Week 6

Nov 26, 2012 – WORKOUT B (Squat, Overhead Press, Deadlift)

Squat
2×5 45lbs.
3×5 75lbs.
4×5 95lbs.
5x130lbs.
3x135lbs. (PR)
1x140lbs. (PR)
1x150lbs. (PR)

Press
5/5/5/3/3x80lbs.

Deadlift
5×5 150lbs.
3x165lbs. (PR)
3x175lbs. (PR)
1x185lbs. (PR)
1x205lbs. (PR)

NOTES
It was a mixed bag at the gym today, arrived to find one of the regulars in the squat rack, so I decided to stretch my back and do 3×20 crunches as I waited for the rack to open. I also did some stretches for the legs and shoulders. Still have some minor (lingering) pain from a right ACL replacement back in 2009. I am able to get into a third world squat, but there is an uncomfortable twinge on the outer part of my knee. Honestly I don’t think it’s anything to worry about, just part of what happens when they replace the ACL. I still have no feeling in and around the knee.

When the rack opened, I wasted no time getting started with the squat. I ran through the warm up squats in preparation for 130 lbs. today. I probably could have left out the 75 lbs. warm up sets and gone right to 95 lbs. Not sure if more is better at this point, as I might see a bit of fatigue setting in before I complete my work out. I got to the work weight of 130 lbs. and started the 5×5. During the 3 set I struggled with all 5 reps. Not sure why, maybe I was doing too much too quick and not letting my body recover long enough. I did get a bit light-headed for a few minutes, so I extended my break about 3 additional minutes. The last 2 sets were not difficult. I had to work to accomplish them, but did not face the problems I had earlier. I decided to bump the weight a few times and see how the heavier weight felt. I matched my PR at 135 lbs., accomplishing 3 reps. I upped the weight by 5 lbs. to 140 lbs. and did a 1RM. Neither of them were as difficult as the 130 lbs. I struggled with. So I went to 150 lbs. and accomplished another 1RM. Again, the weight felt lighter for some reason. Maybe it was the fact I was only doing 1 rep.

The OHP killed me today, I could not accomplish the all 5 sets going 5/5/5/3/3. Try as I might, I could not get the last 2 reps in the final sets. I will stick at 80 lbs. on Friday and see if I have any better luck. I believe the form is okay, I have watched a few of the Rippetoe videos again to make make sure the stance, grip and lift itself are being done correct. I need to try to record another video to see if I have all the aspects covered. Maybe I will have better luck in a few days.

Finally it was on to the deadlift.I felt really good doing this lift today. I made it through 150 lbs. without any problem, concentrating on keep the lower back straight but maintaining a high stance. I spent some time reading up on the deadlift on the SL site. I didn’t walk away with any further shin damage, which makes me think I did correct a few things today. I challenged myself further on the deadlift adding 165 lbs and 175 lbs. doing 3 reps at each weight. I wanted to get over 200 lbs., which was my PR before today. I jumped to 185 lbs. and finally to 205 lbs. Both were 1 RM and I easily managed both lifts.

So all in all it was a good day, added 3 new 1RM to my log. I still come away a bit frustrated I couldn’t finish the OHP. I still have 2 more attempts before I deload, so I am not too worried. I was close and maybe if I would have pushed just a bit harder I would have accomplished it.

The shoulder isn’t getting any better I am going to schedule an appointment with my family doctor and see what he says. There is a good chance he will do two things. First order an x-ray and second send me to physical therapy. There doesn’t seem to be any swelling, but am inclined to think it was a pre-existing condition, one that has gotten worse since I am lifting heavier weights. The pain is predominately with pulling exercises, as I mentioned last time, the rows are a bitch, as are the dips. Hopefully I will have results before Wednesday.

Nov 28, 2012 – WORKOUT A (Squat, Bench Press, Barbell Row)

Squat
2×5 45lbs.
2×5 95lbs.
3×5 115lbs.
5×5 135lbs.
3x150lbs. (PR)
1x160lbs.)PR)
1x175lbs.(PR)

Bench
2×5 45lbs.
5×5 100lbs.
3x120lbs.
3x135lbs.
2x145lbs.
1x160lbs. (PR)

Row
5×5 100lbs.

Notes
First and foremost, my shoulder pain. I scheduled an appointment with the doctor yesterday. He diagnosed the pain as bicipital tendonitis. I would love to be 100% supportive of his diagnosis, but he has been wrong twice before on each knee (torn ACL and torn meniscus), so I am not all that confident. Of course Dr. Feelgood prescribed medication in the form of a anti-inflamatory and a muscle relaxant. I am not to excited to be using either/or at this point. More importantly, he gave me a list of shoulder stretches and strengthening exercises. He wants me to check back with him in 2 weeks if the pain is still consistent. He didn’t give me any restrictions, so I will continue to lift and manage the pain as necessary.

I made good progress in the squats and bench today, setting some new 1RM, but the rows have me questioning my form. I set up for squats and ran though my warm up sets. It felt good to finally get some “big boy” weights on the bar (45 lb per side) and 135 lbs seemed to come and go very quickly without much problem. This unlike the 125 lbs. I struggled with last week (on a Monday, after 2 days off). I decided to bump the weight up to 150 lbs. and did 3 reps. From there it was a 1RM at 160 lbs. and 175 lbs. It felt very good, but made me work. I know I am not ready for those weights, but feel confident I can do them.

Had a bit of an extended weight for a bench to free up. Once I got one I ran though a few warm up sets in anticipation for my work weight of 100 lbs. I have a feeling I am playing with a good grip on the bar, which was more noticeable with the 1RM I attempted. I do seem to have good foot position but not quite sure I have raise the chest and try to squeeze the shoulder blades. Every with many questions swirling my head, I was able to concentrate and get by 5×5 completed. Feeling good I added more weight and achieved 3 reps at 120 lbs. and 135 lbs. I had my mind set on benching more weight (1RM) than I did last week (155 lbs.). I added 10 lb. and did 2 reps at 145 lbs. From there I know I struggled a bit with 155 lbs. It could have been any of things, but I increased the weight to 160 lbs and pumped out 1 rep. I know I could have done 2 or 3, but stopped and racked the weight with a new PR!

Finally it was on to rows. This lift, like the OHP I struggle with. More so with this, as the pulling motion really aggravates my shoulder. I was able to do 95 lbs. last week and considered giving that weight another session, just to make sure I was not cheating myself. I know I fell a bit short (or so I thought) on the last reps in the final sets. Knowing that I still put 100 lbs. on the bar and assumed the position. The first 3 sets came fairly easy, but it was the final 2 sets, which have me questions the weight and form. It felt as if I was not pulling the weight correctly or I was leaning forward in order to achieve the last rep in the final 2 sets. Not sure I will add weight for this lift on Monday and reattempt 100 lbs.

I also received 2 books I order off Amazon today. The first is Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. I enjoy his videos, finding them very instructional and direct, no BS with him. The other is Vegan Bodybuiilding & Fitness by Robert Cheeke. I made the decision in October 2011 to get healthy for myself and family. I was heavy (216 lbs) and had high cholesterol. I decided to go on a plant-based, whole grain diet. A year later I had dropped 45 pounds and more importantly lost 134 points on my cholesterol.

I decided to stay with this way of eating, as I enjoyed it. No longer do I partake in meat, dairy or added oil in my diet. Since joining the SL Inner Circle, it’s been interesting to see different ways others eat and supplement their workouts. While I might be in the minority when it comes to how I eat, I am set on gaining strength and muscle on a plant-based diet using no supplements. After reviewing books and web sites, Robert Cheeke’s book came up. Figured it might provide some insight for me, since my diet is “different” from what many others follow. Either way, I look forward to new knowledge from both these books, hopefully they can provide me information to improve where I currently am.

Nov 30, 2012 – WORKOUT B (Squat, Overhead Press, Deadlift)

Squat
2×5 45lbs.
3×5 95lbs.
3×5 115lbs.
5×5 135lbs.
3x150lbs.
2x175lbs.
1x185lbs.
1×200 lbs. – failed

Press
5×80 lbs.

Deadlift
5×5 160lbs.
3x185lbs.
1x205lbs.
1x215lbs.

NOTES
Another very good work out to end the week. With Starting Strength now in my library I spent parts of the last 3 days reviewing squat, press and deadlift, with those lifts coming up today. I do believe Rippetoe’s writings had an impact on how I lifted today. Couple that with feedback from the Inner Circle and thanks to Martin for providing his insight, in person a few weeks back.

Let’s start with the bad on the squats. I failed my first attempt at 200 lbs today. It was my final lift, looking for a 1RM and I don’t believe I ever had a chance. I don’t think I was really ready to unrack the weight when I took my steps backwards. I started to bend and just kept bending, ATG and could not get up. I call that only a very minor set back since my work weight was 135 lbs. today.

On the positive side, 135 lbs was easy. I felt in control and really strong on my form today, which seemed to helped. I could feel a difference with a few things I picked up from Rippetoe’s books. After completing my workout set I increased the weight to 150 and was successful on 3 reps. It was probably too big of a jump to 175 lbs., but I went for it. I achieved 2 reps and added another 10 lbs. to 185 lbs. This weight didn’t feel heavy either and I accomplished a new 1RM at 185 lbs.

On Monday I failed on the OHP at 80 lbs. I went 5/5/5/3/3 on the press and could not figure out for the life of my why I failed. After reading up on the press I made some changes to the stance, grip and got the hips involved. I had a few reps that felt as if everything came together and it was little effort to get the weight over my head. It felt damn good! I was able to press 5×5 at 80 lbs. today, unlike Monday. I still feel this will be a very slow lift to progress of after I add another 10-20 lbs.

The deadlift was another lift that I had good luck with on Monday, hitting a new 1RM at 205 lbs. Today I started at 160 lbs. and didn’t have too much trouble at all. I really closed up the stance (heals about 8-10 inches apart and shins about an inch or so away from the bar. I have noticed growing calluses on my hands, mainly from this left, makes me question if my grip is correct. Didn’t get that far in my reading. Being successful at 160 lbs. I added 25 lbs. to the bar for 185 lbs. I finished 3 reps before adding another 20 lbs to 205 lbs. This was a 1RM, which felt good, probably the best one I did all day. Much like the 2 presses I had, everything seemed to come together for this one lift. Just to see if I could lift it, I went to 215 lbs. and did a final 1RM at that weight.

So all in all I am making what I consider excellent progress! I am well on pace to achieve my 12 week goals; to squat 240 lbs, bench 140 lbs and deadlift 260 lbs. I have started looking at at some plant-based protein powders by Sequel Naturals. I am still not sold on really needing it for the protein, as I can get more than I need from the grains and plants I eat. But there might be some other benefits to supplementing. For now I will continue to see how I progress and if I am not seeing results then I might reconsider the protein power for before, during and after.

Looking forward to week 7.

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