SIMPLE STRENGTH

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That feel when you haven’t blogged cause you’ve been training your balls off…

                                

WOW!  I haven’t written anything on here in a looong ass time.  

A quick update:

  • Tried to hybridize (read: bastardize) Wendler and Westside - didn’t work.  
  • Competed in my first meet: 
Was happy with my deadlifts, bench technique needs a lot of work, and holeee… did I ever pancake squatting… the meet this weekend should be leaps and bounds progress.
  • Qualified for Western and National Championships.
  • Started a Raw Westside Template from Juggernaut Training Systems, did not dig it.
  • Switched back to Wendler 3 1/2 weeks out from Westerns, decided to put on some more weight and just say “fuck it” to weight-classes… 
  • Now feeling like I could break headfirst through a wall.

Competing this weekend in Westerns, and so far have hit all my 92.5% attempts - a 270 bench (in the video below) and my 530 deadlift (easy peasy).  430 squat tomorrow, then a massage and haircut (pre-meet ritual).  Wish me luck!  I’ll try to keep this a bit more updated for all of you who care.  (both of you) 

Here’s some cheesy training footage.

Here’s an observation about powerlifters; As competitive as we are, we do not seek to win by default, or wish our competition does poorly in order for us to place better, in fact my experience has shown the opposite to be true. People routinely cheer on their competition and wish them the best, even help them with gear, offer a spot,etc. How many sports out there can say the same? And even the strongest guys cheer on the rookies and people with much lower lifts, offer words of encouragement & advice, and there is a sense of camaraderie between all. WE may look intense, even angry during meets, but we take it out on the weights, not each other.

-

Forgotten Strength Secrets

A portion of my Max Effort Bench (not shown), 5/3/1 Deadlift and some Accessory work.

Many days catch up!

Been absent lately, studying for my CanFitPro Personal Fitness Trainer Certificate, wrote the exam today, pretty sure I destroyed it.  Feeling confident.  Here’s what I’ve been up to!

ME Bench and 5/3/1 Deadlift Day

Pin Press (roughly 1” above chest)  - 45x8/95x8/135x8/185x5/205x5/225x3/245x1/255x1/260xfail - 255 is a new bench PR for me, but keep in mind it was just above my sticking point which appears to be **ON** my chest.

Deadlift - 260x5/300x5/340x5+ for 10 - felt exceptional on this one, took a tiny pause between reps 5 and 6, but cranked em the f*** out.

Tricep Pushdown (rope attachment) - 80x10/60x12/70x10 - pretty standard…

Pendlay Rows - 155x10/155x10/165x10 - such an excellent exercise

Side Lying Lateral Raises - 25x10/25x10/25x10 - hits the ol supraspinatus, which is a good thing for me

YTWL’s - 15x4/15x4/15x4 - more essential shoulder pre-hab!

After that, I spent two days snowboarding in Lake Louise which I counted as two days GPP, it was great isometric work for my hip flexors and an excellent bout of conditioning!  I’ll post a video of my girlfriend and I shredding the slopes!  Once back, I had a grueling 4 days in a row to make up for the time off.  Here’s what went down:

ME Squat and 5/3/1 OHP Day


High Box Squat - 115x5/135x5/185x5/225x5/275x5/315x3/335x3/355x3/365x3/385x2/405x2/425x2/435x2/445x1 - Wow… disgusting.  Can’t believe I cranked that out.  I know it was an inch or so above parallel but still… 100lbs over my full squat pr?

No captions necessary.

Barbell Good Mornings - 155x12/165x12/165x12

Cable Standing Overhead Crunch - 100x8/90x10 - I know they’re abs, but keep em heavy and low reps.  Worked for Louie Simmons.  Only difference between him and I is about 10000000000mg of testosterone, ~80-120lbs of bodyweight, and probably 300kg in our totals.  No biggie ah?

5/3/1 and DE Bench 

Barbell Bench Press - 160x5/185x5/205x3+ for 7 - this felt good, benching has been plateaued for EVER.  DE Bench - 140x3/140x3/140x3/140x3/140x3/145x3/145x3/145x3

Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension - 35x7/35x6 - turns out triceps might be holding my bench back….

Weighted Pull-Up - 25x7/25x5

Side Lateral Raise - 25x8/30x6

Reverse Flyes - 20x8/20x10

Concentration Curls - 30x10 - sometimes… you just have to.

5/3/1 and DE Squat


Barbell Squat (I stick with low bar, wide stance) - 210x3/240x3/270x3+ for 12 - my squat is quickly becoming my strongest lift.. that puts my estimated 1RM at 388… all I need is another 20 lbs before the meet and I’ll be a happy camper! 

DE Squat - 195x2 for 10 sets

Face Pulls - 90x20/90x20 - for those of you just joining us, I LOVE THESE.  Saving my shoulders one scapular retraction at a time.

Power Snatch - 45x3/85x3/85x3 - keeping it light, concentrating on that isometric overhead hold…mmmm….

Power Clean and Jerk - 115x5/115x5 - again nice and light, and hoooolllllddddd iiiiiiittt…..

And finally… tonight’s session.  I have been studying my ass off, and my instinct is to make a zillion excuses as to why I was so weak tonight, but alas, I won’t.  I also decided to film some of my stuff so I’ll post a video as well.

ME Bench and 5/3/1 Deadlift 

Paused Barbell Bench Press (was going to do close grip tonight, but the left shoulder is acting up… ugh….) - 95x10/135x5/185x5/225x3/245x1/255xfail/255xfail - DAMN.

Deadlift - 295x3/(this is where I started filming)330x3/370x3+ for 7 - should have had more, but sooo pooooched. DAMN AGAIN.

Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension - 30x10/30x7/25x8 - almost no rest between sets, went for volume>load, just how I do on ME bench day.


Bent Over Dumbbell Row - 70x10/65x10/65x10 - again, little rest b/t sets, was starting to get tired and cranky.

YTWL’s - 20x4(of each movement)/20x4

Done.  Left.  Pissed at weakness.  Need more sleep, better food.  DAMN.

I’ll upload a video of tonight, starting with the deadlifts.

Day 4: 5/3/1 Squat and DE Squat

So I got my belt.  And it is a beautiful thing.  One final shout out to InnerStrength for hookin it up!  Here’s what all I picked up:

A 13mm Inzer Forever Lever Belt (M):

A pair of Inzer True-Black Wrist Wraps:

And a pair of Canadian Powerlifting Union Socks:

And then yesterday I went and had my 5/3/1 Squat and DE Squat day.  Although none of the weights I used were enough to justify using my belt, so I worked up to a few heavy triples and popped a blood vessel in my eye to try my belt out.

Here was my day:

Barbell Squat (I’ve linked the most important thing you will ever watch about squatting):

5/3/1 - 45x5/135x5/185x3/195x5/225x5/255x11 - target for last set was 5+, hitting 11 (without going to failure) puts me at an estimated 355lb squat, a 30lb improvement from before my holidays.

Speed Squat - 150x2/155x2/175x2/175x2/175x2/175x2/175x2/175x2/175x2/175x2 - still getting used to these, they just never seem heavy enough… trying to just move as explosively as possible, and I think that’s the point.

Testing the belt - 315x3/325x3/325x3/325x3 - felt amazing, the belt is a lovely thing to have, these triples were… dare I say… easy?

Front Squat:135x5/185x5 - wanted to throw in some quad specific accessory work without hitting leg extensions.

Just for good measure.

Next up; nutrition!

I’m back up to ~425 or so grams of carbs a day, and even with eating like a beast, I weighed in this morning at EXACTLY COMPETITION WEIGHT: 182.6.  Pretty slick eh?

Squat day looked like this:

69g Fat

442g Carbohydrates

267g Protein

3371 Calories

Off to try out my socks and wrist wraps, it’s Max Effort Bench Day today, gonna do me some pin-presses and hopefully get laughed at by old out-of-shape guys who have never seen a powerlifting bench set up.

Why does he arch his back like that when he does the bench press?!  Doesn’t he know anything?!?  Fool.  Back to the PecDeck I go.


Day 3: GPP (Rowing and Oly Lifting)

Today was my “General Physical Preparedness” day.  It will consist of some sort of cardio; high intensity intervals (car pushes, hill sprints, sled drags), or steady-state medium intensity (rowing, cycling, jogging, etc.).  Then I will more than likely throw in some Olympic Lifting at 40-50% of 1RM just for the isometric overhead hold (shoulder prehab).

Today looked like this:

Rowing: Resistance - 10(max) for 35:00 - I did this in slight intervals (15:00/10:00/5:00/5:00) superset with face pulls. 

Face Pulls: 50x25/55x20/60x15/60x15 - there is no such thing as too much shoulder prehab.

Power Snatch: 45x3/95x3/105x3/115x3/125x3/125x3 - form got shaky around 125, so stuck there, then switched to power clean and jerk

Power Clean and Jerk: 130x3/130x3 - was cut short by a rude lady’s step class.  I was taking up a small portion of the open area (in the corner) while they had the entire floor to do with what they pleased.  When they first began the group I politely asked if there was a class going on, and when someone said yes I immediately packed up all my stuff and moved off to the corner.  Then part way through my set of PC&J’s, a lady comes over and tells me I have to leave, so they can sidestep across that area or something… 

Excuse me, you must evacuate so that we can side-step.

I’m trying really hard to become more open-minded about the general populations fitness methods and aspirations.  I realize not everyone is training to become a strength athlete, nor should everyone.  I’ve taken steps to ensure the silencing/elimination of my inner fitness snob when it comes to shaking my head at 1/4 squats and round-back deadlifts.  I was also more than happy to move my barbell and plates to accommodate everybody’s needs in this situation.  But when she came over and told me I had to evacuate the little bit of space I was still taking up so they could “side-step” there, some really mean and nasty stuff came into my mind.  I said none of it, told her I was “done anyways,” in as tolerant a voice as I could muster, and hit the showers.  

/endrant


No nutrition for today, because it’s only 3PM.  I’m off to meet up with Inner Strength Products and pick up a belt for my ME days!

Day 2: 5/3/1 Bench and DE Bench

So I went to the YMCA today around 5 o’clock when most people are getting off work…

Never.  Again.  Ever.

Never.  Again.  Ever.

I could tell from the moment I walked in it was going to be a distracting environment, and I’m the kinda guy that likes to zone out and really be in the right mental spot when lifting.  Oh well, right?  At least it was speed bench day, so it kind of worked.

Here’s what happened:

Bench Press: 150x5/175x5/195x6 - 5/3/1 and 115x3/135x3/135x3/145x3/165x3/165x3/165x3/155x3 - Dynamic Effort (speed/explosiveness) - felt really strong on these.  Feel like I’m finally getting my form down; pressure on trapezius and upper back, right arch, proper ROM, etc.  Although it was pretty interesting to watch two old out of shape guys who have more than likely never seen a powerlifter set up on a bench before laugh and shake their heads at me.  Oh well, I’m past the point of f***s given.

Dumbbell Lying Tricep Extension: 45x4(fail)+40x3/35x8 - been a while since I’ve done me some accessory work, probably a good thing to get back to for me…

Some weak points have you?

Weighted Pull-ups: 25x7/15x6 - again, not what they used to be, hoping strength returns quickly here…

Lateral Dumbbell Raise: 25x8/25x8 - I always see guys going huge on this lift, which kind of makes me laugh, because it then turns into a FULL BODY MOVEMENT.  Form>Load guys.. Form>Load.

Reverse Flies: 17.5x8/17.5x8 - unlike the link, I prefer to do these standing, bent over.  Extra work for the spinal erectors? yesplz.

Face Pulls: 45x15/45x15/45x15/55x15 - THESE.  So important.  Ensure you’re getting proper external rotation out of the shoulders at the most contracted point of the movement, and it’s a great way to ensure shoulder health while pressing often.  This and isometric overhead holds.

Tomorrow should be exciting, I think I’ll try some rowing for my GPP, along with more Face Pulls.  Also, I’ll be going to Moose Jaw to meet up with the owner of Inner Strength Products to check out some of the wonderful Inzer belts they have.  I’ve heard some really great things about belts (although being a newb, never used one before) and if it lends itself to bettering my performance, I’m all for it.

I cut my nutrition back by ~300 calories, I can’t be jumping up the scales too too much, and I’ve been gaining again.  Weighed in at ~187 today, and need to keep closer to my meet goal of 182.6.  Here’s my nutrition today:

3118 calories

76g Fat

384g Carbohydrates

242g Protein

and this:

That is all.  Good night.

Day 1: ME Squat and 5/3/1 OHP

Hey everyone, yesterday was my first day of the new training programming, so here’s my summary.

Started off with a 5 minute elliptical warm-up, some hand walk-outs, lateral and standard lunges, and other such things to get the hips, hammies, and body in general nice and warmed up.  Then on to my first set…

Barbell Good Mornings: 45x10/95x10/135x5/185x5/225x5/275x4/295x3/305x3 - the second rep at 305 felt a bit sketchy, back rounded for just a split second.  Luckily, I was able to catch it and power up out of the bottom of the rep.  Like the fool-hardy chap I am, I went down for a final rep (heavy triples… cmon now) and it took me what felt like 45 seconds to get up, but I did it.

My final set of barbell good mornings.

Barbell Overhead Press: 65x10/110x5/125x6 -yeah I know I figured I wouldn’t push the OHP because I’m benching the following day but damn, I was feeling good, OK?!?!


Glute Ham Raises: BWx10/10x10/5x10 - felt pretty pooched after the GM’s, this was enough to almost cramp my poor ol hammies.

Stiff-Legged Deadlifts: 135x10/185x10/225x12 - yep, could have gone heavier, but alas, I’d rather that than hurt myself and f*** my program day 1.  Jus sayin.

Cable Standing Overhead Crunch: 160x10/190x10 - I did this facing the opposite way of the dude in my link… and should have done it using the pulley with a back support for tricep pulldowns… because by the end of my 190 set I had a huge metal wedgie.

Nutrition for the day:

Calories: 3397

Fat: 64g

Carbohydrates: 439g

Protein: 276g

During my workout I made myself an intra-workout shake (take that Xtend - not the penis pills - the intra-workout supplement) and found it worked infinitely better.  Here is my super secret recipe:

2 scoops whey protein (roughly 50g protein)

30g dextrose (simple sugar, available from a brewery or wine-making shop for a few dollars a kilo)

30g maltodextrin (see above)

THAT’S IT.  Cheap, effective.  Off to do my Dynamic Effort (Speed) and 5/3/1 Bench today, hit some accessory work, and eat a bunch more food.  Life is good.

Pre-Back-At’r

Today was my anticipatory rest day wherein I… rested.  And ate.  In anticipation of starting the new program today.  Finally back onto a caloric surplus, after trying to cut a tiny bit during my de-load week. Here’s my macro breakdown for my de-load week:

2620 calories

60g fat = 540 calories

300g carbohydrates = 1200 calories

220g protein = 880 calories

You may be thinking “How the eff do you lose weight on 300g of carbohydrates a day??!!?”

Well, you condition the body to burn a buttload of calories by slowly ramping up your daily calorie intake while attempting to gain weight - at the same time creating a much better environment for your body to burn carbohydrates properly. Then, when you cut back on calories/carbohydrates, your metabolism stays at an increased level for a little bit before it tapers off.  So cutting back a bit on the calories keeps you from becoming depleted and energy deficient while still slowly burning fat as a result of a net calorie deficit.  Layne Norton is an incredibly smart bodybuilder (actually a doctor as well) and wrote an informed piece you can find right here.

-end rant-

Back to business today, I find my caloric intake the day before training has as much if not more effect on the training than the nutrition on the day of training.  Therefore today, I ate LIKE A BOSS.



Back to a fairly large caloric surplus.  Here’s the breakdown:

3404 calories

76g fat = 684 calories

425g carbohydrates = 1700 calories

255g protein = 1020 calories

Keep in mind: these are approximations and used as guidelines to set nutritional goals for the day.  If I’m over or under on any given macro-nutrient or calories - IT’S OK.

On another unrelated note, I spent the day attempting to finish my study notes in preparation for my CanFitPro Personal Trainer certificate.  That way I can be this guy some day:

Once my education is complete I’ll be teaching people proper curling-in-the-squat-rack technique, ensuring proper back involvement, ensuring the use of no more than 1/48th range-of-motion for the actual biceps, and aiding in proper use of ‘the grunt’.

JUST KIDDING.  My philosophy is more along these lines:

First Meet Prep.

Well ladies and gentlemen (all four of you), I’ve recently decided to start training for my first raw powerlifting meet.  I’ll be competing at 83kg, and my current 1RM’s are:

Bench: ~245lb (Unpaused, gonna have to work on that)

Squat: 345lb (Checked this last night - felt like a million bucks.  Learned a hell of a lot from this video.)

Deadlift: ~450lb (Haven’t tested in a while.)

OHP: ~155 (Not directly relevant, but relevant.  Also haven’t tested in a while.)

I also ordered these two beauties to help in my training.

Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 for Powerlifting

And… These beauties….

So now that I have the essentials in stock - I’m going to share my programming with you folks.  

I’ve developed a great deal of interest in the Westside Barbell Method of Training, but can’t help my newfound love of the steady progression found with Wendler’s 5/3/1 programming.  So, being the ambitious bugger I am I decided to combine them BOTH!

Now, this may be a tad overzealous, but here’s my plan.  Being as clever as I am, I’ve decided to combine the Boring But Big accessory work with Westside’s DE day, should work pretty slick!  Today was my last day of de-loading - finishing my first Wendler cycle, so I’ll take tomorrow off, and proceed as follows:

Monday - Max Effort Squat + OHP 5/3/1

Good Mornings - working up to a max triple.

OHP - 5/3/1 (95x5, 110x5, 125x5+) I’ll probably just shoot for the 5 prescribed reps, no need to destroy myself here.

Glute/Ham Raises - 3x10-12

SLDL - 3x10-12

Abs - Standing pull downs - 2x6-8

Tuesday - 5/3/1 Bench and Dynamic Effort Bench


5/3/1 Bench - 150x5, 175x5, 195x5+

DE Bench (Using BBB ~50% 1RM) - 115x8x3

DB Tricep Ext - 2x6-8

Weighted Pull Ups - 2x6-8

Side Lateral Raises - 2x6-8

Reverse Flies - 2x6-8

Wednesday - GPP


Sled pull, car push (yes that’s me), push ups, pull ups, some such thing.

Thursday - 5/3/1 Squat and Dynamic Effort Squat


Squat - 195x5, 225x5, 255x5+

DE Squat - 150x10x2

Seated Hamstring Curls - 2x6-8

Friday - Max Effort Bench and 5/3/1 Deadlifts


Max Effort Rack Lockouts to a max single

5/3/1 Deadlifts - 260x5, 300x5, 340x5+

Tricep Rope Pull-downs - 3x10-12

Bent-over Barbell Rows - 3x10-12

Side-Lying Lateral Raises - 3x10-12

YTWL’s - 3x4 (12 movements)

Saturday - GPP


Well, that’s it.  I’m going to try and keep a training blog of each day, my nutrition, etc. so anyone who wants to is free to check it out and keep up with progress.  The people around me have got to be getting damn sick of hearing about it, maybe if I write this stuff down instead of talking about it constantly, it will be a better release.  Well… talk to you tomorrow.