T Nation

The Road to Strength


#1

I'm currently doing a modified version of SS on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It's pretty much the same as the original program only I'm supersetting my bench press with seated cable rows (4x6) and my military press with lat pulldowns (again, 4x6) along with some ab work, generally standing cable crunches. I'll probably also be adding some additional work to help in getting myself able to do chin ups and dips, which I'm currently too heavy/weak to do.

To help me lose some of the fat I'm carrying around and improve my overall conditioning, I'm doing two things. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings I'm going to be doing some partially fasted jogging in the morning after grabbing a handful or two of nuts. Saturdays I'm going to be doing barbell complexes (row, hang clean, front squat, press, back squat, good morning).

My stats are as follows:
Age: 21
Height: 6'
Weight: 205 lb
Training level: Beginner

My main goals are to bring up my lifts, with a special emphasis on the big three, to shed some of the fat I've got, and to (finally) be able to do dips and chin ups. I'm looking to drop a good deal of fat over this semester and be able to do dips and chins for reps by the end of the semester.

I'll add photos as soon as I can get access to a camera.


#2

Yesterday was my first day of complexes. I started with 55 lb. on the bar, but that felt a bit too light. After finishing the first round with that weight, I bumped it up to 65 lb. and did 8 reps on each, rested 90 seconds, did 7 reps, rested another 90 seconds, and did 6 reps of each. It was getting pretty tough at the end of the last set and I have to rest for a second or two before continuing with the back squats, but all in all I think I did a fairly good job for my first time. I think front squats will probably give me the most trouble since I don't have as much experience with them as I do with the other lifts, but that'll pass with time.

My plan of attack on the complexes is to keep doing the 8,7,6 rep protocol until I can finish the whole thing without having to take any breaks in between reps and then move on to 8,7,7 while still resting 90 seconds between sets. I'll keep working in that fashion until I can bang out three sets of 8 each without any pauses, and then add a fourth set in. When I can get to four sets of 8, I'll bump up the weight and start the process over again, but maybe with a slightly longer rest period starting out.


#3

A. Squat: 185x3x5

I made another 10 lb. leap in my squat and got out 4 good reps in the first set, 4 in the second, and 3 in the last. I'm finally getting the hip drive down (up?). Come Wednesday I should be able to get five good reps in at least my first two sets. I still need to work on keeping my back up and not turning it into a squat/goodmorning hybrid, though. Further practice on the hip drive should help to rectify that.

B1. Press: 105x3x5

I've been having trouble finishing my sets at 110 lb. so I dropped it down by 5 lb. today. I managed to get 5 reps in the first and second sets and 4 reps in the third. I'm trying to stop bringing the bar down to the rack position and starting from a near dead stop on all of my reps so I don't tire out as much.

B2. Lat pulldown: 120x4x6

Banged out 24 easy reps on it. I need to still focus on squeezing my scapulae together and down at the end of the concentric, though. Still, time for a bump in weight.

C. Power Clean: 135x3x5

3 good reps in sets 1, 2, and 4; 2 good reps in 3 and 5. I still need to shrug harder on the second pull. Also, someone watching me doing the cleans told me I've been pulling with my back a bit more and give me some pointers (most notably jumping to a wide base and into a squat when receiving the bar). Form is the big thing holding me back at this point on my cleans. Also, I was apparently using a fat bar while doing the cleans. I didn't really notice it until I was just about done.

D. Negative chins: 1x3

Not much to say here. I just jumped up to top position and tried to slow the descent as much as possible. My lats and biceps aren't really feeling sore yet, but that may well change tomorrow.


#4

Did my first jog about an hour ago. My calves were starting to hurt midway and I was getting shin splints. I took a short break to walk it off a bit and then continued running through the soreness, telling myself that if I can lift through soreness I can jog through soreness.

After a little stretching, some water, and a lukewarm shower my calves are feeling better, but they're still sore. I'm going to continue jogging the route I went on today until it becomes easy(/easier) and then I'm going to mix it up a bit. It'll be a while before i reach that point, though, so I don't really need to bother thinking about what to do at that point.


#5

Squat
45x5
45x5
135x5
155x5
185x5
185x5
185x4

Bench
45x5
45x5
75x5
115x5
130x5
130x5
130x5

Seated Cable Row
140x6
140x6
140x6
140x6

Deadlift
135x5
135x5
185x5
185x5
235x5

Negative Dips
BWx3

First time I'm getting my bench to go up again in a week since the two weeks I took off from lifting. Not quite comfortable with the form of my last squat rep so I'm going to stay at 185 for one more session. Should be getting some help from a powerlifter who goes to the gym on Friday. Row is still going up fairly easily. Just need to keep working on my negative dips (and get more reps in).


#6

Aaannnddd apparently my squat form is pretty bad. My hips are coming up before my torso and I'm goodmorninging it up to lock out. I'm dropping the weight to 155 lb. and staying there until I have my form down. It sucks and means I might not meet my goal of hitting a 250lb. squat by semester's end, but so be it. I'm not going to bother posting the stats for my squat. I did a few extra sets at 155 after trying some work sets at 185.

Oh, and apparently I was using a fat bar for my cleans, so due to my grip being compromised from that and being a little worn out from the extra squats I just skipped the work sets after trying one rep.

Press
45x5
75x5
95x5
105x5
105x5
105x5

Lat pulldown
140x6
140x6
140x6
140x6

Power clean
45x5
95x5
115x5

Negative chin-up
BWx4
BWx4

I was fairly disappointed with my performances in both the squat and power clean, but I'm upping the weight on my overhead press and lat-pulldown and making some progress with my negative chins.

Does anyone have any suggestions for my squat form problem?