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Ryno's Quest for Strength!

First of all, let me introduce myself with an assay of my training experience and information of my life in order to give y’all some insight into my perspective.

My last name is Ryno (pronounced rhino) thus the title of my log.

I. My Introduction & Experience of Lifting

I first began to lift weights for wrestling in middle school the week after I turned 14. From there I began to love lifting, so I stopped wrestling over the next to years in order to get bigger ( I wanted to bodybuild) and I followed programs from the Bible of Bodybuilding (Arnold’s Encyclopeida). Then for some odd reason, after ‘bodybuilding’ for 2 years, I gained an affinity for strength instead. I decided to work on a Westside template for about 6 months and I committed to a meet in April of 2010, just after turning 18 in March. I weighed in at 172lbs (I began my Westside temp at 198lbs after my bodybuilding) and I set PRs in all but bench press, raw (with raps); 192.5kg (424lbs) SQ, 120kg BP (264lbs, I had benched 305, paused in training, but my 4 week meet prep killed me), and 215kg (~475lbs) DL. for a 527.5kg (1163lbs) total. Not too shabby I thought for only 6 months of focused powerlifting, 18 y/o, and 172lbs.

After the meet I went right back to lifting the next Monday. From there I spent tried the Smolov Base Cycle, which murdered me. I made it through the first week, but I’m certain that I ripped/tore my left hamstring. I was somewhat sore, but I couldn’t walk well for two weeks, so I took some time off while encouraging my lifting partner of nearly a year and a half to finish the cycle, and he did. After two weeks off I decided to begin again with a westside template, and it was going great until I fractured my foot while playing kickball of all things.

I then graduated from high school as #5 in my class and a 4.0 (97.65 out of 100) GPA. That Summer I decided to give OLY Lifting a try so I trained for 6 weeks with a peer/coach and I did a meet after 4 weeks and hit a 90kg Snatch & 105kg C&J at 75kg. To finish the 6 weeks I hit a 102.5kg (225lbs) snatch and a 117.5kg ( C&J at 168lbs. I continued with this for a few months, but grew tired of the long, repetitive workouts, so I stopped. Also, this may only be just and how my workouts were programmed for me by another person, but I believe, fully, that OLY Lifting made me weak. Coming out of my OLY phase, I was the weakest that I had been in more than a year.

After beginning college I didn’t have much time for workouts, but I definitely did not skip them, just altered them. I had not real direction ( meets to attend) so I did a myriad of programs. I did westside for a few weeks, changed to Dave Tate’s Extended Tension for a few weeks, changed to Dan Jon’s One Lift a Day, changed to Wendler’s 5/3/1 for a few months, changed to BBB (Big Beyond Belief) because a friend wanted me to compete in a bodybuilding show with him ( he just stopped talking to me, so I just stopped BBing, again) and then I did my own thing just trying to keep some strength and muscle. Generally completely random workouts. Them I decided to stick to a program for a lil’ bit and used The Texas Method for 16 weeks and ended with an “Intensity Set” of 365x5 with a belt (a 90lbs increase on my 5RM in 16 weeks), and stopped to another program to give myself a break.

Since then I’ve done a six week squat program ending with a 370x2 SQ in a T-shirt, shoes, and shorts. Now, I’m making this log to track progress, publicly, for John Gaglione’s “Maximal Strength, Minimal Equipment” as a test.

One other important blurb; I have my own garage gym. I’ve had it for about a year and a half of my 4.5 years of lifting. And I can’t help but say that it is amazing.

Now for a short, relatively, intro to my life.

I am 19 years old and I will be 20 in March of 2012. I live in a small Georgia town called Dahlonega, that is approximately one hour North of Atlanta. Some may know of Dahlonega, it was the site of the first US gold rush (yes, before San Francisco in 1849).

I graduated from high school in Spring 2010 and I was dual enrolled at North Georgia College & State University where I am a junior now, a year and a half later. I’m pursuing 2 undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Math.

After I obtain my degrees I will attend either Ga Tech or Northwestern University (maybe some other school, but not likely) to pursue a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry.

For those who didn’t read the lifting intro above, I have been lifting for 5, almost 6, years since I began after just turning 14.

Now for my first workout entry…

I’m taking a deload this week after finishing a 6 week Squat Program where I ended with a 370lb X 2 Squat, no belt/raps.

Yesterday I did a mock workout for the program I will be doing in order to see about how long the workouts will take. My format will be (Weight X Reps X Sets)

Warm-Up then…

Weights will be in pounds unless otherwise noted.

Front Squat;
205x6x4 (RPE 7) I’ll add in RPEs as a guide for myself.

Snatch Grip Block Pulls (just below knee cap);

Suitcase Split Squat;
+30kgx6x3 each leg (15kg plate in each hand)
Chin Tucks;
5 sec X 5x3

Dead Bugs S/S Prone Bridge;
(6x4::30 sec X 3)

Some stretching afterward.

The intention was to see how long a workout would take and it last ~45 minutes. Perfect length for me.
I even took some extra time between sets to mimic a harder workout for between set rest.

And I forgot some stats about me…

Weight: 175-178lbs
Height: 5’9"
Favorite Exercise: Squats, which I used to never do and loathed.
Favorite Food: Sushi.
Favorite school subjects: (Physical) Chemistry and non-proof-based Mathematics.

Just some random crap about me. I’m more than happy to answer any questions or take into consideration comments about my technique (I will post vids) and such.


Here’s a video of my 365 for 5 reps from a few months ago. This was my last week on the Texas Method.

Time to post my first workout!!

I started hip/glute stretches for about 8 minutes in my room where there was heat in order to be a little warm when I went out to the garage.

I rolled my hips/legs when I got to the garage.

Front Squat;
Bar x8x2
225x6x4 RPE 8

Snatch Grip Block Pulls;
275x5x3 I used straps because these won’t help my grip much and they would just tear up my thumbs.

Pistol (1 leg squat) S/S Neck Bridge
BW+10kgX4x3 S/S 5-secondsX5x3

For each rep of pistols I go down until my butt is on the floor then stand up. I’ll get a video soon in order to show anyone following me.

Alternating Side Planks;
10 reps/side (20 total)

1st work set of FS:

2nd work set of FS:

In case you’re wondering about my music selection, it is random.

This workout had Dubstep/Club Beats, tomorrow may be Country, or Hip-Hop, Alternative Rock, Classic Rock, Rap, Classical, etc. I listen to everything and whatever I’m listening to doesn’t really reflect my mood or temperament.

Overall a good workout after a week of literally no workouts.



I warmed up for about 8-10 minutes, including all stretches.

Bench Press;
185x4x1, I decided after this set that 185 would be a good work sets weight for the first time benching in about 2 months.

185x8x4 RPE 7/7/8/8, respectively.

Floor JM Press S/S Dead Stop Block Supinated Rows;
95x10x3 ------- 185x8x4

Both were pretty easy, another 20 on each easily.

Plate Shrugs (hold contraction for ~ 3 secs each)

Standing Banded Anti-Rotation Press;
2 mini bands X12x3, each side.

Rear Delt Raises w/ Plate;

This was the first workout in a long time that I have done some of these exercises, so I’ll probably be sore tomorrow even though the weights were fairly easy. As I said above, I haven’t benched in at least 2 months. I have only done weighted push-ups.

Overall, a very pleasing workout. Looking forward to more!

1st work set for bench:

2nd work set for bench:

3rd work set for bench:

4th & final work set for bench:

EDIT: I need to stay MUCH tighter while benching, though it is very hard with that bench being so narrow and padded. I’ll make it work.


Warm Up;
Bird Dogs
Squat to Stand
Couch Stretch
Toes Kicks (? I don’t know of their ‘official’ name.)

A) Hook Grip Deadlifts; My first time deadlifting in ~1.5 months, first conventional lifts in 3 months.
319x6x4 RPE 7/7/8/8

These went better than I expected and I was moving a good bit faster in the videos than I felt.

B) Goblet Bulgarian Split Squats;
25kgX6x3 Much easier than I expected since I suck at FS Bulg SS.

C1) KG Swings;
98x10x3, I wish that I could add more weight to my kettlestack…

C2) Side Planks;
20 sec X2 each side.

D) Band Ab Pulldowns;
2 mini bands X 30

1st work set of Hook Grip Deads;

2nd work set of Hook Grip Deads;

This video makes it look like I have awesome deadlift leverages, which I don’t think that mine are bad, but this looks crazy. haha

3rd work set of Hook Grip Deads;

4th work set of Hook Grip Deads;

Overall a great workout again. I’m really liking this program. It gives me much more volume and has me work everything compared to what I was doing. I can see me adding at least 10-15lbs of lean mass during this. I’ll also be working on burning some fat in the process. No problemo.



I’m at university today and I squeezed in a workout during my lunch hour, the only time off from 8am-5pm.
Great workout, once again!

Stretches and Warm-Up; 5 minutes.
Shoulder/chest/back stretches.
Push-Ups; BWx10x2
Pull-Ups; BWx15,10

A1) Military Press;
125x8x3, last set with belt. RPEs: 8/8/9

I feel GREAT about these. I haven’t pressed in way too long and I feel like I could have done 130, maybe 135 for an RPE of 10 at 8 reps. Last time I pressed I was up to 160x5 at 175lb bodyweight, I’m right at that weight and I’m probably around 150x5 as of now.

A2) Pull-Up; done between sets of presses.

B1) DB Chest Press (slow down, pause, explode up);

I haven’t pressed a DB in over a year. These were different feeling since it’s been so long, but I got a huge pump in my chest.

B2) DB One-Arm Row;

C1) Face Pulls;
40 (on stack) x20,20,10

C2) Overhead Triceps Extensions;

Shower! I finished this in about 35-40 minutes. I was sweating like a dog. I felt dead after, but now that I have some food (about 20 minutes after workout) I feel awesome!

Another great workout.



No workout today. I’ll start my 4 day split tomorrow with Front Squats.

I had a great night’s sleep last night; I went to sleep at 8:30pm since I woke up at 3am yesterday. I woke up at 7:30 today, so 11 hours of sleep is great!
I had a fairly busy school day with registration, research meetings, and an organization meeting that starts at 7:30pm.

What time I had at home I split some wood for about 20-30 minutes. I used the 25lb wedge for most of the time, but a few stubborn pieces needed the sharper axe to do the work. I love chopping wood and I could do it all the time.

Just a quick update.

Back at it tomorrow!



Week 2 Day 1

Warmed up with stretching of legs, hips, wrists.

Front Squats;
255x3x3 RPE 8/8/8
225x5x1 RPE 9

Snatch Grip Rack Pulls;

Split Squats;

Neck Bridges;

Pull-Ups S/S Prone Bridges;
10x3 S/S 30 sec. X3



Our Physical Chemistry class ended in 15 minutes so my workout was much earlier than I expected.

Week 2 Day 2

Warm Up with stretches for chest and shoulders and then some pull-ups.

Bench Press;
205x5x3 RPE 7/8/8
185x10x1 RPE 8

I wanted to get 205 for the 5x3 and I did, very happy with that. I could have gone to atleast 210, potentially 215.

Floor JM Press;

I’m still fighting the learning curve with these, but I can feel them in my triceps, not in the elbows.

Rack Supinated Barbell Rows;

Maybe a touch heavy with these, I used some body english, but not like I was having a seizure. =)

Tall Kneeling Anti-Rotation Presses;

DB Shrugs;

DB Bent Over Laterals;

My bodyweight after the workout was 174 lbs.

I’m working for strength and I can already see it coming up, but I think my musculature will change more radically than my strength for this program, which I have no problem with! This is just blowing hot air, but my read delts looks CRAZY after my workout.

Overall, another really solid workout! Looking forward to deadlifts tomorrow.



Week 2 Day 3

I decided to wait until I got home to workout because the bars in the university gym absolutely suck and are smooth with no knurling.

Warm up with stretches for hips, hamstrings, and back. Also did 20 pull ups.

A) Jump Squat and Stick;

B) Hook Grip Deadlift (Conventional);
345x5x3 RPE 8/8/8

Grip is no problem and I can tolerate the pain of these, so my mixed grip sets would be fairly similar, maybe 15-20lb higher.

C) Goblet Bulgarian Split Squats;
25kg x6x1
30kg x6x1
35kg x6x1

I really like these and I can feel how they strengthen my upper hamstrings. When I deadlift I usually get a dull (sometimes sharp) pain in my glute-ham tie-in area on the left at lockout, and since doing these the past weeks, I have not had that pain as much.

D1) KB Swings;

D2) Side Planks;
20 Sec x2

E) Ab Pulldowns;
3 mini bands for a set of 50 in various directions.

1st work set of hook grip deadlifts (345):

2nd work set of hook grip deadlifts (345):

3rd work set of hook grip deadlifts (345):

Overall another good workout (I’m starting to sound repetitive, which is good). I’m ready to switch up the program to ME & DE work in the next weeks. I can see some PRs coming out of this program!!



Week 2 Day 4

End of the prep phase.

Warm-Up with shoulder stretches and pull-ups.

A) Falling Push-Ups to Bench;

B1) Military Press;
135x6x1 RPE 7
140x6x1 RPE 8
145x7x1 RPE 8.5 (I did one extra rep than planned)

These felt great!

BWx5x4, end each set with a 20-25 second hold at the top.
I can easily do sets of 10 with pull-ups, but that hold is something new that seemed to strain the muscles involved pretty well.

C1)Semi-Neutral DB Bench Press w/ Pause;

Second time doing these in nearly a year (last week was first time in a year).

C2)DB Row (stagnant hand on upper DB rack);

D1)Face Pulls;

D2)Bent Overheard Triceps Extensions;

800m jog (1/2 mile)

(EDIT) Bodyweight: 176lbs



145x7 (one extra rep than planned):

Great workout to finish the 2 week prep phase before ME/DE work.
I’m pumped for the rest of this program with the progress made in the first two weeks.
From last week’s workout to this one, I increased everything pretty substantially, except the DB rows (100 is the max DB) and I had room for more on every set, I’m not trying to really push myself until later in the program so I don’t burn my body out too quickly.

Here comes the fun,


Week 3 Day 1

Warm-Up with hips and hamstring stretches.

A) Anderson Front Squat;
245x3x4 RPE 8/8/9/9

These were a bit harder than I expected, but I can see how they’ll help.

B) DE Conventional Deadlift;
315x1x8, each set alternating grips.
Total time was about 2 minutes 30 seconds.

C1) Single Leg Glute Bridge;
BWx10x3 each leg.

C2) L-Sit Pull-Ups;

D) Neck Bridges;

Great workout, again! The Anderson FS were pretty difficult and I felt odd with no eccentric, I’ve never done Anderson Back Squats, so this was completely new to no eccentric.
Done in about 40 minutes.

I’ll upload a video of my deadlifts in a little bit.



Yesterday’s sets of DE Deadlifts with 315:


Week 3 Day 2

Warm-Up with shoulder stretches and pull-ups.

Floor Press;
205x3x5 RPE for all, fairly easy sets. A 5x5 was doable.

B1) Chin-Ups;

Focused on the stretch at bottom and holding chest on bar for half a second at the top. Easy.

B2) DB Bench Press;
50x20x1 All three sets were easy.

C1) Hammer Strength Row;
115x10x3, 115 on each handle.
I definitely remained in control for all sets, no body movement other than what was supposed to move.

C2) Hammer Strength Shrugs (done on Row machine);

C3) DB Zottmann Curls;
These are done slowly. First curl movement in 6+ months??

Great workout again, feels good to be getting a fair amount of volume into my workouts. I’m worn out for about 20-30 minutes afterward, but I’m fine after that period.


I’ve not posted in a few days, only because the semester is ending soon and all my class are throwing assignments at me. I’ll post two workouts here.


Week 3 Day 2

DE Lower

Warm-up with hip/hamstring/quad stretches.

A) Wide Stance Box Squats;
185x2x1 Add Belt.
225x2x10 I finished all sets in ~9:30

I have a video of this, but will post it later as an addition by edit.
I believe that on EVERY rep my knees were behind my toes, working that there posterior chain!
I used a belt because I am using my percentage of 55% for my belted max of 405lbs.

B) Goblet Reverse Lunge;

C1) KB Suitcase Romanian Deadlifts;

C2) Banded Ab Pulldowns;
3 mini bands x15x3

Great workout again, done in 35-40 minutes.
My adductors are sore today. I haven’t done either wide stance or box squats in a long time.



Week 3 Day 4

DE Upper Body

Shoulder stretches with plyo-push-ups for a few sets and reps.

A) Dynamic Bench Press;
165x3x9, three mixed grips.
205x3x1 EZPZ, RPE 7

Pinky on rings, thumb width from non-knurled band, thumbs on non-knurled bands.
Weight was a little heavy, but I still had plenty of speed. When working with speed in the past, I felt that a heavier weight for tiny bit less speed has helped me more than something that was too light and almost as fast. 

B1) DB Push Press; (these felt very unstable, they'll help me stabilize a lot)
55x6x1 Each arm.
65x6x1 Each arm.
75x6x1 Each arm.

B2) DB (Kroc) Row;
100x8x1 Each arm.
100x6x1 Each arm.
100x20x1 Each arm.

C1) DB Triceps Extension;
75x20x1 damn, these were killing my elbows.

C2) DB Zottman Curls;

C3) DB Rear Delt Flye/Row;
I do a mixed flye and row. I feel it working more muscles of the upper back than the flyes. It looks like a bent over DB row with wide elbows and a tight contraction at the top. If I can't feel the peak contraction of the movement at the top, then I am too heavy.

Another great workout!! Bodyweight is still hovering around 175lbs.



Week 4 Day 1

ME Lower Body

Stretches for hips/hamstrings/quads.

A) Anderson Front Squat;
275x1x3 RPE 9

B) Dynamic Deadlifts;
325x1x6 Alternating grips. With belt.

C1) Single Leg Glute Bridges;

C2) Pull-Up with L-sit;

C3) Neck Bridges;

Good workout, bodyweight up a little bit to 176lbs. I’ll stop stepping on the scale because I don’t care where my bodyweight goes.


Great work man. Reading through your stuff, we have a lot of similarities (stats, strength, degrees). Interested to see your training, I’ll be following. Keep up the good work dude.