Monthly Archives: December 2011
The experimentation continues, and I need to make some changes.
- 5 reps – Bench Press (working max: 215#)
- 2x5x45 (warmup)
- 1x5x140 (work)
- Asst. #1 – Bench Press
- 5 x 10 x 125
- Asst. #2 – 1-Arm Dumbbell Rows
- 5 x 10 x 55
- Grip/Forearms – Reverse EZ Bar Curls
- 2 x 5 x 40
- 1 x 12/7/6 x 50 (rest-pause)
- GPP – Stationary Bike
- Tabata style – 20 sec. fast (100-120 RPM), 10 sec. slow (60-80 RPM)
- 2 minutes, slow (warmup)
- 1 Tabata “set”
- 2 minutes, slow (cooldown)
- DeFranco Agile 8
Bench went alright. I looked at past performance, figured 10 reps with 185 would make me happy. Cranked out 10. Happy.
I’m still having some stability issues with my legs and heavier weights (you just don’t notice it when the weight is light). But during the 165 set I hit a sweet spot. The legs were rock solid, pushing, I was up on my traps, good back arch — it seemed to be everything that I was supposed to do! I need to find that sweet spot again. Next bench session I may focus on trying to find the spot and be systematic about it. Plus, I may even do things like unrack the bar, if it feels wrong, re-rack it and reposition and try again. I need to find that sweet spot again.
On the curls. The bar is apparently 18#, so I’ll use 20 for easy of math. I had no idea how many I could do so I just put a dime on each side and went with it. One key factor here is that I’m not trying to move weight, I’m trying to focus on the brachioradialis. I’m trying to only move the weight through flexing the brachioradialis, nothing else. I do think I can go to 45 total next time, and/or do 3×10 with the last rest-pause. But on the same token, I just didn’t feel like today was the right day to do it. The day I get the most forearm work is deadlift day, between deadlifts, the hanging hip-leg raise, and then I add in the grippers. So I think I’m going to move these to that day as well. It may wind up being too much work, but this is all part of the experimentation. At least, I think I’ll get more benefit if I do it then than trying to do it today.
I gave the bike another shot too. This time I put the resistance on “5″ (settings 1-10, 10 the hardest; did 3 last time). I think that will be a good setting to stick with for a little while, until my body adapts. When I got to “rep 4″ I started to think that I wouldn’t want to finish. Rep 6 and I had to convince myself to finish. Rep 7 and I knew I’d hate myself if I stopped now with only 1 more to go. After 8 and then the cooldown? Geez… had a hard time getting off the bike. I think this is a good place for me to start. I didn’t want to puke afterwards, but I sure felt worked. But I know I’ve got a long way to go to really make the intensity what it needs to be. Still, this is a good start, and my knees are happier.
As I said, that factory M&P barrel just isn’t cutting it for me.
Now note: some M&P barrels come out of the factory just fine. Others not so much, and it seems I got a “not so much”. Tho again, it seemed to prefer different ammo. At 25 yards, the Gold Dot 124 gr. +P was grouping acceptably, still a little big, but FAR better than the 115 grain was grouping (6-8″).
So, I’m going to now try the KKM barrel.
Upon Tom’s suggestion, I applied Militec-1 to the barrel. Coated inside and out, 20 minutes in the oven (170º is the lowest my oven will go), another coating, another 20 minutes, then wiped it off, let it cool. Put it into the gun and ran some A-Zoom Snap Caps through it to see how things would chamber and work. Worked fine, so I reckon I’ll be alright. I’ve used Militec-1 as a lubricant for a long time and it’s good stuff, but I’ve never done the oven-treatment until now. Should make things slicker than snot.
Not sure when I’ll get to the range to actually try it out (hopefully soon). But the desired goal will be to do some general blasting just to ensure it runs. Then do some group shooting both off the rest and offhand, at distances like 3, 7, 10, 15, and 25 yards. As well, I’m going to shoot different ammo: my 115 grain reloads, that 124 grain American Eagle, and the Gold Dot 124 grain +P. I think I may have some PMC 115 grain, and will see what else I have. I’m guessing tho that it won’t be the ammo brand but more the bullet weight (tho brand could matter if say they load a little hotter). To that end, I might see about running some 147 grain ammo through if I can get a hold of some. The point is, run it all and see how accuracy does.
Oh yeah… I need to go drift that rear sight. Going to go do that now.
Finally got to the range to break in the M&P.
Here’s my first impressions. And here goes my second impressions, tho first with live fire.
What I shot was an M&P 9 (the “standard” model), Apex DCAEK and RAM trigger parts, Comp-Tac MTAC holster, Comp-Tac mag pouch, and the rear dots on the factory Novak sights are blacked out. I ran various ammo through it: Winchester White Box, some Federal “maroon box”, American Eagle 124 grain, my reloads, and some Speer Gold Dot 124 grain +P. This will be relevant later on.
Shot numerous ways. Started off just blazing away to see how she felt. Did some benchrest shooting at 25 yards. Did some offhand slow group shooting at various distances. Shot the FAST test. Ran some drills out of the DR Performance Practice Deck for iOS. Some one-handed shooting. Just did a lot of things to see how things went. And so… how did it go?
Generally speaking, I’m liking the gun. The ergonomics are just so much better — at least for me. But I was stinking up the joint today; I chalk that up to my brain shooting the XD and my hands shooting the M&P. I just need to get used to the gun, because it’s different enough.
For instance, the feel of where the trigger breaks is earlier on my M&P vs. my XD and so it messed with my timing and handling of things. The distance the trigger travels while shooting, while resetting, there’s both take-up and overtravel on the M&P… and the M&P trigger, tho better than factory, is still that “mush” spongy feeling, whereas my XD’s is rock solid and tight as a drum. Consequently, I was yanking the trigger all over the place. I started to wonder if I’m actually mashing the trigger always, if that’s just how I shoot my XD, but due to the differences in the gun it just became evident on the M&P whereas with the XD it’s such a brick it absorbed all my mashing (or I learned how to compensate for it with grip and other things). I have to use a lighter touch with the M&P. I will also have to relearn my grip because the recoil feels different and recovers different.
I also need to work on the present/press-out with the M&P. I don’t know for sure what it was, but I just went slow. Could be I was trying to do too much mental compensation for POI vs. POA I don’t know, was thinking too much instead of “just shut up and shoot”. Could be my eyes weren’t used to picking up a white dot vs. a red dot. Can’t say. Just need more work on it. Very evident during the FAST test.
Bottom line: I need a lot more trigger time with the gun to learn it.
But here’s the bigger deal… the gun performance itself.
Shot probably 400 rounds through it, various ammo (as noted above). No hiccups nor problems. That’s good. What wasn’t good was the accuracy. Using any 115 grain ammo (my reloads, WWB, Federal), the grouping was horrible — 6-8″ out at 25 yards. Unacceptable. But, shooting Gold Dot at 25 yards? 3-4″ group. Acceptable. Shooting the AE 124 grain? Also grouped just fine. Apparently the M&P 9′s were designed for 124 grain ammo (makes some sense, given most self-defense ammo is 124 grain), and will most of the great unwashed ever realize their 115 plinking isn’t that hot because many will never shoot beyond 7 or 10 yards? So, the KKM barrel is going to be used. Will have to do a lot more testing with that to see how it fares. But the factory barrel just won’t cut it in my book. I took the various ammos on the advice of Dave Re, and IIRC he too found heavier bullets to work better (Dave, correct me if I am wrong).
The factory Novak sights? Gee if they aren’t horrible. I wouldn’t mind the front post being just a hair thinner, but really they aren’t bad. Tom had Dawson’s and one of foo.c’s had the M&P Pro’s sights, and being able to compare all 3 side-by-side I really don’t think the factory Novak’s are all that bad, just a wee fat on the front sight post. But…. I was consistently shooting left. I figured it was me, given the slapping plus how with the XD I always had that slight shoot-left problem due to how my index/trigger finger rubbed the frame. Well, part of the reason I wanted the M&P is because it alleviates the frame rub problem, but I still chalked up the slight left shooting to me. After a little more slow group shooting and some specific adjustments of my own shooting to look deeper into it, well… I ended up thinking maybe it was the sights, looked down at the slide, and I saw the rear sight was off-center (slightly left). And so, there we go. Factory sights were not set right. Had no allen wrench of size at the range, so I’ll see about doing a slight adjustment myself later on.
You know how the M&P is famous for auto-forwarding the slide? I hate it. First, it doesn’t happen all the time, most of the time, but not all. It messed with my head a lot because I’d see the slide go down and want to just keep going (GREAT! IT’S DOWN. SHOOT!) but I would want to rack the slide again, but I had already set up the gun for the drill with exactly the number of rounds and if I racked it would throw off the drill, and so I’d lose too much time thinking about all of this. Ugh. And then, a few times it didn’t work right. One time the slide dropped and it failed to load the chamber so the gun just went “click”. Another time it failed to fully strip the round and made quite a nice malfunction. I don’t need that shit in a gun that I wish to entrust my life to. I can see it being nice in a gaming situation, but for a carry gun? Well, it either needs to happen 100% of the time or not happen 100% of the time. To happen 92% of the time, 3% of the time it happens but something goes wrong, and 5% it doesn’t happen at all, that’s unacceptable. I found this as a possible mod to fix it, but I’ve only just started to look into things.
Also played around with Tom’s Raven Phantom holster with the Magpul cut. I cannot deny that it’s a great holster and you will draw much faster from it. But I just can’t wear it because of how it sits on my body. It just will NOT allow concealment, but it does on Tom’s. Differences in our body shapes and clothing. However, we fiddled around a bit and reset his holster from having no cant to a slight forward cant. Not sure the angle, but we just moved the rear loop to the “lower” holes. The cant was slight, but it was just enough that it worked better with my body. Plus there’s no question that while the holster is the “same” holster, the XD just did not ride as well as the M&P. So, when/if I get back on the OWB front, I think I’ll reconsider getting a Raven and see how it goes but wearing at that slight cant.
So in sum:
- In general, I like it. Ergonomics work better, and yes I think the medium backstrap is what I want.
- Rear sight needs to be adjusted.
- Auto-forwarding sucks, IMHO.
- Factory barrel is questionable, at least with 115 grain ammo. 124 seemed to shoot better. Would be curious how 147′s shoot. Am going to switch to the KKM and see how it does.
- And I need a lot more time/experience with it to unlearn my XD habits and learn how to shoot this gun well.
And, it was a good day at the range.
I’ve had a bunch of links backing up in my queue, things I wanted to post about. Just going to clear them all in one fell swoop. It’s a smorgasbord.
A look at the most recent FBI crime statistics, and how violent crime is actually dropping in the US — despite what the media portrays. One possible reason they overlook is the growth of firearm ownership and concealed carry by law-abiding citizens.
A few simple checklists of things to help you prepare for winter storms. Be it supplies worth having in your car, to dealing with the aftermath of a storm, to helping the elderly.
Going with the above winter storm lists, here’s 13 more things that are just good to have in your car all year round. I’ll take odds with #3 – MagLite was a great old standby but flashlight technology has evolved. Look at SureFire or Streamlight (or even Fenix); for a car flashlight I would want it to run on CR123A’s, because those batteries can sit around for years and still maintain power. I’d also look for a model that can either be somehow attached to say a hat brim so you can work hands free (need both hands to change a tire) and/or that can be rested on the ground and used like a lantern/candle to again shine light hands-free.
Read the comments for more suggestions. Certainly a lot of what you keep in your car will depends upon your needs, your particular car, where you are in the world, and how and where you’ll be traveling.
I still haven’t upgraded all my machines to Lion, at this point mostly from inertia. But I have upgraded one primary dev machine and am growing to like it. Still, it has some quirks and issues, and this is a nice list of things to help make it a bit more manageable.
While BB guns technically aren’t guns, they certainly can do some damage. You should still treat them like firearms, using them responsibly, adhering to all proper gun safety rules, and using them as a great way to introduce kids to firearms in a safe and responsible manner. The respect and responsibility starts here.
I don’t know how I initially got the yen to try Ethiopian food, but I did… some long time ago.
I heard about this one restaurant, Taste of Ethiopia. It’s not in Austin, it’s in Pflugerville, which is just outside of Austin, and a schelp relative to where I live. I’ve been told it’s the best Ethiopian restaurant in the area, so I’ve been trying to go there for a while. But, it’s difficult to justify the long drive merely for a meal. However, today we had to do something up that way, so I figured we could finally try it. Yes, took the whole family. I figured they would be game to try something new and different, and given they liked Indian food, I figured I had a shot here.
Finding the place was no problem. It was a small but reasonable place. I saw they had a lunch buffet. We did tell the waitress we’d never had Ethiopian food before, so she explained a few things to us. She suggested we could try ordering off the menu and eating in the traditional family style. That style of eating is quite natural to me, either from Wife’s home-cookin’ roots or my Korean heritage. After thinking about it, we opted to do the buffet as the best way to survey a wide range of food. However, Oldest didn’t want the buffet; he saw this thing on the menu - Kitfo, and ordered it.
Let’s see if I can remember what was in the buffet. There was a lentil soup. Of course, the injera (which I’ll talk more about shortly). Doro Wot. A zucchini wot. I think ater kik. Some rice. Collards. Something with green beans and carrots. Another that was potato and cabbage (and turmeric). A few other things that I can’t remember.
But I tasted it all.
It was wonderful!
I love the seasoning. That berbere was just fantastic. I did love the way to eat it all too, with the injera – just tear some off and use it to pick up the food. The injera texture and flavor was really neat, very different. I’m not really a bread guy and by itself I doubt I’d eat it, but given its role in the meal it was really nice. I will say that I had to stop eating it and just use a fork, because I’m trying to keep the excessive bread/carb intake minimize, but boy it was hard today.
I am surprised to say I liked the zucchini wot the best! The doro wot was good, but it was chunks of white meat chicken; I think legs or thighs would have tasted better. They had a goat-meat dish on the menu, and if it’s a “goat wot” I bet that’d be good. This is just personal preference. I think something a little “greasier” would work well.
But what really got me? The Kitfo. Oh my. That was amazing. The seasoning was just so wonderful. The texture too was so velvety. There was just the right texture, the right seasonings, the right fat (I read now that there’s butter put on it). Oh, it was so damn good. My mouth just loved it in every way.
I see on the menu this chefuye, which could tempt me next time.
Gee. I really really liked this, far more than I expected I would. The kids liked it too. Oldest isn’t a big fan of hot-spicy food, but he couldn’t stop eating the Kitfo… it just draws you back, you just want to keep eating it.
I wish it wasn’t so far away.
I can’t wait to go back. I think next time we’ll order a few dishes, continue to try dishes we haven’t yet tried, and eat them family style. Wife also wants to try the honey wine… not sure she’ll like it (she wasn’t a fan of mead), but it could be prepared differently and/or complement the food just right.
Just before we left, the owner, Woinee Mariam, came out and we spoke with her. She was impressed with Oldest bucking the trend and ordering a traditional dish. She was so kind, so sweet; she made us feel right at home. I love businesses like this, as you just want to keep supporting good people doing good things like this.
Can’t wait to go back.
The experimentation and program change-up continues.
- “5 reps” – Deadlift (working max: 305#)
- 1x5x125 (warmup)
- 1x5x200 (work)
- Asst. #1 – Good Mornings
- 5 x 10 x 70
- Asst. #2 – Hanging LegHip Raise
- 5 x 7 x BW
- GPP – Stationary Bike
- Tabata style
- 2 minutes slow, about 60-80 RPM (warmup)
- 8 “reps”, as fast as I can, about 110-ish RPM during the 20 sec, about 60-80 during the 10
- 2 minutes slow (cooldown)
- DeFranco Agile 8
- 3x10xT, 2 sec. hold between reps
- 2x3x1, 2 sec. hold
There’s not a lot of changeup to the deadlift days, compared to cycle 4, in terms of general program changes. But there were a few changes that were last-minute decisions, and 1 mistake.
The deadlifts went fine. I cranked out 10, figured that was enough tho I probably could have done at least 2 more. I just wanted to leave some in the tank because I was rather sore from yesterday (huzzah rest-pause). I normally don’t work out 2 days in a row but had to this week because the gym was closed Monday due to Christmas. Recovery is important to old-fart me.
Good mornings are fine as well. I need to remember to not try to keep my eyes level with something “out in front of me” because that doesn’t allow me to get low enough. Need to let me eyes drop a little bit, or pick something lower/further out.
Hanging leg-hip raises are ok… my right shoulder continues to give me some issues, not really sure what it is, but it sometimes makes it difficult to do these. Consequently these didn’t go as well as I would have liked.
Now sprinting… as I’ve noted, my right knee is hurting and the pounding on the pavement from sprints is really making it hurt. I do not want to risk knee problems, a blow-out, something that affects my deadlifting, my squatting, or just my ability to get around! I will probably go back to sprints someday, but I’m going to need to drop some weight first — something that’s taking a higher priority for me. I was Googling around yesterday for exercises I could do Tabata-style that would fit well into things. Well, the original Tabata study was done on a stationary bike, so why not. Involves the knee, but not the impact, so let’s try it. I did it today and well… I just did NOT feel all winded and dead afterwards, which you should. I probably need to jack up the bike’s resistance a bit more (had it on “3″), and so I’ll continue to play with that. I also will try to find the original study itself (instead of all the summaries of it) to see exactly what protocol they used and attempt to replicate that and see how it goes. The bike may not work out, but for now it’s what I’ll try.
I’m also going to try to see how I can work the Agile 8 to be a bit more Tabata-like. Not all parts of it can lend to it, like the foam rolling. But the mountain climbers? The groiners? For sure they will work you. It may not be a strict Tabata thing here, but I may try to do something like right after I get off the bike, go right to the mountain climbers, the groiners, the rollovers into V sits, fire hydrants, then do the hip flexor stretch, then the foam rolling. And do them Tabata-like, so it’s not 20 reps of climbers but 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds, then do groiners for 20 seconds, rest 10, and so on. That might add a little more work to the mix, y’know? I know that the Agile 8 has given me a little extra work and after tough days has been hard to get through, so hey, why not just add it to the mix?
Grip work. I pulled out the “T” gripper and thought “Gee, am I just feeling weak today? Did the deadlifts and leg raises take that much out of my grip today?” But I cranked along for 2×10. Then I pulled out the other “not-1″ gripper… and upon noticing how easy it was I had a “V8″ moment and realized I started with the more difficult gripper. Oh well. But it was cool, and told me to jack up my grip work. So I went ahead and did another 1×10 with the “T” (for 3×10 total). Then I did a 2×3 with the “1″ and if I couldn’t get the gripper fully closed I used my other hand to close it and then had the one hand hold for 2 count before releasing. I’ll probably jack up my gripper work this way from here out, may even drop the “S” gripper at this point. Next time I need to order from EliteFTS, I’ll probably put in for the “2″ gripper, maybe the “1.5″.
Anyways, a generally good workout.
A friend sent this to me. “The Trailer Hitch Hater Site“.
The story is a guy was driving his Ford Escort Wagon here in Austin and rear-ended a guy driving a F-250 Super Duty. The truck had a trailer hitch attached, and caused massive damage to the Escort. Click on the site and go see.
But here’s the thing.
The accident was my fault, as I took my eyes off the vehicle ahead of me to rubber neck the slow moving pavement striping vehicle which we were passing at the time, at roughly 8 MPH.
He admits the accident was his fault.
He admits to taking his eyes off the road, to not paying attention to what’s happening in front of him. He admits to rubbernecking. And given what he says he was doing, he was likely going through a construction zone — a place to be paying more attention to what’s going on. And if he ended up a truck’s tailpipe at such a slow rate of speed, either his eyes were off the road for a LONG time or he was tailgating the truck.
And yes it’s true, I did have a chrome frame on my front plate, not for vanity purposes, but to shield the sharp edges of the license plate from some unsuspecting knee or shin. This is the responsible mindset which more folks should embrace.
You know what’s a responsible mindset? Keeping your eyes on the road. Perhaps you should embrace that before you tell other people what to embrace and how to be responsible.
I love this part:
The bottom line here is that my sub-compact vehicle was damaged to the point of selling off for parts, and it was all so needless. Just a classic case of carelessness at best, and at worst the driver never actually towed anything, but mounted a hitch so as to insure that his bumper was protected, which is anti-social behavior to the point of almost being criminal, IMHO.
So because the truck driver chose to protect his vehicle — from irresponsible and careless drivers like you — somehow he’s anti-social and criminal? Take note, citizens: taking steps and measures to protect yourself is anti-social and criminal. Throw away your fire extinguishers, stop wearing your seat belts, no need for parents of small children to child-proof their homes, ladies stop carrying your pepper spray and taking anti-rape courses. Y’all are being so self-centered and inconsiderate of others. *eyeroll*
I don’t get it. This guy admits fault, but I don’t think he really believes it was his fault. He doesn’t chalk it up the destruction of his car to his own negligence. If he had been paying attention to the road, not tailgating, etc. he wouldn’t have ruined his car. The destruction of his car wasn’t caused by someone else’s trailer hitch, it was caused by his own behavior.
The solution in his mind? To call for truck drivers to remove their hitches when they’re not towing anything. No call to improve his own behavior, no using his experience as a lesson for others about how distracted driving can have ugly consequences. No… never my fault, always someone else’s.
I teach my children to always look in the mirror first. Something went wrong? What did *I* do or fail to do? What could I have done better? Always look at yourself first and fix yourself. A lesson some people, apparently, never learned.
Dude, I’m sorry your car was totaled. You could have prevented it. Don’t go blaming others for your mistakes.
Trailer hitches don’t kill cars — irresponsible and negligent drivers do.
Today was good. Read on, if you care.
- 5 reps – Press (working max: 145#)
- 2x5x45 (warmup)
- 1x5x90 (work)
- Asst. #1 – Press
- 4 x 10 x 70
- 1 x 10/5/4 x 70 (rest-pause set)
- Asst. #2 – Supinated Close-grip Pulldowns
- 4 x 10 x 130
- 1 x 10/4/3 x 130 (rest-pause set)
- GPP – Sprints
- Tabata style (20 sec. sprint, 10 sec. walk)
- 2 “laps” walking (warmup)
- 8 “reps” (8 reps is one Tabata set)
- 2 “laps” walking (cooldown)
- DeFranco Agile 8
Today was good! I’m glad I took all of last week off as a “deload” week. My body thanks me for it. I felt good and eager to get back to the gym.
This begins my fifth cycle on the Wendler 5/3/1 program. I’m making some changes to the program, as I refine my goals and see what needs additional help and work. I’m moving away from the “Boring But Big” template and more to the “Triumvirate”. I’m still wanting to build strength (and muscle mass), but seeing where things need some help and trying to work to address those issues. Because of this, this cycle may not be “straight productive” as there will be some experimenting and changing around. But that’s all good. Need to continue to find what works for me and what I need. I’ll talk about the changes for each day as I go through “week 1″ here. But know that in general I’m trying to address shortcomings and weaknesses, and trying to just work to be awesome.
On Press. First thing I realized is that I screwed up on weights. In my Excel spreadsheet where I do my calculations and tracking, I forgot to bump the “work max” from last cycle so I used the same “week 1″ weights as the prior cycle. Oh well, I still cranked out 9 reps with 120, which is more than I did last time. Plus I did it with a LOT less rest between sets. So yeah, strength went up. I’m fine with that. I fixed the spreadsheet and will resume proper weights next workout.
One thing that happened while pressing? The weight is of course getting heavier, and I found at one point while working to get it overhead I clenched my butt and that helped to get the weight up. I didn’t plan on it, just happened, but I remembered reading somewhere recently that yes, you should be explicitly clenching your butt and using the whole body in the press. So I’m going to be working to ensure I get more full-body involvement like that on all my press sets.
I’m still doing pressing as the first assistance exercise, because it’s just good towards helping me get stronger and building some mass, some volume for my shoulders and triceps. All good. I did properly bump the weight here to 70 (from 65 last cycle). You can see tho that I added a modification at the end of the set: “rest pause”. What is rest-pause? Rest-pause is something from DoggCrapp Training. Here’s an explanation from Wendler’s 5/3/1 book, second edition:
A lifter will perform a movement, let’s use the press as an example, and perform an all-out set at a given weight. After this all out set, he will take 10-15 breaths and perform the press again with the same weight, obviously for less reps, to failure. He will rack the bar, take another 10-15 breaths and do another set to failure. So a rest/pause set would look like this:
Press – 155×10 reps, 10-15 breaths, 4 reps, 10-15 breaths, 2 reps
To make it easy: do one set for as many reps as you can, take short break, do the same weight to failure, take another rest and do one more set to failure. After the first set, your reps will diminish greatly so don’t be alarmed. You may only get 2-3 reps on the final set.
I’m curious to try it. DoggCrapp has a lot of good things about it, and I’m curious to try rest-pause to see what it might do for me. Note that I’m not doing DC-style training, merely taking the notion of rest-pause and applying it to the last set of my assistance work. So… why?
Well, when I was thinking about how to plan out this cycle, I realized that yes, I’d like to get some more attention to my arms. I didn’t really want to do curls and pressdowns and the like. Frankly, I think my triceps get a lot of work from all the pressing I do (13 sets of press, 13 sets of bench press, 26 sets in a week). But my biceps get about 10 sets from back work. And in fact, I don’t think I’m getting enough back work either, but I don’t think that’s truly a problem given the exercises I’m doing. And honestly, my arms are fine compared to the rest of my body… I just felt like I wanted to stress them a little more. But I didn’t really want to do curls for them.
Furthermore, I am wanting to move away from pulldowns and do chin/pull-ups. Why am I not doing them? Because I can’t do them. I’ve been working all this time towards building the strength I need to be able to do them. I’m not strong enough, I weigh too much, and put it together and it doesn’t happen. But I want to do them, I’d prefer to do them, they are more awesome than pulldowns. All the work I have been doing has been towards building up the strength to do them. But of course, if I end up doing them, at least for now, will I get enough back volume? Probably not, since I can’t crank out a large number of them.
So it’s my thinking to try rest-pause as a way to jack up the intensity some and see what it can do for me.
On that note then… pulldowns. So I am wanting to get away from pulldowns and work on doing chins. To that end, I opted to go from 5x10x120 to something like 5x8x130 with the last set being rest-pause (dropping to 120 if I needed to in order to get a good rest-pause set out). The intent is to focus on strength so I can do chins… kinda working my way down to perhaps a 5×5 set, with again the last set being rest-pause (using less weight if needed to get more volume). Well, get this….
I admit my ego here… I don’t feel like struggling to fail to do one chin-up, so I haven’t tried one in a while — too many eyes. I know they won’t care, but it’s just in my head. Sue me for being human. Well, today the gym was dead save for me and the gym owner. As I got towards the end of my pressing assistance work, he walked off the floor. I said why not. I grabbed the chin-up bar, put myself in a dead hang (tho knees bent, feet behind me because there’s just not enough clearance otherwise), and pulled up. Holy shit! I did one! Well, almost. I had to reach my chin up to clear the bar, but I did it! I personally want to say “1 chin up” is pulling myself above the bar, no chin-reaching, bar is even with my clavicles. So I’m not quite there, but I’m further than I was before! Huzzah! In fact, after I did my last set of presses, I did another chin. Same results. Whee!
Then when I hit the pulldowns, the 130 felt well… good. So I ended up doing 5×10 across with the last set rest-pause. If I really wanted 8 reps I probably would need to use 140. But, I’m not going to mess with it. Here’s what I’m going to do. Wendler recommends you do chin-ups between every pressing set. And so, I’m going to try that. I will start off doing it only between my assistance pressing sets (not the 5/3/1 sets). I will do a set of presses, then I will do 1 chin-up, getting up as high as I can and then doing a slow negative. Just 1, enough for now. If I get to a point where I can’t get high enough on the chin, then I’ll jump up and slow-negative it. Just 1 between each assistance pressing set. Then do pulldowns as normal. Once things are working well here, move to 2 reps, and so on. Let’s see where this takes me!
And the thing is, doing that will add more work for my back and arms, which is what I’m wanting. And so, everything is working out. I’m thrilled.
Next came sprints.
I’ve been trying to work myself up… 4 reps, 5 reps, and this was supposed to be 6 reps. But you know what? I find that when I get to 4 reps, that’s when I start to feel worked… by 5, that’s good and starting to kick in. So I’ve been feeling that gee, I really need to just buckle down and crank out the whole 8 reps. Another benefit? If in fact this is going to help my fat loss (coupled with more work to my diet) then well… the lighter I get, the more chinups I can do, right? Yes, I’m going to use it as a motivator for chins. Why not?
Trouble is, sprinting is growing hard on me. Perhaps in part because of my weight, probably because I’m running on concrete (despite having some really good running shoes). But my right knee is hating me and I’m honestly afraid of what may happen.
So I’m going to have to look into what else I can do for GPP, Tabata style, that isn’t going to be so killer to my knee. I don’t want to risk a knee injury that could screw me for life, or even set me back in my deadlifting and squatting, y’know? It’s not worth it.
But still… went ahead for all 8 reps today and boy, it hurt. Good hurt tho. Had to really convince myself to keep going because after rep 6 I wanted to stop and after rep 7 I said to myself “the faster you run, the faster it’ll be over”. I did not want to do it, but I know… you have to. It’s the only way to get better, to push yourself, to push beyond your limits, to do what is uncomfortable.