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

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Week 6 - More Time Off From Weights

Walked about 3 miles (maybe more)

A little stretching

1A1L pushup - 3 step, right first, 1

Pistol - 2 lb. dumbbell in each hand, really looking to solidify bottom position with a long pause, especially on left side, and the counter weight really helps.

1A1L pushup - 2 step, right first, 1 each, not great

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Week 6, Variety

I feel like I'm immediately post-meet - I just went at my training too hard.  We'll keep taking it easy for a few days until the old body feels better.

But, having said that, today I lifted a little, anyway.  First, I got the urge to practice my bw pistols so I did a little of that, and then my son wanted to lift, so I did a few light back squats with him - he's only front squatted and he wanted to learn to back squat.  Then I showed him my new BP setup on my toes and he tried it, too.  I then did a set of 11 reps with 135, just because it felt good to do.

In there somewhere, I did another skin the cat on the rings.

I also walked a couple of miles during the day on errands.

Bodyweight, which was 71 kg or 156.2 lbs. yesterday, was down to 155 even this morning, and I hope it will be a little less tomorrow.  No breakfast yesterday, breakfast today, and we'll try alternating like that and see how it goes.

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Week 6, Day 2 - Off/Easy/Variety/Restorative - Light Bent Presses and Windmills

After yesterday's fun - not - with front squats, decided I needed to back off a bit, maybe only lift twice a week.

Walked about 3 miles

Decided to start very light and work on bent press form, left side first, one rep each side, with the following sizes in kg: 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20

Switched to windmills, 24 kg, 2 left + 2 right

That will be it for today.

Onward and Upward

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week 6, Day 1 - FSQ Fail, OHP Progress

Took a 24 hour weekend roundtrip that involved about 5 hours of driving, did some bw work at the hotel: wall-supported handstands, headstands and that ab thing where you lower and raise your legs from a headstand, some splits, etc.

warmup today - cossack sequence, walk, a single towel L-sit pullup


bar x 12 bouncy

95 x 8 bouncy

135 x 5 bouncy

The idea of turning your hips under at the top of your squat and then keeping them there throughout the movement (which I owe to Marty for introducing me to and Phil Scarito for explaining), well, that's a keeper in a big way.  Today is the first time I tried it more than half-assedly, and today is also the first time I descending with 135 with absolutely no discomfort in my back.

I also made it a point, after noticing this weekend afresh how maximally extending my neck in my warmups also usually extends my t-spine, to try the same in my squat - not maximally extending but something in that direction, with a focus on the neck helping to lengthen the t-spine and straighten the upper chest.

165 x 1 - aborted, back hurt - I think abs are already tired

165 x 1 - took my time descending, paused at the bottom for 2-3 seconds but did not breath, hurt some on the way back up, too.  I really have a low-rep deadlifter's abs - good for a few attempts that require hard work but they check out after a while.

180 x 1 - success but didn't want to do more reps, back hurts on ascent where it always does, right lower rib cage area, but since it usually hurts on descent and not ascent, this is not a good sign.

180 x fail - descended OK, back hurt again on ascent and worse this time, so I left the lift on the safeties.  My FSQ is overtrained.  This could be a good time to switch to back squats, might take the rest of this week off from barbell squats altogether.


bar x 8

65 x 5

75 x 8, 8, 8

Will try 80 lb. next time - maybe 8's aren't productive, might switch to 5's right away here.

No time for anything else today

Onward and Upward

Friday, April 12, 2013

Week 5, Day 4 - BP 135 x 8, 7, 7 and DL 255 x 5 reps x 3 sets

one-arm, one-leg pushups inside this time, 3 alternating singles, right first, got better as they went

BP: setting up on balls of feet instead of flat footed, grip pinkies just clean of rings on inside, all brief pause

bar x 8

95 x 8

135 x 8 - PR, x 7, x 7 - excellent, up from 24 reps in 4 sets last week, 8 reps x 3 sets will fall soon

PU: towel, 1

DL: on 3" platform:

225 x 1, 2

255 x 5 over, x 5 r/u, x 5 l/u - video:

DL is starting to get tough to do 5 reps but we'll keep at it for a while longer, me thinks.

Have errands to run and getting short on time

Onward and Upward

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Week 5, Day 3 - FSQ 180 lb x 5, 3, 1 OHP 70 lb x 8 reps

Will try only pistols on one day and only 1A1L pushups on the next

bw pistol, several alternating singles each side, finished with a 12 kg bell single each side

Towel PU x 1 - like how these seem to fire all the right things


bar x 3 - way deep and long pause

135 x 3

165 x 1, 1 - sore mid-back, feels like rib dysfunction area but notice it on both sides.  Maybe pistols before barbell squats aren't such a good idea ...  Rest a bit, then ...

165 x 1 one more time, feels fine this time, just took my time descending.

180 x 5, 3, 1 - one more rep than on Monday, mid-back not happy on first rep but fine after that - this needs further looking into.

Edit - video:


bar x 8 - brought heels together for halfway through set, kept them there for the rest

65 x 4, 8

70 x 8

Edit - video:

20: swing, lf, (9L+9R) x 3, no breaks, 54 reps

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Week 5 - Variety - Windmills

walk a little

20 kg: windmill, lf, 1, 2 - why I don't do these every day is a mystery because they are such a great exercise.  All the muscles on the side of my torso fire, my t-spine has to rotate, my hamstrings and my hips have to be flexible.  Just an excellent movement _if_ done correctly.

walk more - for groceries


Nice to have an almost non-lifting day, and the windmills truly are restorative.  Tomorrow, back to the grind - front squats and presses.

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Week 5, Day 2 - BP 135 x 7, DL 3" platform 245 x 5 reps x 3 set

On the ground near the front porch (no slight decline), a bunch of alternating singles, 4 or 5 per side, got better as they went.

Later, walk

Later, 1A1L pushups - not so great today, maybe abs tired from the pistols, a few each 3 step and 2 step

BP: setting up on toes today

95 x 8

135 x 7, 6 - short on time, moving to DL

DL on 3" platform

225 x 2 overhand

245 x 5 over, x 5 l/u, x 5 r/u - did grips backwards, should have been l/u (comp grip) last


No more time, might do abs and/or swings later

Begin Edit


Towel PU: 2 singles on short rest

WHEEL: standing, 4th step, 4 reps

Swing: 20 kg, 60 total: 15L, rest until 1:00, 15R, rest until 2:00, etc., 4 sets total

Onward and Upward

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 5, Day 1 - FSQ 180 lb x 5, OHP

pistol: lf, a few each side, 2 doubles each way, I think

1A1L pushup, rf, 3rd step, 5 reps each way - 5's in a best, I'm pretty sure, and probably time to start working a few on 3rd step as warmups and then work sets on 2nd step


1 nice skin-the-cat on the rings, way around, kept straight legged pike position coming back around


bar x 5

95 x 3

135 x 2

165 x 1

Previous cycle FSQ bests, all single work sets: 165 x 5, 170 x 4, 175 x 3, 180 x 3, 185 x 2

Current cycle FSQ bests: 165 x 8 reps x 1, 170 x 5 x 3, 175 x 5 x 3.  Today:

180 x 5 - PR!, x 3 - could've done more, decided not to stop there for today - running short on time and short on steam as well.


bar x 8

85 x 3, 1 - stricter with form, and it shows in the lower rep count.  Again, stopping here for today, will regroup with a lower weight and stricter form on Thursday.

20: swing, lf, switch hands every 8 reps, total 3L+3R for 48 reps in 1:20

Short on time, no abs today but skin-the-cat felt like it got that, too.

Onward and Upward

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week 4 Variety

At my son's soccer game, cossack sequence, splits, headstands, tried pistols but it was squishy turf and I couldn't make it work for me.

At home:

1A1L Pushup, 3 step (2nd step plus box), rf, 2
Same but 2 step, 1

3 step, 2
2 step, 1

3 step, 1
2 step, 1

with some pistols worked in there, too.

Walk a few miles.

Onward and Upward

Friday, April 5, 2013

Week 4, Day 4 - BP and 3" Platform DL 235 x 5 reps x 3 sets

warmup - cossack sequence

On the front porch:

bw pistol, 4 alternating singles including a toe-hold pistol pointing up our very slight incline.

1A1L pushup, 3rd step, rf, 3

bw pistol, 1 alternating single

1A1L pushup, 3rd step, rf, 2

Wall Walk - first time in a while all the way to the floor, makes me dizzy and makes my back hurt but helps my arch

BP: pinkies inside the rings, good pauses

95 x 8

115 x 4

135 x 6, 6, 6, 6 - if not 3 sets of 8, then 4 sets of 6 gets me the same total reps.  For the last set, lowered with less tension - definitely easier to get the bar back up but not sure if it's good preparation for a heavier weight.

DL - conventional on 3" platform, all touch as lightly as possible and then go up as quickly as possible

225 x 1 - back still tight from BP.  Tried to setup at the top, doesn't work for me at all any longer, don't know why I thought it would this time.

225 x 2 - better

235 x 5 r/u (right under, my weaker grip), x 5 o (double overhand) - right hand losing it by end, x 5 l/u (my strongest grip.  3 sets of 5, up from 2 sets of 5 on Tuesday = good

video of final set:

That's enough for today - no abs and swings, don't want to be totally fried.

Onward and Upward

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Week 4, Day 3 - FSQ 175 lb x 5 reps (PR!) x 3 sets and first barbell OHP


On the front porch

pistol, 90 degree (slightly uphill), lf, 2 alternating singles

1A1L pushup - 3rd step (2nd step + box), rf 3

Repeat above but for pistol, slightly downhill for 1 and straight down for the other and go deeper and w/ longer pause

1-leg only on pushups seems OK so far, would be great to get another set in later today but not sure if that will happen.

Tentative plan - FSQ until 4 weeks out from the meet, which will be 12 weeks of FSQ then 4 weeks of back SQ - we'll see what Marty says


bar x 3

135 x 3

155 x 1

175 x 5, 5, 5 - getting slower but still moving - previous PR @ 175 was 3 reps so this is excellent.

Good phone conversation with Marty about how to move up when the weight is starting to get heavy.

OHP - Overhead Barbell Press, my first, clean (yeah, well, sorta clean) from the floor

bar x 5

65 x 5

85 x 5, 5, 6

WHEEL: standing, 4th step, 3, 2

20: swing, lf, switch hands every 7 reps, total 3L+3R for 42 reps

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week 4 Variety - Floor and Ring Work

Went to sleep and woke up both feeling tight from the new-of-late BP and DL.

Some of my usual floor stretches.

Brought out the rings over the chinup bar, did some skin the cats and took a first try at a front lever - can't hold it but don't feel far from it, either.

L-sit ring chinups x 2 - tried to keep a false grip, not strong enough

More skin the cats - straight legs and further around

More front lever practice - can't lower much but can lower a little and then pull back up to straight.  Next wrinkle, I think, is to really press down with arms/shoulders and see if that helps.

Walk 1.5 miles on errands

That's it for today.

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week 4, Day 2 - BP and DL off platform

Doing some math, I'm now about 12 weeks out from my next planned meet, on June 22 in York, PA, as a member of Team StrongFirst.

With that in mind, I'm going to bench press and deadlift today.

On the front porch:

pistol, lf, 1

3 step 1A pushup, rf, 3

pistol, lf, turned at 45 degree angle, lf, 2

3 step pu as above, rf, 4 - good

pistol, turned at 90 degree angle so now a slight lean to the proximal (inside) side, and surprisingly right side was harder than left, will revisit again tomorrow


bar, grip just outside center knurling, 5

bar, grip at inside edge of outer knurling, 5

135, pinkies just inside the rings, solid pause, 3 - clearly we have work to do

135, same grip, 5 - much better, 5 - OK, 3 sets for today, will work towards 3 sets of 8 at this weight and grip


Narrow Sumo, overhand grip: 225 x 2

Conventional, 3/4" platform, overhand grip: 225 x 2 - I am _so_ much stronger conventional

Conventional, 1-1/2" platform, overhand grip: 225 x 2

Conventional, 2-1/4" platform, overhand grip: 225 x 2

Conventional, 3" platform (actually 2-7/8" if we're being picky), overhand grip, 225 x 5, 5


Right elbow a little sore - must not have been completely straight

WHEEL: 4th step, standing, 3, 2 - better

20: swing, lf, (6L+6R) x 3, no breaks

Onward and Upward

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 4, Day 1, FSQ - PR 5 Reps at 170

After another off day yesterday with just some walking, today, a short walk followed by and unexpected short run because it started raining, followed by:

pistol: 2 alternating singles

2nd step 1A pushup, 1 each way

pistol: 2 each side

3rd step 1A pushup - 3 each way - need to work _this_ height and get some volume in


135 x 3 - long pause

155 x 1

170 x 5 - PR reps at this weight, 5, nice depth, 5 - again, nice depth - first reps of each set are iffy if I don't set my back up just so.

No more time but a good FSQ after a 3 day rest.

Onward and Upward