Training Log: Part 14

11/14/17

Leg Press

3 Plates x 12

4 Plates x 12 x 6 sets

5 Plates x 21

Prowler with 175lbs

50ft x 8 Trips

Leg Extensions

3 x 20

Leg Curls

3 x 15

Lilly Shrugs

4 x 12

Core Work

20 Minute Walk later in the day.

Knee was clicking like crazy today. I don’t know if it’s truly an issue I should get looked at or if I am just crazy and let It keep going. No pain but lots of clicking… Maybe the hike caused some swelling? On my walk later It wasn’t present.

Training Log: Part 13

11/13

Hiked Natural Bridge

3.5 miles of trails

Took a little over an hour. Very hard on my knee but in a work capacity way, not in pain. I like this type of conditioning work, and I intend to do more.

Military Press

135 x 8

185 x 6

205 x 5 x 4 sets

185 x 17

Incline DB Press

90 x 10

110 x 10

125 x 10

100 x 25

Skullcrusher

3 x 15

Lilly Shrugs

3 x 12

Side Raises

4 x 10

Med Ball Crunches

100 reps

Training Log: Part 12

11/9/17

Bench Press

135 x 12

185 x 8

225 x 6

275 x 6

315 x 5

365 x 3 x 6 sets

405 x 11

Incline DB Press

100 x 15 x 3 sets

Standing Preacher Bar Curls

125 x 15 x 2 sets

Seated Incline Skullcrushers

115 x 15 x 3 sets

Cable Pushdowns

100 reps

Today was a nice step forward for my Bench. It’s been a roller coaster It seems. The numbers are going up steadily but things haven’t felt the best in my elbows, and wrists. Honestly it’s just lack of activity for a while, but it’s a good feeling to get the wheel rolling again.

Training Log: Part 11

11/8/2017

Squats

135 x 12

185 x 6

225 x 5 x 3 sets

275 x 5 x 3 sets

315 x 3 x 6 sets

Leg Press

4 Plates x 8 x 4 sets

Leg Ext/Leg Curls

20/20 x 4 sets

Lat Pulldowns

3 x 12

Lilly Shrugs

3 x 13

Rower

500m/1:00 Rest x 5 sets

Really great workout. Putting in work after a tough week on the road. Squats are coming along well, pain is minimal now, and I’m getting more muscular soreness than I can remember at any time since my fall. Trying not to get ahead of myself but this was a damn good day.

Training Log: Part 2

Leg Press
3 Plates x 12
4 Plates x 12
5 Plates x 12
8 Plates x 10 x 6 sets
Single Leg Press
3 Plates x 15 x 2 sets
Leg Curls
2 x 25
Prowler
4 Trips
Rower
500m- 1:39
500m- 1:58
This workout was brutal, the leg Press isn’t one of those machines that you can load up 5000 lbs. this one works you hard, and I could probably add a couple more Plates for some rep sets but it would be brutal.

 

Training Log: Part 1

The beginning of a daily log as I work to come back stronger and in better shape and health.
Bench Press
Bar x 25
95 x 10
135 x 10
185 x 8
225 x 8
275 x 6
315 x 6 x 5 sets
345 x 14 (Done to Failure)
Close Grip (Pause Off Chest)
315 x 8
315 x 8
315 x 7
(All Done to Failure)
DB French Press
60 x 12 Each Arm x 3 sets
Lilly Shrugs
75 x 12 x 3 sets
Side Raises
40 x 15 x 3 sets
Rack Chins
BWT x 10 x 3 sets
Overall great training day. Still not pushing the bigger weights. Just working on form tweaks, Reps, and confidence. My bodyweight is starting to drop more and more week to week. I was 307 today, down from 315 three weeks ago.
I’m emphasizing a diet that I believe will improve my body in appearance, but more so in function. I wrote about this before but I have access to Bison, and Elk so those will be my mainstays for red meats. I will have beef here or there out of ease, also I will be consuming at least one fish meal per day, and two egg meals per day.
My carbohydrates will come from sweet potato, jasmine Rice, Cream of Rice, Oats, and fresh fruit.
I will also be consuming at least 6 cups of green vegetables daily.
I feel very good about the direction my training, and body are going, and mentally the gym is fun for me. I have no plan to rush myself, but I do have a plan, and I’m excited to share that daily as I go.
Brandon

Expand Your Mind, Narrow Your Grip

Like most people when I started working my way  from a casual gym-rat, to a competitive powerlifter I found a mass of information. I looked at all of these stories, and I looked at ideas that seemed to be repeated over, and over, and I found one of those “rules” was to bench with your hands as wide as legally (index finger covering the ring on the bar) possible to shorten the stroke, and maximize leverages. What if all that did was strain my pecs, make my shoulders ache, and actually make my leverage worse? Was I the only one that the “one size fits all model” didn’t apply to? I had to spin my wheels for years to find out.

I am the rare breed of lifter that is not really built to be great at any lift. I have short arms (typically good for benching), but from my shoulder to my elbow actually measures just slightly longer than from my elbow to my forearm. So, in a widened grip I had tremendous elbow flare, and had to touch extremely low to get any kind of stability. Guess what happened when I touched low? I had to unflare my arms, and I’d put tremendous stress on my upper pecs, suffering multiple micro tears over the years. I was always told “your pecs are just weak”. Well I managed to strength my pecs through loads of dumbbell work, but with a barbell near max weight it was always a gamble if they would hold up to the strain. I got tired of benching 500, getting hurt, falling back to 460, then building back up to only reinjur my pec. This cycle repeated itself until I looked back. I took notice of benchers in the 70’s and 80’s (specifically Doug Young), and I noticed that many had huge triceps, and fairly narrow grips with the forearms being at a 90 degree angle on the chest. For some reason the 90 degree rule just made sense for me, so I began trying it, and in no time I was hitting rep PR’s, and then ultimately maximum PR’s.

I learned to stop benching with just the pec muscles, and I actually began learning to lower the weight with my lats, and fire out of the bottom with my triceps, and finish at the top with my pecs, shoulders, and some triceps. I became obsessed with working my triceps, and pushing heavier weight, and the more strength I was able to build into my arms, the more I was able to drive into the bar. One other forgotten muscle group in the bench press is the bicep. Think about cushions the forearm as you lower the bar, bigger biceps give a bigger “cushion” which give you more to drive off of. So all this time I had been neglecting a very crucial muscle group for a big bench press. Show me a big bencher without massive arms, delts, and pecs…. I can’t think of too many. Just recently look at Eric Spoto, Scot Mendelson, Kyril Sarychev, Jeremy Hoornstra, and many others. They all carry the mass to move the weight. So I knew I had to get to work.

How could I set up my training to not only narrow my grip, but speed up my progress? Within the Cube Method rotation we dedicate our fourth day to overhead presses, but I needed to dedicate to close grip presses also, so what we did was on Wednesday our normal bench day, was to use our new “competition grip” (the 90 degree forearm position when the bar was on the chest), followed up by close grip work with higher reps (I take a thumb off the smooth position to save my wrists), and then on Sunday I would rotate my first movement as overheads, or heavy close grips. On weeks that I lead off with overheads, I would make my close grip work light and fast.

In the very first cycle we tried this rotation I saw my bench increase from a shaky 505 lbs. to 525 lbs. This was in 10 weeks. The next ten weeks I finalized with a competition and hit a pretty easy 540 lbs. Two more 10 week rounds, and two meets a week apart and I benched 565 lbs. and 573 lbs. in competition. So in 40 weeks of dedicated training I saw my bench dip below 500 lbs. for a bit, and then rise to 573 lbs. As I type this I have since hit weights ranging from 570 lbs. to 600 lbs. eleven times in competition. It’s easy to begin thinking there is only one “right” way to do things, realize the right way for others may spell disaster for you. Find what works for you, and commit to it. Believe in it. You may just surprise yourself with what happens.

10 Week Narrow Bench Cycle

Week 1

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 75%- 5 x 5 sets, Close Grip 65% 2 sets x AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Overheads 60% 3 x 8, Close Grip 55% 6 sets x 3 reps

Week 2

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 85%- 4sets x 3 reps, Close Grip 70% 2 sets x Rest Pause 10 seconds rest w/2 rest sets

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Close Grips 80% x 5 sets x 1, Overheads 60% x 4 x 10

Week 3

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 65%- 10 x 2 sets, Close Grip 75% 2 sets x AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Overheads 75% 3 x 5, Close Grip 65% 4 sets x 3 reps

Week 4

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 90%- 1 x 5 sets, Close Grip 70% 3 sets x AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Close Grips 70% x 3 x 5-6 reps, Overheads 70% 3 x 5-6 reps

Week 5

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 75%- 6-8 x 5 sets, Close Grip 75% 3 sets x AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Overheads 60% 3 x 8, Close Grip 55% 6 sets x 3 reps

Week 6

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 70%- 3 x 8 sets, Close Grip 80% 2 sets x 5

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Close Grips 80% 3 x 3 sets, Overheads 50% x 2 AMRAP

Week 7

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 95%- 1-2 x 2 sets, Close Grip 85% 2 sets x 2-4 reps

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Overheads 60% 3 x 8, Close Grip 55% 6 sets x 3 reps

Week 8

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 75%- 5 x 5 sets, Incline Close Grip 65% 2 sets x AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- Overheads 90% 1 x 2-3 sets, Close Grip 60% 5 sets x 4-6 reps

Week 9

Squats

Bench- 90 Degree Position 65%- 3 x 6 sets, No Close Grip Work

Deadlifts

Accessory Day- This day is extremely light

Week 10

Meet

*Note- Every single day of the training cycle the lats are hit either with Dumbbell Rows, Barbell Rows, Lat Pulldowns, Chest Supported Rows, or Seated Cable Rows. I prefer all lat work done to be heavy, and in the 6-10 rep range. Maximize each rep by squeezing the lats hard, and learn how to activate them for the bench. Also I do at least one exercise for traps as well. I prefer dumbbell shrugs, but others like upright rows, etc.

 

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