T Nation

Steel Nation's Log


Current stats: Age - 27 ; Height - 5'9" ; Weight - 235-240 ATM
Meet lifts (single ply): Squat 650, Bench 501, Deadlift 562, Total 1713
Best Raw lifts (gym only so far): Squat 500, Bench 385, Deadlift 575 (briefs on so not totally raw; I won't pull raw unless I do a raw meet)

Right now my goals are to get a 405 bench, 550 squat, and 600 deadlift, all raw except I'll be wearing briefs for the deadlifts. The deadline for this goal is 9/1/09. These will all be gym lifts. I'm also putting some conditioning work into the mix because I'm a slob right now that can't climb 2 flights of stairs without huffing and weezing like Fatty McGee. If the conditioning starts to hurt my strength work I can tone down the intensity and readjust my goals in that area. But it's been going well so far.

Based on my meet lifts, I think the raw lifts should come along fairly soon. Recent training has seen PRs falling like crazy, and every week I'm getting more and more comfortable in my raw technique, which differs a little from geared technique in the squat and bench.

My general training template goes as follows:
M - Squat, Legs, Abs (sometimes deadlift)
T - Condition or off
W - Bench, Chest, Tris
R - Condition or off
F - Back, Bis
Sa - Shoulders, Traps, maybe condition
Su - Condition or off

Only performing one lower body day a week has really been helping with my hip (dislocated a year ago and it is semi-arthritic now). I had been deadlifting on Friday every week but I was spending the rest of the week limping around like a gimp. I figure this arrangement is more suitable for longevity, and pulling every week wasn't helping it go up anyhow.

I also used to bench twice a week, one day ME and one day RE or DE, but I found that to be far too demanding with the shirt work I was doing. Now I'm lifting raw and could probably get away with adding it back in but I don't see the point if I'm making gains as is. Saturday is more of a bodybuilding-type, get some blood in there day now and my shoulders feel great because of it.

For my conditioning I've been using my new Econo-Prowler. This is the most masochistic training tool I've ever used. I do sprints with it with 70lb, going 30 yd down with the low handles and then 30 yd back pushing the uprights. My first session I attempted to do 5 of these sprints with 60 sec RI. I got 1/4 of the way through rep 4 and tossed my cookies all over my neighbors driveway. Session #2 I finished rep 4 just in time to sprint to the planting next to our front door and projectile-vomit green Gatorade all over the bark. Session 3 I upped the RI to 90 sec and I made it through all 5 without yakking, though I was nauseous for over 2 hours after.

So yeah, I'm a fan of the Prowler. My goal is to get to 10 sprints with 90 lb and 60 sec RI by mid-August. I will first progress by dropping the RI by 10 sec/week, then add sprints (from 5 to 6, 6 to 8, and 8 to 10), then add 10 lb a week. If all goes to plan that should take me til the week of 8/10 to accomplish. Maybe I will be better off with smaller adjustments every session as opposed to bigger ones every week. We'll see how it goes and I'll fix it on the fly.

OK, that about covers what I'm doing and why. Let the training re-commence.


6/15/09: Squat

Worked up to 475x3 with a belt. 3rd rep was a brutal grind and I tweaked my back a little finishing it.
Followed up with:
DB Bulgarian Split Squat 40x2x12
Rev Hyper 50x2x12 (just to get blood in the low back)
Pulldown abs 100x3x10
prone cobras 10/side
other spinal flossing work and foam rolling

Was really happy with the 475x3. 2 weeks ago I hit 500 for a tough single so this spells improvement. I also did not have any trouble coming forward out of the hole, which is something that plagued me when I did 500x1. Form was rock solid this time.


6/16/09: Condition
Prowler push 30 yd down on low handles and 30 yd back on uprights w/70# and 90 s RI, 5 reps

Held my food down this time. Still felt like my legs were going to melt though. I think I surpassed my lactate threshold by 1000%. Fuck that hurts.


Hey bro. Where are you from. I see you have a Steelers avatar and I live in Canonsburg a bit south of Pittsburgh. Where do you train?

Nice numbers by the way. I have only been training powerlifting for about 2 years or so (I'm 25), but I am nowhere near your numbers.


I'm from Tarentum, 15 miles north of downtown. I train at Celli's Fitness in Lawrenceville (right outside of Strip District). It's a powerlifting-oriented gym. If you can make the drive it's more than worth it. My buddy that owns the place (Ryan Celli) lives in Bridgeville and I think it takes him about 20-25 min to get there with no traffic, so probably around 30 min for you.


I thought that is probably where you trained. I have talked to Ryan quite a few times. I have to make my way down there sometime. I work at a gym a ton of hours so it is next to impossible to get there, but I keep telling Celli that I am going to try. Whats your name bro, did you compete in the USPF Pittsburgh meet back in February?


6/17/09: Bench

Comp Bench 355x2x2 - thought about going to 365 but elbows are hurting from squats on M and the 1200mg Advil I took prior to training didn't seem to help at all. 355 felt OK but technique is still a little off. I need to stay tighter as I reverse the bar off my chest. for some reason I've been getting a little loose there.

Incline Bench 275x6,6,4 - haven't done this in forever (so long I can't even find it in my log that goes back to 06), so it felt pretty weird. this week is a sort of deload so I'm going really low volume on all assistance work. in future weeks I will probably stay around this weight and try to work up to 5 or 6 sets of 6.

Floor DB Ext 60x3x12 - I do these different from what most people are used to. I lower the end of the DB to my front delt and push it back up in a straight line. it ends up looking like a hybrid ext/press, sort of like a sissy squat for your arms. I feel that it hits the tris in a way that is more similar to a bench press than regular extensions while taking a good deal of stress off of the elbows. I'm still progressing on these so there's no need to switch them out.

Bamboo Bar Bench 12kg KBs per side for 3 sets of 25 - just to get some blood moving through my pressing muscles while working on staying tight through the lats and upper back. working on controlling the bar path, which for some reason I'm having an issue with now that I'm sans F6.

This is the beginning of a new cycle for me, so I'll start off with low volume and gradually build it up over the next 4-6 weeks. When I stall, I'll switch exercises and drop the volume again. For instance, last cycle I used Incline DB Hammer Press (just an inc db press with neutral grip, ie hammer grip), Dips, and Floor DB Ext. I got to the point where I was doing 6 sets of 6 for IDBHP with 110s. Next time around I will try to hit that same volume number with 112.5, or I will try to get 5x5 with 120s. Next week I will also add another tricep-centered pressing movement, probably reverse close grip bench in the Smith (yeah seriously, the Smith Machine). But I need to let my elbows rest this week so I left those out. Actually that's a lie, I just didn't think of them until I had already left the gym. They don't hurt my elbows at all.

You know you're an idiot when you lie to yourself on your own online training log. I hope I can find it in my heart to forgive me.


My name is Justin Holmes, yeah I did the meet in February. Did you? Too bad there won't be any more of them that close by.


My name is Jon Deutsch. I think you are on my facebook page or something. Anyway, yeah Justin I remember you. You beat my ass in the 242's at that meet. I took 3rd, but only had a high 1200 total (1288 I think). It was only my second meet though and things have just been going up. I typically train alone, but I am looking to get a few people together to hit some training here.

As far as the USPF goes, I read on the USPF forum that they don't know when it will be, but somebody is probably going to hold the USPF Pittsburgh meet even with Matt gone. I personally am going to compete this year in the Raw United meet in Beaver Falls in September that they are running in conjunction with the WABDL meet. I am not doing another full meet in gear for a while I think. I just got a pair of Titan briefs that I have hit 545lbs in. I don't want to get Ken Anderson to make me a suit until I hit about 575-600lbs in just briefs. Then I am going to move into the IPA still competing in only single ply.

Where do you plan on competing now that the USPF is basically gone?


I don't really have any plans at the moment other than getting stronger.



Prowler push 30 yd down and 30 yd back with 70#, RI = 85 sec, 4 sprints.

Totally spent after 4 yesterday. That pisses me off so I'm going to do it again today after back/bis. Fuck.


6/19/09: Back, Bis

A) Chest Supported DB Rows 120x10,10,10,9
B1) Iso Row Machine w/ Wide Grip 270x3x12
B2) DB Pullover 120x10,8,8
C) Pulldown to Nose drop sets 220+minibandx8,8 200x6,6 160x4,4
D) was going to do Hammer Curls but my elbows are shot.

Life interjected itself on me today and I wasn't able to push the Prowler due to time contraints. I will not miss it tomorrow.


6/20/09: Shoulders, Traps

A) Standing Military 185x2x6 - Elbows were still beat up. This entire workout hurt like hell.
B1) DB LR 55x3x12
B2) DB Bent LR 55x3x12
B3) Machine Military Press 195x3x12 - Very tough tri set. Shoulders were trashed after this.
C) DB Shrug Drop sets 120x25,20 + 100x15,10 + 80x15,12

Again, life dictates that there will be no Prowler pushing today. Had to go to fiancee's bridal shower to pick up presents. She was wearing a freaking insanely hot dress. Goddamn she looked good. Then I took my boy swimming. Got a little work throwing him around the pool but that was it for the weekend.


6/22/09: Squat

A) Safety Bar Box Squat to 16.5" box - worked up to 535x1 (with briefs) - This was ugly. My upper back got folded up on me. Need to start working abs harder.

B) Rack Pull from above knee - 635x3x5 (with straps) - Been a while since I've done these. I'm sore as hell today.

C) Sissy Squat Bench - 40x3x12 - This bench anchors your lower leg in place while you squat. It crushes your quads. It was my first time using it so I went light.

D) GHR w/DB against chest - 60x10,8

E) Pulldown Abs 110x3x12 - Second week doing these. Could have gone heavier.


6/23/09: Conditioning

Prowler Push 5 sprints of 30yd down and back w/70# and 80 sec RI b/w sprints

This is the best I've felt pushing this thing thus far. It didn't get really hard until rep 5. I was still gassed and my legs were still on fire after but it was much better than last week. If it goes this well on Thursday I'll add a rep.


6/24/09: Bench

Comp Bench - worked up to 365x2,1 and 315x7 backoff - The first rep with 365 felt awesome. It practically flew up, and I thought I was going to get at least 3 with it, then on rep 2 my left lat caved in a little, and on rep 3 everything went to hell and I missed it. Need to add in some heavier back work to tighten that up. I'm thinking T-Bar rows.

Inc BB Bench - 275x4, 225x12,10,11 - Couldn't push the volume with these as much as I wanted to because I was pretty fatigued by this point (and I used too narrow of a grip on the first set with 275, which fucked me up).

Rev CG Smith Bench - 275x6,6,5,5 (not really 275 because Smith is counterweighted but oh well) - First time doing these in a while. Took me a few sets to get in the groove. I have more trouble pressing in the smith because you have to be positioned perfectly under the bar or you're screwed.

DB Floor Ext - 65x6,5 60x8,7 - Had nothing left for these this week. They're out the window next week in favor of something else.


6/25/09: Condition

Prowler sprints 70 x 4 w/80 s RI

For some reason day 2 of Prowler pushing hasn't gone very well both weeks. I'm going to switch to rope jumping on this day instead.


6/26/09: Back, Bis

A) BB Row from 2" blocks - 255x2x5, 275x2x5, 295x2x5, 275x2x5 - First time using these in a long time. Wasn't sure how I'd make out because my hip hurts like hell in that bent over position, but I altered my foot position a little to make it manageable.

B) Ledge Pullup Ladders - (1,2,3)x5 - Not really sure how to write this, but I did 1 rep, rest 15 sec, 2 reps, rest 15 sec, 3 reps, rest 1 min, then repeat. Before I started the ladders I did a set of 10 as well. I'm trying to build up my upper back volume and I got this idea from Pavel's Beyond Bodybuilding. It's a great book and I highly recommend it. It's given my dozens of ideas for structuring my training.

C) Recline Rows from Straps - 3x12 - I grab a pair of safety straps instead of holding onto the bar. We don't have any rope at the gym so this is my substitute.

D) Fat Axle Curls - 103x2x6, 123x3x6, 113x2x6 - The axle makes this about 10x harder than reg fat bar curls because the plates don't rotate, which makes it want to bend your wrists back.


6/30/09: Squat

A) Manta Ray Squat - 365x1, 385x1, 405x1, 425x1, 435x1, 405x2,2 - Kept it lighter today, just focusing on technique and hitting depth as opposed to going rock bottom. Everything was pretty solid.

B) Rack Pull from above knee - 585x3, 625x2, 655x5 - 655 took everything I had to get the 5th rep. Good grind.

C) Ab Pulldown - 120x2x10

Kept this session short because I had somewhere to be and also because I have to do 4 days in a row this week in order to not miss a day. Circumstances and Independence Day dictated that my usual MWFSa would not work this week. Improvise, adapt, overcome. A good session, I accomplished what I wanted and got the hell out.

If I had killed it today, every day after this would have been garbage. And with my sights primarily on the 405 raw bench, I couldn't afford for that to happen.


What's up bro. I was wondering if you could give me a bit of advice. I never really had that much success with rack pulls, but I am contemplating putting them back in soon. I am wearing a Titan Velocity and the pop off the floor is amazing. I can pull 545 real fast, but when it hits about 2 inches above the knees it gives out and I stall like crazy.

What would you do to help this. I was thinking about rotating rack pulls and reverse bands that let go just below the knee and force me to lock it out. I would do both of these raw too.

Training is looking great man.