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.