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Old 05-05-2011, 07:44 AM   #1
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Default Form critique and workout advice: Help me fix my Back and Shoulders routine

Here's what the routine looks like in it's entirety


...and here's what I did today.
Deadlifts w/Hexbar
12 reps @ 40 kgs - warmup
6 reps @ 80 kgs PR!!
6 reps @ 90 kgs PR!!
6 reps @ 100 kgs PR!!

Lat pulldowns wide grip
12 reps @ 80 kgs
8 reps @ 80 kgs

1 arm bent over rows
left 10 reps @ 50 kgs
right 10 reps @ 50 kgs
left 10 reps @ 50 kgs
right 10 reps @ 50 kgs

Straight arm lat pushdowns
15 reps @ 30 kgs
12 reps @ 30 kgs
10 reps @ 30 kgs

Seated rows
15 reps @ 75 kgs PR!!
12 reps @ 75 kgs PR!!
10 reps @ 75 kgs PR!!


GRADE: C+
In a nutshell, here's why.
Total workout time: 75 minutes
Total working sets: 13
FAIL.

I only started doing deadlifts about a month ago, and I have all this time been thinking I can tack 3 or 4 sets of DLs at the front of this workout, then go ahead and do everything else the same; same loading, same reps etc. Today really drove home that this routine is too hardcore for me, at least for now.

I was pretty fatigued after the deads, and I was really, really feeling it come the bent over rows... none of this is new, of course. But this time I scrapped the 3rd set of lat pulls, and I didn't go to max effort on the rows (10 rep sets instead of 12).

Even with these changes, I was weak. So weak. I spent too much time recovering, and too much time moving plates around besides. Normally, I'd be setting up for the next exercise while recovering. With this routine, 5 or 6 sets into it I'm already so screwed I new a few minutes just to sit and get my breath back!

And of course I didn't get the whole routine done. I missed the face pulls at the end I was fully intending to stick it out and finish, no matter how long it took. How wrong I was; I ran out of time and had to eat my PWO in the car! Way, way too much dicking around with plates and equip. Plus, the weather was threatening rain and needed to get a tarp over the contraptions before I left so. Bleh.

I need to swap around some exercises and/or drop a couple of sets. It's gotta be the deadlifts making this a 16 set MAX workout. For now.

Finally, here's a vid of my deadlifting. Please critique (and apologies for the camera not getting the floor; even though I am using 1 1/2 inch paving bricks to rest the hexbar on, I still think it's not quite the height of a 25 lb Oly plate... so essentially these are all deficits. I think.
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MY LOG

PERSONAL RECORDS
Axle clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Bench press: 135 kgs (298 lbs) - 1st PL meet 16th October 2011
Deadlift w/Barbell: 180 kgs (397 lbs)
Deadlift w/Hexbar: 225 kgs (496 lbs)
Farmers walk: 240 kgs (530 lbs), 50 feet
Front squat: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Log clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Strict OHP: 85 kgs (187 lbs) 3 reps
Tyre flip: 260 kgs (573 lbs), 100 feet
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:45 AM   #2
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Taken from my log:
Quote:
Originally Posted by LtL View Post
I wouldn't deadlift and dumbell row. Seems duplication. Same thing for straight arm pushdowns and lat pulldowns. One or the other or alternate. Drop 2 of those 4 and you have plenty of time for some face pulls.

LtL
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MY LOG

PERSONAL RECORDS
Axle clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Bench press: 135 kgs (298 lbs) - 1st PL meet 16th October 2011
Deadlift w/Barbell: 180 kgs (397 lbs)
Deadlift w/Hexbar: 225 kgs (496 lbs)
Farmers walk: 240 kgs (530 lbs), 50 feet
Front squat: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Log clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Strict OHP: 85 kgs (187 lbs) 3 reps
Tyre flip: 260 kgs (573 lbs), 100 feet
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:58 AM   #3
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Some things I think you could refine:

Deadlifts...limit it to one all out set each week. Warmup, ramp up, crush it and drive on.

Straight Arm Lat Pull Downs...Do not like. If I were training you I would punt them.



One Arm Dumbbell Rows...These tax the snot out of me. And they take time. The time factor can be a burden especially when you are lifting heavy. Consider 2 sets instead. (I like higher rep sets on these, but mileage may vary) Or you could use barbell rows instead.

I like the deadlift and dumbbell row combination (not trying to be argumentative with LTL). They are my favorite 2 back builders, and for a pure hypertrophy program I think they are better than doing deadlifts followed by barbell rows. The deadlift, barbell row combo can beat up my lower back. Mileage may vary...many times I do them together anyway just because it takes me 8 weeks to load the dumbbell rows and I am a lazy sot.
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Last edited by BendtheBar; 05-05-2011 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
Some things I think you could refine:

Deadlifts...limit it to one all out set each week. Warmup, ramp up, crush it and drive on.

Straight Arm Lat Pull Downs...Do not like. If I were training you I would punt them.



One Arm Dumbbell Rows...These tax the snot out of me. And they take time. The time factor can be a burden especially when you are lifting heavy. Consider 2 sets instead. (I like higher rep sets on these, but mileage may vary) Or you could use barbell rows instead.

I like the deadlift and dumbbell row combination (not trying to be argumentative with LTL). They are my favorite 2 back builders, and for a pure hypertrophy program I think they are better than doing deadlifts followed by barbell rows. The deadlift, barbell row combo can beat up my lower back. Mileage may vary...many times I do them together anyway just because it takes me 8 weeks to load the dumbbell rows and I am a lazy sot.
I completely agree RE the DB rows; they are very taxing. I aim for 12 rep sets @ 50 kilos, and I pretty much am stuck here, as I can't load more weight onto my DBs!! So, high rep sets it is.

I am not necessarily an advocate of the straight arm pushdowns, but I do feel them working the outside area of the lats, nearest my armpits, and for that reason I have considered them to be a useful exercise.

The deads and bent over rows are a powerful combo - which is why I'm so buggered after doing them. Glad you agree that 2 sets is good enough.

Based on where my equipment is located, just to save time, I am going to suggest doing deadlifts followed by seated row. Is this an especially bad idea?
__________________

W.A. AMATEUR STRONGMAN

MY LOG

PERSONAL RECORDS
Axle clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Bench press: 135 kgs (298 lbs) - 1st PL meet 16th October 2011
Deadlift w/Barbell: 180 kgs (397 lbs)
Deadlift w/Hexbar: 225 kgs (496 lbs)
Farmers walk: 240 kgs (530 lbs), 50 feet
Front squat: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Log clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Strict OHP: 85 kgs (187 lbs) 3 reps
Tyre flip: 260 kgs (573 lbs), 100 feet
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:09 AM   #5
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Deadlift form looks fairly solid.

The bar is upside down though.

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Last edited by BendtheBar; 05-05-2011 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
Deadlift form looks fairly solid.

The bar is upside down though.
It has to be. I'm using the 'combo' bits of my 'combo hexbar' to rest on paving bricks, to try and get the height closer to where it's spose to be.
__________________

W.A. AMATEUR STRONGMAN

MY LOG

PERSONAL RECORDS
Axle clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Bench press: 135 kgs (298 lbs) - 1st PL meet 16th October 2011
Deadlift w/Barbell: 180 kgs (397 lbs)
Deadlift w/Hexbar: 225 kgs (496 lbs)
Farmers walk: 240 kgs (530 lbs), 50 feet
Front squat: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Log clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Strict OHP: 85 kgs (187 lbs) 3 reps
Tyre flip: 260 kgs (573 lbs), 100 feet
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:20 AM   #7
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One thing you could try with the Dumbbell rows to make them feel heavier and to hit that spot that the Straightarms are hitting (the upper lat) Is start with the dumbbell under the bench (as if it is under the opposite pec to the arm that you are using) and pull them out and up rather than just up. I have done them this way before (admitedly it was with a guy who believes in targetting every bit of every muscle), but it definitely made me ache in a different way AND i couldnt use as much weight.

Just a thought buddy

Carl.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abaddon View Post
I completely agree RE the DB rows; they are very taxing. I aim for 12 rep sets @ 50 kilos, and I pretty much am stuck here, as I can't load more weight onto my DBs!! So, high rep sets it is.
I personally believe that once the weight gets heavy, going higher (up to 20 reps) is a great option. Some of the young guys might scream "endurance training", but it's not. if you can row over 100 pounds for 20 reps you are freaking strong, and you will get bigger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abaddon View Post
I am not necessarily an advocate of the straight arm pushdowns, but I do feel them working the outside area of the lats, nearest my armpits, and for that reason I have considered them to be a useful exercise.
Fair enough. My only rebuttal is that "feeling" a muscle working isn't always an indicator of an effective growth stimulus. Bodybuilders over the ages have tried to turn compound lifts into isolation lifts to get a better feel for a single muscle group. They do so at the expense of training intensity. I am of the opinion that the only thing you should feel on an exercise is the overwhelming desire to stop because of its brutality.

But...I would never be critical of you if you keep them for pleasure...because, after all, this isn't life or death. I do some exercises for pleasure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abaddon View Post
The deads and bent over rows are a powerful combo - which is why I'm so buggered after doing them. Glad you agree that 2 sets is good enough.

Based on where my equipment is located, just to save time, I am going to suggest doing deadlifts followed by seated row. Is this an especially bad idea?
No. Not at all. It can be good to alternate intensity. On my recent back day I did rows, then curls, them shrugs. Sometimes a moderate exercise in between two beastly exercises is a very smart choice. A working recovery.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abaddon View Post
It has to be. I'm using the 'combo' bits of my 'combo hexbar' to rest on paving bricks, to try and get the height closer to where it's spose to be.
The handles look a hair deeper than the plates. If you rested the plates on the bricks, and used the handles, wouldn't it give you more height?

With smaller plates you need the bricks for height. Why are you turning the handles over and dropping height by inches again? Just curious if I am missing something...

Perhaps stability...the plates want to roll?
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Last edited by BendtheBar; 05-05-2011 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl1174 View Post
One thing you could try with the Dumbbell rows to make them feel heavier and to hit that spot that the Straightarms are hitting (the upper lat) Is start with the dumbbell under the bench (as if it is under the opposite pec to the arm that you are using) and pull them out and up rather than just up. I have done them this way before (admitedly it was with a guy who believes in targetting every bit of every muscle), but it definitely made me ache in a different way AND i couldnt use as much weight.

Just a thought buddy

Carl.
Thanks Carl - the cross beam under my bench makes this kind of motion very difficult, but I see where it would be useful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
I personally believe that once the weight gets heavy, going higher (up to 20 reps) is a great option. Some of the young guys might scream "endurance training", but it's not. if you can row over 100 pounds for 20 reps you are freaking strong, and you will get bigger.
I'm on my way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
Fair enough. My only rebuttal is that "feeling" a muscle working isn't always an indicator of an effective growth stimulus. Bodybuilders over the ages have tried to turn compound lifts into isolation lifts to get a better feel for a single muscle group. They do so at the expense of training intensity. I am of the opinion that the only thing you should feel on an exercise is the overwhelming desire to stop because of its brutality.

But...I would never be critical of you if you keep them for pleasure...because, after all, this isn't life or death. I do some exercises for pleasure.
Great quote. I am getting the benefits of brutal exercises in this workout, and then some. I've got my pinwheels on Arms and Shoulders day for fun, and it is good to have one exercise in each routine that is less intense and more enjoyable. Face pulls fit this criteria. Straight arm pushdowns are gone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
No. Not at all. It can be good to alternate intensity. On my recent back day I did rows, then curls, them shrugs. Sometimes a moderate exercise in between two beastly exercises is a very smart choice. A working recovery.
Great. Done! Now I'm getting somewhere with this routine's new layout.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
The handles look a hair deeper than the plates. If you rested the plates on the bricks, and used the handles, wouldn't it give you more height?

With smaller plates you need the bricks for height. Why are you turning the handles over and dropping height by inches again? Just curious if I am missing something...

Perhaps stability...the plates want to roll?
Bingo.

Thanks for all your help!!
__________________

W.A. AMATEUR STRONGMAN

MY LOG

PERSONAL RECORDS
Axle clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Bench press: 135 kgs (298 lbs) - 1st PL meet 16th October 2011
Deadlift w/Barbell: 180 kgs (397 lbs)
Deadlift w/Hexbar: 225 kgs (496 lbs)
Farmers walk: 240 kgs (530 lbs), 50 feet
Front squat: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Log clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Strict OHP: 85 kgs (187 lbs) 3 reps
Tyre flip: 260 kgs (573 lbs), 100 feet
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