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Manny Prieto's Lightweight Raw Powerlifting Log

Now that I’ve finally entered the realm of competitive lifting, I figured some people might actually be interested in how I train, so I’m posting a log.

Oh, and since some people have been confused, I am NOT 2x Ms. Figure Olympia Erin Stern (in other words, I’m the guy in my avatar). Sorry, guys. :stuck_out_tongue:

Age: 29
Lifting Experience: 6 months as a competitive powerlifter (I’ve done 2 meets so far), but I’ve been lifting since high school (was a track sprinter/jumper in HS - kept lifting with more of a performance focus than an aesthetic one though my college/grad school days weren’t so consistent)
Height: 5’4"
Weight: 132 (usually walk around at 138-140)

Here are my best lifts (all at the 2/22/14 meet unless otherwise noted):
Squat: 325
Bench: 205 (I did 220 touch-and-go a LONG time ago - ever since I started training specifically for powerlifting I have always done benches with a pause but only go for a true max at meets.)
Deadlift: 355 (Tied a PR originally set at my first meet, 11/17/13. I’ve done it several times in training since then and went for a bigger PR at the meet but missed.)

Misc. Lifts (obviously all in gym):
Press: 135
Chinup: +90 lb. for a 1RM
Hang Snatch: 140

I train primarily at a corporate gym where I work as a Registered Dietitian and personal trainer. The gym is well-equipped - we recently built a new one which opened last December, as the membership outgrew the old facility. I work late (don’t get out until midnight). This actually works well for me as I can train in the afternoon before work when the gym isn’t so crowded. So I’m up long enough to not drag through training but can still get my day off to a good start. Also, getting out late keeps me out of the bars. :wink:

Since I’m just coming off a meet, this week’s training may not be particularly interesting, so I figured I’d start off with a little “The Story So Far” section, outlining my previous two meet cycles and the thought processes that went into each of them.

I won’t detail every workout of my previous cycles, partly because that would make for too much “fluff” for this log, and partly because the templates for these cycles were taken directly from Jim Wendler’s Beyond 5/3/1 book. So if you want those programs, just buy the damn book! But I will list my final training maxes along with selected attempts.

Meet #1: Long Island InsurreXtion - 5/3/1 Strength Challenge
I was just coming off a disappointing open track meet and was trying to figure out what I was going to do for fall training. In the program following my track meet I hit a squat PR (the first time in a while that I got a new 1RM in the gym) which got me thinking. I had also just recently acquired Beyond 5/3/1 and was looking through the programs.

On a whim, I checked Powerlifting Watch and found a meet in Long Island. I checked the RPS web site and saw that the New York State Amateur Raw Classic Open records for all lifts in the 132-pound weight class were vacant, so I decided on a whim to give it a shot. I did have the full 12 weeks to prepare, so I chose the 5/3/1 Strength Challenge to prepare for my first meet. I should note that I started this program with 85% Training Maxes (instead of the usual 90%) as the weights do get much heavier later on in the program.

Final Training Maxes
Press: 125
Deadlift: 335 (I based my training maxes off a rep max - 350 was my best single pulling sumo, however.)
Bench: 195 (I hadn’t tested a paused 1RM before this cycle so this number was based off a touch-and-go max of 220. Singles were all do-able but reps were tough.)
Squat: 290

My goals for the meet were to simply set 5 lb. PRs to each of my best gym 1RMs, and I used 85% of that goal for openers and 92.5% for planned 2nd attempts.

I overshot my weight cut more than I’d like (weighed in at 127.4), but had no problem getting back up to 140, even though much of my time the day before the meet was spent in a tire shop (I had a flat tire the night before weigh-ins and had to drive to weigh-ins on a spare). Yes, I know people don’t recommend cutting weight for your first meet, but I was going for a record, damnit!

1st Attempt: 275 - Good!
2nd Attempt: 300 - Good!
3rd Attempt: 325 - This was a real grinder, but I stood up with it. Unfortunately I saw two red lights - Gene said I was “just at parallel” - just needed a little more to reach depth.

1st Attempt: 190 - Flew up easily, but it officially went down as a Miss as I racked it at the same time as the “Rack” command. I knew I could do more and was going to go for 210, but since this was a miss I didn’t want to go up too high and risk bombing out.
2nd Attempt: 200 - Good! Still easy, and I held it longer just to make sure I didn’t beat the “Rack” command this time.
3rd Attempt: 225 - Miss. Since I had a good number on the board I had figured I’d go for a PR, but this was the one attempt that I looked like I had no business taking.

1st Attempt: 300 - Good. Felt a little slow, so I went for 325 instead of 330.
2nd Attempt: 325 - Good. Much easier than the opener.
3rd Attempt: 355 - Good! A real grinder but I made it!

The “first meet nerves” probably affected my squat more than they should have - I was going down slowly and trying to “feel” depth rather than attacking the hole aggressively. I also learned I needed to work on holding the bar at lockout longer - don’t want to beat a “Rack” command again, lol!

The more recent meet write-up will be in the next post.

The Story So Far, Part 2

Meet #2: Dominion (2/22/14) - S.S.S.
I was feeling pretty good after the meet (no pain or soreness at all) so I was itching to get right back into training. But this originally wasn’t going to be a meet cycle. I originally chose the Speed, Singles, Size program as I wanted to transition from powerlifting back to more athletic movements, but when I saw this new meet announced for the same Long Island location that would serve as a qualifier for the RPS World Championships (and knowing that my total was more than good enough to qualify), I jumped at the chance. And with the heavy singles, I felt like I could just stick to the program. Of course, just after the meet I reset my training maxes. Oh, and I did happen to throw snatches and cleans as well.

Training Max Progression (didn’t take any deloads until after the 12 weeks were done)
Squat: 270 -> 300
Bench: 180 -> 195
Deadlift: 320 -> 350
Press: 115 -> 130
Hang Clean: 165 -> 180
Hang Snatch: 120 -> 135

I should also note that we opened the new facility in December, giving me access to some new equipment including bumper plates and a platform (hence the inclusion of cleans and snatches, and also why deadlifts felt much better - Iron Grip plates suck). My one complaint is the bench - the uprights aren’t adjustable (which of course means the high ones are too high and the low ones are too low), and for some reason I cannot explain, there is a “head gap.” My bench setup never felt right during the training cycle.

Planned Attempts
Squat: 280-305-325 (I was close enough to 325 that I knew I could get it this time around, but I did choose slightly more aggressive attempts so I could at least secure a 5 lb. meet PR even if I didn’t get the big one.)
Bench: 185-205-220 (I chose a lower goal - you have to bench 220 before you can bench 225, right? Though again, I did want to at least secure a 5 lb. meet PR.)
Deadlift: 325-355-375 low/380 high (Pulling my old PR in training felt like a breeze, so I knew I had more in me. If I were to make all my PRs up to that point, a 380 would give me a 925 total which would qualify for RUM, assuming they don’t raise the qualifying totals again. If I knew I was out of the running by that point, though, I’d choose a more “conservative” 3rd attempt.)

Weighed in at 129.2. Did a better job of not letting myself get too low on the last day, but still had plenty of room to spare. Warm-ups felt easier now that I knew how much the squat and bench bars weighed and factored those in to my planned warmup attempts.

1st Attempt: 280 - Good
2nd Attempt: 305 - Good
3rd Attempt: 325 - Good! Left no doubt regarding depth this time. Not only is this an all-time PR, but I never touched anything heavier than 305 during the entire training cycle.

1st Attempt: 185 - Good. Bar speed wasn’t super-explosive like other openers but there was still no doubt I would make this.
2nd Attempt: 205 - Locked it out but got red-lighted for “up-and-down” movement. This was much harder than I thought, so this wasn’t the time to be a hero and call for a heavier weight like the last meet.
3rd Attempt: 205 - Got it this time. Would’ve loved more, but a 5 lb. meet PR is a PR. My bench setup just didn’t feel right on any of my attempts, much like training.

1st Attempt: 325 - Good.
2nd Attempt: 355 - Good. At the last meet this was a real grinder, but this time I smoked it. No ammonia caps necessary (more on that later).
3rd Attempt: 375 - Miss. I fell backwards and landed on my bum. No harm done, but obviously not the result I was looking for. Foot slippage was never an issue but was for this attempt - I’m considering deadlift slippers or Chucks for next time (I had been pulling in just my socks). Also, I think I may can the “ammonia caps before my 3rd deadlift attempt” routine - I can see how this works for some people, but it may be a little too much for me, given both my ammonia-induced miss and my 355 pulls.

The first meet did have more of a “storybook” ending for me, but I can’t complain about adding 30 pounds to my total and having one fewer lift where my meet PR is less than my training PR.

My next planned meet won’t be until September, so this week marks the beginning of an “offseason” period for me. I generally don’t ever let myself get “out of shape” per se, but since I am more than 20 weeks out from my next meet it’s not the first thing on my mind right now.

Starting next week I will receive coaching from Jason Manenkoff of Iron Arena. While I have had success training on my own with 5/3/1-based programs and the like, this will be the first time I will receive formal powerlifting coaching, so I am excited about that. Because of my work situation, I will still train mostly where I work, but I do have the opportunity to train at Jason’s facility on weekends.

Offseason Week #0: Week of 2/24/14
I should note that my new program doesn’t begin until next week, so I will refer to this week as “Week 0.” I didn’t suffer any injuries or even soreness after this weekend’s meet, so physically I feel like I can jump right into hard training, but I do know my coach wouldn’t be too happy with me doing something stupid and getting hurt before we even begin training. Still, I can’t just sit around and do nothing, so I’m doing the following (again, this is not part of the program I will be receiving from Jason):

Main Lifts: High Intensity Deload from Beyond 5/3/1 (basically just work up to your TM for a single)
Assistance Work: Simplest Strength Template at Deload Percentages (using the same exercises as I did for the previous training cycle)

Offseason Week #0, Workout 1 - 2/24/14
A. Hip Snatch: 45x5, 65x3, 85x3, 95x3, 105x1, 115x1, 125x1
B. Squat: 45x5, 135x5, 175x3, 200x3, 230x3, (add belt) 260x1, 290x1
C1. Half-Kneeling Lift with TRX Rip Trainer: 3x10
C2. Snatch Grip DL: 120x5, 150x5, 180x5

This workout felt pretty short, and Tuesday and Thursday were going to be long days, so I decided to consolidate workouts, doing Bench Monday and Bench Assistance on Wednesday.

Bench Press: 45x5, 95x5, 115x3, 135x3, 155x1, 175x1
Mini Band Pull-aparts: sets of 10 between Bench sets

Offseason Week #0, Workout 2 - 2/26/14
I decided to do Deadlift + Bench Assistance today, Press on Friday. My legs were feeling good today and I hear there’s a Squat seminar this weekend, so I figured I’d get deads out of the way.

A. Hang Clean: 45x5, 95x5, 115x3, 135x3, 155x1, 165x1
B. Deadlift: 165x5, 205x3, 235x3, 265x3, (add belt) 295x1, 325x1
C1. TRX Rollout: 3x10
C2. Bulgarian Split Squat (had to use DBs because the racks were occupied): 35sx5, 45sx5, 50sx5
D1. Pullup (on “rock climber” grips): 3x10
D2. Incline Bench: 60x5, 75x5, 90x5

After my first warmup set on Deadlifts, someone’s personal training client said, “That’s just a warm-up for you, right?” I replied, “Yeah, I just came off a meet so I’m going light today.” (He did know about my powerlifting meet as his trainer mentioned it to him on Monday). After I loaded the bar to 235, he said, “Now you’re just showing off.”

Of course this made me LOL, but now that I think of it, there are guys like Layne Norton who “deload” with 500 lb. deadlifts, so I guess it is just a matter of perspective.

Week #0, Workout #3 - 2/28/14
Final Deload Before New Program
A1. Press - 45x10, 65x5, 85x3, 95x3, 105x3, 115x1, 120x1
A2. Pullup - BWx6x6 (used a thick bar for these, though the knurling on them is awesome - it’s like the Squat Bar of pullup bars)
B1. Close Grip Bench - 70x5, 85x5, 100x5
B2. Meadows Row - 45 lb. Bar, 2x25 lb. plates, 1x5 lb. plate - 3x10 (Yes, my notation for the load on this one is weird. I know for sure that on a Landmine I’m not actually lifting all 100 lbs. since part of the bar is anchored to the attachment, but I can’t be bothered to calculate how much weight I’m actually lifting so I just record how many plates are on the damn thing.)

Easy peasy. New program begins on Monday.

“Offseason” Week #1, Workout #1 - 3/3/14
Today is the official start of my new program, under the coaching of Jason Manenkoff of Iron Arena (http://www.iron-arena.com/). As of now the plan is still to compete at the RPS Supreme Iron Warrior World Championships in Newark, NJ in September, though Jason did mention the possibility of doing another between between now and September to gain more meet experience. For now, though, we haven’t picked out a meet between now and September, so I will still consider this an “offseason” cycle.

Jason did ask me to track my body weight over the course of this program, so I will do so. Along with weight, I will track HRV and RHR (using the Stress Check and Heart Rate iPhone apps, respectively). Those two numbers are not part of the program but I figured it would be helpful to have that data to see how my body responds to this program. I’m not sure how accurate these apps are compared to heart rate monitor-based apps (such as BioForce or ithlete), but I’m not all that concerned with being 100% accurate, plus it is a hell of a lot more convenient to just grab my phone when I wake up rather than try to remember to wear my heart rate monitor.

Body Weight: 136.0 (Yikes! I need to eat! :O)
Stress Check Results: 30% (Medium) - This was a bit of a cause of concern. I did feel a bit of dry mouth and nasal congestion, so I was wondering if I was coming down with a cold. I felt fine the rest of the day, though.
RHR: 66 (A little high - usually I’m in the high 50s/low 60s)

I worked a couple of hours at Credit Suisse before my normal hours at Morgan Stanley, so I lifted there instead of my normal gym. CS does have a decent amount of equipment, too, including some things that Morgan Stanley doesn’t have (like a trap bar, Safety Squat bar, an Econo Prowler, and a GHR that no one actually uses for GHRs). Since I don’t have regular access to those things, though, those aren’t part of the program. I actually do like the barbells at CS better than MS, but unfortunately space is quite cramped at CS, making it difficult to get a good spot. Therefore I did pretty much everything in a power rack (fortunately they have two, so someone else can do something in the other one).

Squat Warmups: 45x10, 135x5, 185x5, 225x3

A. Squat: 255x4x5 - Tough for sure, and I may have been cutting it close on depth during the third set (better on the last set, probably because I was more conscious of it), but no real danger of missing once I got out of the hole (RPE 8? I’m terrible at these things.)
B. Paused Squat (1 second at bottom): 225x3x3 - I never did paused squats before, but all things considered these weren’t too bad.
C. Bench (regular pause): 135x2x7, 135 (rest-paused: 4, 1, 2), 125 (rest-paused: 5, 2) - I was supposed to do 4x7 - 1st set wasn’t too bad, 2nd set was a grinder, then it all went to crap after that. I was starting to run short on time so I may have been rushing through those sets.
D. Bench (3 second pause at chest): 155x2x2 - Sets of 2 felt much easier than sets of 7. The pause may have been more like 2.5 seconds than 3 though - I didn’t have anyone around to give me commands so I just counted in my head.
E. Back Extension: 25 lb. plate x4x20 - Again, time became a factor, so I ended up doing the last 2 sets later on in the day (main workout was 10:30a-12p, did the last 2 sets at around 4:30p during my break between CS and MS).

Not that I’m ever one to slack off with regards to recovery, but I have a feeling that’s one thing I need to be on top of, because this workout was pretty brutal and this is just the beginning.

Offseason Week #1 Workout #2 - 3/5/14
No training yesterday. Still felt a little sore from Monday.

Body Weight: 138.4 (Monday was probably just a fluke)
Stress Check Results: 48% (High) - There isn’t much distress at my job (heated conversations, mad rushes to meet deadlines, etc.), but maybe these long days are starting to catch up to me. Sleep hasn’t been the greatest from a quality or quantity standpoint.
RHR: 67

I came to Morgan Stanley early today because I was scheduled to give a presentation . . . only no one showed up. At least this meant I got to train at my regular gym and didn’t have to rush through my workout.

Bench Warm-ups: 45x10, 95x5, 120x5, 140x3 - I definitely felt the chest soreness on the first few warm-up sets, but it didn’t bother me on my work sets.

A. Bench (regular pause): 155x5x5 - Benched in weightlifting shoes for the first time today. It felt uncomfortable, but benching isn’t supposed to be comfortable anyway, and leg drive felt more solid. I also put a towel over the bench to keep myself from slipping. I didn’t have anyone with meet experience to give me commands, so some of the pauses may have been a little short. Still, this was probably the best bench workout I’ve had on this new bench (http://www.lifefitness.com/commercia...flatbench.html - and no, it wasn’t my decision to purchase this thing).
B. Bench (touch-and-go): 155xAMRAP - got 6 reps. I haven’t done touch-and-go benches in a while so this was a little sloppy. I did have a spotter so I probably could have tried another rep but I didn’t want to risk missing reps.
C1. Seated DB Press: 40x3x12, 35x12 - Another exercise I haven’t done in forever. Form was breaking down more than I would’ve liked in 3rd set, so dropped the weight for the 4th.
C2. Incline DB Row: 40x4x12 - This was pretty easy. The program called for 40s for presses and 30s for rows, but I felt like it should’ve been the other way around, lol. The program also gave me the option of doing T-bar rows, but we don’t have a chest-supported T-bar; I could do a standing T-bar row using the Landmine attachment but that’s a fixed attachment on the other side of the gym, so incline DB rows are obviously more convenient.
D1. DB Lateral Raise: 12.5x3x15 - Isolation work?! :open_mouth: The program gave me the option of 12-15 lbs. - we don’t have 12 lb. DBs but do have 12.5s so I used those.
D2. Pulldown Abs: 25x3x20 - I had several options for Weighted Ab work here, but we have a dedicated machine that’s like a cable machine except with straps that go over the shoulders, and this machine was the most obvious choice.

My next training day is Friday - the one day I’m not benching! Yay!

Offseason Week #1 Workout #3 - 3/7/14
The cold symptoms were starting to kick in Wednesday night, so I’ve been popping DayQuil like candy. Oddly enough, my recovery indices are all improving - soreness in particular is basically gone.

Body Weight: 137.8
Stress Check: 11% (Low)
RHR: 59

I did today’s workout at around 11 AM at Credit Suisse. Since this was Deadlift/Back Day the space issue wasn’t as huge of a deal but the layout did affect one exercise (more on that later). I do like the barbells at Credit Suisse better, but they all have a weightlifting knurl (instead of a powerlifting one), so my sumo setup took some trial and error.

Deadlift Warm-ups: 135x5, 185x5, 225x5, (add belt) 250x3

A. Deadlift: 275x4x5 - Pretty easy. I did two sets sumo (my competition stance) and two sets conventional just because I felt like it, and neither was bad at all. I didn’t even need to chalk up for these.
B. Deadlift from 3" Mats: 305x4, 315x4, 325x4 - First two sets weren’t too bad, but grip was starting to be an issue toward the end of the last set. I was trying to figure out the best way to set this exercise up - I figured a power rack wouldn’t work (I believe the bottom pin on the Cybex power rack is too high), and because of the layout of the facility and group classes in session, stealing aerobic steps would be too difficult (this would be easier for me to do at Morgan Stanley). I ended up using bumper plates as blocks - of course the problem there was I had to “aim” the weights at the right spot when setting them down.
C. Pendlay Rows: 135x5x10
D. Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 100x4x10 - Yes, my program called for lat pulldowns during a deadlift workout. I did start to wonder if I was turning into a bodybuilder, but there are two things that have reminded me that I am a powerlifter:

  1. I have multiple days in which I am squatting and benching in the same workout (including one tomorrow, the day after deadlifting!).
  2. Between the two actual figure/physique competitors who are getting ready for their contests and all the non-competitors who have been feeling a little guilty about letting themselves go during the holidays, apparently I’m the only staff member who isn’t dieting (fitting considering I’m the one dietitian on staff).

This workout felt better than the other two. Maybe it’s because I’m starting to get recovery dialed in again. Or maybe it’s because I got to deadlift and didn’t have to bench. Even though my deadlift-to-squat difference isn’t as huge as some people’s, I still like deadlifting, so it was fun to pull again.

We’ll see how those legs feel tomorrow, though.

As a fellow lightweight i’ll definitely be following your training logs, really enjoyed what I’ve read so far keep up the good work… very inspiring :slight_smile:

Yet another lightweight here! I’m 5’4 too and have done two NASA meets in the 132s. I’ve got a meet April 12th and hope to be competing in the 148s this time. However, I’m currently walking around around 154-156 with a little extra fat. Gotta lose a few pounds so cutting weight isnt really an issue. Do you plan on eventually going up a weight class or two? From looking at the stats of good lifters our height, a lot of them are in the 148-165s. I’ve found the extra mass to be VERY beneficial to my squat and bench so far. Jury is still out on the deadlift.

Anyway, hope training with a coach goes well and I will follow.

[quote]MightyMouse17 wrote:
Yet another lightweight here! I’m 5’4 too and have done two NASA meets in the 132s. I’ve got a meet April 12th and hope to be competing in the 148s this time. However, I’m currently walking around around 154-156 with a little extra fat. Gotta lose a few pounds so cutting weight isnt really an issue. Do you plan on eventually going up a weight class or two? From looking at the stats of good lifters our height, a lot of them are in the 148-165s. I’ve found the extra mass to be VERY beneficial to my squat and bench so far. Jury is still out on the deadlift.

Anyway, hope training with a coach goes well and I will follow.[/quote]

The possibility of moving up is something I have considered, and something Jason and I have discussed. While I walk around at around 140 I’ve never had a problem making weight (no need for diuretics, sauna, or fasting), so I do have some more room to put on more muscle mass. I don’t have any real attachment to 132 though - in fact, if I weren’t as close to qualifying for RUM as I am, I’d be done with that weight class already.

We’ll see how I respond to the new program, though.

Offseason Week #1 Workout #4 - 3/8/14
Body Weight: 136.8
Stress Check: 41% (High)
RHR: 59

Since I didn’t have to go to work early today, this was actually the most rested day I’ve had since starting this program, even though I trained at Iron Arena in Hoboken, NJ (which is further away than the other two gyms where I train). I didn’t feel sore, and I came in at around 1:30 PM (more like a “normal” workout time for me).

Squat Warmups: 45x10, 95x5, 135x5, 165x5, 185x3

A. Squat (3-0-3 Tempo): 205x4, 210x3x4 - Slow squats (especially a slow concentric) are something I’m not used to, and holding my air for that long is a challenge, but the weight was manageable.

Bench Warmups: 50x10, 100x5, 120x5, 140x3, 160x3 (This is a 50 lb. bench bar. For those of you who are familiar with RPS meets, the bar and the bench are the same as those used at those meets.)

B. Bench Press: 175x4x3 - The sets weren’t all pretty, but there wasn’t any real danger of me missing reps (though I did just beat a command on one rep). Thanks to Jason’s coaching I finally figured out what was wrong with my bench - I wasn’t holding my air long enough, which made it harder to stay tight. This improved on the last set, but is something I know I need to keep working on.
C. Bench Press with Sling Shot: 185x3, 195x2x3 - This was my first time using this thing, and the weights flew up! The program called for all three sets at 185 but based on how that first set went we decided to add 10 lbs. The one challenge was making sure I controlled my groove rather than letting the Sling Shot dictate my groove.
D. Arched touch-and-go Bench Press: 100x5, 140x2x5 - This wasn’t originally part of my prescribed program but Jason wanted me to try a new setup on the balls on my feet and a bigger arch (I have been a flat-footed bencher). Getting this setup right will take some practice, but overall these were solid.
E. Standing Abs on GHR: Green Bandx4x20 - First time doing these as well. These were brutal, especially with the thick band we were using.

I do enjoy working for Plus One, but ever since I started working there, I felt like something was missing from my own training. Not that I wasn’t having fun in the gym, but I knew my training wasn’t going as well - even though I have been hitting PRs at meets, and I’ve pulled 355 several times in the gym since my first meet, I’ve only had 1 gym PR (other than the 355 DL) in the entire year and a half that I’ve been working for the company. I’ve missed the training partners, coaching, and environment I used to have, and this was the first step in getting all of that back.

Oh, I’ve also set up a YouTube playlist with training videos since I’ve started my new program:

youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhfuup5XypcIubmUQFoqpFHTJr-7-5EJj (link edited because embedding the playlist doesn’t seem to work)

I enjoyed watching your training clips very interesting, what is the purpose of the slow motion squats for want of a better word ?

With the paused squats do you have to pause at the bottom in competition as I thought you only paused on the bench press ?

Last question, what is your actual work out schedule ie how many times a week are you training each lift, what sort of rep scheme are you using ie is it mainly sticking to the same amount of reps and adding weight at each session etc or are you still using 5/3/1 ?

Sorry for so many questions but as a novice admittedly an old novice I find it really interesting :slight_smile:

[quote]tredaway wrote:
I enjoyed watching your training clips very interesting, what is the purpose of the slow motion squats for want of a better word ?

With the paused squats do you have to pause at the bottom in competition as I thought you only paused on the bench press ?

Last question, what is your actual work out schedule ie how many times a week are you training each lift, what sort of rep scheme are you using ie is it mainly sticking to the same amount of reps and adding weight at each session etc or are you still using 5/3/1 ?

Sorry for so many questions but as a novice admittedly an old novice I find it really interesting :)[/quote]

No need to apologize - these are all excellent questions!

Jason explained to me that the slow squats are to break the eccentric-concentric chain, eliminating the stretch reflex and forcing me to rely more on my muscles to do the work. Also, with the increased time-under-tension with each rep, it forces me to stay tight throughout the movement.

There is no pause in competition for squats, only for bench press. The paused squats help in terms of staying tight at the bottom and building strength out of the hole. The pause isn’t a super-long one (I asked Jason about this and he said about 1 second) but having someone give a command can help make sure the pause is long enough.

Here’s my current schedule:

Monday: Squat and Bench
Wednesday: Bench and Upper Body Accessory
Friday: Deadlifts and Lat Work
Saturday: Squat and Bench

My previous 5/3/1 splits looked like this:

Monday: Squat
Tuesday: Bench
Thursday: Deadlift
Friday: Press

The Monday-Tuesday-Thursday-Friday split was done mainly out of convenience. My new split gives me access to Iron Arena on weekends, plus with the increased frequency of benching having at least one weekend workout is more ideal. As I mentioned previously, Jason Manenkoff of Iron Arena is doing my programming right now, so I’m not doing 5/3/1 anymore.

As far as the actual program, it looks like I will be increasing the weights as I move along, but I should mention that I don’t have all the details yet as I am receiving my workouts on a weekly basis. This allows Jason to make week-to-week adjustments to the program and probably keeps people from stealing his stuff and passing it off as their own.

If you want to know more about Jason and his online programming you can check his web site here: http://www.iron-arena.com/

Thanks for the reply and sharing some of the training methods your using :slight_smile: your current schedule is very similar to my own with the exception of your Saturday session as I can only train 3 times a week.

I may try some of those squatting techniques on some of my back off sets on squat day myself, I checked the link you provided and it looks like your in good hands.

Thanks again for the detailed information.

Offseason Week #2 Workout #1: 3/10/14
Body Weight: 138.8
Stress Check: 28% (Medium)
RHR: 60

I went into the city early today so I could train at Morgan Stanley, even though I did a few hours at Credit Suisse before my normal hours. Between my belt, my weightlifting shoes, and everything else I have to carry, I didn’t want to have to carry my work uniform along with all that other stuff. At least at my work there’s a place where I can store all my stuff overnight, so I don’t have to bring it every damn place I go. At least on Mondays I can go to bed earlier, though this does make a long-ass day even longer. Anyway . . .

Squat warm-ups: 45x10, 135x5, 185x5, 225x5, 250x3 - Warm-ups felt a bit more sluggish than usual. Not planning these as well as I should have probably didn’t help.

A. Squat: 270x4x4 - Yikes! This was, like, a 9.9 RPE or something. Just like last week, the third set was the toughest and I might have been a little high on depth, but I didn’t get a chance to record the last two sets as I was working in with a guy who squats “parallel” to some kind of diagonal line or something. I took a little more time before the fourth set and tried to be more form-conscious. None of these sets were “easy” though.

Bench warm-ups: 45x10, 95x5, 115x5, 135x3

B. Bench (normal pause): 145x4x6 - These were much cleaner with the new set-up! I also laid a mat over the bench which helped me stay on the bench.
C. Bench (3-second pause): 155x3x2 - Again, with the new set-up, these were much easier.
D. Back Extension: 25 lb. platex4x20

A day where I would hate squatting (my best lift) more than I hate benching (my worst lift)? I never thought that would happen! I guess we’ve figured out how I’m going to be benching for the rest of time!

Offseason Week #2 Workout #2: 3/12/14
Body Weight: 138.6
Stress Check: 31% (Medium)
RHR: 58

I got my first set of wrist wraps from EFS (I got the Enforcers) yesterday, so now was as good a time as any to try them. I did today’s workout at Credit Suisse, so the issues with space/spotting were there. I did all my benching in a power rack without a handoff today.

Bench Warm-ups: 45x10, 95x5, 115x5, 135x3, (add wraps) 150x3

A. Bench Press (paused): 165x5x4 - Again using the new setup. I did have some bar speed slow-down at the last rep of every set but didn’t miss a rep - I’d probably give this an RPE of 8.
B. Bench Press (touch-and-go): 165x5 - Once again I had a hard time balancing speed and staying tight. In my 5/3/1 days I got as many as 10 reps with this much weight, but I might not have been as lockout-conscious as I am now, plus I could just be fatigued.
C1. Seated DB Press: 35sx4x12 - Went with a lighter weight this time. No missed reps.
C2. Incline DB Row: 40sx4x12 - Strangely, there are multiple pairs of 40s but only one pair of 45s at this gym, and said pair of 45s was being used, so I just stuck with the 40s. I’m not training to be the king of assistance work anyway, so I just focused on getting a good contraction with every rep.
D1. Standing Lateral Raise: 12.5 lb. DBsx3x15 - Again, no need to be a hero with isolation work, so I just stuck with 12.5s for this one. Form was better than last week.
D2. Standing Abs on GHR: 1.5-inch band (I used the bands at the gym and they were all the same color)x3x20 - Credit Suisse doesn’t have the same kind of ab machine they have at Morgan Stanley but they do have a GHR so I figured I’d try the same exercise Jason showed me on Saturday. This was tough for sure, but much more manageable than Saturday’s resistance - this is probably the right size band to start with.

[B][U]Offseason Week #2 Workout #3: 3/14/14[/U][/B]
Body Weight: 137.4
Stress Check: 14% (Low)
Heart Rate: 56

I had around 4 hours of sleep last night (yay for 10 AM meetings!) but I felt fine. Today’s workout was at Morgan Stanley.

Deadlift Warm-ups: 135x5, 185x5, 225x4, 250x4, (add belt) 275x3

A. Deadlift: 295x4x4
B. Deadlift from ~3" blocks (used an aerobic step and 1 riser under each plate): 325x3x4
C. Pendlay Row: 135x5x10
D. Lat Pulldown: 95?x4x10 - At Morgan Stanley we have a dual-pulley pulldown, which I like because the weight feels more balanced this way. The amount listed on the stack represents the resistance on each “side” so I had it on 42.5 plus one of those incremental weights, so my guess was it was around 95 pounds. Not that it really matters that much since no one cares how much you lat pulldown anyway.