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MRW173's 5x5 log

I’ve decided to put up a training log for my 5x5 intermediate program ( http://www.geocities.com/elitemadcow1/5x5_Program/Linear_5x5.htm ). I’m currently on week #5 of the program. See my profile for previous weeks’ info, etc.

My goals right now are to simply get bigger and stronger. I have a long, long way to go in both respects.

If anyone wants to post on here with suggestions, comments, etc. they are more than welcome. I’d appreciate any and all feedback.

Today was the middle workout of week #5, or “deadlift day.” Squats are still done, but it’s basically 4 warmup sets.

Just a few notes about exercise selection. If you click on the link above for the 5x5 program, you’ll see that it typically has you do flat bench on the 1st and 3rd workouts of the week, and either incline or military press on the 2nd workout of the week. Because vertical pressing strength is a weakness of mine, I elected to do that for the middle workout.

And because I’m doing dips, which hit my lower/middle chest pretty hard, I’ve elected to sub in incline press for flat bench to emphasize the upper chest. As of right now, this hasn’t placed too much stress on my shoulders, so I’m going to continue with it. Also of note is that all pressing movements, with the exception of military press, are with dumbbells, and the weight listed is for one dumbbell.

On to this morning’s workout:

Back Squat
130x5
150x5
170x5
170x5

Deadlift
180x5
205x5
230x5
255x5

Military Press
80x5
95x5
105x5
120x5

Face Pulls
70x10
70x10
70x10

Standing Calf Raise
145x8
145x7
145x6

Incline treadmill walking: 15 minutes

Everything felt good today with the exception of my knees. I have a bar league beach volleyball thing on Wednesday nights, and for whatever reason, it kills my knees. Squats were painful as a result, but I don’t think it affected my form at all. Plus, today was a light squatting day, so it’s not really a big deal.

Deadlifts felt pretty good. I’m still trying to find out the best starting position for me as far as hip height goes. I’ve tried to concentrate on starting with my hips nice and low, chest out, back arched, but if I take this to an extreme, it feels like I’m just squatting the weight up, if that makes any sense. Today I went with a slightly higher hip position and it felt much more natural and the weight went up easier than last week. I’ll try to get some video one of these days for some feedback regarding form.

This morning’s workout:

Back Squat
130x5
150x5
175x5
195x5
225x3
175x8

Incline Dumbbell Press
55x5
60x5
70x5
80x5
85x3
70x7 (failed on 8th rep)

Hammer Strength Chest Supported Row
95x5
110x5
125x5
145x5
165x3
125x8

Dips (with weight belt)
45x8
45x7
45x6

Barbell Curl
65x8
65x8
65x6 (failed on 7th rep, then 2 rest-pause sets w/ 15 breaths between)
65x2
65x2

Lying Tricep Extension (w/ EZ curl bar)
70x8
70x7
70x6 (failed on 7th rep)

I was kinda pissed to not get all 8 reps on the last set of incline press today, since I was able to do 70x8 last week. My triceps felt pretty fried by that point, and I failed on the 8th rep near the top of the movement. 80x5 was really fatiguing, and by 85x3 I was pretty shot.

It felt good to put 2 plates per side on squats today. I know it’s no great feat, but it’s a nice benchmark, for now.

Tonight I was at a new gym because my normal gym is closed for the week. So, my routine was a little different than usual.

I really wasn’t impressed with the gym at all. But, I got a free week-long trial membership, so it’s better than taking a week off. The place only had one squat rack (wasn’t really a problem since nobody else used it while I was there), and the guy showing me around was more interested in showing me the tv monitors attached to each piece of cardio equipment than the weights themselves. Definitely more of a fitness place than a hardcore gym. On to the workout:

Back Squat
135x5
155x5
175x5
195x5
225x5 (PR)

Magnum Lateral Row (I usually do a Hammer Strength row here, but this was the closest substitution I could find)
Ramped up to 137.5x5 or something like that

Incline Dumbbell Press
55x5
60x5
70x5
75x5
85x3 (still stuck at 3 reps)

Seated Calf Raise
80x8
80x6
80x6

Machine Preacher (Magnum)
47.5 (something like that)x10
47.5x8
47.5x7 (failed on 8th rep, then 2 rest-pause sets w/ 15 breaths between each)
47.5x3
47x5x2

Side Dumbbell Lateral Raises
10x12
15x10
15x10

I normally do hypers, but they didn’t have anywhere to do them, so I just decided to throw some lateral raises in there for some extra shoulder work.

In all, I was glad to see my squat go up, but disappointed I couldn’t get the 85’s up for another rep on incline press.

I always hate going to a new gym. Things just don’t “feel” right. i was getting a few strange stares during squats. I can’t wait to see the looks I get when I deadlift on Thursday.

Morning weight: 183.5 (up 2 pounds from last week)

Also of note: just got a blender yesterday. Holy crap was breakfast easier today. Milk, eggs, oats, and protein powder all in and blended in no time. It’s so much quicker, it tastes good, and I wasn’t nearly as full afterwards.

Day #2 at the gym from hell.

Back Squat
135x5
155x5
185x5
185x5

Deadlift
185x5
205x5
235x5
265x5

Military Press
85x5
95x5
110x5
125x5

Face Pulls
72x10
72x10
72x10

Calf Raises (normally do standing calf raises here but they don’t have one - so I did them on a leg press machine)
187.5 (something like that)x8
187.5x8
187.5x8

Deadlift comments - the good: 265x5 felt easier than 255x5 last week, so I was really pleased with that. The bad: this gym only has those damn hex plates, so they kept rolling onto an edge each time I set the weight down. That was really annoying.

Today’s workout:

Back Squat
135x5
155x5
180x5
200x5
230x3
180x8

Incline Dumbbell Press
55x5
60x5
70x5
80x5
85x3
70x8

Row (normally hammer strength here, but today was on a magnum machine)
100x5
112.5x5
125x5
137.5x5
150x3
125x8

Dips (no weighted belt available)
BWx3x18 (something like that)

Barbell Curls
70x8
70x6
70x5 (failed on 6th rep, then 2 rest-pause sets w/ 15 breaths between each)
70x2
70x1

Lying Triceps Extension
70x8
70x8
70x8

Not a bad workout today. On incline press, which has stalled for the past week, the 85’sx3 felt much easier than they have the previous few workouts. I hope to hit 85x5 next week.

Today was the last day that I’ll have to work out in the different gym. I’ll be glad to go back to my normal gym on Tuesday.

1st day back at my normal gym:

Back Squat
135x5
160x5
180x5
205x5
230x5 (PR)

Incline DB Press
55x5
60x5
70x5
75x5
85x5 (PR - finally!)

HS Row
100x5
115x5
135x5
150x5
170x5

Machine Preacher Curl
92.5x10
92.5x8
87.5x10 (then 2 rest-pause sets w/ 15 breaths between each)
87.5x2
87.5x1

-On preachers, I didn’t realize that there was a little 5 pound weight on the pulley in addition to the 87.5 lb. stack. I was wondering why the 1st 2 sets were hard than they should have been. That’s why lol. I hit 87.5x10 on the last set, so I get to move up next week.

Hypers
25x15
25x15

Seated Calf Raise
80x8
80x8
80x6

I was really glad to get a new PR on incline press today. That means I get to hoist the 90’s up on Saturday. Squats felt alright today, but not great. It took me a while to get going today. Last week I was mainly lifting at nights, so I think my body was a little out of it this morning.

Morning weight: 186 - up another few pounds from last week.

Had an interesting experience this weekend. I was out buying a suit for a wedding I’m going to in a few weeks. I hadn’t bought a suit in a while, so I didn’t know what size I’d be now. The salesman looks at me and goes:

“Look like a 40, but let’s see.”
Takes out tape measure.
“Whoa”
Measures again.
“Yep, gonna have to start you out in at least a 44 young guy.”

That felt good lol. The damn thing came with 39-inch waist pants, though. I could barely keep them up as the tailor was marking them. Good thing I’ve put some meat on my ass from squats or they would have been around my ankles. They also had to take in the suit jacket a ton so that it wasn’t drowning in it. Damn alterations are gonna cost nearly as much as the suit itself.

Workout this morning:

Back Squat
135x5
160x5
185x5
185x5

Deadlift
185x5
215x5
240x5
270x5 (PR)

Military Press
85x5
100x5
115x5
125x5 (PR)

Face Pulls
75x10
75x10
75x10

Skipped standing calf raises today. My right calf has been sore all week for some reason, and it felt worse this morning when I woke up. I think I tweaked something playing volleyball last night. Not a big deal - figured I could just use the rest.

Deadlifts again felt great today. Probably could have easily added some more weight to the bar. I may go up more than planned next week.

This morning’s workout:

Back Squat
135x5
160x5
185x5
205x5
235x3
185x8

Incline DB Press
55x5
65x5
75x5
80x5
90x2 (failed on 3rd rep)
75x8

HS Row
100x5
115x5
135x5
150x5
170x3 (This was supposed to be 175 but I put on the wrong weight)
135x8

Dips (with weight belt)
45x7
45x6
45x6

BB Curl
70x8
70x8
70x8 (failed on 9th rep, then 2 rest-pause sets w/ 15 breaths between each)
70x3
70x2

Lying Tricep Extension (w/ EZ curl bar)
75x8
75x6
75x6

Squats felt pretty good today. I really have to work on pushing my knees out and not letting them bow in when the weight gets heavy. The 90’s felt brutally heavy on incline press today. I tend to go down with really good depth on my incline presses (upper arms breaking well past parallel w/ the ground), and that 3rd rep just wouldn’t budge at all from the bottom position. I went a little more controlled on dips today, and got better depth than the past few weeks. I feel completely shot as I’m tying this. I think I’m going to be good and sore tonight/tomorrow.

This morning’s workout:

Back Squat
140x5
165x5
185x5
210x5
235x5 (PR)

Incline Dumbbell Press
55x5
65x5
75x5
80x5
90x3 (failed on 4th rep - spotter helped at the top of the movement)

HS Row
105x5
120x5
135x5
155x5
175x5

Preachers (from a pulley)
92.5x10
92.5x9
92.5x6 (failed on 7th rep, then 2 rest-pause sets)
92.5x2
92.5x1

Seated Calf Raise
80x8
80x8
80x7

Hypers
35x15
35x15

Squats felt like ass today. My form broke down way too much on that last set (hips rising out of the hole too fast, knees bowing in too much).

Incline press was great today. Got the 90’s 3x today, and probably would have gotten the 4th up by myself if the spotter hadn’t been quick to help. I only got 2 reps on Saturday, so that’s a nice quick improvement.

Anybody have problems with nausea during/post workout? Lately my stomach has been feeling pretty sketchy during my workouts, and flat out awful after my workouts (for about an hour afterwards). I just feel like I’m on the verge of puking between sets, even on exercises like calf raises.

Morning weight: 188 - up another 2 pounds.

I’ll be training again on Thursday morning, but I’ll miss my Saturday workout this week. I’ll be out of town for a wedding and my schedule is just booked solid during my trip.

My semester is also starting up tomorrow (3rd year of my doctoral program), so my schedule will be much busier. That’ll mean earlier trips to the gym and more uncertain eating times. I have 3 days per week where I’ll be going from 8am to 8pm with only a few breaks here and there. Instead of 7-8 smaller meals throughout the day, I may have to go with 4-5 larger ones.

Nice progress, bro. Looks like you’ve got a solid program going. I’m doing a variant of Madcow’s 5x5. I like the incline DB presses you got going. Might have to try that.

[quote]mrw173 wrote:
My semester is also starting up tomorrow (3rd year of my doctoral program)[/quote]

So, what are you studying?

[quote]donpalmero wrote:
Nice progress, bro. Looks like you’ve got a solid program going. I’m doing a variant of Madcow’s 5x5. I like the incline DB presses you got going. Might have to try that.

mrw173 wrote:
My semester is also starting up tomorrow (3rd year of my doctoral program)

So, what are you studying?

[/quote]

Thanks a lot. I’ve really enjoyed this program, and I’m happy with my gains. All of my lifts are progressing nicely, and I’ve put on about 12-15 pounds as well. The only thing I’m not too happy with right now is my squat, just because of the form issues I mentioned.

I know that inclines hit some people’s shoulders pretty heavy, but they don’t seem to do that for me, so I’ve been fine doing inclines 2x per week and military press 1x per week. Shoulder stress may be something to consider, though.

I’m getting my doctorate in clinical psychology. 2 years down, many more go to, lol. Can’t beat the free membership at the school gym, though.

Alright, quick update on today’s workout:

Back Squat
140x5
165x5
185x5
185x5

Deadlift
190x5
210x5
240x5
280x5 (PR)

Military Press
90x5
100x5
115x5
130x5 (PR)

Didn’t have time to do face pulls and calves today. I did this early this AM and then had to head straight to the airport. Deadlifts felt pretty good today until the last set. I felt my back round on the last rep. Didn’t like that. I just got lazy with it.

This morning’s workout:

Back Squat
145x5
170x5
190x5
210x5
240x5 (PR)

Incline DB Press
55x5
65x5
75x5
85x5
90x3 (failed on 4th rep)

HS Row
105x5
125x5
140x5
160x5
180x5 (PR)

Preacher Curls (Pulley)
92.5x10
92.5x10
92.5x8 (failed on 9th rep, then 2 rest pause sets)
92.5x2
92.5x1

Seated Calf Raise
80x8
80x8
80x8

Hypers
40x15
40x15

Felt like crap today, squats in particular. Right from the first warmup set, things felt off. I don’t know if it was because I missed Saturday’s workout or not. Incline presses also felt funny - like I just wasn’t in the groove. I had a really busy weekend and flew back home after midnight last night, and then worked out early this morning, so that probably has something to do with it also.

This morning’s workout:

Back Squat
145x5
170x5
190x5
190x5

Deadlift
195x5
225x5
250x5
285x5 (PR)

Military Press
90x5
105x5
115x5
135x4 (failed on 5th rep)

Face Pulls
80x10
80x10
80x10

Standing Calf Raises
145x8
145x8
145x8

Form was better on deadlifts today. That last set was pretty rough.

Workout this morning:

Back Squat
145x5
170x5
190x5
215x5
245x3
190x8

Incline DB Press
55x5
65x5
75x5
80x5
90x2 (failed on 3rd rep - not sure what happened here)
75x8

HS Row
105x5
125x5
145x5
165x5
185x3
145x8

Dips (w/ weight belt)
45x8
45x6
45x6

Barbell Curl
75x8
75x7
75x5 (failed on 6th rep then 2 rest-pause sets)
75x2
75x1

Lying Tricep Extension (w/ EZ curl bar)
75x8
75x6
75x5

Not really pleased with today’s workout. I feel burnt out on squats. My form on the first few warmup sets feels fine, but I know that when the weight gets heavy, I’m doing a good morning out of the hole. I also took a step back with incline presses by not getting that 3rd rep.

I’m considering switching up my program right now, but I’m not sure. I really like the 5x5 program, but I’m concerned about continuing to add weight each week to my squat while I know that my form is less than stellar. Now, I don’t think my form is horrible - I go ATG, but I don’t want my form problems to catch up with me over time. I can’t imagine that doing a good morning out of the hole is good for the back.

Things are going to be a bit sketchy diet-wise over the next few months, too. I’m really, really tight on money right now, and my grad school stipend barely covers the bills. I applied for a fellowship through my university (which is kind of like an academic honor award, etc.), and I got it, but it has its drawbacks.

For example, over the previous years I’ve been able to take out student loans for some extra cash. Now that I’m on fellowship, I’m not allowed to do that. I have no idea why - it’s just a red tape thing. As a result, I’ll be dropping a lot of supplements, and making more calculated choices with spending. I already devote most of my disposable income to this endeavor, so there’s not much room for adjustment.

This morning’s workout:

Back Squat
145x5
170x5
190x5
215x5
245x3

Incline DB Press
55x5
65x5
75x5
80x5
90x3 (failed on 4th rep)

HS Row
110x5
125x5
145x5
165x5
185x5

Seated Calf Raise
90x6
90x6
90x5

Hypers
45x15
45x15

Didn’t have time for Preachers today.

Squats sucked. I’m really stalling on them. I tried a few different width stances today to see if that helped at all with the form issues I’ve been having lately. I feel more comfortable in a narrow stance (I guess you’d call that an Olympic squat) with my warmup sets.

But as the weight gets heavy, it doesn’t seem to matter what stance I go to - in both narrow and wider stances my hips are coming up out of the hole way too fast.

I’m no expert in this stuff, but from what I’ve read, it seems to be an issue of glute/hamstring recruitment. Maybe some flexibility stuff as well. I’m stretching out my hip flexors and hamstrings daily, but that hasn’t helped in the last few weeks.

So, I’m thinking about taking my program in a different direction right now to address this issue, and have a few thoughts on it. I could scrap squats all together and focus on lifts to help w/ glutes and hams, like romanian deads, good mornings, etc. I could also keep squats in, but keep the weight light, since I seem to have the most trouble when the weight gets heavy.

So, my plan right now is to finish up with my deadlift session on Thursday, and then make a determination about where to take the program beginning on Saturday.

Workout from this morning:

Back Squat
145x5
170x5
195x5
195x5

Deadlift
195x5
225x5
255x5
290x5 (PR)

Military Press
90x5
105x5
115x5
135x4 (failed on 5th rep)

Standing Calf Raises
155x8
155x8
155x6

Still haven’t made any determinations about where I’m going with my training next. I’m thinking about doing a Push-Pull-Legs split. I’d do conventional deads on pull days, and then on leg days I’d hit maybe front squats, romanian deads, and good mornings. I don’t know if that’s too much loading on the lower back for leg day or not.

Again, the reason that I’m thinking about doing this is because of my squat: I’m just not happy with the weight or my form. I’ve been going back and forth on this one. Much of the time I feel like repping in the 200’s in the squat just flat out blows. Then, at times like today, I don’t feel so bad about it, because all I see in the gym is guys doing the same weight, but going up and down a few inches in would generously be described as a quarter squat. I actually saw one guy about my height today who was squatting with decent depth, and was hitting about parallel. Then I realized that my depth is about 4-5 notches in the rack lower than what he was hitting.

I don’t want that to come across as “oh I can’t lift that much because I go ATG.” Hell, I’d love to be slapping on 4-5 plates a side and be hitting ATG.

I know it’s probably tough without a vid, but anyone out there want to comment on my weights for squats right now? I guess maybe a good comparison would be between my deadlift and squat. Do they seem comparable?

Alright, so I was leaning towards doing a Push-Pull-Legs routine. But I don’t like hitting legs only once a week right now, so I’ve decided to go to a 4-day Upper/Lower split. Here’s how it’ll look:

Saturdays: Lower Heavy
Sundays: Upper Light
Tuesdays: Lower Light
Thursdays: Upper Heavy

On to this morning’s workout:

Front Squat
95x6
115x6
135x6
175x6

Good Mornings
85x6
95x6
110x6
125x6

BB Lunge (long step)
95x6
105x6
115x6
125x6

Lying Ham Curl
90x6
110x6
130x6
145x3 (failed on 4th rep)

Seated Calf Raises
50x6
65x6
80x6
95x6

I hadn’t done some of these exercises in a while, so it was guess work to determine the loads. I feel like I got a really nice workout, though. My legs are dead right now. Chinese takeout time.

Upper Light this morning:

DB Flat Bench
50x10
60x10
70x10
80x7 (failed on 8th rep)

BB Military Press
65x10
85x10
95x8 (failed on 9th rep)

HS Row
95x10
125x10
145x10
165x8 (failed on 9th rep)

Dips
BWx8
25x8
45x6 (failed on 7th rep)

DB Side Lateral Raises
17.5x12
17.5x12
17.5x10 (failed on 11th rep)

Machine Preachers (pulley)
50x10
62.5x10
75x10
100x7 (failed on 8th rep, then 2 rest-pause sets)
100x2
100x1

Lower Light day this morning:

Romanian Deads
135x12
155x12
175x12
195x10

Bulgarian Split Squats (weight is per 1 DB)
BWx12
12.5x12
25x12

Leg Press
180x12
270x12
360x12

Standing Calf Raises
90x15
90x13
90x12

My hamstrings were still extremely sore and tight from Saturday’s workout, so it took a while to get into the groove with Romanian deadlifts today. I probably took it a bit easier than normal as well.

I’ve never done Bulgarian split squats before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. So, I just did the first set with bodyweight only to get the hang of it. These are much tougher than I thought they’d be. At first, I felt a really nice burn in the quads, but by the end, I was also feeling it in my glutes.

I’m hoping that my recovery time improves as I get used to this upper/lower split. I don’t want anything getting in the way of deadlifts on Thursday, so I hope I recover well by then and the soreness goes away.