T Nation

Magick's Training Log v2


#1

Today’s squat session made me decide that I want to keep a log again.

I’ve started lifting sometime back in 2012 as a complete and utter beginner. Did SS and did it about as well as you’d expect a beginner who had no guidance whatsoever to do.

Had wrist surgery because of tendinitis of the thumb.

Had a log until I think sometime in 2014 when I got tired of keeping a log that goes nowhere and gave up.

Practiced Judo on and off up until 7/2016, when work kicked my ass and I had to choose between lifting and Judo. I chose lifting because I’m a loner a heart. Plus it’s closer to home. I may start again someday, but I don’t know. I honestly don’t miss getting thrown full force onto the floor by competition black-belts.

Basically just lifted without any real intent for the past 2 years or so. The goal, basically, was simply to do something and maintain strength and conditioning and grow it when I can. I did get stronger throughout the years, but never by any significant amount. It would basically be little spurts of improvements followed by months of staying at the same level. About the only improvement is that I’ve come to realize that I’ve learned quite a bit about my body’s dysfunctions and apparently got my squat form good enough to earn kudos from just about anyone who cares at the gym.

Anyways, regarding the squat session and all that,

Previously I’ve been training rather early in the morning. I’d get up at 5:30 AM and go train at 6 AM. My body apparently didn’t agree with this.

I’ve switched my lifting time around to the complete opposite around August of last year. Instead of 6 AM, I now regularly start lifting at about 7:30-8PM. That, along with the fact that I stopped training Judo, made me decide that I’m going to actually try getting stronger again.

I lift everyday, basically an upper/lower split with hang-cleans and the occasional hang-snatch practice thrown in. It looks something like-

Mon- Squat/deadlift
Tues-Bench/OHP
Weds-Squat/deadlift/pull-ups
Thurs-Push press/hang-cleans
Fri-Squat/deadlift/pull-ups
Sat-Bench/OHP
Sun-Hang-cleans

What I do on a given day changes according to what I feel like doing at the time but I attempt to hit all the exercises I listed if time permits.

I only really care about progression for my bench and squat. I figure the rest will improve as my bench and squat improves as well.

The progression is a mismash of concepts, but fundamentally comes from the idea that Chad Waterbury wrote about in some old article. I think he wrote that 25 reps is a good range for strength/size building, and that a nifty training method would be to use 85% of your max and just try to hit 25 reps without caring all that much about sets and reps and such.

I found the idea interesting and chose to interpret it in my own way- 25 reps in as few a set as possible.

Practically speaking though, this broke down into-

4x6, 1x1
3x7, 1x4
3x8, 1x1
2x9, 1x7

Move up +10lb on the squat, +5lb on the bench every month.

I’ve been tweaking it as I go along. I did the x9 for the first couple of months and then decided that it would be neat to do an AMRAP, or +10 reps, set instead of the x9.

I’m progressing in reps achieved per set as opposed to weight on a weekly basis. I’ve done the base 5/3/1 for about 5 months back in 2015. Basic template, no FSL or Jokers or anything he added in the newer book and articles he wrote. I’ve seen progress for those months (squat and deadlift only; my bench and OHP is special because of a posture issue) and then stalled. I concluded that I didn’t have enough volume. Then, instead of being smart and adjusting accordingly and restarting 5/3/1, I went and did stupid shit instead.

The experience with 5/3/1 taught me that AMRAP sets are special, and this brings me back to that squat session today.

Feb. was 245lb month for the squat. The first week I did 4x6, 1x1 and it didn’t kill me. I did 2x7/6/5 for the second week. That almost killed me. I felt like I couldn’t breathe after the first set and this sensation continued for the entire squat session.

The third week sucked even more. I got 8/5/5/4/3. The first set felt miserable and my legs felt like they had virtually nothing left after just the first set. The x8 was a definite rep PR that took everything I had in me. This felt so horrible that everything else I did that day sucked.

So, I dreaded today.I figured it would be time for a deload next month. Then, lo and behold, I hit 245lbx10 and I didn’t die. Hell, I felt so good that I went and hit a x8 for the second set. That surprised me. I managed a 235lbx6 after last month’s 235lbx10 and I honestly expected something similar for the second set today. I didn’t complete the entire session today since the guy I was working in with was about to hit his work sets and the J-cups were way too low for him, but I felt absolutely confident that I could hit a set of 7 and possibly even 8 if I wanted to.

This experience blew me away. This entire month felt miserable as far as squatting was concerned and I was wondering whether what I’m doing right now was viable long-term.

It appears that damn near killing yourself with moderate reps and moderate volume is what works for me. Ok. I’ll continue on then.

I had already made more progress with the squat since pretty much forever, but I have a tendency to see improvements and then stall.

Besides losing ~3 months of progress (Aug-Nov) due to a family emergency, I’ve basically went from barely managing 225lbx7 back in Nov. to lifting 245lbx10 today. I’m pretty happy to see actual progress.

The entire point of this log is to see how long I can keep this up and hopefully get pointers from the folks here on what I can do to improve. As written above, I am now convinced that moderate everything (moderate load/reps/volume) works best for me right now and my loading and rep schemes will change to reflect this.

Current stats-

Height- 5ft 7.
Weight-Varies between 168-171lb, depends on what I’ve been eating.

My diet is crap and my sleep is crap. It’s currently 1 AM and I’m writing this. That being said, ever since I’ve started lifting at night I consistently get 7-8 hours of sleep. I think this might be part of the reason why I’m actually getting stronger again.

I ate 10 pieces of Popeyes’ chicken today for dinner along with some evoo because I like the taste.

Whenever I find the desire to go grocery shopping, I buy a bunch of ground grass-fed beef/turkey/potatoes/broccoli and eat a bunch of that for dinner along with a tablesoon of evoo.

My breakfast is a scoop of Optimum Nutrition protein powder with ~ a cup of whole milk. I’ve recently added a piece of whole wheat bread because I don’t think I’m eating enough.

Lunch is whatever I get served at work/Chipotle if I eat out.

Pre-workout meal is typically a banana and string cheese.

I’ve recently tested my squat max and got a fairly manageable parallel squat to 315lb. I have massive postural/muscle imbalances on my entire left side. This wreaks havoc with my bench/OHP and I very much noticed a difference in ankle and hip strength between my left and right side. I swear I could have done considerably more if it wasn’t for this, and that upsets me.

What I did today-

Squat-
Warm-up with bar and body squats for a total of 25 reps.
135lbx3
165/205/235/265lbx1
245lb, 10/8

Pull-up-
No extra weightx5
+25lb, 4/5/5/4/4

I need a lifting belt. I currently do these by holding a dumbbell in between my thighs. It’s ok up to 20lb, but 25lb is too heavy after I just squatted. Could have done 5x5 if the dumbbell didn’t keep falling down.

Clean deadlift-
135lb, 2x5
225lb, 1x5

It turns out that my hips were shot after all. The 225lb was crap and so I just stopped.

DB step-ups-
15lb DBs, 3x5

I need to do more single-leg work. I can do pistols with a 10lb counterbalance now, but generally speaking my single leg strength is horrible. It… actually doesn’t make much sense to me now that I wrote this.

That was it for today since I was running late. Had to wait for almost 30 minute for a squat rack. Normally I do some ab exercise afterwards.


#2

Hey man, u really gotta eat more especially at breakfast. Breakfast sets you up for the day. Try aim for 6 mealsa day or at least 4.iAnd plus youl have a lot more energy and your strength will come up alot quicker.


#3

Bulgariansplit squats,lunges, single leg kettlebell deadlifts are all good for single leg strength.


#4

Today-

OHP-
45lb, 3x5
65/85lbx3
105/125lbx1

Push-press-
145/165/185lbx1
145lb, 7x3, 1x4

The 185lb is a 20lb PR and the 145lb sets are rep PRs.

Front lever progression training-
5x3

I’ve started training for the front lever about… 6-7 months ago. Currently at a level where I can go from a hang to the tuck lever and back to a hang smoothly and fluidly for the first two sets. I use progressively more and more swing/body english as the sets goes on.

The current goal is to be able to go to the tuck lever fluidly with 5x5, at which point I’ll start doing these with one leg extended and drop the reps again.

DB row-
70lbx5
85lb, 3x8

I wanted to do inverted rows with the smith machine but someone was using it.

Barbell curl-
45lb, 3x10

Had previously worked up to doing 65lb for 3x10 with some body english. Brought the weight down so that I can do these as strictly as I can.

Inverted row-
5x6

The smith machine opened up.

Probably my current biggest regret training-wise is neglecting to do inverted rows.

I’ve done inverted rows with TRX straps once or twice before and decided to do them with the feet elevated one day.

I couldn’t do a single good rep. My body swung to the right the moment I started pulling. As far as I can tell, the muscles involved in the left shoulder/back is either significantly weaker than the right side, or it’s simply not activating correctly.

So I started doing the inverted row with feet elevated in the smith machine. I credit this, along with shoulder stretches using a dowel, for my recent improvements in my posture and a lot of my lifting form, particularly my bench.

Currently my only horizontal pulling exercise is the inverted row, with the DB row as a substitute if I can’t get the smith machine. Any suggestions for horizontal pulling that mimicks the inverted row would be appreciated. I can pull well over 200lb with the barbell row but it doesn’t seem to do jack shit for fixing my body’s issues so I’ve stopped doing them.


#5

[quote=“duketheslaya, post:3, topic:226628, full:true”]
Hey man, u really gotta eat more especially at breakfast. Breakfast sets you up for the day. Try aim for 6 mealsa day or at least 4.iAnd plus youl have a lot more energy and your strength will come up alot quicker.[/quote]

Personally, the only important meals of the day are those I eat before and after whatever lifting/activity I did for the day.

This is probably because I have no great ambition to build muscles or such. I just eat more when I’m feeling tired and eat less when I’m feeling ok.


#6

Sorry but personally doesnt cut it.
Eddie hall eats 14thousand calories a day just to keep his strength. Certain tomes he eats even more than that.
And besides deadlifting 500 kilos.
Well yeah point is you gotta eat.


#7

Ever seem a skinny dude with no muscles lift tremendous amounts of weight?
Well no.


#8

Today-

Squat-
135/165/205/235/265lbx2
285lbx1

Pull-up-
No weightx5
+10lb, 4x6, 1x4

Deadlift-
135lb, 2x3
225lb, 3x1

One with double over grip. One with hook grip. One with mixed grip.

With chalk-
315/365lbx1
315lbx3

… And then my dry fingers rip and start bleeding at multiple places, so I called it quits.

Sit-up-
20/15/15

Pistol squats-
3x5

Today did not go as planned. Planned on doing 295lb for 5x6 after the 315lb. Oh well.


#9

Today-

Bench-
45lb, 3x5
95/115/135/155/175lbx2
185lbx1

145lb, 4x8, 1x7

Front lever progression (tuck lever) - 5x3

OHP-
45lbx10
65/95lbx5

Behind the neck press-
45lb, 1x5, 3x10

Standing DB press-
40lbx5
50lbx5 on my right shoulder, x3 on my left.
40lb, 3x7

Not sure what happened. The barbell presses earlier must have tired my shoulders way more than I thought, so I brought the weight down.

TRX row-
7x6

Didn’t want to wait for the smith machine. These still suck, but noticeably less so than before for the first … 3-4 sets? The remaining sets sucked.

Cable row-
90lb, 3x10

Did these in the hopes that something might have changed. Nope.

Barbell curl-
45lb, 3x10


#10

Today-

Clean from hang and push-press-

Warm-up-
RDL to front squat to OHP-3x5
bunch of clean pulls and hang cleans with the bar.
Ramp up to 155lb

155lb, 5x2

Legs felt tired today. As a result the second pull felt slow for most of the sets, and I think this led to me pulling the bar way too high before I go for the catch.

That being said, felt better than last week. I’m getting stronger at this, but I don’t think my technique is improving all that much.

Front squat-
135/185/225lbx1
195lb, 5x4

These started feeling just plain bad around the third set. I’m surprised that I got four on all five sets.

Chin-up-
5x6

Dips-
5x6

Tried doing the single-leg deadlifts afterwards but I couldn’t manage to do more than three on either leg without losing balance. I might do these later in the day.


#11

Today-

Overhead squat-
Total of 5-8 setsx5 with the bar
65lb, 3x5

Hang snatch-
Just the bar- 5x3

I can do hang snatches now! Pretty cool.

Back squat-
135/165/205/235/255/275lbx1
235lb, 3x8, 1x6

That sixth rep felt incredibly slow, so I stopped. I’ll aim for 4x8 next week.

Pull-up-
3 sets of “hang for 10 seconds, then do a pull-upx3”

The last set only had two pull-ups; upper body was far too tired to attempt another pull-up.

2 sets of “hang for 10 seconds, then do 3 pull-ups”

Clean-grip reverse lunge-
Bar, 4x5

These are awesome. Thank you Destrength.

Clean deadlift-
135/185lbx5

Too tired, so I just went with snatch-grip deadlfits instead-

Snatch-grip deadlift-
185lb, 5x5

These were easy but I didn’t want to increase the weight only to find that I can’t rep out the heavier weight. Need more practice with these anyhow.


#12

Today-

Bench-
95/115/135/155/175lbx1
155lb, 3x6/1x7

Front lever progression (tuck lever)-
4x3/1x4

OHP-
45lbx10

Behind the neck press-
45lb, 5x10

Inverted row-
8x7

Barbell curl-
45lbx5
65lb, 3x10


#13

Squat-
135/165/205/235/255/275lbx1
255lb, 4/5/5/4/4/3

Holy DOMS Batman…

Had mild tightness and DOMS over the last two days but it generally felt ok, nothing unmanageable.

First two warm-up sets of body squats went ok too besides feeling tight around the knees. Then I do my first warm-up set with the bar and my right thigh just lights up in pain. Haven’t felt DOMS like this in ages.

The ramp-up sets actually went ok; the 275lb felt easy. I just tired out really really fast on the working sets. The first two-three reps felt good, only to either slow down dramatically or feel incredibly tired on the fourth/fifth rep.

I blame the squats I did on Monday and also getting 5-6 hours of sleep due to going to bed absurdly late for the last two days. I figured I’d be fine since I did 4x8 with 225lb last Monday but that is clearly not the case.

Hopefully getting good sleep will fix this.

Pull-up-
10/7/5/5

Meh.

Clean-grip reverse lunge-

Ha. First rep that involves my right leg hurt bad. Just stopped immediately and called it a day.

Hanging leg raise-
3x5

Fuck you DOMS.


#14

Today-

OHP-
45lb, 3x5
65/85/105/125lbx1
115lb, 6/5/5/4/5

Push-press-
145/165lbx1

I can feel my left side working more and more.

Hang clean-
45lb, 3x3
95/135/155lbx1
145lb, 5x3

And legs are fine today.

Front lever progression (tuck lever)-
3x3, 2x4

Inverted row-
7x7


#15

Today-

Squat-
135/165/205/235/265lbx2
285lbx1

Pull-up-
No weightx5
+20lb, 5x5

Deadlift-
135lb, 2x3
225lb, 3x1
275lbx1
295lb, 5x6

Clean-grip reverse lunge-
Bar, 5x7


#16

Today-

Bench-
95/115/135/155/175lbx2
185lbx1
145lb, 10/9/9/5

Front lever progression (tuck lever)-
5x3

Behind the neck press-
45lb, 5x10

Inverted row-
7x7

Random upper back stuff afterwards.

Barbell curl-
45lb, 3x15


#17

Today-

Hang clean and push-press

Warm-up stuff.
95/115/135/155lbx1
165lbx0

Failed miserably on the catch. Left arm caught it but my right arm wasn’t fast enough. Not sure why I failed; I’ve done 165lb plenty of times before. The best guess I can make right now is that I didn’t get the bar high enough.

Dicked around with a couple singles of 135lb afterwards but didn’t do anymore hang-cleans.

Front squat-
135/185/225lbx1
195lb, 3x5, 2x4

Aiming for 5x5 next week.

Chin-up-
3x7, 2x6

Meh.

Dip-
5x7

I may start supersetting these two so that I spend less time on them.

Single-leg deadlift-
no weights, 4x5

Did some random upper back stuff afterwards.


#18

Today-

Squat-
135x3
165/205/235/255/275lbx1
225lb, 3x10, 1x5

The 4x8 I did two weeks ago felt rather difficult on the fourth set. None of the sets today came close to that feeling. Since I didn’t get DOMS that week, I’m hoping that I don’t get DOMS this week either.

2 sets of hanging on the bar for 10 seconds then a pull-up x3

I wonder what makes hanging on the bar and doing pull-ups every once in a while so difficult. I can hang off the bar for well over a minute without issues, but throw in pull-ups and then my upper back becomes incredibly sore.

Anyways, that was for it today. Got to the gym late and didn’t want to spend more time.


#19

Today-

OHP-
45lb, 10/5/5
65lbx5
95lbx3
115lbx5

Then bench opened up.

Bench-
45lbx10
95lbx3
115/135/155/175lbx1
155lb, 3x7, 1x4

Front lever progression (tuck lever)-
2x3, 3x4

Lots of body English on the last set, but happy that I’m making progress on this again.

Behind the neck press-
45lbx5
65lb, 5x8

Inverted row-
7x7

Upper back stuff.


#20

Today-

Squat-
135lbx3
165/205/235/255/275lbx1
255lb, 3x6//1x4/1x3

Left side felt unstable and slow on the fourth set, so I stopped. Disappointing.

The three sets of six felt good though, so I’m pleased overall with today.

And that was it because I got to the gym an hour later than I usually do, so no time to do much else.