T Nation

TCam's Log - The Road to Elite

For lats not sure if you an assisted pull up machine but those are great to help get everything back to normal

@bigpappafrance That’s a good point, I never even look at that machine but I do have access to one.

Another Long Catch-Up Post

Week 61 - Day 3:
High Bar Paused Squat - 5x5x341 - Duffalo bar in flats
Belt Squat + Leg Curls
(No Day 4 due to travel)

Focused - Week 62

Day 1

Front Squat w/ Belt:
1x315
1x365
0x405 - Controlled it down to the hole and promptly got smooshed without an concentric effort lol
2x5x225

Conventional Deadlift w/ Belt/Straps:
2x10x375

Day 2

Pin Press w/ Chains (+75):
2x8x220+75

Pin Press - 3 Ct Pause:
3x6x220

A1 | Bent-Over DB Row:
12x75s
12x85s
2x12x100s

A2 | Crossbody Cable Triceps Extension:
20/20x60
16/16x60

Trap Bar Power Shrug:
2x12x245

Plus chain curls, incline cable curls, DB lateral raise

Day 3

Sumo Deadlift w/ Belt/Straps:
5x2x555

SSB Squat - 5 Ct Eccentric:
6x3x295

Bulgarian Split Squat:
2x20/20xBW

Day 4

Close Grip Bench:
2x10x255
15x255 - Real hard

Incline JM Press:
3x12x135

EZ Bar Curl:
20x40
2x15x60

Rear Delt Swing + Fly:
10+18 x 55s + 20s
10+15 x 55s + 20s
10+12 x 55s + 20s

Lat Pulldown:
20x120
20x150
20x120
2x15x100

Band Triceps Pushdown:
2x20x2 Lights

Focused - Week 63

Day 1

Pin Front Squats - Beltless:
4x6x242 - Oof

Low Bar Squat w/ Belt/Flats:
3x3x352
2x3x396

Conventional Deadlift w/ Belt/Straps:
2x10x440 - Oof

GHR w/ Band:
3x12xMini

Bulgarian Split Squat:
2x20/20xBW

Sliding Plank:
3x10xBW

Including pins for the front squats for a couple of reasons. 1: They suck and I suck so if I make them not suck, I won’t suck. 2: Controlling the end eccentric ROM to land lightly on the pins will force me to be stronger where I failed the 405 attempt. 3: Coming off the pins requires a different level of upper back position focus compared to just pausing in a free squat.

Day 2

Bench w/ Chains (+75):
8x225+75
8x245+75

Pin Press - 3 Ct Pause:
6x225
2x6x245

Chest-Supported Incline DB Row:
12x80s
2x12x110s

Trap Bar Power Shrug:
3x8x295

Triceps Pushdown - Slow Eccentric:
Sets with 100 and 130, didn’t really count, just went til they were hard and then did a few normal reps too

Cable Lateral / Y Raise:
2x15x30s

Shoulders are feeling rough recently with the re-addition of back squats. Didn’t push bench too hard today.

Day 3

Squat w/ Belt - Flats:
5x2x405

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps - Slow eccentric:
2x6x485

A1 | Cossack Squat - Band Assisted:
2x12/12xBW-mini

A2 | Banded Step-Up:
2x12/12xBW+Light

Starting to get a little bit of a back squat groove going with my form finally. Really, really need to focus on maintaining my thoracic extension and purposefully driving the knees forward. Otherwise I sit to far back, my torso angle drops, and my low back rounds, causing me to lose my upper back. I wouldn’t be concerned with the buttwink if it wasn’t affecting the squat otherwise.

Sumo form held up well, just feels rough. Going to ease into it and let conventional take the primary effort spot for a bit.

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Focused - Week 63 - Day 4

Close Grip Bench:
2x12x255
15x255 @ RPE 9.5

Incline JM Press:
3x15x135

EZ Bar Spider Curl:
15x50
2x12x70

Rear Delt Swing + Fly:
2 x 15+12 x 55s + 25s
12+12 x 55s + 25s

Assisted Pull-Up Machine w/ Angles90 Grips:
2x10xBW-120 lbs

Band Fly:
2x20x2 minis

Very much doubt that I will be able to get 3x15+ next week for close grip. I’ll likely switch up the goal to something more reasonable. Still happy to have beaten the overall volume from last week though. My PR is 255x20 and 275x15 with my comp grip and 275x12 for close grip, so I’m hitting what I would consider equivalent in that range.

Focused - Week 64 - Day 1

Pin Front Squats - Beltless:
3x8x245

High Bar Squat - Oly Shoes/Belt:
3x5x365

Conventional Deadlift w/ Belt/Straps:
2x10x465 - Cheeky paused last rep, not nearly as hard as expected

Seated Leg Curl:
2x15x100

Bulgarian Split Squat:
2x20/20xBW

Band Standing Ab Crunch:
A bunch with 2 Light bands

Front pin squats continue to suck, but I did 24 reps in 3 sets instead of 4 this week with 3 lbs added.

2 weeks ago I did 2x10x375 on conventional deadlift because of how bad deadlifts have been feeling. Absolutely didn’t expect to do the same with 465 this quickly. My PR is 495x10, so that would be cool to break that soon. Focusing a lot on getting my hips horizontally close to the bar and purposefully starting “rounded” instead of fighting that position helped a lot.

Focused - Week 64

Day 2

Bench w/ Chains (+75):
8x242+75
8x253+75 - PR

Pin Press - 3 Ct Pause:
2x6x220
3x6x242

Power Shrugs:
3x10x315

Chest-Supported Cable Row:
5x10x110 - Using belt squat (not worth the setup)

Triceps Pushdown:
3x20x110,130,130

Cable Lateral / Y Raise:
2x15x30s

Didn’t feel amazing on the bench in general, but this was still a PR. Biggest volume PR is 5x5x275+75 and closest otherwise is 6x275+75, so today was simple.

Day 3

Squat w/ Chains (+75) - Belt/Flats:
2x3x375+75
7x375+75 - RPE 7.5, surprising sudden PR

Squat w/ Belt:
3x3x375

Sumo Deadlift w/ Belt/Straps:
2x4x495 - Practicing different positioning and wedging

Standing Single Leg Curl:
2x20/20x50

Lat Pulldown:
2x25x100

This was interesting. I just chose the chains variation today because I was having hip discomfort at the bottom and figured I could just get past the day with whatever I could. First set of 3x375+75 felt like it was crushing me immediately upon unracking, but it moved well and so did the next set. So I went for a pseudo-AMRAP with a cap.

While this isn’t an absolute PR, it’s still a variation PR. I’ve squatted 5x5+ with 455 with 7x455 on the plus set, which was by far the biggest squat day I’ve ever had and the point where I started getting quad tendinopathy lol. That was years ago, so hitting 7x450 at the top, is still a good mental win for me.

No 4th day this week due to travel.

Focused - Week 65 - Day 1

3 Ct Eccentric Paused Front Squat w/ Belt:
3x3x275

High Bar Squat w/ Belt - Oly Shoes:
5x315
5x365

Conventional Deadlift w/ Belt/Straps:
2x3x500

Cable Core Rotation w/ Bandles:
3x12/12x60

Hyperextension:
20xBW
20xBW+25 - Not a real hyper machine, just leaning against safety strap in a rack. Not a terrible setup, just not going to be as loadable

Traveling this weekend didn’t set me up for success in this workout. Low back, both knees, and right hip were all feeling bad. But it is what it is and I took this as a deload opportunity for squats at least. Then I went to deadlift and those solidified the need for an entire deload. When you want to shoot for a 10RM PR at 500 and you end up doing a decently hard set of 3, it’s time to back off a bit lol

Focused - Week 65 - Deload

Day 2

3 Ct Paused Bench:
6x3x275

Tate Press:
15x20s
2x15x30s

Cable Press-Around:
2x25/25x50

Hammer Zottman Curls:
2x10x30s

DB Lateral/Y Raise:
2x15x15s

Day 3

Paused Sumo w/ Belt/Straps:
4x4x495

Beltless Box Squat - Squat Bar:
2x10x235

Sumo feeling pretty solid with the new wedging technique. Just not pushing it beyond what I’m ready for since it’s a new position with different tension emphases.

Squat felt worse than it has in a while. I worked up to a single at 315 (57%) and it sucked. I did another single trying to focus and it didn’t help. Both knees are aching and my left adductor has been bitey since my chain squats the other day, which was probably a very minor strain. I’ve learned that when I hit a point where some very low percentage is abysmal, I just cut it instead of forcing something.

Day 4

Close Grip Incline Bench:
8x225
7x225
6x225 - Each were about RPE 9

HS Incline Press w/ Bands (Doubled Minis):
2 x 8/8/8 x 90+Bands / Bands Only / 90 only

Chest-Supported Cable Row - Lat Focused:
15x130
2x15x150

A1 | DB Lateral Raise:
2x15x35s

A2 | DB Lateral/Y Raise:
2x10x15s

B1 | Machine Abduction:
3 x 30 seconds x 90 - Something in the mid-20s reps

B2 | Machine Adduction:
3 x 30 seconds x 90 - Something in the mid-20s reps

Going to start fitting in some lower body stuff on upper days and vice versa. This is because when I’m fatigued from the main lifts, I’ve found that I tend to start slowing down my efforts on those muscles towards the end of the workouts. Shifting these end-of-workout lifts over a day means I’ll actually do them, give them more effort, and they’ll help with recovery from the previous day.

From my physical therapist mind: This also allows for more frequent variable movement. I’ve been feeling overall pretty achy and part of that is my desk-focused days since I work online now. I’ve been moving less than when I was in the clinic by a lot. Adding more frequent variable movement means that the joints and tissues are getting more stimulus more often for maintaining or increasing mobility.

Focused - Week 66

Quick update before travel and I forget everything. Another 3 day week.

Day 1

SSB Squats w/ Belt:
3x395 - This was way harder than it should be. Knees didn’t want to be involved.
3x5x295

A1 | KB Swing:
3x10x70

A2 | Paused Conventional Deadlift - Beltless:
3x5x375

A3 | Plank:
3x1:00

Lat Pulldowns for high reps

Day 2

Standing Pin OHP:
3x5x135

Behind-The-Neck Press:
3x8x85

Arms and such

Day 3

Seated Leg Curl:
20x60
3x15x80

Paused Leg Press - Hip/Adductor Focus (High+Wide Stance):
3x15x450 - Deep as possible, slow and controlled into the hole

Cable Low Row:
2x12x180
20x180

A1 | DB Bench:
15x60s
15x75s
10x85s - Slow eccentrics

A2 | DB RDL:
15x60s
15x75s
15x85s

B1 | Adductor Machine:
3x15-20x90 - Plus PNF stretch against the weight at the end

B2 | Abductor Machine:
3x15-20x90-110 - Plus holds at end ROM until isometric failed

This was a good workout for not having a primary lift involved. Needed to give the knees a break for recovery. Also did some things to purposefully stress them like a few isometric holds after the leg press. Load management plan here is to decrease the squat efforts and increase focus on specific positions of pain with isometrics until pain subsides. Good time for working on weaknesses like my hip/adductor strength.

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Some good lifting

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Focused - Week 67 - Day 1

Duffalo Bar Squat w/ Chains+Bands - Oly Shoes/Belt:
6x2x235+130+Average Bands - Measured out to +220 at the top. Most accommodating resistance I’ve ever used lol

Sumo w/ Belt:
3x2x530

A1 | Snatch Grip Bent-Over Row:
3x10x220

A2 | GHR Med Ball Sit-Up:
3x15x30

A3 | Triceps Pushdown:
20x120
2x15x120

A4 | DB Lateral/Y Raise:
3x15x20s

This was fun. I knew going in I wasn’t going to go over 2 plates and just see how much I could load otherwise. I wanted to be able to squat without my knees hurting and still get some kind of training stimulus. This did that. I’m leaning heavily towards doing some sort of conjugate programming and just using the shit out of accommodating resistance like this.

New sumo technique is holding up well so far with some added weight. Very fast off the floor.

Likely going to use giant sets for accessories more frequently for GPP and training density for time’s sake.

Focused - Week 67 - Day 2

Rackable Cambered Bar Bench (85 lb bar):
3x225
3x265
3x295 - This got very hard, very fast

Paused Bench:
2x8x275

Seated OHP - To Chin:
3x10x145

A1 | Lat Pulldown w/ Band - Medium Neutral Grip:
3x15x90+Dbl Monster

A2 | GHR:
3x15xBW

A3 | Cable Skullcrusher:
3x15x100

A4 | Bulgarian Split Squat:
3x20/20xBW

I was looking back at my log after this workout and trying to figure out the way I had named specialty bars. From what I can tell, I was calling a short cambered bar (basically an SSB without the middle part) an American Cambered bar. Not sure how I came to that conclusion because EliteFTS makes something entirely different with that name. Either way, my PR on that is 3x355 and I was very concerned about how hard this was today with the much larger camber on the rackable boy. That mother fucker is wobbly as shit.

But, I got up to 295 and didn’t injure myself, I just felt like I was going to so I called it there and did my back-offs with a normal bar. After the cambered bar the straight bar felt like nothing lol.

Focused - Week 67

Day 3

Squat w/ Bands - Belt/Oly Shoes:
6x3x225+150 - 1 Light + 1 Mini per side measured +75 lbs at the bottom and 150 at the top

A1 | Beltless RDL:
3x10x315

A2 | Standing Cable Ab Pulldown:
3x15x100

Leg Press - High+Wide Stance:
2x12x540

B1 | HS Iso-Row - Single-Arm Standing:
12/12x90
2x12/12x135

B2 | Hammer Zottman Curl:
3x10x30s

B3 | Bent-Over Rear Delt Fly:
3x20x30s - Swinging by the end of each

Not great, not terrible. Still having some left adductor twinges and a right hip shift again as a result. But it got better as the sets went on ​and they ended up moving well. Just still getting used to bracing against band tension again.

Decided on Conjugate at this point. If I weren’t using accommodating resistance, my knees would still be hurting, but they are like 80% better just switching to heavy AR. We’ll see how they feel on an ME day, but it just makes more sense based on my history with AR treating my lifts well. The thing is, I have to be smart about my intensity and volume and not just keep tacking it on. An ME day shouldn’t be 'til death and I know that now.

Day 4

Paused Bench w/ Bands:
8x3x185+70 - Dbl minis were measured +70-75 lbs at the top, didn’t measure the bottom but likely half that at most. Alternated 3 grips

Incline DB Bench:
2x10x105s

Push-Ups:
24xBW
15+5 x BW+Mini and BW
10+5 x BW+Light and BW

DB Lateral Raise:
2x15x20s

A1 | Hyper:
2x20xBW

A2 | Band Rear Delt Fly:
2x20xMinis

Normal DE bench day here. They moved and felt better each set. This concludes basically a deload/transition week. Not sure if I’ll be able to do 3 or 4 days this week yet, but I will get all the main lifts in at least to start off the conjugate programming.

Conjugate - Week 1

Day 1 - Max Effort Lower

Duffalo Bar Squat w/ Belt/Flats:
3x417
2x8x330 - High bar

TnG Sumo w/ Chains (+40) - Belt/Straps:
2x5x485+40

A1 | Cable Chest-Supported Row:
3x20x175

A2 | Triceps Pushdown:
3x15-20x130-150

A3 | DB Side Bend:
3x15/15x70

A4 | DB 6-Way Delts:
3x8x10s

Alright it’s officially started. Conjugate time. First heavy squats were underwhelming of course, but that was expect based on recent knee pains. Today I was pain free, even in flats (which can inflate the issue of not having enough dorsiflexion by putting more relative stress on the knees). The top triple was smooth on the first rep, but the next 2 pitched me forward. High bar was more solid with form, but it was hard. That back-off rep work is where the work gets done though.

Sumo is moving really well with the new form still. Forced myself into a higher TUT variation here with touch-and-go. My TnG is very controlled with a slow eccentric and touching just enough. Good control here though.

Day 2 - Max Effort Upper

1-Board Press:
3x345
3x365 - Technically a 20 lb PR over a lift in… I shit you not… May 2012 lol

3 Ct Paused Bench - Wide Grip:
2x8x275

OHP - Close Grip:
2x10x132

A1 | Lat Pulldown w/ Band - Medium Neutral Grip:
3x12x110+Dbl Monster

A2 | Cable Skullcrusher:
2x15x100
20x100

Single Arm Cable Preacher Curl:
3x10-12x50

No lower body stuff today due to a condensed week. Lower body day is tomorrow.

Board presses were tough due to pressing from a point that I usually skip over through the use of leg drive. From what I can gather from my previous log and way back in this one… I did it back in 2012 for 405 to both a 1 and 2-board, 345x3 to a 1-board, and 385x2 to a 2-board. Since then I did some accommodating resistance plus boards when I had one of my many pec strains and needed to accommodate for that. Irony being that these hit my pecs harder than a full ROM bench for sure.

This is obviously just an ME day random variation, but I may throw them in for a supplement cycle since it’s been so long. These were very hard to control for some reason today, so it’s something I can work on.

Conjugate - Week 1

Day 3 - DE Lower

Squat w/ Bands - Belt/Oly Shoes:
5x5x235+105

Beltless RDL w/ Straps:
2x10x375

Beltless Sumo w/ Hook Grip:
5x1x375 - 30 sec rests, just form practice

Leg Press:
15x380
2x12/12x290

Chest-Supported T-Bar Row:
2x12x100
40x45

Standing Cable Ab Pulldown:
15x70
2x12x100

Felt uncoordinated with everything today. I couldn’t get my squat to be consistent at any point and I was shaky during the RDLs as if I couldn’t sit properly into my hips to use them, despite the low RPE. Dynamic days are supposed to be partially about solidifying form and this wasn’t it. Will need to do better.

Either way, starting off very easy RPE-wise because in a couple of months I will have progressed to something like 60% bar weight + 40% accommodating resistance to circa-max it up. Gotta start easy so I don’t die.

Day 4 - DE Upper

Bench w/ Bands:
5x5x185+90 - Wide and competition grips

Incline DB Bench:
10x105s
12x105s

A1 | Deficit Push-Ups:
2x20xBW - One normal, one wide

A2 | Rear Delt Swings:
2x20x30s

DB Lateral Raise:
2x15x20s

Hyper:
3x15xBW+35

This was okay, nothing out of the ordinary. Same logic as above, starting very light for DE work.

Conjugate - Week 2

Day 1 - ME Lower

Reverse Band Squat (-65 at the bottom) - Belt/Oly Shoes:
3x440
3x485
3x507

Beltless 1+1/2 Squats:
3x6x264

TnG Sumo - Belt/Straps:
3x3x485

Band Ab Pulldown:
5x15xStrong

Band Good Morning:
3x15xStrong

PR on reverse band squats is 3x525 from like 8 years ago, but those were with average bands instead of the light bands I used today, so I’m not sure how much it took off back then. Might be a similar amount of weight, idk.

I felt like trash warming up. It was mostly the knees making me shift the tension elsewhere and losing my relative positioning. 375 moved just fine but it felt like shit. So I decided on reverse bands to help with confidence in the bottom and ended up with nearly 3x445 at the bottom on my top set. I wouldn’t have gone up that high in straight weight based on how I was feeling during the warm-ups, so using reverse bands both improved my confidence, led to more weight at the bottom, and more weight at the top. Knees felt and feel fine afterwards. That’s why I’m doing “conjugate”. It encourages accommodating resistance and choosing a heavy variation that literally accommodates how you’re feeling on the day.

Specificity is great, but I’ve found it can only be sustained for so long. Also I just want to have fun lifting heavy shit. Normal squats get boring.

Conjugate - Week 2

Day 2 - ME Upper

Paused Bench w/ Chains (+40):
3x275+40
3x305+40
3x325+40

Paused Larsen Press:
8x225
3x8x245

A1 | Cable Low Row:
3x10x200

A2 | Machine High Incline Press:
3x10x140

B1 | Cable Skullcrusher:
2x15x100

B2 | Band Triceps Pushdown:
2x20xLight - Both to failure and partials included in rep count

Standing Cable Pullover - Wide Grip for Rear Delts:
25x80
15x100

PR here is 3x335+40 at RPE 8. This was RPE 9 with 10 lbs less, so not quite at PR levels, but still doing well for getting back towards the heavier side of things. I’m going to be pretty cautious going through this first cycle to see how everything holds up with this style. Structurally this felt pretty rough today. Elbows and shoulders were both feeling achy. May have been from the previous day’s squats though.

One thing I’m doing is making the backdown supplemental lift a hard variation so that the weight has to be lighter. I think my downfall previously has been my intrasession ability to hit a lot of sets of heavy weights, but I can’t recover from it and eventually hit an injury. That’s why my main lift is literally just working up to the top weight and then backing way off with something hard for me (under the assumption that it will make me better at the main lift).

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Conjugate - Week 2

Day 3 - DE Lower

Squat w/ Bands - Belt/Flats:
5x5x255+100 (Lights)

Sumo w/ Belt/Straps - Stiff Bar:
5x405
2x5x495

Leg Press - High/Wide Stance:
10+5x5 x 360 - Cluster set with 15-25 seconds between bouts

A1 | Seated Leg Curl:
3x15x100 - Positioned to be real full ROM knee flexion

A2 | Adductor Machine:
20x70
2x15x90

Band Lying Knee Raise:
3x15xMini

Took a while to find my groove on the squats today, but I figured out a position that felt good and I got much faster. Still getting used to band tension coming out of the hole, so I need to focus on maintaining my position there.

My heavier deadlift slot will be on this day rather than the ME lower day (unless the main lift is a deadlift of course). Going to be doing some work in the 4-6 range most of the time. This will be heavily autoregulated slot based on my recovery from the previous ME lower day and how the DE squats treated me, especially as I get closer to 60% bar weight plus 40% accommodating resistance.

Conjugate - Week 2

Day 4 - DE Upper

Bench w/ Bands:
5x5x205+105 (Dbl Monster Minis)

Incline DB Bench:
3x10x105s

A1 | Lat Pulldown - Angles90 Grips - Rear Delt Focus:
15x120
15x150
15x150 + 6x120 + 8x90 - Drop set

A2 | Decline Push-Ups:
2x20xBW

B1 | Single-Arm Triceps Pushdown:
12/12x45
12/12x55

B2 | Single-Arm Overhead Triceps Extension:
8/8x45
8/8x55

Cable Curl:
15x55
2x15x70

Good DE day here. All bench reps felt pretty much identical and maintained my speed throughout. Still figuring out all my supplement and accessory wave schemes, but I think this wave (3RM ME day wave) will include 10s for the incline slot here, then 2RM wave will have 8s, then 1RM wave will have 6s.

Kinda falling off that idea of the mixed upper/lower accessories, but I may come back to it. Just depends on my discipline to do the work when I originally mean to.

Overall having a good experience with conjugate?