strength

NASA KS Regionals- November 19th

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The competition is coming up fast and I’m excited to see how this short training cycle and the Jugg Method I used over the summer will bring up my total.  I don’t have any plans right now as to what my openers or anything will be but all my lifts are definitely up.  After the meet is over I might post up the training cycle I’m using to peak for the meet.  At the last meet I lifted in the 220 weight class (weighed in at 215) but I’m going to try and get down to the 181 weight class.  I’m setting at 198 as of this morning as I still have plenty of fat to lose.  Here is how my training and diet are currently set up.

Training:
Monday- AM Cardio/Abs, PM Lift
Tuesday- PM Lift
Wednesday- AM Cardio/Abs, PM Recovery/Restoration
Thursday- PM Lift
Friday- AM Cardio/Abs, PM Lift
Saturday- Recovery/Restoration
Saturday- OFF

I’ll add more cardio I go. The Recovery/Restoration could be anything from sled dragging, body weight training, or just some more cardio and stretching. I’m training the hell out of my abs and lower back both around my cardio as well as during my training sessions since that’s a major weakness for me.

Diet:
I’m using a Modified Warrior Diet along with some Creatine Monohydrate.  I’ll only train in the mornings if I have to and if that does happen I’ll backload 99% of my carbs so that I don’t wreck my hormone levels during the day.

Jugg Method Wrap Up

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I finished the Chad W. Smiths Juggernaut Method program last week so I thought I’d give a review.

My first impression was that it was very similar to Wendlers 5/3/1, which he openly states that Wendler is where he got a portion of his ideas, and I was little skeptical to be honest.  Long story short though is that it’s a solid program.  The first two waves are pretty high volume and very challenging.  I was worried about my 1RM but the extra volume did nothing but help.  I was feeling good this last week so instead of going for rep maxes I went ahead and tested out some singles on squat, bench, and deadlift.  Military press I stuck with a rep max.

Bench Press- 235 x 1 (+10lbs from March)
Squat- 335 x 1 (+15lbs from March)

Both of these were about a 8-9/10 effort. Add some adrenaline, a belt for bench, and some knee wraps for the squat and I think I’ll have some great improvements at the meet.

I was a little beat up by Friday so I only went up to 385 for a single. It felt heavy and slow but my training partner said it looked like I pulled it easy which tells me I have way more in the tank. I’m going to continue training for the next two weeks instead of taking a deload week. My wife and I are going out of town for a week at the end of September/beginning of October and I probably won’t be lifting when we’re gone. I’m working on my new training cycle to get ready for my meet in November.

Intensification 3s- Military Press

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Military Press-
120 x 1
130 x 1
140 x 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

FG DS DB Row-
95 x 12, 8

Defranco Shoulder Tri-Set-
25# Lateral/Clean & Press, 35# Plate Front Raise x 10, 10, 8

Pull Ups-
BW x 36

Pause Wide Grip Machine Row-
120 x 15

Used just a touch of leg drive on my last 5 sets of military press. Kept my feet flat on the floor but got a little knee drive. Progressed in either weight or reps on all my other exercises too so I’m happy. Looking forward to some squats later today!

Thursday Pressing

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Here are my last two sets from yesterdays bench session. If anybody has any advice let me know in the comments!

Accumulation 3s- Bench

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Bench Press-
185 x 7 sets x 3 reps

Gittleson Shrug-
55 x 8, 8, 8

Tate Press
30 x 8
35 x 8, 8

Flat DB Bench-
55 x 12, 12

Face Pull-
50 x 10
60 x 10, 10

Good day. I’m day 1 of going caffeine free for a bit in order to get my fat loss back on track. I realized that I’ve become a little to dependent on my coffee and other stims throughout the day and I don’t like it. Aside from just the general drag that I’ve had my fat loss has ground to screeching halt. I’m pretty sure that my adrenals are really sensitive stims so I’m knocking them out for awhile. I’ll still have a little decaf coffee every now and then but in general my only “caffeine” source will be some green tea that’s not brewed very strong. I have a video of my last two sets on bench that I’ll get posted up later.

Accumulation 3s- Squat

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Box Jump-
36 inch box x 3 sets x 2 jumps

Squat-
225 x 7 sets x 3

BB Reverse Lunge- (clean grip)
95 x 5/leg
105 x 5/leg
115 x 5/leg

BB Hip Thrust- (bench supported)
135 x 3 sets x 3

EZ Bar Curl-
115 x 2, 2, 2, 2, 6

I’m going to be working the hip thrusts and try to get damn strong at those. It was a great glute/hamstring exercise that put zero pressure on my lower back. Didn’t get any video but I’ll try to get some benching and deadlifting later this week. Off to the gym for some sled dragging and cardio!

Accumultaion 3s- Military Press

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Military Press-
125 x 7 sets x 3 reps

FG Deadstop DB Row-
95 x 10, 7

Defranco Shoulder Tri-Set-
25# Lateral/Clean & Press, 35# Front Raise x 2 sets x 10 reps each

Pull Ups-
BW x 3, 3, 6, 6, 6, 6 (30 total)

Felt a little run down but the training session turned out great. I’m trying to keep my military press as strict as possible since the past couple weeks it’s gotten a little sloppy.

Military Press & Squat

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Monday:
Axle Military Press-
95 x 2
115 x 2
130 x 4 sets x 5

FG Deadstop DB Row-
95 x 8, 6

FG CG Incline Bench-
135 x 5
155 x 5
165 x 5

Rolling Tricep Ext-
35 x 12, 12

Shoulder Stretch

Tuesday:
Squat-
195 x 2
215 x 2
230 x 4 sets x 5

Yesterday I felt great. I trained with the Dino crew again Monday night which was great. Since they were heading out to Al’s tonight to train I decided to squat earlier in the day. I felt great while I was squatting but I have to get into the chiro tomorrow. Last week squats felt heavy as crap the entire time, today felt way better. I didn’t understand why at first but then I remember that out at work the squat bar is a virtually smooth barbell while the one I squatted with today had knurling all the way across and actually stayed where it was supposed to on my back.

To the Point: Ab Training

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Oh hey there back pain....

Why you need to train your abs:
1. Injury Prevention
2. Improved Posture
3. Improved Gym Performance

Strong abs are important no matter what you lifting goals are. When most people talk about their abs or “core” they usually are only referring to their abdominal muscles. In reality your “core” includes the abdominal muscles as well as the muscles of the back and spine. Contrary to what most think, the abdominal and other core muscles are not meant to create movement, they are meant to prevent it. Their primary function is anti-rotation, anti-flexion, and anti-extension. In order for the abs to do their job properly then the joints surrounding them must be doing their as well. Fairly often if you look at someone with back pain you’ll see that the hips are locked up tight and their upper back (thoracic spine) is locked up tight as well. This forces the lower back to compensate for the lack of mobility in those two areas by loosening what is supposed to be a very stable area. This coupled up with a steady diet of crunches, sit ups, russian twists, and improperly performed back extensions is a recipe for back pain and dysfunction.

If you didn’t follow along with all that here are the cliff notes:

1. Loosen Up Your Hips- Defranco’s Agile 8 among other things works great and is easy to perform.  FWIW, if you have back pain and are blaming it on tight hamstrings you need to think again.  Most likely your hip flexors are far to tight which rocks your pelvis and low back out of alignment forcing your hamstrings to get tight and stay that way.  Stretch your hip flexors and see if that doesn’t help.

2. Pick Abdominal STABILITY Movements over Mobility Movements- Start with the basics like planks then move into something where you move around a stable base such as Stir the Pots, Pallof Presses, or Body Saws.

3. Loosen Your Upper Back- Check out Nick Tumminello and Tony Gentilcore on Youtube for some great movements here.

By focusing on those 3 areas you will then actually be able to move your hips, shoulders, and upper back through proper ranges of motion and allow your core to remain nice and stable like it needs to be.  Once you have those three taken care of then you can move into some more advanced movements but until you can create stability then don’t try to create movement!

Accumulation 5- Bench

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One STRONG mofo

Bench Press- Paused last rep on first 5 sets
170 x 5
170 x 5
170 x 5
170 x 5
170 x 5
170 x 5 (paused all reps)

Incline CG Pin Press-
135 x 8
155 x 8, 8

FG DB Row-
85 x 10
100 x 8 (deadstop each rep)

Felt slow today. I took my time and warmed up but the drive to bench just wasn’t there. I am looking forward to some deadlifting tomorrow though. My grip is definitely improving too. Last time I did fat grip dumbbell rows 85 pounds felt like 1000. Today I breezed right through that one so I went for the big jump.