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Old 02-20-2011, 08:37 PM   #1
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OK, here we go. Starting this routine tomorrow. Everything is 5 sets of 5 reps, ramping up from 35% first set to Max final set, unless otherwise indicated. Since my Squat form stinks, I'm going to start with dumbells to get my form worked out, then switch to bar when I'm ready for that. Also, I'm going to add 1x10 set finishers for most exercises once I'm sure I'm ready for them.

Monday:
Goblet squats, Not sure of weight yet.
Cleans: Ramping up to 105 - 80% Max
Bench: Ramping up to 185

Wednesday
Push Press: To 125
Cleans: To 115 - 90% Max
Squats: Goblet, 80% Max from Monday
Lats: 2x AMAP Pullups, 2x AMAP Chinups, 1x10 Pulldown

Friday
Cleans: To 125
Incline: To 135
Squat To 90% of Monday
Rows: 2x10 T rows at 115, 2x10 seated rows, AMAP inverted rows to finish

Raise weights when able to lift final set to 8 reps two sessions in a row or thereabouts.

I'm currently 188 lbs, and I'm thinking I'll need to add an extra protein session each day, so I'm going to be rejiggering my diet a bit too as I absolutely do not want to gain fat if possible. I'm thinking 180-200 grams of protein a day?

OK, let's see where this goes. Any advice or comments are most welcome.
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:55 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
I'm thinking 180-200 grams of protein a day?
That looks good Mike. Add in about 20-25% of your calories from fats, and adjust your carbs as needed.

My general recommendation is 30-40 grams of fat every 2.5 to 3 hours. For most naturals, as long as you are in this ballpark, you're in a good place. After protein, fat intake stays fairly consistent, so it will be the carbs you will need to dial in to keep the fat off.

I like the look of the program. best of luck.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
I'm currently 188 lbs, and I'm thinking I'll need to add an extra protein session each day, so I'm going to be rejiggering my diet a bit too as I absolutely do not want to gain fat if possible. I'm thinking 180-200 grams of protein a day?

OK, let's see where this goes. Any advice or comments are most welcome.
Overall, I love where this is going, Mike. Basic lifts, good solid approach and progression. Should be a winner for you.

Your concern about fat gain raises a yellow flag for me though. It normally wouldn't have, but I just read an article off T-Nation today that got me thinking otherwise. I pasted a link for your edification and for others too. Nutshell version though, towards the end, the author (Mark Rippetoe) says that if you're training and eating to gain, you WILL end up gaining a bit of fat. I think he said the proportions work out to 60% lean muscle gain to 40% fat gain. He proposes to not sweat the fat gain - for now, and once your strength and physique goals are met, THEN do a quick blast of fat attack.

T NATION | A Cold Slap in the Newbie Face: Recover More, Grow More

I wish you all the best. Hope you meet your goals. Now go out and smash some weights.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:13 PM   #4
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Excellent Day!

Cleans to 105 were no trouble until the very last one, when I got distracted thinking of maybe doing an extra one or two, so of course I yanked instead of being smooth and tweaked an elbow. Stopped immediately. No worries though, I did the same thing the first time I ever did cleans and it was just sore a day or two. Not worried about Wednesday. Lesson learned. Again.

Then Bench, I did 185 7 times on the last set which surprised me. In the past I have always just lifted at a medium pace, but this time starting with such low weights, I really concentrated on being slow coming down and explode up, so I figured I might be tired on last set. Not so. Could probably have done 8, but I was squirming on 7 and din't have a spotter handy, so figured better to wait. Went ahead and did a set of 10 with 165 to finish though.

Stiff legged deadlifts 1x10 at 135 were no trouble at all, I really should raise that weight, but I will wait to make sure.

However, the big news is I solved my Squat problem! It was so simple! I was dreading squats completely as I suck at them, but it turns out it was my mechanics much more than not being very flexible, although that didn't help.

I'm pigeon toed, so I always made a point of keeping my feet dead straight and perfectly under my shoulders as I thought that was a keeping a solid base and not going over my toes to much so I protect my knee joints, etc. Well, as I squat keeping my back arched as I was told, all that does is make me fall backwards, so I lean forward with my shoulders to stay balanced, but if I get low, then I'm using my low back to get back up which is bad, and of course it made the top of my thighs burn like hell. So, I hated squats and would hardly ever do them. And I saw video and people squatting with their feet turned out, but I just assumed that's the way they hold their feet. Being pigeon toed is not really common, so I figured that's what they did for their bodies.

Well, I started off doing body wieght squats today with a wide stance and that helped, but as I got past 90 degrees I immediately started falling backward and had to round my shoulders, practically grabbing my knees to keep from falling backward, no chance this was the right way to squat, so beyond frustrated, I asked the guy next to me how to squat. He said stand wider and turn your feet out. I told him I was pieon toed, but he said that doesn't matter, you have to do it. Well, that feels weird to me, not painful or anything, just weird. Well, that was the solution all along.

I could immediately go right down almost to my butt on my calves with perfect balance and no pain whatsoever, back, quads, ankle, nothing hurt. And I was able to push from my heels, not flat footed, which was another problem of my earlier form.

I literally ran the rack with goblet squats, went from 20 up to 60 DB 5x5, my shoulders were sore by then, but my legs felt great, so I went and did the bar. I did front squats with the bar, which I had never been able to do, but they made my wrists hurt, so then just for fun did 5 reps with 95 and 5 more with 105. No pain in my back whatsoever!! My legs felt huge, but no pain at all. I'm certain with more time doing this stretching, etc., I will be able to go even lower and start jacking some weights up without dread.

Now, the only thing that does worry me a bit is my hip flexors felt like they were on fire by the end of this. I stopped because of them more than anything else. Not bad pain really, but sore as hell for sure. Walked it off on the treadmill for 20 minutes, and they are fine now, so it can't be too serious hopefully.

Another thing is I was not very tired at the end of all this. I definitely felt plenty worked out, but not tired at all. Doing my four day split, I often felt wiped out and loafed the rest of the day, but after this workout, my son and I went to the park and played, no trouble at all.

Valsalva, thanks for the tip about fat and I will read that article next chance I get, but perhaps I should explain my earlier comment better. I'm 5' 8'' and 188, hardly svelte yet. I still have fat to burn to be sure. I actually don't really care what I weigh as long as my pants fit. That's more what I meant. It's not like I look like Rocky IV, and want to get stronger but don't want to go back to looking like Rocky I. I'm more like Copland now and don't want to get any closer to being Norm which is what I used to look like. Preferably maybe even losing a bit more fat, but that's on hold for now depending on how this program plays out.

Thanks for the diet tips BtB, that's helpful. I think it will take a bit for me to see what is going on in order to balance my diet to this new program. But, general rules of thumb are helpful.

Anyway, long post and I gotta go, but what a great day!
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:26 PM   #5
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Great news about the squats. I love it when the light goes on and I learn something new about my training. I would caution you to be patient with the squats. Work the plan, the progression will come faster then you expect.
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:19 AM   #6
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Good job, Mike!
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:38 AM   #7
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Nice work buddy especially withthe squat form. Make sure those knees ar pointing the same way as the feet, really push them out, it may feel a bit weird at first but you soon get used to it. I do squat stretches between every set (warm ups included) and they really seem to help.

Basically crouch down in the squat position as low as you can go, put the elbows against the inside of the knees and put your hands together as if you are praying then push the knees out. you will feel the stretch and it makes it easier (for me) to go deeper and keep the knees pushed out.

You may find that the knees want to turn inwards as you squat, this is normal (and is normally due to weak adductor muscles), but make sure you really concentrate on pushing them out wards.

Workout routine is looking solid mate.

Good luck

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Old 02-22-2011, 01:51 PM   #8
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Glad to hear you took a step forward with squatting. Keep hard at it!
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:05 PM   #9
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Woke up still pretty sore, and was worried a bit, but once I got into the day, I felt a lot better, thankfully. Going to make sure I stick to 48 hours between sessions though! No late Mondays and early Wednesdays for sure.

Anyway

Push Press to 125, no trouble. Will go for extra reps next wed.

Cleans to 115 also no trouble, but I learned in my reading (Rippitoe's Starting Strength, excerps on web for now, I'm ordering the book) that the only thing I do really wrong is the way I catch the bar. I just turn my wrists over and catch it in my palms and on my shoulders at the same time, like it was in pressing position. I also don't actually touch my shirt with the bar or rub my shins on the way up, but I do hold the bar pretty close to my body the whole way. I going to do more research into that, but for now, it's working, so we'll let that be for the moment.

Goblet Squats to 80DB, which really was no trouble at all, I'm going to do this exact routine Friday, then switch over to the bar starting Monday. How well I feel on Friday will tell me what to ramp up to on Monday. I'm thinking 115, but we'll see. I think this is still being cautious, since I started out pretty low. I'll bet I could do a set of 185 right now, but I'll wait because I know I'll get up there pretty quickly once I get into the months ahead.

BTW, I don't have to worry about my knees. When I turn my toes out, my knees automatically turn out with them. I actually have to turn my whole leg to get my toes pointed out to begin with.

I also did a set of stiff deadlifts 1x10 at 135 before I remembered I don't have to do them today. No trouble though as that is an easy weight, I'm definitly raising it next week. Frankly, I wish there were more deadlifts in this program, though. I love deadlifting. I'll mull that over, maybe junk the T rows and deadlift instead. But maybe once the cleans start going up in weight, I won't be missing deadlifts so much. We'll see. No changes in the program for at least a few months, anyway.

Pullups: 5 first set, 4 second, watched clock two minute rest between.
Chinups: 5 first set, 5 second, really struggled on that last one.
Lats 1x10 with setting 10, whatever that means.

So, good day all in all.
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:42 PM   #10
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OK, lots of news and thoughts.

First of all I finished my first week of this 5x5 this morning very successfully in my opinion. I'm sitting down with a celebratory Glenlivet as I type this. Ahhhh......

Since I was feeling great on Thursday, and I wanted test something out anyway, I went to the gym to do some cardio even though my original plan was not to do any this week. But, I really want to see how they affect my workout the next day. So, I did my hardest cardio, 40 on bike, intervals and hills, with 20 on treadmill with a cooldown, like 600+ calories in the hour if you're interested in that kind of stuff.
Then did 4 sets of Abs
2x15 Barbell rollouts
2x15 Incline crunches
All no problem, felt good. But, I was curious to see how this would affect my squats tomorrow.

Anyway, long story not to be made any longer, I did:

Squats:
5 reps with bar
5 at 85
5 at 105
5 at 115
15 at 125

So, let me explain that last set. First of all, cardio yeasterday had no affect, my legs felt great. AND I really want to focus on squats as they are obviously my weak lift and this whole program is based on them. Now that I know how to do them, I know I can progress reasonably fast with them, but don't want to overstress some tiny muscle I never heard of and set myself back by injuring myself being too ambitious.

Basically, how to raise them, but stay within the realm of the program and not risk anything jumping weight too fast, so I figure adding reps is the best way to do this. However, I am only going to add reps Mondays and Fridays, Wed stays light and no more than 5x5. SO, basically the same workout Monday and Friday, but shoot for 12-15 reps on Mondays, and maybe slightly less on Fridays depending on how I feel. If I can do hit that, I'm allowed to add weight the next Monday, if not that's my number and revert back to normal 5x5 progression. So, I'm going to set next Monday Sqauts based on 135 Max. I am also always going to do Squats first. Reading suggests this is a good idea as well my emphasis on them anyway.

Then I did Cleans:
5 with bar
5x 95
5x 105
5x 115
5x 125 - Max and PR

However, the more I read about this mysterious lift, the more screwed up in my head I get about it. I was reading where it's important to use the same jump point, and to coincide jump, hip drive, and shrug at same time. Well, I think I do that, but I really looked in the mirror today to check stuff and I was all over the place with where on my thigh I started the movements to whip the weight up. It seemed the more I tried to hit the same same spot, the worse I got at it. Then I was shrugging before jumping or vice versa, it was a show. I felt like tin cup and wanted to put all my change in my left pocket or something. It was ridiculous. So, last two sets, I just whipped them up and didn't look in the mirror at all. Definitly a wise move. I think this move is kind of instinctual. But, I will continue to investigate this. Bottom line, not going to try to add any extra reps or finisher sets until I get more consistent with execution on this.

Incline:
5x bar
5x 95
5x 105
5x 125
7x 135 PR!
1x10 at 105
Not sure where all this pressing success is coming from, but I think all the OH and Push Press work I was doing the last few months is really improving my press ability. I read in and article here (Pendlay's interview?) where explosive pressing raises all pressing ability, plus I started doing explosive movements because they say it gets your fast twitch muscles to bulk up and help out more. Seems to make sense.

Back finishers
T-rows 2x10 at 75
seated rows 2x10 setting 7
Inverted rows (heels on ground, not a rack chin really) 5 good ones.

I was just shattered when I tried to do these. Not sure why. I've done way heavier on all these. I'd never done these on the same day as Cleans, so maybe that's it. Or maybe since I only had 45 minutes and rushed this workout a bit, that hurt them. Or maybe the barbell rollouts yesterday hurt the cause. Maybe all three. I was very surprised though. I just finished exhausted. Have to track this as this plan continues.

Finally, I think I should really be experimenting with some eating patterns to not only help this entire strength building cause, but to address my lingering last 10-15 pounds I need to lose. Frankly, it's ridiculous I can cardio for an hour and lift hard 3 days a week and still look a bit flabby in the middle. I'm going to remedy this once and for all.

I've been reading a lot lately about nutrition, but something really rung a bell in that Casey Butt article about varying protein and carbs on various days. More protein on hard lift days, but less protein on lighter days and even some carb loading for cardio. This totally makes sense to me, and I think it might keep me from being good on my diet all week, but then feeling ravenous and eating like a savage one or two meals a week and wrecking my whole weeks worth calorie balance.

Anyway, I've got a plan for my diet that I will post this weekend for anyone that is interested.

Sorry for the long post, but if you slogged through it, it must have been interesting or helpful. I hope both.

I'll be back later tonite to read some more. Of course, any comments or suggestions most welcome.
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