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-
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-
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.
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-
Warm-up with bar and body squats for a total of 25 reps.
No extra weightx5
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.
It turns out that my hips were shot after all. The 225lb was crap and so I just stopped.
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.