I noticed in the morning that the previous workout had done a number on my face. I had some burst capillaries around my eyes and some on my right eyebrow. It was probably the reverse band pulls. I won’t be doing event training this weekend since I’ll be visiting my younger sister at college Sunday (all day thing) and Saturday isn’t the best day as everyone else is either competing, out of the area or injured. Plus, I’d rather do the gym workout that day as it would be less stressful on my back.
Bent Over Barbell Rows (straps) 245x8 275x8 305x8 335x6
Rope Cable Face Pulls 100x12 135x12 170x12 PR+5lbs
37 Minutes of Stretching
Comments: I knew that I would hit a PR on the main lift today. The last time I did it I had set the baseline and I was having an off day. While the goals in mind were just a 5lbs increase, I knew my numbers for both log and axle were much higher, so I was aiming for that range as well. I’m working on pushing up the weight I can hit with just the rehband belt since I don’t use it for push pressing and contests. I put on the belt for the last single. I setup and missed it pretty bad, but calmed down, pushed my shoulders down and fired it up like a spring. On my down set, I hit the first two reps easy but misgrooved the third so that was a struggle. I’ve only done this setup once before with chains so I didn’t have a 3 rep max PR. Moved on to benching with the slingshot. I was a tad concerned with how these would go as the last two sessions (of top end benching) have been subpar I’d say. Perhaps it wasn’t the best thing to drop dips for triceps power (my shoulders do thank me though)? I however made a 10lbs PR so I’d say it was just me having crap form the other times (butt cramped the one time and my feet slid the other). I couldn’t increase the reps on rows. I knew this was going to be tough with all the rdls on top of the reverse band pulls the day before. My upper back was very sore this entire workout. That soreness might have hampered face pulls as well but I managed to eek out a PR. I do need to stick to this weight for at least another session though before increasing.
Comments: I figured today would be quite interesting as I still have this back thing to contend with and I was trying out a new exercise. I haven’t done reverse band pulls since last year and I haven’t done them at Max Fitness before but I was expecting to pull a PR with my recent deadlifting gains. Granted I felt like dung (both in how I was feeling and my setup). Managed 585lbs DOH (losing it at the top though) and then brought out straps. 635lbs was doable but felt heavy. I made a gamble and went with 675lbs. Took a bit of psyching up but got it for a 20lbs PR. The past two times I’ve done these, it has been 50lbs over my pull from the floor. On my down set, the weight felt even heavier. I briefly glanced at the weights after the first rep to double-check that I had the right amount on the bar. I prepared myself for long grinding reps. Luckily I’ve gotten better at that and somehow managed a triple. Next on the agenda was wide grip rdl’s. Regular rdl’s have been thrown around a bit lately and I had the wide grip variation recommended to me by deadlifting phenom. I’ve kind of avoided rdl’s for a bit as in the past I would tend to let my upper back round a lot and lose my arch. Gm’s seemed to be ideal and kept me from doing that. But since I’m ditching front squats, I needed a new exercise. So I started really light. I think my wide grip might be the same as other people’s snatch grip. I used the bth (beat to hell) rack bar for these. After two easy sets, I remembered that I was supposed to be doing 5’s this workout. I was quite surprised with how these went and I say this for three reasons: 1) I did these with a DOH, 2) I went 90lbs over my goal weight and 3) this was 40lbs over my best single for regular rdl’s from a while back when I used to do them. I wasn’t sure if I could even do bw reps on the ghr after all that but I did and managed a tough 2 rep PR. Reverse hypers were actually quite easy. Peaceful almost. Didn’t need to do as much stretching as I usually do. My back isn’t going to forgive me anytime soon.
Comments: Off today. I couldn't really do events near by as some training partners are either competing or out of town. I didn't want to drive 3 hours to train with my back how it is. Next week might be much the same with the holiday weekend. This isn't ideal with little event training work but I'd rather get my back feeling better. I did soft tissue work when I woke up, I'll do more later.
Suspended Swiss Bar Z Presses 90x8 120x8 150x8 180x8 PR+5lbs
Bent Over Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises 52.5'sx12 72.5'sx12 92.5'sx12
41 Minutes of Stretching
Comments: Went later than usual for a Saturday workout. Just went through the motions for this workout. Felt a bit off considering I missed last week. Surprised that I did the rear delts easy enough to up the weight. Wasn't expecting that.
Arched Back Stiff-legged Goodmornings 285x8 315x8 345x8 375x8 PR+5lbs
Pulldown Abs 80x12 125x12 170x12
44 Minutes of Stretching
Comments: Oof. My appetite is starting to come back. I was leery about this workout with my whatever it is that's going on with my back. I accidentally set the rack too high for my box squats (the rack bar is bent to almost being a Buffalo Bar now) so unracking the weights was a chore in itself. Weight was easy though. My knees were aching a bit. Might have to do with dropping out front squats or that I don't have to walk a mile to work now, might need to add in an extra workout exercise for them. Achy knees carried on the rest of the workout. Split squats felt like crap and I accidentally went up in weight by too much and figured eff it and stuck with it. Lead to a heavy PR with it. Gm's were quite tough due to my back but I did my best to keep that area rigid. Surprisingly, I got all the reps. With pulldown abs, finally easy enough to move up in weight. I'm going to have to switch to "grippier" shoes so the weight doesn't keep pulling me off the ground on the heavy set. Very sore and lots of stretching. Sleeping in on Saturday should feel good.
Considering how stressed out I was the day before, it was nice to get back to normal for a day. Stress, warm weather, allergies, lack of sleep and injury have really suppressed my appetite. Practically retching at times getting breakfast down.
Close Grip Barbell 4-Board Presses 265x3 295x3 325x3 355x3 385x2
Bent Over Barbell Rows (straps) 245x8 275x8 305x8 335x6 PR+2 reps
Rope Cable Face Pulls 95x12 130x12 165x12 PR+5lbs
44 Minutes of Stretching
Comments: Pretty darn good workout. Of course there is still the ab/back thing going on. Log strict pressing with lots of chains had a low goal weight but I knew I’d crush it with how heavy I was able to go on these with 72lbs of chain. Left shoulder was achy but I guess I’m becoming like the Tin Man and just needs to warm up with oil, or I guess blood in this case. Very solid pressing, surprised myself with 190lbs (more than my other pressing variations). Board pressing started out fine but ended on a low note. I felt strong but my form was a bit off. The first rep with 385lbs felt so easy but I fubar’d it up and made the second rep infinitely harder than it should have been. No hope for a third rep. I was a tad cautious with the rows but I still managed a 2 rep PR here. Face pulls were easy peasy. Lots of stretching.
Comments: I was distracted and stressed out so there was a lot of rage put into these pulls today. I misloaded by 90lbs in one instance. Left side of my mid back and right side of my lower back were acting up. Happy with how the lifts went regardless. I dropped front squatting and I’m doing more deadlifting as my supplementary lifts. I had done sumo sldl just two weeks ago so I knew going for a triple on these again would be rough. My camera ran out of juice so I only recorded the first two sets. Quite an effort for the last set. Hamstrings were quite toasty when it came to ghrs. Reverse hypers were pretty good. Very sore and lots of stretching.
Comments: Backs are stupid. At least I know that is knot. I guess no more heavy front squats right after PR deadlifting. Really annonying. As far as the Cardinal Classic, I might not have to focus my training on it too much, especially after this past weekend. I'm naturally good at arm over arm, barrel carries and stones, decent at db pressing and I can't train the car squat specifically. I could get by with squat work in the gym and light yoke work on event days. I can then put focus on Hudson Valley with the much heavier events (stones and dumbbell).
Comments: Back still tight. Figured it would be smart to just do some walking to hopefully get blood pumping and just continue with massaging and hot showers. Light workout tomorrow as well then hopefully back to heavy stuff. I might drop front squats, not sure what to replace them with at the moment. I don't have time to be injured/inconvenienced.
I didn't workout/lift on Thursday or Friday since I was going to be heading down to train as Brute Strength Gym on Saturday. My night class got out a 9:00 so I had only time to eat and pack Thursday night. Left after work on Friday and got to Andy's a 9:00 (bad traffic and a torrential downpour made for a 5 hour drive) .Got up early and drove the rest of the way to Brute Strength. Me, Andy and his friend Jeremy. I was worried since my lower back was still giving me fits from Tuesday (damn front squats) and the long drive and sleeping on a couch didn't improve it. But Andy and I have been planning a trip down for months. Actually we were going to go mid February but I injured my hamstring and then he injured his in late March.
Circus Dumbbell Presses 75x1/1 (14") 75x5/5 (14") 115x3/3 (11.5") 115x1/1 (11.5") 125x1/1 (8") 125x1/1 (8") 146x1/1 (13") 155x1/1 (11.5") 150x1/1 (14") 135x1 (8")/146x1 (13")/155x1 (11.5") - R 135x1 (8")/146x1 (13")/155x1 (11.5") - L 175x1 (14") - R 175x1 (14") - L 135x1 (8")/146x1 (13")/155x1 (11.5")/175x1 (14") - R
2" Rope Arm Over Arm Pulls 465x80' 665x80'
Atlas Stone Loads No Tacky 250x3 (18") to 52" 300x1 (20") to 52" Add Tacky 300x1 (20") to 52"/315x1 (20") to 49"/330x1 (20") to 49"/360x1 (20") to 49"/381x1 (20") to 49" 440x1 (21") to 49" 510x0 (22") to 44"
Comments: The plan was circus dumbbell work, arm over arm and stones and if up to it, anything else I might want to do. I try to err on the side of more since it is a haul to get down here. For the show me and Andy are training for has dumbbell press medley that consists of varying size diameter bells with increasing weight. Getting this medley set was a bit of task and also a time vampire. The plan was to make the 13" bell the heaviest but the sand bucket to increase the weight wasn't there. Also, most of the clamps wouldn't work on the dumbbell handle so that was chore finding ones that would. Finally, the setup was a regular dumbbell with a Fat Gripz added to it (our 8"), a "small" Bigg Dogg Strongg dumbbell (our 11.5"), the sand loaded Slater Bell (our 13") and a plate loaded dumbbell handle (our 14"). Each dumbbell had it's own unique challenge so warm-ups were exhaustive. For instance, the 8" was really low so going from the larger diameter ones to it was quite a shock when recovering from the clean, the 14" rolled since it was plates and the 11.5" was a lot longer than the other bells, making the clean tough. From there went to arm over arm pulls. Andy decided we should use the 2" rope to make it tougher. We set it up so that we were on the ground as opposed to pulling elevated from a tire. Andy went first and he looked like he was going to die so I was concerned that this was going to be a hellacious event. It wasn't, at least not for my first run through. I'm pretty good at this event. Andy and Jeremy just did one run through so rather than hold up the show, I did just one more pull with an added 200lbs. I immediately regretted my decision as it was a hard pull. My arms were just cramping by the time I finished it. I wasn't sure I could hold on to stones even. I was cautious on stones since I knew that not only was my back tight but that I would also have to contend with about 6 hours in a car afterwards. Andy was having some issues with the stones, a lot having do with just getting back to stones after a lay off due to hamstring issues. Been there, he should be back to killing it in a week or two. I just ran through the series (similar to contest weight) and it wasn't bad. I decided I wanted to see how a heavier stone felt and rolled out the 440lbs stone. It went up way easier than I expected. Andy noticed that I twisted quite a bit to my one side and I think that was due to my back. Definitely got to keep an eye on that. 440lbs went up so well that I decided to try 510lbs. Just broke that off the ground. I should have just done reps with 440lbs in retrospect. After that, we went to Chipotle. I had three burritos and got some shut eye before making a long drive back home.
Sleep helped some with my lower back but it was annonying me all day. It's nothing major, I've had this before, and I hope it's gone by this weekend. This is actually my last real gym workout for this week as I'm heading down to Brute Strength Gym Friday night.
Bent Over Barbell Rows (straps) 245x8 275x8 305x8 335x4 PR+10lbs
Rope Cable Face Pulls 90x12 125x12 160x12 PR+5lbs
40 Minutes of Stretching
Comments: Went a bit later than I had planned to the gym. I was hoping my lower back would loosen up some more I guess. Started out poor but got better. The warm up sets with the axle my upperbody was an achy mess but as soon as I went to singles, I felt a lot better. Now with axle lifts, my axle press is generally 10-15lbs behind my barbell lifts so I was aiming for that range of an increase, especially with how tight my lower back was. Imagine my surprise to surpass that easily and get a 30lbs PR. On the down set, the bar went forward on the third rep so I couldn't get it. On benching with the slingshot, the first two sets sucked. There was only one person around to be a spotter for me but it was better than nothing. On 415lbs, my feet slid and my entire lower body cramped up. I debated going for a second rep but figured it would be smarter to stop there as I didn't trust a single spotter for this and I didn't feel comfortable making an adjustment with this much weight in my hands. For rows, I used lazy strength as I already had the bar loaded with 100lbs plates. Did my best to keep them from bothering my lower back. Went better than expected but the last set was too heavy, at least for now. Face pulls were easy. Went home to stretch.
Comments: Besides a bit of discomfort, an excellent workout. I've been focusing on bringing up the "big lifts" (deadlift, box squat, cg bench, overhead) and deadlift has been the last horse to cross the finish line for some time now. Add to that the fact it was the one that took the longest to feel right after my hamstring injury. Also add on to that the last time I tried a max, I was 20lbs below my PR. And also also add that I was throughly embarassed in the deadlift event at my last contest. So a lot was riding on this workout to prove something. I felt a bit slow on the first two sets but then when I got my form down and the weight felt like an empty bar, I knew I had the ingredients for a good session on hand. Worked up to 545lbs double overhand before bringing out the straps. After 585lbs, I had Mike K look at the video to see how much more he thought I could get. He thought that I could get at least 30lbs more and that that was on the conservative side. So I went with 40lbs, which would be a 20lbs PR. I got set and pulled. Some straining in my neck but it went up with authority. Much cleaner than my previous 1rm. I knew I had some in the tank but this was good for now. Went for 565lbs for my downset. In the past, I sucked at reps on the downset with deadlifts (conventional that is) after hitting a max. But my pulling muscles are stronger. If I got a double, it would be a 20lbs PR, but if I got a triple, it would be a 38lbs PR. I went for the triple. First rep flew up and in my excitement, I lost my air on the second rep. I had to regain control before going for a third. That one was grinder but up t went. So an excellent start to the workout. Of course, this is where the bit of discomfort came up. My midsection was just done and my lower back wasn't up to the task of front squatting. I made a small PR here but my lower back still hasn't forgiven me. Crushed ghrs and reverse hypers. Went home to stretch. Hoping my lower back relaxes in the mean time haha.
Comments: Started my new assignment today, I really don't know why I stress out so much about it. I was tossing and turning all night checking the clock. I'm glad I just had the easy stuff to do today so I can relax.
Suspended Swiss Bar Z Presses 95x8 115x8 135x8 155x8 175x8
Bent Over Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises 52.5'sx12 72.5'sx12 92.5'sx12
39 Minutes of Stretching
Comments: Really late workout today. Benching was quite easy. Inclines felt tough but I managed to get an extra rep. I had to reclean the weights to get that last rep. Moved on to Z presses, I haven't done them in a while, guess these are baseline weights for PRs. Last set was pretty much a max effort. Getting close to getting the rear delt stuff easy.
Safety Squat Bar Split Squats 230x5/5 260x5/5 290x5/5 320x5/5 PR+5lbs
Arched Back Stiff-legged Goodmornings 280x8 310x8 340x8 370x8 PR+5lbs
Pulldown Abs 80x12 125x12 170x12
41 Minutes of Stretching
Comments: Very good lifting. I upped the weight considerably for my ssb speed work and it felt easy. I took a bit of a break after the box squats as someone else needed it for their workout and I was in no hurry. Split squats went well but I only went for a small increase on my PR. I felt good for more. Goodmornings were also good. Abs were the toughest thing. Guess I'm sticking with that weight for a few more workouts. Left hamstring was quite tight this workout so I spent a lot of time stretching it out when I finished.
55 Gallon Water Barrel Carries 225x160' (Drops at 80') 225x160' (Drops at 80') 225x160' (Drops at 80')
Two Hand Plate Pinches 95x1 145x1 165x1 185x1 205x1 PR+15lbs 220x0 220x0
Comments: I found out late the night before that event training was moved from Sunday to Saturday. I was quite sore and looking forward to sleeping in but I needed to do work. I kept things light. Mike was going to bring his circus dumbbell but the girl at Gold's Gym didn't know where the key to the storage area was so I used my pipe and duct tape one. Just shaking out the rust on these. I did just single work since I can't really drop this like a real circus dumbbell. After the first few, I had to towel off the handle between sets since I was sweating everywhere. Very humid today. I then did barrel carries. Really easy, probably won't train this any more for the contest. I was going to do light stones but my hamstrings were quite sore from the day before. I also was going to be hitting them hard this coming weekend down at Brute Strength Gym and I was going for a new max deadlift on Tuesday so I just went with plate pinches for some grip work. I got 205lbs for a good PR and tried 220lbs but it was no good, slipping out of my thumbs after I broke it off the ground. Better than my first time for sure since I couldn't even get 210lbs moving off the ground.
A couple hours after yesterday's workout, my right wrist started to hurt if I put pressure on it. Luckily, I'm not doing any press for the next two days so it should get some time to recover, whatever it is.
Band Face Pulls IW#1'sx100
Band Press Downs IW#1'sx100
Band Straight Arm Lat Pulls IW#1'sx100
Ankle Weight Lying Leg Curls 11'sx250
Comments: Got up to 100 today. Good thing I spend most of the day inside. I like keeping these extra days easy as I can multitask by watching tv while working out haha.
Bent Over Barbell Rows (straps) 235x8 265x8 295x8 325x8 PR+4 reps
Rope Cable Face Pulls 85x12 120x12 155x12
46 Minutes of Stretching
Comments: Another excellent workout, even though I felt like crap warming up with just the bar. But as usual, I felt better as the sets went on and weight got heavier. Very happy with how 2-board pressing went today. Left some in the tank again. It's hard to gauge how much since I have to be fast on these or I can't get past my sticking point. Getting closer to four plates. On my down set, I had a bad side spot on the first rep (guy on the left was helping me lift/unrack, guy on the right wasn't) which got me off balance but I corrected myself and got two more. Tried a fourth but no more power in the tris. Went back to an older exercise; rack log half presses. Last time I did these was almost a year ago. I brought these back in as I'm finding it hard to get a lot of leg drive when it comes to log press due to the lean back nature of it so I might as well get my upper body stronger at the tough spots. Shoulders were kind of achy doing this. Hit my previous best single with a belt for a triple with just the rehband so good progress. I was tempted to try more but figured it was best to save it, especially with my shoulders aching. The weight felt heavy on the first set of rows standing up but the weight went up easy. Definitely much better than last time. Got all the reps on the last set. Finished up with face pulls (stayed at this weight) and a lot of stretching.
Roman Chair Back Extensions bwx12 bw+50x12 bw+100x12
35 Minutes of Stretching
Comments: Very good workout. Squatting went great. Big PR on them and I know I had more in the tank but figured it would be best to save it since this is my first week back to the heavy stuff. Guess I got to up my speed work weights when I use the ssb now haha. Thanks ghr! Hamstrings were pretty beat from ssb box squats but I still made a PR on Louies. I thought about trying more weight but that last triple was tough. Now the rest of the workout had to deviate from my plan. No ghr or reverse hyper at the Y. There is a partner assisted glute ham developer (pretty much a ghr pad that is on the floor) from Legendary Fitness so I figured that was better than nothing. I put weights in front of it to keep it from sliding and pushed my feet into the wall. Definitely a lot more calf involvement with this version since there isn't anything to anchor my ankles. Very tough. I tried to rig up a reverse hyper using the roman chair and the cable stack but it didn't work so I went with doing some easy back extensions on it. I used the heavy medicine balls from Legendary Fitness (50lbs and 100lbs) for my weights. Finished up with stretching and refueled at home with three burritos from Chipotle.
Bent Over Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises 25'sx12 45'sx12 65'sx12
41 Minutes of Stretching
Comments: Wow, 10 hours of quality sleep can sure improve ones demeanor by tenfold. Felt rested and no where near as achy. Workout was easy. Guess I'm back to the grind tomorrow. Not sure if I'm going to go all out on extra workouts for this cycle. Got the events for my next contest.
Comments: Grumpy yesterday, grumpier today. Allergies combined with post contest stress symptoms (I truly hate physical manifestations of stress, especially when they are this delayed) makes things kind of rest. Had a lot of family over so I just went for a walk. Figure I'll do my last deload workout tomorrow.
Bent Over Barbell Rows (straps) 135x8 165x8 195x8 225x8
Rope Cable Face Pulls 67.5x12 87.5x12 107.5x12
31 Minutes of Stretching
Comments: Hard to stay motivated with these easy, light workouts. Allergies (itchy eyes) on top of the heat wave makes for an unmotivated Craig. I did finally go to the gym. Entire back is still beat from the contest, especially my mid back. Crowded at the gym so I couldn't use most of my favorite things (like the power rack) for this workout but since it was light, it didn't matter. I hang power cleaned the weights for push press from bench stands. I used the same bench for my other pressing. Stuck having to take the weight from the unadjustable rack (like, 4-board starting height) but it was light day and I just wanted to be done with it. Rows were the hardest on my mid back (besides cleaning the weight). The rope attachment broke so I had to find another one for face pulls. Finished up with some stretching.
Comments: More deloading. I've forgotten how draining a comp can be. The good news is that my grip and legs felt fine so I'm mostly recovered. Lower back is still beat to hell though. Easy workout but I was just drenched in sweat. I'm talking aquaman levels of sweat. The higher temps and low intensity workouts are making it very hard to keep my food intake high enough to maintain weight, not to mention I'm melting every time I go outside.
I’m a little taller than 6′7″ and I really like to lift weights. I’m a
competitor in amature strongman contests. Right now, I'm training for the Beast of the Bluegrass in Lexington, KY on April 28, 2018. My hope is to become a competitive
professional strongman. I’m not a major competitor yet and I have a long way to go but I’m having fun.