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The Bird Cage 5: Ultimate Warrior

Ahh, for me it seems like the set up is what limits me. Also, I learned a lesson on handstand push ups: don’t do them with unwarmed up shoulders, you’ll regret it.

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@Destrength what’s your opinion on the best way to warm up shoulders for handstand push ups? (sorry for the derail Bird. I hoped it was relevant).

@Destrength and @TheWolfMan

Thanks for the tips, and yes I learnt that the hard way. Injured my upper back one day trying to execute handstand push-ups from the wall.

I use dislocates, push-ups, some wrist exercises and roll around a bit making sure Im warm before I go into the handstands. I like to do a few rounds of static holds against the wall before attempting freestand handstands or any handstand push-ups.

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Saturday, 1st October 2016.


TRAINING


AM

Upper Rep

  • Bike ride to the gym (though torrential winds)
  • General warm-up including some frog jumps and “archer push-ups”
  • Weighted dips: 5 x 5 with 25 kg (3 reps of pull-ups in b/w sets)
  • Superset 3 sets of : dB overhead press (10 x 17.5 kg), dB rows (8 x 32.5 kg)
  • Superset 3 sets of: BB curls (8 x 35 kg), farmer walks (45 kg dB’s)
  • Bike ride home

notes: Strangely I didn’t feel much pump as I usually do. Maybe it has got something to do with fasting for 18 hours yesterday. I only fast on Fridays as it is my rest day, although I do eat a massive dinner before bed. Usually I don’t superset the curls with the farmer walks but I was running out of time. Have some friends visiting from out of town this weekend so I am busy entertaining them. Will probably have a few beers today as well, as my mate is my old drinking mate from uni days.

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Monday, 3rd October 2016.


TRAINING


AM

Max Upper

  • Bike ride to the gym.
  • Warm-up including handstands against the wall and frog jumps.
  • Bench press: 5 x 5 with 90 kg. (3 pull-ups b/w sets)
  • Superset 3 sets of: seated rows (10 x 55 kg), incline hammers curls (10 x 15 kg).
  • Superset 3 sets of: suitcase carries (22.5 kg dB), face-pulls (10 x 25 kg).
  • Bike ride home.

notes: Feeling strong now! Next week I will increase all weights except for the curls again. Im hoping to hit 100 kg for 5x5 eventually on the bench.

In other news I have been feeling somewhat of a lower back irritation in the past couple of days. Just an odd, almost sharp pain I feel when moving after I have been sitting for a while. Might got something to do with Saturday night when I spent hours sitting in a chair at dinner and having a few beers etc. Might also be related to the recent cold weather we are experiencing. Hopefully it all clears up before BJJ tomorrow evening.

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Birdie gave really good warm up advice. For me, I’d do some door stretches going both ways, shoulder dislocates, and some really light overhead pressing, and/or push ups to get warmed up. Then do a really easy set of them, like maybe a set or two of 1-2 reps to get the groove, then go do the work sets. That is if you want to do them as your first exercise. If it is later on, then it just depends on what you’ve been doing. Like after doing push ups and pull ups, or some overhead pressing you should be good to go if you normally have the mobility to do them right.

Birdie actually does them regularly though, so I’d stick with his advice. -He is better with joint health stuff too, I am just naturally as resilient as an ox so I don’t really need good warm ups for anything unless my mobility is trash for something.

edit: And it is really an individual thing. Some people need more, or less warm ups, and other than getting blood flowing to your shoulders and elbows it is really individual on what you need to work on.

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Yeah I don’t do HSPU at the moment - they are on my list, but I’ve currently got other priorities in my training and a bunch of coaches who are much more experienced than I am have said that trying to do everything at once is asking for trouble.

What I’ve found is that doing upper back work before any sort of pressing works wonders for keeping the shoulder positioned properly. That basically means 3-4 sets of ~10-20 reps of whatever row variation I feel like doing that day, plus maybe a few band pull aparts.

I also do 50 dislocates a day, not necessarily as part of a warm up. My shoulders feel a hell of a lot better since I started doing that - I had some nagging problems with my left biceps tendon, which have completely disappeared.

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Training is lookinh solid. What bought on the handstand training?
I’ve been looking at various gymnastic style challenges. Managed to do an L sit for over 30s and a bridge, but would love to be able to do an unsupported handstand and a front lever.

@Destrength: I wish I had you indestructible joints. lol.

@TheWolfMan: Upper back work is the bomb. Just wondering do you do much overhead pressing? Thats the only thing that can irritate my shoulders.

@Ironwarrior25: A 30 second L-sit is impressive. I started experimenting with body-weight stuff awhile ago when I was injured and just wanted a break from lifting weights. I never logged any of it on T-nation, but for about 4 months I did body-weight exercises only. Got a bit boring after awhile, but got me interested in learning skills such as the handstand, L-sit and pistol squats. All are impressive feats.

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Wednesday, 5th October 2016.


TRAINING


AM

Max Effort Lower

  • Bike ride to the gym, warm-up including eccentric pistols and archer push-ups.
  • Reverse BB lunges: 5 x 5 with 70 kg ( 3 reps of pull-ups in b/w sets)
  • Superset 3 sets of: BSS (10 x 17.5 kg), ham curls (10 x 30 kg)
  • single leg deadlifts with a kettle-bell: 3 sets of 6.
  • Bike ride home.

notes:
Feeling strong. A little angel on my shoulder is telling me maybe a deload week would be an idea, while the devil on the other shoulder is saying just keep pushing! Everything today felt heavy(especially the lunges), but I was up for it.

Looked at myself in the mirror this morning and I am looking a little thicker than normal. I probably have increased my calories by few hundred in the past week. Happy to push my strength, but I still want to keep an eye on such things as agility, strength to weight ratio and flexibility etc.

Will post some pics up soon.

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Fair enough. How have you got on with pistol squats. I have been trying, bu just can’t quite ge full depth and maintain my stability. Have you done any progressions for these or is it just practice?

@Ironwarrior25: I have my doubts that I will ever achieve a full pistol squat. My ankle joints are cemented together and my femurs are long. At the moment I am doing the eccentric portion down on to a bench. Feels great on my knees, and I have previously had issues with patella tendonitits, so Im treating it as rehab/injury prevention.

I have been meaning to do some research into progressions. I was reading somewhere that starting from the bottom and going up might be a better place to start. Sometime today Im going to have a closer look at that article and I will let you know if its worth looking into.

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I’m fairly tall myself at 6’4" and had success by doing just that. Starting at the top position and doing eccentrics for several sets/reps. Then starting from the bottom position, doing assisted concentric, until I was strong/mobile enough to do them normally. I don’t do them anymore, but when I played collegiate baseball they were a requirement for strength standards… go figure.

I don’t actually overhead press much right now. Until about 3 months ago I was doing a standard 531 template with 1 bench day and 1 OHP day. I stopped because the OHP stalled really bad and I couldn’t get it going again even after resetting three times. Bench had slowed down a little, but I was still coaxing progress out of it. All my other lifts were fine, so I figured I was just burned out on pressing and needed to switch things up.

Now, I don’t OHP with a barbell, but the reason I stopped wasn’t because my shoulders hurt. It’s also only a temporary thing - I’ll get back to it within a few months.

My current program is slightly unorthodox 531, incline bench as a main lift and DB OHP and weighted pushups as supplemental lifts. So I do overhead press about once a week, but pretty light and low volume (about 3 x 10). Also with a neutral grip, which I think makes a difference.

@dchris: Thanks for the tips bro. Wondering why don’t you do them anymore? Such an awesome skill to have.

@TheWolfMan: OHP is one of those things that does plateau pretty quick. Im wanting to add it back into my training, but I just have to be smart about it as previously it would aggrevate my left shoulder.


BIRD UPDATE


Woke up yesterday feeling a little stiff after the leg session. Lower back was a little inflamed/angry, so I instead of going to my usual BJJ class I went for a walk with the girlfriend. Hope fully by tomorrow Im feeling good and full training will resume. I am traveling to the city tomorrow for a wedding on Sunday. Will have to keep a closer eye on nutrition as I often go overboard when down in the big smoke.

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Yeah Wendler’s always said that the OHP is going to be the first to stall. Then bench, then squat and deadlift. I’ve never had shoulder problems (directly) from overhead pressing, so I can’t help you much with that. You sound like you’re on track, anyway.

And I forgot to mention that my 531 template is highly unorthodox anyway, because I do front squats instead of back squats haha.

How are your front squats going? I noticed your goal at the start of the log was bodyweight, but you’ve mainly been doing single leg stuff. Is that helping?

@theWolfMan: Haven’t done much front squatting as I am waiting for lower back/hip to feel 100% before I attempt squatting again. Unfortunately I have felt some pain returning in the past few days. About 4 months ago I aggravated my lower back while back squatting and so I am trying to be extra careful.

In other news I have been suffering form gastro for the past 3 days. Haven’t had much to eat besides a cup a rice and some Pocari Sweat. Have a wedding to attend to tonight and then I am hoping that I wake up tomorrow back to normal.

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Mainly because they cause discomfort in my right knee. It just didn’t feel worth it and I haven’t found another movement that aggravates it.

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Hey peeps!

For those that are wondering I have been missing for a few days now. Last Thursday I had some mild pain in my lower back and had decided to take a day or 2 off training.

On Friday night I caught a stomach bug and spent the night vomiting everything that I ate for that day. Couldn’t keep any food down for the next 2 days, and I also had a wedding that I was required to attend. I think I lost 3-4 kg’s and the only food I could eat was rice and Pocari Sweat (Asian version of gatorade).

Anyway 4 days later and I am somewhat recovered from all of my illnesses and pain. I have made an appointment with the GP to see if he can run some tests on my gut, as I had similar symptoms about 4 weeks ago while on holiday in China. Might also ask the GP if they can X-ray my hip to see if thats what causes my intermittent lower back pain.

This week was meant to be somewhat of a deload week. I have taken the approach of CT’s deload where he practices his new routine and plays around working out what weights are needed for the next cycle.

Wednesday, 12th October 2016


TRAINING


PM

Max Upper

  • Bike ride to the gym.
  • Warm-up including handstand practice, backbends and frogging.
  • Barbell Floor Press: 5 x 5 with 70 kg (3 reps of pull-ups in b/w sets)
  • Superset: 4 sets of: chest supported t-bar row(10 x 30kg), dB hammer curls(10 x 17.5kg).
  • Suitcase carries farmer walks: a bunch of carries using the 20 kg and 22.5 kg dB’s.
  • Bike ride home.

notes:
Feels great to be back in the gym. Hopefully it triggers my appetite. Weights all seemed about right for a “deload” I suppose. Next week I will increase all weights. It was my first time doing t-bar rows so Im not sure If I’m doing them properly, although I did feel a nice back pump. I wanted to finish off with some face-pulls, but the gym was full of bro’s and I just needed to escape.

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Saturday, 15th October 2016.


TRAINING


PM

Lower Max

Tried out my new template and it was a disaster of a session. Landmine squats felt awkward, although the last set wasn’t too bad. I had to abort the RDLs as i felt some slight irritation in the lower back. I then finished off with 3 sets of 20 leg press just to get some blood in the legs so the session wasn’t a total waste. I might have to re-asses and change this template again.

  • Bike ride to the gym.
  • Warm up including eccentric pistols and archer push-ups.
  • Land mine squats: 5 sets of 8 reps with 20 kg plate on the bar (3 reps of pull-ups b/w sets)
  • RDLs; aborted. Felt some irritation in the lower back. Not read for these yet.
  • Leg press: 3 sets of 20 with 2 eps. Light weight, but I just wanted to get some blood circulating and was a good stretch for my ankles as well.
  • Bike ride home.

notes:
If anyone has any experience/tips on land mine squats, please share.

Im thinking I should maybe start looking for a new program. Possibly something like CT’s latest “best ever” program, or something along the lines of Alpha’s supersets which seems to be popular at the moment.

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