Staring Week 3 Off Right (Cycle 4)

C4W3D1

2 COUNT PAUSE SQUAT
85×5
140×5
200×3
230×1
255×4
270×4
285×4 (PR)
265×3,3,3

2 COUNT PAUSE BENCH
75×5
125×5
175×3
200×1
225×4
235×4
255×3 (pushed it, fail)
245×4 (original top set)
230×4,4
235×4

INCLINE BENCH
50×5
95×5
135×3
155×7
165×7
175×7,7,7 (PR)

FACE PULLS
42.5×15
52.5×15
57.5×12
62.5×10
67.5×8

C4W2D1: Turn Up The Volume

Some days you’ll walk into the gym with the mindset that things are just not going to go your way: you had a shitty day at work, you missed a meal or ate something that wasn’t in diet, some jackass cut you off, you slept awful the night before… And as you warm up and stretch you say to yourself “well this is gonna suck.”

And surprisingly you have a KICK-ASS day on the gym.

275

Today was that day. I slept awful the night before, pounded a bunch of shitty food and thought the numbers from programming looked intimidating. But as soon as I started warm-up sets for pause squats I knew big things were going to happen…

C4W2D1

2 COUNT PAUSE SQUAT
95×5
135×5
185×3
210×1
235×5 @RPE5
250×5 @RPE6.5
260 275×5 (PR) @RPE8.5
255×5,5 (felt too light)
260×5,5,5

2 COUNT PAUSE BENCHPRESS
75×5
125×5
170×3
195×1
225×5 @RPE6
235×5 @RPE8
250×4 @RPE10
230×5,5,5
235×5
255×6 Slingshot
275×4 Slingshot
295×2 Slingshot

INCLINE BENCHPRESS
45×5
95×5
135×3
145×7
155×7
165×7,7
175×5

An enormous PR for pause squat!!! I couldn’t believe how light and easy the weights were feeling! As I was getting into the heavier warm up sets I knew that it was going to be a good day. As proud as I was for that all of the volume associated with the squats stole the thunder from my pause bench. The original programmed top set called for 245×5 but I really wanted that rounded out 250×5 which would have been a PR. Got 4 just fine but on the fifth rep I got stuck halfway up and was gassed. I’m taking this all in stride though considering last week I hit 260×3 competition style and then just this week I hit 250×4 for an even longer delayed pause?!?! I’m fine with that! The programming for next week will tell me I need to lower my expectations since I “failed” the lift by not getting the prescribed amount of reps but I think I may go after 255 if its there! Only time will tell!

– DJ

Cycle 4 Week 1 In The Books!

I have to admit going into the last day of Week 1 for this cycle was tough! No breaks in between a day of squatting and a day of deadlifting, coming in at a lower bodyweight and training way later than usual… it was no walk in the park!

The deadlift was certainly tougher than I expected and I attribute that to a few factors: I haven’t really been doing the accessory lifting for the deadlift (primarily the SLDL) and I also think my setup/starting position can use some adjusting. So certainly a few things I need to work on to see if I can get it to improve and feel easier. Things like finding the proper hip positioning, making sure the bar is over mid-foot, making sure the shoulders are slightly forward – all of that plays a role in making the lift “easier.” A poorly setup deadlift can end up making you do more work than you need to!

C4W1D4

COMPETITION STANCE DEADLIFT
135×5
215×5
300×3
345×1
385×3
410×3
430×3
420×3

TOUCH N’ GO BENCHPRESS
85×5
135×5
185×3
215×1
240×3
255×3
265×3 (PR)
225×5

2″ DEFICIT STIFF-LEGGED DEADLIFT
225×8
245×8
275×7

SLDLs were quite done by the book. I wanted to see what weight I could handle so I could program it in for next week. 275 is the heaviest I’ve ever tried before and it felt relatively easy except my grip strength gave out before I could try for an eighth rep. Maybe next time! The only other thing I really have to worry about now is making sure that I get my calories/macros on point. As much as I feel like I’ve bumped up my intake I keep waking up weighing a little less than the day before. Might have to start in on some Easter candy…

– DJ

C4W1D3 – Smashed Old PRs!

After two days (technically one, but Monday was GPP so not as intense) off I was really fired up to get into the gym tonight. Programming called for some heavy squats and bench for sets of 3 and I was ready to knock them out. Overall the night was a huge success!

C4W1D3

COMPETITION SQUAT
135×5
185×5
250×3
290×1
325×3 @RPE6
345×3 (originally 340) @RPE8
360×3 (PR, video) @RPE9
350×3,3

COMPETITION BENCHPRESS
85×5
135×5
185×3
210×1
235×3 @RPE 7.5
250×3 @RPE 8.5
260×3 (PR, video) @RPE10
255×2
275×2 (Slingshot)

Bodyweight for today weighed in at 239.8 – my weight has gone from steadily fluctuating around 242 to steadily decreasing even though I haven’t changed anything with my macros/calories. I think with the ramp up in intensity for the lifting that its time to also give myself a hefty bump in calories. I noticed looking back at MyFitnessPal that I was coming up short in the fat macro which is the has the most calories per gram so I have decided to increase my fat uptake slight to target 80-100g/day and bump carbs from 250g/day up to 275-300g/day and see how my weight dials in with these changes.

The weights today felt amazing. The second working set for squats felt heavy (345) but when I started my top set at 360 I knew that I probably could have handled 365. While I’m proud of myself for hitting 260×3 for bench the RPE was definitely at a 10 as you can see in the video so that will most likely adjust my working weights down slightly in the next two weeks of Cycle 4.

A solid session and it felt great.  Ran out of time for OHP so I’ll move that over to the next GPP day.

– DJ

Steadily Going Up

The trend continues as I decided what the program’s weights called for were not as challenging as they looked on paper. Made adjustments on the fly to the working sets and was surprised by the results!

C4W1D2

DEFICIT DEADLIFT
135×5
165×5
225×3
265×1
295×6
315×6 (orig. 310)
335×6 (orig. 330)
305×6

CLOSE GRIP BENCHPRESS
65×5
115×5
155×3
185×1
205×6
225×6 (orig. 215)
235×6 (orig. 225)
215x,6,6,6,6

FRONT SQUAT
45×5
75×5
100×3
115×1
135×8 (orig. 130)
145×8 (orig. 140)
155×8,8,8,8 (orig. 145)

– DJ

Awakening From Hiatus

It’s been awhile. Perhaps too long… and now its time to pick things back up and get back on track. Some things have changed. The training, for starters, has become far more specific to powerlifting. The diet has been changed to where I am actually keeping track of what I’m eating. The supplements have also changed… as in there is hardly any (and this will be a topic I will cover much later). But the goals… they have gotten GREATER.

GOALS FOR 2016
1) Bench over 300lbs
2) Squat over 405lbs (425lbs sounds nice)
3) Deadlift over 500lbs
4) Compete again (and destroy previous total of 1070)

CURRENT STATUS
Bodyweight: Fluctuating around 242lbs
Squat: 355
Bench: 275
Deadlift: 430

Those training numbers have all come up from as far as two weeks ago and they are still in process. And it’s just about to turn March… so I have a lot of time to work with.

Let’s get this done.

– DJ

Journey Through Powerlifting: RPE Training Day 4

RTM W1D4

SQUAT
95 x 5
160 x 5
225 x 3
255 x 2
285 x 1
320 x 5 RPE9
305 x 5 RPE 8
305 x 5 RPE 8.5
I think with enough rest I had another set in me!

BENCHPRESS
70 x 5
120 x 5
165 x 3
190 x 2
215 x 1
240 x 5 RPE9
225 x 5 RPE8
225 x 5 RPE9

SUMO DEADLIFT
135 x 5
225 x 4
275 x 3
300 x 1
325 x 6 RPE9
315 x 6 RPE7
315 x 6 RPE8
315 x 6 RPE9

– DJ

HIIT: The Best Cardio For Maintaining Strength

Cardio & Strength? lolwut?

I know I know… usually people that are involved with strength training ranging from bodybuilders to powerlifters always shudder at the idea of doing cardio for the simple fact that it might reduce dem’ gainz. This is simply not true… as long as the type of cardio you are doing is beneficial!

Understanding The Lingo

HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training
LISS: Low Intensity Steady State

Although there are many variations of cardio out there, it can usually be divided into two different categories, HIIT & LISS. An example of LISS would be going for an hour jog and keeping a 6.0mph pace the entire hour. Nothing too intense, just enough moderate exercise to bump up your heartrate and keeping your body in a “fat burning zone.” While this may be the preference for many… is it enjoyable ?Is an efficient use of your time? From the  cardiovascular endurance standpoint: yes. But doing long term LISS cardio can end up not only burning through the fat but can also trigger your body into stripping down your muscles for protein to be used as a fuel source. I’d like to keep my hard-earned muscle gains, thank you! The alternative to this is HIIT cardio and I’ll tell you why!

First, ask yourself this question: Am I waking up at 5 in the morning to get up and do my hour long run on the treadmill/stationary bike/elliptical to increase my VO2 Max? Or am I doing it because I want to lose fat and look better in the mirror?

If your answer was to increase your VO2 Max you are probably on the wrong site! Of course everyone is trying to lose fat and look better! So how do we do this? By optimizing our cardio and making it more beneficial to us by burning fat while preserving what muscle mass we already have.

HITTCardioFeature

 

What Makes Cardio ‘Good’?

We have to make sure our cardio does 3 things

  1. Maximizes fat burning for our time involvement
  2. Retains maximum muscle
  3. Retains maximum gym performance

A study conducted by Dr. Jacob Wilson, titled “Concurrent Training: A Meta-Analysis examining interference of aerobic and resistance exercises” is going to help us make sure that the type of cardio we do assures that all three of those requirements are met. The study first looked at the type of training and came to the conclusion that cycling had the least significant impact on impairing strength and muscle growth compared to endurance running or walking. Now that we have the type of training, what about the duration and intensity?

In terms of duration, the study found that the longer the cardio goes on for the more detrimental it was to strength and hypertrophy. However, short high intensity bursts of cardio such as repeated sprinting or cycling had no negative recourse on strength and hypertrophy development.

The final piece of this study ultimately resulted in the discovery that not only was short duration, high intensity bursts of cardio more beneficial for strength and hypertrophy, it was also superior to fat loss compared to LISS!

 

Putting It All Together

So how does one perform this amazing muscle sparing, hypertrophy inducing, strength maintaining fat burning cardio? Its simple and shorter than you might imagine and has already been put together by Dr. Layne Norton! Find yourself a stationary bike and prepare for a sweat soaked adventure that’ll leave your legs as pumped as leg day (you don’t necessarily HAVE to use a stationary bike… you can still use a treadmill/rowing machine/elliptical but the stationary bike is preferred)!

  1. Warm up with no resistance (slow pace) until you reach the 5 minute mark
  2. Pedal as fast as you can for 10 seconds with no resistance
  3. After those 10 seconds, increase resistance to the max and pedal hard for 20 seconds
  4. After that 20 second sprint, return to a slow pace with no resistance for a minute an a half
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you hit 15 minutes!

So essentially…

  • 0:00-5:00: Warm Up
  • 5:00-5:10:  Sprint, No Resistance
  • 5:10-5:30: Sprint, Max Resistance
  • 5:30-7:00: Slow pace, no resistance (rest period)

You are basically doing your sprints every odd minute starting at 5 minutes. From 5:00-7:00 is considered one cycle, 7:00-9:00 is two cycles, etc. So if you stop and cool down at the 15 minute mark you’ve done 6 cycles! You can do more if you want (I wouldn’t do more than 10 cycles but thats just me) but the minimum should always be 6 cycles (15 minutes!) For those of you without a stationary bike and instead are using a treadmill where you can’t really “add resistance” start your sprinting immediately at the odd minute mark. So if you are warming up at a 3mph pace and your sprint pace is 9mph, as soon as you hit the 5 minute mark crank your treadmill to 9mph and sprint at that pace until you reach 5:30 and then return to 3mph!

I usually do HIIT training on a resistance day that wasn’t legs (so don’t do this on squat or deadlift day!) and on my days off if my schedule allows. At the least 3x/week.

As always you can READ THE ENTIRE STUDY for yourself!

I highly recommend following Dr. Layne Norton on Twitter and YouTube as he is a wealth of information with regards to training, supplementation and the science behind it all!

@DJBEANPOLE