Friday, January 28, 2011


Alright, well today started with something a little different. I normally start fridays with overhead press but I realize I need to just go ahead and start bench pressing again since I should probably build up lifts I am weak on. However, taking care of multiple birds with one stone, I also decided to start using my axle again, and so I did bottom position axle bench presses, ranging from 123-178 for sets of 5, except for the last two sets where I reached 178 where I did 4 and 2 (failing the third rep on the last set). While not spectacular its a starting point, and its a better starting point than what I had last time. That being said, I did like the feeling of using the axle for bench pressing, and I do like my crude set up for this exercise in the rack. I just need to stick with this lift to make it better.

After this I moved on to Bent Over Rows in the rack, also done with the axle. This is where the axle started to show its real difficulty, as pulling motions are always a pain in the butt with this thing, but its what its supposed to do. I managed 123-168 for sets of 5, I'd have liked to have gone further but it was getting to the point of the bar starting to slip from my hand, so I'm going to have to spend time getting used to thick bar work again.

Then it came time for the main attraction of the day, the squat. Today I started with 215 pounds for 20 reps, which went rather well, not really running into difficulty until rather late in the set of 20, but even then all I needed was to break for air to gather the strength to go on. Then came 225 for 15. Normally the sets of 15 are the hardest, and while this was difficult, I managed to get to 10 way faster than I was expecting and from there, getting the final 5 isn't so bad. Then it was a matter of 230 for 12, 235 for 10, 240 for 8, and 245 for 6, with only big difficulty coming from the set of 6 as the top weight is starting to get towards territory thats actually a challenge to do for six reps, plus I'm already quite tired by the time I get there. That being said, I maintained great form the entire way through. I've been focusing on keeping my head up and leading the movement with my hips and its been making a big improvement. I'm not sure as to my actual depth but I am fairly certain I am around parallel (individual reps seem to be either a bit below or a bit above) but even so, I was noticing in the mirror that my rib cage does seem to be expanding again so this is at least going in the right direction.

However, I notice I take extremely long amounts of time between sets with these, and I wonder if thats just normal due to the sheer VOLUME of what I'm lifting or not. When I'm on my in between days, I don't take nearly as long, so I'm likely to think that this is just the extreme exertion of what I'm doing. But I have a feeling that I am probably SUPPOSED to rest less between sets and have a wider distribution of weight. As it is, I have everything bunched up, but I think thats smart for now, since I needed to build my skill back up with squatting, and because frankly my max squat isn't so huge that I can have a real big distribution in the first place. Still, I wish I could have it wider. Oh well.

After each set of squats I did pull overs with my chest expander, which for the most part is good but there are times when I expand my arms out sideways too soon and the cables end up touching my head. Oh well, not a big deal.

To end the session, I did my auxillary work in a circuit. 7 hanging leg raises, 5-7 squeezes on a captain of crush (today was 7 on #1, two sets of 5 on #1.5, then another 7 on 1), and neck presses with my fabled cables. I am now able to use four cables for this lift, which I think is pretty good for now.

All in all, I think a productive training day, I think it was a good call to just increase the squat poundages by 5 pounds today instead of 10, as its getting to the point where every set is a challenge and I can't breeze through it the way I could before. As it is, finishing the program out at 5 pound jumps will still be a huge increase over what I started with.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Alright, another cycle, another attempt at trying to keep an accurate record of my training. Lately my training has been significantly better, as I've got enough of my home gym revamped to the point that I can do most of what I want without having to go anywhere else or rely on anyone else, and the difference is amazing. My focus is better, my satisfaction with the quality of the training is better, and in due time I am sure that the results will be better. As it is, it hasn't even been a complete month, but I am already feeling pretty damn good. Getting out of the yoke of having to train while at work has saved me a lot of mental stress.

Anyway, onto today's training itself. Today is wednesday, which in the current training cycle is sort of a 'spare parts day' where I work on other forms of training not covered by monday and friday, the primary days. The hope is that this will help develop my stabilizer muscles, but to also give me specialized variety in my training.

So I started off with Overhead Squats performed in the power rack, starting from a 'dead' position. I started at 115 for 5 and worked up to 155 for 5, which was a 20 pound increase over last week. I really enjoy this exercise, as the feeling of tensing up underneath the bar in this position is really intriguing. That being said I feel the limitation right now is just my technique, flexibility, and coordination, but I feel it getting better and thats culminating in better poundages.

Up next was Good Mornings. For these I started at 145 for 5 and worked up to 190 for 5. I really enjoy this exercise and feel I derive a lot of good from it, and I try to go low enough while maintaining the bar in the groove on my upper back. For the most part though, I feel like the limiting factor for this lift is my technique, which is getting better (I think today was a 15 pound increase over last week).

Then I went on to my routine with the Fabled Cables. This is another new addition to my training regiment but I find I really like it as it seems to get at muscles I wouldn't otherwise be able to train. Currently I start with a few cables and focus on movements that I'm not as good at, and slowly add more cables as I transfer to the few pulls I can handle at that level of tension. So far it seems to be going well, though its still a rather new addition to my training and I've yet to make significant gains.

At this point, most of the primary stuff was over and it starts getting into left overs, which I do in pairs. The first pair was calf raises with 205 pounds for 10 reps, working up to 235 for 10 reps. This was super setted with 1 arm push ups, 5 on each side. I was thinking of scrapping the one arm push ups as my skill with this has gone down from lack of practice, however I noted today that I was bringing myself lower so I am going to stick with it as I suppose I am slowly gaining ground on it.

The last pair was Rolling Thunder holds, ranging from 95 pounds for 10 seconds a hand, to 120 pounds for 10 seconds a hand. The 120, while difficult, wasn't as outstandingly difficult as I recall and it makes me wonder just how much higher I can climb with it. Its been a while since I've made progress with the Rolling Thunder but thats because I never gave it the time it deserved. I supersetted these holds with Ab Wheel roll outs for sets of 5.

For the most part, I feel these days are valuable, as they are developing exotic skills in between my more serious lifting days, and since I am limited more by skill than I am by might, I am not taxing my body quite enough to ruin with my recuperation for monday and friday (or so I think). Looking forward to Friday.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pulls and presses

Ah today's training went rather well.

Started off with Hand and Thigh lifts, starting out at 315 and quickly working up to 405 for 5-7 singles, then bumping it up to 435 for another 6 singles. Oddly demanding exercise, I'm only lifting the bar a few inches, yet its so extremely heavy that my hands get wrenched every time I do it. Considering I am still nursing an injured ring finger, I can't push myself as far on this exercise as I would like to, but even so, I am just focusing on getting more reps off at the low 400s and just holding on to the bar long enough to force my hands to get tougher. I need this strength to start crossing over into actual dead lifting, and just spending more time holding onto 400+ pounds, the better.

After this I did some isometric deadlifts by setting the bar between two sets of pins and lifting it up against the top pin and just pulling with good intensity for anywhere between 10-40 seconds at a time. After a few holds I would lower the pins so as to change the exact angle I'm pulling from. Over all, I was surprised just how tiring this was, as it was really rough on my legs and back. I feel I need to look into these isometrics a bit more thoroughly.

Then I went off and did Dumbbell Clean and Presses with a pair of dumbbells. I was able to work up to 65 pounders for three sets of four, and that felt pretty damn hard. While I can put up 85 pounds in the single arm press, the pair of 65s felt like a lot of hard work, especially having to clean them with each rep. If I can get to pressing a pair of 75s or higher, I'll be happy.

I took a break after this as I was distrated by the hunger I felt. So I gorged myself senseless, took a prolonged walk, and then returned to the gym.

There I did some sandbag work, I lightened the bag to about 120 lbs. of sand, and did Turkish Get ups with it, for two sets of three on each side. This proved to be bloody murder on my entire body, but I am curious to see what will happen if I stick with it. It was a harsh, brutal affair, and I feel that continued practice of it will give me some sort of mutant strength in my torso. One can hope at least.

Also to my surprise I found out today that I have apparently gained 5 pounds. Of those 5 pounds, I'm not sure how much of it is muscle, as admittedly I have been eating like a pig the past week or so, but even so, it is encouraging to see the scale go up at long last. Will do plenty of conditioning work soon to make sure that its all steel hard muscle and nothing else.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Another mixed day. Decent training day, ended up doing

Squat 4 x 9 - 255 most of the way
Bench Press - 3 x 5 to warm up, 4 x 4-3 with 205
Curl - 5 x 5 - 105

And that went rather well. The squats, as per usual, were the absolute hardest part of the day's training. But at the moment I've not my usual enthusiasm for describing the homeric struggle they presented.

I still just haven't made up my mind about the place I find myself in. Things are starting to come off the ground, people are recognizing me and being more positive towards me, but at the same time I am growing tired of the whole process. Whats the point in teaching those who don't want to be taught? To struggle for those who resent the struggle? And why put faith in those who would abuse that faith?

Currently waging a battle against conformity and I am determined to win it, but at the same time I wonder in the back of my head if the bastards are even worth it. Well, not only is it battling against conformity but its getting respect. As it is, sticking to my morals and principles has gotten me only derision and hatred, but I refuse to bend on matters so important to me, so I just plod forward along a path with no apparent reward and with mainly the scorn of others to keep me company. I knew this was going to happen, the great masters wrote of it constantly, I just didn't realize how true that segment of their writings were.

In the end, this quest isn't about them, its about me. I am trying to further myself spiritually, and the journey of my spirit is currently heavily tied in with my training. Whether or not anyone else gets it is inconsequential, I get it, and I am pursuing it no matter what.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Well today was a decent day of training. Carrying on my current program of a half-Smolov squatting routine with the other power lifts.

Today was 4 sets of 9 squats with 245. This set up is deceptive, considering that its only four sets, but the high volume on each set inadvertantly kills me. The first two sets weren't that bad, but the last two were quite challenging. In particular, for some reason on the third set, I had to miss the last repetition because I had to adjust my arm midway through the set and when I reset my hand on the bar, I must have been at an odd angle because my shoulder was in great pain towards the end of the set. That being said, I managed all of the other squats to parallel, though on the last set I had to really dig within myself to find the strength to complete it all.

After this was bench press, which I believe I did upwards of 7 sets of. As per usual, I got sidetracked by some of the gym members as I was benching, but I was able to grind out 195-205 (was using a different bar that seemed heavier than normal) for about 4-5 of those sets for 3-4 repetitions. I think what I need to do is focus on decent volume with these lifts in order to progress them.

Which leads me to an issue I've been having. I feel I'm getting stronger yet I've not the numbers to show for it yet. I think what is happening is that I am hitting a decent top set but not staying there long enough. After looking into the Doug Hepburn course I got recently, I see that Doug would often work up to a heavy poundage he could handle for 1-3 in a way similar to me, but he would then take that heavy poundage out for another five sets of 1-3 after finding it. This is something I haven't done, but probably should, as I think the more time I spend in the higher state of strength, the better I'm going to get.

But we'll see. Its all theory at the moment.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In between

Well as always, I come back to my blog realizing that months have gone by and I haven't updated it. But increasingly I'm finding it harder and harder to have a place to put my thoughts without public scrutiny. Facebook isn't really safe, considering all the people I am trying to tip-toe around are on there. So after all, I finally might be bringing this blog back to life as I intended. While probably most of the posts will be just a training diary, I do want to practice writing about the ins and outs of what I'm doing for the sake of having articles available.

But as it is, its hard for me to quantify all of my thoughts on the subject. I've never sat down and tried to codify the rules of what I do, let alone really specify just how I push myself through adversity in the training hall. But yet, there IS something there, something that is guiding me through it, I just have yet to really spell it out. But increasingly I am finding that I need to have a more concise plan as far as indoctrinating others into my way of life considering thats more or less what personal training is really about, changing people's lifestyles. Not that they have to live exactly as I do, but if I can at least instill virtues of self discipline, confidence, and restraint in this age of decadence and greed, then I guess I'll have truely done what I set out to do in the first place: make the world just a tiny bit nicer.

So we'll see. I'm hoping I can keep to it this time.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Training 5/21/10

Lack of recent training posting due to an interruption in my training. Work had this retarded mandatory 5k thing that I was making a vague attempt at training for, and this naturally disrupted my lifting. Ended up being all for naught though considering that me and my co-workers were complete assholes about the 5k itself, but fuck it. We weren't paid to be there, it was an early morning after a long night, and the boss, who's been having this huge hard on for the event for so fucking long didn't even participate.

But in the end, maybe it wasn't so bad, as it gave me time to re-examine my training. Namely, I felt I needed something different but I couldn't settle on just how and what, but I seemed to have stumbled upon it. Again, Brooks Kubik's work proves to be an utter inspiration to me in my darkest training hours.

Started things off with Squats off the rack, with the pins set such that I start around parallel (which is about the hardest point in the squat) and push the bar up off the pins. This is grueling work and can't be done with my full squat poundage, but even with lighter weights, its absolutely PUNISHING. I worked up to about 265 for 3 on my 3rd set, and I didn't realize just how big of a drain that was on my physically because when I went back in for my 4th set, I literally couldn't lift the bar more than an inch or so, which was a stinging blow to me. So I took it down to 255 and even then, I had to push as though I was fighting for dear life and even then I only managed one proper rep that felt like absolute hell. I've had some hard fought reps before, but that REALLY sucked. Can't wait until I've put in more time into this kind of training so I'm yet mightier at it.

Next was Snatch Grip Deadlift, which is a really weird case for me. My primary deadlift muscles are strong enough to handle pretty decent poundages, but holding on to the bar with the wide grip really screws with the mechanics of the lift because all of a sudden my upper back has to do way more work (and the bar rests uncomfortably against me when I try to lock it out, but discomfort isn't really out of place in my training anyway). However, I feel that my upper back is kind of a weak point in my deadlift so despite the fact that I'm working with lower poundages, I feel this is doing good for me. I worked this one up to about 285 which i feel is pretty good having just started with it, and not being accustomed to the grip. Brooks recommended using a hook grip on this but as of yet I can't manage it at the poundages I'm pulling as it REALLY fucks with my thumbs. I probably should man up to it though.

Next up was one arm dumbbell cleans and presses, which I feel went reasonably well. I worked up to pressing a 70 for about 3 clean reps and 1 rep with help from the legs, which is an improvement already. I am TRYING so hard to get my pressing power up and for some reason I am having trouble doing this with a barbell, yet I seem to be able to do it more readily with a single dumbbell. Shouldn't question it so much, I AM increasing my pressing power, even if its not in the form I'd have preferred.

Next was Axle Curls. These used to cause intense pain to run down the length of my forearm, but for some reason lately that hasn't really been happening so much, even when I push to 108 pounds (which I did). This is a huge relief because I can hopefully push into heavier weights.

Last was Eagle Claw holds. I was supporting about 50-55 pounds (50 in plates, plus however much the rig weighs) from my finger tips, first starting off with all four then going down to just my primary two fingers. Once I got down to just two, the weight proved to be quite excruciating and I could only hold on to it for a little over 10 seconds, but thats probably because its been a while since I've really used the loops. Felt good in the end.

Decent training day though I can definately tell that these alternative lifts are messing with me as I really had to fight tooth and nail the whole time today. Nothing was easy, I felt outright defeated by one of the sets of squats, yet I perservered. I need to find a way of maintaining my deadlifting power though while I am doing this alternative training though, but otherwise I'm excited.