Sunday, November 4, 2012

Week 2, Day 4 of Smolev Jr

Today was day 4 of week 2 of our Bench-specific Smolov Jr. Bench program.

I started the day out with some right shoulder soreness.. Not rotator cuff-type soreness, just some front Delt tenderness from benching 4 times a week for 2 weeks so far..

As I warmed up from the bar, to 25s, to 135.. I thought the weight felt kinda heavy, so I was unsure of the 10 upcoming sets of 265. So far in this cycle, I haven't needed any spotter assistance.. And didn't want to start now! Lol.

The first set of 265 went pretty good, but I was worried about the front Delt as it started acting up..

But good news, I learned something about my form and on the next few sets, I arched harder, making it more of a decline, and taking some of the pressure off the front Delt..

Sets 2 thru 10 went great! Video of set 9 below! Good speed, and a nice steady form!

YouTube Video

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

November - March Training Plan

Below is my November-March Training Plan.. as you will notice I get into my gear 12 weeks out to make sure there are no problems hitting depth in the squat..
  • Doing Sumo work and Low-Box Squatting Early in cycle to build hip strength and out-of-the hole power..
  • Then moving into a Smolov Jr. Bench-only routine..
  • Then into Box Squats w/Bottoms of suit only..
  • At this time starting a 12 week Shirted Bench routine of Triples/Doubles/Singles
  • Then Full Squats w/Straps up.. 

Smolev Jr.. explained

I didn't invent it.. Hell I didn't even think to use it until someone (Laura!) told me about it..
Smolev Jr. is a 3 week Bench-Only program designed to put 15-20lbs on your raw bench.. it was derived from the Smolev Squat routine, and is slightly "De-tuned" for Bench work.

The basic plan is you Bench 4 times a week, Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat.. each day increasing reps, but decreasing set # so your volume stays fairly constant each day of the week.. then each of the 3 weeks, you kick it up 10lbs the first week, and 5 lbs the second.. the percentages are all based upon your current 1RM max..

During the Smolov Bench routine, there is no accessory work, nor legs/other body part work. Also, it is not recommended to try and cut weight during the 3 week cycle. Your body needs to focus on recovery and strength building.. and take it from me.. once you hit week 2.. there will be no energy for additional body parts or accessories!!

It is not recommended to run this routine one-time-after-another.. You can run it multiple times, but always deload a few weeks in between.... 

example below:

Smolov Jr.

1RM 325

Add LBs Wk 2 10

Add LBs Wk 3 15

Week 1

Mon 6x6 230
Wed 7x5 245
Fri 8x4 260
Sat 10x3 275

Week 2

Mon 6x6 240
Wed 7x5 255
Fri 8x4 270
Sat 10x3 285

Week 3

Mon 6x6 245
Wed 7x5 260
Fri 8x4 275
Sat 10x3 290  

Friday, October 26, 2012

RPS Power Challenge Meet 10/21 Update

My RPS powerlifting meet update for all my friends who couldn't make it:

So today was a learning experience. Lol. What did i learn?

A. I spent the last 6 months getting stronger. And no doubt I did, but the only equipped squatting I did was with the straps down...

 B. My non-adjustable straps inzer champion which fit me at 260, no longer fits me at 274. Retrospect?
Needed to spend more time w straps up finding out what it took to get down. 525, although light on the way up - just couldn't get down. Nonetheless it was another awesome RPS  meet hosted by Gene and Ame!

  The squat suit I have was given to me by another lifter who inherited it from someone else. It was made for a 220-230lb lifter. At 260 last year I made it work. At 272 this year, plus i added size in my shoulders, it didn't anymore. I should have put the suit on earlier in my training cycle so I would have found it out I couldn't hit depth. What happens is, as you squat down, the tension in the shoulder straps increase, and if the suit is too small, it will bind or lock up before parallel.. Then the further u drop down, all it does is pull your shoulders forward and make u lean forward, and u never break parallel.

Newer suits, (and I just bought one!) have Velcro straps so u can adjust tension and hit depth. What the suit did was turn my 525 squat into a squat and a good morning as it threw me forward. The good news is I had plenty of strength, I good morning the 525 back up and squatted it 3 times no problem.. As far as the other lifts, once u bomb out, you don't continue - sometimes they let u, but its not smart to continue w bench and deadlift at my age, and utilizing 400-600lbs. All I would be doing is risking injury, with no chance of totalling or setting a record because my lifts wouldn't count because I missed the squat all 3 times...

Everythings a learning experience! See the video below for one of my 525 attempts.. bar speed was good, weight was light.. just couldnt hit depth!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 2012 - March 2013 MesoCycle

My next competition will be at the RPS 2013 New England Revolution, held at Next Level Fitness, 12 Industrial Lane, Johnston RI 02919 on March 23 and 24th, 2013.

Below is my training MesoCycle for the next 6 months.. What is a MesoCycle? It is a general layout and scheduling of my workouts - not the exact workouts out I will do, but rather what body parts I will cycle and focus on over that period of time. As you can see I have two "3 week Bench Specific" Smolev Jr. routines I am hitting during October and November. I feel I have neglected my Raw Bench over the last year or so, and I am looking to push that up close to 400lbs raw.

What is the Smolev Jr Bench Routine? Stay tuned and I'll explain...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

12 Week Shirted Bench Training Plan

For the next 12 weeks leading up to the October RPS MA Power Challenge, I have decided to adopt the Elite FTS 12 Weeks Bench Training plan as described in Dave Tate's Bench Press manual.. basically its (3) 3-week cycles, 1 cycle of benching triples, 1 cycle of benching doubles, and 1 cycle of benching singles.. all in the shirt, and each cycle broken up with a Raw bench.. working up to 1RM.. Based upon a current 1RM of 420lbs.. here's the plan:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

4/22 - Repetition Bench Day

We started today with some pre-exhaustion Tricep work with heavy 4 Board work, then proceeded to burn out our Bench Press with close grip Benching with 40lbs of chains to failure of 15+ reps per set.

315x3 (4 bd)

165+40lbs of chains Bench Press Close Grip
4 Sets of 15 to failure

T-Bar Rows

Incline Dumbbell Presses

Friday, April 20, 2012

What the hell is Prilepin's Chart and what does it have to do with Powerlifting?

What is it?
Prilepin’s chart gives set percentages of one’s max to be used in training. Here’s what it looks like:
Prilepin’s Chart
Percent Reps/sets Optimal Total range
55–65 3–6 24 18–30
70–80 3–6 18 12–24
80–90 2–4 15 10–20
90+ 1–2 4 10

Basically, the Russians would take a percentage of your contest max. Let’s say 70 percent. They assigned reps and sets to this percentage and would then have a lifter perform the classic lifts at this percentage. They looked at what happens to the speed of the bar, the lifter’s form, and the lifter’s next contest max. From this research, they decided what sets and rep schemes would work with a given percentage. For instance, if they had a lifter perform 70 percent of his contest max, they found that if the lifter did 3–6 reps per set, he would get a positive training result (i.e. he had good form, his bar speed was good, and his max went up).
They also found that if the lifter only did two reps per set it wasn’t enough. Either there wasn’t enough of a stimulus (there wasn’t enough weight on the bar) or the bar would move too fast (kind of like trying to throw a ping pong ball as hard as you can). Because of this, the lifter’s form would break down. They also found that if the lifter did more than six reps per set, the lifter’s form would break down from fatigue, which would in turn train bad habits, and the bar would move too slow (if you train slow you become slow). The Russian’s found that a lifter could do anywhere from 2–8 sets depending on how many reps per set the lifter did. In other words, a lifter could do:

8 sets of 3 (24)
2 sets of 6 (12)
4 sets of 3 (12)
5 sets of 3 (15)

The combinations are nearly endless. Why the broad range? Well, the Russians realized that everyone reacts differently to a training program. So, if I react better to higher reps, I would do six reps per set. But if you react better to low reps, you would do three reps per set. Prilepin also knew that in training there will be good days and bad days. If you were scheduled to do six sets of three but you’re killing it, you can keep it going and do up to (but not beyond) eight sets. The same holds true if things aren’t going your way. For example, you had a rough night of sleep or the kids kept you up. Whatever the case may be, if you’re grinding it out, only do four sets.

These experiments were done on Olympic weightlifters. Why is that important? Because that’s all they did. They didn’t run. They didn’t play football. They didn’t throw baseballs. They lifted. So you need to account for this in your program design. In other words, you’re probably better off going toward the low end of the total rep range rather than the high end. However, you can look at where you are in your season as well. If our athletes are in-season, we’ll go even lower than the prescribed number of total reps. For out of season, we bring it back up toward the higher end of the range.

These percentages are based off of a contest max. The lifters were lifting as if (and sometimes it was true) their life depended on it. So the Bulgarians actually use two separate sets of maxes—their contest max and their training max. The training max is something done in the gym. I’m sure you’ve heard of this—you have your contest max and your gym max. Your contest max should be higher than you gym max. If it isn’t, you could be conservative, your gym lift may be questionable, or your training may be flawed.

You also should take into account that when the power lifts (squat, bench, and deadlift for those of you who STILL don’t know) are done for a max move, they are done much slower than with the Olympic lifts. This can be more taxing on the CNS.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mon 4/9 - Lower Back Rehab Cycle 1

I am substituting 2 Rehab workouts for my Max Effort lower Monday workouts for the next 4 weeks to get my lower back fully rehabbed and ready for some serious Max Effort work in May.

4 sets of 20, using 25, 30, 30, 35lbs ... Standing Lateral Cable Pulls.. these are done using a low pulley with a handle, and holding the handle in your hand, while leaning and tilting in the opposite direction while pulling the handle up using your torso and not your arm..

4 sets- 80lbs x 20, 80x20, 95x10, 95x15 of Cable Sumo Pulls.. these are essentially Sumo style deadlifts from a straddled low pulley setup.. just working on rehabbing my lower back..

4 sets- 0x10, 10lbsx10 (3sets) of Glute Ham Raises.. to keep my Hamstrings strong thru my rehab period.. I don't want to lose too much max-effort strength..

4 sets of Side Planks, 15 reps each.. these are a great exercise for strengthening the lateral stabilizing muscles of the lower back.. specifically that quadratus lombortum that I strained..

4 sets of Weighted Situps.. with 50lb plates for sets of 15.. good core exercise here.. to keep the core strong.. this is key in preventing future injuries..

Friday, April 6, 2012

1st Day back in the Gym after Meet

Today, was our first day back in the gym after our 3/31 meet.. It also marks 3 weeks from when I injured my back deadlifting. (Quadratus Lombortum muscle) .. By now the back pain is gone, and my plan for rehab is as follows:

No Deadlifting or Heavy Squatting
On my Dynamic Squatting days, I'll go up to about 315 Raw, focusing more on Reps, Speed, Stability, and form.
I'll still do my max-effort benching, but I'm substituting my Dynamic bench days for Repetition work for the next   90 days or so to build endurance and lean muscle mass.

I'll start heavy squatting again

Start pulling again and see how it goes.. I'll be switching to sumo and alternating my overhand/underhand grip for mix up the back tension.

Today's workout 4/6:

Close-Grip Bench:
4 sets 205 x 15

Squat up, Standing Military Presses: (This is done more to build lower back stability than for shoulder work)
115x10, 135x8, 155x6, 155x5

Seated Row Mid-Grip Rows:
120x10, 140x15, 160x15, 180x15

JM Presses:
95x10, 115x8, 115x5, 115x5

Monday, April 2, 2012

Updated w/Full Length Meet Video!

Below is a full-length video footage of all our lifters at the RPS 3/31 Meet at Next Level Fitness in RI.

Squat/Bench/DL - AM & PM Sessions

AM- Kellie, Laura, Dan, Justin
PM- Nick, Fred

Thanks to Joanne for taking the time to record all our lifts!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

GAME DAY. RPS Powerlifting Meet 3/31 - Next Level Fitness RI

Ok, all 39 videos are still be processed! I am going to make this a quick entry right now, with a vid of my 405 bench opener because its all I have done right now .. but everyone on the team did AWESOME!

Here's some highlight stats:

Kellie - New Squat PR @ 225 and Deadlift at 265
Laura - New Deadlift PR @ 300,  Bench PR 125
Fred - New Squat PR @ 505, Bench 365, Deadlift 530
Dan - New Squat PR @ 415, Deadlift 520 (181 RAW)
Justin - New Squat PR 235, Deadlift 350  (1st meet)

With my back healing, I mostly did the coaching and handling for all!
Long 15 hour day with two sessions, but I was able to bang out at least my 405 opener! No complaints here!

More videos will follow .. some pics below...  check for updates!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

3/25- 405x1, 425x1 Bench w/Shirt

My butt slides around a bit in the sweat pants on the vinyl bench, but I made sure it didn't come up. I think the 2nd lift was more stable set-up than the first even though tougher to press.

Monday, March 26, 2012

3/26 Squat Opener test..

Today Dan wanted to check his depth and test his squat opener plans.. So I met him at the gym for a second set of eyes..

He hit 365 with confidence, then 385.

It took us only 1 or 2 squats to get him to competition depth, but he always maintained good bar speed and kept his chest up at all times.. Great job Dan!

I took this opportunity to do a little back work myself, just to test the waters and see how it felt squatting, now nearly 3 weeks after my lower back Deadlift injury.. Good news.. No pain... I was able to work up to 275 for 2 or 3 sets of 3 reps.. Felt good and strong, and towards the end I felt confident I was actually hitting the bar with near maximal speed and power..and the lower back held together. I decided to end it at 275 on a good note, and save 315 for a new day!

Lifting Plans after the Meet.. Looking forward to April - Oct 2012..

Hopefully everyone is excited and prepared for the upcoming meet on March 31st.

Success is where Preparation meets Opportunity. You have prepared, now is your opportunity to perform.

I have prepared a 6 month plan for after the meet, if anyone wants to follow along you are more than welcome. Below are the highlights of the plan:

a.      The first 3 months leading into Summer will be a “Repetition Cycle,” as practiced by Louie Simmons and Westside Barbell. What this means is that we will be substituting our Dynamic lifts at 50% for Repetition work. The difference between the two is that Dynamic work is performed at 50%-60% for 8-10 sets of 2-3 reps – whereas Repetition work is performed for 4 sets (after warmup), taking each set to failure with a minimum of 12-15 reps per set. The basis of this cycle is to build Muscle Mass and Cut weight for “General Physical Preparedness” as Louie calls it.. I just call it “Looking good for the summer.”

In addition, Westside firmly believes that not all “Big Muscle” people are strong, however if you want to be strong – you must have “Big Muscle” .. this is why we are cycling in the repetition method. Our Max effort days and Accessory work will stay mostly the same, but I will be mixing in some different exercises to keep things fresh.

b.      The second 3 months we will revert back to “Strength-Speed Cycle,” utilizing the Dynamic Days that we have been used to for the last 4-5 months. This will build optimum power and strength on top of the lean muscle mass we have built the last 3 months.

We will be scheduling in De-Load weeks roughly every 6-8 Weeks, as you should as well. I realize this is not a perfect world, and not everyone can follow the schedule to the “T” .. I will be posting the workouts on for each month, so you can follow along, but feel free to modify and move the de-load weeks around as you or your family see fit.

Bottom line – Have fun, cut up for the summer, build some strength, and STAY STRONG.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

3/25 - Last Bench Day before 3/31 Meet

Today's plan was to work up to our openers for reliability and form under full bench-press-rack commands, and then see where it goes from there. Since we adjusted Justin's leg setup, he is a lot stronger and stable.

We are still working on perfecting Fred's shirt setup.. Ed isn't competing in the upcoming meet, so he just did some raw presses and 1 boards.. I am working on ironing out my stability and heel pressure. I am almost there... I actually think during my 425 lift, I had better stability than my 405, even though it was maximal weight.... watch for yourself and decide..

With Dan's strong upper body, he is showing great stability and upper body strength with his raw benching..

Justin 225x1
Dan 285, 305x1
Ed 315x1, 365x1 - 1 bd
Fred 385x1
Nick 405x1, 425x1

Saturday, March 24, 2012

3/22 - 10 Days out of the 3/31 Meet

As we get closer to meet day, we are tapering down our training so we are in full strength for the meet. There is no accessory work at this time, and we are picking one or two items for each lifter to work on based upon their strengths, weaknesses, and type of lifting.

For the raw lifters, we worked on weights about 90% of the 1RM Max but for 3-5 Reps with a minimum of 1 forced rep. At this point, working 1RM max to a single failure isn't going to do much, so dropping down a bit to work on the form at 90% and going to failure was our plan.

We also worked with Justin adjusting his foot setup ever so slightly, he had went from a fully tucked arch to a feet-out-front setup, and I felt he wasn't getting sufficient leg drive.. we tucked his feet slightly back, and he was able to get much more leg drive into his bench.

Justin did 4 sets of 205 for 3-5 Reps, and Kellie did 4 set of 115 for 3-5 Reps.. Kellie also made a nice lift at 120lbs for a strong single.

Since I am lifting shirted, I elected to do some close-grip bench pressing to really work the tri's as I am going to do my heavy shirted opener on Sunday.. I did 4 sets of 345 for sets of 4 off assorted boards with close grip.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3/20 - Nick visits an Orthopedic Dr. with some good news!

Today, my back was feeling near 100% better, but so I could devise a rehab plan, I needed a professional opinion as to the direction of the injury - Nerve related or Muscular/Soft Tissue. Through a referral of a friend, I sought out Dr. Harry Von Ertfelda of New Bedford MA.. and I want to say Dr. Von Ertfelda is a class act with 40+ years of experience I would refer to anyone. He and I had a good in-depth consultation/conversation surrounding the injury, then he performed some physical tests, wrapping up with an X-Ray of the spine...which he said was in damn good shape for a 39 year old!

Based upon his professional diagnosis, and I tend to agree based upon my limited research, it is a muscular injury.. this is great news, as rehabilitating a muscular injury is immensely easier than disc/nerve related. My plan is to still do only a Bench-Only at the upcoming meet, unless there is some sort of divine intervention ;) - then spend 4-8 weeks rehabbing with some light weights for high reps, and some good supportive accessory work for the lower back such as Good Mornings for reps and Reverse Back Raises. During this time, my plan is to keep my Abs real strong with Weighted Raises and Situps, and keep the Hamstrings strong with High-Rep Glute Ham Raises.. With the Lord's help and some blood and sweat, I should be ready to set some new Records come the next RPS Powerlifting Meet at Boston Barbell this coming October.. Hey, its a long time away, but maybe we will just forget all about any 500lb Squats by that time, and just blast through the 600lb Barrier!