T Nation

The Bird Cage 6: The Legend Returns


@Destrength: Back has been good. The last 2 days has been the only time that I have noticed the slightest twinge, maybe a 1/10 on the pain scale. I am just trying to be extra cautious and not risking anything with it. I already squat with my Olympic squat shoes. Makes a massive difference.

@MarkKO: Just a general feeling around the lower back area. The tenderness is not very specific. As I write this, it feels 99%. I also feel that my ab’s and obliques are a little tender. Not sure if that’s from squatting or from been crushed by my 150 kg training partner at BJJ.



If it’s lower back I’d probably go with squeezing your abs hard as opposed to squeezing down 360 degrees around your midsection. My cue for that is squeezing my lower back. My abs squeeze if I do that, but if I only squeeze my abs my lower back doesn’t lock in.


@MarkKO: that’s interesting. I’m not sure if I understand what you mean by squeezing the lower back. My bracing definitely could be improved on. Any extra advice/tips/suggestions will be appreciated.



Ok, I’ll try to articulate it better.

Try this. Take your air (into your belly) and squeeze your abs hard. Hold that and think about where you feel tension. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel it in your abs. While you do this, think about how your lower back feels. Does it feel relaxed/normal? That means you’re just squeezing your abs.

Now, take a big belly breath and squeeze into your lower back, kind of like you’re forcing a constipated turd (sorry). Don’t even think about your abs. Feel that tension in your lower back? It feels locked in, doesn’t it? Now think about your abs. They’re tensed too, aren’t they?

That’s about as well as I can explain. I think sometimes it’s referred to as 360 degree bracing or something.


@MarkKO: thanks. Makes more sense. I will be practicing that all weekend.



Sunday, 3rd June 2018


Workout B

• Usual warm-up.
• dB incline press: 3 sets with 25 kg (18,13 & 11) (total of 42 reps).
• Back squat: ramped up to 3 x (4 x 90kg) and then 1 x (20 x 70kg)
• Supersetted 5 sets: pull-ups (8,8, 7, 6, 6) with dips (5 x 10 reps). Finished off with some face-pulls.

Standard Sunday morning session.
Everything felt good. Took it easy with the squats again. Might have to post a video up for a form check.

No BJJ today. Tomorrow its a public holiday so I will take advantage of that and do a boxing session in the AM.



Mark got some great cues there.

Try watching @Alpha (Brian Alsruhe) tips on bracing and breathing.
I’ve just recently started using, but I think it works for me.
And I suck at bracing :slight_smile:

And the video

He has another on his site as well.


Wednesday, 6th June 2018


Workout A

• Usual warm-up
• Bench press: ramped up to 3 working sets of (8 x 95kg). (band-pull-aparts in b/w sets)
• Back squat: ramped up to 3 sets of (5x 90 kg). 2 x mini-sets of (10 x 80 kg).
• Supersetted 3 sets of; chest supported row 3 x (12x 30kg), and dB incline hammer curls 3 x (10 x 12.5kg). Finished off with some shoulder shocker.

Bench was solid. The last 2 reps on the last set were grinders. This is possibly a rep PR for me.
Squats were ok. I was going to watch Alphas video on bracing as reccomended by @mortdk, but I ended up rushing to the gym straight after work so I didn’t get time. Next time.
The superset was easy… time to go up with the weight.

An update on my big toe: I think its back to 100% now. I will probably wait until after my vacation before I start jumping rope again. I have 2 weeks scheduled starting at the end of next week.

Planning to post some pics up later if I can work out how to do it.





Fucking shredded as always Birdie.


Friday, 8th June 2018


Workout B

• Usual warm-up.
• dB incline press: 3 sets with 25 kg (15,15 & 13) (total of 43 reps).
• Back squat: ramped up to 3 x (3 x 100 kg). No 20 repper today.
• Supersetted 4 sets: pull-ups (5 reps) with dips (8 reps).

I watched the video on bracing as suggested by @mortdk before this mornings session. It all made sense, but executing it while under the bar is never as easy as it seems. Will need to keep focusing on this aspect of my lifting.
Little short in time this morning and even though I was feeling good, I was not in the mood for 20 rep squats ,so I passed on that. Im happy with the 100 kg squats, although they did feel extra heavy this morning.

I think I have had enough with this program, but I will continue it for another week until I leave for vacation next week. Im happy with the results I haven’t yet managed to injure my “glass” back, so Im happy with that.

Thanks for the compliments @Destrength. Looking at the above pic, I am kind of disappointed that my legs look that skinny, but considering I stand at 6’2, they probably aren’t that bad. As I was discussing with @Ironwarrior25 the other day, my mind is in a constant battle of choosing between strength gains vs staying “lean and mean”. In an ideal world I would like to lose 1-2%body fat, and gain 5% muscle mass.



Greg has us do brace and holds periodically. Just get under the bar, brace and hold for five to 10 seconds. That’s one rep. Something like 3x5 works, and don’t worry if you get dizzy.


You can always do bulking and cutting cycles now that you don’t have to be light for soccer. Nothing too excessive, just like during the Fall and Winter when you are planning on wearing more clothing anyway just slowly put on like 6kg (1 kg per month) then do a quick and easy spring cut and during the summer hold your new body weight (probably 3-4kg at your old bf%) and repeat the process. You never get fat (you’ll probably still have reasonable abs all year around), and you’ll be cut for when you want to wear less clothing.


Looking great!


Looking good birdman!


@MarkKO: That’s a great idea. Maybe I can incorporate that into my warm-up a couple times a week.

@Destrength: I think I kind of do that already, although I definitely start to panic when the abs start to disappear.

@furo & @danteism: Thank you gentlemen. In your opinions should I be aiming to add some size?



Sunday, 10th June 2018


Workout A

• Usual warm-up
• Bench press: ramped up to 3 working sets of (8 x 95kg). (band-pull-aparts in b/w sets)
• Back squat: ramped up to 3 sets of (3 x 90 kg). 1 x 20 reps of 70 kg.
• Supersetted 3 sets of; chest supported row 3 x (10x 30kg), and dB incline hammer curls 3 x (10 x 12.5kg).


Decent session. I had a mate at the gym who I have not seen for awhile, and he likes to chat a lot , so the session was interrupted and took 20 minutes longer than usual. I took it easy on the squats as I found it hard to concentrate as he was chatting away.

After the gym I went straight to BJJ, where we did some self defence stuff and had a roll with our gloves on. Always fun. This morning (Monday) I did a boxing class. I was paired with a new guy, so it was pretty low in intensity, but that was ok with me. Might go again tonight after work.

This week will be my last week of logging for 2 weeks. I am off on a vacation to Taiwan for 10 days. My hotel has a decent gym, but Im not sure if I will be using it.




Well, as a bodybuilder I see all time that’s not used either losing fat or gaining muscle as wasted opportunities, so I’d say yes. You’re already lean, so gaining size would be the route I’d take


Enjoy your holiday and it is not a bad idea to take some time off training altogether and come back refreshed.

I think you just need to think what is your main goal and prioritise that.