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TCam's Log - The Road to Elite

Focused - Week 18 - Day 2

Paused Squat w/ Belt:
1x475 - Much better than last week’s 455
3x5x405 - Benchmark PR for 5s

2" Conventional Block Pull w/ Belt/Straps - Stiff Bar:

A1 | DB Split Squat:

A2 | DB RDL:

Seated Leg Curl:

Standing Cable Ab Pulldown:

Much better heavy single here today. Last week I tried to avoid hip pain by taking a narrower stance while warming up and it didn’t work well. This time I just stuck with my normal stance and did more hip warm-ups as the sets progressed. I was very solid during my usual sticking point, so I’m happy with it. Volume sets were tough, but I got through it.

Block pulls continuing to feel pretty good. Still keeping the lower RPE and not shooting for AMRAPs.

Focused - Week 18

Day 3

Mid-Incline DB Bench:

Tempo Bench (3:1:0):
6x3x275 - Alternating comp grip (middle fingers on rings) and medium grip (pinkies on rings)

A1 | Incline JM Press:
3x12x135 - Slow eccentric for progression this week

A2 | Machine Lat Pulldown w/ Angles90 Grip:

B1 | Landmine Press:
8/8x100 - Woof, very hard at this point in the workout

B2 | DB Spider Curl:

Cable Curl:

Duffin Upright Row:

KB Facepull:

This was tough. 125s did not feel as easy as expected compared to the 120s last week. I can feel the fatigue building a good bit, so I’m not expecting 130s next week. Only if I’m feeling great.

Tempo bench felt alright. Just a bit better than last week.

Day 4

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:
3x1x585 - Not good, fatigueeee
2x5x495 - Paused, hard

SSB Pin Squat w/ Belt:

Belt Squat + KB Goblet:
6x270+35 - KB needs to be heavier for balance

HS Low Row:

Seated Hamstring Curl:
15x140 - Cue cramping

Not a great couple of days here unfortunately, but we’ll see if my little autoregulated deload for this day helps for week 3. I had precisely zero power off the floor for sumo, so I just tried to practice positioning for a few heavy singles. Didn’t really work lol. SSB and belt squats were okay-ish though.

Focused - Week 19

Day 1

Tempo Bench (3:3:0):
1x365 - Normal tempo/pause, not easy enough for 385 today
6x315 - Not counting as a PR, last rep was not as on-tempo

Machine Dips - Plate Loaded:
12, 12, 15 x 230

HS Iso-Row:

Machine Preacher Curl - Plate Loaded:

Incline Cable Curl:

Band Overhead Triceps Extension:
20, 15 x 2 Lights

Band Rear Delt Fly:

I wasn’t well recovered for this one or mentally prepared, just after a couple of long work days. Weight felt heavy and it didn’t move nearly as easily as the previous two weeks. Could have pressed 385, but since my goal was to make it more solid, I knew it wouldn’t feel the way I wanted. Reduced the 315 sets to triples and went for that PR on the third. I know I could do it easily on a more solid day at least.

Rest of the workout had a few exercises where I repeated the previous week and others I just went ahead and backed off.

Day 2

Paused Squat w/ Belt:
1x495 - 20 lb PR
8x405 @ RPE 8 - PR, surprisingly easy

2" Conventional Block Pull w/ Belt/Straps - Stiff Bar:
2x6x495 - Dropped a set for my low back’s sake

2x15x140 - Goal achieved, solid and deep

DB Split Squat:
10/10x110 - Front foot elevated
15/15x110 - Normal

Seated Leg Curl:
8x160 + 6x120 + 8x80 - Drop set

Standing Cable Ab Pulldown:

Surprised by this one considering the last few workouts and the work week I’ve had. I knew I wanted to get 495 for a paused single, I just wasn’t sure if I could going in. It was definitely harder and not as solid as last week’s 475, but it got done and then I blasted up 405s. For sure had 10 in me on the last set.

Focused - Quick Catch-Up

Don’t remember all the specifics of the accessories over the last week, but here are the main points.

Skipped Day 3 of Week 19, feeling beat up and very unmotivated on the day. Haven’t done this in a long time, but it was necessary after a taxing week mentally and physically.

Week 19 - Day 4

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:
1x635 - Not as easy as the double I did a couple of weeks ago
2x2x585 - Lumbar positioning shitty and painful

Paused SSB Squat w/ Belt:

Week 20 - Deload - Day 1

Paused Bench:

Plus machine OHP, pushdowns, and some row for a couple sets each for 20-25 reps.

Week 20 - Deload - Day 2

SSB Squat w/ Belt:

RDL w/ Belt/Straps:

Cable Standing Single Leg Curl:

A1 | Bulgarian Split Squat w/ Rear Foot Band Support:

A2 | Weighted Planks:

Dealing with some low back pain over the last week since around the last post or just before. Thinking the belt squats have something to do with it, since I was getting a lumbar pump, which is unusual for me. The belt forces me into lumbar extension, which I should have focused on getting back into my neutral position with bracing. It forces a traditionally “good” position, but it’s not within my current capacity to just let it be there and squat. The sumo during the workout following the 495 paused squat exacerbated it a bit.

I’m doing my own form of “rehab” for this. It’s basically presenting as moderate muscle guarding / spasms of the QLs, mostly on the left. So I load it and assess. SSB squats and RDLs felt okay, not great, and I still have some pain, but no more than before them. Going to keep taking it slightly easy on intensity and volume and do “corrective” work until it’s good. No more than 1 week probably.

Also dealing with that left hip pain again. Fixed it intraworkout by doing some isometric right hip external rotation at the bottom of a BW squat. I have pretty much corrected my inability to internally rotate on the left side, now I’m going to maintain that and start working more on my lack of ER on the right side.

"Focused" - Week 20 - Deload - Day 3

Incline Bench:


Incline Overhead Triceps Extension w/ Rope/DB:

Lat Pulldown - Wide Semi-Pronated MAG Grip:

Some band drills for my low back

“Focused” in quotes because I’m not at all over the past few days. No big deal, just need to use this week and maybe next to chill mentally before hitting it again. Sometimes this mental wall just sort of comes with training and I’ve learned to accept it for what it is and not let it frustrate me while in the gym, otherwise it will last longer. I let it be a relaxed time for a week or 2 and then move on.

Focused - Week 20 - Deload - Day 4

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:
5x3x495 - Practicing setup primarily

Squat w/ Belt:
2x3x365 - Back pain made this feel heavy

Squat Press:

Lying Leg Curl:

Weighted Planks:

Having this back pain is making me really try to dial in the deadlift set up. I’ve cycled through different set ups throughout the years and I’m thinking this one I settled into today is probably the best. Get into full sumo position, pull out the slack, extend knees while keeping slack pulled, then sit hips back and down into position while continuing to pull slack out and then starting the pull as I get to the actual start position to break off the floor. Will keep practicing and hopefully have some good pulls to film with it.

Focused - Week 21 - Day 1 - Start of Wave 6

Paused Bench:
6x335 - Video here

Weighted Push-Ups:
12xBW+90 + 6xBW+45 + 6xBW - Drop set

A1 | Cable Low Row - Wide Semi-Pronated MAG Grip (Upper back focus):

A2 | Cable Triceps Pushdown:

B1 | Cable Lateral Raise:

B2 | Cable Single Arm Curl:

90/90 Hip Lift + Mini Crunch and Shoulder Blackburns at the end

Simple workout here with the focus being on the volume with heavier bench now. Removing a secondary open chain bench with the closed chain push-ups, hopefully keeping the shoulders and pecs feeling good. Pecs are quite sore following this regardless. 335x6 isn’t a PR, but closest ones are 345x6 @ 9 and 340x7 @ 9.5, so we’re nearing something.

Focused - Week 21

Day 2

Slow Eccentric SSB Squat w/ Belt:
1x430 - Wanted 2 here, but I kinda bitched out because of fear for my back
3x430 - So I did it again

RDL w/ Belt/Straps:

Cable Standing Single Leg Curl:

Bulgarian Split Squat w/ Rear Foot Band Support:

Weighted Planks:
2 clusters of 3 x 0:15 on / 0:15 off x BW+70

Weighted Bear Stance w/ Leg Lift:
2x8xBW+70 - Just hands and knees position but on toes instead of knees, then lift one foot briefly, trying not to fall over. Progression will be to lift the contralateral hand as well. Then actual bear crawling slowly with weight (maybe, likely unnecessary)

Good day for getting over the fear aspect of this back pain. I work as a physical therapist in a spine clinic and I’m constantly telling my patients to not be fearful of movement. While I wouldn’t tell them to go squat double bodyweight with a bar that puts considerable stress on the back, it’s important aspect of my “prior level of function” as it relates to this pain. Sometimes it’s a matter of understanding that the pain isn’t damaging and that it may just take some time for it to leave. I just need to focus more on my positioning and bracing to feel confident under the weight and then there’s no real pain.

Day 3

Incline DB Bench:

HS Iso-Row w/ Angles90 Grips:
2x12/12x135 - Standing w/ arm support on the seat, lat focus

A1 | Machine Preacher Curl - Plate Loaded:

A2 | Alternating DB Curls:


B1 | Lying Crossover Band Triceps Extension:
2x15x2 Minis

B2 | Lying Crossover Band Rear Delt Fly:
2x25x2 Minis

This day for the wave is going to have lower intensity than the previous waves, due to the average intensity increasing on the main bench day. Not shooting for a particular goal on anything other than for this day to feel good and for it to support my next heavy bench day.

Focused - Week 21 - Day 4

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:
2x1x545 - Real slow
3x5x405 - Slow concentric + Slow eccentric = Death

Squat w/ Belt:
3x315 - Very trash, hip and back telling me to drop it for the day

Unilateral Leg Extension:
2 x 10+8+6+4+3+2+1 per side alternating x 70

Lying Leg Curl:
10+8+6+4+3+2+1 per side alternating x 25 - Much harder than extension, no 2nd set

Squat Press:

In direct opposition to my last post, this day was just not telling me to keep going through the pain. 545 is my 10RM PR and I did it for a couple slow, shaky singles today. Positioning was actually alright and pain wasn’t excruciating or anything, but I wasn’t getting any power out of the bottom half of the movement. Sometimes pain inhibits strength and that’s what it seemed to be doing today.

The 405 sets were really tough. May be good for me in the meantime to focus on maintaining positioning and essentially not skipping over sections of the movement due to a lack of control.

Focusing some more on at-home rehab daily and we’ll see where we get.

Focused - Week 22 - Day 1

Paused Bench:
6x340 - Video here. About as hard as last week’s 335x6

A1 | Cable Low Row - Wide Semi-Pronated MAG Grip (Upper Back Focus):

A2 | Cable Single Arm Curl:
12/12x55 + 8/8x40 - Drop set
10/10x55 + 8/8x40 - Drop set

Weighted Push-Ups:
15xBW+90 + 6xBW+45 + 6xBW - Drop set

B1 | Cable Lateral Raise:

B2 | Triceps Pushdown - Slow Eccentric:

Cable Rear Delt Fly:

Good bench day here. Reaching very close to 5 year old PRs. First 4 reps were really good, but I misgrooved the 5th and it made the 6th harder than it should have been. I will need to clean it up to keep the momentum going.

I won’t have the usual day 2 this week. I’m traveling for NYE and going to see how my back feels with a bit of extra recovery time without the squat or deadlift loading.

Focused - Week 22

Day 2

Skipped as explained above

Day 3

Incline DB Bench:

HS Iso-Row w/ Angles90 Grips:

A1 | Machine Preacher Curl - Plate Loaded:

A2 | Alternating DB Curl:


B1 | Lying Crossover Band Triceps Extension:
2x15x2 Minis

B2 | Lying Crossover Band Rear Delt Fly:
2x20x2 Minis

Happy New Year. I didn’t sleep well over the last two nights due to c h e m i c a l s, so I wasn’t sure how this would go and didn’t want to push into a potential injury. Still got an extra 5 lbs per DB on the 3x12 over last week, but otherwise it was pretty similar to last week in volume and intensity.

Focused - Week 22 - Day 4

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:
3x3x495 - 1" blocks
3x3x495 - Normal

Squat w/ Belt:
2x5x315 - Paused

A1 | TRX Pistol Box Squat:

A2 | Single Leg KB Swing:

A3 | Staggered Lateral KB Swing:

A4 | Staggered KB Core Rotation:

The last 3 exercises were copying this post from Vernon Griffith to try some harder single leg variations and to start challenging myself in the frontal plane and see if that helps my hip issues.

Deadlift was okay as long as I braced hard. Back pain was low but still there. Same for squats.

Focused - Week 23 - Day 1

Paused Bench:
5x345 - Failed 6th, video here, notes below

Bent Over Barbell Row:

Weighted Push-Ups:

A1 | Lat Pulldown - Wide Neutral Grip:

A2 | Triceps Pushdown - Slow Eccentric:

Cable Crossover Lateral Raise:

Cable Crossover Rear Delt Fly:

Cable Curls - Reverse+Normal Grips:

Lying KB Shoulder Thing That I Don’t Have a Name For:
3x8x40 - Just a stability exercise

I haven’t failed a lift in a long-ass time, but here was one on that 6th rep. If I had stopped at 5, I would have called it RPE 8, because I was thinking mid-set that I may just go for 7. Then I hit a very sudden wall. I’m thinking this was some technical issue since the previous 5 reps felt great. Slightly early elbow flare maybe. Regardless, I’m happy that it moved so easily until then.

Did bent over rows to test my back a bit and start getting into that position more often. No issues.

Focused - Week 23 - Day 2

3 Ct Eccentric SSB Squat w/ Belt:
3x450 - 20 lb PR over 2 weeks ago, video here

RDL w/ Belt/Straps:

Squat Press:
2x12x540+2 Dbl Light
20x450 - Paused

Attempted Zercher Good Mornings:
Absolute trash do not recommend

Staggered Lateral KB Swing:

Nordic Hamstring Curl w/ Band Assistance:

Taking this day off last week and adding in some of the frontal plane movements seems to have improved my back pain significantly. Still a little extension intolerance during bench, but no QL splinting now, even following this 3RM squat with the SSB, which had me pretty squished on the third rep.

I’ve never done Nordic hamstring curls for anything other than a one-off situation to try it out. I’m going to dedicate a few waves to them and see if I notice any improvements in strength/stability anywhere. Would love to be able to hit even a single controlled rep with no band assistance.

Focused - Week 23 - Day 3

Low Incline Feet Up DB Bench:
3x12x120s - Relative PR

HS Iso-Row:
10x360 + 8x270 + 10x180 - Drop set

A1 | Alternating DB Curl:

A2 | Machine Preacher Curl - Plate Loaded:
8x80 + 4x80 + 8x55 + 8x55 + 8x55 - Cluster drop set, 30 sec between each


B1 | Lying Crossover Band Triceps Extension:
2x20x2 Minis

B2 | Lying Crossover Band Rear Delt Fly:
2x20x2 Minis

Good day here. I decided to go with the low incline, but feet up to make it a little harder at least. Closest PR that I know of was the same low incline with 125s for 2x10. So arguably a PR or an equivalent today.

Focused - Week 23 - Day 4

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:
10x495 - RPE…6?

Paused Squat w/ Belt:

A1 | TRX Pistol Box Squat:

A2 | KB Single Leg Deadlift:

A3 | Staggered Lateral KB Swing:

A4 | Staggered KB Core Rotation:

Nordic Hamstring Curl w/ Band Assistance:

495 was feeling very good and weightless basically. Again, primarily needed to focus on bracing and there was no back pain. Some soreness again today, following this from yesterday, but not really pain. I decided to cap my pseudo-AMRAP at 10 regardless of how it felt and it was basically accelerating in speed and ease as I got to reps 6-7. Maybe had 15 in me, which would have been a match PR, so I know I’m at least good for pulling 495 no problem.

Squats felt solid too, with good control and nearly minimal hip pain. Going to continue focusing on the single leg movements to keep helping there.

Recap Wave 6: Not the best wave when it comes to deadlift, but the back pain is improving just slightly slower than I had thought. I can’t complain about squats since I hit 450 for a PR triple on the SSB slow eccentrics. PRs are 485x2 and 445x3 with a normal tempo and the significantly more comfortable EliteFTS SSB, so that was honestly great and I hope to continue that trend. Bench went well this wave too, getting me back to near PR levels with over 80% of my all-time 1RM. Just gotta get and keep the back healthy and keep being smart and I’ll actually hit some meaningful PRs in the coming months, I believe.

Focused - Week 24 - Deload aka Extension Intolerance

Paused Bench:
8x315 @ RPE 8

A1 | Overhead Press:

A2 | Push Press:

A3 | Bent Over Row:

Well this was dumb. Bench felt great. Did an AMRAP capped at RPE 8 which continued to suggest near PR levels (315x11) and then I wanted to do a somewhat easy remainder of the workout by doing some circuit things. But I didn’t consider my low back pain like I should have and it solidified the idea that my extension intolerance is what caused this pain. The overhead press and push press was just forcing that extension moment over and over and my QL spasm/splinting went yeeee and ended my workout suddenly.

Now, so what? I was trending up very well and handled it probably better than I have ever handled pain or an injury in the gym. This isn’t a soft tissue injury. It’s literally my brain responding to a position that I’m not conditioned for in some way. I’m not letting fear or pain keep me from moving. It will just suck for another few weeks. This is where actual discipline is needed.