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Full Workout Logs

Starting 10/19/07

Routine One;

Rotations One and Two

by Gary F. Zeolla

These workouts are continued from: Full Workout Logs: Starting 10/1/07: Initial Eight Full Body Workouts.

For the background to this routine, see Full Body Workouts Experiment.

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

For this workout, I will be lifting just twice a week, alternating two basic workouts:

Day One:
Upper Back (rows or lat. pulldowns).
Lower Abs exercise

Day Two:
Non-flat bench assistance exercise
Biceps or forearms exercise
Upper Abs exercise

However, I will be doing the powerlifts in four different manners: speed work, raw, via a major assistance exercise, and with full gear. But I will stagger the order so that I am not doing each powerlift in the same manner each week. I will also rotate all the minor assistance exercises, using different exercise for each of the four weeks. So I will be rotating through eight different workouts. This means, each workout is only done once every 28 days. The basic workouts rotation is as follows:

1. Speed Chain Squat/ Raw Bench/ Lat. Pulldowns (wide grip)/ Leg Raises
2. Gear Deadlifts/ DB Presses/ Curl Bar Curls/ Twisting Sit-ups
3. Raw Squats/ Gear Benches/ DB Rows (underhand grip)/ One-leg Dip Bar Leg Raises
4. Speed Reverse Band  DLs/ Decline Bench/ Reverse BB Curls/ Sit-ups
5. Chain Squat/ Speed Reverse Band Bench/ Lat. Pulldowns (“V” grip)/ Dip Bar Reverse Crunch
6. Stiff-leg deadlifts/ Incline DB Bench/ DB Curls/ Crunch-Side Bend Combo
7. Geared Squat/ Close Grip Bench/ BB Rows (medium grip)/ Twisting Leg Raises
8. Raw Deadlifts/ Dips/ Reverse DB Curls/ Crunches

My next contest will possibly be the IPA Iron House Classic, April 26, 2008, in Zanesville, Ohio, competing at 114s or 123s, masters (45-49). In that case, I will probably follow this routine for 4 rotations since I already did most of these assistance exercises twice in my initial workouts. I will then change my assistance exercises and start a new routine. I'll then follow that routine for 4-5 rotations.

Rotation One

Rotation 1/ Day One

Speed Squats and benches

Friday – 10/19/07

Speed Chain Squats (chain setup weighs about 90 pounds): [55/15, add chains: 55/10] 105/6 x 4

Raw Benches: [95/8, 115/5, 130/3] 147/6, 157/4, 167/3

Lat. Pulldown (Wide Grip): [55/10, 75/5] 90/10, 95/8

Workout time: ~1:05

I’ve decided to include a separate day for speed work in my routine, one day for each powerlift. And I consider this speed work to also be “deload” work. This was talked about in articles in recent issues of “Powerlifting USA.” The author felt the main value of speed work was not the “explosiveness” it develops as Westside maintains but that speed work simply serves as a “light” workout and thus is a form of “active recovery.”

Either way, I found that having a separate speed day on benches worked well leading up to my last contest. Benches were the only lift I got a PR on. So now I’ll incorporate a separate speed day for each lift.


Rotation 1/ Day Two

Geared deadlifts and bench assistance

Monday – 10/22/07

Deadlifts (Gear: Crain power belt, Frantz suit, APT knee sleeves and wrist bands; Nike wrestling shoes)

[55/15, 145/10, suit: 235/6, belt and wraps: 295/3] 325/5, 355/1, 375/1

DB Presses [10s/8, 20s/5, 30s/3] 35s/5, 35s/5

Curl Bar Curls: [35/10] 50/8, 50/8

Leg Raises: 20, 20

Workout time: 1:25

This was my first workout using gear since my contest on Sept. 22, and I ran into several problems.

First, before my contest, I had Velcro put on the straps of my Frantz squat and DL suits. I used the DL suit at my contest, and it worked well. I’m not planning on using the squat suit for squats as I have my Ginny Canvas suit, but I thought I’d be able to use it for DLs, so I tried it here. But it just didn’t feel right, and threw off my form. I’m not sure what the difference is between the suits, but it looks like I wasted $25 getting the Velcro on the squat suit. Oh well.

Second, for my full gear workouts, I usually do some rep work before hitting a max single. So I started with a set of five. But that left me too exhausted to put full effort into the top set. So I only ended up going with 375 rather than my planned 385. In the future, I think I will do three singles, like at a contest. That way, I’ll get practice picking “attempts,” and I won’t be so tired out for the top set. I’ll save the rep work for a separate day.

Third, it was after this workout that I knew my new workout plan wasn’t working out too well. So I took a week off to recover and switched to my current plan of lifting just twice a week, probably Mondays and Thursdays. See Full Body Workouts Experiment for details.


Rotation 1/ Day Three

Raw squats and geared benches

Monday – 10/29/07

Raw Squats: [55/15, 145/10, 195/6, 220/3] 245/6, 265/2, 255/5

Geared Benches (Gear: Crain “combo” shirt, APT 24” Black Mamba wrist wraps):

[95/8, 115/5, add shirt and wraps, 145/3, 175/1] 190/1, 200/1, 210/1

DB Rows (underhand grip): [30s/8, 40s/4] 45s/6, 47s/5, 50s/4

Workout time: 1:39

During this workout, I was trying out my new foam squat box. Taking videos to be sure I had the height right and experimenting where to put the box on my platform slowed me down some. It also distracted me, so I wasn’t concentrating enough on my second squat set, and it just didn’t feel right. So I stopped it after two reps (it was supposed to be four). But I dropped the weight and hit a good set of five.

On benches, this was the first time I wore my shirt since my contest over a month ago, and the first time I did shirted benches after squatting in a workout. But it went well. I benched 220 at my contest and hit 230 my last workout before that, but all things considered, I was happy with 210 here.


Rotation 1/ Day Four

Speed Deadlifts and bench assistance

Thursday – 11/1/07

Speed Reverse Band Deadlifts (light bands choked around the top of my power rack):

[55/15, add bands: 195/10] 235/6 x 4

Decline Bench [95/8, 120/5, 140/3] 155/6, 160/5, 165/4

Reverse BB Curls [45/10] 50/10, 52/8, 55/6

Sit-ups: [---/10] 5/15, 10/9

Workout time: 1:15

My cable Internet connection and thus music kept cutting out on me during this workout. I’d reset it; it would work for 10-15 minutes, and then stop again. But despite the distraction, not a bad workout.

Incidentally, I called my cable company, and they sent out a technician. It ended up being a problem with the old cable line coming into my home. So that had to be replaced. With the new cable, it looks like my Internet connection is running faster than ever now!


Rotation 1/ Day Five

Chain squats and speed benches

Sunday – 11/4/07

Chain Squats (chain setup weighs about 90 pounds):

[55/15, add chains: 55/10, 115/6, 165/3] 185/6, 200/4, 215/2

Speed Reverse Band Benches (light bands choked around the top of my power rack):

[115/10] 135/6, 135/3 x 6

Lat. Pulldown (“V” Grip): [55/8, 80/4] 95/10, 100/6, 100/6

Workout time: 1:27

I changed my workout days to Sunday and Wednesday. The chain squats went well. On the speed benches, I’m still experimenting with how many sets and reps to do with doing speed work on a separate day. I’m thinking 6 sets of 3 reps might work best, plus one or two warm-up sets.


Rotation 1/ Day Six

Deadlift and bench assistance

Wednesday – 11/7/07

SLDLs: [55/15, 145/10, 190/6, 230/3] 255/6, 270/4, 285/2

Incline DB Benches [20s/8, 35s/5, 45s/3] 55s/6, 57s/5, 60s/4

BB Curls: [15s/10] 25s/9, 25s/9

Crunch/ Side Bend Combo (reps to each side): 7, 6

Workout time: 1:19


Rotation 1/ Day Seven

Geared Squats and bench assistance

Veteran’s Day, Sunday – 11/11/07

Squats (Gear: Crain power belt, squat shoes, Titan briefs, Ginny canvas suit, APT 2.5m Black Mamba knee wraps, APT wrist bands)

[55/15, 145/10, 205/6, add briefs: 265/3, add suit: 325/1] add belt & wraps: 345/1, 365/1, 385/1

Close Grip Benches: [75/8, 100/5, 125/3] 140/6, 150/4

BB Rows (medium grip): [55/8, 75/4] 95/6, 100/5

Workout time: 1:52

This was the first time since my contest seven weeks ago that I used gear on squats. Definitely, too long to go without using gear as I could really feel it! The weight felt like a ton on my back, and the gear just didn’t feel right. But most of all, I had trouble hitting my foam box and thus proper depth. I came closest on the last set (video below). The workout also took too long.

Squat Video

I’ll probably need to make a few changes to my routine. The way I had things planned, I was only going to use gear every four weeks. That would be better than seven weeks, but I think I will change that to every three weeks.

Second, I probably could have hit a triple on the first set, and if I had, I might have been able to hit the box on the second or third rep. Also, doing three work sets, even all singles, was just too much and made for too long of a workout. So I think I’ll only do two work sets, and do 1-4 reps.

On a good note, looking at the video, I was just about at parallel on my last set. In fact, this lift *might* have passed. But I was about an inch from the box. So I am sure if I do hit the box, I will definitely be at legal depth. So the height of my box is correct even when using gear.


Rotation 1/ Day Eight

Deadlift and bench assistance

Wednesday – 11/14/07

Reverse Band Deadlifts (#4 bands choked around the safety bars near the top of my power rack):

[55/15, add bands: 195/10, 245/6, 295/3] 325/6, 355/4

Decline Bench [95/8, 120/5, 140/3] 160/5, 170/3

Reverse DB Curls [15s/10] 23s/10, 25s/8

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

Workout time: 1:21

When I first did RB DLs, I used light (3#) bands choked around the top of my power rack. But there was still too much tension at the top of the lift. So I then tried choking them around the safety bars placed in the top holes of the rack. That lessened the tension at the top, but now there wasn’t enough tension at the bottom, so it wasn’t much different than doing raw DLs.

So for this workout, I switched to average (#4) bands. That would give me greater tension at the bottom. But using the top holes still had some tension at the top of the lift. So instead, I put the safeties two holes down from the top. And that has the bands almost completely deloading at the top but still enough tension at the bottom.

But with the change, I had no idea how much weight to use. So I did one more rep on each work set than I had planned, and that was still a little light. But I’ll increase it that much more next time.

Pic of band set-up.

Video of RB DLs.

Rotation Two

Rotation 2/ Day One

Raw squats and band benches

Sunday – 11/18/07

Raw Squats: [55/15, 145/10, 185/6, 225/3] 255/6, 275/3

Band Benches: [95/8, add bands: 55/5, 75/6] 90/6, 105/5, 115/3

Lat. Pulldown (“V” Grip): [55/8, 85/4] 100/6, 100/7

Leg Raises: 30, 17

Workout time: 1:29

I’ve changed my rotation around some in order to do full gear workouts more often. I'll rotate through six different workouts, still lifting twice a week. So each rotation will last three weeks, and thus I will be using full gear every three weeks for each lift. With this change, I will do a total of four rotations for this routine.

That said, raw squats are going well for the higher reps, but when I add weight and drop the reps, it really gets tough. I was hoping for four reps on the second work set but only got three. I think I am still getting used to hitting my foam box, which has me squatting lower than I was, and probably lower than necessary. But as I’ve said before, I’d rather get used to squatting too low than not low enough.

This was the first time in a long time I did band benches, so I had no idea how much weight to use. So I went too light on the first set and did an “extra” set.

On the leg raises, I wasn’t really paying attention on the first set until the end, when I noticed I was swinging my legs too much. So on the second set, I made sure to pause at the top and bottom of each rep, and that really made it harder!

Speaking of abs, I had a doctor’s appointment last week. I was sitting on the exam table, and the doctor asked me to lie down. So I just laid back without twisting around or using my hands. Then again, when I sat up, I just sat straight up, again, without twisting or using my hands. She commented that I must have strong abs, and said something about doing a lot of crunches.

I didn’t bother to correct her and tell her that it is because I usually do full sit-ups and leg raises, not wimpy crunches and reverse crunches, that I am able to lay down and sit-up without twisting or using my hands.

I know, most personal trainers would be horrified at recommending sit-ups and leg raises. But really, when in the real world do you just bend forward a couple of inches? A physically active person should have no problems with just sitting up and lying down without twisting or using their hands. And it is real sit-ups and leg raises that develop that ability.

BTW, at the doctors’ office, my blood pressure was 120/80 and my resting heart rate 60 bpm. Pretty good for someone in his mid-40s.


Rotation 2/ Day Two

Geared deadlifts and bench assistance

Wednesday – 11/21/07

Deadlifts (Gear: Crain power belt, Frantz suit, APT knee sleeves and wrist bands; Nike wrestling shoes)

[55/15, 145/10, 205/6, suit: 260/3, belt & wraps: 305/1] 340/4, 365/2

DB Presses [10s/8, 20s/5, 30s/3] 35s/5, 35s/4

Curl Bar Curls: [35/10] 50/10, 55/8

Sit-ups: [--/8] 10/12, 15/8

Workout time: 1:35

With changing my routine around and taking a week off a while ago, it had been a month since I did full gear DLs, and that is definitely too long. But even with that, not a bad workout.

I got a little delayed in this workout as I just got some new Power Hooks, but I couldn’t get them to fit onto my dumbbells. So I had to use my old ones. But I’ll mess with the new ones later to see if I can get them to fit.

Update: On the new Power Hooks, I was able to get one on my DBs, but for some reason the other was just a tad wider, so it just wouldn’t fit onto my DBs. But I took the new strap off of it and put it on one of my old Power Hooks, the one that only had the welding broken on one side (the other is broken on both sides). So I now got a pair of Power Hooks with new straps, and I can use the other old one as a backup (I have it duct taped together), so I am set for my DB training.

If you don’t know what Power Hooks are, they are very helpful for getting DBs into place for stuff like DB benches.


Rotation 2/ Day Five

Chain Squats, etc.

Sunday – 11/25/07

Chain Squats (chain setup weighs about 90 pounds):

[55/15, add chains: 55/10, 115/6, 170/3] 195/6, 205/5, 220/3

Speed Chain Squats: [55/6] 95/6, 95/6

One Leg Dip Bar Leg Raises (reps to each side): 15, 15

Step-ups: 2:00

Workout time: 1:11

I have been lifting twice a week, and walking on two other days. But with winter coming, I don’t think I’ll want to be walking outside. So I am going to split my workout days in half and lift four days a week, doing cardio work inside after my workouts.

I will use the following basic split:
Day One: Squat
Day Two: Bench
Day Three: Deadlift
Day Four: Bench Assistance

This split will enable me to do speed and rotator cuff work which I haven’t been doing. But I won’t add anything otherwise. So it should make for shorter workouts more often.

The basic plan is the same, namely doing each powerlift once a week, with the same assistance work I was doing. So this isn’t a great change in those respects. And I will continue to use the same three week rotation, giving me a dozen different workouts. I already did Days One and Two in this rotation with the old routine, which would be Days 1-4 with this new split. That is why this day’s workout is Day Five.

That said, a good workout. The chain squats went even better than planned. I only did two minutes on the step-ups since this was the first time I did them in a long time. But I will gradually increase the time and intensity. I am using my wooden squat box for the step-ups, so it’s a pretty high “step.”


Rotation 2/ Day Six

Geared Benches, etc.

Monday – 11/26/07

Geared Benches (Gear: Crain “combo” shirt, APT 24” Black Mamba wrist wraps):

[95/8, 115/5, add shirt and wraps, 145/3, 175/1] 190/4, 200/3, 210/2

DB Rows (underhand grip): [30s/8, 40s/4] 47s/6, 50s/5

DB Curls: [15s/10] 25s/10, 27s/8

Rotator Cuff (sitting, front): [5/12] 7.5/8, 7.5/8

Workout time: 1:09

For my last geared bench, I did three singles. But I felt some rep work would be helpful, so I used the same weights for this workout, and I ended up doing more reps than I expected. So that went well.

The rotator cuff exercise was a new one I saw on a Web page. And let me tell you, I could really notice the weakness in my right shoulder. Using all of 7.5 pounds, I was straining on the last couple of reps with my right arm, but with my left, it was very easy. I probably could have done twice as many reps with my left arm, but I stopped at 8 so as not to worsen the muscular imbalance. But this does show me that rotator cuff work is important for me to do. So I am planning on doing a different exercise with each of my bench and bench assistance workouts.

Below is a video of the exercise I did here.

Rotator Cuff (sitting, front).


Rotation 2/ Day Seven

Deadlift Assistance

Wednesday – 11/28/07

SLDLs: [55/15, 125/10, 180/6, 235/3] 260/6, 270/5, 280/3

Jump DLs: [45/6] 75/6, 75/6

Crunch/ Side Bend Combo (reps to each side): 8, 8

Workout time: 0:58


Rotation 2/ Day Eight

Bench Assistance

Thursday – 11/29/07

Incline DB Benches [10s/15, 25s/10, 40s/5, 50s/3] 57s/6, 60s/5

Lat. Pulldowns (V grip): [55/8, 85/4] 100/8, 100/8

Rev DB Curls: [15s/10] 25s/9, 25s/9

Rotator Cuff (lying, up): [5/12] 7.5/12, 7.5/12

Heavy Bag: 2:00

Workout time: 1:11

Below is a video of the Rotator Cuff exercise I did with this workout.

Rotator Cuff (lying, up).


Rotation 2/ Day Nine

Geared Squats (with new briefs)

Sunday – 12/2/07

Squats (Gear: Crain power belt, squat shoes; Ginny canvas suit, stretch denim briefs; APT 2.5m Black Mamba knee wraps, wrist bands)

[55/15, 145/10, 205/6, add briefs: 265/3, add suit: 315/1] add belt & wraps: 345/2, 345/2, 365/1, 385/--

Twisting Leg Raises (reps to each side): 12, 10

Step-ups: 2:15

Workout time: 1:43

For this workout, I used my new Ginny briefs, made with her new “stretch denim” material. The material is as thick as the double denim used in shirts, but it really does stretch. In fact, when I first got the briefs, with the way they stretched, they were too large. So I had to have Ginny alter them. They fit fine now in the legs and hips, but they are too tight at the top, in the chest area. So I’ll need to get them altered once again.

To make them easier to get on and off, I had Ginny put “loops” on the sides. These work like the loops on the back of boots to give you something to grab onto to pull them on. I also put the loops over the ends of a safety bar in my power rack and sat into the briefs to get them snuggly into place. But even at that, with them being so tight in the chest, they were still difficult to get on and off. But hopefully, I can get them altered. See pic of me wearing them below.

Briefs pic.

That said, my first work set was supposed to be for 3-4 reps, but something just didn’t feel right, so I stopped after two reps. I decided to repeat the weight, but just as I was getting set, I realized the problem; I forgot to put on my belt! So I put it on for my second set, but still only did two reps. But for both sets, I wasn’t quite able to get down to my foam box.

My third set was my best, but I still didn’t quite hit my box. But the video looks like the depth’s okay, especially the second rep. So I know if I hit the box, my depth is more than good enough. And I'd rather be too low than not low enough, so I will continue to work on trying to go just a little bit lower.


I only planned on doing three sets, but since my first set got messed, I went ahead and set-up for my planned top set of 385. But when I took the weight off of the racks, I could just tell I wouldn’t get it. I was just too burned out at that point. So I re-racked it. So I wasted time getting geared up for nothing.


Rotation 2/ Day Ten

Bench Assistance

Monday – 12/3/07

Close Grip Benches: [45/15, 75/10, 105/6, 130/3] 145/6, 150/4, 155/3

Clap Push ups: 6, 6

DB Rows (elbows out): [35/8, 45/4] 55/6, 60/4

Rotator Cuff (lying, up): [5/12] 7.5/12, 7.5/12

Heavy Bag: 2:00

Workout time: 1:00


Rotation 2/ Day Eleven

Reverse Band Deadlifts, etc.

Wednesday – 12/5/07

Reverse Band Deadlifts (#4 bands choked around the safety bars near the top of my power rack):

[55/15, add bands: 195/10, 255/6, 295/3] 345/5, 365/4, 385/2

Speed RB DLs: [195/6] 235/6, 235/6

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

Jump Rope: 2:15

Workout time: 1:10


Rotation 2/ Day Twelve

Bench Assistance

Thursday – 12/6/07

Decline Bench [45/15, 95/10, 120/6, 145/3] 165/6, 175/4

Lat. Pulldowns (underhand grip): [55/8, 80/4] 95/10, 100/10

Reverse Curl Bar Curls [35/10] 45/10, 47/10

Rotator Cuff (lying, down): [5/12] 6/12, 6/12,

Heavy Bag: 2:30

Workout time: 1:05

Below are a couple of more videos to post on my Web site.

Decline Benches

I didn’t pause as much as I’d like on the first rep, but I did better on the rest of the reps. The last rep was a hard fought effort, but I got it.

Lat. Pulldown (underhand grip)

With my homemade lat. pulldown, the weights do tend to swing some, but I'm managing.

These workout logs are continued at: Full Workout Logs: Starting 12/9/07: Routine One; Rotation Three

Full Workout Logs: Starting 10/19/07: Routine One: Rotations One and Two. Copyright 2007 by Gary F. Zeolla.

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

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