T Nation

MarkKO's Training Log


Woke at 184.1 lbs, for some reason looking a little soft. Back still sore but improving.


Woke at 182.6 lbs, looking dry but not particularly flat. Tired from a 14 hour shift yesterday but otherwise feeling decent. Starting acetyl L-carnitine today.


I’d be looking dry and flat after a 14hour day! Didn’t even think that is legal :joy:


Six and a bit hours overtime. I don’t often say yes, but I was free.


Back still very tired. Feeling pretty tired too. So, because I wanted to give my back another day of no pulling decided to squat instead and do CGBP tomorrow. I’m feeling the effects of last week, so it’s just overreaching I think.

It’s now a good three plus hours since I finished and my elbows definitely aren’t as happy as they might be. It’s around the base of the tricep though, not right in the joint. I’ll have to be very, very careful with this. I think reverting to neutral grip pull-ups is going to be step one (bold for my own reference). Step two, if that isn’t enough, will be swapping to SSB squats until further notice. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

Today’s training

Lazy lifter plus shoulders


TM is 451 lbs

Work up from bar in 44 lbs to 60%, 10 facepulls between sets

Tuesday’s work on controlling descent and accelerating paid off, but GODDAMN did it take a few sets to get into any kind of groove.

Wraps go on

3x319 lbs, 6 rev (5, /), under 6 RPE
2x363 lbs, 7 rev (5, X), under 6 RPE
1x407 lbs, 7 rev (5, X), 6 RPE
1x451 lbs, 8 rev (5, X, 1), 6-7 RPE - couldn’t have cut depth any more and gotten white lights but this felt very nice

Around now elbows started complaining, I think mostly from the wrapping.

1x478 lbs, 8 rev (5, X, 1), 7-8 RPE - very encouraging. Moved well. Just on depth again.

Decided against going up because bar speed wasn’t quite fast enough, so figure I’d hit 478 lbs again and maybe even double it.

1x478 lbs, 8 rev (5, X, 1) and failed second so 10 RPE, almost destroying part of the gym in the process because I fell back and the weight pulled the mono off balance.

I’m really quite angry and confused. That first rep went up easily well enough I had no doubt I’d get the second, I’d have rated it an 8 RPE. Yet, I get to a point where I just fucking stop! No pitch forward, no chest cave, I just stop. Second time this has happened in the last two months. The only thing I can conclude is that my sticking point has changed. I’ve definitely put a lot more work into my lower back and abs, so I guess it makes sense that where I used to fail (falling forward early) doesn’t happen now.

I had a quick think on the spot and checked the video again. Where I stall looks a hell of a lot like part of a good morning to me: vertical shins, butt back. Also, all of my squat assistance for the last few months or more has been focused on volume and leg size. So I think it kind of makes sense that while my abs and lower back have gotten stronger, my hams, glutes and hips might have fallen behind to the extent I can’t grind like I used to.

TL;DR I decided for at least the next three weeks and possibly even until meet day my back off squat sets will be replace by SSB good mornings as close to the weight I’d use for my squat back off as I can handle for five to eight reps. This way, the intention is to acquaint myself with a degree of straining in that mid-way, shins vertical/butt back position.

SSB good mornings, squat stance

3x5x286 lbs with belt

Definitely challenged my whole midsection in ways it has not been challenged before.

Walking lunges, 50 - usual quad pump

2x25 with 80 lbs - keeping my Romaleos on was a great idea, hamstrings on fire

Decided to leave shoulders alone for today but wanted to do some abs that didn’t involve ANY stress on my elbows.

Picked a winner

Doubled medium band side bends, 20/side

I think I may very well keep the banded kneeling crunches and banded side bends for a bit as my ab work.

Positives out of today: onto something good with how I wrap, pliers make it much easier. Also able to handle 478 lbs for a comfortable single despite being physically and mentally far from at 100%.

Negatives out of today: still haven’t got a handle on my rep capacity for heavier squats, almost destroyed part of the gym and my elbows are hinting they aren’t happy.


Quick peek at squats today. I need various pairs of eyes if possible, so everyone please chime in - especially @Reed @corstijeir @Destrength @littlesleeper @BOTSLAYER @JMaier31


Okay, so a few things. How comfortable is that squat style? Does anything hurt, feel tight, or insecure when you squat (or after a certain weight)? You look insecure in the hole in a few of the reps. If I were you, I’d work on either hip mobility or playing with foot position (maybe make them more neutral), and stance because it just doesn’t seem “right”. Maybe pause work. You also look like you are overarching just a tiny bit which can cause the weight to be back on your heels too much, though it doesn’t look like it is bad enough to cause you to fall on your ass.

The reason why you missed though is weight distribution/how you descend. You were all over everywhere in that set, first rep the bar swayed forward a tiny bit, second rep the bar swayed back a lot which you self corrected but the position that you got in to save it wasn’t something you could fight from. I don’t know if it’s that it’s mobility, (I was actually having the same issue not too long ago) or the weight just not being centered over your midfoot very well. If it was a midfoot thing, you are going to have to figure out how to move in a way that you can keep it midfoot, if it was a “I can’t move how I want to” thing then you are going to have to either work on mobility or foot and stance adjustments need to be made.


Without wraps? It feels great, best squats have ever felt. Add wraps and I’m nowhere near as comfortable. It’s like my knees forget what they need to do. I also don’t like squatting out of a mono much. I set up better walking the bar out. Something about taking a couple of steps makes everything settle where it needs to.


Maybe try bending your knees… into the wraps? It’s hard to describe, but you know that feeling you get when your knees go forward while you are doing wrapped squats in which the wraps try to resist it and you get more rebound? I’d say try fighting the wraps so that your knees come forward as much as they like to in your normal squats. What I basically mean is sitting into the wraps if that makes sense at all. Though wrapped squats are definitely not something I am super experienced with. I know @reed does a lot of wrapped work, so he’d probably be a better source on that.


Here’s the really funny thing: my knees go further forward in wraps than sleeves. That’s one of the main things that throws me off. I feel like everything comes way more forward in wraps.


I know this sounds silly when typing it out, but maybe paused squats with wraps? People do pause squats to fix their bottom position without wraps, so maybe with wraps? You either get into position, or you get crushed, and the wraps add even more weight on the bar so you have to make even more sure that you are in position.


I agree with Destrength on the weight distribution. Your second rep looks awfully unstable the moment you start descending.

What puzzles me is why that happened; I don’t see anything in the first rep to indicate that the weight is too difficult to move.

One thing I want to notice with your squat that I’ve noticed- You torso and shins always look very vertical. And I don’t know if it’s because of depth changes as the weight gets heavier, but you appear to be more and more vertical as the weight increases.

My guess would be that the instability from the descent + fatigue fucked with your balance as you went up.


Could work I guess. Either that or my leverages have changed as I lost weight. Squats without wraps feel great until around 440 lbs now. Then beyond that it feels like I got really weak suddenly, although something like 350 lbs moves beautifully, feeling lighter than ever.


Which is what pissed me off. I make a real effort to only take another rep when I know I’ll get it, so for this to happen was confusing and annoying.

That’s sort of where my mind was going too. Last failure was similar in that respect as well. Possibly being lighter now my issue is that I can’t grind out squats like I used to be able to.

This I had not noticed. I know I prefer a more vertical torso, but I wasn’t aware there was any change as load increases.


You are trying to stay way to vertical and are overextending the tspine horribly along with some pretty bad head position (in my opinion) all of which lead to decreased hip use, decreased bracing power, and a decrease in stability. You can see it with the reps as you get heavy in that the last few inches into the hole your knees kinda go crazy and start wobbling all over the place. This is from being loose in the core and not rooting to the floor properly. You are trying to stay extremely vertical as you said you get even more so vertical with more forward knee movement as you get heavier. You are using heavier and heavier weights that are closing in or are over your unwrapped max weight and you are trying to compensate for poor core bracing and upper back tightness by staying extremely vertical. Which can work with light weight. How ever once you get heavy if the bar rolls forward even a small fraction of a hair it will push you over, sending the hips back, and the head down toward the ground. The sudden change in position with a weight that heavy was just to much to over come.

So, in my opinion first off fix your head position. This will help alot with the overextending almost immediately. I suggest looking just slightly down from a Nuetral head position. Find a spot where the wall and floor meet and never take your eyes off of it. Secondly, you have to believe and know your upper back and core WILL support the weight when you brace properly and pull the bar into you. This will allow you to push your hips back a little and to allow the bar to travel mid foot and allow for a much more powerful position to come out of the hole. Essentially what you saw in that last rep was your body trying to force you into a more powerful hip dominate squat like you squat when unwrapped. Problem was you tried to make the adjustment at the absolute weakest point of the movement and you tried to do it while not bracing and with a loose upper back. This obviously is a recipe for disaster. You can see what I’m talking about in these videos below. You have to sit back and down onto the wraps, you have to stay as vertical as possible WHILE still allowing the hips to come into play this means there will be some kind of forward torso lean nothing extreme but it just has to happen.


@Reed thank you so much! I’ll re-read all that when I squat next week and make the necessary adjustments.


Now I know what to look for I see exactly what you’re taking about. Wrapless I push my hips back just enough, wraps go on and my whole setup changes enough to throw me off.


No problem man I hope it helps.


It helps a ton. I should’ve known something was off when it took me so much longer to get into the groove than usual - which, to be honest, never happened, I just got into some weird kind of squat. Usually these days I feel pretty much dialled in from the first set on the empty bar. I’m going with being tired as my excuse for not picking up on this, which is a bullshit excuse.


So, Rippetoe.