December 30, 2012

December 28, 2012 Lower Body

  • Squats: 225*10 235*10 245*10 255*10....and I'm toast.
  • Pin Squats: 255*3 265*2
  • BB Split Squats: 95*5-quads done 95*10
  • Good Mornings: 95*4 -quads gave out, move these to DL Day
  • Paloffs: 90*10 100*10
  • Sauna: 212 degrees*17 minutes
45 minutes

Whelp let me take you through my thoughts on those 4 sets of squats.  225: Oh this isn't so bad.  235: Kinda getting tired. 245: ugh  255: I think I might vomit.  I did 40 reps of squats here, I think in the last 4 weeks I haven't done that many combined.  Definitely going to take some getting used to.  I notice that during the workout my quads are toasted, but the day after it's my ass & hamstrings that feel the brunt of the soreness.  Pin squats went well, actually added a rep on 255.  On the split squats I did 5 that first set and needed to take a break, came back about 3 minutes later and got the 10 reps there.  Tried good mornings but my quads just couldn't support me, even though they're not the mover on the weight at all, they were just done.  Moving those to deadlift day after the deadlifts & o-lifting.  Upped weight on paloffs, that went well.  Jumped in the sauna after to try and stay loose.  

December 27, 2012 Upper Body

  • Incline Bench: 185*10 195*9 200*9 - lactic acid
  • Pullups: 40*5 40*5 40*4...still decimated from higher reps on incline
  • Rope Pullups: 6
  • Standing Press: 95*10 105*10 115*7 - lactic acid again.
  • DB Rows: 120*10 120*10
  • DB Flat: 100*7 100*4
45 minutes

So as I noted previously, I was going to do a cycle of 8-10 rep sets on virtually all movements.  I figured it couldn't be that hard, even though I haven't gone over 4 or 5 reps on a set of a major exercise in 36 months.   I threw 185 on the bar for incline benching, got to 7 reps and started to feel the lactic acid building up, and on the 8th & 9th it intensified.  The burn by the 10th I thought was going to liquefy my pecs.  It's going to take a couple weeks to get used to this....fortunately I'm bulking so the higher reps should help build muscle mass, and the extra work should chew up some calories metabolically.  After the 3 sets of incline benching my delts/tris/chest were completely done pretty much.  I tried the pullups with a lighter weight intending to do sets of 10, since I can do 3-4 with 80 lbs hanging off me.  Yeah, wasn't happening.  You can see things like the DB rows that I actually have been doing higher rep sets on recently were unaffected, but the exercises I made the change-over on were tough sledding.   We'll see what happens next week.  Can't wait for leg day tomorrow!  

December 26, 2012

December 26, 2012 Thoughts 2

Was reading an old post here tonight.  I was talking to a friend who works as a trainer, who is great at it, and just loves every part of fitness and what it brings to life.  We have these long philosophical conversations that usually start of being about the gym, but then end up going all over the place.  "If I want to move something, I just pick it up and move it. I don't have to wait for help".  That's how it started tonight.

But I got to thinking about how much I love how I feel.  It feels awesome, literally awesome. My peers are going gray, are in terrible shape, and need several cups of coffee to get up in the morning. My energy is as high as when I was a teenager, I can do anything "physical" for hours, my body even when I'm bulked is still harder than 99% of the male population.  I never have to worry about being overpowered, or not being up to a physical task.    I look closer to 24 than 31.  I love this feeling, because nobody gave it to me.  I worked my ass off to get where I am.    I wrote the post I referenced in the first sentence of this post about a year and a half ago.  It's true.  So true to this day.  I don't need validation from anyone anymore; and the thing is I barely and I mean barely needed it before I started down this path, and now it is just vapor. I am entirely self-driven at this point.   I want to do something with my life that I enjoy for a career, and so I am. I want more free cash, so I restarted my IT & Web Design consulting business.   No second thoughts, no intimidation.

The gym, or maybe just physical fitness in general, teaches you that outside of the gym others can impact your progress, but that within the gym it's 100% you.  But here's the thing, if you progress far enough, and you'll know when you get there, it'll dawn on you.  Others can effect your goals outside of the gym, but they can't stop you.  They can be barriers or impediments.  You can be a deaf wrecking ball that decimates the obstacles and walls they throw up for you.  Be sure to listen to advice, but if you find someone discouraging you, there's a 99% chance they're doing it because they don't want you to exceed them.  Society functions by pulling everyone back to the median.  But not me. Not us.   You want to achieve something in life? You know how you get there?  You fucking do it.  You get up and take the first step, if you don't know what the first step is, you get up and FIND OUT what it is.

I love my life right now.  I love the city I live in. I love that I'm seeking out a new challenge in restarting my IT business.  I'll let you guess how many shits I give about people who comment on my sources of income.  I'm self-made, because I made myself, if that makes sense.  If it makes sense to you, then you 'get it' or you're well on your way to true independence.   I don't look at challenges as frustrations or obstacles anymore, I look at them as another step to conquer on my path to get where I want to be in life.    I don't care about the validation of others, or even their support.  If you do support me somehow, great, but if you don't support my goals, then stand on the sidelines of my life, where you belong.

Case in point: I have someone in my family/life that loves taking shots at everything I do. Whether it's trading stocks for money on the side, becoming a psychologist, running my own IT consulting business, moving to Boston (my favorite city on Earth). They need to constantly take shots, usually passive aggressively at me.  I used to take it to heart for a long time. Why wasn't what I was doing good enough? I was happy, I wasn't starving, why didn't they care? Then one day I realized it was making me angry that they kept taking passive-aggressive jabs, trying to tear down with words what I was trying to build up with actual effort. Then I realized, it's any time I try to make a positive step in my life, each stone along that path was stenciled with jabs from this person.

Now? Thy're more of an annoyance. I don't care. I don't need their validation. I'm living, I love my life. That's the point  OF life. If you're reading this and your sad, or unhappy, or miserable and say "well at least I have xyz" WHY do you want that thing if you're miserable.  Happiness has intrinsic value, your drive has intrinsic value. Some shitty corner-office job where you get a great paycheck, an ulcer, and a reduced quality of life? Nothing there, man.   So why in the bloody blue fuck would I make myself less happy to get a job or a career that someone else thinks I should have? To try and fit myself into the mold that someone else wants me to be, when they clearly don't care if it makes me happy or not, only how it reflects on them. Why would I care what someone who hasn't done anything in 15 years thinks about someone who is trying to do something with their life every day? I wouldn't. I don't.  Now stop wasting my time, I have work to do. 

December 26, 2012 Conditioning & Olympic Lifts

  • Hanging Power Snatch: 135*2 145*1 150*1
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 155*1 175*1 185*1 195*1
  • High Pull: 205*1
  • tiny-small-medium box over jumps - broad jump superset: 10
  • P.U.P.P.: 10
39 minutes

Amazing what not deadlifting 450 lbs. before olympic lifting does for the lifts. I felt great on these, my  form was great, and the weights moved so rapidly.   That last high pull was supposed to be a clean but I couldn't flip it over so it ended up being a high pull.  Added 5 lbs. to the snatch & cleans.   It was about 28 degrees out today, and I need leggings or something before I can run in those conditions, going to go tomorrow most likely and grab some.  Did a series of jumps over boxes into a broad jump, as a supserset.  Love doing that stuff.   Finished with some planks.  

December 24, 2012 Upper body

  • Bench Press: 230*5 260*5 275*3 290*2
  • BB Rows: 235*4 265*5 280*3 300*2
  • Push Press: 200*2 220*2 230*1 Dipping lower helps...duh
  • Neutral Grip Pullups: 70*3 70*2 70*2
  • DB Incline Bench: 95*7 100*4
45 minutes

I think I need to drop weights and do sets of 10 for a few weeks.  I'm plateauing with benching, squatting, etc.  Rows are going up still, so that's good.  I can't be afraid to switch things up.  85% of the time a high weight explosive routine is great for me, but I've been going 36 months now with this high weight stuff.  My body needs a few weeks of switch-up, plus I'm bulking, I could use the extra metabolic work.   O-Lifts & Push Pressing and the like I'll keep low rep high weight, but I think deadlifting, benching, and squatting I'm going to lower the weight and jack the reps way up.  

Rest of the session here wasn't too bad.  I realized I wasn't dipping down on push presses, like at all. Which is why I was having trouble moving the weight.  I dipped my knees forward about 4-6" on the reps today.  Felt great!   Incline bench is continuing to climb, as is the neutral grip pullups.  

December 23, 2012 Conditioning

  • 24" unilateral plyo box jumps: 10
  • 31" plyo box jumps: 15
  • 32" plyo box jumps: 5
  • Viking Quest: 200*0:38 400*1:30 800*2:58 PR!!
Remeasured the boxes, tall box is 24", which is 3" shorter than I thought.  But small box & med box are 3" taller than I thought, so it balances out.  Since I'm still intimidated by having the small box on the tall box for some reason, I put the tiny box (7") on the tall box, and put plates under the legs of the tall box. Going to add a plate (about 1.5") per week til I'm back where I was.  Hence the 31" jumps, followed by the 32" jumps.   

Someone reading this doesn't understand what it's like to tear 5 seconds off your PR in something.  It sounds like..well...5 seconds to an ordinary person.   It's not.  My previous record was 3:03 and I was gassed after that, I was beat.  So what's 5 seconds quicker? I couldn't even stand up for about a minute. I was sucking big lungfuls of air as fast as I could.  I thought I was going to black out.  I fell off the Concept2 and laid on my side for another few minutes til I could actually move.  Then I dragged myself to the stretching area and started stretching to prevent cramps, then just laid back there for about 10 more minutes.  That's what 5 seconds does.  It took me about 5 hours until I felt like I was getting back to normal. The rest of the day though my metabolism was jacked up. My skin wasn't just warm, it was hot, which feels great when it's 35 degrees out.  

December 21, 2012 Lower Body

  • Squats: 260*5 310*3-back sore from deads 325*1 335*X
  • Pin Squats: 245*4 255*2
  • BB Bulgarian Split Squats: 135*3 155*3 175*2
  • Paloffs: 80*9 90*8
  • 28kg KB Swings: 30
  • Inverted TRX Rows: 10
44 minutes

OK, so maxing on deads and then thinking about doing it on squats in the same week was not the brightest idea.  Still I feel like I get out of the hole fine, which indicates my legs & ass are fine, but then I get folded over, which indicates I need to strengthen up my lower back, reverse hypers aren't gonna cut it. Time to put good-mornings in on my deadlift day.  Plus some planks too.  Session wasn't so bad. Upped the weight on bulgarian split squats, knees wobbled a bit though.  Going to up to 90 & 100 next week on paloffs.   Had some extra time so I did some inverted TRX rows after. I actually like them. 

December 22, 2012

December 20, 2012 Creatine: The Silent Killer

The loading portion of this is completely unnecessary, but I think this breaks down how/what creatine does in the most clear, easy to understand way I've seen.  

and just because:

>full bag of creatine about the size of 2 big clenched fists hidden under my car seat
>gotta get home
>hear sirens
>look in rear view mirror to see police
>the car follows me and flashes me to pull over
>die a little
>I pull to the side
>cop car pulls to the side
>see officer getting papers or whatever while inside his car
>getting mad and nervous
>bend forward and lightly punch my door in anger
>see the bag of creatine I hid under the seat
>panic a little, cops in this area are notorious for searches
>processing a solution
>too much creatine to eat
>cop gets out of car
>everything feels in slow motion
>squeeze the bag of creatine in my hand out of rage
>cop getting closer
>shove hand down pants and try to jam the bag up my butt
>cop near the car
>push it up as far as possibly, fighting through the pain and tightness
>try to relax and push but cop is nearing the window
>stop shoving and pull out hand just as cop looks into the window
>cop asks me to roll it down
>act natural and do what he says
>tells me to step out of car
>open door, feel intense butt pain upon first step
>take one more step
>tells me I was speeding and asks for my license, registration
>pull out license from wallet in pocket
>the registration is inside the car
>rage inside hard
>get it from the glove compartment
>take a step to hand it over and suddenly feel a tingling inside my ass
>cop takes registration
>hands start getting tense muscles growing, energy rising
>realize that the creatine bag must have burst open while inside my rectum
>just as cop is about to leave, he notices me getting tense and asks me if there is something wrong
>give him the creatine eyes
>he backs up slightly and reaches for utility belt
>creatine reflexes take over as I grab his arm and yank it
>cop falls to the ground, but gets up quickly
>grabs his radio and puts it to his mouth, but I kick him with the force of a rocket
>creatine is in control of my mind and body now
>lift cop and throw him into his car
>he lies motionless as I run to the car, lift it over my head and start doing squats
>finish my set and throw it into the traffic
>feel like a train and charge onto the highway, nothing but creatine running through my veins
>wake up in a hospital with a broken arm, leg, and ribs
>the worst part is the creatine withdrawal

December 21, 2012

December 20, 2012 Upper Body

  • Incline Bench Press: 225*3 240*3 250*2
  • Pullups: 80*3 80*2 80*2
  • 1.5 Pullups: 4, 3
  • Standing Press: 140*5 150*2 140*4
  • DB Rows: 120*9 120*9
  • DB Flat Bench: 105*6 110*2 - gassed
  • Band-suspended, iso-hold barbell shrugs w/ underhand grip: 85*6 135*6
39 minutes!

Getting a little antsy with all the 5 rep sets, may do a few weeks of 1-3 rep sets on things like incline, I enjoy them more.  Plus it gives me a little variety after 6 weeks of 5 rep type sets.  Still I'm frustrated with the progress I've made so far. Standing Press hasn't BUDGED, and while the db weights keep going up, I only just added them recently so that explains that part.  Incline bench hasn't gone up at all, I think I may be weaker on it.  I'm baffled. I do have a hard time getting in all the different foods every day, but I'm still at 3700 calories.  How I could go from 2500 to 3700 and actually lose strength is beyond me.  I weighed myself and I'm only 196. I started at 191, and was 194 2 weeks in.  Which means over the last month eating 3700 calories per day, I've gained 2 lbs. Not sure how that's humanly possible. I'm a bit 'softer' than when I started as well, so I know it's not like the added volume is helping burn fat and build muscle.   I'm definitely upping the protein the rest of this bulk, I think reducing it in favor of extra carbs & calories was a mistake. I'm going to keep everything else the same, just add in more chicken.  Also adding in creatine as well, not sure why I ever stopped taking it.    

The band-suspended shrugs were more of an experiment....They'  Not bad, kind of a novelty. Couldn't imagine doing them regularly.  

December 19, 2012 Sprinting

  • 100m: 8
  • Total: 800m

Holy crap was it windy out.  I thought I'd be fine since it was about 45, but there was a 20 mph wind the whole time I was running. Froze my ass off.  Least fun I've had since running right before that Nor'Easter.  Took an extra sprint or two before I felt warmed up.  Only hit top speed for maybe 2 or these, not good times.  Chilly now thinking about it

December 18, 2012 Lower Body

  • Deadlifts: 315*2 385*1 415*1 435*1 455*1-ugly
  • Hanging Power Snatch: 135*2 145*1 150*X
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 160*2 180*1 190*1 200*X 185*1
  • Ab-Wheel: 10, 10

Good times, wanted to bump up the weight for this session on the deadlifting, haven't done that recently. Got up to 455, was hunched over a lot even for me though.  Probably should've done 445 and left it there.  This coming week I'll probably do some RDLs, if my gym is actually open on Christmas.   Was a bit tired after that deadlifting for the o-lifts.  Did them anyway.  Hanging power cleans seem to be going up still, narrowly missed 200.  Unfortunately I slammed the bar into my chest instead of catching it, left a bruise. I'll live.    

December 17, 2012 Upper Body

  • Bench Press: 235*5 245*5 255*5 265*4
  • BB Rows: 235*5 250*5 265*5 275*5 - sketchy 5th
  • Push Press: 195*2 215*1 225*X
  • Neutral Grip Pullups: 65*4 65*3 65*2
  • DB Incline Bench: 95*7 100*4
44 minutes

Bench press is still slogging along, rows are going well, I need to watch my form on them, feel like the set at 275 starts to decompose after the first rep.  May do 235/245/255/265 next week.  Push Press is stagnant as well.  Neutral grip pullups & incline db bench continue to increase, as I've only recently added them in.  Still not sure how I feel about this bulk so far.  Going to up the chicken I'm eating by about 1/4 lbs. per day and see if the extra protein helps any. May add in creatine as well. 

December 16, 2012 Conditioning

  • Unilateral Tall Box Jumps: 10, 10
  • Plyo Bench Clap Pushups: 5, 6
  • 10 lbs. Plate Transfer Planks: 4*1 4*1
  • Viking Quest: 200*0:38 400*1:36 800*3:03 NEW PR!!
28 minutes

Getting used to the jumps, I like the tall box better, I land softer.  The plate transfers were a stack of four 10 lbs. plates, hence the 4*1.  I did one transfer per side per set.   Set new record in the 800 on the rowing.  Next up is sub 3:00

December 20, 2012

December 14, 2012 Lower Body

  • Squats: 250*5 300*5 315*3+X  325*2
  • Pin Squats: 245*4 255*3
  • BB Bulgarian Split Squats: 135*4 135*5
  • Reverse Hypers: 80*2-piroformis 80*5
  • Paloffs: 80*7 90*6
  • 28kg KB swings: 30

Squatting went well, 3rd set I narrowly missed a 4th at 315. I think next week I'll do 3 regular sets and then just see how high I can get on singles.  Pin squats went well, added more weight.  Tried bb bulgarian splits, figured it'd be easy, almost tipped over 3 times on that first set. Second set went better on both legs, but I wanted to leave the weight low so I can get used to it.  Didn't warm up at all, will next week with the bar, and then 135, and then toss some more weight on, see if I can get 185 at all.  Found another exercise that my piriformis still aches on; weighted reverse hypers. If I do a hold at the top it's not so bad, but a regular version of the movement kills me.  Going to up the weight next week on paloffs.

December 13, 2012 Upper BOdy

  • Incline Bench: 235*4 240*3 225*4
  • Pullups: 80*2 80*2 80*2
  • Rope Pullups: 7, 7
  • Standing Press: 135*5 150*2 160*1
  • DB Rows: 120*8 120*8
  • DB Flat: 100*6 110*2-gassed
  • Battling Rope-Rope Slam S.S: 40-10 40-10
40 minutes!

Wow...blazed through this one.  I will say though I'm getting a little weary of using the light weights on things. I think I may go back to the 3 rep sets on several movements, including standing press and incline bench.  I feel a bit listless for this bulk, I had some goals about increasing volume, and  using DB work as well as some unilateral leg stuff.  That's going fine, but I wonder if the extra work is burning the extra calories I'm taking in. 

I'm having trouble in the evenings getting all the calories in; usually in previous bulks I'd eat more rice, more chicken, more steak. This time I've tried adding in extra kinds of foods, sometimes I miss the 2nd shake, but I try to have more earlier in the day in the form of bread or something carby to make up for it.  Still though without that shake I'm probably a shade below 200g of protein per day.  I thought going in that by eating more carbs my body would be more efficient in delivering protein to where it's needed....looking like total broscience.  I think I need to be at 225 consistently to be  gaining how I want. Because right now things are just going way too slow gain wise.  I don't feel like on the main movements I'm gaining that much.  The extra DB stuff I added in I am, but that's because I haven't done them in a while.  Otherwise I feel stagnant, if not weaker than when this bulk started...going to give it another week and see how it goes. 

Workout itself was decent, db rows added a rep, db flat upped the weight. 

December 13, 2012

December 12, 2012 Sprinting

  • 100m: 7
  • total: 700m

I hate running in the freezing cold. I need to get tights for my legs; I've got 5 layers on my upper body and only my shorts on with my legs hanging out.  As such by about 700m I felt like my lungs were going to seize up and my legs were going to cramp.  Will try to pickup leggings or something  this weekend. 

December 11, 2012 Lower Body

  • BB DL: 315*3 385*3 415*3
  • Hanging Power Snatches: 135*3 140*2 145*1
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 155*3 175*3 185*3
  • Ab-Wheel: 10, 10
45 minutes

OK, so going with what I mentioned yesterday I'm going to up the weight on the 3rd set of deadlifting, not all the way up to my 1RM, but still bumping it up. I'm only going to do 1 rep at that weight, and then maybe a fourth set where I bump up the weight a bit more and do 1 rep. Maybe I'll do that 4th set every other week or something.   Same with snatches & cleans.  The first set I'll keep the reps at 3.  Then the 2nd & 3rd I'm thinking heavier one rep sets, or a series of heavier one rep sets.  As it is now my hips are fried by the time I get to about the 2nd set of snatches. The cleans are going well, adding weight. 

December 10, 2012 Upper Body

  • Bench Press: 230*5 260*5 275*3 290*2
  • BB Rows: 235*5 250*5 265*5 275*4
  • Push Press: 195*3 215*2 225*X
  • Neutral Grip Pullups: 65*4 65*3 65*2
  • DB Incline: 90*7 95*5

Forgot to start my stopwatch at the beginning here. Whoops.  Otherwise session went ok, felt a little flat on the benching & push presses.  The rows, incline benching, and pullups all felt fine though.  Added an extra rep on the first set of neutral grips. Going to up weight on incline to 95 & 100 next week.   Also I think what I'm going to do on all the 'power' movements (push press, snatches, cleans) is for the first set or two do my 3 reps, but instead of going for a few on the final set, just go for one.  I'll up the weight some from what I'm attempting now, but not go so high that I'm right at my 1RM every week.  That'll let me get in some higher weights, hopefully stress my joints & CNS less, but also build strength in the movements as well.  

December 9, 2012 Conditioning

  • Unilateral 27.5" plyo box jumps: 10, 10
  • Bench Plyo Clap Pushups: 5, 5
  • Viking Quest: 200*0:36 400*1:24 800*3:22
  • 28kg kb swings: 30
  • wide-stance anti-rotational chop: 50*10
29 minutes

Good stuff, getting the unilateral jumping down.  The first few weeks I realized I was basically doing an explosive leg raise.  This time I tried making sure I was moving my hips back and exploding, with good results.  Definitely felt the difference.  Tied a record on the 400m portion of the rowing.  It's funny I always think I'm way off pace on the 800 since I'm usually toasted, but I'm never more than a few seconds off my PR pace.  Finished with swings & chops. 

December 7, 2012

  • Squats: 290*5 310*4 325*2
  • Pin Squats: 245*4 265*2
  • DB Bulgarian Split Squats: 55*5 65*5
  • Reverse Hypers (3 second top hold): 65*6
  • 28kg kb swings: 30
  • Paloffs: 80*6 90*4
42 minutes

Ripped through this workout pretty swiftly.  Slowly accumulating strength in the squat.  I'd like to see what my 1RM is pretty soon, maybe this coming week.  Pin Squats are going well too.  The top hold on the reverse hypers seems to be helping with posture on squatting, at least I think it is.  Also moved up weight on paloffs with good results. 

December 6, 2012 Upper Body

  • Incline Bench: 230*5 240*4 250*3
  • Pullups: 80*2 80*2 80*2
  • Rope Pullups: 7, 7
  • Standing Press: 135*5 140*4 145*3
  • DB Rows: 120*7 120*7
  • DB Flat: 95*7 105*4
  • Medicine Ball Wall Throws: 16*10 16*10
44 minutes

Good session.  Going to start with 105 on DB Flat this coming week.  Strength has gone up significantly each week on the added in exercises I'm doing this bulk.  On Standing Press I may try pushing my 1RM for a few weeks, I usually respond well to that on other movements, hopefully will there too.  

December 9, 2012

December 5, 2012 Sprinting

  • 200m: 1
  • 100m: 2
  • 200m: 1
  • 100m: 2
  • 200m: 1
  • Total: 1000m
Decided to mix it up here.  I actually like that, the 100s seem so much easier after doing a 200 right before them.   Good session, was pretty cold out though, and I still hate running in the chilly weather. 

December 6, 2012

December 4, 2012 Lower Body

  • Deadlift: 315*3 275*3 415*2
  • Hanging Power Snatch: 135*3 140*3
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 155*3 175*3 185*2
  • Ab-Wheel: 10, 10
  • Viking Quest: 200*0:42 400*1:32
45 minutes

Meh...was pretty lethargic here.  Went earlier in the day; I tend to do best working out between 4-6PM, earlier than that and I just don't have the same energy.  Felt like I was moving in slow motion here.  Hanging Power cleans are still improving fortunately, that's one area I feel I've been lagging on.   Didn't do a 3rd set on snatches as I was feeling sleepy, same with the rowing. 

December 3, 2012 Upper Body

  • Bench Press: 230*5 255*5 270*5 290*3
  • BB Rows: 225*5 245*5 260*5 270*4
  • Push Press: 190*3 210*3 220*2
  • Neutral Grip Pullups: 65*4 65*3 65*3
  • DB Incline: 85*8 90*4
46 minutes

Gradually building strength here as I gain weight.  I always find it interesting how it's one rep here, 5 lbs. there.  It's never an explosion where one week you suddenly bench or row 20 lbs. more than you could the week before.  I think that in and of itself is why so many people stop short of their goals or give up so quickly.  When you first start working out, you're sore, you're tired, you're probably not eating properly yet, or sleeping enough.  Then to top it off, even with your faster noob-gains, you're still not exploding by any means.    There should be an informational packet given to you when you first start.   Session went well, I want 275 on push press this time, going to really push for it...hurrrr.  Added a rep on the pullups. Next week I'll go 90-95 on incline, and probably stay there for the week after as well.  Kind of surprised at how strong my rows have been, I've been mixing them up week to week, but I always use regular overhand BB rows as my benchmark.   I'm starting out pretty close to where my PR was just two years ago.   Perhaps all the unilateral work helped, doing the unilateral t-bar rows, and adding in db rows as well. 

December 2, 2012 Conditioning

  • Unilateral Tall Box Jumps: 5 per leg
  • Place Jumps: 10
  • Plyo-Bench clap-pushup: 5, 5
  • Side-Planks: 40 seconds
  • P.U.P.P.: 1:00
18 minutes

Quick session here, did tall box jumps unilaterally this time.  Didn't get them quite as cleanly as the medium box jumps.  We'll see how it goes next week.    Brought back side-planks.  

December 5, 2012

November 30, 2012 Lower Body

  • Squats: 235*5 285*5 310*4 320*2
  • Pin Squats: 235*4 255*3
  • DB Bulgarian Split Squats: 40*10 55*5
  • 28kg kb swings: 30
  • Reverse Hypers, 10 second hold: 4,4
  • Paloffs: 60*10 80*6
45 minutes

Good session, building up strength on squats again. Pin squats felt great, the first couple weeks I had to fight from getting folded over on them, this time I was able to stay upright much easier.  I gotta up weight on Bulgarians a bit, the 10 rep stuff is ok, but I like heavier weights.   Also upping weight on Paloffs, the light weight stuff makes no sense, I'm trying to build core strength, not endurance.  

December 4, 2012

November 29, 2012 Upper Body

  • Incline Bench Press: 230*4 240*3 250*3
  • Pullups: 80*3 80*2 80*2
  • Rope Pullups: 7, 7
  • Standing Press: 115*5 135*5 145*3
  • DB Rows: 115*9 115*9
  • DB Flat Bench: 90*9 100*5
46 Minutes

People reading this probably don't know much about me, but I can get quite nostalgic.  So as I entered this workout into the little green notebook I bought at I think it was CVS, I felt a bit of that wistfulness.  The final page in the notebook has been filled.  The first workout in it was from November 19, 2007.  I had only been in Boston a little over two months at that point.  My life was so different; no masters degree, I hadn't even done my first bulk or cut yet.  I was probably about 173 lbs at that point, at about 11% bf.  So here it is with the first page folded out, and the last page on the left.  The little perforated parts ripped a bit on both of them so they're loose leaf now, but they'll go into my folder with all my other old workout logs/sheets/plans.  It's great to see the progress; if you look at the workout on 11/19, my incline bench peak was 145 lbs. for 7 reps, and I peaked at 210 on bench pressing.  I was wondering at the time I started that notebook, if I would ever get to push the big big weights.  I had improved my diet, and gained some strength but didn't see it explode. It wasn't until about a year after this that I did my first bulk and started to grasp truly how to gain strength, power, and speed.  What a great 5 years it's been in the gym.  I always wondered as I carried this little notebook around with me, would I ever lose it before I completed it, and should I just pull out the completed pages.  Now that it's done, I'm glad I didn't.  I have plenty of loose-leaf pages from the years in the gym, documenting probably about 90% of my workouts going back through the nearly 14 years I've been doing this, but this is the first complete bound volume.  I think for my next log I'm going to do one workout per side of a sheet, maybe 2, and take more notes about how I'm feeling, what I'm doing, why I failed a rep, etc.  

The workout was good, I like mixing up the pullup types.   Progressing on standing press as well, and my body is rapidly adapting to the increased volume with the DB work on the end.  Energy levels feel good, as does my strength.  

November 29, 2012

November 28, 2012 Sprinting / Conditioning

  • 100m: 10
  • Total: 1000m

Was a bit chilly so I threw an extra long sleeve shirt on.  I feel like in the cold weather my 3rd-7th sprints are fine, but that the last few I'm just sucking wind.  Need to time myself again next time the temperature is decent and I don't feel like I'm inhaling pure carbon dioxide. 

November 27, 2012

November 27, 2012 Lower Body

  • Deadlift: 315*3 365*3 410*3
  • Hanging Power Snatches: 135*3 140*3 145*3
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 155*3 175*3 195*X 185*1
  • BB Front Loaded Reverse Lunges: 45*5 95*5
  • Ab-Wheel: 10, 10
  • Medicine-Ball Wall Throws: 16*10 16*10
45 Minutes

Good session, getting stronger on deadlifting.  Last week I was exhausted after this session, this time I got it done easily.  Grip wasn't as exhausted, traps felt good. Felt more powerful throughout the whole thing.  Probably should've done 185 for 3rd set on cleans. Next week. Tried front loaded reverse lunges...interesting. Mocha Bear is big on them, may have to try them the next couple weeks. Remembered that the ab-wheel exists so that went well, then finished with some wall throws.  Weighed in at 194 after the session was over. 

November 27, 2012 2012 New(ish) Bulking Routine

o Box Jumps, or jump series. (Lower Body Plyo Variant of some sort)
o Rope Slams, Plyo Pushups (Upper Body Plyo Variant of some sort)
o Viking Quest, or  some other sprint variant (Lower body Sprinting Variant of some sort)

o Flat Bench (4x3-5)
o Rows (4x3-5)
o Push Press (4x1-3)
o Pullup Variant (3x-2-5)
o DB Incline Bench (2x6-8)

o Deadlifts (3x3)
o Hanging Power Cleans (3x3)
o Hanging Power Snatches (3x3)
o Paloffs, some core variant (2)
o Conditioning if I’m not wiped out

o Sprinting: 1000-1200 meters, consisting of mostly 200ms & 100ms.

o Incline Bench  (3x3-5)
o Pullups (5x3-5)
o Standing Press (3x5)
o DB Rows: (2x6-8)
o DB Flat (2x6-8)

o Squats (4x3-5)
o Squats From Pins (2x1-3)
o Bulgarian Split Squats: (2x10)
o Reverse Hyper Extensions (2xwhatever)
o Wide-Stance Anti-Rotational Chops, some core variant (2)
o Conditioning: Viking Quest or something

o   Off

So I've added more volume in here, which is one of my goals. I'm also adding in more work for my back, and continuing to hit my delts more. I also have a tendency to not do some sort of bb/db/t-bar rowing enough.  I'll do it on a bulk, or a cut, but then when I switch to the other I drop them a lot of times. Not doing that here.   Also importantly I've added in DB work as well, as higher rep work, which accomplishes two of my goals for this bulk, and going forward.  I'm also hitting my core on set days now, as well as throwing in some extra optional conditioning.   

November 26, 2012 Upper Body

  • Bench Press: 225*5 250*5 265*5 285*3
  • BB Underhand Rows: 225*6 235*5 245*5 255*2-grip failed
  • Push Press: 185*3 205*3 215*1
  • Neutral-Grip Pullups: 65*4 65*3 65*2
  • DB Incline Bench: 80*10 85*6
46 Minutes

Great session; I feel like the strength bump from the bulk is finally taking over.  Did BB Underhand rows. Still can't decide what kind of row I want to be doing.  I do DB rows on Thursdays so I'd like this to be some sort of bb row or t-bar variant.  Push pressing went well, felt a lot better on the 205 set, still don't have the pop I did a few months ago on it, bu tit's coming along.  Added some volume in with an extra set of neutral grip pullups & the db incline bench. 

I'm considering upping the protein a tad; I know I said I wanted to leave it where it was, and then raise it when cutting, but I feel like the lowered protein levels may be inhibiting me somewhat.  Not going to increase them drastically, maybe just a couple extra ounces of chicken when I eat that twice per day. 

November 25, 2012 Conditioning

  • Unilateral Medium Box Jumps: 10, 10
  • Battling Rope - Rope Slam S.S.: 30-10
  • Kneeling start 1/2 court sprints: 5 per leg
  • Viking Quest: 200*0:39 400*1:27 800*3:41
30 minutes

The unilateral jumps are particularly taxing, may move up to the large box next time.  Good session, was tired by the end of it; my legs are still dead from that workout on Friday. 

November 25, 2012

November 23, 2012 Lower Body

  • Squats: 230*5 280*5 305*4 315*3 325*1
  • Squats From Pins: 225*5 245*3
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: 35*10 40*10
  • Reverse Hypers (3 second hold at top): 100*4 100*3
  • Kneeling start 1/2 court sprints: 5 per leg
  • Bird-Dogs: 5...can't lift legs
46 Minutes

This might've been the most exhausted my body was after a workout.  I was in a foul mood, just angry, which usually actually messes with my concentration. This time though it just made me get violent with the weights.  The squatting felt great, feels good to be moving back up not just on the weight, but on the reps as well.  Just felt solid pushing up out of the bottom of the movement.  I think the pin squats helped.  Really went in on the pin squats, I love them.  It almost feels like the squat version of a deadlift, since each rep starts from a dead stop.  Was sucking wind after them.  Went to split squats and decimated my quads & ass some more.  I needed to take a couple minutes after each set because I was drained at this point.  I knelt down to record the numbers for the set in my pad and could barely get up.   Did some reverse hypers with a hold at the top, and could barely hold it.  I figure holding at the top of the movement is good because it should help me fight the urge to crunch forward when squatting.  We'll see.  Regardless after that I thought I was going to collapse.  Still went and did some sprints after.  Hardest sprints I've ever had to do. Tried doing some bird dogs after, but literally could not lift my legs or hold them straight out behind me. Collapsed on the mat for a few minutes and rested instead.  Great session. 

November 21, 2012 Sprinting

  • 100m: 10
  • Total: 1000m

Nothing extraordinary here, just sprinted.  I feel like the 1/2 court sprints from a kneel I'm going to be doing may help with my start here on these sprints.  My first 20 meters are woefully slow right now  in the 100m.  Hopefully that remedies the issue.  I felt good running here, wasn't too exhausted by it.  Not much else to say, just a good sprint session. Went home and took an epsom salt soak.  I can't tell if they do anything, but I'm definitely sleepy after doing it. May wait until right before bed to do it next week. 

November 20, 2012 Lower Body

  • Deadlift: 315*3 365*3 405*3
  • Hanging Power Snatches: 135*3 140*3 135*3
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 155*3 175*3 165*3
  • Glute Bridges: 135*9..PIRIFORMIS! 
  • P.U.P.P.: 1:00, 0:30
45 minutes

YES!!! It worked.  Putting snatches & cleans on this day definitely fits.  Hits the whole posterior chain as primary movers, and all my work for the week that will hit my grip, forearms, and traps, all in one session. This is exactly what I was hoping for. It's going to take a couple weeks to get used to, my grip on the snatches wasn't great, hence the final set being at 135. Plus I'm not used to deadlifting before snatches.   Deadlifted over 400 again, felt great.     The piriformis thing is about 80% healed at this point.  I don't get tingling in my foot very often, and the pain in my calf is only about once per day, and is much fainter.  However, I still find it excruciating to try and do things like glute bridges or leg pressing. Maybe if I did some pigeon stretches beforehand? Who knows. Going to give it some more time to heal, it's doing well on its own.   Good session.    I was absolutely exhausted after this one. I usually stay up until 11:30 or so at night; I could've gone to bed at 7 after this session. 

November 19, 2012 Upper Body

  • Bench Press: 225*5 245*5 265*4 280*3
  • Unilateral BB T-Bar Rows: 135*8 150*5 140*5
  • Push Press: 185*3 205*2 215*1
  • Neutral Grip Pullups: 65*4 65*3
41 minutes

I need to figure out what kind of row I want to make a staple here; I love the unilateral t-bar rows, but I also love underhand BB rows, and db rows as well.    Push Press has been odd for me lately.  I get no pop on it the last few weeks; I may be overthinking it.  It's not like I'm doing more sets before getting to it, I just don't feel like it's coming off my shoulders as fast as it was before.   Finished with some neutral grip pullups, weighted. I really enjoy them.  Need to add some more volume in here, extra row sets I believe.  

November 21, 2012

November 18, 2012 Conditioning

  • Unilateral Plyo Box Jumps: 16.75" (medium box)*10 16.75"*10
  • Kneeling start 1/2 court sprints: 5 per leg
  • Viking Quest: 200*0:42 400*1:27 800*3:10 NEW PR!
  • 28kg kb swings: 30

Good session, mixed it up a little after seeing this video on Joe Defranco's youtube:

absolutely unreal. I wish my gym had those soft boxes, I'd attempt much higher box jumps.  All we have are those metal frames you see to the side in these videos. Good for gashing open shins if you miss your I decided to try these for the first time after watching that video. I need to work on my landings.  My foot tends to land towards the center of my body, which I guess is a natural motion, but it's not healthy; my knee is still under the my hip, but my foot lands several inches inside of that line, putting stress on several ligaments. Will try to work that out.   Also, you land much harder on these on account of only having one foot absorbing the landing.  Here's a video of my first ever attempts at these:

Next I decided to mix it up some; since I like doing sprinting decided to add in some sprints, but only half court ones, maybe 10 yards, starting with one knee on the ground. I'm definitely faster inside on a basketball court than on a track, but I guess everyone is.  Felt good.  Chopped a second off my 800 meter time in the row, and then went back to kettlebell swings.  Going to start adding those in for conditioning at the end of workouts, they're a great way to finish things.  

November 19, 2012

November 16, 2012

  • Squats: 225*5 275*5 305*2 315*1
  • Squats From Pins: 245*3 265*1
  • Hanging Power Snatches: 135*3 140*3 145*1
  • Front Squats: 185*3 205*3 
  • Paloffs: 60*10 70*10
  • 16 lbs. medicine ball wall throw: 10, 10
44 minutes

Too much stuff!  I think all of that is too much for my lower back, it's going to get overloaded.  The squats went well, banged out a couple extra at 275 & upped 3rd set to 305 from 300.  I need to add in some hypers here I think, or maybe on deadlifting day.  Love squatting from the pins; going to drop the weight some and really bang out some reps.  Front squats I was slumped forward badly, my lower back was exhausted.  Tried to pin my core but it was tired. Rest of the session went well. 

So here's the leg days are sort of muddled; one is hamstring based with quad work in it, and the other vice-versa.  Fridays I'm hitting quads with squatting, glutes/hams with the power snatches, and glutes/hams/back with the reverse-hypers I do here occasionally.  Tuesdays I'm hitting my posterior chain with deadlifts, and the glute bridges I'm going to be adding back in...but then bulgarian split squats are very quad centered for me.  So here's what I'm going to do:

Deadlift x 3
Hanging Power Snatches x 3
Hanging Power Cleans x 3
Reverse Hypers (or glute bridges) x 3
Core x 2
Conditioning perhaps

Squats (or Front Squats) x 5
Squats from Pins x 3
Bulgarian Split Squats x 2
Core x 2

This way I'm hitting my posterior chain really hard on Tuesdays, and my quads more on Fridays.  I high bar squat anyway, so it always hits my quads more. PLUS this gives me a way to put both of my main o-lifts on the same day, since I had tinkered with giving them their own day in the past.  This should allow my CNS to recover more, since I'm not doing anything explosive on Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays now.  I'm really excited for this! 

November 18, 2012

November 15, 2012 Upper Body

  • Incline Bench Press: 225*5 245*2 255*1
  • Pullups: 80*3 80*3 80*2
  • Rope Pullups: 7, 6
  • Standing Press: 95*5 115*5 135*5 145*2
  • DB Flat Bench: 85*9 95*6
  • DB Rows: 110*10 110*10
45 minutes

Felt a little flat at the start here, I think I ate too soon before, body was probably still digesting all the brown rice.   I'll survive.  Returned to rope pullups, not sure how I forgot about these.  For standing press I made sure to bring the bar down to a level below the bottom of my ear lobe. I have a tendency  (as does everyone I suppose) to not bring the bar down far enough.  All these reps were deep.   Don't know why I hit a wall at 145.   Also, db bench shot up this week, I think last week I was just gassed since I'm still getting used to doing these workouts about 20 minutes quicker than I used to.  Good session

November 14, 2012 Sprinting

  • 100m: 2
  • 200m: 1
  • 100m: 6
  • Total: 1000m

Good session; much nicer weather this week as opposed to last; no wind and wasn't as bitter.  Plus I wore a long sleeve shirt under my regular shirt.   Still chilly out though. I hate the cold air, I feel like my body has to warm it up after I breathe it in, and for some reason that just costs me more energy...or...something. I don't know.  What I'm saying is the cold air just saps my energy. I love running when it's 90 degrees and 75% humidity.  I hate running when it's 45 degrees and 15% humidity. 

November 13, 2012 Lower

  • Deadlift: 315*3 355*3 385*3
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 135*3 155*3 175*3 185*1
  • DB Bulgarian Split Squats: 35*10 35*10
  • Wide-Stance Anti-Rotational Chop: 60*10 70*10
  • Viking Quest: 200*0:39 400*1:24 800*3:26
45 minutes

Good session; as previously noted I'm not going to keep hammering at 95%+ of my 1RM each week on deadlifts, and instead build up gradually.   This coming week I'll probably do a high set of 405 or so.  I really feel like I'm getting them a lot smoother now; it used to be I broke off the floor, and then I'd straighten up my back slightly ahead of my hips lifting and coming forward. Now it's all one motion.  It's easier actually that way.  Still not really throwing up bigger weigh on the power cleans. Not sure why. Hit 225 at the end of my last bulk, and then dropped back to focus on form, since then I can't get past 185 to save my life. Not sure why.  I'll look into it this coming week. 

November 14, 2012

November 12, 2012 Upper

  • Bench Press: 225*5 245*4 265*3 280*2
  • BB Underhand Rows: 225*5 245*5 265*4
  • BB Push Press: 185*1 205*1 225*1
  • Neutral Grip Pullups: 65*5 65*3
38 minutes

Benching felt good, as I noted previously I'm doing more work under 90% of my maxes, and only ramping up every 6 weeks or so.   Underhand rows went good, want to do more DB rowing, and the 1-arm bb t-bar rowing.  Push pressing has been off for a couple weeks now. I get no pop on it.  Not sure what's going on.  Finished off with weighted neutral grip pullups. May try 100 lbs. next time just for fun, since they're easier. 

November 12, 2012

November 11, 2012 2012 Bulking Nutrition

So this is pretty self explanatory.  I really need to make sure I'm getting in the chicken  & cottage cheese, since I'm not doing a ton of protein this time around.  I've been good about it so far. We'll see what happens. Then when I cut again I'll up the protein (for the first time ever while cutting, usually it gets cut with my other macros) slightly while cutting carbs and a ton of the fat.  As I noted, starting at 191 lbs, let's see what happens!

November 11, 2012 Conditioning

  • 31.5" plyometric box jumps / 31.5" seated plyometric box jump superset:  15-15
  • Evil 7 Complex: 95*1
26 minutes

Figured I do some jumps, a complex, then rowing...yeah right.  Maybe after a couple more sessions of this I'll be able to.  If you check out this T-Nation Article on Complexes, and scroll down you'll see one listed entitled Cosgrove's Evil 8.  I take out the goodmornings because frankly by the time I would get to them in the order I was already shot and my form goes to crap on them.  This session did exactly what I wanted it to; it kicked my ass. 

November 09, 2012 Lower Body

  • BB Squats: 225*5 275*3 300*2 315*1
  • Squats From Pins: 225*3 245*2
  • Hanging Power Snatches: 135*3 140*3 145*2
  • DB Goblet Carries: 110*1:05
  • Paloffs: 60*10 70*10
46 Minutes

Not used to doing squats more than a couple reps per set; by the time I got to 315 I was tired!  I'm sure those numbers will rapidly improve.  Going to start doing squats from pins after regular squatting, should help me getting out of the hole on full squats.  The goblet carry almost killed me. Haven't done them in over a months, can't wait to add them in regularly again, starting this week. Thought about rowing but the session was getting long and I was gassed at that point. Good session though. 

November 08, 2012 Upper Body

  • Incline Bench: 225*3 245*3 255*2
  • Pullups: 85*2 85*2 80*2 75*3 75*2
  • Standing Press: 95*8 115*5 135*5 145*3
  • DB Bench Press: 85*6 85*6
  • DB Rows: 100*9 100*8

43 minutes

Increasing the volume as per my plan.  Didn't notice much of a dropoff in strength, first time inclining in a couple weeks on account of last week being an off week.  May have dipped a bit on the pullups.  I'm also going to be staying more in the 3-5 rep range from here on out with less testing of my 1 rep maxes, or even doubles.  I don't want to wear down my CNS as I've felt that's been happening over the last 6 months or so.  I always do a lot of low rep work but I've been going hog-wild with it as of the last 6 or even 7 months. I'll test 1 rep maxes every month or so.  It's going to take a few sessions to get used to timing all of these workouts and getting everything in over such a quick period.  I was gassed by the time I got to the DB work at the end.   Can't wait to try this again this coming week. 

Gradually ramping up calories this week, 

November 10, 2012

November 7, 2012 Conditioning

  • 100m: 6
  • Total: 600m
  • Long Jumps: 4

So it was about 40 degrees out and a nor'easter was blowing in so the winds were about 35 mph.  Who thought it would be a good idea to go running in this with a short sleeve shirt and shorts on? This guy right here.  Awful.  By the 6th sprint my hands were literally claws from the blood flowing out of them.  Went over to the long jump area which I just noticed (I think they only put it in recently) did some half-hearted long jumps and got the F out of there, back home for a nice Epsom salt bath.  Good times.  Except the opposite. 

November 8, 2012

November 6, 2012 Lower Body

  • Deadlifts: 315*3 345*3 365*3
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 135*3 155*3 175*3 185*1
  • DB Bulgarian Split Squats: 25*10 30*10
  • TRX Strap Fallouts: 5, 5
  • Viking Quest: 200*0:35 NEW PR!! 400*1:24 800*3:24
44 minutes

So as I noted, I'm timing these workouts, it really helps me move between sets faster, and adds a conditioning component to the workouts on account of the shorter rest times.   Also, I've started completely dead stopping between deadlift reps.  Previously I would touch & go between reps. Now I'm completely stopping, pausing for a second, then repulling.  Definitely like that.   Split squats were nice again.  Did some strap fallouts which were harder on my core than I thought they'd be. Will put them in regular rotation.  Was beat by the time I rowed, but I stuck with it. 

November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012 Bulk 2012 Goals

Alright, so this bulk is going to be a bit different; I suppose they all are in some ways, here are my goals/plans. 

  1. Keep conditioning up.  In previous bulks conditioning work was either eliminated completely, or cut back.  Last year I did fairly frequent Sunday conditioning sessions, involving jumping and the like, but did no sprinting, that will change (see point #2).  I'm also adding in rowing, I really enjoy those viking quests that I was doing pre-Halloween.  I'm thinking twice per week, once on Sundays with other conditioning, and once on Tuesdays or Thursdays.  I'm also thinking I may reintroduce complexes into my Sunday conditioning days.  So I'd lead off with some jumping work, do a short complex, and then finish with some rowing.  Quick and brutal conditioning workout. 
  2. This year I will be sprinting straight through the winter.  Harvard has an indoor track I may use if the outdoor one is covered in snow.    I'd like to shave my 100m time to below 14 seconds.  I'm at 14.43 after not really training it (was more of a 200m runner this spring/summer), so maybe even 13 flat if I really work at it.  
  3. Higher volume.  I like taking long breaks between my sets, and I still will between heavy compound movements, especially the ones I lead off with in the workout (deadlifts, squats, bench press).  I'm going to start timing my time off between those sets, trying to limit it to two minutes between working sets.  I'm thinking one to one and a half minutes between sets of other movements.  This will let me work in more overall sets in the time I have, and more movements.  
  4. I'm going to incorporate more DB work in, I've gotten away from it in recent years using it more as a changeup during a workout.   I want to get back to using it more; I have in recent weeks with the split squats, but I want to end workouts with some db bench work, db rows, and db pressing as well.  They're great for hammering out imbalances, etc. and I shouldn't have gotten away from them for so long.  Even a couple sets at the end of a workout should do me good. 
  5. More work below 90% of my maxes.  I realized after hurting my piriformis/back deadlifting that for pretty much one straight year I was pulling at 95% of my max pretty much every week.  My work from here on out, whether bulking or cutting is going to be more 'wave like'.  So a couple weeks around 70%, at higher reps, a couple peaking at 80%, a week or so at 90% with reps obviously declining along the way, and then maybe a PR attempt after that.  I do that with all my compound lifts, and while you can get away with it more on other lifts (the deadlift is so taxing on the CNS that what I was doing was physiological suicide), I'm not going to anymore.  I'm not going to back off on my other lifts, I'm just going to tweak the work, so that I have more of a wave like pattern with them as well. This will let me incorporate bar speed work more into benching on days when I'm closer to the 70% mark, and really focus on banging out tons of reps on squatting as well. 
  6. Nutrition wise I'm aiming for about 3800 calories per day, we'll see if I actually hit that consistently, it's going to incorporate a couple new foods.  I'll post a screen shot of a plan in a day or two once I hash it out.  This week I'm around 3200, just so I don't immediately vomit by going from 2500-3800 in a day.   
  7. Usually when I bulk I up the fat/carbs/protein, this time I'm actually upper carbs & fat and lowering protein.  I figure I don't need as much protein when I'm bulking because (in theory) my protein absorption is better on a bulk on account of the higher carbs / insulin spikes.  That previous sentence may have been complete bro-science horse-shit, but I'll give it a shot. I'm not going super low or anything.   Also this way when I switch back to cutting, I'll actually be ingesting more protein.  Previously I was cutting all 3 macros when I cut.  I'm thinking this way my body will hold on to gains even better since I'm upping my protein intake for the cut.  
  8. Weight goal: 215.  If all goes well, 220.  Starting at 190.5 

November 5, 2012 Upper

  • Bench Press: 225*4 245*1 265*1 275*3 290*2 300*1
  • BB Underhand Rows: 225*5 245*5 265*2 - grip failed
  • Push Press: 185*1 205*1 215*1 225*X
Back at it! Didn't seem to really have a dip in strength.  I did a ton of warmup sets on bench pressing to assess where my strength was, felt like my bar speed was actually slightly better.   Grip strength was a tad off, probably from not deadlifting in almost two weeks at this point.  Lacked a bit of explosiveness on push pressing, I'll work on that.  Overall a good session; never been this strong at the start of a bulk before. Can't wait to see where it goes.   Starting weight: 190.5

I'm going to make a post after this talking about this bulk and my goals for it. 

October 25, 2012 Upper

  • Incline Bench Press: 245*3 255*2 265*1
  • Pullups: 85*3 85*2 85*2 85*2 85*2
  • DB Seated Press: 75*7 85*4 95*1 NEW PR!!
  • Viking Quest: 200*0:37 400*1:26 800*3:21 400*1:36 200*0:36 NEW PR!!

Last workout before I take this coming week off, eager to see how the sciatica clears up, if at all.  Also I'm exhausted, my CNS needs a recharge!  Can't wait. I haven't taken a full week off in about 8 months.  This will be about 10 days I'm taking off, probably my longest break ever.    This session went good, I've never been stronger at the end of a cut. Set a new record

October 24, 2012

October 24, 2012 Sprinting

  • 100m: 7 (fastest: 14.43)
  • 50m: 6
  • Total: 1000m

Well that was enjoyable. Stretched, did a couple sprints, not completely balls out though.  Rested, then did a couple more balls out.  Was pretty much warmed up after that.  Did one where I really focused on the chopping motion of my arms while, I could actually hear the sound of them cutting into the wind, was kind of neat.  I kept my head down and tilted forward better as well, ran a 14.43. Still not great obviously, but I haven't been training for fastest speed on these for a while.  Still, shaved .4 off my time from last week.  My ultimate goal is once I get my form down better on these (keeping my head down better, running with a forward tilt, etc.).  Also I found out Harvard has an indoor track, may try using that if there's snow on the outdoor one this winter! 

October 23, 2012 Lower Body

  • BB DL: 315*3 365*3 405*2
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 135*3 155*3 175*3 195*1
  • DB Bulgarian Split Squats: 25*10 25*10
  • Paloffs: 60*10 70*10

I realized that prior to getting injured I was lifting at about 95% of my 1RM on deadlifts for about a year straight, no wonder I got exhausted and hurt.  Going to take a 'wave' approach from here on out, hang out around 75-80% of my max for a few reps, and then every six weeks or so ramp up to a max pull.  Felt really tight here (in a good way) everything felt like it was firing in sync; my piriformis   , back, and sciatica felt better than they have in a while.  Sciatic nerve wasn't even bothering me really.  Going to stay at 25s on split squats next week, slowly building up here, got a little shaky at the end. Amazing how long it can take to truly correct imbalances.  Finished with Paloffs.  

October 22, 2012 Upper Body

  • Bench Press: 275*3 290*2 300*1
  • BB Rows: 225*5 245*5 265*3
  • Push Press: 225*1 - shoulders tired
  • Viking Quest: 200*0:37 400*1:28 800*3:11 400*1:24 200*0:37

I'm not sure when my next bulk is starting, may be next week, since Halloween parties are this weekend really.  If so, then I just clinched my first complete cut above 300 lbs. on benching!  Yay, etc.  Did regular BB rows for the first time in a while, no chalk, no wraps, no mixed grip. I'm happy with how it went. Was tired afterward, so I did one push press, then straight to the rowing!  Still at 37 seconds on the 200, and 1:24 on the 400, managed to shave off 5 seconds on the 800.  I like racing myself on these things, gives me something new to chase. 

October 21, 2012 conditioning

  • Viking Quest: 205*0:46 410*1:24 800*3:16 400*1:27 200*0:37
  • Plyo Bench Clap Pushups: 5, 5

whoooowheee.  This week I'm going to do the viking quest rowing each day I'm in the gym (except Tuesday).  Getting ready for Halloween, clamped down on my diet, want to make sure I"m as cut as possible for it.  I did a little twist on the rowing though, where you go back down.  Actually I just looked up the T-Nation Article that references them, apparently you're supposed to do 125-250-500-1000.  I like my round number version better. 

October 20, 2012 Lower

  • Squats: 300*2 320*2 335*1 345*1
  • Hanging Power Snatches: 135*3 145*X-tired 135*1
  • Hyper-Extensions: 100*8
  • DB Goblet Carries: 110*1:01

Did this one on a Saturday since I was indisposed on Friday.   I figured since I went early in the day I'd have more energy...actually found the opposite. Did a quick session and got out of there.  Excited my squatting strength is coming back.   Toying with an idea of doing squats, front squats, split squats on this day, turning it into basically a quad day, while putting deadliftings, hanging power snatches, and hanging power cleans on my other lower body day, making it a posterior chain/hamstring/glute day. 

October 18, 2012

October 18, 2012 Upper Body

  • Incline Bench Press: 245*3 255*2 265*2
  • Pullups: 80*3 80*3 80*3 80*2 80*2
  • Pullups Giant-Set: 10, 2...ok that wasn't a bright idea
  • Standing Press: 135*7 155*3
  • Ab-Wheel: 10, 10

Great session really; moved up the weight a tad on the incline press and it didn't feel that heavy.  Pullups went well. Decided to try a giant set where I did as many as I could, dropped off the bar, took a few breaths, and then tried to bang out some more. Didn't go well.  Was too exhausted for the 2nd batch.   Standing press was nice, got 155*3 which is cool I guess. Ab-wheeled after.  Then to finish off I did a ton of pigeon stretching for the left leg/piriformis/IT-Band/sciatica.  Actually I foam rolled it for a while, stretched for a bit, and then got into the pigeon stretch which is the most taxing, so it makes sense to warm up for it so to speak.  The good news is that I did it until the nerve or whatever felt relaxed. When I got up it was the first time in about 6 weeks that I haven't felt something odd in that leg from the nerve.  As I write this now the tingling/pain has been almost non-existent.  If anything the calf just feels tight, not painful.  I'm sure it'll be shitty again in the morning, but I'm going to keep stretching and hopefully it'll help over time!  Yaay, etc. 

October 17, 2012 Conditioning (Sprinting)

  • 100m: 5 14.82 fastest
  • 50m: 10 7.4 fastest
  • total: 1000m
Didn't sprint last week, but I did bring my new stopwatch so I could time myself.   First 100m I ran took 15.57.  Not good.  I don't really warm-up though other than stretching some, so I gradually get fast as I go.  5th sprint I got 14.82, so I shaved 3/4 of a second off by that point.  Which is nice. I want sub 13 seconds though.  Air was really dry and cold, which you think would be nice for sprinting, but it's not.  Makes it harder to breathe really, at least for me.  Was actually somewhat gassed after the 5th 100, so I decided to do some 50s.  I'll be interested in seeing if next week I get faster. 

October 16, 2012 Lower Body

  • Deadlifting: 405*2 425*1 450*1
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 135*5 155*5 175*4
  • Reverse Hypers: 100*8
  • one-arm alternating planks: 5, 5

Still working on deadlifting; it's getting close but it still feels so weird in my hamstrings. It's like they need to be built up more from years of not firing them as much as I should when deadlifting.  They're constantly sore the last few weeks, and feel fatigued. When I foam roll them it feels like there's rocks in them from all the knots. I also feel hunched over too far on the highest weight sets each week, but I really don't want to reduce the weight, I still feel like a piece of garbage candyass for getting hurt in the first place.  I'll focus on the form when I get back near to 500 on a pull.   

Hanging power cleans went ok, another thing I just realized: since I'm using a lot more hamstring deadlifting now it's effected my power clean.  Previously before getting hurt my hamstrings weren't as decimated after deadlifting and I could 'pop' more on the cleans. Now they're so fatigued I've lost that pop.  I'm still not putting them first, I love deadlifting too much.  Reverse hypers went well, could REALLY feel the sciatica on the left with them.  Finished with alternating planks, putting out one arm in front of me, really enjoyed these. 

October 15, 2012 Upper Body

  • Bench Press: 275*3 290*2 300*1
  • Unilateral bb t-bar rows: 145*7 155*4 160*2
  • Push Press: 225*1 235*1

Good session, kept it short & sweet.  The t-bar rows are also a great core movement, really have to clamp down on them.  A couple more sessions at 300 on bench press and I'll have completed my first cut having maintained 300 the whole time.  It actually felt easier today, may go to 305 or even try 310 by the end of the cut. We'll see.  I'm still not completely comfortable arching on account of the sciatica/whatever.  It's diminishing, but slowly. I'm sure if I took some time off and just stretched it intensively for a week it'd heal faster, but the first week of November I'm going to go light to start the bulking cycle.  Probably just bench, deadlift, squat, and pullup for a few sets that week; so I'll just do one exercise for the entire workout.  May even combine deads & pullups and squats & benching and go to the gym twice.  

October 14, 2012 Conditioning

  • 34.5" Plyo Box Jumps: 5
  • 31.5" plyo Box Jumps: 15
  • 31.5" seated plyo box jumps: 15
  • Battling Rope - Rope Slam S.S.: 40-15 40-20
  • 10 lbs. plate transfer planks: 4*1 4*1

Got 5 jumps at 34.5 before psyching myself out.  Finished with the 31.5 jumps.  I may try to just add one jump onto the 34.5" each week, or at least try to get myself to before chickening out, until I'm at 15-20 again.   Did some rope work, then plate transfer planks; forgot how hard these are, since your forearm crosses over the midpoint of your body while planking. 

October 14, 2012

October 12, 2012 Lower Body

  • Squats: 300*2 320*1 330*1 340*1
  • Hanging Power Snatch: 135*5 150*2 - starving
  • Wide-Stance Anti-Rotational Chops: 50*10

Continued to add weight onto my squat.  Can't wait for my next bulking cycle, I want over 400 again, that's part of the reason I'm doing the hypers on my other day because I want a stronger lower back for it.   I was starving here, didn't eat at my usual time for lunch, ate earlier.  So I couldn't stay as long. 

October 11, 2012 Upper Body

  • Incline Bench / Pullup Superset: 240*3-80*3 250*3-80*3 260*2-80*2
  • Standing Press: 135*7 145*3
  • Unilateral Pullups: -14*2 -17*4
  • Bird Dogs: 10, 10

Supersets went good, felt like the pullups went well. Standing press went ok.  I'm still on the fence about whether or not to put it first this coming bulking cycle and see how high I can get it or not.  I really like incline benching though.  Tried unilateral pullups on the pullup assist machine, I had the idea that I could slowly build up to a bodyweight one arm pullup by using decreasing assistance each week. But honestly I don't like how the one arm pullups feel on my shoulder joints.  Probably going to ditch that plan. 

October 10, 2012 Conditioning

  • tiny-short-medium over box jump - broad jump s.s.: 10, 10
  • Viking Quest: 216*0:45, 400*1:31, 610*2:16
  • PUPP: 1:00 1:00
  • Small medicine ball roll-out: 1

Pouring out so I couldn't sprint, did this instead. Gym got a tiny box that's only a few inches tall, used that to extend the over-box-jump series by one.  New record on the viking quest; 610 meters on that last leg. Was going to go for 800 but by the time I got to 600 I was toast.  Good session! 

October 9, 2012

  • Snatch Grip Rack Pull: 405*1
  • Rack Pull: 455*1
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 160*3 185*2 195*1
  • Hyper Extensions: 50*8 100*6
  • DB Bulgarian Split Squats: 20*10 20*10
Taking it easy since I had 5 straight heavy deadlifting sessions.  I toyed with going heavy on the rack pulls but decided against it since that defeats the purpose.  Did hypers holding a db, going to work in more of them from now on to help strengthen my lower back.  

October 8, 2012 Upper

  • Bench Press: 275*3 290*2 300*1
  • Unilateral T-Bar Rows: 135*8 145*6 155*3
  • DB Seated Press: 70*6 80*5 90*2 NEW PR!!
I was pressed for time here, got to the gym a bit later than usual. Both racks were taken that I usually do standing presses in.  If I had known I was going to set a PR here I would've ramped up for a shot at the 100s.  Good session overall though, just maintaining through the end of this maintenance phase before the first week of November and the start of the bulk.  Good times!  Weight on T-Bar rows went up as well. 

October 10, 2012

October 7, 2012 Conditioning

  • 34.5" plyo box jumps: 2 - psyched self out after the 2nd
  • 31.5" plyo box jumps: 20
  • 31.5" seated plyo box jumps: 15
  • 7kg mb slam tabata: 21, 20, 21, 18, 18, 17, 20, 18

I have no idea why I keep psyching myself out on those box jumps.  I crouch back to jump and I just freeze, I think about what if I don't make it, how do I even jump, what should the form look like, I forget how to even jump properly. It's weird.  Because the 31.5" jumps is just a slightly smaller box on top of the tall box, and when I'm at my peak for those before coming down onto the box I'm literally 10" over the box sometimes.  I wish my gym had 'softer' boxes instead of those metal framed ones, I'd probably be fine then.  

Anyway, brought back the tabatas.  Holy moly. I knew it'd suck since I haven't done one in ages. Yup. it sucked.  Decimated me, which is why I do them!  Good times. 

October 5, 2012 Lower Body

  • Squats: 300*2 315*2 325*1 335*1
  • Hanging Power Snatches: 135*3 145*3 150*1
  • Ab-Wheel: 10, 10
  • High Box Jumps: 30 - as quickly as possible. 

Well that went well.  Not sure what was different here. That's what's so frustrating about squatting. Last week I barely got 315 for one, I'm not even sure I hit parallel.  This time I got 335.  I was really focusing on keeping my posterior chain tight & flexed throughout the movement, maybe that made a difference?  Plus I just decided I was going to see what I could get for a 1RM without really training for it.  Maybe I'll just do that every week.  Worked well for my deadlift...

Anyway rest of the session went well. REALLY enjoying snatches now that the trainer at my gym pointed out I was coming out too far in front when throwing the weight up.  That nice tight to the body snap and flip over the head feels perfect. I actually like the snatches more than hanging power cleans at this point.  I feel like my form on the cleans still isn't perfect.  Also, I'm recording this a few days after the fact, and the ab-wheel stuff really left my abs/core very sore.   Finished with some box jumps done as quickly as possible.  I like to keep my conditioning work grouped with the body parts I already worked; so things like box jumps with squats/deadlifts, rope slams after benching, etc.  I feel like that keeps the parts you'll hit next workout fresh. 

October 4, 2012 Happy Birthday Dad

Before I was born my dad was an aspiring runner, but never went professional or anything like that. When I was young he began working out with weights. He was really into it, but I get the feeling he jumped around from routine to routine a bit, and his diet was never super tight. But he loved it; squatting/leg day was always his favorite. He collected a weight set from odds & ends and bought a bench & rack from a friend and put it in the cellar. I remember one time he wanted to make a cable cross, so he drilled holes in the basement rafters and ran a cable through it. When he would use it the whole apartment would shake and the cats would scream and go running for cover.

Anyway, as I got older I did the whole teen not wanting to be like his parents thing. My dad kept working out, now at a gym, and he would walk/run at a local track in the evening sometimes. I didn't want to be like him at the time though so I never went to the gym or ran with him. He'd always try to get me to shoot hoops with him, and that usually worked. But other than that we never exercised together; again doing the whole teenager thing.

Then came the day I wanted to graduate a couple years early from high school. But I needed a gym course to finish off, so I started working out at the college's gym and having the trainer sign off on my workouts. It was brutal at first. I was 5 10 133 lbs., and couldn’t bench press 95 lbs., in fact I could barely push 65. But I still remember my first workout. I was always worried if I worked out I'd be 'just like my dad' which of course went directly against my teen-oppositional attitude. The thing was with my VERY first set on my very first workout...I just FELT awesome. It was on a chest press machine actually, I remember wondering how high I could get on the weight stack. So much of life can be effected by others, here's something that is 100% you, and something you can improve on from only your efforts. The thing was it was deeper than that, working out just felt right.

So anyway I continued on through highschool and college working out. My dad was so enthusiastic about it; we started talking about it a lot, and overall talking more. He had over a decade of ideas and knowledge he had been waiting to share with me. We ended up talking about Arnold, squats, deadlifting, anything you could name with regards to fitness. Every time we spoke he would ask how my workouts were going. As the years went by and I got to my mid-twenties and got my diet together I eventually passed most of his personal records. He never really went for one rep maxes or things of that nature; he seemed to keep things mostly in the 5-10 rep range, whereas if I’m doing 5 reps on something I start getting antsy. Instead of being wistful he encouraged me and spurred me on. Last year I benched more than he had squatted. He laughed his ass off. That’s a dad for ya.

Unfortunately over the years he started to get away more from working out; an injury here, a knee scoping there, nothing major, but he'd take time off, and every time he'd start it'd be harder to get back into it. Currently in the cellar of the house he has with his girlfriend there's an elliptical machine, and a squat rack. He uses them occasionally, but nothing like he used to. He's always worked in autobody & mechanic type of jobs, so that's physically demanding, but I feel bad he doesn't work out more. I've been starting to spur him on lately the way he used to with me. I've encouraged him to eat better, talk to his girlfriend about cutting back on the piles of salt, white rice, and butter that she puts on everything. He's eating better, taking fish oil, and finally getting a hernia repaired that he’s had for years. After that I'm going to be on his ass to start hitting the weights for rehab, and past that. I’d like to see him back close to where he used to be. Heck, studies have shown even 80 year olds can gain muscle mass, there’s no reason someone more than 25 years younger than that can’t do it, especially with the knowledge he has.

I'm so lucky he always encouraged me; I said at the beginning that the gym is somewhere that's 100% you, and I believe that. But sometimes it helps to have someone else enabling you to give that 100%, to encourage you, to help you set goals. And just like he did that for me in my late teens, early twenties, I hope to be doing that for him in his mid-50s. Just telling him flat out, if you want to have more energy, look better, feel better, DO this. I always leave little hints here and there on my blog for him, since I know he reads it, about prehab/rehab/mentioning him. Still to this day, every time he calls he mentions seeing a video I had posted, or a workout I had posted and we talk. I know this really wasn't on topic, but I love my dad and I owe so much of what I've accomplished in and out of the gym to him, I wanted to immortalized it on the internet somewhere.

As a post script: One record of his I never beat, and don't think I ever will: seated cable rows with the full stack for sets of 10. Apparently he made that motion over and over and over at work all day long, and it translated well to the rowing.

October 4, 2012 Upper Body

  • Incline Bench Press / Pullup Supserset: 240*3-80*3 250*3-80*2 260*2-80*2
  • Pullup Iso-Hold: 23 seconds
  • Standing Press: 135*7 145*4
  • Paloffs: 50*10 60*10

Good session, I think I may try a muscle up next week. We'll see how that goes. Paloffs still bring out the strain/whatever in my piriformis/lower back.  All core/ab work does.  Doesn't stop me from going in on it though.  

October 4, 2012

October 3, 2012 Sprinting

  • 300m: 2(!!)
  • 200m: 1
  • 100m: 2
  • Total: 1000m, 28 minutes the conditions were great; it was cool with a nice cool breeze, and overcast.  It was raining earlier so I wasn't sure if the track would be dry.  It was slightly damp but nothing big.  That first 300 went easily. Wasn't even sure what I'd be doing, was going to just play it by ear.  The first 100m I felt fine, by 200m I was just starting to get winded, so I went to 300, actually thought about going to 350, but decided to save something in the tank.  Lined up again a few minutes later figuring I'd pull a 200, got to 200, was sucking wind, but gutted out a second 300m!  First time ever; didn't think I'd ever do that. Finished this whole thing in 28 minutes.  Last time took me 26 minutes, but that was all 100 meter sprints.  The degree of difficulty here was much higher and only took 2 minutes.  Feels great!

October 2, 2012 Lower Body

  • Deadlifts: 315*3 405*1 425*1 445*1 
  • Hanging Power Cleans: 135*3 160*3 185*2 170*3
  • DB Bulgarian Split Squats: 15*10 15*10
  • Wall-Ball Throws: 16*10 16*10
Wheeee getting deadlifting strength back.  I think that's 5 straight weeks now of deadlifting so I'll probably go easy on it this coming week, we'll see how I feel.  Tried to keep my form on hanging power cleans better; last week I discovered my arms were coming too far in front of me on snatches.  They were on cleans as well, but not as bad.  Hopefully staying tight near my body lets me pack the weight back on the bar here. 

I highly recommend the split squats for people with hip mobility/imbalances.  My hips are usually a bit stiff and I have to get them warmed up before deadlifting/squatting.  I notice the help from the Bulgarian Split Squats as well;  I also notice that the imbalance can lead to instability of my knee i.e. it caves in sometimes when squatting.  The split squats help with that, especially concentrating on keeping everything in line.  I'm taking it slow on these, I could use the 100s probably at this point for a couple reps, but my form would be terrible. I'm going to keep everything light here for now and really pattern in the proper form on the movement. 

Finished up the session here by throwing a large ball up a wall as high as I could. 

October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012 Upper

  • Bench Press: 285*3 305*1 275*3
  • Unilateral BB T-Bar Rows: 125*10 135*7 145*5
  • Push Press: 225*1 235*1 - exhausted
  • Weighted Box Pushups: 25*10 25*10

Excited...if I can hang on to 300 for 4 more workouts I'll have finished my first ever cut above 300 lbs. on bench. Gives me a great base to go from.  Saw an uptick in strength on the unilateral t-bar rows.  Push press...I was exhausted.  I saw this video on Joe Defranco's youtube

Gave me the idea for the weighted box pushups.  You can see it at the start of the video.  Not sure I really felt anything in my core.  I probably need to use much heavier weight.  Will try next week. 

September 30, 2012 Conditioning

  • 34.5" Plyo Box Jumps: 5
  • 31.5" Plyo Box Jumps: 15, 15
  • 31.5" Seated  Plyo Box Jumps: 15
  • Plyo Bench Clap Pushups: 6, 5, 5
  • Battling Rope - Rope Slam Superset: 60-10, 50-15
Wheeee. First Sunday conditioning session in a couple months.  Back/whatever injury kept me from doing jump stuff, plus summer day trips. Back at it now.  Did some tall+short (34.5") box jumps.  Honestly I still have the same problem. I do several, and then start over thinking the motion, and how to do it, and what if I catch my shins, etc.  Then my body just locks up. No idea why.  On the 31.5" jumps when I land on the box it's pretty forceful because I'm like 7" over the top at my peak, minimum.  Still had fun here. Did some clap pushups, liked them a lot, need to work more plyo bench stuff in to work on bar speed.   Love my jumps though. Missed them greatly.  

September 28, 2012 Lower Body

  • Squats: 275*3 300*2 315*1 250*3
  • Hanging Power Snatches: 95*3 115*3 135*3 140*3 125*7
  • P.U.P.P.: 1:30, 1:30

Really getting frustrated with squatting.  I can barely make depth, and it's like I get no 'push' when at parallel.  I don't get it.  Plus I get folded over by anything about 225, which is odd because my back must be strong if I can pull 500+.  No idea what's going on.  I think I forget to keep my hamstrings/posterior chain tight when going down to parallel, and then try and engage it at the bottom, which doesn't work.  Back to the drawing board.  

In good news, a trainer noticed that on my snatches I was basically throwing the weight up in front of me, so that my arms were fully extended out in front of me like some sort of front raise, which just happened to go up over my head.  I tried a few sample reps and he was right.  So I did the rest of the sets focusing on keeping the weight tight up near my body and snapping it over my head.  MUCH easier, and feels like it must've been the missing link in my snatch.  Probably cleans too.  Cannot wait  to try this next week as well.   Push up planks went well, got 3:00 total. 

Also, been absolutely ravenous lately, not really getting chubby/soft/etc. either, so my body's using it for fuel apparently.