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Full Workout Logs

Starting 10/17/06

Rotations II and III

by Gary F. Zeolla

These workout logs are continued from Full Workout Logs: Starting 9/11/06: Rotation I.

Age: 45
Weight class: 114s/ 123s.
Next contest: Probably the IPA Iron House Classic, March 31, 2007 in Newark, Ohio. For details on this contest, see Iron House Gym.

For details on this routine, see Training Routine Format - 3 Week Rotation. I’ll probably get in 6 or 7 three-week rotations before my next contest.

Warm-ups are in brackets. All weights are in pounds. Format: pounds/reps.
Workout time includes set-up, warm-up, lifting, stretching, and clean-up.

Rotation II; Week One

Bench Assistance

Tuesday – 10/17/06

Standing Press: [DBs: 10s/15, BB: 45/10, 60/6, 75/3] 85/5, 85/5

Dips: [--/6, 25/6, 45/3] 52/6, 60/6, 65/4

DB Rows (elbows in): [30/8, 42/4] 52/5, 52/4

Reverse Curls: [45/8] 57/8, 57/8

Rotator Cuff (two exercises): [2.5/15] 5/15, 5/15

Twisting Sit-ups (reps to each side): 12, 10

Heavy Bag: 3:15

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:31


Raw Squats

Thursday – 10/19/06

Raw Squats: [55/15, 145/10, 200/6, 255/3] 285/6, 300/5, 315/3

Sting Ray (Front) Squats: [90/6, 130/3] 145/6, 155/4

Jump Squats: [55/6] 85/6x3

Standing DB Calves: [22/10] 32/12, 32/12

Step-ups: 3:00

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:32


Raw Benches

Saturday – 10/21/06

Raw Bench: [55/15, 95/10, 120/6, 145/3] 160/6, 165/4, 170/3

DB Bench (alternating arms): [30s/8, 45s/4] 55s/6, 60s/4

Clap Push-Ups: 7 x 3

BB Rows (medium grip): [55/8, 80/4] 95/4, 90/5

Hammer Curls: [15s/8] 22s/8, 22s/8

Twisting Dip Bar Leg Raises (reps to each side): 12, 9

Heavy Bag: skipped

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:30

I was really dragging through this workout. So I skipped the heavy bag. I think the problem is that lifting every other day is just a bit too much. So I’ll take a couple of days off and go back to lifting three days a week.


Raw Deadlifts

Wednesday – 10/25/06

Raw Deadlifts: [55/15, 145/10, 205/6, 265/3] 300/6, 315/5, 330/3

Jump Deadlifts: [55/6] 85/6x3

Good Mornings (legs straight): [75/8, 120/4] 140/6, 150/4

Shrugs: [105/8, 160/4] 180/6, 195/6, 210/6

Jump Rope: 3:00

Stretching: skipped

Workout Time: 1:35

I was running late, so I skipped the stretching. I think I'll stick with two work sets for DLs next time. But otherwise, a good workout.

Rotation II; Week Two

Bench Assistance

Friday – 10/27/06

Incline Bench: [45/15, 75/10, 100/6, 125/3] 135/6, 145/4

DB Decline Bench: [35s/8, 50s/4] 60s/6, 65s/4

Underhand DB Rows: 30s/8, 35s/8, 40s/6

Curl Bar Reverse Curls: [45/8] 57/8, 57/8

Decline Sit-ups: [--/12] 7.5/12, 10/15, 15/10

Heavy Bag: 3:15

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:40

This was the first time I did DB rows with an underhand grip. Actually, my hands were angled somewhat, about the angle on a curl bar. They were really tough! My upper back was really pumped.


Reverse Band Squats, etc.

Monday – 10/30/06

Reverse Band Squats (light bands choked twice around the top of my power rack):

[55/15, add bands: 195/10, 255/6, 310/3] 345/5, 365/3, 385/2

Box Squat: [165/6, 200/3] 225/5, 245/3

Speed RB Squat: [145/5] 175/5x3

Standing BB Calves: [105/10] 120/10, 120/10

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:34


Chain Benches, etc.

Wednesday – 11/1/06

Chain Bench (2 pairs of heavy chains; set-up weighs about 90 pounds):

[55/15, 95/10, add chains: 55/6, 75/3] 90/5, 100/4, 110/2

Close Grip Bench [105/6, 130/3] 145/5, 155/3

Speed Chain Bench: 45/6 x 4

BB Rows (close grip): [45/8, 75/4] 90/5, 90/5

Rotating DB Curls: [15s/8] 22s/8, 22s/8

Reverse Crunches: 12, 11

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:25


Reverse Band Deadlifts, etc.

Friday – 11/3/06

Reverse Band DLs (light bands choked once around the top of my power rack):

[55/15, add bands: 195/10, 265/6, 325/3] 355/5, 375/4, 395/3

Platform SLDLs (legs straight): [145/6, 195/5] 235/5, 255/3

Speed RB DLs: [195/6] 220/6x3

Sitting BB Calves: 105/12, 115/12, 125/12, 135/12

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:30

I added a fourth board to my platform for the SLDLs. So it is now 3” high. I use the same platform for calf work. I wasn’t sure how much weight to use for these exercises. But it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference.

I also moved my speed work to after the SLDLs. This makes things a little more difficult, having to take the bands off and put them back on. But it’s a more logical order.

Rotation II; Week Three

Bench Assistance/ possible next contest

Monday – 11/6/06

Decline Bench: [55/15, 95/10, 125/5, 155/3] 170/5, 180/3

DB Incline Bench: [32s/8, 45s/4] 55s/6, 60s/4

DB Rows (elbows out): [32/8, 45/4], 55/5, 55/5

Reverse DB Curls: [15s/10] 20s/10, 22s/8

Crunch/ Side Bend Combo (reps to each side): 12, 10

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:19

Note the “Next contest” line. The Iron House Gym’s Web site has the application for their “Classic” contest available for download. I’ve entered this contest twice before (in 2003 and 2005). It is a very good contest. In fact, I was hoping to enter it this year, but for various reasons, did not. But it is a definitely possibility for next year.

If anyone’s interested, their Web site is: Iron House Gym.


Squats with full gear – The good, the bad, and the ugly

Wednesday – 11/8/06


(Gear: Crain: power belt, squat shoes, wrist wraps; 2.5 meter knee wraps, double-ply squat suit):

[55/15, 145/10, 205/6, suit & shoes: 260/3, belt & wraps: 315/1] 350/4, 380/2, 410/1

Jump Squats [65/6] 90/6x3:

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:54

The good: The 410 felt good and was with strength to spare. I squatted 415 at my last contest, so squats are just about back up to where they were then.

The bad: I had a very difficult time walking the weight out, setting my feet, walking the weight back in, and getting the bar onto the hooks on my power rack. The sad part is that none of this will matter come contest time since the meets I enter all have a monolift. It would be really nice if I could train with one, but there’s no gym in my area with a monolift. And there’s no way I could afford one for my home gym. So I’m stuck training in a different manner than I compete.

The ugly: On the set with 380, I wasn’t able to get the right side of the bar back onto the hooks. So I had to dump it onto the safety bars. The bar was now jammed in the power rack at an angle, the left side higher up on the hook, and the rights side lower on the safety bars.

When I tried taking the weights off of the higher end, they were jammed on. Even the 25 on the outside was jammed. So I really had to struggle to get them off. Then when I did, I tried lifting the bar up, but it was jammed in the hook. But after struggling with it for a while, I finally got it loose and set it down on the safety bar. Then I had to unload the other side, put the bar back up on the hooks and re-load the weights for my final set.

I then sat for a while to get myself collected. I debated on even doing the last set, but I decided to go through with it. And I’m glad I did since it went well. But such are the perils of training alone. And needless to say, this all added to my workout time considerably.

I later noticed that I bent the plate holder on the right side of my power rack. So I struggled with that this morning, but I got it bent back, sort of.


Benches with full gear

Friday – 11/10/06


(Gear: Crain: power belt; “combo” shirt, wrist wraps):

[55/15, 95/10, 125/6, gear: 150/3, 170/1]

185/4, 195/3, 205/2, 215/1

Curl Bar Rows: [45/8, 75/4] 90/6, 95/4

Curl Bar Curls: [40/8] 57/8, 57/8

Twisting Sit-ups (reps to each side): 11, 9

Explosive (“clap”) Push-ups: 4x6

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:33

I benched 215 at my contest in September wearing the same shirt, so my bench is back up to where it was then. I now I have over 4 months to build on that until my next contest.


Deadlifts with full gear

Monday – 11/13/06


(Gear: Crain: power belt; “converted” DL briefs; Frantz: double-ply poly DL suit; drug store knee and wrist wraps, Nike wrestling shoes):

[55/15, 145/10, 205/6, add briefs, suit, shoes: 260/3, add belt & wraps: 310/1]

345/4, 365/3, 385/2, 405/1

Jump DLs: [65/6] 90/6x3

Stretching: skipped

Workout Time: 1:26

For this workout, I tried using what I was planning on using at my last contest, my Frantz DL suit with my Crain briefs (converted from a single-ply DL suit). I didn’t use this combination at my contest since I had problems with a similar combination on squats. And it was probably good that I didn’t as it was very difficult getting the gear on, and it left me very tired. But the workout went well nevertheless.

I skipped the stretching since I had done stretching after my walk on Sunday.


Rotation III; Week One

Bench Assistance/ Sick

Wednesday – 11/15/06

Standing Press: [DBs: 10s/15, BB: 45/10, 60/6, 75/3] 85/6, 90/5

Dips: [--/10, 30/6, 50/3] 65/6, 70/5

DB Rows (elbows in): [30/8, 40/4] 50/6, 55/4

Reverse Curls: [50/8] 60/8, 60/8

Rotator Cuff (two exercises): [3.7/12] 6.2/12, 6.2/12

Bicycle Abs (reps to each side): 28, 25

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:34

This workout went well. But I felt terrible afterwards and for last two days. So I missed my workout yesterday. But I’m feeling better today (Sat.).


Raw Squats/ Changes

Monday – 11/20/06

Raw Squats: [55/15, 145/10, 210/6, 270/3] 300/5, 300/5

Bench Squats: [235/5, 285/5x2] 325/5, 325/5

Standing DB Calves: [10/12] 15/12, 15/12

Step-ups: 3:15

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:38

After my problems with the walk-out, walk-in, and re-racking the weight in my full gear workout, I made a couple of changes. I set the hooks on my power rack one hole lower. This necessitates almost a half-squat getting the weight out, but I shouldn’t have problems re-racking the weight.

And this way, I can set my feet just about as far apart as I want them for the actual squat. Then I only took one small step back with each foot. But I have to be careful as the bar only clears the hooks by a few inches, but this will force me to keep my back upright and sit back into the squat, and not lean forward.

I also switched from front squats to bench squats. The bench squats are done touch and go off of my regular bench. It puts me a few inches above parallel. I figure this will help me get used to handling the heavier weights. But it took me a little while to figure out how to set up and perform the exercise.


Raw Benches

Wednesday – 11/22/06

Raw Bench: [55/15, 95/10, 115/6, 135/3] 155/6, 160/5

Rack Bench: 145/5, 165/5, 165/5

BB Rows (medium grip): [55/8, 80/4] 90/5, 90/5

Hammer Curls: [15s/8] 25s/8, 25s/8

Crunch/ Side-Bend Combo (reps to each side): 13, 10

Heavy Bag: 3:15

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:27

I keep going back and forth on whether I should pause raw benches. Last week I didn’t pause them, but this week I did. It only makes a difference of about five pounds, and I think it’s good to keep in the habit of pausing. So I will probably continue to do so. But I added rack benches (from about 4” off of my chest) so I can handle a little more weight on this day.


Raw Deadlifts/ Comments on partial movements

Friday – 11/24/06

Raw Deadlifts: [55/15, 145/10, 215/6, 285/3] 315/5, 315/5

Rack Pulls: 235/--, 145/5, 195/5, 235/5, 285/5, 305/--

Good Mornings (legs straight): [85/8, 125/4] 145/--

Jump Rope: 3:15

Stretching: ~ 10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:38

I haven’t done partial movements for a while as I feel like the form is too different from the regular lifts, so they are not that helpful. But I decided to give them a try for this week’s workouts. And they did not feel good at all. The rack pulls here were particularly troublesome.

After pulling 315/5x2, I figured 235 from the rack (lower knee level) would be easy, but I couldn’t budge it. So I dropped the weight down, and then worked back up. But I still couldn’t budge 305, still then pounds less than I pulled for my regular DLs. I also noticed clearly that to get the bar moving, I had to “jerk” up on the bar in a way that would never happen at the halfway point of the regular lift.

Some might say that not being able to budge 305 shows how much I need to do rack pulls to work the lift from here. But to me, it shows how very different rack pulls are from regular DLs.

When I talked to Ricky on the phone last week, as always, he emphasized the need to work on form. And doing partial movements would not help in this regard. So I think I’ll skip them and stick to chains and bands for my top end work. Ricky still is not a big fan of chains and bands, but to me at least I am still using a full range with them, and thus my form is very similar to the regular DLs.

Ricky also advised me not to go over five reps on the powerlifts. So for more of my sets this week, I dropped from my former six to five reps.

Ricky also gave me a lecture on how GMs are not a good movement to do. I actually kind of like them, but after wasting so much time on the rack pulls, by the time I got to the GMs, I was really tired, and with Ricky’s thoughts echoing in my ears, I got buried on the first rep of my first work set. So I just skipped them and will probably drop them off, for now anyhow.

I’ll also probably make a few more changes in my routine in light of my discussion with Ricky.

See Ricky, I am listening, sort of.

Note: by Ricky here is meant Ricky Dale Crain, five time world champion and ten time national champion and inductee in the Powerlifting Hall of Fame. His company is Crain's Muscle World. The indicated conversations occurred when I called CMW to order some new gear.

Rotation III; Week Two

Bench Assistance

Monday – 11/27/06

Incline Bench: [45/15, 75/10, 95/6, 115/3] 130/5, 130/5

DB Decline Bench: [35s/8, 50s/4] 55s/6, 55s/6

Underhand DB Rows: [25s/8, 35s/4] 42s/6, 42s/6

Curl Bar Reverse Curls: [45/8] 60/7, 60/7

Twisting, Dip Bar Leg Raises (reps to each side): 10, 9

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:23


Chain/ Reverse Band Squats, etc.

Wednesday – 11/29/06

Chain/ Reverse Band Squats:

Light bands choked twice around the top of my power rack, plus 2 pairs of heavy chains; set-up weighs about 90 pounds.

[55/15, add chains & bands: 195/10] 235/5, 255/5, 275/5, 295/5

Manta Ray Squat: [145/6, 195/3] 235/5, 250/3

Speed chain/ RB Squat: [145/5] 165/5x3

Standing BB Calves: [105/10] 125/11, 125/11

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:50

This was the first time I tried combining chains and bands, and I must say, I really liked it. The training effect was awesome. So I’m going to try the same set up on benches today and on DLs on Monday.

But it took a while to figure out how to set things up. Then after I took it all down for the Manta Rays, I decided to use the same set up for speed squats. So I had to put it all back on, and that all really added to my workout time. But I know now to do the speed work right after the chain/ band work.


Chain/ Reverse Band Benches, etc./ Homemade lat. pulldown

Friday – 12/1/06

Chain/ Reverse Band Bench:

Light bands choked once around the top of my power rack, plus 2 pairs of heavy chains; set-up weighs about 90 pounds.

[55/15, 95/10, add chains and bands: 55/6, 105/5] 120/5, 130/5, 135/4

Speed Chain/ RB Bench: 75/5 x 3

Click for a larger imageLat. Pulldowns (wide grip): bunch of sets.

Reverse DB Curls: [17s/8] 25s/8, 25s/8

Reverse Crunches: 12, 10

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:41

I just set up a homemade lat pulldown (see pic). I wasted time doing a bunch of sets trying to figure out how best to do them. I wanted to sit on a bench at the right of my power rack, but the bench doesn’t fit sideways inside in the rack, and outside of it, the ends of pulldown bar would hit the uprights on the power rack.

I finally figured out that the only way to do them was by kneeling inside the rack on the right at enough of an angle to keep the weights from hitting me. But I think it will work. And the parts, including the bar, only cost $43. so it should be worth it. I also got a “V” type handle for it, but I’m having my parents give that to me for Christmas.

That said, once again, I loved the combination of chains and reverse bands. The difference in tension between the top and bottom should better match the new gear I am waiting for (more on that latter).


Chain/ Reverse Band Deadlifts

Monday – 12/4/06

Chain/ Reverse Band Deadlifts:

Light bands choked once around the top of my power rack, plus 2 pairs of heavy chains; set-up weighs about 90 pounds.

[55/15, add bands: 195/10, add chains: 195/6, 235/3] 285/5, 305/5, 325/4, 354/4

Speed C/ RB Deadlifts: 195/5x4

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:35

I’ve found my way of using chains and bands. The combination of chains and reverse bands works great for all three powerlifts. Here, my upper back was as pumped up afterwards as it was after rack pulls last week. But I prefer the C/ RB work as my form seems closer to when using gear than with rack pulls.


Rotation III; Week Three

Bench Assistance

Wednesday – 12/6/06

Decline Bench: [55/15, 95/10, 120/6, 140/3] 155/5, 155/5

DB Incline Bench: [30s/8, 40s/4] 50s/6, 50s/5

DB Rows (elbows out): [32/8, 45/4], 55/6, 55/6

Rotating DB Curls: [17s/10] 25s/10, 25s/8

Twisting sit-ups (reps to each side): 12, 8

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:31

The weights are a little lower than last time on the declines as I started pausing them, and on the DB inclines as I starting doing them in an alternating arms fashion.


Squats with full gear/ gear & contest issues

Friday – 12/8/06


(Gear: Crain: power belt, squat shoes, wrist wraps; 2.5 meter knee wraps, double-ply squat suit):

[55/15, 145/10, 215/6, suit & shoes: 280/3, belt & wraps: 345/1] 380/3, 400/2, 420/1

Jump Squats [75/5] 95/5x3:

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:54

I was hoping to have new gear for this workout, but things got delayed. I am really getting stressed out over gear problems, and with other problems, have been feeling about ready to give up on powerlifting. So when I started this workout, I dragged through the warm-ups. But once I got all my gear on for my last warm-up set, I finally started getting into it and getting psyched, and my work sets went very well. I really do believe that with the right gear, I could hit some big goals and milestones. So that keeps me going.

My current routine is working well, along the set/ rep scheme for this workout. Three work sets seemed about right. My thought is, my work sets here would be my contest attempts. That way, they’ll be no guess work as to attempts or even warm-ups. I’d basically just be putting in a workout, except for, of course, only doing one rep rather than 3 or 2 on the first two sets.

But as for when I will compete again, I now have no idea. I was thinking of a contest in March. But I will not make definitive plans until I get new gear, try it out for a workout, and gauge how long I think I will need to get used to it. I am trying to keep from ending up in the same position I always do, of having gear mess up my contests.


Benches with full gear

Monday – 12/11/06


(Gear: Crain: power belt; “combo” shirt, wrist wraps):

[55/15, 95/10, 125/6, gear: 155/3, 180/1] 200/3, 210/2, 220/1

Lat. Pulldowns (wide grip): [45/8, 65/8] 80/8, 80/8

Curl Bar Curls: skipped

Sit-ups: skipped

Explosive (“clap”) Push-ups: 4x7

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:20

I was very tired, so I skipped the curls and sit-ups. But benches went well nevertheless. I missed 220 at my last contest wearing the same shirt. So it felt good getting it here.


Deadlifts with full gear/ more gear and training issues

Wednesday – 12/13/06


(Gear: Crain: power belt; double-ply squat suit; drug store knee and wrist wraps, Nike wrestling shoes):

[55/15, 145/10, 215/6, suit & shoes: 275/3, belt & wraps: 335/1] 370/3, 390/1, 410/1

Jump DLs: [75/6] 95/5x3

Stretching: ~ 10 minutes

Workout Time: 1:30

I missed 410 at my last contest, so it felt good getting it here. But it was very difficult, and missing the second rep on the second set bothered me, especially since I missed it at the floor. With wearing a suit, I shouldn’t be missing at the floor. But I think the problem is that wearing my Crain squat suit for DLs is not working too well now that I’m using a conv. stance.

What concerns me is I only ordered a new Crain squat suit and bench shirt. Ricky thought it best I try the squat suit on DLs before getting a specific DL suit. But I’m concerned this might not work out. And by the time I get the new gear and try it out, then if I have to order a DL suit, then it’s really going to a long until I have all of my new gear. But in the meantime, I’ll probably wear what I wore for DLs last time, my “converted” Crain DL briefs and Frantz double-ply poly DL suit.

Also, I made some changes in my routine to focus more on top end work. This worked out for squats and benches but not so much for DLs. With the suit not helping much on DLs, I think lower end work is still important for DLs. So I’ll be making some changes to my routine.

My workout logs are continued at: Full Workout Logs: Starting 12/15/06: Rotations IV and V.

Full Workout Logs: Starting 10/17/06: Rotations II and III. Copyright 2006 by Gary F. Zeolla.

Powerlifting and Strength Training
Powerlifting and Strength Training: Full Workout Logs

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