2018-07-05 training log

The knee rehab work has made deadlifting better.

I found it interesting that as I would get into position to lift, that would be JUST the right amount of angle in my knees for the weirdness and “instability” to kick in. It made deadlifting interesting, but I was always able to get through it. But now? I don’t even notice. I just get in position and pull. It’s great!

The PT work is NOT fun. In fact, sometimes it feels downright embarrassing how difficult it can be. But the results cannot be debated. Heck, this morning after I got home I was in the backyard with the dog. There’s a patio slab, and the ground adjacent slopes — so if you step up on one end of the slab it’s a small step up, but on the other end of the slab it’s rather a large step. Usually that’s been a challenge for me due to the knee issues. But today? Up and down with NO problems. It’s great!

Anyways, deadlifting went well. Good work-up. The 415 was heavy, but no problem getting the reps.

Belt squats I continue to experiment with, as a way to work on my knee issues. What I’m playing with is positioning. Right now I’m doing a setup like this:

  • whatever with weight — just something enough to give some “work” while I figure this out.
  • belt around the hips
  • feet shoulder width apart
  • toes/feet pointed forward
  • get into the belt then step backwards from the rack until the belt is “horizontal” and taught
  • feet should be “under” the body

And so when I squat down, feet end up being forward of the body. I’m kinda sitting back into the belt, letting the belt keep me from falling over backwards. Lift the toes up, striving to push through the heels. And go just below parallel — that seemed to help.

When I do this, I do feel it in the quads, lower, VMO-area, etc.. That’s what I want.

I’ll continue to play with positions and approaches. It’s all about getting that area stronger, to help my knees (and my overall leg strength/drive).

Everything else was just assistance work.

About 14 minutes on the bike.

Thinking ahead…

Next week will be deload according to the 7th week protocol. First time trying 7th week protocol, and I’m interested in how it will go. It’s not a normal deload because you work up to a single at your training max (vs. just doing a lot of light work). Curious how it will go in the grand scheme.

Then the 3-weeks after that will be:

  • 3/5/1
  • PR set
  • Jokers
  • FSL – probably 3×5 to start to scale down volume as intensities are increasing, but I may up this.
  • And assistance work will be generally the same, especially oriented towards the knee rehab.

Then another proper deload week.

THEN I start all over. My thinking will be again a 2/1 approach, with the first 6 weeks likely staying with the same approach I’ve been using so far. However instead of 5’s PRO I’ll probably go 5/3/1 PR set, then BBB scaling back again to 3 sets then 4 then 5. Assistance work and so on basically the same. After I finish this 2/1 cycle I reckon I’ll be close to needing a reset, so I’ll readjust everything from there.

One fun thing I’m thinking about doing? Biceps work every session. That every session will get some sort of biceps work, even if it’s just 3 sets of curls. Why? Taking a cue from recent learnings and trying to hit something that can take the volume a little bit each day (vs. a lot 1-2 days) and seeing how it does. And why biceps? Simply because I want to, because we all love biceps. 🙂

One thing I might also do? I MIGHT ditch the bike and see about adding in something like reverse sled drags. TBD. The bike is good because it works the knee without load. The reverse sled drags will help the VMO, but they add load. So, TBD.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Deadlift
    • 175 x 5
    • 225 x 5
    • 260 x 3
    • 325 x 5
    • 370 x 5
    • 415 x 5
  • Band Pullaparts (superset with deadlift warmups and work)
    • Not tracked, but 15 each set
  • Belt Squat
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
  • Seated Leg Curls
    • 120 x 10
    • 120 x 10
    • 120 x 10
  • Upright rows
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 11
    • 105 x 10
  • Stair Calves
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 12

2018-07-03 training log

That went quite well!

I was a little nervous because my shoulders were feeling weird – the same sort of weird that is precursor to the arm pain issues. I know what was causing it — too much “sitting up in bed” and reading. Being propped up, shoulders get rounded forward, arms not in the best position, and it contributes to the problem. So I was a little nervous things would flare up.

Fortunately no flare up. I warmed up my shoulders well, and made sure to have that crush-grip on the bar the entire time. That makes a big difference at keeping everything tight, which then helps everything tremendously.

The 220 set flew up like it was nothing, which told me I was going to smash the 245 easily. And I did. I was quite happy about that.

BTW, Kroc Rows, when you get into such high reps? They are a bitch. 🙂

All in all, a very good session.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 5
    • 105 x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 155 x 3
    • 195 x 5
    • 220 x 5
    • 245 x 5
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 10
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with bench warm-up sets)
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
  • Kroc Rows (superset with bench work sets)
    • 60 x 10e
    • 60 x 10e
    • 60 x 30e
  • Curl-Grip Pulldowns (superset with bench BBB sets)
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 10
    • 125 x 10
  • Pushdowns
    • 95 x 20
    • 95 x 20
    • 95 x 15

2018-07-02 training log

Heavy week.

Still on 5’s PRO. And I’d be lying if this didn’t mess with my head a bit. My knee issues, getting back to heavier weights, for more reps, etc. it all messes with my head a bit. I look at the numbers on paper and know I can do it, but still. Nevertheless, I kinda appreciate it some, because I have to do it anyways. Yeah, maybe I’m a little nervous, a little scared, but you go anyways. Good life stuff here, as cheesy as that sounds.

Knees are feeling MUCH better. The PT work isn’t fun, but it sure seems to be making a difference. I’m moving quite well and the knees are feeling good. As a result, today was supposed to go to 310 but man… so close. So I went ahead for 315 because 3 wheels are fun.

The 5th rep was almost a bust — I lost my tightness out of the hole and hit the sticking point hard. Powered through it and got it. But lesson learned on tightness.

I am enjoying the single-leg leg press. I think keeping it lighter and more focused is going to be good for my rehab and my quads overall. I keep my feet at a shoulder-width distance, tho it’s one-leg (i.e. I don’t center the one leg). Toes are straight up, a little high on the platform, and I curl my toes up so that all the push is through my heels — that seems to hit things (e.g. the VMO) just right. I am able to go through a full-range of motion, tho maybe the first rep of the first set I cut it a hair short as I adjust. Still, this is much better than before!

Leg extensions are still undecided. Today instead of a toes out I kept them vertical and that felt a lot better and actually like it was hitting VMO better (despite the bro-science). So, I’ll keep them around a little bit to continue to see. I suspect they may be good for me.

I enjoyed NOT supersetting the front-plate raises — I get more quality work.

Spent about 10 minutes on the bike afterwards.

Anyways, things are feeling ok. I’m looking forward to this heavy week, then next week doing the 7th Week Protocol deload. After that, 3 weeks on… something. Kinda “anchor-ish” to use 5/3/1 Forever lingo, but again in light of my knee situation I need to think about how to adjust it. Kinda TBD.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Squat (superset with band pullaparts)
    • bar x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 165 x 5
    • 195 x 3
    • 245 x 5
    • 275 x 5
    • 315 x 5
  • Band Pullaparts
    • Not tracked (15 reps each set)
  • 1-Leg leg press
    • 90 x 10e (1 plate)
    • 90 x 10e (1 plate)
    • 90 x 10e (1 plate)
    • 90 x 10e (1 plate)
    • 90 x 10e (1 plate)
  • 10-Leg Leg Extensions
    • 30 x 10e
    • 30 x 10e
    • 30 x 10e
  • Front Plate Raises (all the way overhead)
    • 35 x 20
    • 35 x 18
    • 35 x 16
    • 35 x 14
    • 35 x 13
  • Stair Calves
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 12

Sunday Metal – Vitamin X

Vitamin X with “About to Crack”

2018-06-29 training log

My knees continue to feel better, but I’m not pushing it — still not going to do leg work on my upper-body days. The addition of the PT work plus stationary biking afterwards is enough for now.

So – more back work!

Pressing itself is good. I have long struggled with a good setup that enables me to stay tight but also manage dizzy/pressure. I think I’m getting it. Basically after unracking I can hold body position but just let air out and take a breath in. Yes, that risks losing tightness and position, but I’m willing to trade-off for not passing out. 🙂 So far tho I’ve been able to manage it well, and I look at it this way. If I am weak in my ability to hold it, I’ll just keep working on it and get stronger — even if I have to take a few steps back to get me there.

Everything else tho went well and groovy today. Nothing exciting.

12 minutes on the bike afterwards. Each session I’m trying a slightly lower seat position to see what affect that has on my VMO and so far it seems to be a positive affect (hits it harder, feel more burn/tired in the VMO than anywhere else). So this is good.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Press
    • bar x 5
    • 70 x 5
    • 90 x 5
    • 110 x 3
    • 125 x 5
    • 145 x 5
    • 160 x 5
    • 90 x 10
    • 90 x 10
    • 90 x 10
    • 90 x 10
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with press warm-up sets)
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
  • Normal-grip Pulldowns (superset with press work sets)
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
  • Barbell Rows (superset with press BBB sets)
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8
  • Lying Triceps Extensions
    • 70 x 12
    • 70 x 12
    • 70 x 10

2018-06-28 training log

I continue to experiment with things to improve my knees.

All my PT work is to be around strengtening the VMO and glute min. Something like hack squats would be awesome, but my gym doesn’t have a hack squat machine. I thought about barbell hacks, but that requires rather a low start position, which is part of my problem right now. I could start off boxes, but then that would be a hard limit on ROM. BUT the gym does have a belt squat setup on a rack, so why not give that a try.

I’ve never used a belt squat before, so I spent a little time just playing around to get the feel for things. Again, with the desire to target the VMO I did:

  • narrow stance (about shoulder-width)
  • toes pointed forward
  • lift the toes, to really emphasize pushing through the heels
  • and sit back

I sat back into the belt letting it hold me up, and doing so put my feet very far forward of my body — so I wasn’t squatting over them but behind them. And so, this is similar to a hack squat position and movement.

I started very light to help me figure things out. Certainly the sets I did were not a bunch of work, but I got the feel for it. I think it could be quite useful to me, and I’m going to continue with it.

For sure, my knees are starting to feel better. It’s not 100% – like right now as I sit and type this, there’s some ache in my left knee. But I expect that having just worked the heck out of things. But I am waking up in the morning now with no stiffness, no nothing. I can get right out of bed and squat down with little trouble. This is progress!

So I’ll keep working on the prescribed PT work, and continue working to find assistance lifts to help me out. Onwards.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Deadlift
    • 175 x 5
    • 225 x 5
    • 260 x 3
    • 305 x 5
    • 350 x 5
    • 390 x 5
  • Band Pullaparts (superset with deadlift warmups and work)
    • Not tracked, but 15 reps each set.
  • Belt Squats
    • 25 x 12
    • 50 x 12
    • 75 x 12
    • 100 x 12
  • Upright rows
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 10
  • Seated Leg Curls
    • 120 x 12
    • 120 x 10
    • 120 x 9
  • Stair Calves
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 11

Rode the bike for 12 minutes.

Beware the emphatic holster

Handling a gun can be dangerous.

A lot of “accidents” happens during administrative gun handling; that is, not when shooting a gun, but when taking it out, putting it away, or otherwise fiddle-farting with the gun.

One of the more dangerous parts of administrative gun handling? Putting the gun back into a holster.

Why?

The motion is “pushing the gun forward”. When this happens, if anything comes in contact with the trigger, the gun itself is able (continues) to move forward — but the trigger does not. The trigger stops and basically is moved backwards, and that then causes the trigger to do what it’s designed to do – and the gun fires.

That’s not good.

So why might this happen?

A number of reasons.

Clothing moves and finds its way into the holster.

I’ve seen spent brass eject, bounce off stuff, and land in holsters.

Sometimes debris from the berm (bits of mud or small rocks) can fly and land in strange places.

Gremlins.

Who knows. And really, it doesn’t matter exactly why nor exactly what. The reality is, stuff that shouldn’t be in the holster DOES wind up in the holster.

And that could cause you a world of hurt.

I see it more often than I care to. People emphatically slam their guns back into the holster. They were upset about their performance on that drill. They were really happy about their performance on that drill. They were in a hurry. It really doesn’t matter why nor what, but they just slam that gun back into the holster.

It’s a recipe for disaster.

If you slam the gun back into the holster and something is in the way, you’ll never know. Check that. You will know – when you end up with a round in your body and a trip to the hospital.

I’m sure you don’t want that to happen.

Instead, go slow.

Look.

There’s little reason to 1. not LOOK at the holster while you are holstering the gun, 2. move slowly. OK sure, there may be some times in some contexts when this is required, but those are extremely rare – and exceptions do not prove the rule.

When you holster the gun you should look at and in the holster. Look first. See if there is anything in the way. If there is, move it, fix it, clear it. If you cannot look at the holster, figure out how to make it so you can. If you must move anatomy out of the way, do so. If your holster is in a place where you can’t look (e.g. small of the back), maybe your holster needs a better place to live. Look. See. Strive to ensure the holster is safe and clear for you to place the gun into it.

When you put the gun back into the holster, MOVE SLOW. When you slowly holster, you’re able to feel if something is wrong, if something doesn’t feel right, if something might be in the way that might cause the gun to fire. This is important information! Because if you feel something it wrong, you can STOP IMMEDIATELY! I hope you can see how this could prevent something undesirable from happening.

I know it’s hard. We get into the moment and our emotions can get the better of us. But we must be better than that. We must work to control our emotions. By choosing to carry a gun we also carry a grave responsibility. We may not be perfect at it (we are human, after all), but we must strive to do better. We must work to be aware of what’s going on, and work to ingrain the habit to a level of unconscious competence so when we holster our gun, it’s always done in a safe manner.

The emphatic holster has no place in safe gun handling. Holster by looking, holster slowly. Be sure, be safe.

2018-06-26 training log

Today was good.

So all the knee things, but it doesn’t really affect today. One minor thing is of course adding the rehab work to my warm up and cool down, and then no more bodyweight leg work (back work instead). I hope to maybe add the leg work back in, but that’ll have to come after things are better.

All in all, things rolling well. I’m actually enjoying the added back work.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 10
    • 105 x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 155 x 3
    • 180 x 5
    • 210 x 5
    • 235 x 5
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 10
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with bench warm-up sets)
    • 15e x 12
    • 15e x 12
    • 15e x 12
    • 15e x 12
  • Kroc Rows (superset with bench work sets)
    • 60 x 10e
    • 60 x 10e
    • 60 x 27e
  • Curl-Grip Pulldowns (superset with bench BBB sets)
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 11
    • 125 x 10
  • Pushdowns
    • 95 x 20
    • 95 x 17
    • 95 x 13

And then time on the bike, and my rehab work.

2018-06-25 training log

Well… things are going to change.

I had my MRI on my knee. I had a PT session. Bottom line: no tears or anything really bad. Basically I’ve lost a decent amount of cartilage, and now I’m inflaming the hell out of it. Why? Looks like muscle imbalances have really pulled my knee caps off track, so they’re not moving “in the groove” of the joint and everything’s grinding. It’s been years in the making, and just happens to be coming to a head now.

The PT session looked at a few things, considered my situation, goals, etc. and saw what wasn’t working on me. Basically I’ve really strengthened particular muscles from all the squats and deadlifts, but other antagonists didn’t get the same treatment — thus the pulling. So, the first pass at this is to give me a bunch of exercises to do to try to correct that. I will do these every day and see how it goes. If my condition improves, great; keep doing the exercises for the rest of my life. 😉 If it doesn’t improve, then we’ll revisit.

So, there are the daily exercises. On gym days, I’ll do them as a part of my warmup. On my off-days, I’ll just do them at home.

But then, there’s gym work.

It has to change.

I’m still not 100% settled on what that change will be. But I know a few things. I don’t see upper body work (bench day, press day) changing at all. Squat and deadlift days will change. I will still squat and still deadlift as I do for main work. All other work changes to help support, strengthen, and bring up these obvious weak points. Trouble is, I’m not 100% sure exactly what will work — and can be done with the equipment/facilities I have available.

For example, a hack squat machine would be awesome, but the gym doesn’t have one. So what to do?

Anyways, today I tried some simple things: single-leg leg presses (which is actually something the PT suggested, tho they had a hack-squat-like machine — I had to use a leg press), single-leg extensions.

I think the single less presses are going to be good. I start slow and light and will work my way up — this is certainly more about quality of the movement.

Leg extensions? Not sure. I felt more irritation in the knees during this, so it may not work well for me. Not sure yet.

That said, I think what may come next week is a different approach. Maybe something like front squats with a very light weight and maybe heels up, so I can keep my torso as upright as possible and really hit the VMO — but still heavy enough that I’m hitting that 5-10 rep range (tho I’m sure I’ll have to work to that regardless). Then follow with the 1-leg leg presses for up to maybe 20 reps each leg.

Then deadlift day. What just hit me, as I was writing this, is I may try barbell hack squats for my supplemental, then let my assistance work be for other things like hams and glutes. TBD.

Anyways — point is that things are going to have to change, but it’s all good. It’ll be some experimentation to get me there.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO

  • Squat (superset with band pullaparts)
    • bar x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 165 x 5
    • 195 x 3
    • 230 x 5
    • 260 x 5
    • 295 x 5
  • Band Pullaparts
    • Not tracked, but 15 reps each
  • 1-Leg Leg Press (superset with front plate raises)
    • empty sled x 10e
    • empty sled x 10e
    • empty sled x 10e
    • empty sled x 10e
  • Front Plate Raises (all the way overhead)
    • 25 x 20
    • 25 x 20
    • 25 x 20
    • 25 x 20
  • 1-Leg Leg Extensions
    • 30 x 10e
    • 30 x 10e
    • 30 x 10e
    • 30 x 10e
  • Stair Calves
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 12

Sunday Metal – Mastodon

Mastodon with “Linoleum Knife”