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TCam's Log - The Road to Elite

Focused - Week 51

Day 3

Paused Squat w/ Belt - Low Bar:

Conventional 2" Block Pull w/ Belt/Straps:

Cable Goblet Squat:

Standing Single Leg Curl:

Banded Mountain Climbers:
3x8/8x2 Minis

Hard workout in the heat but it all felt pretty decent.

Day 4

Seated Barbell OHP from Pins:

1-Arm DB Row:

Cable Lateral Raise:

Triceps Pushdown - Bands as Handles:

Cable Curl:

No horizontal pressing today due to the pec. OHP from pins was full ROM.

Focused - Week 52

Day 1

High Bar Squat w/ Chains (+75) - Belt:

Paused Sumo w/ Straps/Belt:

Some light belt squat experimenting, because:

Woke up with some pretty severe left hip pain. Can’t think of a reason, considering the last lower body day was 3 days prior, submaximal, pain free, and volume wasn’t high since it was a week 1 of a wave. Got out of bed and it hurt to weight bear and perform pretty much any hip movement. Got worse over the next day with standing for work. But I still did this workout based on feel and it not hurting worse during it.

Got an x-ray at work and there’s no structural issue. Very slight improvement now (2 days later), but it’s pretty alarming. I’m not the type of person to get imaging done or immediately reach for an outside opinion, but this feels awful. Will be monitoring and adjusting training to see if it goes away completely. But I may need to get an MRI or arthrogram to check for labral damage. Could be the last couple of years worth of intermittent hip pain showing it’s real cards. Or it could be something dumb that resolves itself within a week or two with graded movement.

Focused - Week 52 - Day 2

Paused Football Bar Bench w/ Chains (+75) - Wide Grips:
20x185 - No chains

Football Bar JM Press:

Cable Fly - Low Angle:

Machine Horizontal Row:

Triceps Pushdown:

Cable Curl - Reverse + Normal Grips:

Hip update real quick: Same pain levels, no change in pain location to give another clue.

I don’t know if I’ve ever used chains on a specialty bar, but it was pretty hard. Pec is still being iffy, but not painful per se. Got a big pec pump with it, so they’re definitely working. And no issue with the flies, using both a lengthened position and shortened position force curve.

Focused - Week 52

Day 3

Nothing to log here really. Did a few sets of squats with 264, felt bad on the hip. Filmed from behind and saw a ton of pelvic shift. Right side dips way lower than the left.

After that I did a ton of hip exploration. Mobility, CARs, and isolation stuff.

This was on Saturday. It’s Tuesday as I’m writing this. I’ve done hip work each day since then and it’s feeling a lot better just with normal walking and such. Good sign finally. Not sure what training will look like for lower body today, but it will be different than usual.

Day 4

Seated Barbell OHP from Pins:

Meadow’s Row - Angles90 Grip:

DB Triceps Extension:

A1 | Cable Low Row - Semi-Supinated MAG Grip:

A2 | Lat Pulldown:

B1 | Cable Overhead Triceps Extension:

B2 | Cable Upright Row / Low Facepull:

DB Curl:

Lu Raise:

Lots of exercises here, but you’ll notice it was on average 2.5 sets per exercise. Trying to get in more efficient sets and not spending a ton of time on junk volume.

OHP was harder than I thought it would be at 165. Way out of shape for that, but we’ll see how it comes back around. From pins makes it a lot harder than doing a TnG version.


Playing Catch-Up Again

The hip issue has resolved almost entirely with my own rehab process. Only still having some pain and limitations at end-range abduction and external rotation. This is limiting my ability to perform a sumo deadlift, but otherwise it’s feeling okay.

I’ve been doing exclusively front squats for the last 3 squat workouts and I am going to continue doing so for about 8 weeks. I’ve been avoiding them for a long time. It’s time to get my quads strong enough that I’m not totally relying on my hips.

Week 53

Some highlights:

  • Box Front Squats (Beltless) - 3x8x185
  • Pendlay Row - 5x6x220
  • Suitcase Deadlift - 3x5/5x198
  • Bench Press - 5x5x275
  • Paused Front Squat (Beltless) - 3x286, 3x5x220
  • Paused Deadlift - 3x3x418

Focused - Week 54

Day 1

Box Front Squat (Beltless):
3x8x198 - PR over last week

1+1/2 Conventional Deadlift w/ Belt/Straps:

Walking Lunges:

Standing Single Leg Curl:

Russian Twists:

Got to the point on front squats where I’m starting to lose the ability to hold my upper back position. It’s the primary issue with them for me. The 286 from the other day was cleaner than the end of these sets today. My focus on these is entirely that and sitting straight down. No hip hinge.

Box is being used because of my hip issue. I’ve noticed that my right ischial tuberosity is literally lower than my left when I’m squatting due to the pelvis tipping to the right before I get to the bottom. Box is there as a tactile cue to sit to the back+left. It’s resolving it nicely so far, just need to transfer it to the non-box variety and then back squatting.

My PR on front squats is apparently 365 and this was back like 6 years ago. I haven’t done them since then. My goal is 405 and my reeaaching goal is double bodyweight (likely 440 or slightly less, if you’ll notice below I’m dieting)

Day 2

Felt really shitty on this day. Pecs were tight, mind not there, all of that. I’m currently dieting and seeing if I can get lean while staying strong. Just experimenting with things honestly. And what I’m doing is a restrictive high protein and low carbs/fat route during the week, plus a refeed window on the weekends. All planned and calculated for to calorie-balance it correctly. But it’s hitting me hard mid-week mentally. I’ll adapt though.

Basically today I did 2 sets of 2 at 135 on bench before calling it and just doing some back and arms work. Felt like I was bound for an injury pretty much immediately. I’ve found it’s not worth it on those days. Live to fight another such and such.

Keep up the strong work!!!

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Focused - Week 54

Day 3

Paused Front Squat - Beltless:
3x315 - PR

Squat w/ Belt:
2x1x405 - Felt good

Sumo Deadlift:
2x1x484 - Just feeling it out

Kickstand DB Deadlift:

Not much to this workout other than the squats. Fiancée is now done with her first meet prep, so the workouts have gotten shorter and I’m just trying to get good at front squatting. 315 felt heavy and I couldn’t quite keep the position I wanted in my thoracic spine. Ended up with the same sort of rib issue or erector or intervertebral muscle strain that I’ve had several times before. Kind of felt inevitable as I reach into the weight that I can’t control as much.

Will continue the focus on positioning and shoot for increasing thoracic strength and mobility under load to avoid this issue in the future.

Day 4

Paused Bench:
12x275 - RPE 7

HS Iso-Row - Standing Unilateral w/ Angles90 Grip - Lats Focus:

A1 | Floor DB Skullcrusher:
3x15x35s - RPE 9 on sets 2-3

A2 | Lying Rear Delt Fly-Row:

Barbell Wrist Roller w/ Band+KB:
3 sets wrist flexion w/ 45 lbs
2 sets wrist extension w/ 45 lbs
All with eccentric lowering

I’m going to keep working on these forearms. It’s one of the only body parts that I’m always impressed by when they’re big as hell, might as well actually get some myself.

Bench felt much better today than the previous few weeks. Still going to be conservative with it but it was nice. And I think this was the heaviest row I’ve done on the Iso-Row since the lat strain. No pain, nice hard set at the top too.

Focused - Week 55

Days 0.5 and 1

Went to the gym to help my fiancée with the final days of meet prep. I did a couple of things with the plan to do the main work the next day.

Assault Bike - Tabata:
2 minute warm up
0:15 fast / 0:15 slow for 8 rounds

Cable Leg Curl:

Cable Glute Med Kickback:

Next day:

Beltless Front Squat:
3x8x225 - Got somewhat hard to maintain the upper back near the end, otherwise good

Beltless Conventional Deadlift - Straps:

Split Squat:
2x8/8xBW - Trying to keep the pelvis from tilting. Going to be doing more of this even at zero weight until I can control it on that left side

Front squat PR is 275x12 apparently, assuming with a belt, and would have been several years ago. So this was a decent volume session for being a couple of weeks into them.

Felt good to get some deadlift reps in even if it wasn’t super heavy. Haven’t pulled beltless in a while and may need to run a cycle of it to see if it helps.

Focused - Week 55

Day 2

Feet Up DB Bench:

Machine Chest Press:
Couple sets of 20

Some sort of row

Another short, forgettable workout leading into the meet.

Day 3

Beltless Front Squat:
1x345 - PR for beltless
10x255 - PR

High Bar Squat w/ Belt:

RDL w/ Belt/Straps:
6x495 - Hard but felt good
6x405 - Was going to do somewhat easy 10s but got hit with my rib thing at the bottom of what would have been the 7th rep

Seated Leg Curl:

Hip Adductor Machine:

Felt very strong on this day. Other than the last single of front squats, everything held up very well. Just upper back loss on the 345 rep, which is the main issue to solve.

RDLs made me feel like I was killing it on that top set. 6th rep of 405 I actually paused at the top and wondered if I should stop and just do some easy 6s. But I considered that it was at about RPE 4 right then. Unfortunately that next rep stopped me lol. I thought I strained my lat again at first, but it’s my recurring rib/intercostal/erector/something else issue. Front squats likely contributing to this happening more frequently at the moment. I’ll either get more strong and mobile, or it’ll keep happening. We’ll see.

Meet Day

My fiancée did awesome. She won best lifter in the 67.5 kg class and best female lifter overall too! She went 275/143/330 with her only failed attempt at 160 on bench, 155 would have been there but I overshot that attempt just barely.

Focused - Week 56

Day 1

High Bar Squat w/ Belt:
3x3x405 - Each last rep paused

Hack Squat - Close Stance + Oly Shoes:
23x270 - Woof, I was going to do a cluster set of 20 but apparently lost count because it sucked

Seated Leg Curl:
12x120 + 12x80 + 12x60 - Drop set

Hip Adduction Machine:

Cable Ab Pulldown:

Opted for high bar rather than front squat today due to the rib issue. That’s feeling better already, just a couple of uncomfortable movements here and there, but it felt good enough to back squat. Squats were hard for sure, the 405 and 455 the other day following two front squat PRs were easier than this day.

But I pushed through for a few reps and then replaced the front squat quad stimulus with a really hard set of hack squats. Interestingly, I’ve never been able to use this (or almost any) hack squat machine without knee pain immediately with 1 plate at any foot position or angle. But I just went up to 3 plates and hit this set of 23 suddenly. Question is: Was it the Oly shoes changing some angle or was it the front squats I’ve been doing making my knees more resilient?

Day 2

Paused Bench:

Lat Pulldown:

DB Seal Row - Hard Stop:

Machine Dip:
20x100 - Triceps extension facing machine, not dips

Hammer Zottman Curls + FatGripz:

Lu Raise:

Other than bench this was a good workout. Bench just felt very weak. I’m at a weird place with it at the moment, because I keep feeling like the right pec is strained after a bench workout despite no pain during. So I wanted to keep this workout low volume and see how it responds to some weight over 275.

Focused - Week 56 - Day 3

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:
16x485 - Practically match PR from 15x495

Beltless 3 Ct Eccentric Front Squat:

A1 | Leg Extension:
15x200 + 10x170 + 10x140 + 15x100 - Drop set

A2 | Standing Single Leg Curl:

Deadlift felt pretty shitty at first because I was being careful with the rib/back issue, but I didn’t feel anything so I just sent it. Increased my effort and focus a lot and figured I would go for an AMRAP. It’d be cool to pull like 500 for 20 at some point, because I think I could have done 485x20 on a better day.

Backed off on front squats for this day just because of the deadlift and needing to make sure the knees are being load managed well instead of just hoping linear progress will work.

Focused - Week 56 - Day 4

A1 | Seated Barbell OHP from Pins:
5x4x185 - All hard

A2 | Machine Lat Pulldown - Angles90 Grips:
2x12x230 - Bilateral, seated
2x12/12x115 - Unilateral, kneeling

B1 | Chaos Push-Ups:

B2 | Push-Ups:

B3 | DB Prone Swimmers:

KB Overhead Triceps Extension:

Wasn’t in any mood to be in the gym and didn’t have any caffeine. Pec still seems to be tight and annoyed so I’ll have to focus some other effort there. Went with OHP again instead and it felt very heavy. But oh well, just means I got 5 high RPE sets in on a day where I thought I’d do nothing of use.

Push-ups were low effort, just to get some tension on the pecs and I’ll build from there.

Focused - Week 57

Day 1

Beltless Front Squat:
3x6x275 - PR

Squat w/ Belt:

Sumo w/ Belt - Slow Eccentric:

Plus a few sets of rehab style exercises for filming for clients.

Low back got a little angry following this (staying over next couple of days). Need to continue to figure out the best positioning and cues for front squats because I did try to extend a bit harder today. And then switching to the back squat immediately gave me a spasm just at 315 and it held the rest of the workout back. It’ll be fine, just a bit too much stress to the area at the moment.

Day 2

Feet Up Paused Bench w/ Slow Eccentric:

Chest-Supported T-Bar Row:
12x135 + 12x90 + 12x45 - Drop set

A1 | Dip Machine:

A2 | Machine Preacher Curl:

B1 | Cable Rope Curl:

B2 | Cable Upright Row / Low Facepull:

Bench continues to feel weak, but that comes with reduced fitness from not doing it as often because of the pec feeling shitty. I decided to put my feet up because my arch was bothering my back from the squats. May need to continue doing this just to force some upper body strength gain without the leg drive.

some solid work regardless of back aches!!

Thanks! It happens, I’ve learned to deal with it and adjust without too much worry at this point.

Focused - Week 57 - Day 3

Front Squat w/ Belt:
1x375 - 10 lb all time PR

Hack Squat w/ Bands - All drop sets:
2 x 8x200+2 Lights + 5x200
8x200+2 Lights + 8x200

DB Deadlift w/ Hips Banded:
2x20x70s + Strong band


This was pretty much a mental game workout. My low back was still hurting somewhat and my thoracic/ribs felt like they were threatening to be an issue too. So, I pivoted and threw on the belt for the first time in this front squat challenge. I wasn’t going to do much volume because I’ve mostly seen form breakdown with reps. Ended up just taking my shot because the warm-ups felt great, due in large part to my focus on bracing at both the belt and thoracic spine.

And honestly, the 375 moved very well. Not much break down and fast. Onlooker just commented “My God” lol.

Sometimes these pains are how you learn to truly brace and perform well.

Big Catch-Up

Life has been hectic with clients and getting my businesses rolling. Still training and recording during workouts though. Here are some highlights of the last few weeks.

Week 58

Day 1 - Front squat 5x5x275 / High Bar to 455x1
Day 2 - Feet Up Bench 5x6+ (10 AMRAP) x 275
Day 3 - 2" Sumo Block Pull to 650x1 / SSB Good Morning / Belt Squat
Day 4 - Low Incline Feet Up DB Bench 3x10+ (15 AMRAP) x 110s

Week 59

Day 1 - Front Squat 6x2x308 / Conventional w/ Chains 6x2x440+60
Day 2 - Feet Up Bench 3x5x308, 8 & 10x286 / Push Press 3x5x176
Day 3 - High Bar 3x1x455 / Sumo 1x551, 2x3x484
Day 4 - Low Incline Feet Up DB Bench 3x12+ (16 AMRAP) x 110s

Week 60 - This Week

Day 1

Paused Front Squat w/ Belt:
3x2x315 - Wanted 6x2 but my right knee/quad wasn’t having it
2x3x225 - Slow eccentric

Deadlift w/ Chains (+60):

Front Rack Carry:
4 x 150 ft x 155

Cable TKE Split Squat:

Note on previous couple of weeks and this day: Not feeling awesome with front squats. I’m well over where I started out, but I’m starting to get some aches in the knees and the right lateral quad was feeling dangerously iffy on this day. Still in a calorie deficit, so it’s all adding up. My goal right now is to finish out this diet phase in about 1 more week and then bump my calories up by about 20% to start a maintenance phase. Hopefully that will allow better recovery and then I will shoot for that 405+ front squat. If I feel awesome on a random day, I will take it then though.

Day 2

Feet Up Paused Bench:
3x5x315 - PR as far as I know

Push Press:
5x198 - Harder than I wanted it to be

Chest Supported T-Bar Row:

Fat Man Pull-Ups w/ Neutral Grip (+Band):

Barbell Reverse Grip Curl:

Barbell Front Raise:

Cable Rear Delt Fly:

Decided to continue with the feet up bench from the last log because I rely too heavily on my leg drive. Need some pure upper body strength gains. When I did it with 275 that first day, it felt god awful. But getting up to 315 for 5s wasn’t too bad. I’m going to get this into the rotation.

Also going to do more pull-up type motions to get the lat back in shape for it. I don’t care if I ever do a full pull-up again, but I don’t want to avoid it out of fear of hurting the lat. I still get some discomfort from the strain, which was clearly a bigger injury than I initially thought.

Overall update: I’m leaning a little bit towards more of these variation goals like front squats. Doing push press and shooting for like 315 for a single would be cool. Need to get out of my comfort zone and feel somewhat athletic. I’ve also noticed that I tend to just feel like shit whenever I get to heavy work over a few weeks. I need more higher rep work to feel good and gain strength. I just get in my own way because of laziness and just wanting to do low rep stuff.

Focused - Week 60

Day 3

Front Squat w/ Chains (+75) - Belt:
1x335+75 - All of these were PRs technically. 410 at the top here though :smiley:
3x3x275 - No chains

2" Sumo Block Pull w/ Belt/Straps:
1x595 - Way harder than I wanted

Paused Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:
3x475 - Yeah no, I’ll circle back around to being good at deadlifts after the front squat saga lol

A1 | Reverse Nordics w/ Band Assistance:
3x12xBW - Mini

A2 | Leg Extension:

GHR Sit-Ups w/ Band:
3x12xMini - Increased resistance each set

Accommodated the load for my knees’ sake and it worked very well. No pains and I ended up using more bar weight than the previous few workouts anyway. Accommodating resistance is awesome from load management. It’s not just for supramaximal load training, even though this happened to be that as well.

What I learned: 405+ is going to feel heavy as shit.

Day 4

Low Incline Feet Up DB Bench:
14x120s - PR for this variation

HS High Row w/ Angles90 Grips:
3x20x180 - 10 reps elbows tucked for lats, 10 reps flared for upper back

Cable Crossover Triceps Extension:

Cable Fly:

B1 | Cable Double-Biceps Curl:

B2 | Incline Cable Curl:

Calf Raise w/ Band:

Good day here following a nice refeed last night. I’ve hit 125s for 11 on a higher incline with feet on the floor (still a harder variation than the low incline today), so 14x120s is likely equivalent there.

Focused - Week 61 - Deload

Day 1

SSB Squat w/ Bands - Belt/Oly Shoes:
7x3x295+Light bands

Beltless Conventional Deadlift w/ Straps:
10x2x375 - 45 sec between sets

GHR Hyper w/ Med Ball Hug:

Right quad pain out of the bottom of all squats today from bodyweight up. May be from hitting it with a DB on it during the last workout’s benching. Hopefully. No increase in pain throughout, but I did cut it a set shorter than planned.

Otherwise SSB felt okay. I think front squats are finally teaching me how hold my thoracic position a little better. We’ll see if it translates.

Deadlift continues to feel terrible at the moment. Oh well for now.

Day 2

Paused Bench - Self Hand-Off:
5.9x335 - Failed the 6th like 1 inch below lockout lol

Fat Man Pull-Ups w/ Neutral Grip + Band:

A1 | Band Crossover Overhead Triceps Extension:
20x2 minis
15x2 minis

A2 | Cable Triceps Pushdown:

EZ Bar Curl:

Lu Raise:

First time benching with the feet down in about a month. Arch didn’t stay where I wanted it to, but otherwise these moved pretty well. Wanted 6-7 on the AMRAP, but it just wasn’t there today.