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jaja

Shaping the body; adjusting the mind

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2 hours ago, nick_kuchedav said:

What exercises did you do for the lumbar?

I used this one.

IMG_6063.thumb.jpeg.52cfa03821397f2529ced7a6081006fb.jpeg

 

2 hours ago, nick_kuchedav said:

As far as erectors are concerned I really like the modified plough on the floor and on rings

Oh yes! That should be useful! One question: how do you use the rings?

2 hours ago, nick_kuchedav said:

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

Thank you!

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15 hours ago, jaja said:

I know, but I answered anyway. ?

Sometimes answering is actually counterproductive, because we have "our" answers that we have already given ourselves, but not answering, and instead thinking about the questions without presenting our established answers can bring new insight.

15 hours ago, jaja said:

Now I'm way better, of course.

Excellent. But that means your answer can no longer be the same. Or are you still limited by weakness? And do you want to bulk or do you want to get strong? (If you can get much stronger without bulking, do you still want to bulk? Why?)

15 hours ago, jaja said:

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.

Well, sure. Fat gains should always be a concern, in my opinion. Fat cells are created fairly easily, but almost impossible to get rid of. (New fat cells simply shrink rather than disappear when you lose fat.) Fat stores are critical when there are potential food shortages, but that is not an issue in our modern world of abundance. A small amount of fat will likely just fill out your current fat cells and not create new ones, but if you have no reason to rush, then I see no reason(/benefit) to get fat.

Also, this shouldn't be news to you! You're familiar with and using Leangains methods! :lol: People often associate Leangains with cutting, but that's not accurate at all if you actually follow Martin's work.

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12 hours ago, Nathan said:

Or are you still limited by weakness?

Yes. My lax shoulders are a problem and since the military press is no longer an option, I should start the handstand journey asap. I'm modestly happy about my progress on compound lifts, but I'm now more aware than ever of my weak links. I need to strengthen those.

12 hours ago, Nathan said:

And do you want to bulk or do you want to get strong? (If you can get much stronger without bulking, do you still want to bulk? Why?)

Mainly I want to get strong, but I wouldn't mind to get bigger in the process (mass helps strength anyway). I'm no more underweight, so why would I like to get slightly bigger/heavier? There's a vanity component, maybe I wanna even compensate for being “the small guy” when I was growing up. The only other “non-shallow” reason, aside from strength gains, is that i'd like to be more “robust”.

12 hours ago, Nathan said:

A small amount of fat will likely just fill out your current fat cells and not create new ones, but if you have no reason to rush, then I see no reason(/benefit) to get fat.

Do you have an opinion about the “optimal” bodyfat percentage?

12 hours ago, Nathan said:

People often associate Leangains with cutting, but that's not accurate at all if you actually follow Martin's work.

True that! The only reason why people think that way about the protocol is because lot of those following it are fat. I'm actually following a “bulking program”, so I actually need a moderate surplus to perform decently.

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This morning I tried meditating after drinking my coffee. I was alert, no doubt, bu oh my god how many thoughts! Mind was spinning, I had real trouble following the breath. Sometimes I was breath counting and at the same time thinking about stuff.

--------------

Training session:

  • Squat: 1x6x107,5kg + 1x8x97,5kg + 1x9x87,5kg + 1x10x80kg
  • Bench: AMSAPx5x77,5kg (4sets)
  • Chin-ups: 1x6xBW+12,5kg + 1x7xBW+5 + 1x8xBW
  • Anti-pronation exercise: 3x10

Squat: amazing. Only trouble I had was keeping the upper back tight enough to make the bar stable.

Bench: this was the “light” day and everything went good. Except…I sometimes got bad sensations near the shoulder joints. I think I sometimes have the tendency (especially on the left side) to anteriorly rotate my shoulders. Probably is doe to tightness in pec minors and maybe even lack of strength in shoulder adduction. Anyway I think it's time for a deload. According to the program I'm following, I should go for a -15% to my top lift and go for a pump. Does anyone more experienced than me have a suggestion on how to properly do a deload day?

Chin-ups: nothing to say, I see decent numbers.

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43 minutes ago, jaja said:

Do you have an opinion about the “optimal” bodyfat percentage?

Depends on the goal, of course, but for general health, most males will feel good and perform well somewhere around 12-15 percent. I'd say as low as possible while still feeling vibrant and energetic, which is probably not going to be any lower than 10-12 percent.

38 minutes ago, jaja said:

This morning I tried meditating after drinking my coffee. I was alert, no doubt, bu oh my god how many thoughts! Mind was spinning, I had real trouble following the breath. Sometimes I was breath counting and at the same time thinking about stuff.

:lol:

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I don't know why but my explanation of this stretch (from my previous post) disappears somehow.

The idea is to relax the shoulder blades (allow them to maximally protract) and after that, while a partner holds your ankles as an anchor point, to sink your hip down (as the arrow shows) and let your spine flexes as much as it can (under the pressure of the gravity). The knees don't have to be straight, although you can experiment with different options. 

Obviously, the partner stands next to you in a comfortable stance and if he pushes your feet downward he will change the area where this stretch is felt. 

I really love this stretch especially after HS, prolonged periods of sitting and rings work.

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9 hours ago, nick_kuchedav said:

I don't know why but my explanation of this stretch (from my previous post) disappears somehow.

I saw just the picture last night and I was confused :lol: Is this what you do on rings? I've done this before simply lying on the ground on my back, and it works really well if you can relax into it. I just hold my legs in a pike and allow the back to straighten along the ground using gravity. Feels really nice. It seems like doing this on rings would be limited by grip strength for most people.

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7 hours ago, jaja said:

@nick_kuchedav it looks intense! My grip isn't strong enough, though.

Not sure if I missed an element in the previous convo but this is a unique approach to the same stretch

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Cam Ogle said:

Not sure if I missed an element in the previous convo but this is a unique approach to the same stretch

Now that is an accident waiting to happen :lol:

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Spent the last weekend training as a shiatsu practitioner. I need to figure out what's wrong with my back, because I often feel pain when I perform a treatment. Is it my posture? Is it weakness? Is it tightness? Mah.

Also: seiza fucks with my knees. Especially my “bad” one.

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Back to the gym

  • Dead hangs: 2x60s
  • Deadlift: 1x4x127,5kg + 1x9x115kg
  • Hammer Row: 1x7x80kg + 1x9x75kg + 1x10x70kg
  • Squat 60%: 4x6x55(+10)kg
  • Tinkering with stiff legs deadlift and snatch grip deadlift
  • Chin-ups: 4xAMRAP (11-9-8-6)
  • Anti-pronation exercise: 3x10

Today was deadlift day and I decided to make it the first exercise. I warmed up with 8x70kg, rested for 5 minutes and then approached the barbell. Fear was present, in the background — it's alway there with squats and deadlifts. My goal was doing 6 reps, possibly without compromising form. I was determined, but not reckless.

  1. First rep: heavy, but flawless
  2. Second rep: back straight, legs tired (not a good sign)
  3. Third rep: still good form, but shaking legs. That's never happened before and it kinda worried me because of my past knee injury.
  4. Fourth rep: back ok, but tired; legs not shaking, but the left one was engaged more.
  5. Fifth rep: lifted the barbell few cm from the ground, but I felt like my back wasn't able to complete the task without hunching at some point, so I stopped there.

Only 4 reps done, worse than last time. On the bright side, the second set was really solid overall and I managed to perform 9 reps with stellar form. Last time I only did 6.

Overall I'm not sure if I got weaker, stronger or I'm more or less the same. What I know is I have a challenge to overcome and I need to figure out a strategy. The legs-shaking is something I'm concerned about, but it's never happened before and I bet the 12h of shiatsu practice in the past two days have something to do with it (my right knee wasn't feeling great). I'm under the impression that I lack the volume required to step up my game. The DL is the only movement I don't train twice a week and the original program I'm following has stiff-legs DL in it. I tried the exercise today and…it's not for me. I'm really digging the snatch-grip DLs, though, but I'm not sure where to put them in the program, as I can only train 3 times a week. The snatch grip DL will require straps (and I don't like the idea), buuut it'll help a lot with upper back strength. Oh I'm also considering rack-pulls above the knees, maybe with snatch-grip.

Anyway, I think I should deload. But…how? According to the program I'm following, I should go for a -15% from my top lift and go for a pump. Does anyone more experienced than me have a suggestion on how to properly do a deload day?

Sidenote: in my training history the progress in squats and deadlifts never match up. When I was having issue with my squat numbers, I could add weight on the DL bar every week; now my squat game feels strong, but I'm hitting a deadlift plateau.

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Was tinkering with the pec minor stretch (wall and floor) because something isn't right in my left/right difference. I discovered that on my left side, where I'm not able to feel the stretch in the correct spot, the humerus tends to dislocate when I set up the position. I thought that it was due to tightness in my pec minor, but then I realized the bone is attached to another muscle: the subscapularis. I performed this exercise, then tried again the pec minor stretch and…the situation appeared to be better! I'm probably onto something, but I'll need to do few more tests (maybe I just had luck).

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5 hours ago, jaja said:

I'm under the impression that I lack the volume required to step up my game. The DL is the only movement I don't train twice a week

It seems counter-intuitive, but you might want to consider that the opposite could very well be true. People that train deadlifts very heavy tend to train them less frequently. Every other week, or even once per month, is not uncommon. In a sense, deadlift is kind of like one of the end-position stretches like pancake, front splits, or the bridge. It's a great display of overall strength, but working on the limiting pieces directly is a lot more effective than using the actual display of strength to improve deficiencies.

6 hours ago, jaja said:

Anyway, I think I should deload. But…how? According to the program I'm following, I should go for a -15% from my top lift and go for a pump. Does anyone more experienced than me have a suggestion on how to properly do a deload day?

There are lots of ways to deload, and it really doesn't matter which you choose. One of the most common ways would be to cut either volume (sets/reps) or intensity (weight) and keep the rest consistent. So you could use the same weight and do half of your reps, for example. Or you could cut the weight a significant amount and do the same sets/reps.

6 hours ago, jaja said:

Sidenote: in my training history the progress in squats and deadlifts never match up.

Of course they don't. They're both highly intense, full-body movements. If they're both progressing very smoothly, it's probably because you're really weak and can't train either one with enough intensity to cause any real major disruption in the body. Improvements in one will likely help the other to some extent, but you have to choose which to prioritize at any one time.

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I tried again the solo pec minor stretch, after treating the subscapularis. I can confirm the hypothesis made yesterday: the shoulder is more stable in the stretch and I can feel the sensation where I should. Anyway there's still a considerable difference between right and left, so much that I think there's still something preventing my left pec minor to be stretched properly with a solo exercise.

Some of you may recall that I can dislocate both shoulders at will. Today, for the first time, I tried to closely examine how this happen. The humerus doesn't actually move much, it's the scapula that gets lifted while the humerus is pushed just a little foreword. The instability is greater on the left, although it's present on both sides. I'm no expert in anatomy, but I think my external rotators are weak and as a result the humerus isn't stable in the shoulder joint. Tightness in supraspinatus (and levator scapulae?) could cause my shoulder to dislocate so easily. It's actually a surprise I've never experienced a shoulder injury!

Worth noting: solo pec minor stretches need workaround because of this, but human crossbow works perfectly if I set it up the right way.

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On 11/13/2018 at 1:59 AM, jaja said:

Spent the last weekend training as a shiatsu practitioner. I need to figure out what's wrong with my back, because I often feel pain when I perform a treatment. Is it my posture? Is it weakness? Is it tightness?

This will pass: as a beginning practitioner, you will be sitting in seiza most of the time, and will be leaning forward, so all your back muscles will be working. Very quickly you will learn that your back needs to be held straight, and you need to be always leaning on one or both arms (or elbows, as they are the main tools in the Masunaga system. So, once you know the sequences well enough, you will literally be on elbows (or hands) and knees, and the whole body will be relaxed. All the treatment pressure comes from simply leaning on your patient in that position, and moving every five to ten seconds. Most Westerners are not agile on the floor, because they have not spent years of their life in this position (and that's why massage therapists use tables).

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23 hours ago, jaja said:

Sidenote: in my training history the progress in squats and deadlifts never match up. When I was having issue with my squat numbers, I could add weight on the DL bar every week; now my squat game feels strong, but I'm hitting a deadlift plateau.

As long as one of these is going up, nothing to worry about at all. And what @Nathan said is spot on, too: train your maximums much less often. And please decide whether you are training for maximum strength, or are you bodybuilding—in other words, what's the goal of your training? Many of your apparent problems will resolve once you understand what you are there for. 

In my experience, unless you are doing infrequent and long sessions (I spoke of three-hour sessions once a week with Stan Pianko, when I was playing with powerlifting, where all three lifts would be worked, with lots of rest), you should be out of the gym 30–40 minutes after you enter it. They used to call me "the phantom" when I trained in the heavy weights room at the ANU: I would be done, whole workout, while the powerlifters were still warming up. The workouts (twice, rarely three times a week) would be squats in one session, and pushing/pulling in another. Working to failure will flatten you in half an hour, and it's all anyone needs. I have trained Australian-level athletes on this kind of intensity, too. If you're in the gym any longer, you're not there to train (as I understand the term) you're there to make friends—not any kind of a problem, but that's what I was referring to when I asked "what are you there for?".

 

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34 minutes ago, Kit_L said:

And please decide whether you are training for maximum strength, or are you bodybuilding—in other words, what's the goal of your training? Many of your apparent problems will resolve once you understand what you are there for. 

I like to think I'm training for maximum strength and I'm following (a variation of) Martin Berkhan's program. That program has being gold for fighting fuckaroundinitis and is still paying off in terms of gains. Anyway, the goal of Leangains seems to be aesthetic…but the focus is on maximum intensity and with extended resting periods. So I guess it's more of a hybrid method, am I right? So far I'm mostly concerned with strength gains and I'm happy with the results. Most importantly, my body responds well to this kind of training: I'm noticeably stronger than one year ago, but I never got DOMS. It's a nice feeling: each week I'm slightly stronger and bigger, but I can still be as active as I want during my “off days” — if I don't get injured, of course.

46 minutes ago, Kit_L said:

They used to call me "the phantom" when I trained in the heavy weights room at the ANU: I would be done, whole workout, while the powerlifters were still warming up.

What was your training goal, back then? When I first discovered Leangains, my training used to last around 40 minutes because I was doing the “cutting routine”, which contained few exercises. After some time I switched to a “bulking routine”, which included additional exercises (always high intensity) and now I'm lucky to make the training last 1h30m.

50 minutes ago, Kit_L said:

If you're in the gym any longer, you're not there to train (as I understand the term) you're there to make friends—not any kind of a problem, but that's what I was referring to when I asked "what are you there for?".

Even when I don't spend time there doing some mobility work, nowadays I'm in there longer. Yet I'm not fucking around: every set is (or should be) as many rep as I can perform with good enough form.

I'm still a n00b, though, so if you have suggestions or resources please share. :)

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4 hours ago, jaja said:

What was your training goal, back then?

Survival. Seven or eight months before, I was knocked down by a mystery virus, and spent ten days in intensive care at the local hospital. When I came out, I weighted 62Kg. I spent the next seven months sleeping 16–18 hours a day. The doctors never did identify the virus.

Anyhow, when January of the following year came around, I was a flabby 70Kg. I went into the heavy weights room; there was an empty squat bar, and I did four reps... and that flattened me completely, for almost a week. In that year, though, training once a week (20–35') most weeks (twice on rare occasions) I posted my best ever FS (125Kg) and BS (155, from memory), and went up to a tubby 90Kg. 

So, now talking about ten years later (when I mentioned the 1–2 workouts a week, one squat and one push-pull) I was training to be as strong as possible, but also to be injury free. It was around that time that we (in the Monkey Gym) found GST, and that's when I decided I wanted to be as strong as possible in that sense (bodyweight), so relative strength.

And since we left the MG and moved to the coast, these goals have changed again. The deeper point of me mentioning that is simply to help you be clear about what you are doing there, right now. Martin is a bodybuilder, pure and simple. The confusion arises, I believe, because he has found that, for him, a combination of getting stronger in the fundamental lifts and eating the IF way, worked the most efficiently for him, as a bodybuilder.

For you, I think following @Nathan's advice (less frequent dead lifting) and continuing to squat the way you do will be excellent. I would change your routine like this, though (and I will explain why alongside the exercises):

My suggestions re. reorganisation

  • Chin-ups: (Squats or chins MUST be first, because they require the most effort—this means they are the best bang-for-the-buck, too. As well, your grip strength is not great, you mentioned, so the harder pulling exercises must be done before the easier ones. Doing the other way around (with respect to the rows), you are compromising the more important exercise)
  • Squats  (done as early as possible in the workout, so you can devote more energy to it. You can change the order of these first two, either on successive workouts, or from time to time.)
  • What is your hardest pushing exercise? (This needs to be the next exercise. And one week do the pulling exercise first (as in before the pushing exercise); the next week the pushing one, because both involve the shoulders.)
  • Hammer Row:  (I regard these as a 'supplementary' exercises, because much easier. Nothing is harder than chin-ups or pull-ups. These can be alternated in successive workouts (chins and pulls, I mean). This helps to avoid elbow injuries.
  • Dead hangs: 2x60s (these are a supplementary exercise, too, both for shoulder health and alignment and stretching the lats, but require grip strength, so need to be done at the end of the workout).
  • Anti-pronation exercise: 1 x 5 (one set is all you need IF you are honestly going to failure. I suggest a set of five, holding a dumbbell in the hand on the working side.)

Deadlift: Once a week or once every two weeks (just to see if you are getting stronger overall).

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Thank you for the suggestions @Kit_L. So, to sum up, the program could look something like this:

Day A

  • DL (I'm putting it here because I usually get 2 days of rest before day A)
  • Hammer Row
  • Dead Hangs

Day B

  • Chin ups / Pull ups (alternating every week)
  • Bench press (currently my only pushing exercise)
    • The following week I could switch the order of these first two exercise. Is this ok, even if the chins/pulls would be done as second exercise?)
  • Anti-pronation exercise

Day C

  • Squat
  • Pendlay Row
  • Dead Hangs or farmer carries

Resting time: 3-6 minutes

In case I'm having a really busy week I could move around the exercises and cram them up in two days, keeping squats and chi-ups separated (if possible) and maybe postponing the DL to the following week.

Is this enough volume?

-----

Question 1: can I keep the RPT training style, with the same number of sets and rep ranges I currently do?

Question 2: as assistance exercise I like hip thrusts a lot, any downsides in adding them? I've found the exercise helps with DL and squat.

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Didn't feel great today, so I opted for a short session and went for a “deload” in my bench press.

  • Bench press: 2x4x82,5kg
  • Pendlay Row: 1x8x70kg + 1x9x67,5kg + 1x8x65kg
  • Anti-pronation exercise: 1x5x3kg

The sensation in the left shoulder joint still presents itself when I lose tension in the upper-back. Probably I've a mild inflammation going on; I need to be careful.

Overall, decent session.

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  • Squat: 1x8x107,5kg + 1x9x97,5kg + 1x10x87,5kg + 1x10x80kg
  • Bench: 2x5x77,5kg
  • Chin-ups: 1x7xBW+12,5kg + 1x8xBW+5 + 1x9xBW
  • Dead hangs
  • Anti-pronation exercise: 1x10x6kg

Increased every squat set by two reps and  now it's time to add more weight already! Yaaaassss!

Since this is my deload week for the bench, I just did a couple of set instead of going for as many set as possible. Pesky sensations in the left shoulder were present and now I'm starting to worry. Ok, I'm not really worried, but I need to figure out what's wrong. I'm not sure it's a muscular pain, it could come from connective tissue. However, the root cause it's probably weakness in the rotator's cuff. I have shoulder instability, after all. I need to strengthen those to prevent injuries. In the following days I'll also do some explorative stretches.

Chin-ups went really good! Although the quality of my reps tend to decrease at the last set.

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Whole evening spent stretching and listening to this mind-blowing podcast episode.

  • Solo hip flexors stretch
  • Solo wall quad stretch
  • Ankle mobility
  • Calves stick-rolling
  • Tailor pose
  • Scalenes stretch

Tightness everywhere, but now I feel better.

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Interesting session, today.

  • Deadlift: 1x6x127,5kg + 1x9x115kg
  • Hammer Row: 1x8x80kg + 1x10x75kg + 1x11x70kg
  • Chin-ups: 4xAMRAP (10-8-7-6)
  • Anti pronation exercise: 1x5x10kg

The deadlift felt easy! I can't wrap my mind about this, but I suspect it has something to do with the time I spent yesterday stretching my HF. I'm saying this because I felt my glutes activating more than usual, as well as my hamstrings. Also I didn't felt fatigue in my quads between sets (I'm quad dominant). Form perfect, goal reached, hardly drop a sweat. Wow. I'll try to always stretch my HF the day before deadlifting.

------

I know I'm not supposed to judge my sitting practice, but today session was kinda bad. Tension all over my face.

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