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Full Workout Log

Starting 9/19/08

Off-Season: Weeks 1-5

by Gary F. Zeolla


These workout logs are continued from Full Workout Logs: Starting 8/18/08: Rotation I..


Next contests:
ADAU Raw Power Steel City Challenge (push/ pull), Saturday, January 10, 2009, in Monroeville, PA.
ADAU Raw Power Emmanuel Greater Johnstown, Single Lift Open, February 21, 2009.

For details on these contests, see ADAU 2009 Contests.

Age: 47.
Weight class: 123s, then 114s.

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

Change of Plans – Bench Assistance

Off-season/ Week 1

Friday – 9/19/08

Overhead Presses: [DBs: 10s/15, BB: 45/10] 55/6, 65/6, 75/6, 80/6

Lat. Pulldowns: [45/8, 90/4]; V-Grip Chins-ups: bwt./6, bwt./6

Triceps Pushdowns: 45/10, 45/10

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

Workout time: 0:43

I had some setbacks health-wise and had to take over a week off of lifting, from September 11-18. And that ended my plans to enter the powerlifting contest in November I posted about before. At this point, I have no idea when or if I will compete again. But I need to workout to keep in shape, so I started a new routine with this workout.

After my last contest back in June, I experimented with a couple of different routines. But neither went too well, so now I’ll go back to what worked for me in preparing for that contest. It is an “off-season/ in-season” routine.

In the off-season, one powerlift “look-alike” lift or other major exercise is done each workout, along some minor exercises, alternating exercises on a two week rotation. The actual powerlifts are then done almost exclusively during the in-season.

For now, I will plan on each “season” lasting ten weeks. That will take me into February. But the lengths of each season could change if I decide on a contest to enter.

With the break and health setbacks, I had no idea how much strength I might have lost and thus how much weight to use on each exercise to be done during my off-season, especially since I hadn’t done most these exercises in a while. So for the first couple of weeks of the off-season, I’ll be doing sets of six reps for my main exercise of the day, starting light and working up until I hit a heavy set. That will then be my starting weight for the rest of the season. I’ll do the same when I do the actual powerlifts at the start of my in-season. I’ll use a similar pattern for minor exercises as well.

I lift four days a week, alternating through four basic workouts: Bench Assistance/ Squats/ Benches/ Deadlifts. My last workout before the break was squats, so I should have done benches next. But it is too confusing to start a routine with benches, so I started with the bench assistance workout.

That said, this was a short and easy workout. In fact, that is another reason I started with bench assistance, and why I lifted on Friday. I was going to wait until Sunday, but I figured putting in a light workout would be better than waiting any longer to start lifting again.

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Squats

Off-season/ Week 1 of 10

Sunday – 9/21/08

Manta Ray (high bar, close stance) Squats: [45/15, 95/10] 135/6, 185/6, 205/6, 225/6

Standing DB Calves: [20/10] 30/10, 32/9

Step ups: 4:00

Workout time: 0:58

The last time I did Manta Ray squats, I used my regular squat stance (17” between heals). But that didn’t give enough of a difference between my off-season and in-season squats. So this time I’m using a close stance (11” between heals).

Back in my college lifting days, I remember “Dr. Squat” (Fred Hatfield) used to advocate doing high bar, close stance squats for much of the training cycle, and only switching to power squats shortly before a contest. So I’ll see how things go.

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Benches

Off-season/ Week 1 of 10

Monday – 9/22/08

DB Benches (arms together): [20s/15, 30s/8] 40s/6, 45s/6, 50s/6, 55s/6, 60s/6

DB Rows (underhand grip): [25s/8, 45s/6] 50s/8, 55s/5

Reverse Curl Bar Curls: [35/8] 45/8, 50/8

Heavy Bag: 4:00

Workout time: 1:05

I’m trying a change in my form on benches. Basically, I’m flattening out my arch some and touching the bar a little higher on my chest. I know this sounds opposite of what is commonly recommended, but it is more the form I used back in college. And it seemed to go well here. I’ll give it a few weeks and see how it goes.

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Deadlifts

Off-season/ Week 1 of 10

Wednesday – 9/24/08

Good Mornings: [45/15, 75/10] 100/6, 115/6, 125/6, 135/6

BB Shrugs: [135/8] 185/8, 205/8, 225/5

Crunch/ Side-Bench Combo: --/14, 2.5/10

Jump Rope: 3:00

Workout time: 0:54

 

Week Two

Bench Assistance

Off-season/ Week 2 of 10

Thursday – 9/25/08

Decline Bench: [45/15, 95/6] 115/6, 135/6, 145/6, 155/6, 160/6

Lat. Pulldowns: [55/8, 90/4]; Pull-Ups (wide grip): bwt./6, bwt./6

Shoulder Horn (alternating arms): 7.5/12, 7.5/12

Workout time: 0:52

The wide grip pull-ups bother my shoulder some, so I think it will be best not to do them. But I’m not sure what to replace them with. I was planning on using a wide grip for my off-season, then a medium grip for my in-season.

Also, I originally planned on doing reverse curls here, but I did them on my bench day last week instead. But that made that workout a tad too long and this one a tad too short. So I’ll do my arm work on this day from now on.

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Squats

Off-season/ Week 2 of 10

Sunday – 9/28/08

Reverse Band Squats

(average #4 bands choked around the safeties near the top of my power rack, set so there is no tension at the top of the lift):

[45/15, add bands: 185/10] 225/6, 275/6, 295/6, 315/6

Sit-ups: [--/12] 5/12, 7.5/10

Step ups: 4:30

Workout time: 1:05

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Benches

Off-season/ Week 2 of 10

Monday – 9/29/08

Reverse Band Benches

(light #3 bands choked around the top of my power rack, set so there is very little tension at the top of the lift):

[45/15, add bands: 115/8] 135/6, 155/6, 175/6, 185/6

BB Rows (medium grip): [45/8, 65/8] 85/8, 90/6

Heavy Bag: 4:30

Workout time: 0:56

As mentioned last week, I changed my form some on benches, and that necessitated changing the setup in my power rack. With lifting alone, I need to have the safety bars set so that I can touch my chest without the bar hit the safeties. But then I still need to be able to set the bar onto the safeties and slip out from under it if I miss a rep. Since I’m not arching as much, my chest is lower, but if I moved the safeties down one hole, that was too low, so I had to put a second set of mats under the bench.

But once I wasted all of that time and got started, a good workout. The new form feels rather good. But I really won’t know for sure until I get to doing regular benches in my in-season, but I need to start using it now to get used to it.

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Deadlifts

Off-season/ Week 2 of 10

Wednesday – 10/1/08

Chain Deadlifts (chain set-up weighs about 80 pounds):

[55/15, 135/8, add chains: 135/6] 185/6, 205/6, 225/6, 245/6, 265/6

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

Jump Rope: 3:30

Workout time: 1:01

This was the last workout of the “introductory” period of my off-season, and it all went as planned. With my next workout, I start my regular reps scheme.

But I will say, I’ve always struggled with what to do immediately after a contest. I know they’ll be a loss of strength and intensity after a contest, but it’s hard to gauge how much. But these two introductory weeks will work great for easing back into hard workouts. So I will probably use something like it after my next contest, whenever that might be. But for now, it’s time to get back into heavier training.

Week Three

Bench Assistance

Off-season/ Week 3 of 10

Thursday – 10/2/08

Overhead Presses: [DBs: 10s/15, BB: 45/8, 60/5, 72/3] 82/6, 90/4, 67/10

Lat. Pulldowns: [45/8, 80/4]; V-Grip Chins-ups: bwt./8, 5/5

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

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

Workout time: 0:58

6,4,10 is my planned rep scheme for the next couple of weeks of this routine. And I picked my weights just right here. The rest rep of each set was a near but not quite full max effort, just the intensity I want. Hopefully, I can do the same for the rest of my workouts.

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Squats

Off-season/ Week 3 of 10

Sunday – 10/5/08

Manta Ray (high bar, close stance) Squats: [45/15, 115/8, 165/5, 210/3] 232/6, 250/4, 205/10

Standing DB Calves: [25/10] 32/12, 35/8

Step ups: 5:00

Workout time: 1:12

I was having problems focusing, and that led to the workout taking a little too long, but otherwise, a good workout. My first set of Manta Raw squats was a little light, so I went a little heavier on the next two sets than I had originally planned, and those weights gave me my desired intensity.

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Benches

Off-season/ Week 3 of 8

Monday – 10/6/08

DB Benches (arms together): [20s/15, 35s/8, 45s/5, 55s/3 ] 62s/6, 67s/4, 52s/10

DB Rows (underhand grip): [35s/8, 45s/6] 52s/7, 57s/4

Heavy Bag: 5:00

Workout time: 1:00

It was with this workout that I decided to enter the above mentioned contest. With doing so, I needed to adjust my schedule. I am shortening my “off-season” to eight weeks, hence the change to “Week 3 of 8” above. Then I should get in a seven-week “in-season.” Hopefully, that will be enough time to get ready for the contest.

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Deadlifts

Off-season/ Week 3 of 8

Wednesday – 10/8/08

Good Mornings: [45/15, 75/10, 100/5, 125/3] 140/6, 150/4, 120/10

BB Shrugs: [135/8, 185/4] 215/8, 235/5

Crunch/ Side-Bench Combo: [--/10] 2.5/11, 5/7

Jump Rope: 4:00

Workout time: 0:59

Week Four

Bench Assistance

Off-season/ Week 4 of 8

Thursday – 10/9/08

Decline Bench: [45/15, 95/6, 120/5, 145/3] 165/6, 175/4, 145/10

Lat. Pulldowns: [55/8, 90/4]; Pull-Ups (wide grip): bwt./7, 5/4

Reverse Curl Bar Curls: [45/8] 55/8, 60/4

Shoulder Horn (alternating arms): [7.5/12] 10/8, 10/8

Workout time: 1:08

I know I said I wouldn’t do wide grip pull-ups again, but I figured I’d give them one more try. Only this time, I was careful to lower myself slowly, and that seemed to keep them from bothering my shoulder.

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Squats

Off-season/ Week 4 of 8

Sunday – 10/12/08

Reverse Band Squats

(average #4 bands choked around the safeties near the top of my power rack, set so there is no tension at the top of the lift):

[45/15, add bands: 185/10, 240/5, 295/3] 325/6, 345/4, 285/9

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

Step ups: 5:30

Workout time: ~1:15

On the tenth rep of my last set of RB squats, my legs and even my whole body was cramping up, and I was out of breath, and thus I got buried. I don’t know how you 20 rep squat guys do it! But then, I already did a set of six and of four, so that was my 20th rep, granted with a three minute rest between sets.

Getting buried caused me some problems. The weights on the bar were now blocking the bar holders on my power rack, so I had to put all of the weights on the floor and then put them away later. And when I took the last weight off, with the band still on that side, it jerked the bar up and halfway out off the power rack.

When I say “halfway” I mean exactly halfway, as in the bar landed perfectly in the middle on the opposite safety bar, so it was balancing in mid-air, teeter-tottering see-saw style. I couldn’t believe it! I wish I had my camera ready! I doubt I could get it to balance like that if I tried.

In any case, I forgot to start the chronometer on my watch, so I’m not exactly sure on the workout time, but it took me extra long due to the problems, and I was overly tired afterwards.

I might have to rethink my “starter week” plan of only working up to a heavy set of six reps. That didn’t prepare me for a hard set of ten. I think I need to do a moderately-hard set of ten that first week to get conditioned for the hard, high-rep sets the following weeks.

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Benches

Off-season/ Week 4 of 8

Columbus Day, Monday – 10/13/08

Reverse Band Benches

(light #3 bands choked around the top of my power rack, set so there is very little tension at the top of the lift):

[45/15, add bands: 115/8, 145/5, 170/3] 190/6, 205/4, 170/10

BB Rows (medium grip): [45/8, 70/4] 87/8, 92/6

Heavy Bag: 5:30

Workout time: 0:58

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Deadlifts

Off-season/ Week 4 of 8

Wednesday – 10/15/08

Chain Deadlifts (chain set-up weighs about 80 pounds):

[55/15, 135/8, add chains: 135/6, 190/5, 245/3] 275/6, 295/4, 235/10

Twisting Leg Raises (reps to each side): 15, 12

Jump Rope: 4:15

Workout time: 1:05

Except for one missed reps on RB squats, Weeks 3 and 4 off my off-season went just as planned. Also, except for that squat workout, all of my workouts are taking about an hour, exactly the length I want. Next week I’ll be dropping the reps some. Hopefully, I can keep those streaks going.

Week Five

Bench Assistance

Off-season/ Week 5 of 8

Thursday – 10/16/08

Overhead Presses: [DBs: 10s/15, BB: 45/8, 60/5, 75/3] 85/5, 92/3, 70/9

Lat. Pulldowns: [45/8, 80/4]; V-Grip Chins-ups: 2.5/8, 5/6

Triceps Pushdowns: [45/8] 55/10, 60/10

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

Workout time: 0:59

My planned reps for my first exercise for the next couple of weeks was to be 5,3,9. But I think I’m trying to be too specific on my reps, making it too hard to pick the appropriate weights. All of the sets here were a little light. So I’ll switch to using a range for my reps, probably 5-6, 3-4, 9-10 for the next couple of weeks.

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Squats

Off-season/ Week 5 of 9

Sunday – 10/19/08

Manta Ray (high bar, close stance) Squats: [45/15, 115/8, 165/5, 210/3] 240/6, 255/4, 210/10

Standing DB Calves: [27/10] 35/10, 40/9

Step ups: 6:00

Workout time: 1:08

It was before this workout that I decided to enter both of the contests mentored above, the first at 123s, the second at 114s. With doing so, I am increasing my off-season to nine weeks. I’ll then have about six weeks of “in-season” training to prepare for the first contest, then another four weeks between the two contests, for a total of a ten-week in-season.

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Benches

Off-season/ Week 5 of 9

Monday – 10/20/08

DB Benches (arms together): [20s/15, 35s/8, 45s/5, 55s/3] 65s/6, 67s/4, 70s/3

DB Rows (underhand grip): [35s/8, 45s/6] 52s/7, 55s/5, 57s/4

Heavy Bag: 6:00

Workout time: 1:02

Doing a final set of ten reps was beating me up too much. So I am dropping that idea and going back to a regular drop reps approach for the rest of my off-season. I have it written up as 3 x 6-3. That gives me an “extra” rep in the range to account for a missed rep, which is what happened on DB benches. On the second work set, I tried a fifth rep, but just couldn’t lock out.

In any case, I first used a high rep back-off set when I was doing 1-4 reps for my first two work sets on the actual powerlifts with gear. I would follow those sets up with a 7-8 rep raw set. That worked well. But trying to do 10 reps after 6 and 4 reps is just too much and doesn’t make as much sense since all of the sets are done raw.

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Deadlifts

Off-season/ Week 5 of 8

Wednesday – 10/22/08

Good Mornings: [45/15, 75/10, 105/5, 130/3] 145/6, 150/3

BB Shrugs: skipped

Crunch/ Side-Bench Combo: skipped

Jump Rope: skipped

Workout time: ?

The comments for the preceding workouts were written before this workout. See my post Hamstring Injury for comments on this workout. Due to this injury, the preceding comments are probably no longer relevant, and the mentioned contests are probably no longer possible.

These workout logs are continued at Full Workout Logs: Starting 10/27/08: Rehab/ In-Season: Weeks 1-5.

 



Full Workout Logs: Starting 9/19/08: Off-Season: Weeks 1-5. Copyright 2008 by Gary F. Zeolla.

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

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