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Full Workout Log

Starting 3/21/08

In-Season

Weeks 1 - 5 of 10

by Gary F. Zeolla


These workout logs are continued from: Full Workout Logs: Starting 2/17/08: Off-Season; Weeks 6 - 10 of 10.

Next contest:
NASA Northeastern States Championships in Washington, PA on June 7, 2008.
Weight Class:
114s or 123s.

Divisions:
Unequipped.
Masters (40-49).
Pure (Lifetime Anabolic Steroid Free).
Powerlifting (squat, bench, deadlift = total).

Terminology in these logs:
Raw = no gear, not even a belt.
Unequipped = belt and wraps, but no suit or shirt.

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


Week One

Raw Squats/ First Workout of In-Season

In-season/ Week 1 of 10

Good Friday – 3/21/08

Raw Squats: [55/15, 125/10, 175/6, 225/3] 250/7, 260/6, 270/5

Standing DB Calves: [20/10] 30/12, 30/12

Leg Raises: 20, 20

Step ups: 6:00

Workout time: 1:09

This was my first workout for what will be a ten week “in-season” routine. My basic plan is to do the powerlifts raw and for higher reps on odd-numbered weeks and the powerlifts unequipped for lower reps on even-numbered weeks. I will also alternate my assistance work on a two week basis.

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Raw Benches

In-season/ Week 1 of 10

Monday – 3/24/08

Raw Benches: [45/15, 95/10, 115/6, 135/3] 135/7, 145/7, 150/6, 155/5

DB Rows (underhand): [30s/8, 37s/4] 45s/7, 47s/6, 50s/7

Rotator Cuff (sitting, front): 10/12, 10/12

Heavy Bag: 6:00

Workout time: 1:05

I started too light on benches, so I did an extra set to get in the work I wanted.

On DB rows, the first two sets felt rather heavy, but the third set felt light, so I did two “extra” reps. This exercise is rather awkward to do, so it took a couple of sets for me to remember how best to do them.

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Raw Deadlifts/ Going back to sumo stance

In-season/ Week 1 of 10

Wednesday – 3/26/08

Raw Deadlifts: [45/15, 145/10, 205/6, 265/3] 295/7, 310/6, 325/5

Sitting BB Calves: [115/12] 135/12, 145/12

Sit-ups: 10/12, 15/9

Jump Rope: 5:00

Workout time: 1:19

When I powerlifted in college, I always used a sumo stance on DLs. My best was 435 @ 123s. So when I started powerlifting again five years ago, I naturally used a sumo stance. My best was 410 @ 114s at a contest in July of 2004. But my DL stagnated for the next two years.

So after pulling 400 at a contest in April of 2006, I switched to a conventional stance. And in my training that summer, I pulled 420. But I again only pulled 400 at a contest that September. Then for my contest last September, still conv., I only pulled 385. So after going up for a while, my conv. DL stagnated then went back down. Possibly, with pulling conv, it is too easy to overtrain the lower back.

Meanwhile, during the time I’ve been pulling conventional, my squat has been going badly. There is a connection since I use exactly the same foot stance for squats as for sumo DLs. Also, sumo DLs “teach” me to keep an upright back, and one problem I’ve been having on squats is keeping my back upright.

So all of that is to explain why I decided to go back to a sumo stance with this workout. I figured the first week of my “in-season” was the time to do so. In fact, thinking about it, it made sense to continue with the conventional stance for my chain DLs during my off-season. That way, the lower back got strengthened. But now for my in-season leading up to my next contest, hopefully, I get more pulling power by going back to sumo. And this first workout felt very good for being the first time pulling sumo in two years.

The workout time is rather meaningless. After my last DL set, while I had most of the weights off of my power rack, I wanted to reposition it in the center of my power rack. So it took time to measure and move the power rack as need be. Now that I got it centered, I will go ahead and bolt it down.

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Birthday Bench Assistance

In-season/ Week 1 of 10

Thursday – 3/27/08

Incline Benches: [45/15, 75/10, 95/6, 110/3] 125/7, 130/6, 135/5

Lat. Pulldowns: [55/8, 90/4]; Pull-ups: bwt./6, 6, 6

DB Curls [20s/8] 25s/8, 26s/7, 27s/6

Rotator Cuff (lying, down): 7.5/12, 7.5/12

Workout time: 1:04

Turned 47 on this day.

On the lat. pulldowns, for my last workout, I used almost my bodyweight. Since I don’t have anyone to hold me down, that is the limit of how much weight I can use with my homemade, pulley set-up. If you cannot figure out why, then you need to retake high school physics! In any case, my plan now is to do lat. pulldowns for my warm-ups then switch to pull-ups (overhand grip) or chin-ups (underhand grip) for my work sets.

That said, this was the first time I did pull-ups in ages, and I must say, there is definitely a different feel to them than lat. pulldowns. And three sets of six I thought was pretty good.

Week Two

Unequipped Squats/ Need to make some decisions

In-season/ Week 2 of 10

Sunday – 3/30/08

Unequipped Squats:

Gear: Crain: power belt, squat shoes; APT: wrist bands, 2.0 meter Blue Mamba knee wraps.

[55/15, 145/10, 190/6, add belt: 235/3, add wraps: 270/1] 300/4, 315/1, 325/1

Twisting Dip Bar Reverse Crunches (reps to each side): 10, 9

Step ups: 6:00

Workout time: 1:19

This workout went terrible, for several reasons.

First, I started too heavy. This was probably because of going too heavy for my first raw squat workout the week before as I based my weights here on that workout. I should have started lighter for both. So I will need to back off on my next workouts for both. But what that means is, my squat is way down, both raw and with wraps.

Second, I had a terrible time getting down. This was the first time I used gear of any sort this year, and the first time I used the APT Blue Mamba wraps. They seemed to support really well. I could even notice the “lift” from them when I took the weight off of the rack. But I’m not sure if my problem with depth was because the weight was too heavy, or because I wasn’t used to the new wraps.

Third, and most importantly, I posted several weeks ago about my problem with fibromyalgia fatigue and how getting a squat suit and briefs on and off left me exhausted. OTOH, I have gotten injured when I tried going raw. So I was hoping that a compromise would be to go unequipped. But just wrapping my knees for this workout left me very tired and with little energy for the actual lifts.

In addition, I’ve found I need to keep my workouts to an hour or so or I get overly tired. And the time spent with the wraps made the workout take too long. So between the wrapping and the too long of a workout, after the workout, I was absolutely exhausted.

At that point, I was thinking it was time for me to just accept that my health has deteriorated to the point that competition is no longer an option. But then I remembered an email I got from APT a week or so ago. They were selling out their old knee sleeves and getting in new ones that were twice as thick. So maybe, with the extra thickness, their new knee sleeves will provide enough protection on squats but without tiring me out putting them on. So I might try that for my next unequipped workout.

Of course, I will need to accept that my squat will be way down from even when I competed unequipped two years ago. I doubt even extra thick knee sleeves will add much to the lift.

Interestingly, I posted a while back that the United Raw Nationals contest back in January allowed a belt, wrist wraps, and knees sleeves. I commented to a MySpace friend who entered that contest that allowing knee sleeves might be a good compromise between those who think “raw” should be mean no knee wraps and those who believe they should be allowed. Knee sleeves will provide the protection the latter want but without adding to the lift as the former would complain about.

I use my current APT knee sleeves on DLs. So I’ll wait and see how that workout goes on Wednesday before ordering the new knee sleeves.

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Unequipped Benches

In-season/ Week 2 of 10

Monday – 3/31/08

Unequipped Benches:

Gear: APT: bench belt, 24” Black Mamba wrist wraps.

[45/15, 95/10, 115/6, add belt: 130/3, add wraps: 145/1] 160/4, 167/3, 175/2

BB Rows (close grip): [45/8, 70/4] 85/8, 95/6, 100/6

Rotator Cuff (lying, out): 5/12, 7.5/12, 10/12

Heavy Bag: 6:00

Workout time: 1:13

This workout went well. I benched 190 the one time before that I competed raw, so doubling 175 here for my first low rep workout is pretty good.

My new APT belt worked out well. It didn’t get in the way of my arch, and it seemed to keep me tight in the middle. But I don’t think it added anything to the bench; it just felt good having it on.

One thing though, this workout took a little too long. For that reason, I was a little overly tired, but not too bad. But next time, I’ll skip the rotator cuff exercise. Actually, that will work out well. I’ve come up with seven different rotator cuff exercises to do. I did four during my “off-season,” one on each of my two bench days and on my two bench assistance days. So for my “in-season’ I will do the other three, one on my other bench day and the other two on my two bench assistance days.

See the following page of my site for videos of the different exercises I use: Rotator Cuff Videos.

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Unequipped Deadlifts

In-season/ Week 2 of 10

Wednesday – 4/2/08

Unequipped Deadlifts:

Gear: Crain: power belt; APT: knee sleeves; Nike wrestling shoes.

[55/15, 145/10, 200/6, add belt: 255/3, add wraps: 310/1] 345/4, 360/3, 375/2

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

Jump Rope: 5:15

Workout time: 1:10

I pulled 400 at my unequipped contest two years ago, so doubling 375 for my first heavy workout was very good. But most importantly, I was not overly tired after this workout. It took a tad longer than I would like, but I really don’t think I can cut out anything else. Three work sets on one major exercise seems to the minimum I can do and make progress. And I really think I need the ab and cardio work. So I guess I just need to work at going at a little faster pace through my workouts. I rested about 4-5 minutes between sets of DLs. Maybe I can cut that down by a minute or so.

In any case, since my unequipped squat workout is basically the same as this DL workout, then using just a belt and knee sleeves on squats should work. So I will be ordering APT’s new heavy knee sleeves. I figure I’ll stick with the thinner ones I used here for DLs and use the new thicker ones for squats. They come in packs of two pairs. So that will give me one pair for training and a new pair for the contest.

On another gear note, I always wore wrist bands in college on all three lifts. So I naturally did so when I started competing again. Of late, I’ve been wearing APT wrist bands on squats and DLs and APT 24” wrist wraps for benches. I really like them, but I’m not sure if the wrist support is really necessary, especially with lifting unequipped. So I didn’t bother with the wrist bands here and probably won’t on squats. But I am leery about doing heavy benches without wrist support, so I might keep using the wrist wraps on benches.

Finally, my first heavy bench and DL workouts went well. So it looks like my off-season approach of not doing the actual powerlifts but then doing them for my in-season will work out well. It’s just squats that are giving me fits, but that has been the case for the past year or so. It’s frustrating since squats were always my best lift, but now they might be my worst! But I just need to keep working at it.

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Bench Assistance

In-season/ Week 2 of 10

Thursday – 4/3/08

DB Decline Bench: [20s/15, 30s/10, 40s/6, 47s/3] 55s/7, 57s/7, 62s/5

Lat. Pulldowns: [55/8, 90/4]; Chin-ups: bwt./8, 8, 8

Reverse Curls: 45/8, 45/10, 50/8

Rotator Cuff (lying, up): 7.5/12, 10/12

Workout time: 1:10

Last week, I did pull-ups (overhand grip) for 3 sets of 6. Since I did 3 x 8 for chin-ups (underhand grip), it would seem that chin-ups are a little easier than pull-ups. For my next chin-up workout, rather than adding reps, I’ll add weight using my dip belt.

Wasted a little time remembering how to set things up and figuring out how much weight to use. But with this workout, I’ve now done all eight of my in-season workouts once. So I should know what I’m doing from here out.

 

Week Three

Raw Squats/ Creatine Comments

In-season/ Week 3 of 10

Sunday – 4/6/08

Raw Squats: [55/15, 125/10, 170/6, 210/3] 235/7, 247/6, 260/5

Standing DB Calves: [25/10] 32/12, 32/12

Leg Raises: 25, 20

Step ups: 6:00

Workout time: 1:18

I dropped the weights on squats some to be sure I was sinking them enough. And I am sure my depth is fine now.

But I’m not sure why this workout took so long. I haven’t been sleeping, so maybe I was dragging. Or maybe it was because my creatine expired on me, so I had to stop using it. Maybe without the creatine I needed longer rests between sets.

I noticed over the weekend that my creatine expired back in January, so I thought it best not to use it. I ordered some new creatine. Hopefully, it will be here within a couple of days.

What I ordered was Ultimate Nutrition’s CreaPure. I had been using Jarrow Formula’s CreaPure, but Bodybuilding.com didn’t have that brand. But as far as I know, it really shouldn’t matter. CreaPure is made by a company in Germany; it is just marketed here in the USA under different brand names. And I wanted to order from Bodybuilding.com since I just added them as an advertiser on my site.

On a related note, on Bodybuilding.com it said that you should not mix up creatine ahead of time as it degrades in water. But that is exactly what I had been doing, mixing it up in my pre-workout drink the night before my workouts. So I guess I should wait and add it to my pre-workout drink until immediately before using it.

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Raw Benches

In-season/ Week 3 of 10

Monday – 4/7/08

Raw Benches: [45/15, 95/10, 115/6, 135/3] 150/7, 155/6, 160/5

DB Rows (underhand): [35s/8, 45s/4] 50s/7, 52s/6, 55s/5

Rotator Cuff (sitting, front): 12/10, 12/10

Heavy Bag: 6:00

Workout time: 1:08

When I was taking a 45 off of the weight holder, it slipped out of my hand and hit my ankle. That really hurt! It wasn’t until I took my sock off later that I realized I had scrapped my ankle. And that really stung when I took my shower! But despite the minor problems, a good workout.

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Raw Deadlifts/ Creatine update

In-season/ Week 3 of 10

Wednesday – 4/9/08

Raw Deadlifts: [45/15, 145/10, 210/6, 275/3] 305/7, 320/6, 335/5

Sitting BB Calves: [135/12] 155/12, 165/12

Sit-ups: 12/15, 15/10

Jump Rope: 5:00

Workout time: 1:11

I got my order from Bodybuilding.com just in time for this workout, so I used my new Ultimate Nutrition CreaPure in my pre-workout drink. And I think I am going to like this brand of creatine.

My workout went very well. If this had anything to do with the creatine is hard to say, but it did seem like my final sets of each exercise went better than my final sets in my last two workouts without the creatine. And that is what creatine is supposed to do; replenish APT store quicker so that you’re stronger on second and subsequent sets of a given exercise.

I also like that the UN product it is micronized. This means the particles are smaller, so it mixes up in even cold water easily, with no clumping whatsoever. I would assume it is also absorbed more easily in the body.

The label states, "HPLC tested and analyzed 100% purity... guaranteed to be free of impurities and by-products: creatinine (CRN), dicyandiamide (DCD), and dihydrotriazline (DHT) according to present analytical methods."

So it is pure creatine, nothing else. Note, HPLC stands for high performance liquid chromatography. "HPLC is used to separate components of a mixture by using a variety of chemical interactions between the substance being analyzed (analyte) and the chromatography column" (Wikipedia).

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Bench Assistance

In-season/ Week 3 of 10

Thursday – 4/10/08

Incline Benches: [45/15, 75/10, 95/6, 115/3] 130/6, 135/5, 140/4

Lat. Pulldowns: [55/8, 90/4]; Pull-ups: bwt./7, 7, 7

DB Curls [20s/8] 26s/8, 27s/7, 29s/6

Rotator Cuff (lying, out): 12/12, 12/12

Workout time: 1:07

 

Week Four

Unequipped Squats (with new knee sleeves)

In-season/ Week 4 of 10

Sunday – 4/13/08

Unequipped Squats:

Gear: Crain: power belt, squat shoes; APT: heavy knee sleeves.

[55/15, 125/10, 165/6, 205/3, add belt and knee sleeves: 245/1] 270/4, 285/3, 300/3

Twisting Dip Bar Reverse Crunches (reps to each side): 12, 10

Step ups: 6:00

Workout time: 1:14

This was my first workout using my new APT heavy knee sleeves. And it went very well. The knee sleeves are easy to put on, so they did not tire me out excessively. And they seemed to provide plenty of support. The only thing was, they could have been a little bit tighter, but I am already using APT’s smallest size, so there is nothing I can do about that.

The last set of squats was only supposed to be a double, but I cut the second rep just a tad high, so I did an extra rep and sunk it good. I barely got it, but I was excited. I have nothing to compare it to since this was my first time squatting with just knee sleeves, but 300 for a triple seems like a good start.

The workout took a little longer, and I was a little more tired afterwards than I would like, but I think that is a matter of getting used to the lower reps after having done higher reps for most of this year.

But I do think that this will work, using just a belt and knee sleeves. So that will be my squat gear from now on. And with that, it looks like I will be competing in the NASA contest June 7.

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Unequipped Benches

In-season/ Week 4 of 10

Monday – 4/14/08

Unequipped Benches:

Gear: APT: bench belt, 24” Black Mamba wrist wraps.

[45/15, 95/10, 115/6, 135/3, add belt & wraps: 150/1] 165/4, 172/3, 180/2

BB Rows (close grip): [45/8, 80/4] 95/8, 100/7, 105/5

Heavy Bag: 6:00

Workout time: 1:08

Another good workout.

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Unequipped Deadlifts

In-season/ Week 4 of 10

Wednesday – 4/16/08

Unequipped Deadlifts:

Gear: Crain: power belt; APT: knee sleeves; Nike wrestling shoes.

[55/15, 145/10, 205/6, add belt and knee sleeves: 265/3, 325/1] 355/4, 370/3, 385/2

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

Jump Rope: 5:00

Workout time: 1:10

A tough but very good workout. The last rep of all three DL sets was very difficult, but I got all of them. However, I really “died” on the jumping rope. I probably spent more time resting than actually jumping. But I’ll just call it five minutes of “interval training!”

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Bench Assistance

In-season/ Week 4 of 10

Thursday – 4/17/08

DB Decline Bench: [20s/15, 35s/10, 45s/6, 52s/3] 60s/6, 62s/5, 65s/5

Lat. Pulldowns: [55/8, 90/4]; Chin-ups: 5/8, 10/7, 15/5

Reverse Curls: [45/8] 50/8, 52/8, 55/7

Rotator Cuff (lying, up): 11/12, 11/12

Workout time: 1:14

Week Five

Speed Squats/ Trying Deload Week

In-season/ Week 5 of 10/ Deload Week

Sunday – 4/20/08

Speed Squats: [55/15, 125/10] 145/6 x 5

Crunch-Reverse Crunch Combo: 25, 25

Stretching: ~ 13 minutes

Workout time: 0:43

I’ve done deload workouts before but never a full deload week. But I really think that is what has been missing from my routine. So with this being about the middle of my “in-season,” I figured now would be a good time to try it. I’ll then have five weeks of hard workouts, and then take the week off before my contest. Hopefully, this deload week will keep me from burning out before my contest.

If this works out, in the future, I’ll probably included a deload week every few weeks. These deload weeks will also give me a chance to do things I don’t have time for normally, mainly speed work and stretching. I’ve posted before that I believe the main value of speed work is that it is actually a “light” workout, but the development of quickness is a benefit as well.

For this workout, I only rested about 30 seconds or so between sets, so the speed work also provides a form of “interval training” cardio. So I didn’t bother with my normal cardio. That way, this week will provide a break from the heavy lifting and from the hard cardio work. But I’ll have to experiment some to see what number of sets and reps work best.

As for stretching, I used to stretch after all of my workouts. But after years of doing so, I wasn’t making any progress, so I stopped doing so. This was the first time I had done any stretching this year, and I hadn’t lost any flexibility. So I think just stretching every few weeks will be more than enough to maintain that level of flexibility.

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Speed Benches

In-season/ Week 5 of 10/ Deload Week

Monday – 4/21/08

Speed Benches: [45/15, 75/10] 90/6, 95/5 x 5

Speed Rows: [45/8] 55/6 x 4

Stretching: ~ 11 minutes

Workout time: 0:40

My “deload” workouts are going well. For some more details, the warm-ups sets are done in a regular not “speed” fashion. I’m figuring my weights for my speed sets by taking 50% of the weight for the top set from last week’s low rep, unequipped workouts. For benches, that was 180/2, so I started with 90 pounds here. But that seemed a little light, so I increased it to 95, and that worked out well. So that is probably more like 50% of my 1RM.

When I’ve done speed bench workouts before, the rest of my workout was a “regular” workout. But I figured to really “deload” I needed to go easy for the whole workout. So I came up with the idea of doing “speed rows.” Those went well, but not surprisingly, I needed to be careful about not hitting my chest too hard!

Along those lines, I am not using chains or bands for any of my speed exercise like I have in the past. I figure since I am competing unequipped, they did not make much sense. But I do have to be careful about not letting the weight get away from me.

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Speed Deadlifts

In-season/ Week 5 of 10/ Deload Week

Wednesday – 4/23/08

Speed Deadlifts: [45/15, 145/10] 195/6, 185/6 x 5

Bicycle Abs (reps to each side): 25, 20

Stretching: ~ 11 minutes

Workout time: 0:44

For my unequipped DL workout last week, for my top set, I pulled 385/2, so the 195 I started with here was a little over 50% of that. But it felt a little too heavy, so I dropped it down to 185, which would be a little less than 50%, and that felt just right.

But I think the hardest part of doing all these speed sets is keeping track of how many sets I’ve done! So what I’ve been doing is using a system of slash marks on my workout logs.

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Speed Bench Assistance

In-season/ Week 5 of 10/ Deload Week

Thursday – 4/24/08

Push-ups: [regular: 10 x 2]; Speed (“clap”): 5 x 6 (reps x sets)

Speed Lat. Pulldowns: [55/8] 65/6 x 5

Stretching: ~ 14 minutes

Workout time: 0:43

I never did a speed bench assistance workout before, but I wanted to make this a full week of speed/ deload workouts. So I came up with the idea of doing speed push-ups, using a “clap” between each rep. I’ve done these before for my speed bench workouts, but I figured they made even more sense here. And I must say, they are kind of fun to do.

As with my speed bench workout, I wanted to make this a full speed workout, so I did my upper back work in a speed fashion as well. But I had to be careful not to “jerk-start” the weight at the top like you see so many, well, jerks do at the gyms. So I started with a somewhat slow pull and gradually increased my speed on the way down, making for a smooth not jerky descent.

And that completes my deload/ speed week. Sunday, it is back to the hard lifting and cardio.

These workout logs are continued at: Full Workout Logs: Starting 4/27/08: In-Season; Weeks 6 - 10 of 10.



Full Workout Logs: Starting 3/21/08: In-Season; Weeks 1 -5 of 10. Copyright 2008 by Gary F. Zeolla.

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

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