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Lo/Rez: From CGA to EGA


First log filled up. http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/blog_sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_log/lorez_training

Brief Background
I rode bikes and ran around as a kid. Climbed trees. What used to be normal kid stuff.

In high school I ran cross country and track. My 5k was in the low 18s, and my 800m was something like 2:20. Might have been better than that.

I spent a few years dabbling with pushup and situp based programs, moved to kettlebells, and eventually to an actual barbell. But I read too much and was overly enthusiastic and not really serious enough. I burned out quickly, but came back.

Around May 2013 is when I'd say I actually started lifting.

I started lifting for aesthetic reasons, but I'm enjoying getting stronger. I'm taking an approach of just getting stronger with a few lifts, and hoping I end up looking better as a result. It's a lot easier to gauge progress this way.

Long-ish Term Goals
Axle Clean and Press 230 x 8 (clean each rep)
18" Axle Deadlift w/Straps 540 x 10

I pulled these numbers off a strongman competition Rob Orlando won.

I have some nagging shoulder and elbow injuries, so I'm also working to get those back to 100%.

Current Maxes
Olympic-Style Press: 140 x 1 (fairly old)
Barbell Z Press: 120 x 5
13" Barbell Deadlifts w/35lb Chains: 395 x 5

(current training weights; maxes are higher)
Ring Dips: BW + 10 x 5
Ring Dead Hang Pullups: BW + 10 x 5

(and lifts I haven't done for a long time)
Low Incline Bench: 195 x 1
Squats: 285 x 1


Basic training outline.

4 lifts:
Weighted Ring Pullups
Weighted Ring Dips
13" Mat Pulls w/Chains – 7 mats each side, and the chains keep it heavy throughout the full ROM
2" Axle Clean and [strict] Press

Pullups and dips are 5-6 days a week, and follow the same pattern:
3, 2, 1, 1
3, 2, 2, 1
3, 3, 2, 1
4, 3, 2, 1
4, 3, 2, 2, 1
4, 3, 3, 2, 1
4, 4, 3, 2, 1
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Then add 5lb, repeat

Mat Pulls are 5 times a week. They follow Pavel’s Power to the People routine:
5 reps at training weight
5 reps at 90% of training weight
Training weight increases 15lbs every session. Push each cycle until no reps can be made, then reset to 70% of the actual 5RM.

Axle Clean and Presses are new; I had been training Z Presses. I’m still trying to figure out how to program them, but it will probably be either a Doug Hepburn routine, or one based on his by Charles A Smith or Bill Starr.

What I just did last session, and what I’ll probably keep doing. This is from the book “Hepburn’s Law”.

Warmup using 3 progressively heavier sets of 8.
Power Group: 8 sets of 2-3
Mass Group: Drop weight. Do 6, 5, 4, 4, 4, 3 with the same weight.
Pump/Flushing Group: Drop weight. Do 10 reps, chasing a pump.

The Power Group progresses like:
3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2
3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2
3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2

3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

Then add 2.5lbs to both the Power and Mass groups and start over.

I’m also doing some shoulder rehab stuff daily.


Hey LoRez, I briefly went through your first log and saw that you were having shoulder issues, I just got over a tight subscapularis, but I found this to be a pretty helpful sequence


I’m really glad you started up another log brother!


MattyG35: Thanks for the video. I ran across something similar to that the other day when I was poking around youtube earlier this week. I’ll have to give that a try.

Alpha: I expect this one to go a lot smoother than the last one. For so much of that, I really had no idea what I was doing. Definitely in a much better place both training-wise now.

Ring Dips
10lb x 3, 2, 2, 1

Ring Pullups
10lb x 4, 4, 3, 2, 1

7 Mat Pulls w/35lb Chains
135 x 5
185 x 5
225 x 3
275 x 1
310 x 5
280 x 5

Pretty quick session today, in and out. Spent more time driving than lifting.

Shoulders actually felt ok after the form changes on the presses. Wider grip, and thumbs wrapped around (vs narrower and false).



Ring Dips
10lb x 3, 3, 2, 1

Ring Pullups
10lb x 4, 4, 3, 2, 1

No progress on the pullups this session. I did them right after the dips and just hit failure. I think Pullups then Dips is a better order.



Ring Pullups
10lb x 5

It annoyed me I didn’t get this on Saturday, so I just did 5 and moved on with my day.

Spent 5 hours moving, unpacking, and repacking boxes, trying to find a few things in my storage unit and get a final list of damaged goods so I can get reimbursed. Lots of awkward lifting and twisting at weird angles. Upper back and shoulders felt it. Nice deep sleep though.


Ring Pullups
10lb x 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

5th rep was still pretty hard. Moving to 15lbs tomorrow.

Ring Dips
10lb x 4, 3, 2, 1

A few hours later…

Axle Clean and Press
20 x 8
40 x 8
60 x 8
70 x 8
power: 100 x 5 x 3; 100 x 3 x 2
mass: 80 x 6, 5, 4, 4, 4, 3
flush: 60 x 10

Overall this was a good session. I feel nice and worked from this format, and any shoulder pain coming in seems to go away after all that volume. It takes awhile though. Almost too much time to do over a lunch break; not enough time to do this + mat pulls.

Warmup sets were interspersed with doing small circles with 2.5lbs because my shoulders hurt quite a bit from moving all those boxes yesterday. After the first work set, my shoulders felt quite a bit better.

Was feeling a bit run down so grabbed a rockstar from the neighboring convenience store too. This helped surprisingly well. Mostly was just looking for carbs.

After last session to just feel things out, I jumped to 5x3, since I’d already worked up to 4x3 with the previous Bill Starr-based workout. This didn’t seem like too much of a stretch. Same work set weight, just much more work with this current program.

I feel like I have a lot more control over the axle now.


Also good news is I’m actually really close to being able to reassemble my rack again.

Bad news is, I have no idea what I’d do with it. The rings work better for pullups and dips, I’m not bench pressing, and the mat pulls don’t need a rack.

I could add some press-from-rack work, squats or bench, but I have no actual need to at the moment. At least, though, it opens up options down the road.


A well-timed Rockstar can be a lifesaver lol!


Ring Pullups
15lb x 3, 2, 1, 1

Ring Dips
10lb x 4, 3, 2, 1, 2

That was supposed to be 221, but I forgot about the progression until after I did the 1 rep.

Did a lot of reading around the web (and books) about Hepburn’s training. There’s a few different approaches floating around, some which are definite misinterpretations and some which don’t seem to be.

Regardless of any particular program, his general approach is:

  • do heavy work, no more than 5 reps, adding a rep each session; this could be working up in singles, from 4x1 to 10x1, or it could be working from 8x2 to 8x3
  • do some slightly lighter mass building work with the same lift, either in the same session or later that week; this often seems to be in the 4-6 rep range, but I’ve seen as high as 8 reps. Some routines progress this in reps, some don’t.
  • whenever progress starts slowing down, switch up the rep ranges… if singles get stale, move to triples

I’ve seen the weights progress from as little as 2.5lbs between cycles, to as much as 5 to 10 pounds. Either way, think long term progress rather than short term.

The “10 rep pump/flush set” seemed to be a common theme around that time.

It’s notable that most of the strongest [overhead] pressers in history trained mostly with doubles and triples.


Ring Pullups
15lb x 3, 2, 2, 1

Ring Dips
10lb x 4, 3, 3, 2, 1

A few hours later…

7 Mat Pulls w/35lb Chains
135 x 5
185 x 5
225 x 3
275 x 1
295 x 1
325 x 5
295 x 5

Did all these with lifting hooks. Just bought them today (for the shoulder rehab/hanging work) but wanted to try them out. Kinda weird experience.

I’ll be going on vacation next week, so just about everything will be screwed up training wise. Tomorrow will be another axle clean and press session, then maybe mat pulls Friday, then gone on Saturday.


Also pulled together a progress photo for the Feb '15 checkin thread.

Two things I noticed:

  1. Even though I feel like I’ve gained quite a bit of stomach fat, I actually seem to be significantly leaner per the photo. As in, I should stop even noticing and worrying about it.

  2. Deadlifts apparently do thicken the midsection. Gironda was right. You can see that my obliques got wider.


I’ve been doing all sorts of things to try and justify accelerating the progress with the Hepburn’s Law program. It calls for 2.5lb increases in upper body lifts every month. It seems really slow, and I keep wanting to beat the program.

But then I actually do the program, and realize how hard it is, as is.

Axle Clean and Press
20 x 10 (should have been 8)
40 x 8
60 x 8
70 x 8
power: 100 x 6 x 3; 100 x 2 x 2
mass: 80 x 6, 5, 4, 4, 4, 3
flush: 60 x 10

That just takes a lot out of me.

Axle clean technique is improving. Currently I pull up (like a high pull), then loosen my grip to rotate and get under the bar. This seems to be the best way to do it so far, since the bar itself doesn’t rotate.

Warmups included 2.5 lb small arm circles forward and back.

Took a bit over 50 minutes, including drive time.

Ring Pullups
15lb x 3, 3, 2, 1

Ring Dips
10lb x 4

Shoulders weren’t feeling too great, so stopped after the first set. Overall, shoulders not feeling too great these days at all. I’ve increased the duration of the hanging work and the raises, so that doesn’t help either.


Your traps was huge a year ago. It does seems like your posture got a little worse… Maybe it’s just me. Try doing some band pull aparts and face pulls, it’ll help your shoulder. Do this also during the warmup.


[quote]Regev19978 wrote:
Your traps was huge a year ago. It does seems like your posture got a little worse… Maybe it’s just me. Try doing some band pull aparts and face pulls, it’ll help your shoulder. Do this also during the warmup.[/quote]

Heh, traps have actually grown and posture has gotten better, but it’s hard to tell from a single snapshot like that.

Unfortunately, I never had much success with band pullaparts or face pulls. I managed to use a band so much it snapped, and then just never got a new one. Thanks for the suggestions though.


After a night of sleep, shoulders feel much better. I ran out of Flameout a couple weeks ago, and just got some in this week, so that’s probably making a difference too.

I think doing pullups and dips after the pressing was the wrong idea. It was an experiment to see if reversing the order made it easier to press (since the triceps weren’t worked earlier).

Just like my “do dips, then pullups” experiment, this wasn’t a good idea.

Ring Pullups
bw x 3
15lb x 4, 3, 2, 1

Ring Dips
bw x 3
10lb x 4, 4, 3, 2, 1

It’s easier on my shoulders if I keep my feet behind the weight than in front of the weight. Since I’m using a loading pin with the dip belt, I have to make the choice. It’s easier to keep my legs straight in front of me than to bend them and keep them above/behind the weight, however it’s harder on my shoulders (but a better workout for the chest).

My ROM on Pullups is dead hang at the bottom, to hands next to my shoulders, and elbows by my side at the top. I initiate the movement by leaning back a bit, more of a “row” than a straight pullup.

My ROM on the dips is where the top of the rings touch my front delts. Any lower and I start feeling some stress at the inside of my left shoulderblade. Either way, this is definitely below parallel, per normal recommendations.


I’m going on vacation for a week tomorrow, so I decided to just try a few things today.

Did some “reverse shrugs” on the rings. Apparently this is great for scapula control also. Gave it a try. Did a few inverted ring rows too.

I found my weightlifting shoes. The 10.5s fit fine; I don’t know what I was talking about before.

Axle Clean and Push Press. Worked up to 120. Couldn’t clean 140. Didn’t try anything between the two.

Switched to a barbell. Worked up to 155. Push pressed that fine. Couldn’t clean 175. The first time I failed, I felt like I bent my wrist back (I really didn’t), the bar bounced around quite a bit, and it freaked me out. Tried a few more times to clean 175, but my mind wasn’t with it. Dropped 20lbs then cleaned and push pressed 155, but nailed myself in the chin.

Kind of an interesting day. I didn’t realize that the barbell was that much easier. I also didn’t expect that the problem was my clean. One of these days I should probably focus on that.

That missed 175 clean really messed with my head though.


I caved and bought a month membership at a gym, so I could use it while on vacation. Same gym chain as my girlfriend.

She squatted, and I did overhead press work.

I still think the bars are 5-10lbs heavier than either of my bars at home, but, assuming they’re 45:

Barbell Press from Rack
45 x 10
65 x 8
70 x 8
95 x 8 x 3
75 x 6, 5, 4, 4, 4, 3
65 x 10

Shoulders felt bad about an hour after, and for the rest of the evening. I’m not sure if things are ever really going to get better without surgery. That’s still not too high on my list of things to do.

Fairly tough workout. 18 sets today, 86 reps.

15 x 4, 3, 2, 1

That was tricky holding a dumbbell between my legs. I set the barbell at the highest position in the rack.

I also am really uneven left to right on my chins. I don’t know if it was because of my elbow or what, but I need to figure out what’s going on with that.


[quote]LoRez wrote:
2. Deadlifts apparently do thicken the midsection. Gironda was right. You can see that my obliques got wider.[/quote]
Well of course. Your core and trunk are heavily involved in the deadlift. They are muscles and hypertrophy will take place given the right conditions. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s not just the obliques but also the lats and erectors (and even the rectus abdominus) that will make your midsection appear thicker.