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Full Workout Logs: Starting 3/6/2015 – Two by Two Plan (Variation A); Routine A, Weeks 1-6 of 12

by Gary F. Zeolla


These workout logs record my first workouts after IPA Pennsylvania State Powerlifting Championships - 2015.

They are continued from Full Workout Logs: Starting 1/19/2015 - Routine B of Two by Two Training Plan - Weeks 7-11 of 11.


Introduction


My “Two by Two Powerlifting Training Plan” worked very well in preparing me for my recent contest, so I will continue with it, with one significant difference. But first, to summarize the Two by Two Plan, it alternates two different training weeks (Week A; Week B) in each of two different routines (Routine A; Routine B), hence the two by two. Each routine lasts 10-12 weeks, including two “back-off” weeks at the beginning of each, meaning the weights are dropped somewhat from the end of the previous routine, then God-willing the weights will gradually increase throughout the rest of the routine.

In my previous plan, I did two powerlift look-alike lifts for both weeks in Routine A, then the actual powerlifts followed by one look-alike lift for both weeks in Routine B. The look-alike lifts in Routine B were different from those in Routine A, as were all other assistance exercises. Thus there was a clear distinction between the routines.

This time, I will go back to a variation I’ve done before with good success. Two powerlift look-alike lifts are done for Week A in both routines, then the actual powerlift followed by one look-alike lift are done for Week B in both routines. The two routines differ by changing the look-alike lifts and all other assistance exercises between routines. I distinguish between these two variations of my Two by Two Plan by calling the one doing the powerlifts every other week in both routines “Variation A” and the one only doing the powerlifts in Routine B “Variation B.”

The reason for this change is with Variation B, a contest can only be entered at the end of Routine B. But with Variation A, I can enter a contest at the end of either routine. My tentative plan is to enter IPA Nationals, November 21, 2015. Counting out the weeks, I will probably get in three routines. The rotation would thus be Routine A, Routine B, Routine A, Contest. The first two routines will last 12 training weeks; the last about 11.

I will use the same pattern as previously for my workouts rotation, basic workout design, and sets x reps. I will post my first workouts using this plan after my first training week and at the end of each training week thereafter.

3/6/15


Age: 53 (but I will be turning 54 at the end of this month).
Height: 5'1".
Bodyweight, body fat, and lean body mass: See each week.
Note: Body fat percent and LBM are being measured with a Sequoia Fitness: Warrior Digital Body Mass Caliper. If you need one, it is available from Amazon.

God-willing, my next contest will be IPA Nationals, November 21, 2015. For details, see under “My Health/ Next Contest/ Goals” near the end of the contest report for my recent contest: IPA Pennsylvania State Powerlifting Championships - 2015.

Gear as indicated; if not indicated, then completely raw (no supportive gear).
Warm-ups are in brackets. All weights are in pounds. Format: pounds/reps.
Workout times include set-up, warm-up, lifting, stretching, and clean-up.

See also my Cardio Logs - January through April 2015.


First post-contest workout bodyweight

Friday – 3/6/15

Bodyweight: 116.8 pounds.
Body fat: 10.3%, 12.0 pounds.
Lean body mass: 104.8 pounds. 

I will start lifting today for the first time since my contest this past Saturday and wanted my starting bodyweight and body fat. It’s interesting that I lost almost a pound since the morning of the contest, but no matter as I will now try to gradually gain weight up to 120-122 pounds. I feel strongest when I am over 120, but I want to stay under 122 so as not to make it too difficult to cut to 114s for my next contest. Hereafter, I’ll try to take these measurements each Wednesday. They are always taken first thing in the morning.

 


Planned Rep Ranges

Before posting my first week's workouts, I think it would be helpful to indicate my plans for sets x reps. I will be doing three work sets for all exercises. My rep ranges will be as follows:

Reps 1:  3 x 5-6, 3-4, 1-2: Powerlifts and most look-alike lifts
Reps 2:  3 x 7-8, 5-6, 3-4: Dumbbell look-alike lifts, SLDLs, speed work, and other compound exercises
Reps 3:  3 x 9-10, 7-8, 5-6: Isolation exercises
Reps 4:  3 x 11-12, 9-10, 7-8: Rotator cuff work

 


Week 1 of 12 (Week A)

Bodyweight: 119.0 pounds.
Body fat: 10.0%, 11.9 pounds.
Lean body mass: 107.1 pounds.

These measurements are from Wednesday morning, 3/11/15, and they look very good. But given the finicky nature of the calipers, I tend to look more at trends than individual measurements.

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Bench Assistance

Friday – 3/6/15

Gear: Crain power belt, Redline wrist wraps; Nike Sneakers.

Barbell Decline Benches: [45/15, 80/9, 95/7, 110/5, add belt & wraps: 125/3] 140/6, 147/4, 155/2

Dumbbell Incline Benches (Alternate Arms): [15s/9, 22s/7, add belt & wraps: 27s/5] 32s/8, 35s/6, 37s/4

Lats: [Pulldowns (V-Grip): 45/9, 70/7, 90/5] V-Grip Chin-ups: bwt./8, 2.5/6, 5/4

Curl Bar Reverse Curls: [35/9, 45/7] 50/9, 52/8, 55/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:45

This was my first workout since my contest this past Saturday (2/28). Entering contests is why I start my workouts rotation with Bench Assistance Day. Since I do all three powerlifts at a contest, it makes sense to start with the workout where I don’t do the powerlifts. Plus, I hadn’t done a BA workout in over two weeks, so I wanted to get one in this week; but then the powerlifts workouts won’t start until Sunday, giving them over a week’s rest after the contest.

I did dumbbell inclines with arms together last time, so I tried alternating arms this time. But it really winded me, especially on the first work set. That was strange since it was the same number of reps with each arm as before, but I guess my body interpreted it as 16 reps, far more than I am used to. Then this workout took too long, and I was overly tired afterwards. So I will have to think and pray about it and make changes as needed.

I did not go up far enough on some of the reps of V-grip chin-ups, so I will repeat the same weights next time.

I’m using all odd numbers of reps for my warm-up sets to keep from getting confused, but then I got confused on my first work set of reverse curls and only did nine rather than my planned ten reps.

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Squats

Sunday – 3/8/15

Gear: Crain: squat shoes, power belt, Genesis wrist wraps; APT heavy knee sleeves; New Balance sneakers (calves).

Chain Squats (chain set up weighs 90 pounds, which is included in the indicated weights):

[45/15, add chains: 135/9, 170/7, 200/5, add belt & wraps: 230/3] 255/6, 270/4, 280/2

Dead Stop Squats: [95/9, 120/7, 140/5, add belt & wraps: 160/3] 180/6, 190/4, 200/2

Barbell Calves: [95/9, 110/7] 125/10, 130/8, 135/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:36

I felt much better for this workout than on Friday. I think part of the problem on that day was I was not yet fully recovered from my contest, especially with the two days of washing afterwards as discussed in my full contest report. I will have to remember that after my next contest.

That said; this was a good workout. The only thing was it was still a little too long. I’d like to keep my workouts to 1:30. I need to pick up my pace, and I might try dropping a warm-up set. Also, in my previous routine, I added the belt and wraps for my last two warm-ups sets, but this time I am going to try adding them for just the last one. This will save a little time and give me a little more work without the gear.

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Benches

Monday – 3/9/15

Gear: Nike sneakers; Crain: power belt, Genesis wrist wraps.

Dead Stop Benches: [45/15, 70/9, 85/7, 100/5, add belt & wraps: 112/3] 125/6, 130/4, 135/2

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

[115/7, 135/5, add belt & wraps: 150/3] 165/6, 172/4, 180/2

Dumbbell Rows (elbows out): [40/7, 50/5] 55/8, 57/6, 60/4

Rotator Cuff (sitting, front): Skipped

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:36

The workout time is meaningless as I had lots to figure out during this workout, which is also going to make for a long post. My apologies, but I like to have the detail for myself to review later, and hopefully someone else will get something out of it as well.

I made three small changes to my form on benches, the first necessitated by my recent contest. The contest bench was too high for me. I didn’t know this until my first attempt. I should have checked it out the day before when I was checking out and taking pictures of the contest area after weigh-ins. But as it was, my feet could barely touch the floor, so I had to bring them in more than normal to get them flat on the floor as I prefer. I probably should have put plates on the floor as some of the women in my flight were doing, but I hadn’t planned on it. But no matter, as it didn’t adversely affect my attempts, and I went 3/3.

But still, I thought it best to train benches with my feet pulled in more as I can arch better that way anyways. I actually used to do so, but had gotten away from it. I know this as my home gym bench is also too high for me, but I have boards to put under my feet. But pulling my feet closer in requires setting them up differently, including putting mats under the boards. So for this workout, I dug out those mats and cleaned them off before my workout; but then during my workout, I had to remember how to set things up. Then I needed to remember how to set my body up on the bench, as it is totally different from my previous set up.

Second, I moved my grip out slightly. I had pulled in it a ways back due to my problematic left pec; but since it’s been feeling better, I thought it best to move it back out. Third, I stopped pinching my shoulder blades. I had started doing so a while back, but now I noticed it was doing so that put more stress on the tender pec. But again, figuring and experimenting with all of this took time. But hopefully these changes will help to bring my lagging bench back up, as this form is what I used to use when my bench was progressing better.

Then this was the first time in ages I had done dead stop benches, so I had to remember how to do them. This was also the first time I had used bands in ages, so I dug them out and cleaned them off during the workout (I should have done that beforehand). And then I had to remember how to set them up. And then I wasted more time organizing my bands during the workout (I should have waited until afterwards for that).

But despite not doing the two bench exercises in ages, I picked the weights just right, so they went well. But then after all of the preceding, I was tired out for the DB rows and went too heavy on them, and thus my form was off. Next time I will drop the weights some and concentrate on my form. I then skipped the rotator cuff work I had planned on doing given the time and tiredness.

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Deadlifts

Wednesday – 3/11/15

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

Conv. Platform (2-1/4” Deficit) Deadlifts: [45/15, 135/9, 170/7, 205/5, add belt & wraps: 235/3] 260/6, 272/4, 285/2

Sumo Chain Deadlifts (chain set up weighs 90 pounds, which is included in the indicated weights):

[135/9, add chains: 225/7, 265/5, add belt & wraps: 300/3] 320/6, 337/4, 355/2

Crunch/ Side Bend Combo: [0/9, 5/7] 10/10, 11.25/8, 12.5/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:32

A very good workout and workout week. For almost all of my work sets, I picked the weights just right. The sets were somewhat hard but not very hard, just the intensity I want for my back-off weeks. Hopefully, I will do the same for next week’s workouts as well.

For descriptions of all of my exercises this week and the assistance exercises I will be doing next week, see my newly updated Powerlift Assistance Exercises pages.

Week 2 of 12 (Week B)

Bodyweight: 119.0 pounds.
Body fat: 11.0%, 13.1 pounds.
Lean body mass: 105.9 pounds.

These measurements are from Wednesday morning (3/18), but on Sunday morning (3/15) I only weighed 116.2. What happened was Friday at lunchtime, I had a small kitchen fire, but it produced LOTS of smoke, and that smoke saturated the kitchen and filled the rest of my home. With my multiple chemical sensitivities, the smelled caused a flare-up of my health problems. I couldn’t sleep and was stiff, fatigued, and in lots of pain.

It took much effort and two days to get rid of the smell. During that time, I could not spend time in the kitchen preparing food and thus only ate packaged foods I had stored elsewhere. Through it all, I lost three pounds. I feared this whole episode and weight loss would adversely affect this week’s workouts after that time. But at least I was able to get back to normal by Sunday afternoon and thus begin to regain the lost weight.

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Bench Assistance

Thursday – 3/12/15

Gear: Crain power belt, Redline wrist wraps; Nike sneakers.

Dumbbell Decline Benches [20s/15, 30s/9, 40s/7, 110/5, add belt & wraps: 50s/3] 55s/8, 57s/6, 60s/4

Barbell Presses (standing) [45/9, 55/7, add belt & wraps: 60/5] 65/8, 70/6, 75/4

Lats: [Pulldowns (overhand grip): 45/9, 70/7, Pull-ups: bwt./5] 5/6*, 2.5/8, 7.5/4

Curl Bar Curls: [, 35/9, 45/7] 52/8*, 50/10, 55/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:37

I decided to go back to doing on Bench Assistance day what I recommend in my book and mentioned previously. But at the last minute I decided to change the order, so this week (Week B), I will be doing declines and presses; then Week A, I will be doing inclines and dips. I will mix things up by alternating routine by routine using a barbell versus dumbbells on declines, inclines, and presses. I’ll discuss my plans on dips next week.

But I was concerned about the presses, as I aggravated my shoulder doing seated DB presses a couple of months ago, but the standing barbell presses here did not bother it much at all. I think it is more the standing part than the barbell part that made the difference, so I will only do presses standing from now on.

But then my shoulder bothered me on the pull-ups, so I wasn’t able to go as heavy as I planned, and that messed up my reps. My reps again got messed up on curls. I was planning on using DBs, but with using DBs for declines, I thought it best to use a curl bar here to keep the workout time down. But I didn’t think of it until during the workout and just guessed at the weights and guessed a little heavy. If I had checked my previous logs, I would have done what I ended up doing.

I mentioned in my contest report that I did not feel that sore the morning after my recent contest, but my biceps were rather sore. That could be because I had not done curls for several weeks beforehand, so I think it best to do them lest I injure a bicep.

All of the last minute changes added to the workout time, but no matter as these back-off weeks are the ideal time to be experimenting and making changes. Hopefully, I will get everything figured out before I go back to heavy training in a couple of weeks.

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Squats

Sunday – 3/15/15

Gear: Crain: squat shoes, power belt, Genesis wrist wraps, 2.5 meter Genesis knee wraps (1) (squats); APT: heavy knee sleeves (Manta Ray squats)

Squats: [45/15, 135/9, 165/7, 195/5, add belt & wraps: 230/3] 255/6, 267/4, 280/2

Manta Ray (high bar, close stance) Squats: [95/9, 115/7, 135/5, add belt & wraps: 155/3] 170/6, 177/4, 185/2

Dip Bar Leg Raises: [--/9] 3s/10, 3s/10

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:40

I was very concerned about this workout given the above described episode. But thank God I was able to take a nap beforehand, and the stiffness and pain had alleviated by workout time, so I felt okay for it.

I was also concerned about doing only my last warm-up set with wraps. Previously I had used wraps on the last two. But the 195/5 without wraps was not too hard, but my work sets were harder than I had hoped for this back-off workout, but at least I got all of my planned reps. The “(1)” in the gear line is a note to myself that I was wearing my first pair of Crain 2.5 meter knee wraps. Those are getting rather worn, which might have contributed to the difficulty of my work sets, so next time I will switch to pair 2.

I hadn’t done Manta Ray squats in ages, namely because I lost my Manta Ray! I was going to use it at the beginning of last year, but when I looked on the top of the cabinet that I had kept it on, it wasn’t there. I looked around for it, but couldn’t find it, so I did close stance squats for that routine without it, but they bothered my knees, so I had to stop them.

But when I was writing up this training plan, Manta Ray squats would be perfect for this spot in this routine, alternating them with Sting Ray (front, close stance) squats in Routine B. So I thought about where the Manta Ray might be, and it hit me: it probably fell behind the cabinet next to the one it had been on. So I pulled out that cabinet, and there it was. I then pushed that cabinet all the way to the wall so that wouldn’t happen again.

In any case, I had no idea how much weight to use for them. I initially tried 135 for my first warm-up set, but I could tell just by setting up that it would be way too heavy, so I took the 45s off and put on 25s, and that worked. It also told me that I would need to do a 9 rep warm-up set for my second exercise of the day. I was hoping to skip that set to save a little bit of time, but I need a very light set to loosen up the involved muscles for the next exercise, even when it is similar to the preceding one.

In this case, the close stance is considerably different than my wider regular squat stance. In fact, it is so different that I ended up using almost 100 pounds less for my final set of Manta Ray squats versus regular squats. The regular squats were done first and with knee wraps, but still, that is a big difference. But on a good note, the Manta Ray squats didn’t bother my knees, but I was wearing knee sleeves that I wasn’t when I did close stance squats last year.

The dip bar leg raises were supposed to be done in a twisting/ alternating legs fashion, but I forgot and did them in straight fashion. I’ll try to get it right next time.

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Benches

Monday – 3/16/15

Gear: Nike sneakers; Crain: power belt, Genesis wrist wraps.

Benches: [45/15, 80/9, 95/7, 110/5, add belt & wraps: 122/3] 135/6, 142/4, 150/2

Close Grip Benches: [65/9, 80/7, 95/5, add belt & wraps: 112/3] 120/6, 125/4, 130/2

Curl Bar Rows: [45/9, 60/7, 75/5] 85/8, 90/6, 95/4

Rotator Cuff (Shoulder Horn; Arms Together): [1.25s/9] 2.5s/12, 3.0s/10, 3.5s/8

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:33

Like squats yesterday, my bench work sets were a little harder than I had hoped. Contributing to this might have been my new form. In the long run I think it will be better, but it will take a little time to adjust to it.

The first work set of CGBP was a mis-load. It was supposed to be five pounds heavier, but it was a good mis-load as that weight gave me the right intensity, so I increased as normal for the next two sets.

On the rotator cuff work, I wrote in my workout logs way back on 4/14/07:

This was the first time in a few weeks since I did rotator cuff work. With changing my routine around some, I wasn’t sure where to fit it in at. And frankly, it doesn’t seem like rotator cuff work does anything. But I’m afraid if I don’t do it and end up with a rotator cuff injury, then I’ll be kicking myself. So I guess I can fit it on this day.

Well, sometime after that I stopped the rotator cuff work and haven’t done it in years. Then in my log for 1/19/15 I wrote that while doing overhead presses, “I tweaked my right shoulder and arm.” I’ve been thinking since then that what I actually injured was my rotator cuff, as it mostly hurts when I twist my shoulder. As such, I am kicking myself for stopping the rotator cuff work. But as it is, all I can do is start doing it again and pray that strengthens the rotator cuff enough so as to prevent any further injury.

For further details and videos of the rotator cuff exercises that can be done, see the following page of my fitness site. But I will probably only do the Shoulder Horn exercise as I think it is the most productive. Rotator Cuff Exercises Videos.

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Deadlifts

Wednesday – 3/18/15

Gear: Nike wrestling shoes; Crain power belt; APT: knee sleeves, wrist bands, New Balance sneakers (calves).

Sumo Deadlifts: [45/15, 135/9, 185/7, 235/5, add belt & wraps: 280/3] 310/6, 325/4, 340/2

Sumo Stiff Leg Deadlifts: [135/9, 170/7, 202/5] 225/8, 235/6, 245/4

Barbell Calves (on 2-1/4” high platform): [95/9, 115/7] 130/10, 135/8, 140/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:28

As with squats and benches, the deadlift work sets were a little harder than I had hoped, but my intensity for all three workouts was below normal, so these workouts still worked well for my backoff period.

I did SLDLs with a conv. stance in my last routine, so I’m doing them sumo here. Both forms work well for a sumo puller like me. But it was interesting that as with squats and close stance squats, I used 95 pounds more for my final set of deadlifts versus SLDLs. That shows how much a difference form can make on a lift, and why I scratch my head when I see lifters doing a close stance squat or still-legging a DL at contests.

I moved calves from my first squat day to here and moved the ab exercise I was going to do here to that day, as calves take long than abs, but DLs are quicker than squats, so hopefully that will even up the workout times. For some reason I cannot figure out, it was easier to keep my balance on the BB calves after I put the 45s on. And I finally got a workout done in less than 1:30 for the first time since my contest.


Week 3 of 12 (Week A)

Bodyweight: 119.8 pounds.
Body fat: 11.0%, 13.2 pounds.
Lean body mass: 106.6 pounds. 

The measurements Week 1 were probably off, but these look about right and look good.

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Bench Assistance

Thursday – 3/19/15

Gear: Crain power belt, Redline wrist wraps; Nike Sneakers.

Barbell Incline Benches [10s/15, Barbell: 45/9, 65/7, 85/5, and belt and wraps: 105/3], 115/6, 120/4, 125/2

Dips: [bwt./9, 5/7, and wraps: 10/5] 15/8, 20/6, 25/4

Push-ups: [regular: 8] Speed/ Clap: 5, 5, 5

Lats: [Pulldowns (V-Grip): 45/9, 70/7, 90/5] V-Grip Chin-ups: bwt./8, 2.5/5*, 5/4

Reverse Curls: [Curl Bar: 35/9, Barbell: 45/7] 50/10, 52/8, 55/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:41

This should have been my first hard workout, but since I changed two of the exercises, tried changing a third, and added a new one, I extended my back-off period by one workout. My hard workouts will thus begin with squats on Sunday. But that’s for the best, as it will make my first hard workout three weeks post-contest, which is what I will plan on in the future.

I did regular dips in my last routine, so I first tried doing straight bar dips here with just my bodyweight, a dips variation I saw recommended on a couple of websites, but they were too awkward, and I feared I would aggravate my tender left pec. Another possible variation would be to do them with gymnastic rings. I used to do such way back in the day, but I have no idea what happened to my rings, and I remember them as also being awkward, not to mention very difficult. So for now, I will do regular dips in both of my routines, and dips will thus be the only assistance exercise I do not change routine to routine. But no matter, as I really like doing them.

On the V-grip chins, I did not go up far enough on a couple of the reps in the first set. That could be because warming up with lat. pulldowns is not very effective, so I will re-think what to do there. Then I have no idea what happened on the second set. It was supposed to be for 6 reps, but I couldn’t pull-up at all on the last rep. All I can think of is it was due to pulling up to the left on the first rep, rather than to the right as for the other two sets.

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Squats

Sunday – 3/22/15

Gear: Crain: squat shoes, power belt, Genesis wrist wraps; APT heavy knee sleeves, New Balance sneakers (sit-ups).

Chain Squats (chain set up weighs 90 pounds, which is included in the indicated weights):

[45/15, add chains: 135/9, 170/7, 205/5, add belt & wraps: 240/3] 267/6, 280/4, 292/2

Speed Chain Squats: [add chains: 135/7, 155/5] 175/8, 182/6, 190/4

Dead Stop Squats: [100/9, 125/7, 150/5, add belt & wraps: 170/3] 190/6, 200/4, 210/2

Decline Sit-ups: [--/9; 2.5/7] 5/10, 6.25/8, 7.5/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:36

This was my first hard workout in a month, and it felt good! The only things though; it makes most sense to do speed chain squats immediately after chain squats, but the speed work left me winded for the dead stop squats, so next time I will do the dead stop squats first, then the two exercises with chains. But other than that, this was a very good workout.

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Benches

Monday – 3/23/15

Gear: Nike sneakers; Crain: power belt, Genesis wrist wraps.

Dead Stop Benches: [45/15, 70/9, 85/7, 100/5, add belt & wraps: 115/3] 130/6, 135/4, 140/2

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

[95/9, 115/7, 135/5, add belt & wraps: 155/3] 172/6, 180/4, 187/2

Speed Reverse Band Benches: [95/7, 105/5] 115/8, 120/6, 125/4

Dumbbell Rows (elbows out): [30/9, 40/7, 47/5] 52/8, 55/6, 57/4

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:31

I felt a little sore at the beginning of this workout. I think that was from the speed push-ups on BA day, so doing speed work on both bench days might be too much. But otherwise, this was a good workout.

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Deadlifts

Wednesday – 3/25/15

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

Conv. Platform (2-1/4” Deficit) Deadlifts: [45/15, 135/9, 175/7, 210/5, add belt & wraps: 245/3] 272/6, 285/4, 295/2

Sumo Chain Deadlifts (chain set up weighs 90 pounds, which is included in the indicated weights):

[135/9, add chains: 225/7, 265/5, add belt & wraps: 302/3] 337/6, 355/4, 372/2

Sumo Speed Chain Deadlifts [add chains: 225/6] 245/8, 255/6, 265/4

Crunch/ Side Bend Combo: [0/9, 6.25/7] 11.25/10, 12.5/8, 13.75/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:42

This was the best I felt for a workout since my contest, probably because I am finally fully recovered from it, both physically and mentally, so I was able to get psyched for this workout for the first time since then.

This week was the first time I did speed work in over seven years. I don’t think I will need the warm-up sets I did this week, and I went a tad too heavy on the speed chain deadlifts. But otherwise, it felt good. For details, see the following article on my fitness website, which has a newly added update with my current plans: Speed Work.


Me and my birthday presents

For my 54th birthday I got four presents from my parents. A couple of them are of relevance to those who lifts weights. For pictures and details, see Me and My Birthday Presents.


Week 4 of 12 (Week B)

Bodyweight: 120.2 pounds.
Body fat: 11.7%, 14.0 pounds.
Lean body mass: 106.2 pounds.

I’m not sure if I will continue to take my body fat as it is too hard to get consistent and accurate measurements doing so myself. I tried three times this day (Wed, 4/1). I got 9.7% the first time and 12.0% the second time. I knew both of those were wrong, so I took it a third time and got 11.7%. I went with that as it was closest to last week’s measurement, but it still does not look quite right.

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Bench Assistance

Thursday – 3/26/15

Gear: Crain: power belt, Redline wrist wraps; Nike sneakers.

Dumbbell Decline Benches [20s/15, 32s/9, 42s/7, add belt & wraps: 52s/3] 57s/8, 60s/6, 62s/4

Barbell Presses (standing) [45/9, 55/7, add belt & wraps: 62/5] 67/8, 72/6, 77/4

Pull-ups: [bwt./6, 1.25/4] 3.75/8, 6.25/6, 8.75/4

Curl Bar Curls: [37/9, 47/7] 52/10, 55/10, 57/6

Rotator Cuff (Shoulder Horn; Arms Together): [1.25s/9] 2.5s/12, 2.75s/10, 3.0s/8

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:43

After feeling so good for my previous workout, I felt absolutely miserable for this workout. I was in an allergic reaction throughout it and through the next day. What happened is too hard to explain, but it is times like this that make me want to give up. But with reliance on the LORD, somehow I prod on. I address such in the book on the sovereignty of God I am almost finished writing. But still, I probably should have delayed this workout. But as it was, I cranked up the White Metal and somehow managed to get all of my planned reps.

That said, my reps for DB Declines for Week 2 were recorded wrong; they should have been 8,6,4, as they are here.

Since doing lat. pulldowns haven’t been working too well in warming me up for pull-up exercises, I warmed up here by doing a couple of low rep light sets of pull-ups, and that seemed to work okay. I thought it would save time by not having to set up my homemade lat. pulldown, but with the allergic reaction, I wasn’t concentrating very well, and thus this workout still took too long.

Since I moved the explosive push-ups to Bench Day, I moved the rotator cuff work to this day. And with doing so, I will try a different rotator cuff exercise Week A.

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Squats

Sunday – 3/29/15

Gear: Crain: squat shoes, power belt, Genesis wrist wraps, 2.5 meter Genesis knee wraps (2) (squats); APT: heavy knee sleeves (Manta Ray squats); New Balance sneakers (jump squats, abs).

Squats: [45/15, 135/9, 170/7, 200/5, add belt & wraps: 240/3] 267/5, 280/3, 292/1

Manta Ray (high bar, close stance) Squats: [95/9, 120/7, 140/5, add belt & wraps: 160/3] 177/6, 185/4, 192/2

Jump Squats: 65/8, 70/6, 75/4

Alternating Dip Bar Leg Raises: [--/9] 3s/10, 3s/10

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:44

I still wasn’t feeling quite right for this workout and thus could not get psyched up. As a result, I only got 5,3,1 reps on squats rather than my planned 6,4,2. That is still within my desired rep ranges, but I really wanted the higher reps at this point in this routine. But at least I got the higher reps on Manta Ray squats and remembered to do the leg raises in an alternating legs fashion.

I used the same wraps I used at my recent contest, but they seemed stretched out from then. They are a newer pair than I was using, but apparently not as new as I thought they were. I have two more pairs of Crain 2.5 meter wraps, but neither of them is brand new either. Eventually, I will need to get new wraps. When I do, I will probably get 3.0 meter wraps, as such are allowed in the IPA and RPS; the two feds I most likely will compete in. But I will stick with Crain Genesis wraps, as I have found them to be the most helpful and the easiest to wrap. The only thing about them though is they are a bit slippery, but that is easily solved by chalking one side of the wraps.

I also prefer Crain Genesis wrist wraps. I especially like that they have wrist loops rather than thumb loops. But with them, it is helpful to chalk not just one side but also the insides of the wrist loops to keep them from sliding.

These Crain wraps can be ordered at: Power Knee and Wrist Wraps. Note: 3.0 meter knee wraps are not indicted on this page, but Ricky told me via email conversation that he does have such available, but you need to order them via phone. For some reason which he did not explain, he does not advertise them.

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Benches

Monday – 3/30/15

Gear: Nike sneakers; Crain: power belt, Genesis wrist wraps.

Benches: [45/15, 80/9, 95/7, 110/5, add belt & wraps: 125/3] 140/6, 147/4, 155/2

Close Grip Benches: [65/9, 80/7, 95/5, add belt & wraps: 112/3] 125/6, 130/4, 135/2

Push-ups: [regular: 8] Clap: 6, 6, 6

Curl Bar Rows: [45/9, 65/7, 80/5] 90/8, 95/6, 100/4

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:27

I think part of my problem of late was a couple of magnesium sups I was experimenting with. I was hoping they would help me to sleep better at night; they didn’t. But what they did do is make me feel lackadaisical during the day, thus my difficulty getting psyched up for workouts. But I stopped them the day before this workout. I slept just fine without them, and I felt much better for this workout, and it went as planned.

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Deadlifts

Wednesday – 4/1/15

Gear: Nike wrestling shoes; Crain power belt; APT: knee sleeves, wrist bands; New Balance sneakers (jump deadlifts, calves).

Sumo Deadlifts: [45/15, 135/9, 190/7, 240/5, add belt & wraps: 290/3] 320/6, 337/4, 355/2

Sumo Stiff Leg Deadlifts: [135/9, 175/7, 210/5] 235/8, 245/6, 255/4

Jump Deadlifts: 65/8, 70/6, 75/4

Barbell Calves (on 2-1/4” high platform): [95/9, 120/7] 135/10, 140/8, 145/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:28

This workout went as planned, as did all of my workouts and sets during my first two weeks of hard training, with the exception of squats, but that is an important exception! But I think I got everything figured out, so God-willing, squats will go better in the future.

With the addition of rotator cuff and speed work, I am now including everything in my training plan that I think will be helpful, so I am very happy with its design. The only thing is the workouts are taking a little longer than I would like. But I have not been overly tired after my workouts, probably because the workout length is due to the number of warm-up sets I need to do rather than an excessive number of work sets, so I don’t think that will be a problem.

I know my posts have been overly long of late, but I’ve had a lot to figure out and a lot has been happening. I will try to be more succinct now that I (hopefully) have everything figured out and am done making changes, and if the problems can be kept to a minimum. All of that should also help to reduce my workout times, and thus I should now be able to focus on training hard.

Here’s trusting the LORD all of this is the case and that this finalized version of my “Two by Two Powerlifting Training Plan” will work well in preparing me for my next contest.


New Article

Adjusted Levels for Macronutrients, Electrolytes, and Water is a new two-part article on my fitness Web site. I have found the generally recommended levels for fat, cholesterol, carbs, protein, sodium, and water are not best for me and that there is evidence they should be adjusted. This article details those needed adjustments. I also just posted my diet evaluation for March 2015 in my Diet Evaluation Logs.

 


Week 5 of 12 (Week A)

Bodyweight: 120.0 pounds.
Body fat: 11.7%, 14.0 pounds.
Lean body mass: 106.0 pounds.

I took my body fat once and got the same reading as on my third try last time, so I guess it’s accurate.

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Bench Assistance

Thursday – 4/2/15

Gear: Crain power belt, Redline wrist wraps; Nike Sneakers.

Incline Benches [DBs: 10s/15, Barbell: 45/9, 67/7, 87/5, and belt and wraps: 107/3], 120/6, 125/4, 130/2

Dips: [bwt./9, 7.5/7, and wraps: 15/5] 20/8, 25/6, 30/4

(V-Grip Chin-ups: [bwt./4, bwt./4] 1.25/7, 3.75/5, 6.25/4

Reverse Curls: [Curl Bar: 37/9, Barbell: 45/7] 52/10, 55/8, 57/6

Rotator Cuff (Sitting, Front): [1.25/9] 2.5/12, 2.75/10, 3.0/8

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:33

This was a good workout, except for V-grip chins. But then chin-up/ pull-up exercise always give me fits. I just cannot seem to make steady progress on them.

I don’t think I need a warm-up set on rotator cuff work with the first set being for 12 reps, so I won’t bother with it any more. That will shave another minute off of my workout time, which wasn’t bad this time.

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Easter

Sunday – 4/5/15

My planned monthly extra day off was Easter Sunday. That worked out very well, as I didn’t have to miss a workout as I celebrated the resurrection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and spent time with my family. My family’s Easter egg and Easter basket hunts were rather crazy this year with now six kids to participate in it (my five great-nephews and one great-niece). Next year there will be eight, after my niece-in-law gives birth to her twins.

Below are a couple of pics. The first is of three of the kids with their eggs (Dominic, Xander, Roxanna). The second is four of them with their Easter baskets (Roxanna, Logan, Dakota, Dominic). Click a picture for a larger image.

 

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Squats

Monday – 4/6/15

Gear: Crain: squat shoes, power belt, Genesis wrist wraps; APT heavy knee sleeves, New Balance sneakers (sit-ups).

Dead Stop Squats: [45/15, 95/9, 125/7, 155/5, add belt & wraps: 180/3] 200/6, 210/4, 220/2

Chain Squats (chain set up weighs 90 pounds, which is included in the indicated weights):

[135/9, 175/7, 210/5, add belt & wraps: 242/3] 270/6, 282/4, 295/2

Speed Chain Squats: 175/8, 182/6, 190/4

Decline Sit-ups: [--/9; 3.75/7] 6.25/10, 7.5/8, 8.75/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:39

Last time I did the chain work first, but I switched it this time. But the chain work is so demanding that doing it after the DS squats was too difficult. Also, the chain squats are the better exercise, so it makes sense to do them first. As such, I will go back to my initial order next time. By then I should be used to the speed work, so it shouldn’t leave me winded for the DS squats like last time.

I am going a little too heavy on the speed squats and thus not getting the speed/ explosiveness I want, so next time I will drop the weights. But despite these minor problems, this was a good workout.

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Benches

Wednesday – 4/8/15

Gear: Nike sneakers; Crain: power belt, Genesis wrist wraps.

Dead Stop Benches: [45/15, 75/9, 90/7, 105/5, add belt & wraps: 120/3] 135/6, 140/4, 145/2

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

[115/9, 135/7, 150/5, add belt & wraps: 165/3] 180/6, 187/4, 195/2

Speed Reverse Band Benches: 120/8, 125/6, 130/4

Dumbbell Rows (elbows out): [30/9, 40/7, 50/5] 54/8, 56.5/6, 59/4

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:33

A very good workout.

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Deadlifts

Thursday – 4/9/15

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

Conv. Platform (2-1/4” Deficit) Deadlifts: [45/15, 135/9, 175/7, 215/5, add belt & wraps: 255/3] 282/6, 297/4, 312/2

Sumo Chain Deadlifts (chain set up weighs 90 pounds, which is included in the indicated weights):

[135/9, add chains: 225/7, 270/5, add belt & wraps: 315/3] 347/6, 365/4, 382/2

Sumo Speed Chain Deadlifts add chains: 225/8, 235/6, 245/4

Crunch/ Side Bend Combo: [0/9, 6.25/7] 12.5/10, 13.75/8, 15/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:42

A very good workout, despite being distracted by my chalk, yes, chalk! I started a new block, and it was terrible. It fell apart like crazy, making a mess of my home gym, and it did not help with holding onto the bar for DLs on the first hot day here in Pittsburgh.

If you’re wondering, it was Ader brand that I got from Amazon. My old chalk was Gibson, and it worked just fine. I found it on Amazon, but not with Amazon Prime. So instead, I might order chalk from APT. I’ve got it from them before, and it also worked just fine.

Ader Gym Chalk

RAGE (GIbson) Fitness Chalk

APT Pro Gear Chalk


Week 6 of 12 (Week B)
Videos for first time in years

Bodyweight: 120.0 pounds.
Body fat: 11.3%, 13.6 pounds.
Lean body mass: 106.4 pounds.

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Bench Assistance

Sunday – 4/12/15

Gear: Crain power belt, Redline wrist wraps (1); Nike Sneakers.

Dumbbell Decline Benches [20s/15, 32s/9, 45s/7, add belt & wraps: 55s/3] 60s/8, 62s/6, 65s/4

Barbell Presses (standing) [45/9, 55/7, add belt & wraps: 65/5] 70/8, 75/6, 80/4

Pull-ups: [bwt./6, 1.25/5, 2.5/4] 5/7, 7.5/5, 10/3

Curl Bar Curls: [37/9, 50/7] 55/10, 57/10, 60/6

Rotator Cuff (Shoulder Horn; Arms Together): 2.5s/12, 3.0s/10, 3.5s/8

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:50

The workout time is rather meaningless as I had two distractions. First, I got a new pair of lifting shoes that looked good, but once I started using them they were a tad too big. So I had to pack them back up to ship back and put on my Nike sneakers. More on the new shoes if or when I get the right size and try them out. 

Second, this was the first time in years I took workout videos and the first time using my Samsung Galaxy S5 smart phone for such, so it took a while to figure out how to set it up. I ended up using a smart phone holder I got a year ago to use in my car. It didn’t work for that as it didn’t stick on my dash, but in my review of it for Amazon I mentioned that I first tried it on the top of my washing machine, and it stuck just fine. I remembered that and dug it out and put it there, and it worked great. I’m just glad I didn’t pitch it. Sometimes being a pack rat has its benefits. The angle might not be the greatest, but it is the only place I can put it.

The videos are of my last set for each exercise, except for pull-ups. I took the second set as I really liked the song that was playing, “Fireproof” by Pillar, a Christian rock band. Be forewarned, all of the music in my videos will be Christian hard rock or White Metal (a.k.a. Heavy Metal Christian music). For this workout, I was listening to “X2003: Christian Rock Hits.” This was a series of yearly “Best of” CDs that came out from 2003-2012, and I got all of them, including a couple of “special” CDs that came out. I just wish they hadn’t stopped the series.  But I got hundreds of Christian cassette tapes and CDs I play when I am using my music box for music. At other times, I play various Christian rock stations on Pandora, via speakers hooked up to my desktop PC in my home office. But my PC heats up my home office, so I use the music box when it is warm, as it was this day (near 80 in the Pittsburgh area. It will be same on Monday for the Pirates home opener; great baseball weather!).

I took one video of every exercise to post in the Weightlifting Exercises Videos section of my fitness website, but I’m not sure if I will do this all of the time or how often I will take videos as it is distracting and adds to my already overly long workout times. 

DB Declines

BB Presses

Pull-ups

Curl Bar Curls

Shoulder Horn

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Squats

Monday – 4/13/15

Gear: Crain: squat shoes, power belt, Genesis wrist wraps (1), 2.5 meter Genesis knee wraps (3; squats); APT: heavy knee sleeves (2; Manta Ray squats); New Balance sneakers (jump squats, abs).

Squats with knee wraps: [45/15, 135/9, 170/7, 200/5, add belt & wraps: 240/3] 265/6, 277/4, 290/2

Manta Ray (high bar, close stance) Squats: [95/9, 120/7, 145/5, add belt & wraps: 165/3] 185/6, 195/4, 205/2

Jump Squats: 67/8, 72/6, 77/4

Alternating Dip Bar Leg Raises: [--/9] 3s/15, 3s/15

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:43

The numbers after the gear are my markers for which pair I was using. 

The first exercise is listed as “Squats with knee wraps” as I am planning on doing “Squats with knees sleeves” next week. The former is how I plan on competing, so I think the latter will be a good bottom end assistance exercise. 

Below are videos of my final set for each exercise. I am recording each exercise as a separate video to post on my fitness website, so I am not imbedding them here due to the number of them. But I might try recording each day’s exercises as one video later and imbedding it. The music is the second X2003 CD in the double CD set.

Squats

Manta Ray Squats

Jump Squats

Alternating Dip Bar Leg Raises

______________________________

Benches

Wednesday – 4/15/15

Gear: Nike sneakers; Crain: power belt, Genesis wrist wraps (1).

Benches: [45/15, 80/9, 95/7, 110/5, add belt & wraps: 125/3, 130/1] 145/5, 152/3, 160/2

Close Grip Benches: [75/9, 90/7, 105/5, add belt & wraps: 117/3] 130/6, 135/4, 140/2

Push-ups: [regular: 8] Clap: 8, 8, 8

Curl Bar Rows: [45/9, 65/7, 82/5] 92/8, 97/6, 102/4

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:28

I wrote down my warm-up sets for benches wrong, so I had to do an extra set so that the last set was my normal 10% less than my first work set. Then I had planned on going 5,3,1 on my work sets, but I might have gotten a sixth rep on the first set but didn’t think of it. Then on my second set, the third rep was a full max, continuing the pattern of my second set of benches being the hardest. Then on the third set I got really psyched up and got a double rather than a single. Maybe taking the video on that set got me extra fired up.

I probably could have done one more rep on all three sets of CGBP, but my plan was for 6,4,2, so I stuck with that. I’ll increase the weights that much more next time.

The videos below are of my last set for each exercise. If you look closely in the far right corner, you’ll see the big pile of junk is gone. That is because on Tuesday I spent an hour clearing it all out in preparation for “junk day” for garbage collection. Don’t worry; it won’t all end up in a landfill. I am sure the scavengers will take most of it, like they always do. What they want with my junk, I have never been able to figure out. But they can have it.

Music: Rez Band’s “Compact Favorites” – a “best of” CD.

Benches

I might need to pause just a tad longer.

CGBP

My pause on these is just fine. 

Clap Push-ups

Curl Bar Rows 

______________________________

Deadlifts

Thursday – 4/16/15

Gear: Nike wrestling shoes; Crain power belt; APT: knee sleeves, wrist bands; New Balance sneakers (jump deadlifts, calves).

Sumo Deadlifts: [45/15, 135/9, 195/7, 250/5, add belt & wraps: 300/3] 330/6, 347/4, 365/2

Sumo Stiff Leg Deadlifts: [135/9, 177/7, 217/5] 242/8, 255/6, 267/4

Jump Deadlifts: 70/8, 75/6, 80/4

Barbell Calves (on 2-1/4” high platform): [100/9, 125/7] 140/10, 145/8, 150/6

Stretching: ~5 minutes

Workout time: 1:31

A very good workout. The videos below are of my last set for each exercise, as will usually be the case, unless I indicate otherwise.

Music: “California Metal” – a collection CD of various White Metal bands.

Sumo Deadlifts

My form was good on the first rep, but I got my butt up too much on the second.

Sumo Stiff Leg Deadlifts

I might be bending my legs a bit too much for these. But they seem to be working well as is.

Jump Deadlifts

Barbell Calves 


Halfway Review

I am halfway through Routine A of my Two by Two Training Plan. Benches and deadlifts are progressing well. The double with 160 on benches equaled my best double right before my recent contest, and deadlifts are almost back to where they were, but squats are not going so well. That could because I have been changing things for them each week, or maybe the look-alike lifts I am using for squats are not helping as much as the ones for benches and deadlifts. I had previously figured out which bench and deadlift look-alikes work best for me, and I think I’m getting to that point on squats. Here’s hoping and praying that is the case.

Note that I am calling the 160/2 on benches a “50s PR” as it is the most I’ve done since I turned 50 four years ago. I’m trying to ignore what I did in my 40s and back in college, as those were a long time ago and before my most recent problems. I am focusing on what I am doing now, since I was able to start training hard again a year and a half ago. Thus if I say something is a “50s PR” that is what I am referring to. I thank the LORD I am back to being able to talk about 50s PRs again.


These workout logs are continued at: Full Workout Logs: Starting 4/19/2015 – Two by Two Plan (Variation C); Routine A, Weeks 7-12 of 12.


Full Workout Logs: Starting 3/6/2015 – Two by Two Plan (Variation A); Routine A, Weeks 1-6 of 12. Copyright 2015 by Gary F. Zeolla.

Powerlifting and Strength Training
Powerlifting and Strength Training: Full Workout Logs: 2014 - Present

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