T Nation

Twenty by 40 by 2020 - Journey Back to Where I Was 20 Years Ago


Front squat twice? No, thanks.

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At those weights, it wasn’t that bad - but still 50 some reps is not a joke.

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1/6 Off for my wife’s bday, which meant WAY too much to eat, a little too much to drink, and an 11 PM bedtime because she wanted to watch the golden globes…

1/7 - up early, and just did isolation exercises, starting at head and going all the way down. About 50 reps each in a ramp up and ramp down manner (10-8-6-4-6-8-10) adding then subtracting weight:
Shrugs, Flyes, Lateral Raise, Bicep Curls, Triceps pullovers, Lateral Raises, V-Ups, Leg Extension, Leg Curls, Calf Raise.

All with basically no rest - in and out in 35 minutes, and feeling pretty good. Arms and legs a little shaky.

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1/8 - 5/3/1 upper body only

  1. Warmup - mobility and then escalating complex of Row-SGHP-Bench until I got to working weights
  2. Pendlay Row - 155(5) 175(3) 190(10)
  3. Bench - 155(5) 175(3) 190(10)

Early morning definitely takes a little bit off my strength levels - so pretty happy with this. Bear in mind, on all my AMRAP sets, I’m not taking all the way to failure (leaving a few reps in the tank - more than a few on cleans and squats) but doing them reps/reset/repeat. IE on bench - was 5-rack-breath-3-rack-breath-2-done. Letting me keep volume high on max sets but speed high as well, and continue to progress.

I may try a max or at least 3RM on all my lifts sometime in the next month or so. I’d guess my 3RM right now is:

  1. Bench - 235
  2. Row - 245 (harder to measure strictness here)
  3. Hang Power Clean - 250 (maybe 260)
  4. Squat (to parallel with box as guidance) 365


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1/9 5-3-1 day lower body

Ever have a day where you feel so slow you don’t want to get out of bed, let alone lift. That was today. Went out last night with an old friend. Drank (too much) - has a couple of whiskey encouraged cigarettes - was up til midnight. Then had a work call at 7AM.

Just got done. Did 5 warmup sets on each to ramp up. Then:

  1. Hang Power Clean - 5-3-1 180-205-225 (1)
  2. Squat - 5-3-1 265-300-335 (5)

Actually pretty happy that I came and did work, let alone added weight and ( in the case of squats) reps.

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1/10 - Travel Day - Out early and in meetings with team members and clients till 10:30. I can probably figure out how to still get something in, but didn’t.

1/11 - Traveling again today, but got up early before calls and check-out.

Hotel Gym: Did 60-70 reps each (1 exercise at a time, ramping up weights and down reps, then down weights and back up reps)

  1. Chest Press
  2. Curls
  3. Triceps
  4. Lateral Raises

After Chest, I actually did a few pull-ups for the first time in years. 5x2 pull-ups from a dead hang, may have done a couple little kicks at the top, lol, but descended slowly. While 5 sets of 2 pull-ups sounds horrific, my shoulder problems due to dislocations from seizures have been brutal. I’m really pleased with this, and gives me a baseline to start gradually adding reps. It was only a couple years ago, that I could do sets of 5 with BW + 70. Don’t know how long it will take to get back there, but if I can keep adding reps gradually, a goal would be to get back to BW with 10 and then up to 15 before adding external load.

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1/12 - 3x5 Day - Upper Body Only

  1. Warm-up: Stretch, mobility, and gradually move up to working weight - 5-6 lighter sets on each
  2. Bench 3x5: 145-165-180 (13 - broken up into 5-4-4 with rack and breath between micro sets)
  3. Pendlay Row 3x5: 145-165-180 (14 - broken up into 5-4-3-2)
  4. 50 walking lunges
  5. 30 Push-ups (3x10)
  6. 11 Pull-ups: 3-2-2-2-2

Going to keep adding that sort of body weight work at the ends of workouts. Not always the same things. Sometimes step-ups, might start working handstand push-ups back in, sometimes inverted rows, dips (as shoulder permits), etc. The lunges got me pretty winded actually. Pull-ups if I can keep adding a rep every time I do them - IE next time go 3-3-2-2-2, then 3-3-3-2-2 and so on - the ability to do those will gradually come back. Feel great today.

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1/13 - Off.

1/14 - AM - Some Swings, Push-ups, Curls. Plan to do a PM workout, but got this in just in case the day gets away from me.


1/14 PM 3x5 lower body

  1. Mobility and ramp up to working weight on clean and squat
  2. Hang Power Clean 3x5 - 165-185-205 (11)
  3. Squat 3x5 - 245-275-305 (5)
  4. Pull-ups - 12 (4x3)

Pleased w today. Took squats easy bc I was tired and back was tight.

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And progress on pull-ups will be fun. If I can keep adding a rep and doing more reps on the first set - should be fun to make rapid progress.



AM - basic session. Just 5 rounds of

20 lunges
10 hammer curls
10 pushups

Did each round quickly then rested till I felt like going again. This was just about getting some work in.

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I hate planning to do workouts, and then missing them. Was all set for an early morning workout today, but ended up with a friend coming over last night who is dealing with serious depression issues, struggling financially, and going through a pretty nasty divorce. So, like any good friend, I listened, turned on funny TV, and drank too much whisky. Woke up this morning with all thoughts of working out gone. Funny how being unhealthy (drinking, staying up too late, etc) then leads to more unhealthiness (no AM workout, late to work, etc). But did the right thing in the bigger picture of things.

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  1. Walking warm-up (1 mile)
  2. Lat Pull-downs - ramp up then 170 (13) 180 (13) 190 (13) 200 (8)
  3. DB OHP (seated) - 3 sets AMRAP: 19-14-18 (10+5+3)
  4. Snatch Grip Dead lift: Doubles (8 sets or so) up through 335. Then 365 for a single.
  5. Superset
    Pull-ups: 4-4-3-3
    Walking Lunges - 20-20-20-20

The DB OHP till failure was tough. That first set took it out of me.
Deadlifts - I could have gotten 365 for 2, but used my back a little too much on first rep and didn’t feel like killing myself.
Pull-ups - last rep of all 4 sets were sloppy. Not a kip, but kind of a “kick” to help myself up. Need to be more disciplined there if I want to make progress.
Walking lunges are a nice addition. Got that from one of the articles on the front page here. Easy on knees and back and good way to get some extra volume in.

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1/18 - off - traveling to Bermuda

It is beautiful here. 75 degrees, sunny, no humidity. Took 1/18 off.

Today - after the beach, some beers, lunch with 2 more beers, cocktail hour with snacks and a dark and stormy - then before dinner hit the gym (pretty good for a hotel):

Complex: 20-15-10-5

  • Squat - 135-185-225-275
  • DB OHP - 40-45-50-55
  • DB Row - 55-60-65-70

Solid quick session. Keeps the blood moving. Gotta admit, after 6 drinks in 4 hours, working out is work!

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1/20 golf. Good walk and lots of elevation change. Probably a good 4-5 miles all in.

1/21 - chill out and fly home. I’d be down to live in Bermuda for the winter months each year.

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1/22 - Just found a new gym in my office building (so now have options at home and at work, which should be great!).

  1. Warm-up on one of those prowler like treadmills.
  2. 3x3 day power clean - Did a 10# jump, instead of 5, bc couldn’t find any 2.5# plates. 185 (3) 205 (3) 225 (6: 3-2-1)
  3. 3x3 Bent Row: 155 (3) 175 (3) 195 (3) - same deal re: weight.

Didn’t push third set today, as I’ve been feeling shitty - bad cough, etc (funny how you always get that on/after vacation!)

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1/23 - fun pump day - just went through and did 100 reps each of:

  1. Bicep Curl with empty bar
  2. Tricep Extension (overhead) with 40#
  3. Shrugs with 50# DBs
  4. Lateral Raises with 10# DBs
  5. Lunges - Bodyweight

Didn’t do as a complex. Just one set, short break, and continue as able. Generally - 30 reps, 25, 20, 15, 10 (approximately) - funny how 30 reps even at a light weight is tough.



Still feeling crappy. Went to Doctor - is in fact bronchitis. So did minimum dose 3x3 day

  1. Bench - 8 warm-up sets then: 155(3) 175 (3) 195 (3)
  2. Squat - 6 warm-up sets then: 265 (3) 300 (3) 330 (3)
  3. Pull-ups - 15 reps - 5-4-3-3
  4. Hangs from the bar - 3 sets for 30" each

So that was not my best day, but still kept the weights progressing. 195 felt really heavy. 330 not so much. Pull-ups gradual progress.

Traveling tomorrow so most likely just push-ups and lunges.

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1/25-1/27 - in FL on full-time dad duty with kids. No training. Plenty of eating.


1/28 - Back in the city - Had/Having the ultimate day - slept in until almost 8 AM - went to office by 8:30 - grabbed lunch downstairs and back at desk by noon - In gym by 2 and showered and back at desk by 3. Just one more call and then wander the halls poking my head in offices - then custom golf club fitting this evening. I know the clubs don’t address my lack of skill, but these ones look pretty sweet!

This afternoon workout - move around warm-up then:

  1. DB OHP - 5x25’s-30’s-35’s-40’s. Then 15x45’s-13x50’s-8x55’s
  2. Zercher Squat - 10x45-65-95-115-135-155-185-205
  3. Snatch grip high pull from floor - 5x135-4x155-3x185-2x205-1x225
  4. Pull-ups - 6-5-3-2-1 (17)

First off, having a gym in the building is amazing, as long as remember to pack a gym bag. Secondly, will be good to be able to load up the DB OHPs a little bit. Third, 80 reps of Zercher Squats, even though first 30 were baby weights is no joke. Quads are killing me (in a good way). Fourth, good height (up to sternum on even the heavy sets) on High Pulls. Finally, keeping on adding reps. They were a little more strict today - helped to have an actual pull-up rack, and be able to go neutral grip.

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