T Nation

TCam's Log - The Road to Elite

Focused - Week 5 - Day 1

3 Ct Paused Bench:
5x315 - RPE 7.5
8x275 - Slippery bench made me lose my arch and I played it safe, otherwise I think I had another 10 in me

Seated Arnold Press:
3x10x60s - No back support made this very hard

A1 | Seated Cable Row - Semi-Supinated MAG Grip - 350 Method:
21, 16, 14 x 200 - 51 reps total (Increase weight next week)

A2 | Cable Overhead Triceps Extension - High Position - 350 Method:
23, 18, 13 x 100 - 54 reps total (Increase weight next week)

Cable Crossover Laterals - Shortened+Lengthened Positions:
10+5 x 30
12+8 x 30
10+8 x 30

DB Incline Curl + Waiter Curl:
20+10 x 20s + 55
15+7 x 20s + 55

Crossover Band Triceps Kickback:
21, 18, 13 x 2 minis - 3 different anchor heights, not shooting for 350 Method, just got there anyway

KB Rear Delt Fly + Band Rear Delt Fly (Short ROM at Lengthened Position):
2 x 20 + 10 x 25s + Mini

Good workout to start the wave here. Removed the 3 ct eccentric from the main bench variation and started with the top weight of the previous wave. Looks like my 5RM PR is 325 done like 6 years ago lol. So the goal for the wave is 335. The back down sets were PRs on this variation, but I’m sure I’ve very rarely gone to 10 reps for 3 ct pauses.

I may or may not add back support to the Arnold press. Going to near failure has me over extending and locking my QLs up without it. So it may be best to avoid that additional low back fatigue.

Laterals in the shortened position are done by stepping back behind center of the crossover station and pulling into a wide Y pattern. This gets the 90 degree line of pull basically at the top of the movement. Lengthened position is just stepping up to the center and getting the 90 degree line of pull at full adduction. Similarly, the rear delt flies hit the shortened and then lengthened positions that way. Bent over, the 90 degree line of pull is at the top, where the arm is maximally horizontally abducted. The band with the short ROM in the lengthened position was done starting at full horizontal adduction and barely making it past neutral. This killed the rear delts. Will consider the opposite order next time too.

Focused - Week 5 - Day 2

SSB Squat w/ Belt:
1x430 - RPE 8
3x3x390 - Hard, able to maintain an upward push on the handles 7/9 reps here

Platz Squat w/ Belt:
2x12x315 - RPE 8. Goal next week is 2x15x315 if feeling good

TnG Conventional Deadlift w/ Belt/Straps:

Lying Hamstring Curl:
5x90 + 5x80 + 5x70 - Dropset

Hollow Holds w/ KB:

Cossack Squat to Box:

Decided to do the alternating bars for the squat waves. The idea was to reduce the absolute load being used every other wave, but it turns out I’m only doing about 5 lbs less if I’m also increasing the RPE allowed as the program progresses. We’ll see how I handle it. I’m trying to focus on pushing the handles up because it forces me to extend my thoracic spine, which tends to cave at the bottom of any heavy squat, which then leads to my lumbar spine flexes and I lose tightness down the chain. Pushing them up significantly slows down the rep out of the hole for me, but that’s useful for heavy squats anyway as the weights get heavier and I need to maintain positioning during a slower ascent. I wasn’t able to keep that position for my top single, but I’m fixing it on the down sets.

Touch and go deadlifts went well today. Very solid until the very last rep and I needed to put it down fully. This variation is essentially an longer ROM RDL for me. The “touch” part is very light. It reinforces my positioning. It’s also an easier variation for rep work for me, so the next wave should be a full stop variation.

Should have done something else between deadlift and hamstring curls because that drop set killed the hammies to death. Couldn’t find a comfortable position, so I ended up laying down on the ground and then eventually transitioned into the hollow holds to finish out the workout. I may continue with the Cossack squats since I suck at them.

Focused - Week 5 - Day 3-4

Day 3

Incline Bench:
10, 10, 8 x 225 @ RPE 8

Feet Up DB Bench:

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown:
15, 12, 10 x 180 @ RPE 8

A1 | Incline Tate Press:
15, 15, 12 x 35s

A2 | EZ Bar Curls:
3x15x70 - Bent over w/ head support

Reverse Grip Cable Curl w/ Rope Ends:

Cable Facepulls w/ Bandles:

DB Lateral Raise - Slow Concentric Slow Eccentric:

Aiming for something like a 3x12x225 on incline or at least one set above 12 since that is my PR.

Day 4

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:
2x545 - Just awful

Squat w/ Belt - Wide Stance:

A1 | Ukranian Deadlift:

A2 | Bird-Dog Row:

DB Pullover + Band:
2x15x40+Monster Mini

KB Suitcase Carry:
2 per hand x 230 ft x 80

Deadlift was feeling good during warm-ups, but 545 did not want to move off the floor without a fight. Using my Ohio Power Bar doesn’t help there, but I should still be able to move 130 lbs less than my PR with relative ease. Lumbar positioning just did not hold up. Tried to focus on that for a couple of down sets, but my back was just exhausted. Possibly due to the SSB squats and deadlifts from the other day. Need to pump up my recovery game a bit. I also likely need to work on mobility as it pertains to pulling sumo with a stiff bar. Using intensities that allow me to do paused reps hasn’t allowed me to get strong enough with heavier weights. Also, I pulled 545x3 with a pause just 2 weeks ago, so this was likely an off-day, but it was a pretty shitty off-day for my low back.

Squats were pretty solid, though not necessarily easy. Going to continue with 365 and add volume through the wave.

Focused - Week 6 - Day 1

3 Ct Paused Bench:
5x325 - RPE 8, Match PR

Seated Arnold Press:
3x12x65s - Added back support this week

A1 | Seated Cable Row - Semi-Supinated MAG Grip - 350 Method:
20, 15, 12 x 210 - 47 reps total

A2 | Cable Overhead Triceps Extension - High Position - 350 Method:
20, 18, 15 x 105 - 53 reps total (Increase weight next week)

Cable Crossover Laterals - Shortened+Lengthened Positions:
2 x 15+8 x 30
12+8 x 30

DB Incline Curl + Waiter Curl:
20+12 x 25s + 55
15+8 x 25s + 55

Crossover Band Triceps Kickback:
23, 20, 16 x 2 minis

KB Rear Delt Fly + Band Rear Delt Fly (Short ROM at Lengthened Position):
20 + 10 x 25s + Mini
15 + 10 x 25s + Mini

Bench seems to be trending in the right direction with this match PR. I beat the RPE on it, but since it was from years ago, I’m not really considering that part of it. What was nice was that the top set felt better than the set before it at 295. Goal is still 335 for the wave to lock in a new PR on something finally.

Focused - Week 6 - Day 2

SSB Squat w/ Belt:
1x450 - RPE 9.5
3x4x390 - Maintaining position well through more reps than last week

Platz Squat w/ Belt:
2x15x315 - PR for volume here

Snatch Grip Deadlift w/ Belt/Straps:

Lying Hamstring Curl:
2x10x50+Light Band

Glute Side Bridge - As seen here:
2 x 10+10 x BW+30 + BW

Moving Hollow Holds w/ DB:
3x3x30 - DB straight up, to pullover position, full exhale/inhale, return to start

Band Pallof Press:

Got a little squished by 450 on the decent. Video doesn’t show it until the ascent, but I could feel my midsection collapsing before getting into the hole. As a result I lost my spine positioning and I was unable to keep the handles up. Current plan is to repeat this weight next week and clean it up.

Very happy with the down sets though. 390 isn’t a ton of absolute weight, but 3x4x405 is what I hit with the normal barbell on week 3 and relatively the SSB is much harder for me than just -15 lbs.

Decided against heavier TnG deadlift considering how shitty my back has been feeling. Snatch grip was hard, but absolute load being decreased helped a good bit. We’ll see how sumo feels in a few days.

Focused - Week 6 - Day 3-4

Day 3

Incline Bench:
12, 10, 8 x 225

A1 | Feet Up DB Bench:
23, 17 x 100s

A2 | Wide Grip Lat Pulldown:
15, 12, 10 x 180

B1 | DB Skullcrushers:
12 x 35s, 40s, 45s

B2 | Bent Over EZ Bar Curls:

C1 | Reverse Grip Cable Curl w/ Rope Ends:

C2 | Cable Facepulls w/ Bandles:

DB 6-Way Shoulder Raise:

Highly doubtful that I will get 3x12x225 on incline next week, so I’ll likely aim for that secondary goal of just hitting a PR with a set of 13 or more.

Day 4

Squat w/ Belt - Wide Stance:

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:

Ukranian Deadlift:
3x10x170 - More focus on maintaining lumbar positioning and getting a good hamstring stretch at the bottom

BW Split Squat w/ Band Knee Extension Tension:

A1 | Machine Calf Raise:

A2 | Dorsiflexion for Tibialis Anterior:

Decided to do squats first today since deadlift has been feeling shitty this wave. The 3x10 seemed to take forever per set, but positioning held up well. This wider stance is definitely still the stance with more potential for maximal strength, just need to make sure I balance it with a closer stance as well to avoid the hip issue. Unfortunately my recent LS/trap issue flared up during one of the squat sets, but it’s not nearly as bad as last time and now I know how to resolve it. Gotta keep myself from losing my cervical position to get through sticking points.

Deadlift felt good for the first set of 495. Anchored the hips well and it was very smooth, so I wanted to keep practicing. Next two sets weren’t great, so I shut that down. This day was definitely not a focused day after the squats.

Focused - Week 7 - Day 1

3 Ct Paused Bench:
5x335 @ RPE 9 - 10 lb PR!

Arnold Press:

A1 | Seated Cable Row - Semi-Supinated MAG Grip - 350 Method:
20, 15, 15 x 210 - 50 reps achieved

A2 | Cable Overhead Triceps Extension - High Position - 350 Method:
19, 15, 16 x 115 - 50 reps achieved

DB Incline Curl + Zottman Curl:
12+8 x 30s
10x8 x 30s

Cable Crossover Laterals - Shortened+Lengthened Positions:
12+8 x 30
10+8 x 30

Crossover Band Triceps Kickback:
23, 20, 16 x 2 minis

Band Crossover Rear Delt Fly:
3x20x2 minis

Hit the main goal of the wave for bench with that top set. Pauses could have been a little longer to get a true 3 count, but under more weight the counting gets faster without me realizing it. Either way it moved very well. Only gripe is letting the bar crush my arch down too much. Need more control there for a base to press heavier weights.

Focused - Week 7 - Day 2

SSB Squat w/ Belt:
1x430 - Really solid
1x450 - Still got squished
2x390 - Wanted 5s, wasn’t going to happen today
3x4x340 - 5 ct eccentrics, oof

Paused Conventional Deadlift w/ Belt/Straps:

Lying Leg Curl:

Glute Side Bridge:
2 x 12+8 x BW+35 + BW

Band Pallof Press:

Not happy with the top set of squats today, since the goal was to clean up the same weight as last week. Just something to aim for on the next SSB wave. I’m happy with that 430 though, no real breakdown there. The 5 ct eccentrics with the SSB are so hard for me, especially when I’m keeping the handles up. Such a long set of 4. Will likely be doing slow eccentrics for the SSB day this upcoming wave and see if I can get something out of it.

Skipped the Platz squats today. Knees need a break from the Oly shoes and I already hit my goal last week. Will likely reintroduce them after a wave without them. I will switch that slot likely to a leg press variation for the next wave.

Paused conventional were the first pulls of this wave that felt good. PR is 8x455 and I’m fairly certain I could have matched that on the first set.

Focused - Week 7 - Days 3-4

Day 3

Incline Bench:
15x225 - +3 rep PR
8x225 - Long pauses

Feet Up DB Bench:

Lat Pulldown - Wide MAG Grip:

Incline DB Skullcrushers:

A1 | Cable Rope Curls:

A2 | Reverse Grip Cable Curl w/ Rope Ends:

B1 | Cable Facepulls w/ Bandles:

B2 | DB 6-Way Shoulder Raise:

Hit that 225 incline goal by a pretty wide margin. I also ended up beating last week’s volume by a rep despite the 2 lower rep sets. The top set fatigued me a lot, so I didn’t push the rest of the workout too hard.

Day 4

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:
3x3x495 - Couldn’t feel much worse

Squat w/ Belt - Wide Stance:
3x5x365 - Reigning it in for the wave

Bulgarian Split Squat w/ Band Rear Foot Support:

Machine Calf Raise:

Felt reeeeaaal shitty today. I’m going to either switch my sumo slot to the day 2 slot after squats for volume instead of heavier things (despite 495 being 73% of my PR) or just stay away from sumo for a wave. I’m getting into a good starting position and then just can’t hold it. Waking up with back pain isn’t something I’m good with, so I need to adjust.

Squats just meh. RPE wasn’t super high, but also not good enough to repeat even the 8s of week 1.

So to recap Wave 2 and prepare for Wave 3: Bench is progressing in different areas, need to decide on the next main variation and rep range. Likely need to switch grips or maybe go back to slow eccentric, but with a normal pause this time. Can’t keep doing 5s forever, so I will switch to 3-4s. Secondary bench day will be switched back to DB incline and a flat barbell variation. Main squats will be switched back to a barbell and secondary will be the SSB. I’m interested to see how using the SSB for heavy work carries over into my positioning with a barbell. Hard to tell how much progress was made until then. Like I said before, I’ll be skipping the Platz squats for this wave. Probably replacing that with a couple more sets of the main squat and then something like leg press. Deadlift needs to go on the back burner it seems. Conventional variations will be the focus for now. Heavy focus on single leg accessory work incoming.

love the training so far. keep it up

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Focused - Week 8 - Deload - Day 1

Paused Bench:
2x6x275 - 3 ct pause

A1 | Seated DB OHP - Neutral Grip:

A2 | One-Arm DB Row:

Cable Triceps Extension
Cable Shoulder ER Pull-Aparts

Simple deload day focused on form for the most part. Nothing else to note, which is a good thing.

Focused - Week 8 - Deload - Day 2

Squat w/ Belt - 5 Ct Eccentric:

1" Deficit Conventional w/ Belt/Hook Grip - Speed Pulls:

Smith Machine Split Squat:

Standing Single Leg Curl:

Weighted Planks w/ Lumbar Hanging KB + Perturbation:

Pseudo dynamic effort day here for the deload. Very focused on control of the squat descent and try to keep from floating over to the right. I was happy with probably 80% of those reps based on control, position, and speed.

Deficit pulls felt very good. Practically effortless feeling, like the weight wasn’t there, just took a little longer to stand up than it would without anything at all. This isn’t to say that everything was physically perfect, but I got in the zone mentally for these and it very much paid off. I don’t think I’ve ever had the confidence to pull for speed with hook grip, but it felt great today despite not practicing it almost at all for a few years.

Didn’t think Smith machine split squats would be harder than free weight, but I think it’s going in for this next wave. The left hip has such a hard time compared to the right. I think I’m able to compensate with free weight to change positions and avoid as much difficulty, but the Smith locks me in and it fuckin sucks. Something to get better at.

Focused - Week 8 - Deload

Day 3

Incline DB Bench - Slow Eccentric:

Spoto Press:

Cable Prone High Row:

A1 | Chaos Push-Ups:

A2 | Deficit Push-Ups:

Barbell Curl:

Light day here. Didn’t feel strong at all on DB incline, but we’ll see how next week goes. I may use a slightly lower incline for the wave.

I’m starting to use my deload week as a practice week for the wave that follows it. So I’ll be doing the main movements for the next wave and some of the accessories, just at lesser volumes and intensities. I think this should help with being prepared for the wave and knowing what sort of weight I should use on each lift and how it will feel. Some things just haven’t been done in a while either, like Spoto press, so it’s nice to get a feel for the movement pattern before doing any harder working sets.

Day 4

Paused Conventional Deadlift w/ Belt/Straps:

Beltless Paused SSB Squat - Close Stance:

Barbell Hip Thrust - Slow Eccentric:

Bulgarian Single Leg RDL:

Goblet Squat w/ Band TKE:
2x15/15x50+Dbl Light

Not an especially strong day, just like the previous day, but practiced some of the lifts I’ll be doing for the wave starting tomorrow. Paused conventional PR is 525x3, so that would be nice to at least match during this wave, based on how they felt here. Might be a stretch goal, but it’ll just depend on the day.

“Bulgarian” single leg RDLs are just done with the rear foot on a bench. I’m awful at balancing for single leg RDLs and I can never get anything out of them because of it. I want to load that pattern and this made it possible. Like I said, more single leg work coming this wave.