Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pistol, Bent Press

Walk 2 mi.

Pistol: bw + 2 x 1 lb dumbbell, L, R, L, R - ugh, need to do these more often, somehow ...

Bent Press, 5', 30 lb bar

30 x 8, long pause at final lockout standing

50 x 2L, 2R

55 x 2L, 2R - left side is definitely better, right should doesn't "set" before I press like it should.  Am going to try "long collar bone" cue - works well for me on my right side for a variety of things.

60 x fail left, fail right - still don't have the groove to do this heavy, since this is a weight I can strict press, but I am enjoying - well, sort of - the education that bent pressing is giving me.

Nothing else for today

Onward and Upward

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bent Press and Snatch - Progress on both

Windmill - 16 kg, 3L, 3R

Bent Press - 5' bar

30 lb (empty bar) x 5L, 5R - right shoulder feels out of the groove, so does left hip

40 lb x 5L, 5R - much better, trying to compare side and take the best from both to use in both

50 lb x 5L, 5R - not too shabby

55 lb x 3L, 3R - first rep left was weak, next 2 were strong.  Tried to imagine first rep right was already pre-loaded from a previous rep and that helped.

Given how much form is improving, and given volume for the day, we'll stop Bent Pressing there.  Will consider doing fewer reps in some of the middle sets next time in order to save strength for the heaviest work set or two, e.g., might do 30 x 5, 40 x 3, 50 x 1 or 2, and 55 x 5

18: snatch, 15L/R + 16L/R - total 62 reps in 4 "hands" instead of 60 w/ 6 "hands" - excellent result, time was 4:00 even, did not put the bell down, still not happy w/ explosiveness of turn-around at back but overall, progress.

Onward and Upward

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Variety - HSPU

Tried some partial range-of-motion wall-supported handstand pushups.  I am still weak in the front delts, it feels to me - my kettlebell press lets me open up to the sides early and not have to hit these muscles in this way, so this is a good exercise for me to address my pressing weaknesses.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Windmill, Bent Press, Snatch

bw pistol - 1 each side on the front porch.

Windmill - 20 kg, left first, single set of 3 each side, form is improving, weight is heavier which helps in some ways.

Bent Press 5' bar

45 lb. x 7 - different form, did reps to locked elbow then pulled back to rack instead of completing lift and standing all the way up each rep.

50 lb x 5 - same as above

50 lb x 5L, 3R - really made an effort to push into bearing hip more, just ran out of steam by the end

18: snatch: 12L/R + 10L/R + 8L/R no breaks in 3:50, total was planned 60 reps.  Focus on nose breathing both in and out, even at the end, a couple of mouth breaths along the way, tried to catch any attempts at GS-style breathing on backswing and fix immediately, tried to take 2 breaths per snatch as the set wore on and was successful at that.  Pacing is about 80 snatches per 5:00, which I know is slow, but this will be the route for me - first volume, then decreased rest periods.

Onward and Upward.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bent Press

Yesterday, a few lousy pistols during a coffee break on the road

Windmill, 16 kg, lf, 1, 3

Bent Press 5' bar

40 x 3

40 x 5

45 x 5 - 5-rep PR, I suppose, albeit with a weight I could strict press, but form _is_ improving

That'll be it for today.

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Windmills, Snatches

Ran out of time to do snatches yesterday but did pistols, windmills, and bent presses, so today:

bw windmill x 2 lf

16: windmill, lf, 5 - excellent, need to keep doing these and eventually need to make them heavier.

18: snatch: 10L, 10R, 10L, 10R, 7L, 8R - total 55,  Started going a little too fast because it felt good and started losing hard style.  Need to stay in 50-60 total rep range and calm down.  Time about 3:15

Onward and Upward - lots of driving today, will try pistols and handstand pushups on the road tomorrow.

Monday, December 23, 2013

More of the same - form is improving!

Saturday and Sunday off.  Lots of sitting yesterday but got to work on splits in the evening during a break.  Weather was decent on Saturday and positively balmy on Sunday so got in some much-missed walks.

Today, Monday:

bw pistol on the front porch in moccassins (less support than my usual Allstars) - 2 alternating singles, was tough

Wall-supported handstand, a few partial rom pushups on the wall.  Need to really tuck tail or lower back hyperextends and it's a little sore coming out of it.

bw windmill

16 kg windmill, lf, 3 - harder than they should have been.

Bent Press:

30 lb 5' bar x 4L, 4 R

40 lb x 3L, 3R, break 5L, 5R - excellent, form is improving, starting around already is key.

No time for snatches today, might try them tomorrow.

Friday, December 20, 2013

More of the same - bent press, snatch

On the front porch, 3 Crane Pistols each side, left first, again coming up before the pistol to make it a more "normal" pistol.  Focus on getting left ball of foot applying pressure - got it this time, excellent!  Stretched a lot first, learning my personal cue list for pistols all over again, this is good.

bw windmill, lf, 1, 1

Bent Press - upending bar instead of clean today

30 lb. 5 foot bar, 3 (3L, 3R)

+ 5 each side (40 lb total), 3, 3

Still tough to really push into left hip.

Snatch 18 kg: goal is to slow down, to keep form 100% hard style, and to perfect lockout timing especially.

10L, 10R, 10L, 10R, 5L, 5R in 3:00 - only lost form on one or two of the final reps (and felt those in my lower back, btw).  A solid effort, and up from 40 in a day earlier in the week two different times.  No breaks, of course

Onward and Upward

Pistols, Bent Presses


Decided to do pistols in the basement instead of the front porch today, and also decided to hold a 1 lb. dumbbell in each hand to make them a little easier but do them on shorter rests.

Pistol - 1 lb dumbbell in each hand, left first, 3 alternating singles on no rest.  Did as part of Crane Pistol but straightened up fully before each pistol to groove the way we do these outside of the Crane Frolic.

A solid effort but still need to get weight on ball of foot near big toe on left side - that is clearly not as it should be.

Handstand on wall - just one, focus on really pushing down and locking elbows

Windmills - empty 30 lb. bar, various singles, doubles, triples, looking for good form, right disc bothering me today, maybe because of pistols first, don't know ...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bent Press and Snatch

Today, a lot of floor work stretching including bw-only getups to the hand.

Bent Press - triples w/ empty 30 lb. bar, still looking for the right groove on my left side especially

3, 3

+ 5 on the bar, 3

+ 5 more on the bar (40 total), 3

12 reps total, only 40 lbs max but it feels like progress and I feel like I'm finding some form.

I guess it's time to say that my front squat and bench press cycle is over.  I will return to that again in the future but, for now, this 2-lift program (barbell bent press and kettlebell snatch) is doing wonders for my posture, flexibility, grip, and conditioning.

18: snatch, 10L + 10R + 10L + 10R in 2:15.  Purposely slower than last time, also did 10's to try to "share" the issue of proper hard style technique when fatigued between my two hands/sides.  Also trying to get a better lockout position on my right side - what I'm doing is perfectly legal but I have better in me and really want to be "resting on a column of bones" in the top position, which means a little more chest open, shoulder back, and elbow really locked out than I tend to do on that side.

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bent Press and Swing

A not-so-great bent press day, just didn't have good form, felt tight today, played around w/ various weights.  Was a crazy day here - snow day for my wife, errands to run, etc.

Warmup up w/ windmills again, this time 18 kg instead of the 10 kg I used yesterday, 3 left, 3 right.

On my left side bent press, I am missing something that I also need more of in my left side windmill.  Left shoulder isn't terribly happy so I think I'm going to call it a day for today.  Nothing hurts but it feels tired.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Barbell Bent Press and Kettlebell Snatch

Turns out I was sick - Saturday night, I went to sleep with a ton of clothing on and under a pile of blankets, and I was still cold.  Cancelled a lesson I had scheduled for Sunday and took it easy yesterday.

Better today although not 100%

10kg kettlebell: windmill, 3 left, 3 right.  When my form on these is OK, multiple reps per side feel normal, and that's starting to happen.  Will keep these as a warmup.

Bent Press: 5 ft, 30 lb. Oly bar w/ a 10 on each side for 50 lbs. total:

1L, 1R

1L, 1R w/ long pause at lockout to stretch shoulder and open t-spine

1L, 1R - Repeat above - left arm/shoulder shakes at lockout

Longer rest, repeat above

1L, 1R - better

1L, 1R - even better, left side smooth, right side less so

Add a 5 to each side, 60 lbs total

Left - did not feel good on shoulder, stopped rep.

Removed 5's, put on 2-1/2's, now 55 lbs total

1R (other side) - good, rest, 1L - got it.  I think I freaked out a little about 60 lbs and was trying to press it out too much.

Keys to Bent Press for me

- ring finger in middle of non-knurled section of bar
- after clean, turn body almost 180 degree rather than rotate bar
- big chest
- shoulder pulled back
- lat flared and pulling shoulder down
- stance needs to be pretty wide, wider than I tend to think from years of doing windmills
- need to fold/screw forward and away from the weight, eyes on the weight

KB Snatch: 18 kg, 20L + 20 R in 2:00 - drop on right not hard style, trying to fix, otherwise pretty good.

Onward and Upward

Saturday, December 14, 2013

More Variety

12 bw-only pullups, Adam's Apple touching the bar or higher, probably took as long as the set of 9 the other day did, just went a tiny bit faster.

4 bw-only pullups - quick reps, height good, longer pause at top, pause at bottom to make sure elbows are 100% straight and shoulders relaxed and low.

A few swings of various kinds and sizes.

Shovel snow.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Old Program Minimum, Sort Of

After Bent Pressing a 50 lb., 5-foot bar yesterday, today I decided to:

Windmill - same weight, same bar, alternating singles, totaled 4 each side.  For last rep each side, strict pressed the weight up as it's not too heavy for that.

20 kg Snatch - 5 left, 5 right - rude, need to do these more often.

Walk in the very cold weather here.

Onward and Upward

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Seated Mil Press, Bent Press, Getup, Stretch

Started with some rocking with gradually widening knees, adding t-spine twists.

Cossack sequence.

10 kg getups, 2 alternating singles each side.  Still dicey on the left shoulder but wasn't painful, a good sign.

Seated mil press (or call it very steep incline BP if you like), empty bar, 10 reps.

Swing: 24 kg: 2-hand x 5, left x 5, right x 5

Bent press: 30 lb., 5-foot bar, right x 2, left x 2,

Add a 5 to each side, 1 left, 1 right.  Positioned kettlebells to turn it into an anyhow but couldn't figure that part out, will try that again another day

Took off 5s, added 10s for 50 lb. total, tried anyhow again w/ 8 kg bell.  This time, left side got to arm straight, got bell curled to rack position, but lost it as I was trying to stand up.  Right side, lost it before I got to straight arm but was kind of shaken from losing previous rep.  Very interesting balance things happening here - an education.

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Still on "off" mode

A very busy weekend including playing the organ in a friend's church on Sunday.

Still tired, left hip still a bit odd feeling after all the Van Dam lifts, so a nice walk on Saturday, another walk on Sunday, and generally just playing around, doing a bw pistol or two most days, some handstands at the wall for time (not much, :30, perhaps), and stretching.

I still plan to get back to a press-and-squat cycle but I am going to wait until the old body feels 100% before I do.  Pistols seems to be helping.  May switch to barbell standing military press instead of bench press for a while, we'll see.

Also doing some short sets of swings every day or every other day.

Onward and Upward

Friday, December 6, 2013

More Variety

Yesterday, more bent presses, this time w/ 25 lb. dumbbell, and just generally more playing around in the weight room.  Also walked 2 miles

Today, after a 3-hour rehearsal last night, I am toasted, so did a few swings after some stretches and called it a day because I have a concert tonight.

20 kg: 5L, 5R, 5L, 5R swings

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More recovery time - partial getups, pullups, windmills, bent presses, swings, pistols, pushups, snatches

I think I'm recovering more from the drive than from the meet, but whatever the reason, I'm still tired.

Yesterday, my first 2-mile walk in almost a week - felt great, also did a pistol each side on the front porch and really lousy one-arm, one-leg pushup single each side, too.

Today, again more floor work and stretching.

Partial getups w/ 10 kg kettlebell.  Did presses from various positions, and left side down actually felt better than it's felt - by which I mean stronger - in a long time.  Lots of odd-angle stretching today, too.

9 x bw-only pullups - I hate high reps but I know I should try them at least once in a while.  12-15 ought to feel like these 9 just felt <sigh>.

mil press: 2 x 20 kg: 5 reps

bw: windmill, rf, 2

20 kg: windmill, rf, 2

Bent Press: empty Oly bar (45 lbs.), right first, total 2 alternating singles each side.

Swings: 2 x 20 kg: 5 reps, grip felt lousy on left side

Swings: 20 kg: 5R,5L,5R,5L, no break

Pistol: a bit of Crane Frolic w/ pistol

also 1-arm, 1-leg pushup on 2nd step, 2 right, 2 left - better than yesterday.

More stretching including cossack sequence, walk

Later, 20 kg snatches: 10L, 10R - haven't done these in forever, took nice, long pauses at the top, tried for perfect form and maximum explosiveness at the bottom.

Overall, feels good to get some exercise again - feel better at end of workout than I did when I started.

Onward and Upward

Monday, December 2, 2013

First USAWA Meet - A Success!

Saturday I participated in my first USAWA meet.

I took three attempts at the Van Dam Lift and got them all - 56, 76, and 81 lbs.

I also set records for other lifts that hadn't been attempted by anyone in my age and weight categories before.  Did a middle fingers deadlift of 155 lbs., did a strict curl of 65 lbs., a dumbbell bent press of 56 lbs. each side, and a Full Gardner, which is a reverse TGU.

Great folks, couldn't have been nicer, and special mention goes to our hosts, Frankie and Colleen Ciavatonne, and to Jim Fuller for doing some of the odder lifts and demonstrating flexibility and strength at the same time.

Lots and lots of driving

Today, lots of stretching, 5 bw-only pullups

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

3 days before meet - not much lifting

Tuesday, yesterday, I did a lot of floor work stretching, plus some 24 kg military presses and windmills, plus a 2-mile walk.  Also started the official clean eating in advance of the meet on Saturday, which worked - I was 152 lbs. even this morning.

Today, Wednesday, some stretching, a short walk, more stretching, taught some, and then the plan is floor splits work followed by the Van Dam lift at 4 PM or so, possibly followed swings

But the plan didn't materialize - I was too tired, and exercising while tired is definitely _not_ the thing to do with a busy few days ahead between now and a meet.

Onward and Upward!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Van Dam Lift at 65, 75, and 85 lbs

Over the weekend, walked and stretched and drove.

On Friday, I walked 3.1 miles (that's what the computer says) to pick up my car at the service station - was a beautiful day, mid-50's, and all I needed was a t-shirt and long pants to be comfortable. It was a meditative walk, very enjoyable.

Sat/Sun, just stretched and walked some more.

Today, Monday:

Cossack sequence and other floor work to warm up, including press 12 kg from side split

Van Dam Lift: singles @ 65 (last week's PR), 75 (today's PR), 85

swing - 20 kg x 10L + 10R for maximum float/explosiveness

Onward and Upward

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Van Dam Lift @ 65 lbs.

As I did a couple of days ago, work on splits on the floor, including some light presses, then the Van Dam lift, this time with a 60 lb. dumbbell using the screw-on handles I had and some 1" plates I picked up from craigslist on Monday night.

A 25 and a 5 on each side, so 60 lbs. of plates plus a 5 lb. handle for ? singles



24 kg mil press x 3L, 3 R

Swings: 32 kg, 2 hands, 7 reps, rest 45 seconds, 7 reps, done.  Going for maximum explosiveness and float time.

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Time To Cycle Lifting Program?

I had planned to lift yesterday, but I felt almost like I had a flu.  I didn't, and I feel fine today, but I think I'm getting a little "over the top."  I had my sister and her middle child here for a week, I've added a serious commitment to practicing the double bass every day to my schedule a couple of months ago, and I've been pulling some pretty heavy deadlifts.

Add to that the fact that my weight is up a couple of pounds - I know, I'm huge at 154 lbs, right? :) - and it's time to continue to listen to my body.

And add to that an upcoming USAWA meet where I'll put my effort at the Van Dam lift, a dumbbell curl from suspended split, in the to the record books, and it's time to take it easy.  I didn't finish my current cycle as planned, and that'll be OK.  What I'll do for the next 10 days until the meet is continue to train in restorative mode, plus the Van Dam lift.  That will mean bent presses, windmills, kettlebell military presses (single and double), pullups, press from a side split on the ground, and no barbell front squats, bench presse, or deadlifts.


Easy stretching

Walk to run errands

Practice double bass

bw windmills, experimented with both legs stiff.

24 kg C&P, alternating singles, left first, total 4 each side.

Walk again for more errands

Onward and Upward

Monday, November 18, 2013

Variety - Van Dam Lift and other

A very busy week and weekend because my sister and her middle child were here.  Had planned to lift on Saturday but decided I really needed to practice double bass more and both weren't going to happen.  Ended up with great practice days both Saturday and Sunday.

Today, Monday, work on Van Dam lift.  Cossack sequence, then by unsupported ma split both sides, followed with kb press from floor side split, followed with 3 singles at Van Dam lift (suspended side split) using 50 lb. dumbbell.


Windmills w/ 10 kg x 2 each side

Bent press singles at 10 kg, 14 kg - hits my shoulders in a way they're not used to, glad to be staying light, form feels pretty good, have to watch my lack of balance, though.

2 x 20 mil press, 4 reps, felt good but need tighter glutes and abs at the top

Then swings, 36 kg, 1-handed, 2R + 2L + 2R + 2L, done

Onward and Upward

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Variety - Van Dam, Press From Suspended Split, Windmill, Bent Press

Pressed a 15 lb. dumbbell from a suspended split.

Van Dam Lift 50 lb. dumbbell

Floor Press from Split w/ 6 kg bell, just for form - work on moving torso to side to stay centered

Bent Press w/ 6 kg bell, just for form

20 kg: windmill, left first, 3 each side

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Medium Day

I had planned yesterday as Medium day, but I didn't feel up to it.  In particular, my shoulders felt tight and sore.  I decided, instead, to do restorative work - bent presses and windmills with light-to-moderate weights.

The effect was magical - I cannot believe how much better I felt afterwards than before, and therefore ready to tackle Medium day today, Wednesday.

Also yesterday, walk 2 miles, and again this morning, the same walk.

The plan is 5 ladders to 3, the usual DB BP backoff set after the top run of each ladder (sticking with the 8s I did last week), and to add a bit more weight to the bar for the speed DL.

BP: 155 1-2-3, DB BP: 35's x 8
Speed DL: 175 x 10 r/u
FSQ: 155 x 5

Ladders: 3

Ran out of time so that will have to do for today

Monday, November 11, 2013

2 off/easy days, Van Dam lift

Sunday - stretch and walk

Monday - work on Van Dam lift and also overhead press from suspended split.  Warmed up with singles of 20 kg swings, parking the bell each time, finished with 10L+10R 20 kg swings.

Not happy with how tough yesterday's DL session was - going to try a new schedule this week: Tuesday will be Medium, Thursday will be Light, Saturday will be Heavy.

Onward and Upward

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Heavy Day: DL 325 x 5, BP 3 ladders to 4

Friday, just stretch and walk, bend a white nail or two, lots of errands

Saturday, Heavy Day, plan is 3 ladders to 4 and 2 ladders to 3

BP: 155 x 3 x 1-2-3-4 and 2 x 1-2-3
DL: 155 x 3 left under
FSQ: 155 x 5, 7, 6, 6, 0

Ladders: 3

Did more FSQ in ladders 2, 3 and 4 to be able to skip them in ladder 5 and get a little rest for the heavy DL to come.  Ladder #5 - bench only, no speed DL, no FSQ.  Workout totals 24 FSQ, plenty close enough to the usual 5 x 5


warmup: single @ 235 r/u, 235 l/u, 285 r/u, 305 l/u

325 x 5 r/u

tried a second set but I was just too tired, didn't bother to really try to break the bar off the ground.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Variety, Van Dam Lift

Cut the lawn early before the predicted rain came - mulch the leaves in the process.

Some swinging rotations to loosen the spine.

Bent 2 white nails

1 towel pullup

floor work leading to cossack sequence leading to ma splits then dead splits.

Van Dam lift - competition setup - 2 benches, one is 18" high, the other 18-1/2", spaced 40" apart

40 lb. dumbbell - completed two singles, videotaped 2nd one.

Will come back and add video link later.

Edit - video link:

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Medium Day

Not much warmup or stretching

BP: 155 x 1-2-3, DB BP: 35's x 8 w/ exhale but only short pause, rf
DL: 155 x 10 r/u
FSQ: 155 x 5

Ladders: 5

5th ladder: short on time, skipped DB BP, did only 3 DL  The core lifts of this cycle are BP and FSQ, and I got all the required reps for both of those.

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stretch, Walk, Swing

Felt pretty stiff after a long day yesterday that included doing a piano tuning, playing a 2-hour rehearsal on piano, and playing a 2-1/2 hour rehearsal on double bass.

Did a lot of floor work today, including working on my splits - used thick mat, felt great.  Thick mat is great because it forces ankle wiggle - this is a huge tip for anyone reading along and working on their splits.

Walk to the high school to vote.

Picked up a 36 kg bell and did a single set of 2-hand swings, didn't count, probably 15 or so, tried to get warmed up first then make them every more ballistic as the set went on.

Onward and Upward.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Abbreviated Light Day

Sunday - walk, bass lesson, a few swings

Monday - Light Day, warmup with about 10 2-handed swings w/ 24 kg.

BP: 155 x 1-2, DB BP 35's x 5 right curl first
DL: whatever's on the bar x 10 left under first
FSQ: 155 x 5

Ladders done: 3-2/3

Notes - using finger hooks and no thumbs for DL

Have a very long day today and don't usually lift on Mondays so decided to cut it short in order not to run out of energy by the end of the day.  Also still getting over surgery and antibiotics.

Onward and Upward

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Minor Surgery

Friday - Prostate biopsy under general anesthesia - enough for one day without any lifting.  Did some light stretching before.


Bend two white nails, walk, stretch.

24 kg mil press, left first, 3 each side, rest a minute or two, then 2 each side.  Focus wasn't on getting the reps - that's easy - but on perfect form with a more straight up groove than out to the side.

Decided to wait until Monday to resume serious lifting

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Walked a few times today on errands into town.

Later, experimented with individual finger lifts via a ring and a loading pin.  Tried all fingers individual with up to 35 lbs. on loading pin for 40 lb. total - got every finger except left pinkie - right pinkie was tough.

Also, 20 kg swing x 10 R + 10 L

Minor medical procedure tomorrow but will require general anesthesia so no lifting all and maybe none the day after, either - we'll see.

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Heavy Day - Another new 8RM!

walk, stretch

BP: 155 x 1-2-3-4
DL: 135 x 3 right under
FSQ: 155 x 5

Ladders: 2

BP: 155 x 1-2-3
DL: 135 x 3 right under
FSQ: 155 x 5

Ladders: 3

Notes: did 4th ladder, did 6 FSQ by mistake; 5th ladder, did 4 FSQ to compensate

DL: warmup w/ singles: 225 r/u, 225 l/u, 275 r/u, 295 l/u

315 x 8 r/u (weaker grip) = yet another PR!

315 x 5 l/u (stronger grip)

Another PR set, and the 1RM calculator says 391 - freakin' awesome

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Monday - walk, stretch, felt good after yesterday's workout

Tuesday, today - stretch - lower back and hips very tight today.


3 x towel L-Sit pullups,

a few bodyweight windmills and toe touches.

bw crane pistol, 1 crane frolic and 1 crane pistol each way as alternating singles

Onward and Upward

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Medium Day - 5 Ladders to 3 + FSQ as usual

Lots of stretching after lots of sitting and lots of driving yesterday


Played with the format a little today, just to keep it interesting

BP: 155 x 1-2-3, DB BP 35s x 5 right first
Speed DL: 145 x 10 right under
FSQ: 155 x 5

Ladders: 5  Notes:

2nd ladder, 6 FSQ instead of 5

3rd ladder, DB BP for 8 instead of 5 but only paused, not exhaled, 6 FSQ instead of 5

4th ladder: BP was 1-3-2 because I messed up counting, failed first try at curl right w/ feet on the bench, rested a minute, tried again (set was left first) and it went.  Did DB BP with feet up on bench although curled w/ feet on the ground in order to get it., also 8 FSQ - gets me my 25 FSQ for today, wasn't hard, felt nice to be able to skip FSQ on final ladder, not to mention to pull off a pretty easy set of 8 FSQ near the end of a workout.

5th ladder: BP 6 reps x 1 set - was tough but felt good to do.  Skipped DB BP, did suitcase DL 1 rep right, 1 rep left, skipped FSQ per above - got all my reps in already

Onward and Upward

Saturday, October 26, 2013

More Variety - double 20 kg press x 6 reps x 2 sets, 36 kg 2-hand swings

After a good, but long, concert last night, I'm going to take it easy again today.


Military Press 2 x 20 kg x 6 reps - I never do more then 5 but I want to get used to doing up to 8-10 of these and then switch to 24's.  After a long rest, repeated the set

36 kg - 2-hand swing x 7

More stretching


Will walk more in the city tonight.

Onward and Upward

Friday, October 25, 2013

Variety - Swings

Had a 3-hour dress rehearsal last night, and have a concert tonight, so today is another Variety Day.


Walk about 1.5 mi.

7 explosive 2-hand swings w/ 32 kg, active rest until fully recovered, 7 of the same but with 36 kg.  Both sets felt fantastic, and I feel better than I did before I did them - excellent.

Rest, repeat w/ 1 arm swing w/ 24 kg - 7 left, active rest, 7 right.  Again, feels great, but noticing that grounding w/ right-handed swings isn't as good as w/ left, so

Rest, repeat above but right side first - better.  Thinking about pushing through my left foot helps my right foot stay more solidly on the ground - go figure but it works.

42 swings without even breathing hard - nice.

Onward and Upward

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Variety - Stretch, Press, Stretch, Walk

Floor work for stretching

Press 2 x 20 kg for 5 solid reps, focused on matching pace side to side and full extension at the top while keeping glutes tight and thighs zipped up.  Felt great


Onward and Upward

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Light Day, Ladders to 2, Heavier Curls/DB Press

Tuesday - very tired after two rehearsal on Monday, decided to take it easy

Wednesday - Light Day

Notes - increased DB BP from 25s to 35s, curl to start is tough, right is harder than left

BP: 155 x 1-2, DB BP curl 35s, left first, 5
Speed DL: 145 x 10, left under
FSQ: 155 x 5

Ladders: 5

3rd ladder, left first curl failed on right, so rolled more and curled right first.
4th and 5th ladders, rolled more to my side and got it everything.

Onward and Upward

Monday, October 21, 2013

Variety - see-saw mil press, hand to hand swing

Sunday - stretch, walk

Monday - stretch, walk, and

1 towel pullup

2 alternating singles of bodyweight windmill each side, palm to floor

20 kg x 2, see-saw press, right first, 12 total (6 each side), stopped when I was just starting to feel them, probably could have gone for 20 total but I have a long day ahead of me.

24 kg, hand to hand swings, 20 total (10 each side)

Onward and Upward

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Heavy Day - First Ladder to 4, Deadlift 8RM PR

Warmup - not much, hectic Saturday, made post-PSAT brunch for five 11th-graders, roasted coffee, lots of laundry, dish washer, etc.  Stretched a little.

No DB BP on heavy day, minimal light DLs between BP and FSQ, big DL 2 sets at the end

BP: 155 x 1-2-3-4 - first ladder to 4, made sure to take my time between rungs, rung of 4 felt solid and controlled.
DL: 125 x 3 r/u
FSQ: 155 x 5

Above Ladders x 1

BP: 155 x 1-2-3
DL: 125 x 3 l/u
FSQ: 155 x 5

Above Ladders x 4

NB: Unloaded bar from last week, had misloaded - it was only 290, not 295 because there was a 5 on the right side where there should have been a 10.

DL: warmup with singles: 225 r/u, 225 l/u, 285 r/u, 285 l/u

305 x 8 r/u (weaker grip) = PR

305 x 8 l/u (stronger grip) = Repeat the PR

Finish with a walk to my son's soccer game.

Onward and Upward

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Medium Day

Yesterday, a couple of OAOL 2-step pushups and matching bw pistols, and walk

Today, walk to warm up, stretch a bit, then

BP: 155 x 1-2-3, DB BP 25s x 5 right up/down first
Speed DL: 145 x 10 right over (left under)
FSQ: 155 x 5

Ladders: 5

Not bad - everything is getting easier, especially the FSQ.

Onward and Upward!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Medium Day

Walk, stretch, very tired from rehearsal last night and just, well, life - lots of driving.

BP: 155 x 1-2, no db bp
Speed DL: 125 x 10 r/u
FSQ: 155 x 5

Ladders done: 4

Last ladder, did BP, did 3 DL, skipped FSQ - short on time

Monday, October 14, 2013

Several Unplanned Days Off

Sometimes life takes precedence over lifting.  Was going to have Heavy Day on Saturday but ended up picking a sofa at IKEA and taking it in to our son's apartment in the city.  Sunday, we had plans to go to a concert in the city, which ultimately fell through, but I ended up taking a lovely 4-5 mile walk with my wife instead.  Today, Monday, I have a 2-1/2 hour rehearsal for which I'll be standing and playing double bass the entire time, and it's important to me - and I decided to postpone Heavy Day until tomorrow, Tuesday.

Walked twice for about a mile each time today.

32 kg: swing 5 x 2-handed, 5L, 5R, 5 x 2-handed without putting the bell down, and that was it for today

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Medium Day

It's raining outside so probably no walking today.  Instead, warmup with 1-hand swings, all in short sets, using 36, 32, and 24 kg bells.

BP: 155 x 1-2, DB BP x 5, curl left first
Speed DL: 165 x 10 r/u, starting slowly, which eliminates the lower back pain I felt the last few workouts
FSQ: 155 x 5

Total ladders: 4 - ran out of time, this is OK for today.

NB: - seem to have been rotating to the right at the bottom of my squats - not doing that helps.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Variety - 24 kg Pullup, 32 kg swings, 2 x 20 mil presses

Stretch, arm bars w/ 10 kg, walk, cut the grass

2 x 20 kg - mil press x 4 - trying to get right side to go straight up, doesn't want to, though, but doubles helps to keep the grooves at least similar

PU: 24 kg on left foot x 1, right foot x 1

32 kg swing, 5L+5R

That's it for today,

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Light Day

Yesterday, a long and demanding day.  2 hour rehearsal at the piano in the afternoon, 2-1/2 hour rehearsal on upright bass in the evening.  Did a few 2-handed swings w/ a 32 kg.

Today, decided to warm up with 1-handed 32 kg swings, switching hands every 3 reps, so 3L, 3R, 3L, 3R, and put the bell down.  Repeat a few minutes later, noticed some grip fatigue the second time through.  Going for a hooks-of-the-fingers grip.

Walk 2 mi

BP: 155 x 1-2, DB DB 2 x 25 lb x 5, hammer curl right first, 1-2 breaths each press rep at bottom
Speed DL: 165 x 10 left under, on first rep, felt it in left side of back at bottom - nothing bad but a muscle or group not firing before it needed to, only just after it was called upon.
FSQ: 155 x 5

Above total of 2 ladders, switching l/r stuff each ladder

Ran out of time, and that will be light day - a bit off, but in the proper spirit.

Onward and Upward

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Variety - Walk, Press 2 x 20 kg

2 mi walk

2 x 20 kg: military press x 5.  Focus on straight up groove (straighter, anyway), and tight glutes and minimal lean back.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

First 5 ladder workout this cycle, DL 8-RM PR

Last lifted on Tuesday due to a very busy week - played in a concert on Thursday, had a doctor's appointment on Friday.

5 ladders to 3 today, plus deadlifts

BP: 155 x 1-2-3 (no backoff DB presses - saving energy for DL at end)
Speed DL: 115 x 3 reps r/u (had been doing 165 x 10, again saving for heavy DL)
FSQ: 155 x 5

Almost no rest during the ladder, 10-15 minutes between ladders

Ladders done: 5 (alternating DL grip so 2nd set l/u)

DL: warmup with 4 singles: 225 r/u, 225 l/u, 275 r/u, 275 l/u

295 x 8 r/u is weaker, do first - this is an 8-rep PR, 1RM calculator says 366 lbs = nice

295 x 8 l/u is stronger grip - a second set of the PR weight/reps, very nice, indeed

No more for today.

Onward and Upward.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

4th workout - 4 ladders, Varied Set/Rep Scheme a little

warmup - walk, stretch a bit

BP: 155 x 1-2-3, DB BP: 25s x 5, curl up and put down right first
Speed DL: 165 x 10 on thin bar, l/u
FSQ: 155 x 5

BP: 155 x 3-3, skipped DB BP - getting short on time
Speed DL: 165 x 10 on thin bar, r/u, right knee was sore during these
FSQ: 155 x 5

BP: 155 x 1-2-3, DB BP: 25s x 5, curl up and put down left first
Speed DL: 165 x 10 on thin bar, l/u
FSQ: 155 x 5

BP: 155 x 5, skipped DB BP - getting short on time, decided to 1 hard set, 5 felt good
Speed DL: 165 x 10 on thin bar, r/u, right knee was sore during these, something about this grip
FSQ: 155 x 5

Onward and Upward

Saturday, September 28, 2013

3rd workout of cycle - 3 ladders to 3 - added dumbbell bench backoff sets

BP: 155 x 1-2-3, chased down with 2 x 25 lb. dumbbell BP x 5 w/ very long pauses
Speed DL: 165 x 10 r/u
FSQ: 155 x 5 - these are getting easier but still are far from easy for me.

Repeat above, alternating DL grips per ladder, total 3 times through

Onward and Upward!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Variety - Headstand, OAOL Pushup, Pistol, Walk, Swing

Quite a variety of things on my variety day

Stretching, including windmills bw only, and a short headstand - did one yesterday, too, felt great both times.

2-step OAOL pushup x left, right + bw pistol x left, right

Repeat above

walk 2 mi

13 swings, 2-handed, w/ a 36 kg bell

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Workout #2 (again): 2 Ladders to 3

Stretch, walk

BP: 155 x 1-2-3, Speed DL l/u: 165 x 10, FSQ: 155 x 5

BP: 155 x 1-2-3, Speed DL r/u: 165 x 10, FSQ: 155 x 5

Completed w/o in 30 min - excellent!

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Variety - Stretch, Windmill, Walk

A solid cossack sequence and splits on the front porch.

A 1-mile or so walk

Windmills - bw x 3 each side, 12 kg x 1 each side w/ exhale at the bottom (palm on floor)

Still tired from antibiotics but improving slowly.

Onward and upward

Monday, September 23, 2013

Starting Cycle Again

The antibiotics I was on all last week just took a lot out of me, and I was in recovery mode, anyway, so I decided to start my cycle again today, with:

BP: 155 x 1-2-3, Speed DL: 165 x 10, FSQ 155 x 5

Plan will be to do 2 ladders next workout, 3 ladders the workout after, then start Heavy/Light/Medium weekly rotation.  I finished my antibiotics last night - no doubt there is still a clinically significant amount of the stuff running around my system.

NB: Speed DL is up from 115 then 135 - 165 feels like a more appropriate challenge, and it's not moving all that quickly so quicker is my goal, but I'm also noting that it is now heavy enough to notice in my legs, which 115 and 135 weren't.

10 minutes after I finished lifting, I feel better than before I started - always a nice, and a good, thing.

Onward and Upward

Friday, September 20, 2013

Variety - Kettlebell Double Presses, Weighted PU, Swings

Woke up this morning and had a very sore back - it passed after a few minutes, just felt "out" somehow but it righted itself, which was _good_.

Walk, stretch on the front porch with the full cossack sequence

A few see-saw presses with a pair of 20's

1 set of 5 mil presses with a pair of 20's

2 PU singles, one each foot, with a 24 kg bell on foot

Swing double 20's - set of 10, rest, set of 6

Overall, tired from antibiotics, I think, but basically feeling OK.

Onward and Upward

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Light Day, First Lifting in a Week

An ease-back-into-it day

Walk about 3 miles

BP: 155 x 1, DL: 115 x 10 (fast), FSQ 155 x 1

BP: 155 x 1, DL: 115 x 10 (fast), FSQ 155 x 2

BP: 155 x 2, DL: 135 x 10 (decided to try these a little heavier, probably should be  at 175 or so), FSQ 155 x 3

That feels like all I want to do today - still not 100% recovered, but this was a good workout, maybe a more complete Light Day on Saturday, or maybe a Medium Day - we'll see how it feels as we ease back into things.

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Still Tired, Still Taking a Break from Lifting

It's Wednesday - my last lifting was a week ago today, but again I'm not going to do much today.  I'm still tired, and I've learned that too much is worse than too little for me because I tend to want to push myself too hard.

I'm also on an antibiotic, which I don't like to do but I don't have any choice, since Monday, and that might be taking a toll on me, too.

Today, a nice walk and some stretching, followed by:

crane pistol, rf, 1 each side

1A1L pushup, 2 step height and didn't even make it all the way down, but kept my glutes tighter and that's progress so I'm happy - also just one per side, also right side first.

24 kg: mil press + windmill right, same thing left, and we're done.

Onward and Upward, and perhaps I'll rejoin my ladder program tomorrow, Thursday.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Busy Weekend - Figuring the Rest Of Life into the Training Schedule

I thought about lifting last Thursday or Friday but didn't because I knew I had a very tiring weekend coming up, conducting in synagogue.

Just walked on Thursday last week, did another walk on Friday before I left, then spent several hours in the car doing some Philly-area errands before heading to the hotel and then to the synagogue

Saturday, I walked a couple of miles before going to work, and I elected to stay over another night to avoid the problem I have most years with feeling very drowsy in the car on the way home.

Sunday, I walked a couple of miles in the morning, drove home, walked another couple of miles at home.

Today, Monday, more walking, lots of hanging from the pullup bar, stretching, especially getting my back and hips loosened up.  Also did a few 24 kg mil presses and a couple of behind-the-neck pullups, bw-only

I have learned over the years that it's very important for me to not lift heavy the day after anything that tires my back - best just to stretch and get things loosened up and then lift the day after.

Onward, upward, and back on the horse tomorrow or Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Variety - Walk, Shop, Carry, Stretch, Swing

Medium Day yesterday was great.  I did some crawling yesterday, and that felt good, too.  Very interesting that it un-jacks-up my right shoulder but leaves my back hurting, so I think it's safe to conclude that the jacked up shoulder is a compensation to take some of the load off the bad back.

Today, picked up 4 x 50 lb bags of pellets for the water softener, put them in the car, took them out of the car and into the basement.

Skipped dessert the last two nights and, lo and behold, bodyweight is down from 155 to 153.

Walked a couple of miles in the high heat and humidity today - a taste of summer, showing 95 F on our front porch thermometer in the shade.

Cut the lawn, surprisingly not tough in the heat.

Stretched a little, will try to stretch some more.

This coming Friday night and Saturday are Yom Kippur, and they are the most physically demanding non-exercise days I have in my year, so I will do an Easy Day tomorrow, Thursday, and then take it easy as much as I can.

Had the urge to do some swings, so did just that, but first

Towel PU x 3 - these really have a way of making everything line up correctly for me.

36 kg: 2-hand swing x 20 in about :30

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hurried Medium Day

BP: 155 x 3 - 1-2 was the plan, 3's are fine, though
DL: 115 x 5
FSQ: 155 x 3 - not warmed up enough, not much rest at all between lifts

BP: 155 x 3
DL: 115 x 5
FSQ: 155 x 5 much better, a little more, although still not much, rest between lifts

BP: 155 x 3
DL: 115 x 6 - tried to do the last rep fast - and it was faster.
FSQ: 155 x 5

BP: 155 x 3
DL: 115 x 7 - first one had to be slow, but tried to make second one faster and the rest fast
FSQ: 155 x 5

BP: 155 x 3
DL: 115 x 10 - first one was quick, the rest were not all that fast but they weren't slow - kind of missed the point of trying to make it faster in my effort to do 10 reps and not lose count ...
FSQ: 155 x 5

Onward and Upward - whole workout in about 45 minutes today, excellent!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

First Heavy Day = 5 x 1-2-3 plus DL 285 x 8 reps x 2 sets

BP: 155 x 1-2-3
Narrow Sumo DL: 115 x 3 (thin 6' bar)
FSQ: 155 x 3

5 ladders

Note the inclusion of a few light sumo DL's between BP and FSQ - was demonstrating something for my wife, decided these helped my back make the transition between BP and FSQ, so I included them in every set today.

Last DL workout was on Friday, August 23, two weeks and one day ago, when I did 275 x 8 reps x 2 sets narrow sumo, right under first.

Today, we're hoping for 285 x 8 x 2, narrow sumo as we've decided to stick with of late

DL: 225 x 3 r/u, 2175 x 1 l/u - warmups

285 x 8 r/u - tried to push with legs and not pull with back

285 x 8 l/u - hot damn, that was good.  1RM calculator says 354 lbs, makes me happy

Onward and Upward!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Variety - Stretch, Walk

After my lifting on Wednesday, I drove 2+ hours to Philly.

On Thursday, I led the choir for Rosh Hashana - was in synagogue from 9 AM until 1:30 PM, then drove 2+ hours home and felt plenty

Today, Friday, the weather is absolutely beautiful here, and my wife is off, and we needed to pick out a new storm door at a place 2-1/2 miles from here, so we walked - 2-1/2 miles there, picked out our storm door, and walked home with a stop at the grocery store on the way.  Stretched a little before walking, will try to stretch some more later.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Second Workout of New Ladder Cycle

Bodyweight 154.4 lbs.

Planned 4 BP ladders of (1-2-3) + FSQ, up from 3 of everything at our first session 2 days ago.

4 x (BP: 155 x 1-2-3, FSQ: 155 x 5)


Have been taking my FSQ super deep, paused, and partially relaxed at the bottom.  I need to stop doing that - I think the way I've been doing them will have a better carryover to deadlifts, but I need carryover to my barbell back squat as well, and I need to be able to go heavier, and these almost-dead-start FSQs are too different from competition squats, and don't allow enough weight, so we're going to start staying tight at the bottom, and we're also going to take only short pauses and/or no pauses, and maybe even try to learn to bounce a little.

BP feels pretty strong

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Off/Easy - swings, walk, stretch, pistol, windmill

24 kg: swing, 5L+5R+5L+10R+10L - sort of lost count as to which side was first, but all done w/ no break at all - good.



A few 8 kg pistols, 1L DLs, and windmills

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Day of New Ladder Cycle

Bodyweight is up to 155, feels good but feels like it's time to lift again, too.

New Cycle:  BP comp grip and high bar, very deep FSQ, both w/ 155 lbs. on the bar.

Today, the plan calls for 3 x (BP x 1-2-3, FSQ x 5).

We will work on increasing that to 5 ladders to 3 then work on upping heavy day, per usual for the modified ROP ladder progression we're doing.

BP: 135 x 1 warmup, 155 x 1-2-3
FSQ: 135 x 2 warmup, 155 x 5

BP: 155 x 1-2-3, FSQ: 155 x 4 - playing with form and, so far, sitting back more feels like it makes me weaker, not stronger.  Only got 4 reps.

BP: 155 x 1-2-3 - tried pinkies on rings for set of 2, felt stronger at lockout but weaker at bottom, went back to ring fingers on rings, my competition grip, for set of 3,   FSQ: 155 x 5 - my wife says my right hand is further from my right shoulder than my left hand is from my left shoulder - need to be mindful of that for next workout.

36 kg: 2-hand swing x 10

Onward and Upward

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Bike Ride

Saturday: 90 minute drive, 10-mile bike ride - mountain bike but on the roads.  Haven't ridden in a year, felt great, just a little unusual.  Strong is good.  Another 90 minute drive home.

Today, Sunday: short walk, then
24 kg mil press, lf, 4 - felt good, helps right the back from the bike riding and driving yesterday

8 kg windmill, lf, 5 - haven't done these except bodyweight in a while, decided to start light.

Onward and Upward!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Test Day

Testing for a 8-12 rep max on bench press and front squat.

The BP test is a bit complicated since my most recent cycle was all narrow grip.  To warmup and to get used to a normal grip, I did:

135 lb, narrow: 1
135 x 1 inch wider, 2
135 x middle of knurling, x 3
135 x pinkies on the rings x 4
135 x ring fingers on the rings x 5

So far, so good, and I will keep ring fingers on the rings as my competition grip - wider feels weaker to me.

145 x 5 - started fast, were slower by the end

With spotters:

155 x 8


135 x 1, 2 - feeling rusty, not feeling tight at all, 5 - better

145 x 2 - enough

160 x 3 - nervous system tired (from BP, I presume), decided not to do more, will just go with 155 on _both_ lifts for next cycle.

Finish w/ 32 kg x 20 2-hand swings - felt good: posture good, pushing through feet, explosive.

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Planned Down Time

After my Heavy Day last Friday, which completed my ladder cycle, I had two very busy days over the weekend - drive to Philly with a stop on the way down, 4 hour rehearsal there, take my wife's 92-year-old Aunt out to dinner, another 4-hour rehearsal on Sunday, and the drive home.

Monday, just some walking and some stretching

Tuesday: bodyweight.  3 OAOL 2-step pushups as alternating singles, 1 pistol each way, more walking, more stretching, plus 10 2-hand swings w/ a 32 kg

Today, Wednesday: some stretching, plus:

10 x 2-hand swings w/ 32 kg, 24 kg press x left, right singles

10 more 2-handed swings w/ 32 kg, 24 kg press x 3 left, 3 right.

Maybe, maybe, some sort of max test tomorrow - might look for a 10-rep max on FSQ and/or BP.

Onward and Upward

Friday, August 23, 2013

Heavy Day

Nothing except walking and stretching yesterday - was going to lift but ended up waiting 3 hours to see my doctor for my should-be-annual-but-the-last-one-was-three-years-ago physical examination.

Warmup - walking a few miles, stretch

Finished 5 ladders to 5!!!!!

(BP: 135 narrow x 1-2-3-4-5, FSQ 145 x 5) x 5

Notes - BP is getting so much stronger!  Not hard to knock these out now.

Messing around with bar position on left shoulder - have been actually putting pressure on protrusion at end of clavicle, letting the bar rest slightly more forward but still pushing against my throat, feels much better on left shoulder.

DL - narrow sumo

275 x 8 right under - focus on legs, head relatively up, minimal t-spine flexion

275 x 8 left under - solid!

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Variety - Pushup, Pistol, Pullup

A few OAOL 2-step height pushups,

a few pistols,

2 towel pullups,

24 kg on foot pullups x 3 left foot, 3 right foot - for the frequency of my pullup training, 3 reps is probably OK, but I could go 28 kg and settle for a single or a double and that might serve my purposes better.

Heavy Day - tomorrow, 3 ladders to 5!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Medium Day: 5 ladders to 4

A very busy day yesterday - drive 30 minutes, played in church, drove 2-1/2 hours to a 4-hour rehearsal in Philly, drove 2 hours home.

Today, medium day, with the hope of another Heavy Day on Thursday

Warmup - walked some, stretched some

BP: 135 x 1-2-3-4 x 1, FSQ without bands this time, trying to get better posture: 135 x 5 x 1

added a 5 to each side of the FSQ bar for 145 total

BP: 135 x 1-2-3-4 x 3, FSQ without bands this time, trying to get better posture: 145 x 5 x 3

Tried, on both bench and SQ, to have better mid-back posture.  I didn't do as well as the reps and sets wore on, but I can live with that - these are new-to-me muscles and I'm beginning to be able to feel them working.  It's just that by the last set of SQ, they were too tired to help, and I did more of a hips up first finish.

Onward and Upward

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Life's Getting Busy - 4 days off, then Easy Day

Really, 5 days between Heavy and next, which is today's, Light workout.  The last workout, which included my first ladders to 5, really took it out of me, and life is getting nuts here, too.


BP: 1-2-3, FSQ x 5 - two of thoese

BP: 3-3, FSQ x 5 - three of those except, for the final set of squats, worked with my wife and tried to really straighten my upper back - but it did _not_ feel good, and I stopped after one rep

That's it for today.

Onward and Upward!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Variety - PU/Pistol


1 bw pistol each side, 1 OAOL pushup, 2-step height, each side

frequent stretching to deal with the tight back and hips from all the BP and FSQ.

Onward and Upward

Monday, August 12, 2013

Heavy Day - 2 x (1-2-3-4-5), 3 x (1-2-3-4) + FSQ, + DL 265 x 8 reps x 2 sets

Sunday - 5 mile walk

Monday, Heavy Day.  Started lifting a 5 PM after a long, tedious day - DMV, banking, grocery store, kid-related errands several times, and that's not the half of it.  The program must be followed, however, and tomorrow I'm working too much to handle heavy day, so here we go:

2 x BP 135 narrow, paused x 1-2-3-4-5 + FSQ 135 + bands, paused, x 5

3 x BP as above x 1-2-3-4 + FSQ as above

Had been hoping for 5 ladders to 5 but it wasn't to be today


based on last week, right under is our weaker grip so I'll do that one first today

265 x 8 right under - form was good, did it w/ legs, 8 reps felt like plenty

265 x 8 left under - form still good, focus is legs, legs, legs

This is our mini-wave because 265 x 8 is, according to 1RM calculator, easier than 255 x 10.  275 x 8 should be the same as 255 x 10, and maybe we can hit 285 x 8 - we'll see:

Onward and Upward - finished lifting at 7 PM.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Barbell Ladder - Medium Day

Today, Saturday: Medium Day

Decided to swap JS red bands, which are 25 lb., for purple, which are 50 lbs. but I'm not putting much tension on them.  They're not doubled up around the squat stands to shorten them, but if today's squats feel OK, I might do that, either mid-workout or for the next one.

Warmup -


24 kg kb press x 2L, 2R

Towel PU x 1 w/ pause at the bottom, top, and bottom again

Workout Proper:

BP: narrow grip, 135 lb x 1-2-3
FSQ: 135 lb., JS purple on either side of the bar, 5

The above x 5

Ladder #2-5, double bands at bottom for FSQ
Ladders #3-4, BP: 2 sets of 3 instead of 1-2-3, ladder #5, 1 set of 6

Medium day felt kind of, well, medium - a good workout without being on the edge.

Next workout, probably Monday, we'll see how many 1-2-3-4-5 ladders of the press we can get

Onward and Upward

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Light Day: BP/FSQ

Decided to wait an extra day, so Monday was heavy, and Thursday, today, will be light.

Warmup -

Long walk,

24 kg mil press, lf, 4 each way

24 kg bell-on-foot tactical pullups, left foot first, 2 each way

The Workout Proper

BP: as usual for this cycle, narrow grip, 135 lbs, 5 x (1-2) (ladder #1=1-2, remainder = 1 set of 3 each)
Each ladder supersetted with
FSQ: 135 lbs, shortened mini bands, 5

And that's it for today

Onward and Upward

Monday, August 5, 2013

Heavy Day, Week 2

Lots of driving over the weekend.

Today, walk 3 miles, then:

BP: narrow, 135 lb., 1-2-3-4 x 1,  rest 2-3 min
FSQ: shortened minis, super deep, paused, 135 lb.: 5

Above repeated after long rest for a total of 5 times - big jump but appropriate given the light weight and relative ease of performance for me.

DL:  narrow sumo, started left under, full hand grip instead of just finger hooks:

255 x 10, left under


255 x 10, right under - upper back rounded, don't know if grip preference is an issue but I was way more tired for this set than the first one, that's for sure.

Onward and Upward

Friday, August 2, 2013

Light Day

Yesterday, Thursday, lots of driving with our relatives, a few OAOL pushups and pistols in the morning, along with some qigong.  When I got home, 24 kg mil press x 3 each side plus stretching

Friday, lots more driving ahead, so a short morning walk then some stretching (cossack sequence) then some quick lifting:

BP: Narrow for this cycle, 135 x 3, 4

FSQ: 135 w/ shortened mini bands, going for maximum depth, paused: 2, 3

Kneeling Wheel, full extension and pause, 3

Onward and Upward!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Variety - more canoeing, plus Medium Day


Short on time, plan calls for

BP: close grip, 135, 5 x (1-2)

Decided a test was in order, so did

135 x 8 reps - first 7 were crisp, last one was slow so I stopped.  Make me think I can possibly just up a few rungs for the next heavy workout, maybe more than 1 x 1-2-3-4 before switching to 1-2-3.

FSQ: 135 x slightly shortened minis as previous workout: 5 - videotaped, damn, I am weak in the posterior chain and my hip still come up first

BP: as above, 7 reps

FSQ: as above, 2, more careful with form, videotaped again, looks better to me, need to work on additional mobility to get lower, though - don't like my depth on these but maybe it's OK...

That's it for today - will have a short Easy day Friday morning, then probably lift again Monday or Tuesday and go for my firs 1-2-3-4's on BP and we'll see what on FSQ.

Onward and Upward

Monday, July 29, 2013

Variety - Canoeing, Walk, plus Heavy Day: BP: 5 x 1-2-3, FSQ: 5 x 5 w/ bands, DL 245 x 10 reps x 2 set

Saturday - canoed for 2 hours on a windy lake

Sunday - played guitar in church

Monday - walked 2.5 miles or so on a hot, humid day, then had planned to start my ladder protocol but miscounted, then the phone rang, so the second set was where the actual planned protocol, started what I hope is Heavy Day, with medium and light to come on Wednesday and Friday.

BP: 135 x 5

FSQ: 135 x 2 - phone rang

Do below x 4 on short rest between rungs, 1:00 rest between lifts, 5:00 rest between circuits

NB: added mini band on each side of the bar for FSQ, can't tell much difference.

BP: 135 x 1-2-3
FSQ: 135 w/ mini's x 5

For last 2 circuits, doubled up the mini over the squat stand bottom, not anywhere near doubling, just make it perhaps 6-8 inches shorter - and I could at least feel it this time, which I couldn't the previous 2 sets

Next to the last set of squats, did a poor 2nd rep, hips shot up and I felt the load move to my lumbar spine.  Wasn't horrible and was able to fix it for the rest of the set without stopping.

DL: narrow sumo, touch and go - dl slippers for the first time in a long time, used RDC's - thinner sole than the ones I used to pull in.

right under, 245 x 10

I've been experiementing with grip - last session, full handed grip; this time, hooks of fingers

left under, 245 x 10 - grip getting tired but didn't give out. 

Onward and Upward

Friday, July 26, 2013


Wed - 4 mile walk, stretch

Thu - 2 mile walk, stretch


With my 16-year-old and one of his friends from the soccer team, so this is going to be an off-program guesstimate at light day.

Narrow BP and FSQ

BP: 135 x 1-2-3, 1-2-3

FSQ: work up to 135 x 5

BP: 135 x 1-2-3

FSQ: 135 x 5, all fsq paused, last rep of all sets longer pause

DL: narrow sumo, touch and go

left under, 225 x 10

right under, 225 x 10 - sets of 10 deadlifts are freakin' cardio!

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Variety - pushup and pistol

lots of stretching - stiff from yesterday.

short walk

1 bw pistol each side, 1 2-step OAOL pushup each side

Monday, July 22, 2013

Medium Day : 12 reps each BP and FSQ

Medium Day of my new ladder cycle.

Instead of 4 x (1-2), I elected to do 6 x 2

BP: 135, narrow grip, 2 reps x 6 sets

FSQ: 135, 2 reps x 6 sets

Video of 4th set: http://youtu.be/k1tvj6LKAa4

I don't think anyone will be complaining that my squats aren't deep enough. :)

32: 2-hand swings x 20

Onward and Upward

Saturday, July 20, 2013

When Not To Lift

Perhaps the most important lesson an aging athlete can learn is when not to lift.

I've had a very busy week.  I had a great day lifting on Wednesday, but then had to spend a lot of Thursday and Friday sitting in bad chairs, hunched over playing the guitar through a couple of rehearsals and a performance.  Today is Saturday - I had thought about lifting again on Friday but my back was tired and sore from the Thursday night rehearsal, and today, my back was tired and sore from yesterday's performance.

I will very likely lift again tomorrow, Sunday.

Today, I slept late, stretched, walked, and took a nap.

I'm on a 3x/week program now, but if that gets spread out to 3 times in 8 or 9 or 10 days, that's cool.

Onward and Upward

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Variety - pistols and pushups

Tired and sore from all my travels:

Walk a bit - it's very hot and humid so not too much.

(bw pistol x left, right + one-arm, one-leg pushup on 2-step elevation x left, right ) x 2

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

First Day Back after SF Barbell Cert and 1000 miles of driving

First day back, have decided to try a ladder cycle on narrow grip bench presses and front squats:

BP, grip pinkies just inside the rings

135: (1-2-3) x 3, (3-3) x 1 - counts as 4 ladders to 1-2-3.  Doing the 4th ladder as 3-3 probably cost me doing a 5th ladder - note to self, perhaps not the best choice for the future.

brought squat stands in from the deep recesses of the garage, a workout by itself


bar x 3

135 x 1-2-3 - paused 1 and 2 rep sets, bounced 3 as back felt better but should really pause these, too, for my goals, or at least continue to mix them.  All bounced?  Too easy to hit a wall where it doesn't work and not have the strength to progress further.  All paused?  Good, just need some practice at bounced.

break to teach a lesson, then more FSQ but only a little time in which to do them.

135: (3, 3) x 3 - today was heavy day, equal to 4 x (1-2-3) for both FSQ and BP

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

BP 185 x 1, DL 225 for a few, bw pistols

Monday, walk about 4-5 miles

Today, some stretching then:

BP: 135 x 3, 155 x 1, slightly raised bench, 165 x 1, 175 x 1, 185 x 1 - slow but it went

DL: 225 x 3 right under, 225 x 3 left under

short walk

bw pistol, lf, alternating singles total 2 each way - bw pistol is the perfect after-DL back stretch, IMHO.

Feeling pretty ready and on schedule for the SF Barbell cert this coming weekend.  Weighed 151 lbs. even this morning, would like to be 148 on Friday morning.

Onward and Upward

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Walk, a few Windmills and Snatches

Hips tired, sore, tight after DL yesterday, so just walked and stretch

Today, Sunday:

walk more - really hot, did about 2-1/2 or 3 miles with a long coffee break in the middle

18: a few windmills and snatches each side.  Both of these are good checks of my form and shoulder health.

Onward and Upward.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A few barbell lifts: MP, FSQ, SQ, BP, DL

Getting ready for the AZ StrongFirst Barbell certification

MP:  95 x 4, 4

FSQ: 135 x 5

SQ: 135 x 3, 155 x 5

BP: bar x 3, 135 x 5, 155 x 3, 170 x 1, 175 x 1 - enough for today

DL: narrow sumo

265 x 3 right under

285 x 3 left under

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

MP, SQ in a few different ways.

StrongFirst Barbell Cert coming up, let's practice our standing military press:

bar x 5

65 x 5

85 x 5, 2 - second set, focus on using front shoulder muscles, felt fine

Long break

Decided to try some of the SFB tests

SQ: 135 x 5 deep and paused - will need to do bodyweight, haven't done this in a while

FSQ: 135 x 5 deep and paused.

Zerchers are a lift I don't do and they're on the lift list but not the test list.

bar x 3

95 x 2 - need to lower safeties even further, x 3 - need to figure out where to put elbows, seems like inside knees would be best.

Onward and Upward

Monday, July 1, 2013


Spent a fair amount of the weekend in a car, did a few FSQ w/ 135 before I left - felt great.

Today, Monday:


135 x 3

155 x 3, 3, 4

165 x 2, 2

Enough for today

Onward and Upward

Thursday, June 27, 2013

BP, DL, Swing


short walk

bw crane pistol x 1 each way

1A1L PU 2-step, rf, 1 each way

24 kg mil press, lf, 2 each way

BP: paused

135 x 3

155 x 3, 3, 3 - better as they went

DL: narrow sumo:

245 x 5 right under

265 x 5 left under

24: swing, 
10R+10L in :30, :30 rest, 10L+10r in :30, a little better and a little easier than two days ago

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

BP, DL, Swing

Short walk, cossack sequence

BP: all brief pause on chest

grip middle of knurling, 135 x 3

grip index fingers on rings, 135 x 10, 145 x 6, 155 x 2

grip narrow - thumb just on smooth part, 135 x 2, x 1 - tough, need to use even less weight and a narrower grip

DL: narrow sumo on the floor, focus on leg push and low hips

225 x 5 left under

245 x 5 right under

24 kg swing:

10L+10R in :30, :30 rest, 10R+10L in :30, done for today.

Onward and Upward

Monday, June 24, 2013

5 Towel Pullups

A too-busy day today - an early morning lesson, spent far too much time sitting in midtown NYC traffic, and the weather is hot and humid.

After a short walk at 4 PM, did a single set of 5 towel pullups - haven't done more than 2 before, felt great.  These seems to force me to fix shoulder alignment issues - love this move for that.

Onward and Upward.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Missed Meet, some GTG-style easy lifting

Friday, my wife and I drove 3-1/2 hours to a meet in York, PA, where I'd planned to lift as part of Team StrongFirst, but later Friday night, after successfully weighing in, we got a pile of text messages from our 16-year-old, who we'd left at home with the understanding that he was going to stay at a friend's house that night.  Long story short, he got picked up by local law enforcement at an outdoor dance with a reputation for underage drinking, but he wasn't drinking and neither were his friends, and all of them were released later.

But in the meantime, we'd gotten in the car and started back home, so I didn't get to lift this time around.

Saturday, yesterday, a few presses w/ 24 kg plus a few pistols on the front porch.  I have been easing into GTG w/ 24 kg mil presses, 2 each side most times I walk by the bell near our back door.  I added a windmill at the end yesterday.

Today, Sunday, finds me thinking about GTG on

Narrow sumo DL's also, so I did

225 x 3, right under

225 x 3, left under - felt stronger - big focus on leg drive


135 x 10, brief pause on chest

1A1L PU, 2-step, 1L, 1R, 1L, 1R

BW Pistol: 1L, 1R in combo w/ crane stance posture

Feels like enough for today, will walk later.

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Few DL's, and a few words about making weight the easy way

Today is Wednesday - Friday I drive to the meet, weigh in, and I lift on Saturday.  I haven't lifted much in the last few weeks, so I felt I needed to do something today:

DL: Narrow Sumo on the floor - I've come to realize that I ought to stick with narrow sumo, so I'm going to do that for the meet.

225 x 2 overhand

275 x 1 left under

295 x 1 right under (competition grip)

I put 315 on the bar, but I decided against pulling heavier today.

Overall, I felt my leg drive was good - for me, anyway - in all the pulls, and I'm already thinking - but as yet undecided - about my next lifting cycle.

The focus will be on some pressing for the next few weeks since I have to do those at the StrongFirst Barbell Cert July 12-14, and my bench press is maybe, barely what it needs to be for that.  My standing overhead barbell press is strong enough - I think I've tripled my required weight - and everything else is relatively easy for me.

I also walked a bit today.

A few words on making weight - I have done the simple thing, namely eat moderately and good, wholesome food, for the last month or so, and my weight has comfortably dropped from about 154-155 to 151 this morning after nothing more than asparagus, a natural diuretic, as part of my dinner last night.

I started taking an herbal - "natural" - diuretic pill, X-Pel by MHP, this afternoon.  You take 4 pills twice a day, so it will be this afternoon, twice tomorrow, and either once or twice on Friday.  That's much less than recommended - they suggest a week - because I'm starting so close to my goal weight.

I would like to come in at 147 even or so for this meet's weigh-in because I want to lift at 145 in the international meets of the USAPL, and the weight classes are different: 66 kg instead of 67.5, or 145 lbs. instead of 148.75.  I feel perfectly fine and not like I've been denying myself.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Last Friday, I played a performance in the afternoon, left at 3 PM to drive until 11:15 PM, get up the next day, and drive another 6-1/2 hours.  My 20-year-old son and I drove him to northwestern MI for a month-long music festival.  He wanted to have his car with him, and his mother and I thought it was too much driving for him to do by himself - we also wanted to be sure he felt fresh to devote his energies to his playing and not be beat by driving 900 miles solo.

Sunday, I flew home from there.

Yesterday, Monday, all I did was stretch and walk.

Today, Tuesday, I walked and stretched some more, and just did a double on the Towel L-Sit pullup.  I thought about lifting but it's not going to happen again today.  All the driving and sitting is hard on my back and my neck, and I need the time to relax and decompress.

Meet coming up on Saturday, will try to do a little lifting tomorrow, Wednesday.

Onward and Upward.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Easy DL

I'm pretty sure I'm going to lift DL-only at the June 22 Team StrongFirst meet - I want to save my other lifts for the SF Barbell certification workshop, and I also think I'm going to try and pull narrow sumo for the upcoming meet - there are a lot of things I like about it, even though I got called for hitching for the first time when doing it at the most recent meet.

Today, DL, starting narrow sumo on the floor in Allstars, switched to conventional at the end:

Looking up, and therefore replying more on leg drive, with controlled lowering

225 x 1 right under - felt strong

225 x 1 left under - not as good

225 x 1 right under - again solid

225 x 2 left under - easy

275 x 2 right under - this is where my lack of leg strength starts to show.  The weight goes up but it's slow off the ground and it's more back and less legs than 225 was.

275 x 1 left under - better

305 x 1 - tried narrow sumo but it felt awkward, switched to conventional and up it came using back strength, left under.  I have lost the hip involvement I had when I trained narrow sumo over the winter.

305 x 1 - narrow sumo again, right under this time, was a shaky-legged affair but went up.

Not exactly confidence-inspiring training 9 days out from a meet, but that's life.

And that's it for today - yet another very busy morning, afternoon, and evening ahead, followed by another crazy day tomorrow, followed by another one on Saturday and yet another on Sunday.  Next week looks good, though - hallelujah!

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More Easy/Off Days

Sunday - walk, stretch, a few 24 kg mil presses, some bw work

Monday - a few presses, very busy day

Tuesday - another very busy day, walk, jog a little, press 24 kg a little

Variety - Shoirt and Sweet w/ 32 kg bell

32 kg x 1 front squat - right x 2, left x 2.  Excellent exercise, challenging to keep forearm against body and squat deep.  32 kg is close to 1/2 bodyweight for me, currently 69 kg.

32: 2-handed swing x 10

Life has been oh, so busy!  A little exercise felt great.

Onward and Upward - might lift a barbell tomorrow, might not, we'll see

Saturday, June 8, 2013

BP 175 x 4 singles, DL fail at 345

Friday - pouring rain so no walk, just some stretching, pistols, and 1A1L pushups

Saturday - back and neck feel funny from a one-hour double bass practice session yesterday, which was  long, long overdue.  Nothing hurts, just different posture for a prolonged period.  Right shoulder actually feels the best it's felt in a very long time but lower back is tight.


bar x 5

135 x 3

155 x 1

175 x 4 singles about every 3:00 - excellent, the perfect weight - repeatable but heavy enough that my form needs to be good.  Could conceivably GTG singles w/ this weight.

DL: per Brett, in DL slippers (he asked for bare feet - this is closer, if not the same)

3" platform:  225 x 3 overhand

1-1/2" platform: 315 x 1 right under

on the floor:  345 x fail left under - we'll go back to the other grip, and I think we'll also go back to pulling from the floor.  The ROM is too different this way.

Maybe too many heavy BP before this heavy a DL - whatever, it was a CNS failure - I just didn't feel like struggling with the weight today and didn't even break it off the ground.

Onward and Upward

Thursday, June 6, 2013

SQ and OHP, plus swings

A very busy week - my back was sore from all the driving last Friday.  I had to go to my wife's school twice last Tuesday, the second time as an emergency fill-in for another pianist, the first time for a dress rehearsal and then again on Wednesday for a performance.

I find lifting after performing less than stellar.  For me, performing is all about relaxing, about _not_ feeding tension forward, and about being in the moment.  I don't like to lift later in the same day - it feels much like Pavel says one can feel after practicing contract-release stretching protocols before lifting, like your tightness and stretch reflexes have been reset.

Today, Thursday, much to do - cut the lawn before lifting, also ran some errands, and we'll see how lifting goes:

BP: - not on the schedule but, for fun and extra practice, a triple @ 135 lbs.  Felt good

FSQ: bar x 1


bar x 3

135 x 2

185 x 1

205 x 1, 1 on long rest - good, this is heavy but not limit, might even try to do more of these another day


bar x 5

95 x 1

105 x 2

24 kg swings: no breaks: 10 x 2-hand, 10L, 10R, 10 2-hand

Onward and Upward

Monday, June 3, 2013

2 More Variety Days

Sunday - lovely 4-mile walk with my wife, with a stop on friends' front porch and a second stop for iced coffee included.  Also a few 1A1L pushups and pistols.  Also some headstands with leg lowering.  Back still sore from Friday's driving.

Monday - walk about 3 mi, more stretching, more 1A1L PU and pistol, also pressed a 24 kg bell for 3 reps on each side - felt nice and strong.  3 Towel PUs.  25 2-hand swings w/ 32 kg.

Onward and Upward

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Variety Day on the Road, Extra BP and Swings Today

Friday, a tiny bit of exercise in the middle of a day with 5 hours of driving - at a park, hung from a chinup bar, did a single dragon flag, did a single pistol each side, also got in some easy cossack stretches a couple of times during the day.

Today, Saturday

24 kg mil press, lf, 1 - was in the garage, just had the urge to press it, felt great

Lots of rolling - very interesting - I don't roll certain ways because it puts pressure on my bad disc.  Not saying it won't ever work, and the pressure wasn't awful, but it's clearly a thing to be very mindful of because too much of this, too soon could be a problem.  At it was today, things calmed down gradually after what was otherwise a stellar rolling session.

extra BP session:

135 x 5

155 x 2

175 x 2, 1 - enough for today

24: swings, (5L+5R) x 3, 30 total, no breaks, form felt good

Onward and Upward

Thursday, May 30, 2013

BP 175 x 2, deficit DL 315 and 335


75 x 3

135 x 1, 2, 3

155 x 1

175 x 2 - not bad


3" platform:  225 x 3 over, 275 x 1 over, 315 x 1 left under.  315 felt great, really felt like I tried to drive hard through my right leg and succeeded.

1-1/2" platform: 335 x 1 right under - still not sure which grip is strongest for me, couldn't drive hard through right leg with this grip.

Video: http://youtu.be/zhb4AckgUsM

Contralateral KB DL: 24 kg, left foot and right arm x 2, opposite x 2, slow, controlled, good lockouts

Swing: 24 kg, 5L + 5R + 5L + 5R, no break

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Variety - See-Saw Military Press

Felt plenty stiff and sore in upper back and shoulders today

Cossack sequence

20/20: see-saw mil press, left first, 9 reps each way or 18 total.  Ah....

short walk

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

SQ 215 x fail, OHP 100 x 3 x 2

bar - SQ x 1, FSQ x 2

135 - FSQ x 2, SQ x 5

SQ singles @ 155, 175, 195 - good, 215 - fail.  Looked great on video, just didn't have it at sticking point.

195 was too heavy a warmup - it felt like that was my one good, heavy-for-me squat for the day.  Next time, maybe 135, 185, 215 and we'll see how that feels.  I may go DL only at this meet in June - we'll see...


bar x 4

100 x 3, 3, 2 on long rests

24 kg: swing, no breaks, 2-hand x 10, left x 5, right x 5, 2-hand x 10

Onward and Upward

Monday, May 27, 2013

Variety - Windmill, Towel PU,

Worked on my wall windmill - stand a couple of inches away from a wall at your side, point your feet about 45 degrees away from the wall, kick your hip out so that it touched the wall, and perform a windmill - your hip should move backwards without losing contact with the wall.  Used whatever bell was handy, turned out to be 18 kg, did a few alternating singles each side.  Right side not great today

Towel PU: 1 w/ slow negative, 1 in L-sit position

Bent press starts w/ 18 kg.  Right side not great again

Bent Armbars w/ 12k - a great movement for me

Bent press 24 kg, both sides went, again right side didn't feel quite in the right groove

Walk a few miles

Onward and Upward

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Variety Again - 1A1L PU and Pistol, extra BP

Friday - no lifting, very busy day

Saturday - some BP very narrow grip @ 95 lbs.


Pistol: 1 each way, lf, pause at bottom and release some air, etc.

1A1L PU - 2-step height, rf, 1 each way

Long rest

Repeat above but as Crane Pistol and 2 reps each side on PU


very narrow grip at 95 lbs., then 135 w/ grip inside the rings and big pause on chest, x 4, focus on breaking the bar and gripping it like crazy, something I haven't been doing enough of.

Enough for today - will go cut the lawn now.

Onward and Upward

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Week 5, Day 2: BP and DL 325 x 2

Yesterday, variety -

Pistol left on porch, very deep with hold and release pressure at bottom, same for pistol right

Straight into 2-step 1A1L pushup right, then left.

Rest, repeat two more times for a total of 3 super-sets.  Form at both of these is improving.

Today, Thursday, BP and DL

BP:  middle fingers on rings:

bar x 5

135 x 3

160 x 1

180 x fail - right at sticking point, fought with it a bit, then spotter (my son) helped, lousy setup, too, no tightness because lower back was hurting.

160 x 2

switch pinkies just inside rings:

140 x 3

switch to grip in middle of knurled section

135 x 4 - still not breaking the bar nearly enough, played with this at lockout, need it all the way through


4 sessions left: 325 today, 335 on May 30, 345 on June 6,  355 on June 13, all planned for doubles

on 3" platform

225 x 3 overhand - nice form, got more legs into it today

275 x 1 overhand

on 2-1/4" platform

305 x 1 left under

325 x 2 right under - had planned on a set of 3 and a set of 2, but one double felt like plenty today - getting heavy.

Video: http://youtu.be/vVrA6fR3wjQ

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

SQ singles up to 205, OHP 95 x 3

Sunday - way too much driving on a rainy day, back felt lousy, shoulders and neck tight.

Monday - still felt bad in back, neck, and shoulders, got a little "catch" in the lower back when tying my shoes.

Tuesday - back, neck and shoulders better but not 100%, small catch in back when bending over first thing in the AM but a few hours later, after a nice, long walk, everything felt good.

FSQ: 65 x 5

SQ: 135 x 3, 155 x 1,

start video, singles at 175, 185, 195, 205 - not sure if 205 was deep enough

video  http://youtu.be/uD-hYmoWOuc

Abs are my weak point in my squat - need to get turned under more at the top.  Also, for 215 next week, need fewer ramp-up lifts, e.g., 155, 175, 195, 215.  Felt like I used too many dead abbies on 175 and 185 today and didn't have them for 195 and 205.


bar x 5

65 x 4

85 x 3 - should have just been a single but they felt easy

First triples for work sets this cycle:

95 x 3, 3, 3

Onward and Upward

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Easy PU, Pistol, Windmill, Walk

Friday (yesterday) marked the end of a 3-day, 4-show run for me at the piano.  I didn't play for much of it but was on-stage the entire time, and the result is a tired lower back.  I had leg cramps on the left side early this morning, my personal "classic" symptom of lower back joint distortion.  Fortunately, they were brief, weren't too bad, and didn't reoccur.  There is, however, certainly no sleeping through them or right afterwards, either, so I'm feeling it now as I write this at 3 PM.

Yesterday, Friday, I managed, in between shows, teaching, and errand running, to do a little "circuit" of 1 bw pistol each way followed by 1 x 2-step-high 1A1L pushup each way.  I did that twice then just did the pistols for the third round and that was it.  I also got a couple of short (1/2 mile or so) walks in.

Today, Saturday, I walked, and just now did some windmills - singles each side w/ bw only, 12 kg, 16 kg (jerk), 20 kg (press).

I'll try to stretch later.

Onward and Upward

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Week 4, Day 2: DL 310 on 2-1/4" platform x 3, 2

Yesterday, a few toe-hold pistols and 1 1A1L pushup each side, 2-step height.

Today, very short on time.  Programming note - I messed up and did BP and SQ 2 days ago, which would leave me with OHP and DL today, but that's not a good combination for me - too much lower back on the OHP, so we'll skip it this week or maybe catch it tomorrow.


On 3" platform:

225 x 3

275 x 1

On 2-1/4" platform:

310 x 3 l/u, x 2 r/u - legs tired

Video:  http://youtu.be/Tm8XhhDCVqA

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Busy 7 Days, SQ 195, BP 175 x 1, 1

Last Thursday, off but lots of nonsense with a new-to-us used car we bought for my wife.

Friday, fly to Phoenix, drive to Tuscon, AZ for StrongFirst Bodyweight cert.

Saturday, BW cert Day 1, taught the pistol for 2 hours, fell asleep before group dinner

Sunday, BW cert Day 2, drive from Tuscon to Phoenix, get on a red-eye home.

Monday, yesterday, arrive at home at about 8 AM, errands, cut grass, etc., manage a 2-hour nap, teach

Tuesday, today - changed unintentionally to SQ/BP instead of SQ/OHP but that's life...

FSQ: 135 x 1 - decided against too-light warmups, generally will try what I do well for deadlifts, which is:

Minimal warmups starting with enough weight to matter, and therefore

Exact same form on warmups as on work lifts

And we'll add, since I'm inexperienced with heavy SQ singles, a SQ single each workout then backoff sets


135 x 1

155 x 1

175 x 2

195 x 1 - 20 lbs. more than anything yet in this cycle

175 x 2


135 x 3

155 x 1

175 x 1, 1

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Week 3, Day 2 - BP 165/175, DL 295

Day on Wed which is a day early - need to keep to the schedule somewhat for PL meet in June, need to rest up for BW Cert weekend coming up in 3 days.


90 x 5

135 x 3

165 x 3 - was hoping for 5 but this is on one day's less rest and I'm tired from both life and lifting,

165 x 2 - first rep felt great, so I decided to just go for a single for the next one and,

175 x 1 - slower but, hey, time under tension is good. :)


2-1/4" platform: 225 x 2 overhand

3" platform: 225 x 2 overhand, 265 x 1 overhand

2-1/4" platform - no more double overhand grip for work sets this cycle

295 x 5 r/u - tired for 2 but OK to tough them out.

x 3 l/u - too tired for 5, out of breath, don't know if it's grip-related or not but grip felt fine.

Skipped 3rd set - that's OK, we'll go for 3 x 3 next week on 1-1/2" platform

Onward and Upward.

Monday, May 6, 2013

SQ 175, OHP 90

Nice weekend albeit with a lot of driving.  GTG pistols and one-arm, one-leg pushups, more of the former than the latter.  Walked, stretched.

This morning - bw crane pistol on the porch: 1 left, 1 right, 1 left - got really deep on left for the first time in a long time, maybe ever.

FSQ: 65 x 3

SQ: 135 x 4, 155 x 1, 175 x 5 - paused last rep, x5, x 5

OHP:  bar x 5, 65 x 3, 90 x 5, x 4 (solid but another didn't seem like a good idea), x 3

Onward and Upward!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Week 2, Day 2 - DL 280 x 5 x 3 on 2-1/4" platform, BP 160 x 5, 5, 4


70 x 5

135 x 3

160 x 5 ring fingers on rings, x 5 middle fingers on rings, x 5 ring fingers again, failed last rep

Should go to 2 sets of 5 next week.  First rep of all these is easy, maybe should just head into 3's now.


3" platform: 225 x 2 overhand

2-1/4" platform: 280 (15 lb. jump and lower platform)

x 4 overhand - planned 5 but was losing grip right,

x 5 r/u on 4 min rest,

x 5 l/u on 4 min rest

I'm thinking that my left grip is now stronger and I need to compete left over, right under.


Onward and Upward

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

More Variety

Short and sweet - 1 pistol each side, 2 1A1L pushups at 2nd step height each side, 1 more pistol each side, and otherwise stretching - did splits on the front porch.

Onward and Upward - will BP and DL tomorrow.

Week 2 Variety - 1A1L PU, Pistol

1A1L pushup -

3rd step, 3 reps right, 3 reps left

2nd step, alternating singles, 1, 1, 1 - long rests between

1st step - no

2nd step, rf, 2 each side

pistol - on level ground, lf, 1

Onward and Upward

Monday, April 29, 2013

Week 2, Day 1 of 2 - SQ 165 lb x 5 x 3, MP 85 x 5 x 3

warmup - various and sundry things while demo'ing for my sister, who's visiting.

bar: FSQ a few

135: FSQ a few, SQ a few

SQ: 165 x 5, 5, 5 - easy


bar x 5

65 x 5

85 x 5, 5, 5 - I think next week's 90 x 5 x 3 will be about my limit for 5's

Onward and Upward

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Week 1 of 9, Day 2, BP 155 lb x 5 reps x 3, DL 3" platform 265 x 5 reps x 3

Yesterday, Wednesday, was a total off day - did lots of driving and got in 2 miles of walking but that's it.

Today, Thursday:

bw: pistol w/ 3 lb. dumbbell in each hand, long pause at the bottom alternating singles, left first, stopped after 3 left and 2 right - left side is weaker, the extra rep seems right to me.

as above but w/ 2 lb. dumbbell in each hand, stopped after 2 left and 1 right.  Tried focusing on left foot arch and maximum forward knee movement early in the pistol, seems to help.  Also moved back and forth near parallel on first rep left.

Enough for today - short and sweet


75 x 5 - what was on the bar

135 x 2

155 x 5, 5, 5

135 x 4 - backoff set w/ narrower grip, palms feeling the pressure so stopped


3" platform,

225 overhand x 2

265 overhand x 5, x 5 r/u, x 5 l/u - damn, had meant to remove one board and be at 2-1/4" inches but this wasn't hard, either, so I guess it's OK.  I will consider jumping 15 lb. next week and lowering the platform at the same time - I need a few 15 lb. jumps, anyway, to get to goal weight by the meet.


Onward and Upward!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Variety -1A1L pushup, Towel L-Sit Pullups

1A1L Pushups on 3rd step - 2R, 2L, rest, 1R, 1L, rest, repeat singles w focus on short abs and rowing myself down and corkscrewing back up - amazing difference.

Front Lever work on rings - get upside down, tighten up, start to slowly lower, didn't get all the way down but still not bad, and best yet, I think.  Just 1 rep.

PU: Towel L-Sit x 2 - was leaning back due to focus on hollow position, will try again for more vertical

Repeat above, better.  Was a little tired in the grip, good to stop here.


Onward and Upward

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 1 of 9 - back in the saddle, SQ and OHP

9 weeks until the meet.  3 weeks of 5's to start today:

I'm going to switch to lifting twice a week:  SQ and OHP on Mon or Tue, BP and DL on Thu or Fri


Pistols w/ a 3 lb. dumbbell in each hand, lf, 3 alternating singles each side with long pauses at the bottom of each.


bar x 1

135 x 5

155 x 5, 5, 5

155, 165, 175 x 5 in weeks 1, 2 and 3
185, 195, 205 x 3 in weeks 4, 5, and 6
215, 225 and 235 x 2 in weeks 7, 8 and 9

OHP - heels together, as always (for now, anyway)

65 x 5 - warmup

80 x 5, 5, 5 - last set was the best, stayed tighter underneath the weight

80, 85, 90 x 5 in weeks 1-3
95, 100, 105 x 3 in weeks 4-6
110, 115, 120 x 2 in weeks 7-9

PU: L-sit towel PU x 2 - why?  I just love towel pullups and the L-sit variety provide a nice challenge

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dieting, and 5 Towel Pullups

Yesterday, Friday, I managed to hit pistols twice.  I did them on my front porch, which has a very slight downward lean, and focused on cleaning up my bottom position on the left side - good first session, and short but good second as well.

A few words on losing weight - I've got a meet and maybe two coming up and it's time to drop a few pounds.

I weighed 156.2 lbs on Tuesday morning, and this morning I weighed 153.4, about 4 lbs. in 4 days.  The first few pounds of losing weight are the easiest - you eat less, and you have less food "in transit" in your system, and this is reflected in your lower body weight.  I'm not sure I've done anything at all in terms of changing my body composition or losing either lean mass or fat.

I generally have a small breakfast every day, almost always a few spoons of my homemade almond butter with a small banana.  This week, I went to having that every other day instead, and just not having breakfast on the days in between.

Although you might think it's necessary to do a lot of exercise, and perhaps even a lot of cardio, in order to lose weight, this simply isn't true.  In fact, I find it easier when I'm taking a back-off week from exercise like I am now.

I am definitely sporting the proverbial love handles, and while I don't like it, I know my history - if I don't eat enough, I tend to get sick.  Dieting has to be a well-planned, well-executed, centered, meditative change of direction for me because it's too easy for me to "tough it out" - I do that, but end up trading short term results for longer terms consequences like getting ill.

I'm looking at starting lifting again on Monday, and probably will lift the iron just twice a week while continuing a low volume, almost every day approach to pistols and pushups, and also continuing to have fun playing with skin the cats, front levers, and other things on the rings and on a chinup bar.

My week's goal was to get back under 154 lbs (70 kg) after spending most of the last few months at 155-156, and to recover from overtraining my barbell front squat.  Next week, trying to get to closer to 150 while my sister is in for a visit should prove more of a challenge.

The longer term question is whether I want to compete in the IPF internationally, where I'll have to make weight at 66 kg instead of 67.5.  I don't generally suffer much to make 67.5 kg but neither do I make it by much.  66 kg, which is 145 lbs., will be significantly tougher unless - and this is the "if" - I decide to keep my daily weight a few pounds lower than my usual 153.

Edit - just did 5 towel pullups in a single set, felt great.

Onward and Upward