have done in the past and do things that will help you improve in your current state. Sometimes you have to give yourself some room for growth. Instead of thinking only about the sets/reps you need to hit, think about the training effect you want for all the muscles involved. If your technique goes to shit and you don’t engage all the necessary muscles, it probably won’t be very beneficial.[/quote]

I swear me and you have the same brain sometimes haha I came to the same conclusion earlier that day. The whole training to failure thing usually works out just fine and helps me build huge amounts strength for me… but only when I am physically healthy, the technique ingrained enough, and have the muscle in the right places to support it. I am lacking all three right now so it was a disastrous choice to pick that style at the moment. I switched to a more meadows style program and on day 2 I am already pushing myself and manage to be feeling really great.


#18

The Joker - Week 1/Day 1 - Sunday

Legs - 16 sets

A. Banded Single-Leg Leg Curls (3 sec neg)
10 lbs x 15
15 x 12
20 x 10
25 x 8

B. Leg Press
1 PPS x 20
2 PPS x 20
3 PPS x 20
3 PPS and a 25 PPS x 20

C. Hybrid Yoke Bar Squats with 80 in Chain
Speed Work
Really half weight squats; I lowered all the way to feel where I could feel when the tension began to kick in on my knees; once I found it I squatted just above it.
70 with chains x 6
90 w. chains x 6
110 w. chains x 14 (started feeling speed drop off… repped out)

D. Top-Half Leg Extensions - 25 x 40, 30, 20

E. Band Goodmornings - Green Band x 20, 12, 20

Damn this workout felt great… got a huge pump and my legs are demolished. I forgot how much doing leg presses before squats took the lbs off. Wanted to do split squats but they can occasionally beat up my needs so I opted for top half leg extensions to play it safe.


#19

The Joker - Week 1/Day 2 - Monday

Chest -14 sets & Shoulders - 10 sets

A. Incline Tilt DB Press
Kept pecs flexed throughout the entire range of motion, got a good stretch and stopped at 3/4 lockout
25 x 12
35 x 12
45 x 12
55 x 12
65 x 12

B. Incline Tilt Reverse Band Bench
Done for speed and kept pecs flexed throughout the entire range of motion here too. Stopped when speed dropped off and couldn’t keep pecs flexed. Stopped 2 inches off of chest. Used medium Blue mands.
135 x 6
175 x 6
205 x 6
235 x 6
255 x 6
270 x 6

C. Incline Bench
Stopped 2 inches off of chest and no lockout.
95 x 5
115 x 5
135 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 7 (started out light and realized by set 3 it was starting to move too fast so I cut down the rest periods and repped out the last set. Was far from all out, probably another 4-5 in the tank if I want balls out)

D. Incline Tilt DB Flyes - 25’s x 10, 10, 10 (good stretch, hard flex)

E. Single-Arm Rear delts on leg extension - 10 lbs x 20, 20, 12 with a ton of partials until I hit 20. These felt awesome

F. Heavy DB Laterals with 2ish second negative - 4 x 6 w. 25’s

G. Six Ways - 3 x 10 w. 5 lbers… brutal and awesome way to finish off my delts.


#20

The Joker - Week 1/Day 3 - Tuesday & Explanation on future training plans, revelations, and feelings on strength training.

Back - 17 sets

A. Meadows Rows
1, 25 lb plate x 8
2, 25 lb plates x 8
3, 25 lb plates x 8, 8, 6
2, 25 lb plates x 15 (was supposed to do this set with the same weight as the previous 3 sets but my lats were to fried)

B. One-Arm Supinated Pulldowns with Bands and isotension technique
Set up a bench in my squat rack. Sat down and performed this by working arm doing regular 1 arm supinated pulldowns, nonworking arm held the contracted pulldown position.
Used doubled red bands
Set 1: Right arm 10 reps, left arm 10 reps
Set 2: Right arm 4 reps, Left arm 4 reps, R 3, L 3, R 2, L 2, R 1, L1
Set 3: Left arm 10 reps, Right arm 10 reps
Set 4: L 4, R 4, L 3, R 3, L 2, R 2, L 1, R 1

C. Deadlifts off 4 mats (mid shin pull)
135 x 5 (no belt or straps, double overhand)
185 x 5 (no belt)
225 x 5 (no belt)

D. Scrape the Rack Rows with Shrugs - 4 x 8 w. 95
Elbows kept high to hit the rhomboids and traps. Did 8 perfect reps squeezing the muscles hard at the top, than stood up and did 10 shrugs.

Maybe could’ve used more weight on these but didn’t want to risk form degradation on these, it has happened almost every time before.

E. Band Goodmornings - 3 x 20 with heavy green band
Used a more controlled tempo, concentric was not slow but definitely controlled. Used a speed and a shorter range of motion that allowed me to feel it all of the tension in the erectors. Rather than having a bend in the knees and pushing my hips back in a Romanian deadlift style form, I used more straight and stiff legs and bet over at the waist more to hit the erectors further. Also felt these tremendously in the glutes.

Another great session in the books; every time I return to this style of training I always think to myself, “Why did I stop training like this??” And every single time I ditch it because I “like going heavy and building a huge squat, bench, and deadlift.” I guess wisdom comes with age; or maybe it was the time I spent as a client with George Leeman doing high reps and seeing that success; but whatever it was it finally hit me that I don’t ever need to stop. First of all, Meadows’ programs are already geared to be hard, intensive, and fairly heavy. Second of all I will just need to tweak things a little when I go back to building pure strength by applying peaking work to the lifts I want to build and set up a standard of rules and protocols on what to do.

This is just my bias, but I love using the fitness fatigue model to build my peaking programs. It keeps me feeling better, builds up muscle, and guarantees a PR almost every week. As the time goes by and the reps drop; the fatigue level goes down, the muscle is built up from previous weeks, and both combine to allow a synergy for better performance. I know people say high reps don’t build maximal strength but I disagree here. As long as you peak up gradually over time; it will carry over. It all just comes down to how you go about it. If you are doing sets of 20 on weeks on end; than try to max out of the blue; of course your max will suck. But if you start at 20 and add 10 lbs to the bar each week; letting the reps drop slowly; you should have no reason why there would be an issue.

That’s why some of my favorite cycles have fatigue built in.

For example my favorite cycle by far is set up like this:

We’ll use the squat as an example

Wk 1 - do sets of 10 using 30 lb jumps working up to a weight that is challenge but not all out for a set of 10.
Wk 2 - do sets of 10 using 40 lb jumps working up to a weight that is 10 lbs heavier than the previous week.
Wk 3 - do sets of 10 using 50 lb jumps, working up and beating Week 2’s PR but 10 lbs.

Wk 4 - do sets of 8 using 30 lb jumps working up to 10 lbs heavier than week 3’s weight
and so on, continuing doing cycles for 8, 6, 4, 2, and finally 1 rep.

The reps dropping after 3 weeks allows you to keep hitting 10 lb PR’s weekly due to the fact that the overall fatigue and volume drops by the drop in reps, despite the fact that you are doing 30 lb jumps again.

As you hit the weeks where you are doing 4, 2, and 1; you really have to dig down deep to keep hitting PR’s. It may not be possible to keep hitting 10 lb PR’s during this phase because they generate far less fatigue; but overall you can still guarantee yourself 5 lb pr’s at bare minimum. This style of training of progressive overload can be a bit tedious at times but they always pay off.

On the same vein, this could be accomplished to a similar degree by meadows’ style of prepump work, layering of exercise choices and so on. It all causes some fatigue before hitting the movement you want to build; if not a great deal of fatigue depending on the week. One way I could apply a strength cycle to some of these programs is that I could simply apply the rules and ideas that I picked up from Leeman in the way that I start pulling the exercises before the main left as the reps eventually drop.

For example (squats again):
The goal is to bring up quad size and strength, and transition to overall squat strength
-Build a 12 week program and understand what exercises I want to use, the order of the changes from week to week, and the rotation of reps, sets, and intensity for those exercises
-Start the program out where I am doing squats with chains third in my order of quad exercises as a speed exercise. Work up doing sets of explosive reps for the desired number of reps to the weight a weight I can do for a moderate set of 15-20 reps and do it .

  • Keep adding weight to the bar each week
  • When I can no longer get 10 reps on the squats, I pull one of the quad exercises and put it after squats so that squats are now 2nd in the rotation
  • When I can no longer get 8 reps, either pull the chains or drop an exercise
  • When I can no longer get 6, same thing

Anyway… rant over. Just getting ideas down lol