T Nation

Thor's Work


#1

Thought I would start a log mainly to keep an online reference to my progress but also for feedback on my training. This log will be comprehensive, including workouts, diets, and any other necessary information to keep me focused.

My goal is to increase base strength and flexibility (with size being an added bonus) for collegiate baseball.

Tomorrow will be a test day for my maxes after a layoff (a week from deads and bench for a deload, and about 4 weeks from squats due to a groin strain). I plan on using very conservative weights to start because I am in the middle of a summer baseball season. I'll be timing the progression so that I switch from maintenance weights to gaining weights right about the time the season ends.

I'll be using a modified 5x5 program focusing on compound lifts and linear progression using an A off B off A off B off etc... workout scheme.

Day A:
ATG Back Squat 5x5
Bench 5x5
Dead 3x5 alternated with Power Clean 5x3
Shrug 5x5
Chinup 3x5-10 (10 rep goal, if reached reduce reps and add weight) alternated with Pullup 3x5-10 (same thing)
GHR 5x5-10 (same as above)

Day B:
Front Squat 5x5 alternated with Overhead Squat 5x5
Strict Press 5x5
SLDL 5x5 alternated with Flat Back GM 5x5
Pendlay Row 5x5
Dip 3x5-10 (same as above) alternated with Heavy Tricep 3x5-10 (same as above)
Heavy Ab 5x5-10 (same as above)

I'll be tracking body weight once per week and also post pictures once every two weeks. Also I'll give some updates on my baseball games for the ballplayers and fans out there.


#2

Had another baseball game yesterday. We won 3-1 which puts our record at I think 5-0. I went 1 for 3 (1 1B, 1 RBI). Our game today got rained out. Tomorrow is a really big day for me.

I have a workout with a baseball coach from UB at 2:30, which is basically so he can watch me take some BP, test my 60 time, and see me field some fly balls (I'm an outfielder). This is all part of what I'm hoping to be a smooth transfer over to UB to play baseball.

On a side note - I was doing extremely well this summer getting 8+ hours of sleep every night and eating at least 5 relatively clean meals a day, but the past two days I have gotten next to no sleep, and I think I have actually lost some weight as a result. I'll know on Monday how true that really is. I know for sure my arms have gotten smaller ever since I began this deload.

This past week I have been using my mom's 15lb exercise bar to really groove my technique for all squats and help with my hamstring flexibility issue. Even the small amount of weight really helps force perfect form.

I have been exaggerating my back arch in the low positions of the squats to force my hamstrings to stretch, and slowly but surely they are getting better. The really great thing is that some of my chronic left hamstring pain is starting to subside.


#3

The workout with the UB coach was pushed to Tuesday since it was father's day today (yesterday?) and the fields were destroyed from rain. We still had the double header but it was a day game followed by a night game under the lights at my town hall field - it's a really nice field.

We won both our games which were against the only other undefeated team in the league, increasing our record to 7-0. It's actually 7-0-1 because we have to finish a game that got postponed. I'll be weighing myself, taking a progress picture, and lifting tomorrow morning.

This upcoming week is going to be brutal. I have lifts this Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday while ALSO having a game Tuesday, a double header Wednesday, a game friday, and a double header Sunday. I usually lift before games, and for some reason it really makes a positive difference... almost like I'm already in tune with my body once the games start. That and it's a great way to be warmed up and ready to go.

Because of the huge increase in activity levels that are going to proceed, I am going to seriously up my caloric intake for the next two to four weeks to make sure I don't burn the candle at both ends. I know I can take this amount of work, I just have to make sure that I make it as easy for myself as possible.

Baseball works as a great way to get sprint work in without actually setting a specific workout for it and making the necessary mental hurdles to start doing it. If I don't sprint for a fly ball, my ass will find itself on the pine - what a great motivator.


#4


Front Progress

Naked fasted weight this morning: 176.3lbs (wow I lost a ton of weight - I was ~185 a week and a half ago...)


#5


Back


#6

Wheels


#7

Finished my first workout of this log. I really feared what my numbers would look like after losing that much weight, and I think my fears were called for - the numbers speak for themselves...

By the way, everything is written in the Russian style ie weight x reps x sets

ATG Back Squat
45x8, 135x5, 185x3, work set 205x5x5

Wow! Before my groin injury about a month ago I was squatting 335x5, now even the 205 felt very challenging. I'm hoping muscle memory kicks in and pushes that weight higher. Also, every time I do ass to grass squats I get the weirdest looks from people, as if they are trying to mentally tell me "hey man, that's so bad for your knees, you are going too low." They need to mind their own fucking business.

Bench
45x6, 135x4, work set 155x5x5

Again my decreased strength is disappointing. Bench has always been a struggle for me though... we'll see.

Deadlift
135x4, work set 225x5x3

I'm going to have to film my deadlift form because for the life of me I cannot feel it in my posterior chain. Usually I feel it in my low back which I know is normal but I want to make sure I'm not lifting the weight with my back. Deadlifts just continue to frustrate and baffle me.

Chinup
work set BWx8x3

This was the first time I have EVER felt fatigue in my lats from chins. I am very excited about this because my back strength is horrendous and I attribute that to poor mind-muscle connection. The very first rep I did I tried to pull the bar to my stomach and felt it HARD in my lats, and that's when the light went off and I realized "so that's what I'm supposed to feel!" Also I was trying to keep my forearms perpendicular to the floor while slightly leaning my torso back. I think it should go without saying that all these are done from a dead hang each rep :confused:

Glute/Ham Raise
work sets BWx5x3, BWx4x2

Since my gym doesn't have an actual GHR machine, I use the somewhat ghetto version of anchoring my feet with the Smith machine and using a Bosu ball to support my knees. With the Bosu ball I don't need a push off from the floor, but for some reason I don't feel it nearly as much in my glutes as I do in my hamstrings. I think that might be because, due to the setup, my knee aren't allowed to dip enough for the strong glute contraction at the top. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I had to skip shrugs today because there were no barbells available when I wanted to do them, and I really don't like doing them with dumbbells. I had already been in the gym long enough, so waiting for one to free up wasn't a priority. I'll get 'em next time.


#8

Did some serious recovery measures last night so that I wouldn't be overwhelmingly sore for my game today. First I did about 6 rounds of contrast baths, then I stretched while sitting in the hot water, and finally I foam rolled till I was too tired to do it anymore. Woke up today and my legs still felt tight/sore/gelatinous. After warming up they felt pretty good, but between every inning they would revert back to their previous soreness level.

It really sucked. We ended up winning, putting us at 8-0. I came in from centerfield to close in the last inning. Struck out the first batter, had the second one pop out, then struck out the final batter looking. I'm about to go lightly swim in my friend's pool. Hopefully that will get some blood to my legs and help with the soreness.

Tomorrow I have the first attempt at Day B. Some things that I really want to work on during the workout will be my front squat form and making sure my back stays flat and tight while doing my SLDLs (and minimizing low back involvement in lifting the weights - I have yet to learn how to effectively fire my hamstrings for this exercise).

On a more positive note, I have been eating like I weight 300lbs, and I find the increased energy it is giving me to really help me stay focused and alert throughout the day. I ate an entire rotisserie chicken today for lunch about 2 hours before my game, then had a big bowl of cereal after. I'll be attempting to eat cottage cheese tonight mixed with natural peanut butter. I've never eaten cottage cheese, so this is going to be quite the experience.


#9

6/22

My B day was halted pretty abruptly by a horrible pain in my wrist. It has been bothering me for a long time ever since doing very heavy rack pulls with straps, which I think screwed up some tendons on the side of my hand.

Front Squat
45x8, 95x5, work sets 135x5x5

For my first time doing front squats, I found the form pretty easy to maintain. Now that's not saying much considering the weight was really low, but it's better to start a lift right with low weight than to start it wrong with high weight. I leave my ego at the front door.

Military Press
45x8, 95x5x2

On my second set of 95lbs, I felt a horrible pain in my left wrist accompanied with a crunch feeling/sound. I wasn't able to lift anything with my left arm for the rest of the day, and had to ferociously tape it in order to swing a bat in my baseball game.

The rest of my workout was impossible because of this wrist injury. I feel that upper body exercises are completely out of the question until this is fixed, meaning I need to set new short term training goals while this wrist heals. The lifts that I am still able to do that were in my original programming are as follows: Back Squats, GHRs, Good Mornings, and Abs. Because of this, I am changing my training regimen to one focused entirely on leg strength and flexibility. I'm going to have to add some unilateral work like lunges to increase training volume. I'll also consider adding some dynamic lifts and explosiveness work.


#10

6/24

I finally had my first workout in my new gym. It's so much better than the local YMCA, which is way too commercial and clean for my taste. This new gym is the only gym in the Rochester area that I know of that has a real glute/ham raise, which is amazing. Unfortunately, I found that out after I did my GHRs on a roman chair. Fuck.

ATG Back Squat
45x6, 95x5, 135x4, 185x4, work sets 215x5x5

Squats felt great today. I like how I am feeling fatigued in both my quads and hammies/glutes after squatting. I think that is a cue that I have correct form, allowing my posterior chain to fire in order to get out of the hole. I'm trying to keep my rest times as short as possible. I like the feeling of pushing myself when I'm tired, or getting under the bar and questioning whether I'll be able to finish the set.

Glute/Ham Raise
BWx10, BW+10x10, BW+25x5x2, BW+25x8

So, the reason I joined this gym in the first place was because a bunch of my really good friends train there with a guy for 40 yard dash speed and general football athleticism. I was told that they had a glute/ham raise by my friends, but I questioned their knowledge of what a GHR actually was. When I got in the gym, I searched for a GHR, and could not for the life of me find one. I did, however, find a roman chair, which I assumed must have been what they mistook for a GHR, so I used to roman chair to do some uncomfortable raises. Only after I was done and was having a conversation with my friends' speed coach there did I see the actual GHR. Crap.

I have an MRI tonight at 8:00pm for my wrist. I know the results won't be good, and I know that I won't be able to lift upper body until it's fixed. That being said, I'm going to have to program a new lifting schedule until things get better.


#11

I had the MRI on my wrist. Every time I get an MRI I always wonder why in the hell is it so loud. Man are those things boring as well.

My baseball game got cancelled tonight due to rain, which sucks because I was scheduled to start on the mound. This usually wouldn't bother me too much but lately I have been getting really antsy to make a start because all of our starting pitchers usually throw complete games meaning I (the dedicated closer) am left with no innings to pitch.

A great thing happened today though: my box of Biotest supplements arrived! I got Surge Recovery, Metabolic Drive, and a bottle of Flameout. I know it's a limited supply, but I plan on ordering more once these start running low. I'll be taking Surge after every workout, and Metabolic Drive every night along with some cottage cheese and natural peanut butter. I'll also take 4 Flameouts throughout the day every day.

As far as my new workout protocol, I think I'll be doing the following:

ATG Front Squat 5x5
GHR 5x5-10
Good Morning 5x5
Heavy Ab 5x5-10

The goal will be to add weight to each lift every workout, similar to Starting Strength or Stronglifts. I'll still be lifting every other day, and because of that, I will take mini-deloads (make a scheduled training day much lighter than it is supposed to be) if I begin to plateau, have decreased energy, or miss reps on consecutive lifts. When I actually hit plateaus, I will reduce the weight by 10-20% on the stalling lift and work back up, trying to break the plateau. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I will hit a significant stall at around 315 pound, at which time I will probably deload for a week and then attempt the base mesocycle of Smolov.

I'll be attempting to add 10 pounds to my work sets for squats every workout until I miss a rep, at which point I will reduce it to 5 pounds per workout.

I have some weird obsession with the Glute/Ham Raise - I have the same level of drive and intensity toward it as I do with the squat. It might be because I have always found my posterior chain very weak, and I have never been able to significantly "feel" my hamstrings and glutes fatiguing on a lift.

I want to get really strong with the Good Mornings as I feel they will have significant carryover to my deadlift once I am able to grip a barbell again. They also are great for stretching my hamstrings, which have always been tight, during the eccentric.

The ab training will basically consist of very heavy declined sit-ups, only going down to parallel on the eccentric. Gotta get my core as strong as possible, and these along with the good mornings should have some good injury prevention and postural carryover, as well as making squatting and deadlifting easier to do with good form.


#12

The UB baseball recruiting coach came to batting practice this morning and watched me hit, then had me do some private hitting for him with my coach. He also watched the first game of our double header. I hit and fielded very well. I'll know more in a few days. We split with the other team. I think that puts our record at 11-2 but I'm not sure.

I couldn't get to the gym today because it closes at four on Sundays (bullshit). I'll pick it up again tomorrow. I think I'm going to wake up early and see how that feels.

I'm really loving the new Biotest products. The Surge Recovery tastes kinda weird but it hits the spot after a hard hour in the gym. Metabolic Drive tastes amazing (I got the chocolate milk flavor). Oh my goodness is that stuff good. The Flameout is really easy to get down also, and I don't get the fish burps. All in all I'm very pleased with my purchases. More to come in the future.


#13

6/27/09

Naked fasted weight this morning: 174.8lbs. Time to up my caloric intake...

ATG Back Squat
45x10, 95x6, 135x5, 185x4, work sets 225x5x5

Felt some slight discomfort in my groin, the same area that was injured before. As of now it has passed, so I think it's fine. I get random discomfort in that area occasionally so I didn't really worry about it. My hip drive needs to be focused on more so that I can recruit my glutes and hammies harder.

Glute/Ham Raise
work sets BWx10, +25x6x2

Finally got to do these on a real glute/ham bench. They felt good aside from the edge of the thigh pad digging into my quads at the top of the movement. I feel like the pad needs to be tilted back so that this doesn't happen, but it is not adjustable so oh well.

Good Morning
45x6, 95x9, work sets 135x5x3

On my work sets I finally felt some hamstring and glute activation, which I usually have a hard time doing in these types of exercises. I could have handles a lot more weight for this I think, but I wanted to make sure more form is nailed down before I start getting too crazy.

I drank my Surge Recovery a little during the workout and the rest immediately after. Once my good mornings start to get very heavy I think I'm going to have to hold off on drinking the Surge until after my entire workout is done because I don't want to puke anything up on those last heavy sets.


#14

7/03/09

ATG Back Squat
45x8, 135x5, 185x4, work sets 235x5x5

These were pretty difficult today I think mainly because I got smashed last night and felt a little drained of energy. This was just a reminder to me as to why I avoid drinking - it really cuts into progress.

Good Morning
work sets 145x5x3

While I was doing these some guy came over and condescendingly asked me if what I was doing was a back workout, as if to imply that he didn't approve of what I was doing. I told him they were good mornings and that they work the posterior chain and he really had no idea what that meant, which just told me that this guy was a moron who didn't deserve my anger.

I stretched on the PowerPlate for a few minutes right after my workout and it felt amazing. I'll be adding that to my recovery measures after every workout.


#15

7/06/09

Naked fasted weight this morning: 179.2lbs

Today was my first session with a speed coach named Tom Rennor (spelling?). I went with my three buddies who train with him, and the competition between us made us perform even better than normal. It basically consisted of a dynamic warm up, some nonmaximal short sprints, some slow acceleration sprints, and finally some all out races. Each all out effort increased in distance from about 10 yards to about 40 yards. We were given 30 seconds rest in between in bout, which I thought might not have been quite enough, but my performance didn't seem to suffer so who knows. We would take two minute breaks here and there to recoup and then do it all over again. At the end we did some rip cord sprints, which helps my football buddies alot more than it helps me since I never have to run against heavy resistance like that. All of this sprint work was done on grass. Tom had me starting in a typical baseball stance rather than the running back stances he had my football buddies starting in. I'm going to bring cleats next time since that just makes the training closer to in game play.

I got a few pointers from Tom on my form. First, I wasn't keeping my arms swinging front to back - there was slight side to side motion. I sprinted the next bout with my arms pumping the right way, and I could feel more streamlined. Second, he told me I need to work on my hamstring pull on each stride. I tend to piston myself off the ground using my quads and leaning forward and not getting enough pull from my posterior chain on my leg swings. Because of this, my feet come down very heavy, which explains my shin splints from even grass running.

Tomorrow I'll be hitting the gym before my double header. We just clinched a spot in the district tournament and now we are playing for a number one seed. I'll have a full week off from baseball next week which I am going to take full advantage of - my body is definitely taking a beating.


#16

7/07/09

Today was a great day all around.

ATG Back Squat
45x10, 135x5, 205x3, work sets 245x5x3

I only did three work sets today because my legs felt a bit tired from the sprinting yesterday. Because I did less volume on my legs, I'm going to be conservative in my next squat weight by only increasing by five pounds instead of ten as I have been doing. The squats felt good in general, and I felt it nicely in my hamstrings and glutes today for some reason. I think it was because I was consciously trying to the floor apart with my feet, which activated my posterior chain more than normal.

Good Morning
work sets 155x5x5

The pre-fatigue that my posterior chain got from my squats and the sprinting the day before really helped me target my posterior chain in this exercise. I went deeper than I usually do and it felt very nice. One thing I have noticed is that pausing at the bottom actually makes it harder for me to fire the hamstrings and glutes. I think this is because the stretch reflex dissipates and the muscles are already so stretched that they just can't fire efficiently, and instead the lower back takes over. So today I did them with no pause in the bottom position and I got a much better stimulus to my hamstrings and glutes. I'll be doing it that way from now on. I also feel that this weight is very light, but I'm not going to change the loading pattern at all until I actually plateau, which, on this one, might not be for a while. I did five sets today instead of the normal three because I only did three work sets on my squats, and wanted to keep my volume high for the hormonal effect.

Glute/Ham Raise
work sets BWx10x3

I only did body weight instead of loading with a plate because my posterior chain was already pretty trashed, so I used this as more of a finisher. I put a little more emphasis on my left leg than I did my right leg to address some strength imbalances I have.

I did a minute of hamstring stretching on the PowerPlate after everything was done, and it actually made me a little sore - but the soreness quickly turned into a nice warm feeling and my legs felt really loose. Today I doubled the amount of Surge I usually take to the gym and drank a quarter of it before the workout, a quarter during, and a half after, which means I split one serving between pre/peri and had one full serving post.

I had a double header right after I worked out (I like working out before games - makes me feel warmed up). We won both the games. I hit a grand slam in the first game and a solo homer in the second. I also started on the mound the second game and went three perfect innings, then gave up a run in the fourth (which didn't matter - the score was already 10-0 in our favor). My coaches pulled me after the fourth to give me a break and shut me down to let some other kids have a chance to play. I felt like I could have hit another out at my next at bat but never got to try. Oh well. All in all a great day of baseball for me. That puts our record at I think either 14-2 or 16-2 and puts my home run count to six for the season.

I have a speed session scheduled with Tom Rennor tomorrow that I'm going to be skipping because I have a huge double header on Thursday against a very good team AND the UB coach is going to be there to watch me, so I need to be one hundred percent. I'll still be working out Thursday before the game, however.


#17

I haven't been able to post in a while because I had some computer problems, but they are all settled now. I'll just make a series of log entries just for the hell of it.

7/09/09

ATG Back Squat
45x7, 95x5, 135x5, 205x5, work sets 255x2

I got to my work sets and realized that my legs were too fried to even complete a full set, so I conceded that I would use the day as a light recovery day. I won't be squatting for a while because the season is getting down to crunch time and it is starting to drain me too much, especially since I rely so much on my speed to perform.

Good Morning
work sets 165x5x3

I'll have to postpone these as well while I let my legs recover a bit.

Glute/Ham Raise
BWx10x2

And again I'll be delaying progress on these as well.


#18

I took a solid week off as a deload because my body was just destroyed. We played 11 games over the past week so I really needed some rest. I decided to keep my legs fresh for a bit more so I dropped lower body exercises. Since my wrist is still healing but I wanted to do some upper body, I modified my training to reflect that.

7/17/09

Dips
work sets +25x6x4, failure sets BWx7x2

I was surprised with my dip strength and also the stress it put on my chest. These are easily my new favorite chest exercises.

Chins
work sets +25x3x3, BWx5, BWx4

Pec Deck
90x20

DB Row
work sets 50x10x3

Farmers Walk
95ex50 steps


#19

7/20/09

Dips
+35x5x3, +45x4x2, BWx9

Chins
BWx7

Pec Deck
90x8

Farmers Walk
95ex60 steps


#20

7/22/09

Dips
+55x4x5, +45x5, BWx10

I'm adding weight really fast to these. My chest is responding so much better to dips than it did to bench press, and I like the stretch I get in the muscles too. I think it is a superior movement to the bench press.

Chins
BWx4

My wrist still really bothers me during chins, which sucks.

Farmers Walk
100ex50 steps