Heavy core leg lifts “learning to push through”

Feeling bloated and cramping sucks. I wasn’t sure by the way my body was acting if I would be able to go through with this heavy lifting day, especially since it was deadlifts AND squats, and I knew I wouldn’t hae time to make up for it this week — because of it being Memorial Day weekend & I would be out of town most of the weekend. All I knew is, I had to try it and see what would come of it. Thankfully, it wasn’t my very best lifting day but it didn’t go poorly — it went better than I had expected & I am happy for that. I guess, this is what happens when you “push through” and “try”, sometimes it works out. 

I kept my accessory work fairly light but not super light. My main lifts were heavy and so I thought I would do high reps with accessory but not push a heavy load —

Warm up:

  • Body bar overhead squats: 4 x 25, 3 lbs
  • leg curl machine: 4 x 25, 30 lbs
  • EZ bar hip thruster: 4 x 25, 20 lbs

Workout:

  • Conventional deadlift: 5 x 1-2, 285 lbs (95% 1RM) I failed the 5th set because i lost some gas in my lift. Regardless, for the first few sets were easy. 
  • Barbell back squat (low bar/wide stance): 5 x 2-3, 190 lbs (95% 1RM) — easy lift, i was able to do 2 reps easy, probably could have went for 4 reps. 

Tri-set:

  • DB goblet squat: 6 x 12-15, 15 lbs
  • DB plie squat: 6 x 12-15, 30 lbs
  • Resistance band butt lifts: 6 x 12-15, red band

Tri-set:

  • Kettlebell single leg deadlifts: 6 x 12-15 each leg, 8 kg
  • linear leg press: 6 x 12-15, 388 lbs
  • Body bar squats: 6 x 12-15, 15 lbs

I did some video footage of my squat and deadlift from today – & also happen to get a follow from the legend Matt Wenning (professional Powerlifter) so that was fun and he also liked my video 🙂 

I know when I test my new max for squats, it will be well over 200 now.. I am hoping maybe 215-225 lbs. My deadlifts I am hoping it meets 310-315 lbs soon, but that will depend on the day and how well I lift with the correct form. My sumo deadlift probably will hit 275 lbs soon, so hoping for the best. I will probably test max’s in a couple more weeks — possibly the 1st or 2nd week of June is the goal. 

Watch my videos & check out some progress photos of me — Shaylon_FitnessWonderWoman (instagram)

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Tuesday Double —

Can never be prepared for what’s to come.

 

First time having to do squats and deadlifts on the same day, I survived. For now. I did another dynamic workout today with the two core lifts; speed, power and explosiveness. Check out the progress with my low bar — wide stance squats and sumo deadlifts; both done at 60% of 1RM: Squats and sumos

I pretty much decided that I would work on sumo deads this week and conventional next week– switching it every week so I hit both but not at the same time. I am still working on getting used to the low bar wide stance squats — they have been weird, but I know they will be helpful and worth my while.

Warm up:

  1. Kettlebell swings: 4 x 25, 12 lbs
  2. EZ bar hip thrust: 4 x 25, 20 lbs
  3. Front box jumps: 4 x 25

Workout:

  • Barbell sumo deadlifts: 9 x 3-6, 135 lbs
  • Barbell back squat (low bar, wide stance): 9 x 3-6, 120 lbs

Tri-sets:

  • Hip abductor machine: 5 x 10-15, 100 lbs
  • Butt lift with band: 5 x 10-15, red band
  • one arm kettlebell clean: 5 x 10-15, 12 lbs

Tri-sets:

  • Hip adductor machine: 5 x 10-15, 50 lbs
  • Glute kickbacks: 5 x 10-15
  • Stiff legged DB deadlift: 5 x 10-15, 40 lbs

Tri-sets:

  • Lateral band walks: 5 x 10-15, green band
  • smith machine kneeling squat: 5 x 10-15, 75 lbs
  • kettlebell romanian deadlift: 5 x 10-15, 10 kg

Shay-lon

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

Tomorrow’s opportunity

Hello readers, and bloggers; I apologize I haven’t been around for the past 3-4 days. I thought I was feeling better — but come to find out Thursday my body wasn’t having it and I quit my whole workout to go home and rest up .. it was hard, because I was quite frustrated and very pissed off (I wasn’t able to hit my new 1 Rep max squat Thursday) so I didn’t go home on a good note. Since then, my sore throat has gone, but now I have runny nose, nasal congestion, chest congestion, and every so often a cough. I have been spitting up nasty gooey stuff (mucus) — it’s gross looking but it has helped clear my throat & seems to slowly help with my chest congestion by spitting it up often. I have been paying much attention to the color and texture because obviously if it should progress or turn into blood or something; I will then make an appointment to see my medical doctor. For now liquids, rest and taking things slow at the gym. 

 

In other news,  tomorrow is a HUGE day for me because I will be going out of town to train with Matt Wenning (world record holder powerlifter,owns his own gym, has a Masters and bachelors degree, tactical trainer, etc.) and I don’t know what all to expect and especially with this cold I have — but I am excited and scared all at once. I know I will need a good night’s rest, eat something that will help fuel me, stay humble, hopefully soak in everything he shows/teaches me and work hard at whatever he has me doing tomorrow. Outside of those main things, I have no way of preparing for this moment. I plan on keeping all of you abreast on the session — because this is an awesome opportunity I have and I want to take full advantage of it and also, have something to share with all of you from it. 

 

If you aren’t sure who Matt Wenning is, you should find him on #instagram at @realmattwenning and do some google searches as well, you will be impressed. 

 

I have some Monday photos showing of my progress since being sick — gym progress

 

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Shay-lon