T Nation

Old Guy Trying to Get Lean for T-ransformation2019



Got it. Sometimes it’s tough for me to pick up sarcasm with written word alone. I don’t try to be pedantic…

Anyway, TBH 550# scares me just a little, since 500# yoke last year was about all I could handle, so maybe I’m trying to math myself into getting a mental edge. Ah well, I’ve jumped on that horse now, gonna ride it out and see what happens. I have 3 months to get stronger and learn how to do this, plenty of time, right?


I’d start with seeing how much you can zercher hold and move with. @T3hPwnisher @flipcollar and @strongmanvinny will have way better input.


Looking forward to the journey Steve :slight_smile:
Good luck man, it sounds like some heavy ass weights there.
But you’ll do fine I’m sure.


8/18/18 5/3/1 cycle 3 day 1

Warmup: barbell complex 3x with chin-ups 1/2/3


superset with chin-ups 4/5/6/7/8/9

Push press:

DB overhead press per arm: 10x50#, 10x60#, 10x70# (push press on the 70#)
superset with Kroc rows per arm: 10x60#, 10x70#, 10x80#

DB concentration curls 20#: 10/10
superset with DB tricep extensions 20#: 10/10

So, I’m changing a few thing around in the interest of prepping for events that I know about in advance. Here are the changes I’m thinking right now, although it will be subject to change based on results and me learning something else. I’m sticking with the 5/3/1 core exercises, but I’m changing:

  • On press day I’m going to do some push presses, to get myself back into the groove of explosive overhead work.
  • On press and bench day, I’ll start working in a little bit of light direct arm work, mostly to prehab my elbow since I’m afraid that’s going to be my weak link on the Conan wheel.
  • On squat day, instead of doing FSL squats after the main lift, I’m going to start learning how to do Zercher squats.
  • On bench day, I’m going to throw in 3x5 overhead press after the main exercise, just to get some more overhead volume in.
  • On deadlift day, I’m going to do some direct core work (already doing it on squat day).
  • One day a week, I plan to hit a strongman gym, either Strength Guild in Topeka or Stone and Barbell in KC, and do implement work. This probably means I’m going to stretch my 5/3/1 work out to 3 days per week, so one cycle will take 4 weeks instead of 3, to make sure I’m giving myself enough time to recover.

Oh, almost forgot my notes for today. I was really happy with the push press, considering how pre-fatigued my arms were after 10x145# strict press. I need to work more on my dip as I extend my arms, and I’ll be doing over 200# no problem. The curls and triceps extensions were slow and deliberate, making sure to fully stretch the muscle at the end of each rep. I’m betting my arms are what’s going to be sore tomorrow, since I’m not used to even light direct arm work. I could feel the burn…


I forgot to post my conditioning this morning, which I just finished a few minutes ago. Dug a really big hole and installed a 400 gallon koi pond in my front yard. That comes out to about 50 cubic feet of dirt and sod broken loose, shoveled out and wheelbarrowed into the back yard. I think it’s actually more than 400 gallons, but it’s asymmetrical and I didn’t feel like messing with the math. It’s one my wife has had for years and it’s been sitting in storage, never been used, and we have a koi who has outgrown our 75 gallon aquarium and needs a new home. Anyway, about 4 hours total of digging and sweating in 90+ degree F heat.


I would suggest doing zercher walks with your yoke at 300+ lbs for practice. That’s kind of the best way to simulate the conan wheel at that weight.


That sounds like a good idea on the days I have access to implements. I have no idea what the weight on me is going to be, so I agree that it’s probably good to go on the high side. I’ve watched a bunch of videos, and the weights are all over the place as far as distance between the lifter and the pivot point. Some are right by the lifter, some are more than halfway to the pivot point.

8/20/18 5/3/1 cycle 3 day 2

Warmup: Barbell complex x3 with chin-ups 1/2/3


Zercher squats:

Good mornings:
135# 3x10
superset with decline situps with 15# kettlebell 3x12

10x275# was fairly easy. I took it easy with Zercher squats since this was the first time I’ve tried them. 5x185# was pretty easy from a lifting perspective, and I didn’t have any trouble holding the bar in the crook of my arms, but it really dug in and there was definitely some pain. I know the Conan Wheel is a lot bigger around than a standard Olympic bar, so maybe I need to try it with my fat gripz or something to cushion it. It felt a lot like a front squat as far as how the lift went, and I didn’t really feel taxed after today’s squatting. I felt guilty, like I didn’t do enough, but I’m sure after I add some more weight that will change, just wanted to get a feel for them before I try to go heavy. I’ll try some Zercher carries with a yoke on Friday and see how that feels.


Use the fat gripz and maybe some sleeves and/or a thick sweatshirt.


Sleeves or a sweatshirt, in August? That’s gonna suck…

8/21/18 5/3/1 cycle 3 day 3

Warmup: barbell complex x3 with chin-ups 1/1/1


superset with chin-ups 2/3/4/5/6/7/8

Overhead press:

25# weighted dips: 12/12/12

superset with 25# weighted chin-ups: 5/6/7

Preacher curls w/38# ez curl bar: 10/10

superset with overhead tricep extensions 38# ez curl bar: 10/10


  • 10x175# was unnecessarily hard because I placed myself too far back on the bench, and 5 out of the 10 reps I clipped one of the racks. My own fault, but I still made the reps.
  • Overhead press after bench definitely made me work for the reps at 135#, but at least the weighted dips afterward didn’t seem to suffer.
  • Slow and deliberate with the curls and tricep extensions again, just remembering what these feel like. Felt very pumped at the end of this workout. I also noticed my arms looking bigger than I remember while using the preacher bench, although I know it flattens out your triceps and makes your arms look bigger anyway. I measured out of curiosity about a half hour after the workout, came out at 17" for my right arm, 16.5" for my left. I think the difference is because my left biceps lies pretty flat since I damaged it when I tore my pectoral muscle off back in 2013. Oh well, it’s not any weaker at least.


In all fairness, the wheel is probably going to suck however you’re dressed.


True that, but the competition isn’t until November, I’m just thinking about training in a hot garage leading up to it…


How about if you got piece of PVC pipe or something to go over the bar?


the thing that sucks about conan’s wheel is definitely the way the weight sits on your chest/diaphragm and destroys your ability to breathe, but for training purposes, you can get away with just using a barbell if that’s all you really have available. You just have to remember that come competition day, you’re going to have to really focus on your breathing through the the event. At the end of the day though, the breathing and just ‘pushing through’ is mostly mental. The physical aspect that has to be trained is essentially just the fact that it’s a loaded front carry. carrying a barbell will likely develop your muscles appropriately.

Conan’s wheel is probably my least favorite strongman event. I fucking hate it, and I’m terrible at it. I’ve had it twice in comps. The first time, I came in last on the event. The second time, I tied for last. Which I guess was an improvement…


Thanks, guys. I think the PVC thing might be viable for Zercher squats, I’ll just have to make sure I don’t pinch the crap out of myself with the split in the PVC. I’ll have access to a yoke on the weekends, and I think that bar is close to the dimensions of the Conan’s wheel bar, so I’ll be able to do chest-level yoke carries for that.

It’s definitely an improvement, everyone didn’t beat you the second time!


8/23/18 5/3/1 cycle 3 day 4

Warm-up: barbell complex x3 with chin-ups 1/2/3

45# 2 power cleans +5
95# 2 power cleans +5
135# 2 power cleans +5
185# 2 power cleans +5
switched to mixed grip

Front squats:
superset with ab wheel roll-outs - 5/5/5/5/5/5

Trap bar farmer’s carries:

Ran short on time here, so cut it short on the trap bar carries, didn’t go heavy. Deadlift day takes a lot longer than bench day just because I need more rest time between sets. Even the lighter sets, because I’m throwing in the power cleans on those as well. Anyway, notes:

  • Power clean form continues to suck, but I’m getting them done, want to keep working on explosiveness.
  • I misread my spreadsheet somehow, my working sets were supposed to be 255/295/335#, so I went too heavy across the board. Still could have kept going past 10 reps on the 5+ set, but I won’t go so far as to say they were easy.
  • Added ab wheel roll-outs in with the front squats, and they didn’t seem to detract from the squats or add to the time at all. I noticed with all the walking I’ve been doing since the gym that my groin is awful tight now, though. I’ll probably put in another mile or 2 before the end of the workday, so hopefully that will loosen up.


Went to Strength Guild in Topeka and worked with some strongman implements today.


Warm-up - barbell complex x3 with chin-ups 1/1/1

Log clean once and press:

Axle/tire deadlift (not sure height, close to 13" ):

Zercher yoke carry 20m:

I was ready to be done, but wife and daughter were still out shopping in North Topeka, so I went back to the log:

Superset with chin-ups 5/5/5


  • I didn’t go too heavy on anything, just feeling things out. No belt, sleeves or straps on anything.
  • Log press felt good, I figured out that I could breathe well with the log held overhead, but it’s impossible for me to get a good breath with the log at rack position. The 0,1 at 190# was a failure the first try, not enough leg drive, but I was able to recover and re-press it, not easily with empty lungs, but got it up. The log presses at the end, I just focused on getting a good breath at the top, and making each rep good.
  • Did bare minimum on deadlift, just wanted to see how the axle felt at that height. It was easier than the 18" axle was last year. With high rep deadlift 2 days ago, I figured that was plenty.
  • Zercher carries were okay at 250#. The hardest thing was the yoke I was using was only adjustable so far down, and it was dragging the ground intermittently the whole way each trip. There’s another yoke there that has more adjustment range, that just needs to be out together. Next Friday I’ll bring some bolts and assemble it, and see how it goes when I can get the yoke rack completely off the ground.

Last thing, I messed up and forgot to bring a change of shirts, and I was dripping sweat from head to toe, and we were supposed to go out to eat afterwards. We went to Wal-Mart to get me a new shirt, and my daughter said they should go get me the most embarrassing shirt they could find, so of course I told her I would wear it proudly. So, I am now the proud owner of a Britney Spears ‘Baby one more time’ t-shirt! Honestly the most surprising thing to me is that they had that shirt in a men’s large. I got several compliments on my shirt at the restaurant. I think I have a new favorite workout shirt. I’ll post a picture later.


hahaha can’t wait to see that pic.
Really like your log man. I like the strongman stuff you’re doing.


Ok, now I’m back in front of a PC, here is me trying to flex and look tough while rocking my new Britney shirt! I can’t flex for shit… The log bruise on my forearm is coming along nicely, though.


Awesome T-shirt


Thank you, sir, I’m quite proud of it. My daughter loves me.

8/27/18 5/3/1 cycle 3 day 5


barbell complex x3 with chin-ups 1/1/1


Superset with chin-ups: 2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9

Push press/jerk:

DB press per arm: 10x50#, 10x60# push press 10x70#
Superset with Kroc rows: 10x60#, 10x70#, 10x80#

No direct arm work today, no time.


  • Felt drained going in today, this morning was busy and lots of walking around, not enough hydrating, then worked through lunch. Eating lunch now while I type this. Workout still went well enough.
  • I haven’t gone back and reviewed my logs, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve put 205# overhead successfully, so PR there. I’m trying to do these as a push jerk, but I really need to work on my dip, so it’s closer to a push press still. Everything I’ve read tells me not to try to split jerk the log press unless you’re really good at it, so I’m going with push jerk in all my lifting.

Happy with my results, given how I felt going into this.