Heavy squats & deadlifts

Today’s workout consisted of heavy load today with both squats and sumo deadlifts, I used low bar wide stance squats because I am working on hip mobility along with the sumo deadlift. I have noticed that what I thought was my max effort, I could have probably went up in weight on my heavier lifts — so possibly next week I will check my 1RM’s for my lifts. Normally I would have some Tri-set exercises after the core lifts but decided to end my workout with some HIIT Training.

 

Warm Up:

 
  1. Side lunges: 4 x 25
  2. EZ Bar butt-lifts: 4 x 25, 20 lbs
  3. Bench kettlebell stiff-legged deadlifts: 4 x 25, 4 kg

Workout:

  • Sumo deadlift: 5 x 2-4 (80%-90%) 5 x 180 lbs, 5 x 190 lbs, 5 x 200 lbs

       – sumo deadlift off blocks: 5 x 2-4 (80% 1RM), 180 lbs

       – Sumo deadlift: 2 x 1 (95%+) 215 lbs, 225 lbs 

  • Barbell back squat: 5 x 2-4 (80%-90% 1RM) 5 x 160 lbs, 5 x 170 lbs, 5 x 180 lbs

        – Barbell back squat: 2 x 1 (95%+ 1RM) 190 lbs, 200 lbs

 

HIIT Training: 5 rounds circuit

  1. High knees: 20 seconds
  2. squats: 20 seconds, 12 lbs body bar
  3. burpees: 20 seconds

Check out my workout: Core lifts

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Monday Bench press session

Bench with speed and power

So today was definitely a reboot day considering I haven’t been to the gym since Friday — because I used Saturday and Sunday as my rest days; so coming back today, I created my own workout plan utilizing the information I learned from Matt Wenning, I made today a dynamic power workout — with bench press as the core lift. I focused on form and using my back more and chest and shoulders less. It is still something to get used to , but it went over well overall, I also need to implement some forearm exercises to make my wrist stronger (they have a tendency to bend when bench pressing higher weights) and I want to rid of the habit before I end up hurting myself — so if anyone has any wrist strengthening exercises they recommend that helps them, please leave them in the comment section. 

 

Considering today is my first workout with a core lift, I went all out and made sure to really focus on the key factors to make my bench stronger. The key factors Matt told me about — my weaknesses and making them into strengths. All of the accessory work was for Triceps, lats and rear delts. I am definitely sore up top, but it was worth it, because I had to really put forth the effort. 

 

Warm up: 12-15 min (done as a circuit)

 
  1. DB press: 4 x 25, 30 lbs
  2. Cable one arm tricep extension 4 x 25 each arm, no weight
  3. Pec dec/rear delt machine: 4 x 25, 20 lb

Workout:

  • Barbell bench press (dynamic/speed and power): 9 x 3-6, 80 lbs – I did 3 sets of medium, 3 sets narrow and 3 sets wide grip and focused on speed and power output & used 60% of my 1RM.

Tri-sets:

  • Close grip lat pulldown: 5 x 10-15, 70 lbs
  • Kneeling cable tricep extension: 5 x 10-15, 70 lbs
  • Cable face pull: 5 x 10-15, 70 lbs

Tri-Sets:

  • Rope straight arm pull down: 5 x 10-15, 40 lbs
  • Cable triceps overhead extension (rope): 5 x 10-15, 60 lbs
  • Bentover DB reverse fly: 5 x 10-15, 30 lbs

Tri-Sets:

  • Seated elevated cable rows: 5 x 10-15, 90 lbs
  • Reverse grip triceps pushdown: 5 x 10-15, 50 lbs
  • EZ bar military press: 5 x 10-15, 50 lbs
 

Now I wanted to do bench press with bands as well but my gym didn’t offer thin enough bands for me to do it and I thought I could manage the thicker bands, but with the help of a spotter I couldn’t even manage to lift the bar off me with the thicker bands, #lifelesson so maybe when I get some bands then I can implement those for dynamic speed day as well. 

 

Shay-lon 

Meeting Matt Wenning — Powerlifting Legend

I was nearly shitting myself at the thought of finally meeting Matt Wenning yesterday. I started the drive early in the morning and brought a friend along for moral support and help with my nerves & anxiety. I am pretty sure, the whole drive was nothing but seemingly loud music, frequent pee breaks, and eating food, oh and minor chit chat — that helped to raise my confidence… (mostly singing though, car karaoke, I love it). The drive only took about a hour and half – maybe hour and 40 min, Columbus isn’t too far from where I reside. 

My friend was FIRST to spot his gym, there were no signs; only reason someone would even know the building was a gym is if they had a GPS, and noticed the small wording on the door (which I had not noticed) — otherwise they would be driving up and down the road looking for it like I almost did. The outside appearance was that of an old building, nothing stylish, just an old building with street parking (minimal) and parking behind the building as well (minimal) but thankfully we were able to find parking. Not to mention, I don’t think his gym gets crowds like a Planet Fitness gym would — it is more of a gym for the experienced and invited and possibly for those who honestly get into contact with the dude; so if you are lucky, you probably would have had this opportunity. 

 

Before walking inside, I said a small prayer and took a deep breath, then took a photo — yes always taking photos so I can capture memories of my travels. Walked in, small room and no one present, but I could hear people in the next room, not many but some, I decided to stay in the empty room for a while to get a feel of the place, to change shoes, to mix aminos in with my water, to look around at some of the posters, and trophies, apparel, etc. I also took that time to talk out my nerves with my friend, and say a mini prayer once more. I literally took another 10 min, just farting around doing nothing productive, debating on when to walk into the other side of the gym and greet everyone. I found the right time when I looked at the clock and it read 10:45 am ( I was scheduled for 11am) guess this is it, all or nothing. I learn something today and hopefully give it my all. 

 

Walked to the other side of the gym through a new entrance and observed about 4 people talking and using some dumbbells. 2 females and 2 males. I don’t any of these people but NONE of them were Matt, I knew that for sure. I just found the area where everyone put their belongings and settled in, I didn’t do much nor speak with anyone outside of my friend, I just paced myself in a small area of the gym waiting for the dude of the hour to show up — he shows up 7 min later and I realize he is definitely in an amazing shape, big dude and smiled as he greeted me. I felt comfortable right then and there because I felt a good ora around him, no longer was I as scared as I was walking in, I was calm. He ask me the BIG question of the day: “what did you want help with?” ; if I am being honest, I I was quite sure how to go about answering it, but my reply “I want help in powerlifting, I am planning on competing this summer or late fall and I want help getting there, I want help with my lifts, I want help with being a powerlifter, and I willing to take whatever I learn today and utilize it”. Matt was smooth when he replies with “okay, let me introduce you to Brooke (a woman at the gym whom I assumed worked there) and she and myself will both watch you and we will start with the basics — I want to see your warm up in full, everything you do to warm up before lifting,I want to see”. I wasn’t prepared for this moment, me having to warm up in front of  a legend and someone I didn’t quite know; I knew my warm up methods weren’t horrible but that doesn’t mean they were good either or good enough. I did my whole warm up (the gym had maybe one treadmill or two, 4-5 racks maybe 6, and maybe two machines, resistance bands, benches, and plates. possibly DB’s but I didn’t observe well enough to see how many or the amount of weight. At the end of my warm up, we went straight into squats (back squats)

 

He had me do squats the way I normally do them, not to change anything, just do them (he also asked me my one RM) I did my high bar shoulder width apart squats (10 rep bar warm up), 10 lbs 10 reps warm up set and then TA DA .. started in on the heavier lifting. I was told to do 3 reps after adding weight so they can watch my form and movements — find my weaknesses and strengths. 

My weaknesses: hips, glutes and hamstrings (all in that order) hips being the most weak area. My strengths: back and quads  — during my squats. He said my quads are strong, real built but they carry all my weight and the rest of my lower body suffers because they are weaker and so when it comes to lifting heavier weights — my quads are doing all the work and in the long run that will cause injury or prevent me from lifting heavier. He started me on LOW bar. WIDE stance squats, because I will focus on hip, glute and hammie development, it will force me to use all my muscles together and make the drop to the ground shorter and refrain me from using only my quads. The goal for my squat is to use all the lower body muscles to develop that movement. My warm up for squats will include 12-15 min worth of 3 exercises done in a circuit with 4 x 25 each  (the exercises will be hip, glute and hamstring development since those are weak areas)

 

Low bar wider stance squats are something for me to get to used to, it was harder because I don’t do them and because I have weak areas and so used to just pushing through with my quads and back and ignoring my hips, glutes and hammies. I learned if I want to move weight and perform better, I will need to use this stance — and really strengthen my weaknesses. High bar shoulder width stance IS NOT BAD, is NOT WRONG , but it will make lifting heavier squat weight harder because I will have to go a lot further down (I am tall) so we want to make the lift shorter and easier for my height. He would understand this, because he is a tall dude himself. Deadlifts were next …

During this training, we did Sumo deadlifts — but he wants me to continue implementing both conventional and sumo. He wanted my lift during the pull — it wasn’t bad, I just had to note that I need to remember to “pull my shoulders back” before lifting, so that I am lifting straight up with the bar. Another noted thing is, I am going to have to start training deadlift and squat on the same days instead of separate like I have been (obviously one deadlift type with the squat, and another deadlift type with squat on another day) — the female trainer said “they believe in hard leg days”, so guess what? I am going to have to start having hard leg day sessions. LOL This isn’t a bummer, but just means more time at the gym.. I should be used to this; I practically live there. The warm up routine he has me doing for squats, I need to focus on the same weaknesses for my deadlift. Yay! easy enough. Moving on once more…

Bench press — MY WORST LIFT in my opinion, because it is not only my weakest lift but also the lift that hits plateaus the most, the lift that I have issues with most of the time and the lift that I have been screwing up on. I practically warned them that this would be something for the books because I already knew I had issues with this lift — but they both agreed to still watch me perform. I found out that my issues with the bench are: weak lats, weak triceps, and weak rear delts; BUT .. both my pecs and shoulders out power the rest of those other weaker muscles which makes my lifting harder for the bench. Again, being able to strengthen the weaker muscles so they can be utilized is important. Also, I need to get used to having my shoulders against the bench and not following the pull, my wrist need to be straight and not bend back (out of habit) and I need to use my legs with the heavier weights to help with my lifting as well with bench press. My warm up expectation is the same routine: 4 x 25, 12-15 min warm up, a circuit with three different exercises that hit each of my 3 weaknesses separately. Oh what fun!

I was told to stay away from isolated quad exercises and isolated anterior delt exercises — because I am strong in those areas in my body ( this will only be for the time being, we shall work on these areas of the body again at later date) so this means I will be focusing only on the weaker muscles and core lifting. I should be working out 4 x a week now, but if I want to implement a 5th day (like I have been), then I can make it an accessory day to work on weaker muscles and get a good pump. He didn’t recommend any specific days to do cardio, basically make my circuit warm up my cardio. 

By the time the session was finished up, he basically explained to me what he would like to see from me, what we will set up in the future with workouts (he gets back into town in May) so I won’t see him until then, how to go about warming up, what exercises to implement (examples), and encouraged me in way that let me know I can do this, I can be a good powerlifter, I have the potential. He even took pictures with me and we video taped everything 🙂 Overall it was a fun experience, one I am looking forward to in the future! Check out some of the pictures & video footage we took while at the gym: Meeting Matt Wenning

Thanks for reading and sorry for the long novel, I wanted to give everyone a glimpse into my world on Tuesday when I met this dude, because it is a once in a lifetime situation and we never know if we will have the same opportunity twice.

Shay-lon

Yesterday’s workout

  • Barbell bench press: 3 x 5, 3, 1

 

  • 75% of 90% of 1-RM: 90 lb, 5 reps
  • 85% of 90% of 1-RM: 105 lb, 3 reps
  • 95% of 90% of 1-RM: 115 lb, 1+  (I did 3 max reps)

 

 
  • Wide Grip pull ups (assistance machine): 5 x 6, 100 lb
  • DB floor press: 5 x 6, 80 lb
  • DB incline press: 5 x 6, 70 lb
  • Lat pulldown (wide grip): 5 x 6, 100 lb

I used the pull up assistance machine because I am not good at wide grip pull ups. I can do one set of 4-5 usually without assistance. 

 

Ab workout:

Superset:

  • medicine ball decline sit ups: 4 x 20, 8 lb
  • plank: 4 x 45 seconds

Cardio workout: 

  • Stair climber: 20 minutes, level 7
 

 

Good & bad news

  • Barbell shoulder press: 3 x 5, 3, 1

 

  • 75% of 90% of 1-RM: 60 lb, 3 x 5
  • 85% of 90% of 1-RM: 70 lb, 3 x 3
  • 95% of 90% of 1-RM: 75 lb, 5 rep max , 3 x 1+

 

This went over well, I believe about 4 or 5 weeks ago, I was hitting 70 lb for like 1 rep max and now I am able to do 75 lb for 5 rep max, very happy about this progress.

 
  • Barbell bench press: 5 x 5, 105 lb, 100 lb

My bench did not go over well at all today. I was able to hit 105 lb for 5 reps but only the first set, after that set, I was only hitting 3-4 reps, so I went down to 100 lb and was hitting my 5 reps until the last set and was only able to do 3 reps. Bench has never been my stronger suit in lifting but I want to improve it because I plateau in bench pressing more than I do in other lifts and it agitates me. I have found some ideas but it will be trial and error. Anyone else feel like their bench is slow to progress? 

 

My 1 rep max should be 135, but at this rate, I don’t know. GRR. 

 
  • DB seated shoulder press: 5 x 6, 60 lb
  • Smith machine upright row: 5 x 6, 90 lb
  • Side laterals to front raise: 5 x 6, 30 lb
  • DB rear delt row: 5 x 6, 80 lb

The assistance work today wasn’t too bad besides the last one (hard one). I am doing heavier assistance work this week and next week and lighter core lifts next week (deload week) so today’s core lifting was fairly heavy work. 

 
 

 

Monday’s Workout—

Double the Trouble

Today’s workout consisted of two different core lifts because Wednesday I will be out of town for an appointment so would not be able to make it to the gym (but keep in mind I will be doing bench press twice a week now)

 
 
  • Bench press: 3 x 5

 

  • 65% of 90% of 1-RM: 80 lb
  • 75% of 90% of 1-RM: 90 lb
  • 85% of 90% of 1-RM: 105 lb, 6 max reps ( I did one more rep compared to 6 weeks prior)

 

  • Bench press: 5 x 5, 100 lb (heaviest weight I can do with 5 reps)
 
  • Barbell Shoulder press: 3 x 5
  1. 65% of 90% of 1-RM: 50 lb
  2. 75% of 90% of 1-RM: 60 lb
  3. 85% of 90% of 1-RM: 70 lb, 8 max reps — I did 8 reps with 65 lb 6 weeks prior so I am getting stronger 😀
  • DB floor chest press: 5 x 15, 50 lb
  • DB standing shoulder press: 5 x 15, 30 lb
  • DB shrugs: 5 x 15, 100 lb

So as you can see, I have noted where my increase of strength and endurance has landed me since the previous 6 weeks. I am very proud with today’s session and results. 

 

For a sneak peak at my updated physique & bench press —- Bench press and physique update

 
 

Powerlifting Cycle Two— Week 5

Day Three- Chest day

Eh, so today’s lifting was bench press aka chest day. I had some good improvements with my reps, but fell short in my lifting when it got heavier (close to my 1 rep max), so I am going to probably start lifting bench twice a week starting Monday, because my bench press is slowest to progress compared to other 3 big lifts, and I want to hit 135 by March. I am like 5-10 lb away from it, so I know it is possible with the right strategy and of course hard work. I spoke to someone at the gym about it today, so they gave me an idea that I plan on implementing for it. We shall see how well it goes. 

 
 
  • Barbell bench press: 3 x 3

 

  • 70% of 90% of 1-RM: 85 lb
  • 80% of 90% of 1-RM: 95 lb
  • 90% of 90% of 1-RM: 105 lb, 6 max reps (I did 2 more reps compared to week 2) Yay!

 

  • Wide Grip pull up (assistance machine): 5 x 15, 120 lb
  • DB chest press: 5 x 15, 50 lb
  • Wide grip lat pull down: 5 x 15, 60 lb
  • Incline DB chest press: 5 x 15, 50 lb

Cardio:

  • Stationary bike:20 minutes, level 8. Rpm: 70+ 

So basically I am struggling to use my feet to push me while benching with an arch,I have finally gotten down the straight wrist idea, but now it is focusing on pushing my heels when I bench so I can get that weight up quicker and more efficiently. This is going to take some learning and practice before I have it down, but if I plan on competing and being at my best within competitions, I have to learn to get better at these things or make it work for me. I was struggling at 1 rep for 125 lb and my max is supposed to be 135 now (I have to add 5 lb this week), so with that being said, UGHHHH! not happy with struggling at 125, but will continue to work on it.. I know I can do this.