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Full Workout Log

Starting 5/20/09

Drop Reps with Back-off Set:
Weeks 9-11 of 11

by Gary F. Zeolla


These workout logs are continued from: Full Workout Logs: Starting 4/20/09: Alternate High/ Low Reps: Weeks 5-8 of 11.


Next contest: RAWU Northeast Regional & Pennsylvania State Championships, June 13-14, 2009 in Greencastle, PA.
Weight Class: 114s or 123s.
Age Class: Masters II (45-49).

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

Terminology for workout logs:
Completely Raw = no gear, not even a belt.
Unequipped = belt, wrist wraps, knee sleeves.


Week Nine

Squats

Week 9 of 11

Wednesday – 5/20/09

Unequipped Squats

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

[45/15, 135/8, 185/5, add gear: 225/3, 270/1] 300/4, 315/2, 330/1, completely raw: 250/8

Crunches: [30/10] 50/12, 50/12

Step ups: 6:00

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: 1:24

I am changing my routine for the last three weeks of this routine in accordance with a plan I recommend in my book. On the powerlifts, I will switch to a “drop reps with back-off set” approach using a four rep scheme, 4 x 3-4, 2-3, 1-2, 7-8. The first three sets with be with contest gear, which for this contest is just a belt, wrist wraps, and knee sleeves. The last set is done completely raw.

With this plan, the focus for the last few weeks before a contest is on the actual powerlifts with low reps and contest gear. Hopefully, this focus will eliminate the problem I’ve been having with low reps. The raw, high rep “back-off set” is done to maintain conditioning and keep the joints strong.

I decided to give APT’s Convict knee sleeves another try, and I am glad I did. Last time I used them I had a hard time getting them off. But what happened was as I was pulling them down I pushed my socks off first. The knee sleeves then got stuck on my bare, sweaty heals. But this time, I pulled the end of the sleeves open over my sock before pulling them down, and it was very easy pulling them off over my socks.

But most importantly, the Convicts did seem to help more than the heavy knee sleeves, and that enabled this workout to go very well. The single with 330 felt good and puts me back on pace for my original goals for this contest.

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Benches

Week 9 of 11

Thursday – 5/21/09

Unequipped Benches

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

[45/15, 95/8, 115/5, 135/3, add gear: 150/1] 170/4, 177/2, 185/1, completely raw: 145/8

Curl Bar Rows: [65/8, 85/4] 102/7, 110/5

Heavy Bag: 6:00

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: 1:18

Another good workout, and I am back on pace on benches as well.

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Deadlifts

Week 9 of 11

Sunday – 5/24/09

Unequipped Deadlifts (sumo)

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

[45/15, 135/8, 205/5, add gear: 265/3, 325/1] 365/3, 380/1, 395/--, 385/--, completely raw: 315/8

One-Leg Dip Bar Leg Raises (reps to each side): [--/10] 5s/15, 5s/15

Jump Rope: 3:30

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: 1:30

I had been using APT’s original knee sleeves on deadlifts. But since I just got a couple of new pairs of APT’s heavy knee sleeves to use on squats but will now instead be using their Convict knee sleeves on squats, I figured I might as well use the heavy knee sleeves on DLs.

That said, this was a terrible workout. I have no idea what happened. I felt good before the workout, and warm-ups went well. But my work sets just went terrible. Maybe a little overtrained, maybe my form was off, or maybe I still am not used to low reps. Given that my back-off set went well, the latter could be the case. I also noticed I was using a slightly different form for that last set, so maybe that was a factor. All I can do is wait and see what happens next week.

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Bench Assistance

Week 9 of 11

Memorial Day – 5/25/09

DB Decline Bench: [20s/15, 35s/8, 50s/5, 62s/3] 70s/5, 75s/3

BB Presses: [45/8, 65/5, 85/3] 95/5, 100/3

Pull-ups: [bwt/8] 2.5/8, 5/6

DB Curls: [20s/10] 25s/12, 27s/10

DB Flyes: [12s/10] 16s/12, 16s/12

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: 1:27

A very good workout, which leaves me even more confused on yesterday’s deadlift workout. The more I think about it, the more I think it was a form problem, but more on that with my next DL workout. Here, this was the last time for doing this workout. In two weeks when I should have done this workout for the last time I will have already started cutting weight. So I will probably just put in a light bench workout instead, which will probably be my last workout pre-contest. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I still have a few more heavy workouts before then.

Week Ten

Squats

Week 10 of 11

Wednesday – 5/27/09

Unequipped Squats

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

[45/15, 135/8, 185/5, add gear: 230/3, 275/1] 305/4, 320/2, 335/1, completely raw: 255/6

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

Step ups: 6:00

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: 1:30

I felt terrible for this workout but somehow managed to lift very well. However, I cut a couple of the reps for the first two sets a tad high. And my form was terrible on the first rep with 320. I almost lost my balance to the right and then to the left. But the second rep was perfect, as was the single with 335. That, BTW, was my best gym lift before my last contest, but I still got one workout left this time.

To make up for not quite sinking a couple of the heavy reps, I sunk all of the reps on the back-off set extra low, which is probably why I got buried on the seventh of what was supposed to be an 8-rep set.

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Benches

Week 10 of 11

Thursday – 5/28/09

Unequipped Benches

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

[45/15, 95/8, 115/5, 135/3, add gear: 155/1] 172/4, 180/2, 187/1, completely raw: 150/8

DB Rows (elbows out): [35/8, 50/4] 57/8, 65/4

Heavy Bag: 6:00

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: 1:20

I benched 187 at my last contest, so I was thrilled I did it here with strength to spare, and that was after the final rep on the first two sets being a full effort.

But I was so excited about that set that I forgot about my back-off set, until I had a taken down the bench set-up in my power rack and had done my first warm-up set of DB rows. So I had to move the DB out of the way and set up for benches again. That took time and got me tired out, but I still got my planned eight reps and finished the workout in a good time.

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Last Heavy Deadlifts Pre-contest

Week 10 of 11

Sunday – 5/31/09

Unequipped Deadlifts (sumo)

Gear: Crain: power belt; APT: wrist bands, heavy knee sleeves; Nike wrestling shoes:

[45/15, 135/8, 205/5, add gear: 265/3, 325/1] 365/3, 380/2, 395/1, completely raw: 320/7

Leg Raises: 25, 20

Jump Rope: 3:45

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: 1:20

At one time, I was using the exact same foot stance for both squats and sumo DLs. But several weeks ago, I changed my form on squats, moving my stance in slightly and angling my feet more towards the front, about 25 degrees. That worked great for squats. However, I inadvertently changed my DL stance to about the same. With this workout, I moved my feet back out and angled them more outward, about 45 degrees.

That slight form change back made a huge difference. This workout went very well. The first three sets went as planned, with a little strength to spare on the 395. I just missed my eighth rep on the back-off set due to being out of gas.

Unfortunately, this was my last heavy DL workout pre-contest. With the contest moved up to Saturday, next Sunday will have to be only a light deadlift workout. I really could have used one more heavy DL workout. That would have set me up for a PR try on my third attempt at the contest. But as it is, I will have to be a little more conservative.

However, since all of my attempts will be for RAWU records, I will have the option of taking a fourth attempt on each lift. I will probably only consider doing so on DLs, but if things are going well, I might try that PR on a fourth attempt.

One final note, my right wrist has been bothering me on and off the last couple of weeks. It really bothered me on my first couple of warm-up sets here, so I put on the wrist bands, and that solved the problem. My wrist is bothering me some today, but I’ll wear the bands as need be from now on, so I should be okay.

I used to wear wrist support all of the time on all three powerlifts, but I had stopped doing so due to plans to enter a raw contest. But those plans ended due to knee pain without knee support. But wrist pain is another reason I had been leery about raw contests from the start. That is why I prefer unequipped lifting, using a belt and wrist and knee support. I discuss this all in depth in my powerlifting book.

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Last Bench Assistance Pre-contest

Week 10 of 11

Monday – 6/1/09

DB Incline Bench: [10s/15, 25s/8, 37s/5, 47s/3] 55s/6, 57s/3

BB Decline Bench: [95/8, 125/5 155/3] 175/4, 185/2

Chin-ups: [bwt./ 8] 7.5/8, 10/6

Reverse BB Curls: 45/10, 45/10

DB Flyes: skipped

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: ~1:20

Doing the DB flyes worked in terms of rehabbing my tender let pec. However, now my left elbow is bothering me some, and the flyes really seemed to aggravate that the last time I did them, so I skipped the flyes here.

Also, my right wrist was bothering me when I was warming up, so I put on my APT wrist bands for the rest of the workout. But I took them off for the reverse curls as I figured they would help to strengthen the area. But then I only did a couple of light sets with just the bar so as not to aggravate it.

Week Eleven

______________________________

Note: My apologies for the very long post. But a lot happened during this, my final week of training before my upcoming contest.

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Last Squats Pre-contest

Week 11 of 11

Wednesday – 6/3/09

Unequipped Squats

Gear: Crain: power belt, squat shoes; APT: singlet, wrist bands, Convict knee sleeves:

[45/15, 135/8, 190/5, add gear: 245/3, 290/1] 315/3, 330/2, 345/--, completely raw: 255/7

Crunches: [30/10] 50/15, 50/15

Step ups: 6:00

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: 1:43

Several small problems messed up this workout and made it take too long and left me overly tired afterwards. First, a Fed Ex package came during the workout, and since it was raining, I had to go and get it.

Second, I wore my new APT singlet for the first time for this workout. I wanted to wear it before the contest to see how it felt. It fit fine, so that was no problem. However, I mention in my powerlifting book about getting a couple of plain red T-shirts for Christmas, without pockets, with short sleeves to wear at contests when the rules do not allow sleeveless T-shirts with pockets, which is what I usually wear.

Well, I never actually wore those new shirts until I tried one for this workout. First off, it did not fit quite right. But more important, and I know this will sound really strange, but I was allergic to the shirt! This is what my life with multiple chemical sensitivities is like. Many times I have not been able to wear clothes or use blankets or the like due to being allergic to either the fabric or the dyes. I tried wearing the shirt for my first couple of warm-up sets, but it was bothering so much I had to take it off and dig out an old grey shirt I’ve worn for contests before. Later, I contacted the meet director and found that you can wear a pocketed, sleeveless T-shirt for the contest, so I will go back to wearing what I am comfortable with.

Third, I wanted to take some videos as I hadn’t’ taken videos of squats since before my last contest. Just messing with the camera always gets me behind. This time, on the first set, after I had my gear in place, I pushed the button to take the video, and it flashed to take a picture. I had set it wrong, so I needed to re-set and re-focus it, which caused me to loose my concentration.

The videos also caused me to loose my concentration in another way. I mention in my book that on the walkout you should only take one step back with each foot, then one step out with each, and that is it. But I’ve been taking two steps back in order to clear the 45s that I store on the sides of the front of my power rack. But I needed to take one set of 45s off so you can see the down position in the videos, so If figured I might as well take the other set off so that I would only need to take one step back.

Not only did removing the weights take time, but the shorter walkout threw off my timing. For my first rep on my first two sets I just didn’t feel “set” yet, that hurt my concentration and caused me to cut those reps a tad high. But at least I sunk the rest of the reps just fine. Also, on the second set, the song stopped just as I was starting to descend, and that silence hurt my concentration as well.

On my third set, I think I psyched myself out thinking about it being the most I’ve had on the bar lifting with limited gear, and I got buried. I also think I was leaning too far forward, but I cannot say for sure as I forgot to start my camera.

But I guess I shouldn’t be too upset as it was best to get these bugs worked out before the contest. But I’m not sure what I will do at the contest on the walkout, if I should go back to two steps or take just one. I’m also not sure what to do on my squat attempts. I might just ignore this workout and base my attempts on my last workout since it went as planned.

Below is first the picture I accidently took. It shows my home gym set up for squats, with the side weights removed and my foam squat box I use for depth checking in the middle of the rack. Then are the videos for my first two work sets.

http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/powerlifting/images/pictures/home_gym/setup/squat.gif

http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/powerlifting/videos/workouts/2009/squats/315_6-3.wmv

http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/powerlifting/videos/workouts/2009/squats/330_6-3.wmv

Playing in the background is the album “Compact Favorites” by Resurrection Band, an older heavy metal Christian (a.k.a. “White Metal”) group. I am planning on taking this CD to the contest. The meet director is a Christian and said he will be playing a mixture of Christian and secular rock at the contest and that I could bring some Christian rock to play.

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Last Heavy Benches Pre-contest

Week 11 of 11

Thursday – 6/4/09

Unequipped Benches

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

[45/15, 95/8, 115/5, 135/3, add gear: 155/1] 175/2, 182/1, 190/--, completely raw: 155/5

Curl Bar Rows: [65/8, 85/4] 102/8, 112/4

Heavy Bag: 6:00

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: 1:20

I was going to wear the APT Blue Mamba wrist wraps I picked up at my last contest for this contest. I figured they would match my bluish APT bench belt better than the black ones I usually wear. But the blue ones were too stiff, probably because I hadn’t worn them yet, so I’ll stick with my black wraps. Another example of why I am glad I had the sense to try out everything I might use at the contest before the contest.

That said, this workout went terrible. I got buried on the last rep of all four of my bench work sets. The problem was probably due to still feeling burned out from yesterday’s overly long and tiring workout. Adding to that is I weighed myself the next morning, and I inadvertently lost two pounds in the past week. I did not want to lose any weight yet just for this reason. But it will make it a little easier to cut weight for the contest.

On this workout, once again, on my first set I accidently took a picture when I was already set, which again, threw off my concentration. But at least I got the workout done in a decent time. But again, I’m confused on what my attempts should be. As with squats, I might just ignore this workout and base my attempts on my previous workout. But I still think I will be good for the 190 if the day is going well.

Below is the picture I accidently took showing my setup for benches. You can see the 45s on the sides that I mentioned about taking off for squats. Then are videos of all three work sets.

http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/powerlifting/images/pictures/home_gym/setup/bench.gif

http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/powerlifting/videos/workouts/2009/benches/175_6-4.wmv

http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/powerlifting/videos/workouts/2009/benches/182_6-4.wmv

http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/powerlifting/videos/workouts/2009/benches/190_6-4.wmv

Looking at the videos, I am not pausing enough on the reps that I got, but I paused longer on the reps that I missed. I will need to take that into account in picking my attempts, and it is something to work on after this contest. I also need to stop playing around and taking so long to get set.

Playing in the background is the album “X2008 – 17 Christian Rock Hits.” This is a great sampler of hard rock Christian music that comes out each year. I will also be taking this CD to the contest.

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Light Deadlifts

Week 11 of 11

Sunday – 6/7/09

Unequipped Deadlifts (sumo)

Gear: Crain: power belt; APT: singlet, wrist bands, heavy knee sleeves; Nike wrestling shoes:

[45/15, 135/8, 210/5, add gear: 280/3] 345/1

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: 0:54

Since I started cutting weight on Saturday, this had to be a light workout as heavy workouts at this time would be counter-productive. Specifically, I weighed 122.4 Saturday morning, which means I have eight pounds to lose in six days to get to the class limit of 114.5. I will of course follow the procedure outlined in my book. With doing so, I am confidence I won’t have any problems making weight.

I didn’t think of taking a video for my final heavy deadlift workout last week. But below is a video of what will be my opener at the contest. As can be seen, it was very easy. That is my plan, to open light but then to take a rather large jump between my first and second attempts, then a smaller jump between my second and third attempts. I’m not wearing a T-shirt as I won’t be at the contest. As discussed in my book, you don’t have to, so I usually don’t in order to stay cool. It will probably be hot for the contest.

Since I accidently took pictures of my setup for squats and benches, I figured I might as well take one for deadlifts. I also took a picture of myself wearing all of my APT deadlift gear.

http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/powerlifting/images/pictures/home_gym/setup/deadlift.gif

http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/zeolla/images/pictures/me/dl_gear.gif

http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/powerlifting/videos/workouts/2009/deadlifts/345_6-7.wmv

One minor point you cannot see in the video, I caught my left pinky and ring fingers on the knee sleeve on the way up. This was something I was afraid of with the APT’;s heavy knee sleeves being twice as thick as their original knee sleeves. I will go back to using the original knee sleeves for DLs. Unfortunately, they are no longer available, but at least I have three pairs of them, so those should last me quite a while.

You can hear the White Metal group Bride in the background. This was one of the groups that the meet director gave me as an example of the type of music that he planned on playing at the contest. Pillar was the other Christian group he mentioned. He then mentioned Led Zeppelin and Metallica as examples of secular music he will also be playing. It all sounds good to me!

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Light Benches/ Last Workout Pre-contest

Week 11 of 11

Monday – 6/8/09

Benches:

Gear: APT: singlet, bench belt, 24” Blue Mamba wrist wraps:

[45/15, 95/8, 120/5, add gear: 140/3] 160/1

Stretching: ~10 minutes

Workout time: 0:30

A very short and easy workout, The 160 should make for an easy opener. I tried to not play around so much getting set and made sure to really pause it. And that is it, I am done with training. Unfortunately, I have experienced some setbacks health-wise the last couple of days, so I haven’t been able to rest as I had hoped. But hopefully, things will settle down and I’ll be good to go for the contest.

For details on how the contest went, see RAWU NE and PA Powerlifting Championships - 2009.



Full Workout Logs: Starting 5/20/09: Drop Reps with Back-off Set: Weeks 9-11 of 11. Copyright 2009 by Gary F. Zeolla.

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