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Full Workout Log

Starting 6/13/08

Off-Season

Weeks 1 - 4 of 4

by Gary F. Zeolla


These workout logs record my first workouts after NASA NE States Powerlifting Championships: 2008.

Next contest: Maybe another NASA contest this fall or winter.

Age: 47.
Weight Class: 114s.

Divisions:
Unequipped.
Powerlifting (squat + bench + deadlift = total).
Open (all ages) and Masters I (40-49).

Terminology in these logs:
Raw = no gear, not even a belt.
Unequipped = belt, knee sleeves, wrist wraps.

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

Bench Assistance/ First workout post-contest

Off-season/ Week 1

Friday – 6/13/08

DB Overhead Presses: [10s/15, 15s/8, 20s/5] 25s/8, 27s/8, 30s/8

Lat. Pulldowns: [45/8, 90/4]; Chin-ups with “V” grip: bwt./8, 6, 6

Triceps Pushdowns: 45/8, 50/8, 55/6

Rotator Cuff (sitting, side): 12/12, 12/12

Workout time: 1:00

Friday the Thirteenth, what a day to start a new routine! Coincidently, I started my last routine on a 13th, but that was a Sunday (in January).

But whatever the case, this was my first workout since my contest June 7. I am not sure when my next contest will be. But the meet director of my recent contest said he might hold another contest at the same location this fall (not winter as I mentioned in my contest report). If he does, I will probably enter that.

For this new routine, I will use the same format as I did to prepare for my recent contest. It has a distinct “off-season” and “in-season” and an occasional “deload” week. For the “off-season” I will not do the actual powerlifts. Instead, I will be doing “look-alike” lifts like front squats, along with using bands and chains. Then for the in-season I will do almost exclusively the actual powerlifts.

My previous routine lasted a total of 20 weeks and worked well. So I will tentatively plan on the same now. But this time, I will include a “deload” week probably every fifth week. So my routine will tentatively look as follows:

Off season: 4 weeks.

Deload week.

Off-season: 4 weeks.

Deload week.

In-season: 4 weeks.

Deload week.

In-season: 4 weeks.

Week before contest: Light workouts, then rest.

Contest.

I’m not counting the deload weeks in my “season” weeks count, hence “Week 1” above, but counting the deload weeks and the pre-contest week gives me the total of 20 weeks.

This routine will take me to the end of October. But of course, the lengths will change once I find out the exact date of my next contest.

On this workout, my bench seems to go best when I do overhead presses on my bench assistance day, so I will do so every other week, using DBs in the off-season then a barbell for the in-season. I’ll do dips on the opposite week in the off-season and declines for the in-season.

I haven’t been doing any direct triceps work as most such exercises bother my elbows. But triceps pushdowns don’t seem to. And even with lifting unequipped, I still struggled at the top end of my final bench attempt at the contest, and since I already have my pulley/ cable system setup for the lat. pulldown warm-ups, I figured I’d try doing triceps pushdowns here.

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Squats

Off-season/ Week 1

Saturday – 6/14/08 (Flag Day, yea, what an exciting holiday!)

Sting Ray (Front) Squats (with close stance): [45/15, 75/8, 95/5] 115/7, 125/7, 135/7, 145/6

Standing DB Calves: [25/10] 30/12, 60/12

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

Twisting Dip Bar Leg Raise (reps to each side): 8

Step ups: 5:00

Workout time: 1:12

I knew I’d be busy on Father’s Day, so I lifted Saturday instead. I’ll get back onto my regular schedule next week (Su, M, W, Th).

I used a stance closer than my regular stance for the front squats, about three inches in on each side from my regular foot placement, or a little less than shoulder width.

I really like front squats as they force you to stay in an upright position, strengthening the core and helping to perfect form for regular squats. Using a Sting Ray makes it easier to hold the bar.

My set x rep plan for major exercises like front squat for my off-season is to do 3 x 7,6,5 at the start of the season, then work down to 3 x 5,4,3 by the end of the season. But the last time I did front squats I used a wider stance, so I wasn’t sure how much weight to use, so I started light and worked up.

I wasn’t sure what ab exercise I was going to do. I wanted some kind of twisting, lower ab exercise. So I tried just twisting and raising one leg at a time, but that was too easy. So I switched to using both legs.

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Benches

Off-season/ Week 1

Monday – 6/16/08

Close Grip Benches: [45/15, 75/8, 100/5, 120/3] 135/7, 140/6, 145/5

DB Rows (underhand): [30s/8, 40s/4] 45s/7, 47s/6, 50s/5

Curl Bar Curls: [35/8] 50/5, 52/8, 55/8

Heavy Bag: 4:00

Workout time: 1:11

My grip on close grips is one hand width + one thumb length closer than my regular grip, or almost 6” in on each side.

Due to my infected finger, this was the first time I was able to hit the heavy bag in almost four weeks. So I cut back on the time and intensity, and will have to gradually work my way back up.

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Deadlifts

Off-season/ Week 1

Wednesday – 6/18/08

Stiff-Leg Deadlifts: [45/15, 95/8, 155/5, 215/3] 235/7, 245/6, 255/5

Sitting DB Calves: [50/10] 65/15, 70/15

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

Jump Rope: 3:30

Workout time: 1:05

I’m planning on using a sumo stance for my competitive DLs from now on, but I used a close stance for the SLDLs, as the point of the exercise is to work the low back and hamstrings, which a close stance does more so than a wide stance. But I’m not sure about other DL assistance exercises, if I should use a sumo or conv. stance for them.

Week Two

Bench Assistance

Off-season/ Week 2

Thursday – 6/19/08

Dips: [bwt./10, 25/8, 40/5, 50/3] 60/7, 65/6, 70/5

Lat. Pulldowns (wide grip): [45/8, 75/4]; Pull-ups (wide grip): bwt./6, 6, 5

Reverse DB Curls [20s/8] 22s/8, 26s/7, 27s/6

Rotator Cuff (lying, down): [7.5/10] 10/12, 10/12

Workout time: 1:12

Using a wide grip on pull-ups really makes them harder, but possibly also more effective. My upper back was really pumped afterwards.

I forgot to mention an update on my infected finger. The swelling was down by my first workout post-contest last week, so I’ve been able to grip the bar normally since then. However, the fingernail is now slowly turning black, so I will probably end up losing it. It will probably feel really weird when the nail falls off!

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Squats

Off-season/ Week 2

Sunday – 6/22/08

Chain Squats (chain setup weighs about 90 pounds):

[55/15, add chains: 55/8, 105/5, 155/3] 175/7, 190/6, 200/5

Dip Bar Reverse Crunches: 20, add pair of 3 pound ankle weights: 12

Step ups: 5:00

Workout time: 1:11

It had been quite a while since I used my chains for squats, so I wasted some time trying to remember how to set things up. But even with that, I got done in a decent time, and a very good workout. This was the first time since my contest that I was able to get psyched up for a workout, after the normal post-contest lull.

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Benches

Off-season/ Week 2

Monday – 6/23/08

Band Benches (doubled mini-bands):

[45/15, add bands: 45/8, 60/5, 75/3] 85/7, 95/6, 100/5

DB Rows (elbows out): [30/8, 40/4] 50/8, 52/7, 55/6

Heavy Bag: 4:30

Workout time: 1:05

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Deadlifts

Off-season/ Week 2

Wednesday – 6/25/08

Reverse Band Deadlifts (average {#4} bands choked around the safety bars set in the fourth hole from the top of my power rack; the bands almost completely deload at the top of the lift):

[55/15, add bands: 195/8, 240/5; 285/3] 325/7, 355/7, 370/6, 385/5

Decline sit-ups: [--/10] 5/15, 10/12

Jump Rope: 3:30

Workout time: 1:10

Last time I did RB DLs I used light (#3) bands choked around the safety bars set in the third hole from the top of my power rack, and I used a conv. stance. But with using a sumo stance, I’m a little lower at the top, so the bands would not have de-loaded enough, so I moved the safety bars down one hole. Problem was, the top of a clothes cabinet was in the way of getting the bars into the right holes, so I had to push it back.

Then I was afraid there wouldn’t be enough tension at the bottom, so I switched to #4 bands for greater tension.

I then started too light and had to do an “extra set.” But once I got it all figured out, I got the effect I wanted. I was able to handle about 30 pounds more than with regular DLs, so I am “overloading” the top part of the lift. And I could really feel it in my upper back.

Week Three

Bench Assistance (pic and videos)

Off-season/ Week 3

Thursday – 6/26/08

DB Overhead Presses: [10s/15, 17s/8, 22s/5, 27s/3] 32s/7, 34s/6, 35s/5

Lat. Pulldowns: [55/8, 90/4]; Chin-ups with “V” grip: bwt./8, 8, 7

Triceps Pushdowns: [45/8] 50/10, 52/8, 55/8

Rotator Cuff (sitting, side): [10/10] 14/12, 14/12

Workout time: 1:11

Wasted some time taking a pic and videos for my Web site.

First is a pic of the "V Grip" set over the chin-up bar, then a video. This is a very tough but effective exercise.

Pic

Video

Next is a video of triceps pushdowns. I’m using my lat. pulldown straight bar for these. Of course, the important point is to keep the elbows close to the sides, which I think I’m doing reasonably well.

Video

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Squats

Off-season/ Week 3

Monday – 6/30/08

Sting Ray (Front) Squats (with close stance): [45/15, 95/8, 115/5, 130/3] 145/7, 155/6, 165/5

Standing DB Calves: [30/10] 35/12, 35/12

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

Step ups: 5:15

Workout time: 1:09

I was dragging on Sunday, so I took the day off and moved this workout to Monday. I hated taking a day off this soon into a new routine, but I had no choice. But at least this ended up being a good workout.

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Benches

Off-season/ Week 3

Wednesday – 7/2/08

Close Grip Benches: [45/15, 85/8, 110/5, 135/3] 147/5, 152/4, 157/3

DB Rows (underhand): [35s/8, 45s/4] 52s/5, 55s/4, 57s/3

Curl Bar Curls: [35/8, 50/4] 57/8, 60/7, 62/8

Heavy Bag: 5:00

Workout time: 1:16

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Deadlifts/ Change in routine plans

Off-season/ Week 3

Thursday – 7/3/08

Stiff-Leg Deadlifts: [55/15, 105/8, 170/5, 235/3] 260/5, 270/4, 280/3

Sitting DB Calves: [65/10] 80/12, 80/12

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

Jump Rope: 3:45

Workout time: 1:12

Since I’m not sure when my next contest will be, I changed my routine plans some. Rather than having an eight week off-season, then an eight week in-season, with a deload week every fifth week, I am going to alternate seasons, four weeks for each, with a deload week in-between.

So my routine will be:

Off-season: 4 weeks
Deload week
In-season: 4 weeks
Deload week
Repeat.

I will start with higher reps and drop to lower reps during each season. The last time I did above two workouts, I went 3 x 7,6,5 for the three main exercises. Here I did 3 x 5,4,3.

To keep things straight, I’ll be numbering the “work weeks” consecutively within each season. I’ll do up to 12 work weeks for each season before changing assistance exercises. But I only do most exercises every other week, so I’ll be doing any given assistance exercise six times. If I follow the whole 12 weeks for each season, with the deload weeks, the whole routine will take 30 weeks, or until the end of the year.

It might sound complicated, but once I wrote it all out and marked in on a calendar, it makes perfect sense. It will give me plenty of variety and flexibility. When I decide on a contest, I can just adjust the rotation and weeks so as to have an in-season right before the contest.

Week Four

Bench Assistance/ Thoughts on curls

Off-season/ Week 4

Sunday – 7/6/08

Dips: [bwt./10, 25/8, 45/5, 60/3] 75/5, 80/4, 85/3

Lat. Pulldowns (wide grip): [45/8, 90/4]; Pull-ups (wide grip): bwt./6, 6, 6

Reverse DB Curls: skipped

Rotator Cuff (lying, down): [10/10] 12/12, 12/12

Workout time: 0:59

My biceps were feeling sore and overtrained from going heavy on curls last week. Why I went so hard on curls I really don’t know. I have no intents of entering a curl contest, and I have long since given up trying to “impress the ladies” with my wimpy-looking body.

In any case, the pull-ups did not feel good as a result, and I skipped the reverse curls. From now on I doubt I will do curls much, if at all. I figure the biceps get plenty of work from my upper back work and from the reverse curls. The latter I need to do as I have found that I have no grip problems on DLs as long as I do reverse curls, even at my last contest when I could only use three fingers on my left hand. But there is little point for a powerlifter to do regular curls.

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Squats

Off-season/ Week 4

Monday – 7/7/08

Chain Squats (chain setup weighs about 90 pounds):

[55/15, add chains: 55/8, 120/5, 185/3] 207/5, 215/4, 225/3

Dip Bar Reverse Crunches (pair of 3 pound ankle weights): 20, 20

Step ups: 5:30

Workout time: 1:02

The 207 on the first set of chain squats was due to there being a 2-1/2 on one side that was not supposed to be there. But other than that minor mis-load, a good workout.

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Benches

Off-season/ Week 4

Wednesday – 7/9/08

Band Benches (doubled mini-bands):

[45/15, add bands: 45/8, 70/5, 90/3] 105/5, 110/4, 115/3

DB Rows (elbows out): [35/8, 47/4] 55/5, 57/4, 60/3

Heavy Bag: 5:15

Workout time: 1:04

______________________________

Deadlifts/ Pic and video/ End of first “mini-season”

Off-season/ Week 4

Thursday – 7/10/08

Reverse Band Deadlifts (average {#4} bands choked around the safety bars set in the fourth hole from the top of my power rack; the bands almost completely deload at the top of the lift):

[55/15, add bands: 195/8, 275/5; 350/3] 390/5, 405/4, 420/3

Decline sit-ups: [--/10] 15/12, 15/12

Jump Rope: 4:00

Workout time: 1:11

This workout was the last day of my first, four- week “off-season.” Next week will be a deload week, then a four-week “in-season.” I’ll see near the end of that mini-season how this plan is working out.

The RBDLs felt really good. It especially felt good putting four 45s on each side of the bar for the first time since I started lifting unequipped the beginning of the year. Of course, the trick will be to be able to do that much without the aid of the bands.

Below is a pic of the set-up with the average bands and a video of that last set.

Pic of set-up

Reverse Band DLs video

If the song does not sound quite like you remember it, that’s because it is not the Doobie Brothers. It is a remake by DC Talk, a Christian rock/ rap band. That is why, if you listen closely to the lyrics, they’re singing, “Jesus is STILL just alright.”

 

Deload Week

Speed Bench Assistance

Deload Week 1

Sunday – 7/13/08

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

Speed Lat. Pulldowns: [45/8] 65/6 x 5

Stretching: ~13 minutes

Workout time: 0:40

I used a timer to be sure I was only resting 30-40 seconds between speed sets and holding my stretches for 20-30 seconds.

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Speed Squats

Deload Week 1

Monday – 7/14/08

Speed Squats: [55/15, 115/10] 145/6 x 6

Standing Bodyweight Calves: 40, 30

Crunch-Reverse Crunch Combo: 25, 25

Stretching: ~15 minutes

Workout time: ~ 50 minutes

Through the course of this routine, I should get in 5-6 deload weeks. On my speed work, I might drop the reps and increase the sets as I go along.

The last time I did a deload week, I didn’t do any calves work. But then when I did calves again for my first regular workout, they felt rather tough. So I figured some claves work with just bodyweight for reps would make sense. But it ended up being tougher than I thought. My calves were really pumped after the first set, so the second set didn’t go so well.

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Speed Benches

Deload Week 1

Wednesday – 7/16/08

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

Speed Rows: [45/8] 55/6 x 5

Stretching: ~12 minutes

Workout time: 0:42

______________________________

Speed Deadlifts

Deload Week 1

Thursday – 7/17/08

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

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

Stretching: ~16 minutes

Workout time: 0:52


These workout logs are continued at: Full Workout Logs: Starting 7/20/08: In-Season; Weeks 1 - 4 of 4.


Full Workout Logs: Starting 6/13/08: Off-Season; Weeks 1 -4 of 4. Copyright 2008 by Gary F. Zeolla.

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

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