Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Entry #527

Today profited in its mistrials.

My bench press has plummeted. A few months ago, I was putting up 285 for a comfortable three. Today, I barely got 255 for two. The circumstances were interesting in the build-up, so, to analyze:

3 x 135
3 x 185
3 x 225
1.5 x 245
3 x 245
1 x 255
2 x 255

On that fourth set, I failed midway up at only 245. Interestingly enough, it was because of imbalance, more than anything. My left arm shot up while my right barely moved.

After reracking, I went for a walk around the facility, coordinating my mind to the form. When I returned, the same weight rose up for three easily. 255 was just a reiteration of that. The same balance quandaries persisted.

In retrospect, I could have done 255 for a triple if I made another attempt, but I left at that point. There were bigger plans on mind.

Reasons for strength decline:
> Lingering consequences of injury may hamper ability to achieve traction.
> Abstaining from resistance training for a week on a calorie deficit lead to combined effects.
> Transition between routine templates coincided in such a way that bench assist work, designated to be done the ensuing period, gave way to a benching structure that did not consociate cohesively with what came prior.

All plausible. The second is intriguing, because the opposite seemingly holds true while bulking. How long have I been eating so little? Even well before August. I maintained that without lifting for two months, when Bally closed down.

Last cut failed because of inconsistencies in diet and training. This time, the shortcomings were not out of neglect. "Failure" in this is not in regards to dropping bodyfat, which does not come difficult, but in increasing force output abilities while doing so. Woe to the ectomorph.

I'm going to begin bulking very soon. My order for weightgainers, whey, ZMA, and creatine checked in at $160. Supplement prices are going up. I'm thankful for my school's ineptitude and the surge of cash refunds I routinely get, but this is still expensive.

The foreseeable future: resume the 5x5 on Friday for two weeks to finish cutting, and then revert to the singles template, which has by far given me the most drastic gains, but was not feasible while cutting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Entry #526

I've nearly regained full spine composure.

I return to the gym tomorrow, one week after the incident. Due to circumstances, I'm reverting back to Westside.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Entry #525

I said it the last time I was rendered immobile from a wrenched back and was healed the next day, but I'm amazed at my recovery abilities. Yesterday morning, I was completely unable to walk without hobbling along the walls and other obstacles I could pull myself forward with. Turning in bed was a three-minute process. I could not move my head down to eat properly. The pain was worse than every other back injury I've had combined.

Today, I walked uphill at a decent, albeit somewhat stiff, pace to George's house, and back again. Just a few minutes ago, I shadowboxed around the house, bobbing and weaving, and moving around on my toes.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Entry #524

My condition has improved. Pain persists, but I can walk without a gait, now. My feet still have to shuffle a bit, though. Last night was torturous. Unlike previous back mishaps, no possible position offered refuge. It felt refreshing to be under relentless discomfort.

Did some shadowboxing today. It was completely arm-punching, as I couldn't bend or twist my torso. I also did sissy squats, which entail squatting on tip-toes to isolate the quadriceps. Those were feasible because they lack any degree of leaning back.

I expect to resume next week where I left off, but this time, I plan on getting to the gym bright and early to ensure that it's empty, and doing deadlifts next to the mirror in the cycle room to evaluate my form.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Entry #523

I was deadliftring 335 for five, and on the fifth set, I felt my back snap. I instantly dropped the weight and struggled to stand. I know I was rounding it on that last rep. From there, I had to stagger home in the dark, which took thirty minutes over the usual five. I nearly passed out several times. I can't type well because my hands are shaky and it hurts to sit.

"Now they will learn of fear, these mewing babies who thought they could destroy me." -Kain

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Entry #522

I did squats yesterday under poor circumstances. I didn't eat enough prior, and my blood sugar was notably low. I felt my leg shaking just from standing, at one point (right before the session). I managed 295 for 5 reps, and after that, struggled with 2. Redemption will be sweet.

Also, I tossed out Adobe Acrobat and am now using the much more readable Foxit Reader. I have a ton of training books to catch up on.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Entry #521

I walked to the gym and did some stretches in the ab room. The place was practically empty. Afterwards, I did some easy rounds on the stupid standing bag, and then practiced kip-ups before walking back.

My dad and I went to visit his brother and family. It was difficult to tell jokes that everyone understood because I was the only one who didn't speak Farsi, but I managed anyways. For example, my dad, acting as translator, asked me what would happen if his brother fought me. I leaned over and blew air at him, as if that's all it would take. It felt weird eating with people at a dinner table, though. Anyways, I gave my cousins my Gamecube and all 30+ games. 'Till next time, Resident Evil 4.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Entry #520

I'm owed an $85.00 refund from an incorrect payment charge by my school. With the money, I ordered:

War As I Knew It by General Patton
On Boxing by Joyce Carol Oates
Jack Dempsey: The Manassa Mauler by Randy Roberts
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky

Practical Programming for Strength Training by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore
Supertraining by Mel Siff

Brain food.

I abstained from training today, and tomorrow will likely follow suit. Monday must be met with full potential. Whether soreness is as much a factor this week as it was the last will be interesting to note. The reason for so much emphasis towards Monday is to ensure at least one day of the week consisting of maximum applied effort. Wednesday and Friday can coexist with cardiovascular and fight training endeavors to whatever degree in performance is sacrificed, with the goal being to diminish the effect of ongoing fatigue week by week while increasing lift numbers.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Entry #519

I walked into the gym deceptively comfortable. Within the first few sets, the toll of doing identical compound movements three times a week surfaced in my performance.

Squats (ATG):
4 X 5     45, 135, 185, 225 lbs.
1 X 4     275 lbs.
> The load felt light, but after just a few reps of 135, my quads began to feel like knives had been stuck through them. 275 didn't feel very different from 185, but I fatigued quickly. The fourth rep was the closest I've ever come to failing at the bottom.

Incline bench:
2 X 5       185 lbs.
> Intentionally light.
As soon as I got up to throw away my empty water bottle, lo and behold, the personal trainer struck again! He instantly seized the open bench, and had his client spot him for partial reps of 185. Needless to say, I got as far away from there as possible.

Incline dumbbell press:
2 X 5       75 lbs.
> Way too light, but my triceps were sore.

One-armed cable rows:
 5 X 8     Entire stack
> It was supposed to be 5 X 5. Oops.

Cable pulldowns:
3 X 8     130 lbs.

Cable crunches:
2 X 8     Entire stack

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Entry #518

Another close encounter of the personal trainer kind. I can't count high enough to recall every instance when one of the Atheletic Club's minions have brought their client right in front of the power rack opening to throw a rubber ball at the wall. There's somebody doing this literally everyday I'm in the weightroom. Why is this exercise so popular, and why do people pay for it? I'm concerned for the bigger picture and the nonsense that these quacks charge for more than my inconvenience. When I'm champion of the world, free power racks for all.

Box squats:
5 X 5     245 lbs.
> Child's play, even with sore quads from Monday, but the weight is supposed to be 20% lighter today. This was done on the deep set-up, again. I'm going to measure it next time for the sake of record, but it looks to be about 6-8 inches high.
It was my original intent to do front squats, but the form didn't feel right, so I opted for the above until I practice some more. As if box squats are ever the last resort.

Military press:
5 X 5     145 lbs.
> Push and pause, push and pause. I kept it segmented to avoid the push-press tendency.

5 X 5     325 lbs.
> Lift fast.
Again: lift. Fast.
The first set proved difficult. Two people were talking up a storm as they were doing bicep curls, and I resisted the eccentric contraction out of politeness. I'm actually impressed at how slowly and quietly I set the load down for five reps. There was none of that afterwards, and the movement became much, much easier from then on. What's more, the clanging drove them off. The iron is on my side; don't resist it.

Weighted pull-ups:
5 X 5     35 lbs.
> My bag is ripped open from all of the weighted movements I've been using it for, so I had to improvise with a makeshift weight belt. It's a suede rope, probably intended for something I would not approve of, but it held up after being tied into a knot around my waist and through a 35. Since the bar is high, the plate would smack me in the nether regions everytime I jumped up for a set. It was a battle of attrition.

Hammer curls:
3 X 8     45 lbs.
> Strict. Use the 50s next time.

And I walked to the track at night, again. I alternated between sprints, jump-rope, and shadowboxing. It rules to have that much open space to myself. Unfortunately, it was getting close to 10:30, so I didn't stay as long as last night, but just walking under the dark had worth.

Currently watching: James Braddock vs. Joe Louis, 1937

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Entry #517

I could feel the onset of crippling leg soreness beginning to instigate, but I would have nothing of it. I gave them no break today, and they're feeling better from it. That's not your mom's healing; that's man healing. Or manealing. It's healing that will kill you.

First for today was bagwork in the early afternoon. My shoulders felt tender, but warming-up made them prime after a few minutes. I didn't do any repetitive jab drills this time, but I was emphasizing towards two combos.

Jab - jab - right cross - left hook.
Jab - right - left - left hook.

Ever since switching from southpaw to conventional, I've been favouring the left. It used to be that I was equally comfortable in both, but now, southpaw feels awkward. There's no practicality in being multilateral for that, but it's irksome that a physical feat has diminished, no matter the degree of its worth/practicality.

Guard was also tighter. It's nothing airtight, but my elbows were much more perpendicular to the ground.

A few hours later, I shadowboxed in front of a mirror before one of my dinners. It was a Joe Frazier session; I started out slow, and began to "smoke" as time wore on. Good speed and explosiveness, but watch the elbows, again.

Finally, at night, I walked to the track for more shadowboxing. Awesome explosiveness here. I combined about twenty minutes of this with some sprints across the track before walking home. All these box squats have gone Patton in slapping up my hip flexors for being wimps. They didn't feel stiff or limiting at all during the sprints.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Entry #516

Olympic squat (ATG/barefoot/sans knee wraps):
5 X 5     285 lbs.
> The first set posed difficulty, and I nearly fell forward on the second because of lax balance. Once I felt more warmed-up, the third, fourth, and fifth felt like nothing. In particular, I concentrated on driving downward with the sides of my soles.

Bench press:
5 X 5     235 lbs.
> Same situation as above. I barely made the last rep on the second set, so I took off my sweatshirt for better traction on the bench (which I've been doing for squats between each set, and will continue hereafter for benching). It made a definite difference in my shoulder blades staying withdrawn in one spot. Comparatively, the third set was easy.

JS row:
5 X 5     165 lbs.

Tate press:
2 X 8     40 lb. dumbbells

Weighted crunches:
2 X 12   50 lbs. of plates

Crush Trainer:
5 X 5     5 second timed holds on second to last set, 10 seconds on last set
> This isn't providing enough of a challenge. Onward to #1 next time.

The problems I faced in the first two sets of each respective lift tell me that I need to warm-up more extensively. I walk to and from the gym, so my attitude towards warming up my legs has been neglectful, to say the least. More thorough effort in that obviously needs to be made; because this set-up doesn't enforce a build-up, extra measures need to be exercised of my own accord, if anything.

I'm taking 30 minutes each night to stretch. Also, I did my usual walk to Whole Foods and back for the weekly cottage cheese mission. No known casualties.

Calorie intake is high (and clean), but I continue to lose weight with all the cardio I've been doing. Here's a shot where I'm not doing a stomach vacuum, unlike the last set:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Entry #515

I've given up on the scale. I tried an electronic one the gym had, and it read 190.3. From there, I walked over to the manual one and came in at 201.

Also, In my haste yesterday, I forgot to note that I tried a free NO supp sample I had laying around in my cabinet that came with a purchase a while ago. I tried it out. There was zero difference in my performance, but I have to say, it tasted awesome. Not good enough to spend $45 on, of course.

On with it: I abhor training legs only once a week. The instant I dropped DE for legs, my squat plummeted. Today, I put up 305 for 2 ATG reps, as opposed to 4 last Wednesday. It doesn't make much sense to me to do all of this bodybuilding junk, like leg presses, on a cut, anyways. Still, I was really digging the change to higher reps, so I'm switching over to this:

Olympic Squats 5x5 (same weight)
Benching 5x5 (flat, close grip or regular)(same weight)
JS Rows 5x5 (same weight)
Accessory (low volume triceps and abs)

Olympic Squats 5x5 (reduced 15-20% from Monday) or Front Squats 5x5
Standing Military Press 5x5 (same weight)
Deadlifts 5x5 (same weight) (if you pull 2.5x bodyweight do 3x5)
Pull ups 5x5 (use weight if you need it)
Accessory (biceps and abs)

Olympic Squats 5x5 (working up each set)
Benching 5x5 (flat or incline)(same weight)
Rows 5x5 (same weight)
Accessory (low volume triceps and abs)

It keeps the repetition range higher than my usual 3, so it would still constitute a shift in policy. I'll still archive the "Super Strength" program for later use while bulking. At least it brought me back to doing dips.

The foreseeable plan is thus:
Train the above.
Return to previous Westside program.
Begin bulking with a full-fledged bodybuilding routine.
Use the Westside singles template.

The intent is to create as stark a contrast in rep ranges as possible. First, for the main lifts, is 5, then 3, then 8-12, and then 1. Actually, I'd like to do the singles routine now, but it's just not plausible on a calorie deficit for me.

It's time for war.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Entry #514

Bench press (warm-up):
1 X 10   65 lbs.
1 X 6     95 lbs.
1 X 3     135 lbs.

Bench press:
3 X 6     225 lbs.

Close-grip bench press:
1 X 8     185 lbs.

Wide-grip bench press:
1 X 6     185 lbs.

Incline dumbbell press:
3 X 5     90 lb. dumbbells

Dips/weighted dips:
1 X 10   Bodyweight
1 X 8     45 lbs.
1 X 7     70 lbs.
> Thus ensued in my head upon being capable of doing dips:

I no longer have any pain in my breastplate on these.

Dumbbell flyes:
2 X 8     50 lb. dumbbells

Dumbbell skull-crushers:
2 X 5     50 lb. dumbbells

Triceps pressdown:
2 X 8     130 lbs.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Entry #513

My back felt like a board while trying to hit the bag today. I can actually identify it as muscle soreness this time, though.

Here's a video, the latter half being actual bag training:

My night run messed up my diet schedule. I only have time for five meals today, but it's okay. I ran two miles and walked home.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Entry #512

This felt like Hell.

Deadlift (warm-up):
1 X 10   45 lbs.
1 X 6     115 lbs.
1 X 3     135 lbs.

Narrow-stance deadlift:
1 X 6     315 lbs.
2 X 4     315 lbs.
> My legs were shaky from the puny foundation. My feet were practically touching each other here.

Wide-stance deadlift:
1 X 8     265 lbs.
1 X 5     265 lbs.

Romanian box deadlift:
2 X 6     245 lbs.
> Here, my shoes actually were pressed together because I had to use a tiny stool in lieu of a box.

Seated cable row:
2 X 8     Entire stack (160 lbs.)
> This was ridiculous. Either I've become the Hulk on this movement since I last did 120 lbs. at Pinnacle, or the machine is retarded. I asked some random afro guy to lean on the stack, but it still felt like nothing. For the next set, I just did it one-handed, which didn't provide as big a stretch. Next time, I'll grab a little kid and have it stand on the whole thing. Hope I can find a fat one.

Bent-over barbell row:
1 X 6     155 lbs.
1 X 10   135 lbs.
> My posterior was shaking from trying to maintain stabilization after all of the above. It feels like something I can become accustomed to.

2 X 6
> All of the weighted pull-ups I've been doing went out the window. My back was blasted.

Barbell curl:
2 X 6     95 lbs.

Seated dumbbell curl:
2 X 6     40 lb. dumbbells

Later, at night, I walked to the track to jump-rope and drill some shadowboxing when I remembered that I didn't have any cottage cheese to eat before bed, so I ran to Whole Foods instead, right before they closed. I also picked up a $7.99 can of tuna. It'd better cook me bacon and eggs for breakfast, at that price. Even the cashier girl was surprised about it. She asked me, "Have you bought this before?"
"Yes. It was disgusting."
"Haha. Why do you eat it, then?"
This completely puzzled me. I thought for a bit, and then remarked, "Because I have to." Way to rub in your richy rich prices. I barely had enough change to give to the charity collector outside this time.

UPDATE: I just ate the tuna. It sucked.
Entry #511

The following is the unedited version of the routine I'll be starting today, ripped from Muscle and Fitness. Xanga didn't copy over the HTML structure from Wordpad, so it's pretty jumbled. It entails a lot of volume and some movements I'm less than ecstatic about. I intend on making some adjustments as I go, such as nixing one group of leg curls for good mornings.

            Weeks 1-4    Weeks 5-8
Exercise        Sets    Reps**    Sets    Reps
Bench Press        3*    10,6,3    3*    10, 6, 3
Bench Press        3    6    3    3+
Close-grip bench press    1    8    1    4+
Wide-Grip Bench Press    1    8    1    4+
Incline Dumbbell Press    3    8    3    4+
Dip^            3    10    3    5+
Pec-Deck/Cable Flye    2    10    2    7++
Skull-Crusher        2    10    2    7++
Triceps Presdown    2    12    2    8++

* These are warm-up sets done with light weights, pyramiding up in weight each set. Don't go to muscle failure, even if you can do more reps.
** After your warm-up sets, choose a weight that allows you to complete only the number of reps listed. If you can do more reps with good form on your own, add more weight on your next set.
+ Add about 25% more weight than you used on this exercise during weeks 1-4 to reach the target rep listed.
^ If you can perform 12 reps, do weighted dips.
++ Add about 15% more weight than you used on this exercise during weeks 1-4 to reach the target rep listed.

>> Rest 4-5 minutes between sets on the bench press and 3-4 minutes on the close- and wide-grip press. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets on all other exercises.
>> Close- and wide-grip bench presses are done in addition to regular-width presses to build maximum strength around the shoulder joint. Even subtle differences in hand placement can significantly change where stress is focused.
>> No shoulder movements are done during this workout because your front delts get blasted. Dedicated shoulder work will resume after this eight-week cycle is over.

            Weeks 1-4    Weeks 5-8
Exercise        Sets    Reps**    Sets    Reps
Squat            3*    10,6,3    3*    10, 6, 3
Deep Squat        3    6    3    3+
Narrow-Stance Squat    2    8    2    4+
Wide-Stance Squat    2    8    2    4+
Lying Leg Curl (heavy)    4    8    4    4+
Leg Press        3    12    3    6+
Lying Leg Curl (light)^    2    10    2    7++
Standing Calf Raise    2    10    2    7++
Seated Calf Raise    2    12    2    8++

* These are warm-up sets done with light weights, pyramiding up in weight each set. Don't go to muscle failure, even if you can do more reps.
** After your warm-up sets, choose a weight that allows you to complete only the number of reps listed. If you can do more reps with good form on your own, add more weight on your next set.
+ Add about 25% more weight than you used on this exercise during weeks 1-4 to reach the target rep listed.
^ Use lighter weight than on the previous set of leg curls.
++ Add about 15% more weight than you used on this exercise during weeks 1-4 to reach the target rep listed.

>> Rest 4-5 minutes between sets of deep squats and 3-4 minutes on narrow- and wide-stance squats. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets of all other exercises.
>> Narrow- and wide-stance squats are done in addition to deep squats to focus on all-around thigh strength. Placing your feet closer together hits the outer sweep of the quads while a wider stance works the adductors harder.
>> You perform leg curls twice during the workout because hamstring strength is vital to lifting big in both the squat and the deadlift.

            Weeks 1-4    Weeks 5-8
Exercise        Sets    Reps**    Sets    Reps
Deadlift            3*    10,6,3    3*    10, 6, 3
Narrow-Stance Deadlift^    3    6    3    3+
Wide-Stance Deadlift^    2    8    2    4+
Romanian Box Deadlift#    2    8    2    4+
Seated Cable Row    2    8    2    4+
Bent-Over Barbell Row    2    10    2    5+
Lat Pulldown         2    10    2    7++
Standing Barbell Curl    2    10    2    7++
Seated Dumbbell Curl    2    12    2    8++

* These are warm-up sets done with light weights, pyramiding up in weight each set. Don't go to muscle failure, even if you can do more reps.
** After your warm-up sets, choose a weight that allows you to complete only the number of reps listed. If you can do more reps with good form on your own, add more weight on your next set.
+ Add about 25% more weight than you used on this exercise during weeks 1-4 to reach the target rep listed.
^ Alternate order and set-rep scheme of narrow- and wide-stance deadlifts each workout.
# This is a Romanian deadlift performed standing on a 6-inch box to allow an extended stretch.
++ Add about 15% more weight than you used on this exercise during weeks 1-4 to reach the target rep listed.

>> Rest 4-5 minutes between sets of the narrow- and wide-stance deadlift (whichever you do first in your routine) and five minutes on the other deadlift movements. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets of all other exercises.
>> You do narrow- and wide-stance deadlifts in addition to regular deadlifts for two reasons. First, even subtle changes in foot and hand placement make a big difference in where your back picks up the initial stress of the lift. Second, your legs (hamstrings in particular) are worked differently when your feet are close together as opposed to when they're set wide apart.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Entry #510

No training. I mostly spent the day typing up routines and playing Morrowind. I'm going crazy at this point from sitting so much, but it's just pent-up energy to fuel tomorrow. I managed to dig out three worthwhile programs from my Muscle and Fitness infestation: Scott Mendelson's "Big Bench", "ECO", and some generic powerlifting template with a ton of volume, but has given me great gains in the past, which I attribute to the wide/narrow variations of the main compounds. "ECO" encorporates plyometrics for warm-ups, which actually seemed to make a profound difference while I was on it. And Scott Mendelson needs no validation. Between these and the 5x5's, I have a good selection.

I also received "POWER" in the mail yesterday. It doesn't have any example routines, unfortunately.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Entry #509

I was particularly worn out from pre-lifting training today, and I barely put up 265 for a single rep on bench press. Even if I had been at a full capacity, however, I doubt that I could have done it for more than a triple. I've plateaued in this regard.

I've been on this routine for a little more than a year. Gains have been excellent, but now it's time for a change.

On another note, here's a short clip. This is not a typical bag session. I'm just moving around to warm-up, paying no heed to form. I have an actual bag at home, not a standing one like this flimsy thing. The one advantage this has over my home set-up is that there's space to actually move around. In my yard, it's crammed under the patio.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Entry #508

I spent most of today doing bag training. Also, I got a good walk early in the morning.

Here is a brief update on the cut. For the sake of consistency, I used the same location as the last set, but will opt for flatter lighting next time, when I'm done doing this. Good thing I don't bodybuild - I have no triceps at all, and haven't done curls for more than a year.