T Nation

Road to Recovery/Texas' Strongest Man

This is my first time posting here on T-Nation, but I wanted to start my training log as I (hopefully) finish up recovering from a bicep tear I suffered earlier this year and prepare for Texas Strongest Man this November.

Please feel free to leave feedback and give me tips on how to continue to improve as I prepare for this competition.

I wrote a small program for myself a few weeks ago to begin my “prep” for this year’s Texas Strongest Man competition, but unfortunately didn’t follow my own rules and during my first SM workout back, I screwed up my knee trying to hit a PR on the log. I took a week and a half off, revised my program based on some help from other SM competitors and online articles, and am starting over today!

This first week is all going to be to really gauge where I’m at, and after today’s workout I can tell that my cardio is horrendous. This will definitely be an area of focus for me leading up to the competition.

A few areas of concern for me (because I’ve been so focused on work that I’ve let these suffer) are my nutrition, hydration, sleep, and recovery. I’m making it a priority to focus on all of these, especially my nutrition and recovery (although really, they all go hand-in-hand).

Today’s workout was focused mainly around upper body (and as always, I try and do plenty of warm ups). I’ve decided that even if I end up doing terribly at TSM this year, I’ll be happy if I can make it through my whole training phase and the entire competition without getting hurt (worse than I already am)!

So here was today’s workout:

BB Bench Press -

135 x 15

225 x 8

225 x 3

315 x3

335 x 1

365 x 3

Superset with 5 sets of face pulls at 120 lbs for 15 reps

Overall, this felt really easy and light and I felt comfortable working up to the last 3 rep set. I probably could have hit 5-6 without a spot, but I chose to pause each rep on my chest before pressing to make sure that I was not bouncing the weight or using any momentum. I haven’t gone this heavy on BB Bench Press in a while and even at this weight I can feel my bicep resisting slightly.

Next were tri-sets:

Incline DB Press - 70 x 10

BB Row - 135 x 10

DB Curl - 20 x 15

Incline DB Press - 95 x 8

BB Row - 225 x 8

DB Curl 30 x 15

**Incline DB Press - 120 x 12

**BB Row - 275 x 12

**DB Curl - 35 x 15

**4 sets of each done as a tri-set

It’s been a very long time since I’ve combined any exercises and although the weights felt light, the fatigue was ridiculous. This really helped me realize how terrible my cardio is and how much I need to work on it.

Overall, the workout went extremely well and I was pretty beat up by the end of it. I am going to do some foam rolling tonight and eat plenty before bed so I can be prepared for my workout tomorrow. I’ve got to hit a “3 Rep Max” on deadlift (I plan to play it safe and again do 3 reps with a 5 rep max).

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this good about my training or programming and I’m excited to see if I can stay healthy and continue to recover from my injuries throughout the next few months.

I’ll post updates as my training progresses (and keep them shorter!) so that you can all stay up to date on where I’m at and even help me out if you find something that I should be doing differently!

Day 2:

So it’s already late but I figured since I’m eating pizza and drinking a beer right now (I need to add a little bodyfat), I might as well take the time to update my training log!

Today was another great day for training, albeit an easy day.

Today was mainly a deadlift day so I warmed up with some easy box jumps.

3 sets of 5 reps on a 42" box. My knees are still only about 70% so before I was warmed up these started out a little rough. By the end, they felt great.

Today was supposed to be a 3 rep max deadlift day, but with it being my first week back I didn’t want to do a true 3 rep max (I slacked on my foam rolling last night).

My sets looked like this:

135 x 10

225 x 10

315 x 8

405 x 4

495 x 1

585 x 3

I stopped after 585 because it felt good with absolutely no strain on my bicep. Just like with yesterday’s bench press, I chose a weight I would be comfortable doing 5-6 reps with and used that to gauge a comfortable stopping point. Next week I feel that I’ll be comfortable enough to move to at least 635 for a triple.

Finally, I finished with 4 sets of step ups for 10 reps at 135. This felt light and easy, but the motion is still a little bit rough on my knees so I didn’t want to push it too much today. I’ll have my first real SM training day on Sunday, so I want to make sure that I’m as fresh as possible.

I had planned to do some hill sprints or Step Mill intervals, but because of time constraints I was unable to include these into my workout today. I was a little bit hesitant with the strain on my knees anyway, so this may have worked out for the best.

I’ll have one more gym day this week on Friday that will include some OHP and Squats.

Time to foam roll tonight and finish up this pizza!

Day 3:

Between my bicep and my knee, I wasn’t expecting much out of today (I know,
not the right mindset going into a workout!), but I was surprised by how good I
felt throughout the workout.

As I’m still recovering and this is only my first week back in contest prep
mode, I still didn’t give it 100% today, but I was definitely pushing myself
harder than I have earlier in the week and I felt great going through my first
3 workouts without being hindered too much by my injuries or incurring any new

First up was supposed to be a clean and press. Unfortunately, my gym doesn’t
have any Olympic weights or a platform; it’s definitely not an ideal situation,
but I’m working on it. After a few warm up sets with 135, my bicep wasn’t
feeling good enough to work up to a 3 rep max, so I decided to switch to a push
press. I wasn’t expecting to get anywhere near my old push press max of 315,
but was pretty pleasantly surprised with where I ended up considering it’s been
quite a while since I’ve done this exercise:

135 x 8

185 x 8

225 x 5

225 x 1 (the last set was easy, but didn’t feel comfortable)

245 x 2 (felt very easy)

275 x 1 (this was supposed to be 3, but my bicep started to get really tight
and I had trouble bringing the weight back down to my shoulders)

275 x 3 (the 3rd rep I struggled to get the lockout, so this is the closest
I’ve gotten on any exercise to a true 3 rep max all week. I was pretty

Next was 5 rep max squat superset with pull ups. These took it out of me.
The pull ups were easy (I didn’t push myself like I should have) but I haven’t
free weight squatted in a very long time, let alone done any attempt at any
kind of max because of my knee injury. I did wear my rehband knee sleeves to
keep my knees warm during these sets. I was thinking that I’d be lucky to hit
365 for a triple, but was again pleasantly surprised at the outcome:

135 x 10

225 x 8

225 x 5 (225 is always my most uncomfortable set while getting warmed up, so
I usually do a couple of sets here)

315 x 5 (really, really, REALLY easy. And these felt great!)

405 x 5 (felt easy, but it’s probably been close to a year since I’ve
squatted 405 without a box. I psyched myself up for this too much and was
completely drained after the set. I knew that I hadn’t nearly hit my 5 rep max
here, so I figured after the pull ups I would do one more set of 5 instead of
increasing the weight)

405 x 3 (I was so gassed and mentally drained that I went from feeling great
to feeling really uncomfortable and unsafe in my descent. After 3 I was too
gassed to continue)

Each set of squats was superset with a set of 15 pull ups. The pull ups were
too easy and I should have either done more, or added some weight. My main
focus for this part of the workout was really just to see if I even could
squat, so overall I think I was pretty successful.

Finally I finished with some strict OHP superset with some SLRDL’s. I
figured my shoulders would be dead after the push presses earlier, but I
drastically overestimated my shoulder fatigue at that point.

4 sets of 185 x 12 superset with 4 sets of 80 x 10. Both of these exercises
felt very easy and very light (much more so than intended) but instead of
adding weight, I figured that this would be a good time for me to pace myself
and cool down instead of pushing too hard 48 hours before my first SM workout

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with my workout today and feel great
going into Sunday.

Day 4 (First SM Training Day…Kind of):

So today was supposed to be my first day of SM training, but it didn’t
exactly pan out as planned. Unfortunately I woke up to a phone call this
morning of my Grandmother’s passing. The first few hours of the day were spent
making phone calls, dealing with personal grief, and talking with family
members. I didn’t get in my first meal until around 1pm (3-4 hours after I’d
woken up).

I had obligations to be at work by 5pm this evening and didn’t get out of
the apartment to head to the gym until after 2pm. By the time I began working
out, I only had about an hour at the gym (which is not nearly enough time for a
real SM workout - generally you’ll spend at least an hour just setting up

The plan was to get in today and do some log/axle work, farmers, and stones.
When I got to the gym (my first time at this particular one) I realized they
didn’t have a log, but there was some old school Eugine Sandow-type axles. I’m
not sure of the exact weights, but one of them had a bar that was probably
somewhere between 2"-2 1/2" thick. This thing was a monster!
Unfortunately after playing with it a bit, it was a bit too light to utilize
for an actual workout. Still pretty cool nonetheless.

I have only done a yoke once in my life and it was at Texas’ Strongest Man
in 2011. There was a yoke, so I decided to give it a try to see how it felt.
This thing was pretty old and banged up - one of those that wobbles, shakes,
and turns while you walk with it. I happened to love it because I figure that
working with something that is going to make me work harder is just going to
make me better come competition time.

I started off with 495 for 2 easy sets of 50’.

Next was supposed to be a set of 675 (I figured I could at least do a 50’
walk with 750lbs today without too much trouble) but I just couldn’t seem to
find my footing, or breathing, or posture…or something! I dropped the weight
down to 585lbs and did a shaky set of 50’ and then a ridiculously easy set of
50’. I guess I found my stride!

I finished off the yoke with a final set of 675lbs for 50’. It was still
tougher than I was hoping, but much smoother than my first attempt. I guess my
body still needs to be broken in a bit more before I can use any decent amount
of weight on the yoke.

I only had about 15 minutes left before I had to leave at this point in the
workout, so I figured I would finish up with some quick sprints with the
farmers. I couldn’t find the clips and no one at the gym seemed to know what I
was talking about, so I attempted to do a quick warm up set with 210lbs per
hand for 100’ with a turn. In total I probably made it about 7’ before the
weights shot right off of both handles and spilled across the cement alley.
Probably not my most graceful moment. By the time I picked up the scattered
plates I had to head to work. Unfortunately I never even got a chance to see if
my bicep could handle any stone work.

I’ve got to fly out to Chicago for the funeral later this week at some point
(don’t know the exact details yet) so I’ll have to tailor this week’s training
around that schedule. As much as I would love to stay on track this week after
such a successful first week back, family comes first.