T Nation

Losing my PLing Virginity


I've been training for two years now without any real focus on strength until lately. It turns out I really like it. So what better motivation to get stronger then to enter a PLing competition.

I don't have any specific dates yet, but I'm thinking mid 2012 if I can find one. I'm currently trying to contact a local PLing team to see if I can get in with the group.

I have two kids under the age of three, so time is precious for me. I do have a home gym built with most of the required equipment. Cage, rack, oly set, power blocks, bands, home made platform...

I'll be looking for all the wisdom I can get in here as I have a lot to learn. I'm working with a modified WS4SB template and am enjoying it. I had a pretty significant back strain on Sunday that I'm trying to bounce back from and so far it's healing really fast.

I have a couple of 1RM tested lately:

Bench: 255lbs
Sumo DL: 365lbs
Conv. DL: 365lbs
Old Squat 1RM: 275lbs

Those numbers are my baseline and I hope to go up from there. My weight this morning was 169lbs.

Thanks for reading and I hope to learn a lot here!


So I'm getting ready to start lifting again. I'm coming off yet another low back muscle strain. This one was the straw that broke the camels back (no pun intended) and I'm going to attempt to fix things.

No deadlifting and no heavy squats for a while. Instead of heavy lower body days I will take on the joy of BORING core work.

Time to swallow my pride and do what needs to be done.


Work is busy, kids are busy, life is nuts. Back is still jacked

Here is a summary of events:

  • Had a high tech scan of my back done. Lit up three problem areas that I already knew about, but confirmation is nice.

  • Had an x-ray of my neck and back. All is fine. I have a slight bend in my spine and need more curve in my neck. Nothing major.

  • My chiro wanted to do a consult where I bring in my wife and set up a treatment schedule. I indicated that my wife and I have opposite schedules and with two little babies at home it wasn't happening. He said that was his policy and wouldn't budge. I told him to shove his cash grab up his ass and left.

  • Went to a new chiro that I know personally and trust. I saw him twice. He said my back is built like a brick shit house but I have that one weak spot that I constantly get a bad muscle strain in. I told him my plan to fix it (strengthen the hell out of it) and he nodded with approval and said don't come back unless I need him. That's more like it.

  • Somewhere in all that fun stuff I met up with the local PLing group. There were two guys from the club and me and another newb. We did bench press. I just barely failed on 260 and need a little finger to get it through my sticking point. The other newb just barely failed at 405. F%#CKER. The 63 year old hit 315 for reps and the big vet made 405 look like my 225. Jeebus. I joined the group on the spot but informed them I am taking a bit of time to fix my back before I really get serious with them.

  • Took a week off from lifting to heal a bit. I still need another week but opted for a jack shit workout. I was planning on taking it easy but I felt strong so pushed just a little bit... okay a lot. I benched a 6x225lbs. BOOYA! PR!

  • Picked up my new toy today. Too bad I can't use it for a bit.


Wow, the Canadian Thanksgiving came at a great time. It actually gave me a two day weekend and some much needed R&R. My inlaws are in California so it meant only one turkey dinner which was also nice.

I got the grass cut and the garage completely cleaned and hosed out. I even got two workouts in over the long weekend. Things are definitely on a roll here.

Now, with that being said. My back still isn't 100%, but I wanted to get started on the long daunting task of fixing it. I kept the weights EXTREMELY light, but it was good to get moving again.

I thought about letting this whole weight lifting thing go, but that thought passed quickly, I'm not a quitter. Not even close. However, I promised myself that I would give my back one last honest shot before I ditched heavy lower body work for good. I imagine I've got many months ahead of me, but here it goes:

Good Mornings:

Front Squats:

Reverse Hypers on a Swiss Ball

Pulldown Abs:
10xGrey Band

Hanging Leg Raises:
8, 8, 9, 10

The good mornings felt fantastic. I've got a lot more in the tank when the time comes.

Front Squats make me miserable. That's why I'm doing them instead of avoiding them.

The reverse hypers hit the problem spot in my back DEAD ON. I'll add weight or bands to this when I'm healthy enough.

My abs hate me right now.

I've been doing mobility work everyday now.

The back is tender, but okay. I'm very pleased with how that went. I'm onto something here. I will see how I feel in the morning and proceed from there....

12 hour work day tomorrow. Crap.


Bunch of workouts....

10x 45,75,95

Board Press (Foam Roller):
3x95, 135, 185, 205, 225, 245, 265
1x275 (Lost my bar path, couldn't get the next rep)

Lying DB Tricep Extensions with 30 sec rest:

Tricep Pushdows with Grey Band: 10,10, 10

One Arm Press:
15x40, 30, 30 each arm

Kettlebell Windmill: 3, 5, 6

15" Box Squats:
10x2x135 60 second rest breaks

Reverse Hypers: 8, 8, 8

One Leg Squats: 8, 8, 8 each side

Paused DB Rows: 6x70, 80, 80, 80

BB Shrugs: 3x15x225

Bunch of waiter walks around my basement

10x45 Close Grip, 45 Medium Grip 45 Wide Grip
10x95 CG, MG, WG
3x155 CG, WG, MG, CG, WG, MG, CG, WG, MG, WG

Skull Crushers: 6x25, 45, 65, 75, 85, 95, 100

DB Side Raises: 3x10x30s

Bent Over DB Side Raises: 3x10x20s

Pallof Press: 5x12xRed Band

Good mornings:
3x95, 115, 135, 155

Front Squats:
8x95, 115, 135

Swiss Ball Reverse Hypers: 8, 8 ,8

Abs Pulldowns: 5x15xGrey Band

Hanging Leg Raises: 20, 15, 20

Bench Press: 10x45, 10x95

3 Board Bench Press: 3x95, 135, 185, 225, 245, 275

My butt came up on my last rep with 275 but I'll still take it. I also saw stars because it was one helluva grind.

Lying DB Tricep Extensions with 30 second rest: 6x10x30s

Tricep Pushdowns: 3x10xGrey Band

One-Arm Press: 3x15x35lbs each side

35lb KB Windmills: 8, 8, 10 each side

Saturday Dynamic Squat Day

15" Box Squats: 10x2x155lbs

Reverse Hypers: 3x8xBW+5lbs

One Legged Squats: 10, 10, 10

Paused DB Rows: 3x6x90lbs

BB Shrugs: 3x15x245lbs

Waiter Walks: 7 laps around my basement, each side


  • Box squats felt a little sluggish today but still keep my explosiveness and speed high.

  • Reverse Hypers are getting strong now. I need to buy some ankle straps to add weight.

  • One legged squats are getting a bit deeper, but still lots of work to do, especially on the right side.

  • Paused DB Rows feel killer. I've maxed out my adjustable DBs now.


Dynamic Effort Bench Day

Bench with mixed grips:
3 Close Grips x 3 x 155lbs
3 Wide Grips x 3 x 155lbs
4 Regular Grips x 3 x 155lbs

6x25, 45, 65, 85, 105, 105

DB Side Raises: 3x10x20s

Bent Over DB Side Raises: 3x10x20s

Cable Chops: 3x10xRed Mini Band each side

Pallof Presses: 3x12xRed Mini Band each side


  • Bench work is dull and boring but I am telling you, it's going to work. My close grip work has NEVER felt more explosive then right now.

  • PR on skull crushers!


Is the contest still on or are your back problems too much?


Yesterday was exactly a month since my latest back strain, and a pretty good one to boot.

Here is what has happened in that month:

  • Serious icing and rest
  • Had a professional check for something major going on
  • Started stretching, a lot
  • Had electrical massages
  • Began serious amounts of mobility work
  • I've done enough core work to stabilize all of T-Nation
  • Slowly bringing the loads on my back up
  • Feeling strong.... last night:

Warm Ups
Good mornings:
5x45, 65, 85, 95
3x115, 135, 155, 175
1x185, 200

Front Squats:
8x135, 165, 185

Revers Hypers:

Ab Pulldowns:
5x15xGrey Band


  • I've still got more on those good mornings but I got a little scared of the load. I need a bit more confidence in my back before I push for 225lbs.

  • I feel solid and stable. This is working.

  • Very happy with my recovery and future plans.


It's still on, but I'm waiting for all the dates for 2012 and locations to be selected so I can commit to something and make it a goal.

Feeling better than ever....


Max Effort Bench Day:

10x45, 95, 135

3 Board Bench:
3x135, 185, 225, 265
1x275, 285
1x295 Fail Twice

Lying DB Tricep Extensions:

Tricep Pushdowns with Grey Band: 15, 12, 15

One Arm Press: 3x15x40lbs each side

35lb KB Windmills: 10, 10, 10 each side


  • I was blown away by how easy my 10x135lbs warm up felt. 2.5 years ago I started working out and was benching 95lbs for a couple of reps. I blasted that one out and got up like nothing happened.

  • Getting pinned with 3 boards and 295lbs on your chest makes life.... umm... interesting. I need to set my safeties higher for board work.

  • My triceps were ready to explode this morning. Hard as a rock.


When benching by self, you really have to be careful about max poundages. One guy mentioned he sets bench by loading weights 50 lb under what he wants, clamps the plates, then adds an extra 25 to each end. If he can't get the bar up, he tilts it, the 25s fall off, and he gets it up. I haven't tried that, but sounds useful.


Not much to report. Crazy busy day with the kids. I'm trying to get lots in this weekend because I'm working a 60 hour work week next week.

Currently watching UFC 137 and the hockey game at the same time while typing this. Makes life interesting....

Today's DE work:

12" Box Squat:
Warm ups, then:

Swiss Ball Reverse Hypers: 3x8xBW

One Legged Squats: 4x10xBW each side

Paused DB Rows: 4x6x90lbs each side

BB Shrugs: 3x15x275lbs

Bunch of waiter walks with 35lb KB


I dropped my box height from 15" to 12". It felt more like a mile. My first squat was with an empty bar and I pretty much plopped down because I was expecting it to be so much higher. I got the hang of it shortly after and it made things much more challenging.

Okay so I said it before, I'm maxed out on my adjustable power blocks on those DB Rows. I priced out stage III and it was $380. I think I would prefer to buy the Home GHR rig that Joel has before I get more plates for my DBs.

However, I just booked my flight and hotels for my Grand Canyon hike. It was a hefty bill so looks like my gym toys will have to wait.


I like the idea.... a lot. Thanks man.