T Nation

WSK's Progress Log

This site has the best articles and the strongest, fastest and biggest community, so I’m starting this progress log to benefit from feedback on my training, hopefully benefit everyone myself, and increase my discipline and organisation.

Current stats:

Bodyweight: 194lb
Deadlift 200kgx5
Deadstop Squat 165kgx5 (down from 400lbx5 due to groin pull from sprinting)
Bench 112.5kgx3+2 (only just started benching - I always did dips before, then I switched to deadstop bench and got up to 122.5kgx5, now I’m doing normal benching and working on keeping my scapulae retracted)
Press 77.5kgx3
Chins 134kgx5

I started lifting at 155lb after losing about 10lb LBM due to a 14-hour-a-day manual labour job and poor nutrition. My girlfriend (now wife) correctly noted that I looked like a bitch. I read a bit about lifting and started eating about 3000 calories a day and squatting weekly, but I didn’t train properly for the first two years, didn’t eat properly for the the first three and didn’t deadlift or bench for the first three and a half (I did rack pulls and dips instead). After reading more on tnation, I now take my training and nutrition very seriously, and I’m aiming to deadlift 660lb, deadstop squat 500lb and bench 400lb at 210-215lb within the next 3 years. I train for strength and speed. My size gains are a bonus.

I work 40-50hrs per week, and my 3 kids under 5 keep me pretty busy, so I lift heavy two days per week and often fit in a sprint session as well when I can.

I train on Wed and Fri, and I’ll update after each session.

8 week goals:

Deadlift 215kgx5
Deadstop Squat 180kgx5 (back up to PB level - I’ll never sprint without warming up properly again)
Bench 120kgx5
Press 80kgx5
Chin 50kgx5
Curl 60kgx5
100m sprint: 11.2sec

END OF 2011 GOALS: increase each lift by 10-15%. Deadlift 540lbx5. Sub-11sec 100m sprint - beat my brother.


Bodyweight (weekly) - aim for 205lb in next 8 weeks
Strength levels - progress each workout
Waist (biweekly)


Lower Body
Deadlift / Deadstop Squat (alternate each week) 1x5
RDL 1x8
Reverse Hyper 2x8
Barbell Curl 2x10
Ab Wheel Rollout 2x8

Upper Body
Bench 1x5
Chin 1x5
Press 1x5
Barbell Curl 1x5, 1x8
Ab Wheel Rollout 1x8

DAILY MOBILITY ROUTINE (hip flexors, hamstrings, glute activation)

  1. Shoulder Dislocates
  2. Scap Pushups
  3. Fire Hydrants
  4. LAX ball Glute and Periformis massage with static stretch
  5. Single Leg Supine Bridge
  6. Prone Scorpion
  7. Walking Spiderman with Overhead Reach
  8. Kossack Squats


Warrior lunge hip flexor stretch
Prone ITB/TFL stretch
Double neck stretches

Front of Quad, hip to kneecap (TFL)
Side of Quad (IT band)
Inside of Quad (Abductor Magnus and Vastus Medialis)
Thoracic Extensions - 3 reps, glutes on ground
Rhomboids - arms crossed over chest, mid-spine to shoulders
LAX ball for calves and feet


Max effort sprints: 6x10mx60secs, 6x20mx60secs, 3x30mx90secs

NUTRITION - 6000 calories - 600g carbs, 350g fat, 275g protein.

Mobility routine 5.30
1 litre of water
1 piece of fruit

Breakfast 1 6.00
100g spinach
100g berries
4 scoops oats
1 scoop milk protein
2 pints whole milk
2 tbsp olive oil

Breakfast 2 8.00
4 scoops oats
100g berries
2 pints whole milk
100g spinach
2 tbsp olive oil

Snack 10.30
500g Greek Yoghurt

Lunch 1.00
150g rice/potatoes
100g meat
Mixed veg and salad

Snack 4
Oats and whey flapjack

Dinner 6.30
200g beetroot
4 eggs/beef
2 tbsp olive oil

Snack 8.30
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp flax
200g cottage cheese

2 pints whole milk before training
2 pints whole milk after training
Sweet potatoes and steak

My favourite thing about this site is that I don’t feel the need to explain why I’m willing to put in the extreme discipline and dedication to progress further when I’m already reasonably strong. If people have to ask that, then they’re never going to understand.

Lower body 24/10/10

Deadstop squat from just below parallel 165kgx8 - easy
RDL 130kgx5 - easy, had to stop due to grip - I need straps to use a double overhand grip on these
Reverse Hyper 52.5kgx8x2

Upper body 27/10/10

Bench 112kgx5+1
Chin BW+46.5kgx5
Press 77.25kgx4+1
Curls 56kgx5, 51kgx8

Felt generally good. Bench seems to be mainly technique - scapulae retracted, bar directly over forearms, grip bar tightly. I wish I hadn’t spent so long doing dips instead. Press was very nearly 5 reps - failed at forehead height because I hadn’t kept the bar close enough to my shoulders, but I paused a few seconds and got an extra rep to make 4+1.

Looking forward to deadlifts - 202.5kgx5.

Lower body 29/10/10

Deadlifts - NEW PB - 202.5kg (445.5lbx5) - easy, but slow above the knees on rep 5
RDL 130kgx8x2 - tried some lifting hooks, but they were useless - straps next session

Feeling good overall. Hopefully should be 195lb when I weigh myself on Monday.

Upper body 2/11/10

Bench 114kgx5
Chin 47kgx5
Press 77.5kgx5
Curls 56.5kgx5, 51.5kgx8

Felt fine, apart from poor balance on overhead presses due to leaving my earphones in. Technique on bench is improving, so the reps are smoother and easier.

Lower body - 9/11/10 - late due to hectic schedule

Deadstop squats from just below parallel - 160kgx5 - difficult because I went for 170kgx5 initially and hit a sticking point about an inch above the pins, then everything after that suffered.
Ab wheel rollout from standing 2x8

I’ll get 167.5kgx5 next session.

Upper body - 14/11/10

Bench 115kgx4 (failed half way up 5th rep)
Chins 47.5kgx4 (failed half way up 5th rep)
Press - NEW PB - 78kgx5
Ab wheel rollout BWx8x2

Not great today - I’ve only been getting in about 4000 calories a day for the past week, as I’ve run out of money until I get paid because I bought my kids a bunk bed. But at least I hit one PB.

Deadlifts in a few days - 205kgx5 - psyching up already.

I’ve got to make sure I do my mobility exercises every day. My hips and glutes tighten rapidly if I don’t.

I’ve had a chest infection since 17/11/10, so I haven’t been able to train for a few days. Going hard on that upper body session then working late for a few nights in a row ran down my immune system and allowed a virus to take hold. I’m feeling better now, though, so I’ll just repeat my last workout when I hit the gym again on 24/11/10 and then do the deadlifts on 26/11/10. This is the problem I often find with alternating deadlifts and squats every week: when I miss a session, it ends up being a month since I last did the lift. It doesn’t really matter with deadlifts (I’ll get that 205kgx5 even though my 202.5kg PB was roughly month ago), but my squat sometimes suffers. The alternatives are worse: doing them on the same day means whichever comes second suffers severely, and doing them at separate workouts during the same week means my lower back and joints don’t get enough rest. Those options worked when I was a lot weaker, but alternating them weekly seems the best choice now.

I’m going to try eater fewer meals but consuming more food at each.

The Effect of Meal Frequency on Body Composition during 12-Weeks of Strength Training osition+during+12+weeks&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1


“After multiple regression analysis the 3 meal group had
a significant greater gain in lean body mass (LBM) than
the 6 meal group when adjusted for gender and energy in-
take (p=0.04), when adjusted for gender and protein intake
(p=0.03), and when adjusted for gender, protein intake,
carbohydrate intake and fat intake.”

And …

“In this study, three meals per day resulted in larger mus-
cle gain from strength training than six meals per day over
a period of twelve weeks.”

I’ve only just felt ready to train again after getting ill, so I’ll leave it a few more days and resume training next week, picking up from where I left off before the illness. It’ll be roughly 14 days off training, which isn’t too bad. I haven’t lost any weight, so I should be able to repeat my previous workout without much trouble. I’ve learnt that rushing back to training after illness usually just causes a relapse. I got sick from not sleeping enough to recover from training properly. I’ll ensure that doesn’t happen again.

Recent training sessions. All numbers at 90% of max to avoid running down CNS and immune system.


  1. Deadlift 180kgx5, 150kgx12 (double overhand)
  2. Feet elevated ring press up 1.5 rep BWx10,8


  1. Bench 105kgx3+2. Felt really weak, not sure why - maybe just the long layoff. Adding 1kg per week will bring it up to 115kgx5 at 90% 5RM in 10 weeks. That should be roughly a 128kg 5RM, which will be decent progress.
  2. Feet elevated ring press up 1.5 rep BWx10,8
  3. Chin BW+42.5kgx5
  4. Press 70kgx5


  1. Below parallel deadstop squat from the bottom: 150kgx5,
  2. Squat 130kgx15
  3. RDL 110kgx8,5
    4A) Chins (supine) BWx8,4 (30 secs rest period between chins and ring press ups)
    4B) Feet elevated ring press up 1.5 rep BWx14,5

Current BW 198lb. Feels strange lifting at 90% of MAX on all lifts, but lots of trainers whose opinion I respect advise against training to failure every week, so I expect leaving 2-3 reps in the tank will lead to better strength gains in the long term.

I’ve decided to stop using my belt, and I won’t use straps or hooks either. I train for strength, not to lift as much weight as possible, so I’d rather strengthen my weakest links than use artificial aids to lift more weight than they can handle.

Dr. McGill advises against the use of belts in ‘Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance’:

‘Those who have never had a previous back injury appear to have no additional benefit from wearing a belt.’

‘Those who are injured while wearing a belt seem to risk a more severe injury.’

‘Belts appear to give people the perception they can lift more and may in fact enable them to lift more.’

‘Given the assets and liabilities of belt wearing, I do not recommend them for healthy individuals in routine work or exercise participation. The exception to this recommendation is for extreme lifting. Here, belts are not used to enhance health but instead to lift more weight’.

‘to obtain the maximal effect from a belt, the lifter must lift poorly and in a way that exposes the back to a much higher risk of injury!’

‘evidence suggests that people change their motor patterns, together with their motion patterns when using a belt…these motor control changes can elevate the risk of injury should a belt not be worn in a belt training athlete. The severity of a back injury may be greater if a belt is worn.’

‘If one wants to groove motor patterns to train for other athletic tasks that demand a stable torso, it is probably better not to wear a belt.’


  1. Bench 105kgx5
  2. 1.5 rep feet elevated ring pushup BWx14/5
  3. Chin 42.5kgx3, 35kgx3
  4. 2" rope chin BWx7+3+2
  5. Press 71kgx4, 60kgx5
  6. Curls 57kgx5, 50kgx7


  1. Deadlift 182.5kgx3 - had to stop due to groin pain
  2. 2" rope chin BWx10/4
  3. 1.5 rep feet elevated ring pushup BWx12/7


1A) 1.5 rep feet elevated ring pushup BWx12/12/5x30secs
1B) Dumbbell row 45kgx8/8/20x30secs (last set with slight cheat)
2A) Ring dips BWx7/5/4x30secs
2B) Chins BWx6/4/4
3) Handstand pushups BWx7/5/2
4) Hammer curl 15kgx10/10/10/10/10
5) Ab wheel rollout from standing 3x8


  1. Squat 150kgx5 - had to stop due to glute pain
  2. Chins BWx12/8
  3. 1.5 rep feet elevated ring pushup BWx12/8

Unable to squat or deadlift properly at the moment due to pain.

(1) Pain right at the top of the inside of my right leg (seems to be in the iliacus or pectineus) when lower deadlifts - worst when standing up after finishing a set.
(2) Pain at the top of my right glute (seems to be in the gluteus medius) when locking out squats

Likely causes:
(1) Poor glute activation, so small groin muscles trying to extend the hip
(2) Poor glute activation, tight piriformis
(3) Perhaps not using a belt anymore has shown up some weaknesses

Switch mobility drill to Defranco’s agile 8 - more groin and hamstring work
Actually do the mobility work every day
Save up for Cressey’s ‘Assess and Correct’

Any better ideas?

I’ve switched my nutrition to 16 hours fast + 8 hours feast, and I feel better as a result, with better concentration and energy at work. My weight is currently 190lb, though, so that’s a drop of a few pounds - I’ll make sure to get all my calories in and watch carefully for any more weight loss.


Deadstop bench from 2" lower than usual 107kgx2, 100kgx3 - not good from this depth, shoulder pain
1.5 rep feet elevated ring pushup x 12/8
Chins 36kgx5
2" rope chins 5 3 2 2
Press 71kgx4, 60kgx8
Curls 45kgx8, 40kgx8/8, 35kgx8/10


Tried to deadlift with 170kg to test my groin out, but it’s still flaring up, so I had to abort deadlifts

  1. Deadlift substitute until my groin heals: rack pull from just below the knee with scapular retraction - 150kgx8, 160kgx5
  2. RFESS 50kgx8x2 - again a light movement to help my groin/hip flexors
  3. 2" rope chin x 10 2 3
  4. Standing ab wheel rollout 2x8

Rack pulls aren’t a bad subtitute for deads until my groin is better. They’ll maintain my lower back, glute and upper back strength. Hopefull I’ll be able to do RDLs as well, then I might even return to full deads stronger than my PB level of 205kgx5.

This is how I’ve adapted my mobility routine to help my groin:

  1. Foam roll IT band and adductors ? hip to mid-thigh x 15, mid-thigh to knee x 15, crease of hip to inner mid-thigh x 15, inner mid-thigh to knee x 15.
  2. Glute/piriformis myofascial release with LAX ball ? 30 seconds each side
  3. Rollovers into “V” sits x 10
  4. Fire hydrant circles x 20 each leg (10 forward, 10 backward)
  5. Mountain climbers x 10 each leg
  6. Groiners x 10 (hold last rep for 10 seconds)
  7. Wall hip flexor mobilization ? 10 each leg x 3
  8. Cossack Squats x 20

Post-workout static stretches:

  1. Prone ITB/TFL stretch ? 10 secs each leg x 3
  2. Piriformis stretch ? 10 secs each leg x 3

I HATE injuries.

All lifts at 90% levels


  1. Deadstop bench 115kgx1
  2. Dumbbell Rows 50kgx8, 55kgx5
  3. Press 71kgx4, 60kgx10
  4. Curls 40kgx5x8


  1. Squat 155kgx5
  2. RDL 121kgx5x2 (no straps, so just a grip exercise at the moment until by double overhand grip improves)
  3. Ab wheel rollout 170cm x 8 x 2

No presses due to shoulder pain

  1. Dumbbell Row 52.5kgx8, 55kgx5, 52.5kgx20
  2. Bench 117.5kgx1
  3. Ab wheel rollout 175cm x 8 x 2


  1. Press 71kgx5
  2. Row 55kgx5, 52.5kgx8, 52.5kgx20
  3. Bench 115kgx1
  4. Rollout 180cmx8, 170cmx8


  1. Squat 156kgx5 - very easy
  2. RDL 122kgx5x2
  3. 2" rope chins BWx8+3 (shoulder pain forced me to stop at 8)
  4. Rollout 180cm x 8 x 2

5 week goals - again, all lifts at 90% levels - should put me close to PB levels on everything apart from squats, but then I’m squatting without a belt now, so maybe squats won’t be too far off:
Squat 162.5kgx5, 140kgx15
RDL 127.5kgx5
Press 75kgx5
Bench 125kgx1
Dumbbell Rows 60kgx5
2" rope chins BWx15
Rollout 190cm x 8


  1. Squat 157kgx5 - easy again
  2. RDL 123kgx5x2
  3. 2" rope chins BWx9+2+1
  4. Rollout 175cm x 8 x 2 (lower back was pinching with 180cm)

My groin is still extremely tight, but I didn’t have any twinges while training today.

Press 72kgx5 - didn’t quite lockout rep 5
Row 57.5kgx5, 55kgx8
Deadstop Bench 116kg failed halfway up
Rollout 175cm x 8 x 2

Deadstop Squat 158kgx5
RDL 124kgx5x2
2" rope chin 10+2
Rollout 175cmx8x2

Press 72kgx5
Row 58kgx5, 55kgx8
Deadstop Bench 110kgx1
Rollout 176cmx8

Deadstop Squat 160kgx5 - easy
RDL 126kgx5
Supine Chins BW x 12,7
Rollout 178cmx8

Press 73kgx5
Rows 57.5kgx10 (strict)
Deadstop Bench 111kgx1 - reduced weight after failing last week. I’m just going to add 1kg a week from now on.
Rollout 178cmx8

Deadstop Squat 161kgx5 - easy. Groin feels great.
RDL 127kgx5 - still just a grip exercise, but I’m not going to use straps.
Supine Chins BWx12,7
Rollout 178cmx8 - better form this time


Press 74kgx5 - easy
1 arm dumbbell row 60kgx8 (strict), 57.5kgx15 (slight cheat)
1 arm dumbbell bench press 37.5kgx4r7l, 35kgx6r7l
2" rope chins 11+3+1
Dumbbell curls 15kgx12x3

I’m going to substitute 1 arm dumbbell bench presses for barbell bench presses. They don’t irritate my right shoulder at all, and they will allow me to bring it up to the same strength level as my left side. I’ll aim at 50kgx5 first.


Goal: continue working back up to PB levels while keeping bodyweight under 200lb at more than 12% BF

90% strength targets:
Bottom Position Squat from just below parallel 170x5
RDL 135x5
Press 80x5
Neutral Chin 45kgx5
1-Arm Dumbbell Bench 40kgx8

Starting weights:

Squat 162kgx5
RDL 128kgx7,4
Widegrip Pullups 10,5
Rollout 180cmx8

Press 75kgx5
Neutral Chin 38kgx5
1-Arm Dumbbell Bench 35kgx8

Diet - cutting out dairy until I can find a practical way to get raw milk

Meal 1 (11.00am)
100g frozen fruit
1 scoop rice protein
4 scoops oats
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flax

Meal 2 (1.00pm)
2 potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
200g chicken/turkey

Meal 3 (6.00pm)
3 sweet potatoes
4 eggs/200g beef/salmon
Spinach salad
2 avocados
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp coconut oil
200g of mixed nuts, seeds and cacao nibs

Rough totals: 360-370g carbs, 350-360g fats, 170-180g protein


BW 188lb@7%
31.5" waist

Squat 175x5
RDL 145x5
Press 82.5x5
Neutral Chin 52.5kgx5
1-Arm Dumbbell Bench 42.5kgx8

Press top-range lockout 80kgx4

I’m weak throughout the lockout when pressing, so I’m going to switch from full range presses to top-range lockouts until I hit 100kgx5. When I return to full presses after that I should easily beat my PB of 77.5kgx3.