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jaja

Shaping the body; adjusting the mind

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Today I was feeling well: no fever nor sore throat. So I hit the gym to test my deadlift.

  • Squat: 4x62,5kg
  • Deadlift: 1x4x127,5kg + 1x6x115kg
  • Seal Row: 1x7x57,5kg + 1x7x55kg + 1x9x52,5kg
  • Chin ups: 2xAMRAP

I come from a sickness, so I can say deadlift is good, although I only added one rep. The last rep of my heaviest set was tough: my chest collapsed a little.

Seal Row…what a shame. I'm stalling here, but this time the 7th rep of the 1st set was solid. Maybe next week I'll add one more!

Chin ups were meh, but I was running out of time, so I didn't recover well.

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  • Brench press: 1x7x82,5kg + 1x8x77,5kg + 1x9x75kg
  • Pendlay Row: 1x8x67,5kg + 1x9x65kg + 1x9x64,5kg
  • Hip Thrust: 1x8x135kg + 1x9x120kg +1x10x107,5kg

Quite happy today.

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  • Squat: 1x7x105kg + 1x8x95kg + 1x9x85kg + 1x10x77,5kg
  • Chin-ups: 1x7xBW+10kg + 1x8xBW+2,5 + 1x5xBW

Super quick session today, I skipped the “light” bench press because I trained the heavy one only yesterday. Progress in every department, so…thumb up!

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  • Squat 60%: 4x6x62,5kg
  • Deadlift: 1x5x127,5kg + 1x8x115kg
  • Seal Row: 1x7x57,5kg —STOPPED—
  • Chin-ups: 4xAMRAP (10-9-6-6)
  • Anti-pronation exercise: 2x10
  • Pec minor stretches
  • Ankle mobilization

Deadlifts felt strong. I didn't reach the target, but next time I will for sure.

After the first set of Seal Rows, a trainer approached me to discuss my form. I was…well…“splashing” on the bench like seal on ice and he was concerned for my back. Usually when someone (trainer or not) talks with me about what I'm doing the points made are superficial at best, but this time was different. I have APT, plus some imbalances, so I need to be careful about what I do. He convinced me to try a lever seated row machine for some time. I'm not a fan of machines, but I can recognize logical arguments, so I'll put my stubborness aside.

There's still something off about my right ankle. I've even tried the “band distraction” thing. I wonder if I'll ever be able to squat properly.

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  • Bench Press: 1x7x82,5kg + 1x8x77,5kg + 1x8x75kg
  • Pendlay Row: 1x5x70kg + 1x6x67,5kg + 1x7x65kg
  • Hip Thrust: 1x8x140kg + 1x9x125kg +1x11x112,5kg
  • Shoulders external rotations: 3x15x3kg
  • Anti-pronation exercise: 3x10

I was this close to complete the 8th bench press rep…dammit! I think I'll pull it out the next time. After that it's time for a deload, I feel.

I think I used too much of a momentum while doing the rows. I'm barely 64kg, I don't know how to strict-lift more than my bodyweight without straining my back.

Finally the hip thrust is becoming harder. 8 reps were truly all that I got.

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  • Squat: 1x8x105kg + 1x9x95kg + 1x10x85kg + 1x11x77,5kg
  • Bench: AMSAPx5x77,5kg (2)
  • Chin-ups: 1x8xBW+10kg + 1x9xBW+2,5 + 1x9xBW

I wasn't confident today because yesterday I trained quite hard. Plus, my right knee wasn't feeling great. Luckily I had an amazing session and my squat game was as strong as ever! I'm not sure if next time I should deload or increase the weight.

Din't push my bench presso much: I played a conservative game, because In trained it yesterday.

Proud of my chin-ups! I'm gonna increase the weight next time!

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  • Squat 60%: 4x6x62,5kg
  • Deadlift: 1x5x127,5kg + 1x6x115kg
  • Hammer Row: 1x10x60kg + 1x11x55kg + 1x12x52,5kg
  • Chin-ups: 4xAMRAP (11-8-7-7)
  • Anti-pronation exercise: 3x10
  • Ankle mobility

I was expecting the deadlift to go up, but this wasn't the case. Same numbers I did a week ago, pulled out with a lot more effort. I had real trouble keeping my form decent during my 5th rep. Actually I felt too much bending around T7; my longissimus toracis was reeeeaaally engaged. I was more fatigued than usual, but I don't know why. Maybe I need to increased the rest period prior the DL, maybe I need 2 rest days prior DL day, maybe I need a deload day/week, maybe I need to eat more.

The Hammer Row is still in the testing fase. 60kg are the total, so 30 per arm. Too light, anyway.

Apparently the anti-pronation exercise makes easier for my ankles to stay in the right position while stretching the calves. Cool! I still have a lot of work to do, though: I've noticed that when I jump from a box and land in a squat position, my knees tend to “cave in”. I don't know if it's because of my feet or my adductors.

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1 hour ago, jaja said:

I was expecting the deadlift to go up

DL is pretty taxing... consider a "conjugate" approach rather than just conventional DL each time. For example sumo, negatives, Romanian; basically anything that means you dont have to a really heavy each session, but the choice might be influenced by your sticking points too.

Also squat and DL in the same session, as a rank beginner why not, but seems a lot for where you are at.

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@SwissDanny It's no secret that I'm stubborn, so it's not easy to accept that something I'm doing (and I like doing) isn't working as well as it used to. I aim at a 2.5BW deadlift, so I'd prefer not to skip the conventional DL day: what if I'll lose strength? I was thinking about adding a “conjugate” exercise (stiff leg, maybe?) in the routine to overcome my sticking points, but I need to carefully chose the right spot.

Just random thoughts.

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The fastest road is not always the straightest. 

I've never tried full on Westside method and would be a bit wary of it since those guys are full of 'roids and lifting with gear, but part of the idea there is you also track your maxes on the variants... it keeps that sense of progression.

If your goal really is to increase your maxes,  I had really good success breaking through some plateaus using the nSuns program this time last year, adding about 10% to all time maxes over 12 weeks.  I was starting with current maxes well under those too.  It basically has you do two variants Romanian and Sumo.  It's a self regulating linear progression method.

 

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11 hours ago, jaja said:

what if I'll lose strength?

You won't. This "if I miss a workout I will start to decondition" myth is just that: a myth. Most deadlifters, assuming they are training hard, find they will pull a PB if they have a week off. SD's right: the Westside guys have enhanced recovery because of the drugs. Enhanced recovery simply means being able to do a higher volume of work in any time period; it's the greater volume (time under tension) that yields the growth. 

Remember my friend's quote: "There's no such thing as over-training; there's only insufficient rest or inadequate nutrition."

When I dabbled with powerlifting, I made my best gains in a six week block before the competition training under Stan Pianko's guidance once a week. Every workout (about 3.5 hours) I lifted more than the week before. This probably is not sustainable, but the relevant point here is that the six days I did no weight training on do not lead to deconditioning; in fact the reverse.

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@SwissDanny I've never actually tested my 1RMs and I've no intention to, but yeah I wanna get stronger. I remember you mentioning the nSuns protocol, yes. I can take inspiration from it and I think I will — I probably need more variety to overcome some sticking points. Unfortunately I can't train 4 days a week, so I need to carefully plan my additions. I mentioned stiff leg DL, but rack pulls and snatch grip DL could also be useful.

Can I ask you how long were your resting periods when you were doing the nSuns program?

1 hour ago, Kit_L said:

Remember my friend's quote: "There's no such thing as over-training; there's only insufficient rest or inadequate nutrition."

That's right. I rarely get DOMS and I usually sleep a decent amount of hours. I can definitely pay more attention to my calories, though: to lift big i have to eat big, or so they say.

Speaking about nutrition I have a curiosity. A strong body (gymnastic or weight training, it's not important) needs “fuel”. Yet it seems like one of the aspect of longevity is a moderate caloric intake. I know your view: there's always a third way between “this” and “that”, is this still the case? What would it be an adequate nutrition for both fitness and longevity? I honestly have no clue.

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Funny thing happened today during a yoga nidra session. I was decently relaxed when all of a sudden I felt an itching sensation on my nose. Immediately I a feeling of irritation rose in the whole of my body, radiating from the abdomen. I kept myself still and, focusing on the belly, took a deep breath, trying to relax everything on the exhale. After this the irritation was gone, only the itching remained.

Valuable lesson.

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Relevant to the losing strength discussion: The Science of Detraining: How Long You Can Take a Break from the Gym Before You Lose Muscle Mass, Strength, and Endurance.

Quote

Strength can be maintained without training up to 3-4 weeks, but is gradually lost thereafter (strictly speaking, you can temporarily lose strength before this, but it comes back so quickly during retraining that it doesn’t matter)

Quote

To maintain strength during 4+ weeks of detraining, train at least once per week (for beginners). Trained lifters could maintain strength gains with eccentric training.

And as for...

1 hour ago, jaja said:

A strong body (gymnastic or weight training, it's not important) needs “fuel”. Yet it seems like one of the aspect of longevity is a moderate caloric intake. I know your view: there's always a third way between “this” and “that”, is this still the case? What would it be an adequate nutrition for both fitness and longevity?

Many of the benefits of reduced intake come from the magic that happens when your body no longer has excess fuel coming in. It starts to clean up and recycle. You can take advantage of this while still training hard. Simply fuel around your workouts, primarily. Position most of your carbs around workouts so that they are used to fuel those workouts and are not simply switching off (that's an oversimplification, of course) your clean-up/recycle functionality. Intermittent fasting is potentially a great tool here, because it expands the window of no intake. And then every now and then, it might not be a bad idea to do an extended fast (3-5 days, perhaps longer if you're willing/able).

Fueling adequately is not going to be an issue. The problem is that most people in developed countries these days are massively over-fueling. And like you said, it is never this or that. What if a very low calorie intake truly is best for longevity? Well, you will have the body of a very-low-calorie-intake person if you choose such a lifestyle. Do you want to live a few years longer if that is the trade-off? What if feeling strong and vibrant means eating a bit more and living a few years less? Is that a bad thing?

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1 hour ago, jaja said:

Can I ask you how long were your resting periods when you were doing the nSuns program?

Not sure what nSuns means, but at least five minutes, if I recall correctly. That was a LONG time ago!

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23 minutes ago, Nathan said:

Well, you will have the body of a very-low-calorie-intake person if you choose such a lifestyle.

There's the choice, there. The bodybuilders I used to know would say, "Live large, or not at all!" Everything's a choice—the enduring question is, "What do you want?"

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26 minutes ago, Kit_L said:

Not sure what nSuns means, but at least five minutes, if I recall correctly. That was a LONG time ago!

nSuns is a popular training program created by a Reddit user that goes by that handle. (The question was meant for @SwissDanny, I think.) That said, five minutes is a good target for any strength-focused program. I would say a minimum of 3 minutes, but preferably 5 minutes, and if time allows more will not hurt!

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11 hours ago, Kit_L said:

nSuns

It’s a variant of 531 method. Basically a primary lift you build to heavy 5,3,1+ sets then do about 9 drop sets. If you hit 3+ reps with good form on the heavy set you increase your working max next week. Then a secondary lift in a 3 to 7 rep wave for 9 sets, then if you really keen accessories. 

As i wasn’t in a rush I took whatever time for the heavy sets but tried to go e2mom for the rest. But you could go 90s but a bit lighter and still get the intensity.

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17 hours ago, Nathan said:

And then every now and then, it might not be a bad idea to do an extended fast (3-5 days, perhaps longer if you're willing/able).

It's actually something I'm considering. Maybe I'll start with a 24h fast, just to try. Should I skip training during an extended fast, in your opinion?

17 hours ago, Nathan said:

Fueling adequately is not going to be an issue.

See, it's the word “adequately” that's puzzling me. What does it mean? I swear that on the topic of nutrition I've seen worst fights than on politics and religion.

17 hours ago, Kit_L said:

Everything's a choice—the enduring question is, "What do you want?"

Ah! When it comes to fitness it's relatively easy for me to answer. Right now I'm trying to bulk because I come from a “severely weakened” condition, so I'd like to reach at least 66kg of weight with a good strength/bw ratio. Lifting weights is the most reliable method I know of to pursue this goal. I'm not interested in getting huge, though: I'm 170cm, I'd look like a coffee table. ?

Anyway the thing I want is to rewire my system to be more resilient (or anti-fragile) physically and psychologically. I strive for strength and suppleness. So, yeah, I'd like to be more “cat-like”. Or “cougar-like”.

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  • Dead hangs: 2x1min
  • Bench Press: 1x7x82,5kg + 1x9x77,5kg + 1x9x75kg
  • Pendlay Row: 1x7x70kg + 1x7x67,5kg + 1x8x65kg
  • Hip Thrust: 1x8x145kg + 1x10x130kg +1x12x117,5kg

My grip sucks balls. Hard. I can barely hang for 1.5min. The bar is quite thick, but it's no excuse: I'm too weak there and I need to do something. The goal is to hang from one arm for 2 minutes.

I didn't increase my maxes in the bench press, but I gained 1 rep in the second and third set.

Next time I'll try to film my pendlay row, because I have the feeling I'm cheating a little bit. Strength was gained anyway, so that's good.

Hip thrust is going amazing, really. At this point I'm wondering if it makes sense to train the movement RPT style, or if I should go for a pump. Thoughts?

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6 hours ago, jaja said:

See, it's the word “adequately” that's puzzling me.

From my little popup dictionary:

adequate: Sufficient for the purpose

And that is exactly what I meant. You have a base fuel need, which is determined by your BMR (basal metabolic rate), and then you add the cost of your daily activity on top of that to get your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). If you consistently eat more than this, you gain tissue. Less, you lose tissue. You can make it much more complicated by focusing on the minutiae, but you don't need to.

6 hours ago, jaja said:

Right now I'm trying to bulk because I come from a “severely weakened” condition, so I'd like to reach at least 66kg of weight with a good strength/bw ratio.

Many things here. Weak by whose standards? Has your weakness ever limited you from doing your daily activities? But that's a completely different topic. Sticking to diet, you don't need to bulk to get strong. You don't even need to bulk to gain muscle, although it tends to help quite a bit. And then there is how you are defining "bulk." Bulking is often done in excess. There is a limit to how much muscle the body can produce in a short period of time. Bulking can make the gain quicker, but at a cost. Do you actually need to rush? (What happens at 66kg? Will it matter if you reach 66kg this year or three years from now?) Just some things to think about. The answers are for you, not me.

6 hours ago, jaja said:

At this point I'm wondering if it makes sense to train the movement RPT style, or if I should go for a pump. Thoughts?

It's up to you and why you're training it. RPT will be better for strength. Pump will be better for endurance and/or hypertrophy, depending on how you approach it.

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9 hours ago, Nathan said:

adequate: Sufficient for the purpose

Fair enough.

9 hours ago, Nathan said:

Weak by whose standards? Has your weakness ever limited you from doing your daily activities?

Yes, it also caused me pain and injuries. Specifically I need to have strong legs because I had a ACL reconstruction, plus I'd better train my shoulders 'cause they dislocate easily. Strength benchmarks are arbitrary, but I needed clear goals and I took them from Leangains. At some point I'll transition more to calisthenics because of conveniency (although I'd like to keel squatting and deadlifting). I also used to have evident imbalances: my lats were severely undertrained and I had troubles firing my glutes. Now I'm way better, of course.

9 hours ago, Nathan said:

Sticking to diet, you don't need to bulk to get strong. You don't even need to bulk to gain muscle, although it tends to help quite a bit.

That's news to me! Well…I know it's possible to get stronger while on a cut, but it's usually advised to bulk if fat gains aren't a concern.

9 hours ago, Nathan said:

Do you actually need to rush? (What happens at 66kg? Will it matter if you reach 66kg this year or three years from now?)

No, that's one of the reason why I'm not really counting macros. 66kg isn't a magic number. A friend of mine is as tall as me, weights 66kg and looks good even if he isn't muscular. So I took 66kg as a goal.

9 hours ago, Nathan said:

The answers are for you, not me.

I know, but I answered anyway. ?

 

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Had a decent stretching session yesterday evening.

 

  • Partner HF stretch
  • Partner wall quad stretch
  • Partner lumbar stretch

The standard HF stretch is going well, but one leg (left) is considerably looser than the other. I also have the feeling the front leg is limiting me.

Wall quad stretch: I'm not sure I'm doing it right, but I don't know how to correct it. Maybe I'll video myself and post in the form check section of the forum.

Given how rarely (almost never) I stretch my lumbar muscles and how heavy I train my back, I thought they were insanely tight. I was wrong. Ok, they were quite tight, but not so much: I didn't suffer at all and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Today I'm feeling really good in my lower back, so I think I needed this.

Next on the list are my erector spinae; I need to revisit Kit's book because I don't remember any exercise for them. Oh spinal rotations would also be nice for my back.

 

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1 hour ago, jaja said:

Given how rarely (almost never) I stretch my lumbar muscles and how heavy I train my back, I thought they were insanely tight. I was wrong. Ok, they were quite tight, but not so much: I didn't suffer at all and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Today I'm feeling really good in my lower back, so I think I needed this.

What exercises did you do for the lumbar?

As far as erectors are concerned I really like the modified plough on the floor and on rings, as well as sitting forward spine stretch and elephant walk with emphasize on pelvis and spine stretch.

I haven't read your log until now, but it is really interesting :)

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