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J.C.
05-16-2010, 08:48 AM
I feel like shaking things up so I'm going to join the party. Woo! I'm looking forward to keeping a journal with you guys.

The last six weeks or so, Iíve been on a deliberate cut and then a further unintentional cut while finishing up university. I started running again in this time but havenít done any heavy weight training for ages because of injury and Iím definitely a bit detrained.

So right now, my conditioning is good and I feel lean and lithe but I know my strength is way down. I weighed myself this weekend at only 88Kg. This is frankly unacceptable. I'm down from 96kg in March and I want some bulk back. At the same time I've decided I'm going to try and keep up the running and cardio and get fitter.

So... I have some possibly contradicting aims but I'm hoping HCT-12 can still help. I wonít be using this for a crazy bulk, but Iím confident that if I eat enough food Iíll be able to improve my running, my general conditioning and my strength all at the same time. Rugby players, heavyweight boxers, rowers and other ďbigĒ athletes manage to maintain or increase strength and bodyweight despite high training volume. This summer I just want to become a better all-rounder. This journal makes me accountable. Witness the fitness.

Iím doing a three day routine Monday Wednesday, Friday, with cardio on the other days:

A
Bench Press
Dumbbell Row
Overhead Press
Chin-up
Dips

B
Squat
Stiff legged deadlift
Ab machine
Barbell Curls

Saturday 15th May, test workout.

Squat
Worked up to 110kg x 6+2+2+2.
I'm hoping my squat will start to rise quickly and get back to form but I have DOMS today, so yep, definitely de-trained!

Standard Deadlift
Worked up to 130kg x 6+2+2+2. I'll do SLDLs next week, I just wanted to do deads today.

Curls
25kg x 6 +2+2+2. I've done curls about twice in my life so this was a new experience for me!

Ab Machine
Worked up to 60kg x 6+2+2+2. Felt quit easy, I might try and find a different ab exercise.

Calf Raise
Got bored after two reps and went home. I really can't be bothered with calf raises. Will dropping them make any difference to my squat? I just don't care about calf raises.

So that was my first tentative foray into HCT-12. Hopefully the numbers will rise quickly. :)

Off Road
05-16-2010, 09:01 AM
Welcome aboard Drummer. Nice session. I hear you on the calf work, I skipped mine too (haha)

AKMass
05-16-2010, 01:52 PM
Hey drummer,

Glad to have you on the bandwagon! Squatting looks nice. I'm not too sure about the calf raises, but I do them anyway. Even though I couldn't care less about the weight I'm using.

J.C.
05-17-2010, 07:41 AM
Thanks guys. I can squat a lot more for sure, but I don't want to start off too high. Slow, steady progression is the aim of the game this time. I don't want to get injured and I intend to keep other activity high.

I'm very curious to see what happens to my weight and strength if I continue running. That's another reason for dropping the calf raises - I really don't want to overwork a muscle incredibly prone to running issues.

Right then! First proper workout today. Upper-Body time. I'll report back after the gym

Off Road
05-17-2010, 08:09 AM
Breaking in a routine is always good, but don't forget that you'll be wanting to get close to your 6 rep max for this particular routine.

J.C.
05-17-2010, 06:00 PM
Monday, 18th May

Upper-body day. This is my weak spot. I have a wrist and shoulder issue that prevented me from any pressing for a few months. I've been referred to a hand surgeon but I'd rather not go down that route and I've had enough physio that I hope I can now work around it. So I'm ready to see some growth here. I'd love to get my bench up.

Chins
1 set of pull-ups
Chins BWx6
Chins BWx6
5kg +2+2 This second rep was so slow that I did the last 2 reps at bodyweight.

Bench
Bar x 6
40kg x 6
60kg x 6
65kg x 6
67kg x 6+2+2+2

Dumbbell row
25kg x 6
30kg x 6 - I think I could have gone higher here but decided to do my final set with the same weight.
30kg x 6+2+2+2

Press
Bar x 6
30kg x 6
32.5kg x 6+2+2+2
My overhead press is very weak, but considering I couldn't support a bar in my hand a while back, its a start.

Dips
BW x 6
BW x 6 +2+2+2.

J.C.
05-17-2010, 06:14 PM
I'm going to post up my diet on some days as well. I'm able to eat quite a lot of food, but I know that I don't always get enough protein, so maybe if I start tracking my diet I'll be able to spot any obvious things to tighten up. I prefer eating fewer, larger meals instead of the 6-8 small meals thing. As I'm just starting eating heavy again, my calories will probably rise over the first week while I get used to it again. I bought milk for the first time in a couple of months yesterday!

Meal1
3 potatoes, 5 eggs. Made a huge tortilla, added extra olive oil.
2 apples
Milk.

Meal 2 post-training
Large bowl of pasta
Tuna
Lots of olive oil
2 pints of milk
Apple

Meal 3
Huge bowl of chilli.
Milk. I felt stuffed after this. It was an enormous bowl.

Meal 4
Grilled Cheese
Milk.

I probably drank 2/3 of a gallon of milk today. I'll be on GOMAD in a couple of days.
I'm going add in some more tuna and I'm going to stock up on peanut butter and nuts soon to start snacking.
I might buy some protein powder soon, but I like eating solid food and I think 4 hearty meals a day, plus lots of milk throughout will be enough.

Off Road
05-17-2010, 08:07 PM
Glad to see you pressing. How's the wrist feeling?

AKMass
05-18-2010, 05:07 AM
What's up with the name change? Also, what kind of milk are you drinking (whole, 2%, etc.)?

J.C.
05-18-2010, 06:04 AM
Glad to see you pressing. How's the wrist feeling?

Not too bad actually. The overhead press could cause some problems when it gets heavier because of the front squat racking position. Right now I don't think the weight is heavy enough to bend my wrist back much.

The bench press felt fine but my wrist was aching a bit afterwards because of gripping hard. I sometimes get the same feeling during heavy squats for the same reason. As long as I don't let any tendinitis develop I should stay on top of it, but I'm going to look at some wrist wraps.


What's up with the name change? Also, what kind of milk are you drinking (whole, 2%, etc.)?

Yep, I changed my name!

I was obviously very uninspired the day I signed up and then I just stuck with it. I never really like it much and I also don't play drums anywhere near as much as I used to. Still do a bit of gigging with an improv group but I'm not in a regular band any more.

JC it is.

Whole milk of course!

J.C.
05-18-2010, 12:43 PM
18th May

20min run + 20min cycle. Nice and sunny today so it was enjoyable. My chest felt tighter than normal after the work yesterday but otherwise all good.

I'm actually going to London tomorrow to see friends and have a bit of an end-of-year celebration. I'm going to try and fit in the lower-body session before I catch the train but I'm probably going to have to skip Friday's workout. :( Oh well, missing a day at the beginning isn't the end of the world and life should be settling down soon.

J.C.
05-19-2010, 07:47 AM
19th May. Lower Body.

Squats
Bar x 6
60kg x 6
80kg x 6
100kg x 6
120kg x 6+2+2+2

Last set felt surprisingly hard. I peaked on TM at 130 (287lbs) for 5x5 and 160kg (352) for a single.
I should be squatting more than 120 for only 1 heavy set of 6. Hopefully it will pick up soon.

SLDL
60kg x 6
90kg x 6
95kg x 6+2+2+2

Felt fine. I usually don't go under 12 reps for SLDLs so I wasn't sure where to go up to. I felt my upper back start to round slightly on the last reps although my hips had a lot of power left in the tank.

Curls
Bar x 6
30kg x 6+2+2+2. I'm starting to like this strange new exercise!

Ab Machine
50kg x 6
55kg x 6
60kg x 6
65kg x 6+2+2+2

Short and intense workout. Fun times.
And the good news: I weighed myself today at 200lbs :) That's a 5+ pound gain in a week. There's obviously a rebound effect from coming off restricted calories and eating heavily again but I'm still pleased. 210 here we come!

Off Road
05-19-2010, 08:06 AM
I wouldn't worry about the squats, I'm sure you'll adapt fast and start shooting it up there. Nice job on the "strange new exercise." Funny how so many of us aren't regular curlers.

J.C.
05-21-2010, 12:21 PM
21st May. Upper-Body.

So I managed to squeeze in a workout today. I thought I'd have to skip it but I managed to get the train back home in time to get to the gym. No fireworks here but I'm glad I didn't miss a workout. I'm meeting someone tonight as well so I just hammered through this one. Short rests, lots of sweat -exactly what I needed after a couple of days of alcohol and unhealthy food.

Chins
BW x 6
5kg x 6
7.5kg x 6 (16.5lbs) +2+2+2 @Bodyweight. For some reason when I do a 6rm on chins I am too fatigued to do the clusters. Should I take a longer rest or just lower the weight?

Bench
20kg x 6
40kg x 6
62.5kg x6
70kg x 6+2+2+2 (154lbs :cry:)

Dumbbell Rows
25kg x6
32.5kg x 6+2+2+2 I always used to do barbell rows but I'm enjoying using dumbbells for this exercise.

Dips
BW x 6
5kg x 6+2+2+2

I didn't do the overhead press today because the rack was being used and I didn't have time to hang around.

I feel like I've got the HCT-12 routine sussed out now so I'm looking forward to the second week. Two lower-body days next time. Bring it on!

Pure Water
05-21-2010, 02:10 PM
I think I read this in the FAQ article, for your overhead press, you could of just done some dumbbell presses instead for that day?

Off Road
05-21-2010, 03:00 PM
Nice job and those are some good Chin Ups. I'd make the rest periods a little longer and not drop the weight. I'm sure you'll find that as you progress with the routine that you'll be able to shorten the rest periods up again.

Joe Black
05-24-2010, 01:23 AM
Yep, I would agree...

Your capacity will improve pretty quickly also.

J.C.
05-24-2010, 03:20 PM
Hey, Daniel's keeping an eye on us!

Mon 24th May, Lower-Body

Gah, assorted life distractions at the moment - like trying to find somewhere to live! But I have faith in my routine and diet and rest will fall back into line soon enough.

Squats
Bar x 10
60kg x 6
100kg x 6
122.5kg x 6 (270lbs) +2+2+2 This still feels harder than it should to me.

I planned on doing another set after this but it was too much so I made it the final set. But you know what, I've decided I'm swallowing my pride on this and just working up in little increments. As long as it goes up in 2.5kg (5lb) jumps then I'll still be increasing my squat by over 15lbs every two weeks, and that's not too bad.

SLDL (Fat Bar)
62.5kg x 6
82.5kg x 6
102.5kg x 6 (226lbs) +2+2+2.

Easy! I'm still finding my 6rm for these but this felt challenging yet strong. There was no point doing another set today but I know I've got some room to improve here. Who knows, maybe that will bring up my squat? And using the fatter bar was fun, but I pussied out and used mixed grip.

Curls
20kg x 6
32.5kg x 6 (72lbs) +2+2+2 Steady as she goes.

Ab Machine
45kg x 6
55kg x 6
65kg x 6
70kg x 6 +2+2+2

Off Road
05-24-2010, 03:45 PM
S.l.d.l. with a fat bar? You are the man, man :) Nice workout.

J.C.
05-26-2010, 08:07 AM
26th May. Upper-Body

Chins
BW x 3
7.5 kg (16.5lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Last week I did 6@BW, 6@5kg, then 6@7.5 but couldn't manage the clusters. This time I only did one short warmup set but then nailed the 6+2+2+2 @7.5kg.
So volume was less but I beat my 6rm and Daniel assured me that's what matters.

Bench
20kg x 10
60kg x 6
65kg x 6
72.5kg x 6 (160lbs) +2+2+2. A spotter had to help a bit with the clusters which is disappointing as the 6 felt tough but ok. I was hoping to power through this. Before I had to stop pressing because of wrist/shoulder issues the best I managed was 75x5x5. Anything over 80kg (176lbs) for reps will be a big milestone for me.

Dumbbell Rows
25kg x 6
35kg (77lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Press
20 x 6
30 x 6
35 x 6
37.5 (83lbs) x 5 +1 Failed to get 6 then failed on the second cluster rep
35 x 2+2. Got these.

Dips
BW x 6
5kg x 6+2+2. My shoulders were exhausted after failing on the overhead press and just gave way on the last 2 cluster reps. Pity.

My major goals for HCT-12 are to increase the mass and strength of my upper body. I've neglected pressing for too long and I want to fix it. My overhead press is embarrassing. I have extremely long arms but I need to stop using that as an excuse. So the workout today was a little disappointing because I tried to push past 6rm and failed on a couple of lifts. I didn't make the overhead press and I failed to get all the cluster reps on bench and dips.

On the other hand, calories will be very high by the end of the day. Hopefully this will help out and ensure my muscles grow strong enough to increase the weights next time.
Breakfast was 3 large eggs, thick-cut bacon, toast and milk. Post-workout was tuna, pasta, broccoli and oil, with milk and more milk. I've got beef, more eggs and cheese for tonight and I'll be drinking milk and snacking while I'm working the rest of the day. If calories are high and I'm working hard enough then my strength has to increase surely?

Daniel Roberts
05-26-2010, 08:51 AM
If you follow the program and eat accordingly and consistently then strength and size will come - guaranteed.

J.C.
05-26-2010, 11:26 AM
That's good to hear! :)
Thanks for the support Dan. It's cool having you and the WBB team checking in occasionally to make sure we're doing OK.

BTW - I'm eating a cheese omelette and drinking a pint of milk as I write this. Then I'm going to the shop to pick up some more milk and eggs for tomorrow. I'm taking this seriously. ;)

Off Road
05-26-2010, 01:45 PM
I'm taking this seriously. ;)
That is the most important thing. With the determination and the effort, you will do it.

J.C.
05-28-2010, 09:15 AM
28th May, Lower-Body

Squats
22.5kg x 6
52.5kg x 6
62.5kg x 6
92.5kg x 6
112.5kg x 3
125kg x 6 +2+2+2 (276lbs)

SLDL
62.5kg x 6
92.5kg x 6
105kg x 6
110kg x 6+2+2+2 (243lbs)
I thought about doing another set but was happy with this. Challenging yet strong.

Curls
22.5kg x 6
32.5kg x 6
35kg x 6 (77lbs). Failed on first cluster, took 2.5kg off and got them.
32.5kg x2+2+2

Ab Machine
35kg x 6
55kg x 6
70kg x 6+2+2+2 (154lbs)

Good workout today. Everything went up! I reworked my warmup to do more sets as well. Squat increased 2.5kg but the last 3 reps were real slow grinds. It felt strong, I didn't crumple and depth was good, but I just couldn't find the power in the middle of the rep. I don't know if I'll increase it next week. I'd like it to feel more comfortable before pushing it up.

SLDL is my new favourite exercise. I'm still feeling it out but my body's adapting to it quickly. I increased the weight by over 15lbs today and it still felt great and with good form. It's going to catch my squat soon!

Curls went up 2.5kgs and I'll get the clusters next time. My arms fatigue early for some reason. Same problem with chins.

Ab machine went up another 5kgs. I'm going to hit full stack soon. Might pick a new exercise next cycle.

J.C.
05-28-2010, 09:29 AM
My weight today was 203lbs. 3lb increase in a week and a half. On top of 5lb increase last week. :)

I did a fair bit of cycling this week but no running because I wanted maximum recovery while I get used to heavy weight-training again.

Diet today so far:
Meal 1: Tortilla of 3 potatoes, 4 eggs, 1 green pepper, olive oil. 2 pints of milk.
Meal 2 (post-workout): Pasta, broccoli, 125g tuna. 2 pints of milk. 3 huge triple choc cookies from the bakery. Apple.

The next meal will be a 3 egg and cheese omelette. Evening meal is a large pizza sitting ready in my fridge. I have frying steak, sausages and eggs to choose from for the final meal. And of course today will be another gallon of milk.

I'm a hardgainer but I AM eating. I have to eat a little unclean to get all the calories but a really dirty bulk would defeat the point of me going on a cut before this. In a week or two time I'm going to experiment with upping protein and lowering fat. I need the carbs for my running and cycling. Right now the priority is getting to 205-210lbs. If I gain a little fat getting there, I'm sure it will come off if I keep up the weights and cardio.

Off Road
05-28-2010, 09:30 AM
Nice effort on everything.

Kiff
05-28-2010, 10:50 AM
This all looks pretty good mate nice eating ;)

Will be popping my head in here more often.

Nice Squats.

Whats your training history and sports if you dont mind me asking?

Great effort

ELmx479
05-29-2010, 06:23 AM
Doing well in here, impressive squats!

J.C.
05-29-2010, 07:42 AM
Nice effort on everything.

Thanks Off Road. I'm starting to hit my stride now. I'm not getting as sore as when I started, I've cracked the warmups and I'm back into the routine of eating big.


This all looks pretty good mate nice eating ;)

Will be popping my head in here more often.

Nice Squats.

Whats your training history and sports if you dont mind me asking?

Great effort

Learning how to eat is often harder than learning how to lift.

My training history in brief is this:
Ignore the fact I've been here since 2004. In 2008 I was extremely weak, skinny and unfit and I smoked a lot of weed. My grip couldn't support a 50kg deadlift. Then I got serious about training that summer because of life issues. In two-three months I ate huge amounts of food, squatted three times a week and gained over 30lbs while my strength exploded. I have the stretch marks to prove it. When I started back at university my peer group was amazed at the change. So my first year of training was great, but since then its been a bit haphazard. I thinned down and started running for a bit, then last summer I did a manual labour job which raped my strength and size. A couple of months was spent just getting that back and then I had injuries. That brings us roughly up to now so I'm hoping this is the point that I break into my second round of progress. It's about time I take it to the next level.

The longer version, if you can be bothered with it, is about getting over depression. (http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/showthread.php?118346-Beating-Depression-Through-Weight-Lifting.)


Doing well in here, impressive squats!

Weeeelllll.... I'll be happy when they're over 300lbs, but they're inching up. Thanks for stopping by ELmx!

J.C.
06-01-2010, 03:27 PM
01/06/09, Upper-Body Day

Gym was closed yesterday so Monday's workout was today. I hit the gym much later than usual and was raring to go. I did very few ramping sets and blazed through the routine. I'm just writing down the top sets for this workout.

Chins:
7.5kg (16lbs) x 6+2+2+2. Nailed this. Going up next time

Pull-ups: BW x6 Just because.

Bench
75kg (165lbs)x 6 (2.5kg increase:))
72.5kg x2+2+2 The top set was an increase for me but the last rep was super slow and there wasn't anyone to spot so I played it safe and dropped a few kgs for the clusters.

Dumbbell Row
35kg x 6 +2+2+2. Definitely going up next time. Felt nice and controlled.

Press
37.5kg x 6+2+2+2 (2.5kg increase :) I know it still sucks but any increase is good)

Dips
BW x 6+2+2+2.

So not too bad today. I think I'm going have to learn to hold back a little with my upper-body movements. I'm starting to accept that my upper-body strength never increases like I want it to, so instead of pushing to failure (or extremely near it) each time I'm going to listen to my body and just increase when I can. If that means adding weight every other session instead of every session then so be it.

Squats and dead-lifts tomorrow. Much more fun!

Off Road
06-01-2010, 04:11 PM
01/06/09, Upper-Body Day
Squats and dead-lifts tomorrow. Much more fun!
You're a sick man :)

Pure Water
06-01-2010, 05:50 PM
Seems like you're doing good in here. Keep it going.

J.C.
06-02-2010, 02:47 PM
Second of June, 2010. Lower-Body.

Just putting in my top sets as its easier that way.

Squats
122.5kg (270lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (-2.5kgs)

SLDL
115kg (254lbs) x 6 +2+2+2 (+5kgs) :)

Curls
35kg (77lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (+2.5kgs)

Ab Machine
75kg x 6+2+2+2 (+5kgs)

I wasn't feeling squats today so I took a note of this "auto-regulation" thing and called it there instead of attempting 127.5kgs. The weight felt manageable and the clusters felt great today. Good depth and good speed. I have a feeling that in a few workout's time my squat is suddenly going to leap up past 130kg (287lbs).

And anyway, my stiff-leg deadlift keeps increasing. I'm not being too aggressive with the weight jumps because I want to make sure my back gradually gets used to the increasing strain but every time I try it, the lift just feels stronger and stronger.

Off Road
06-02-2010, 03:06 PM
Good job with auto-regulating. And I hear you about writing out all the ramping sets in the journal, it takes forever. I started just listing the top sets too. I guess I'm not the only lazy one :)

J.C.
06-02-2010, 05:34 PM
I started just listing the top sets too. I guess I'm not the only lazy one :)

I followed Tom Muttafis's lead. It's useful for me to be aware of how I warm-up and see what worked, but I also need to get into my head that ultimately this is a routine that pyramids up to one heavy 6RM set. That's the important thing, getting a PR in the top set.

J.C.
06-04-2010, 12:31 PM
4th June 2010, Upper-Body Day

Interesting experience today. I had to cycle all over the city, up and down hills for various things and had barely eaten by the time I hit the gym. I thought with all that cardio, and just a snickers in my belly today was sure to be a blow-out. Instead it went pretty well!

Chins
8.75kg (19lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (+ 1.25kg :))
BW x 6

Bench
75kg (165lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Dumb-bell Rows
37.5kg (83lbs) x 6 (+ 2.5kg :))
40kg (88lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (5kg PR :))

Press I got cocky and messed this up.
42.5kg (94lbs) x 4
37.5kg x 4+1+1+2

Dips I'm switching to close-grip bench press or skull crushers. Dips aren't working for me any more.
2 x BW x 6.

So pressing is still pissing me off big-time. I really wanted to blast through 75kg bench press today and I just knew I couldn't. After the row success I tried to push through the 40kg barrier for overhead press and failed miserably. Dips also still feel weird.

The good news is that chin-ups and rows are increasing nicely! I also got some encouraging words from this strong guy at the gym today who has a big squat and deadlift. He saw me doing SLDLs quite easily last week and we talked about squatting. Today, seeing my annoyance, he pointed out that although my extremely long arms don't help with pressing they do help with deadlifts. He said that with my build and my comparatively strong lower-body I should be capable of a really strong deadlift some day. That was nice to hear and really makes me want to add as much mass as possible on this routine so that when I go back to low reps and start deadlifting again I can make that happen.

ELmx479
06-04-2010, 12:41 PM
Nice session even after all that riding around and lack of food. Don't worry about the pressing, your doing just fine. Take myself for example: I weigh 200lbs and just did 6 dead hang chin ups with 50lbs strapped to me but my best OH Press is 125x5. All we can do is keep working at it.

J.C.
06-07-2010, 08:48 AM
7th June 2010, Lower-Body

Squats
127.5kg (281lbs) x 6+2+2+2 up 2.5kg

SLDL
115kg (254lbs) x 6+2+2+2 up 2.5kg

Curls
35kg (77lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Curls were the same as last time so I also did
Chins
BW x 6

Ab Machine
75kg x 6+2+2+2

Calf Raises
45kg +BW x 10

Good workout. I'm closing in on 130kg for squats, SLDL keeps getting better and curls felt good today even if I didn't get a PR. I even did a token set of calf raises! At my gym there's a weird contraption that you sit on and then sort of lift the seat (+weights) with your calves. Maybe I'll start including them from now on.

J.C.
06-07-2010, 10:38 AM
This isn't workout related but I also now have a new flat to live in!

This is very important because my lease is almost up on my current house and its quite hard to bulk up without a kitchen. It's also far closer to the gym, university, and the bar I'm hopefully going to be working at. This means less time and effort cycling across the city and hopefully, bigger gains.

J.C.
06-09-2010, 08:53 AM
9th June 2010, Upper-Body

Chins
10kg (22lbs) x6+2+2+2 (1.25kg pr :))
BW x 6 I felt like I was floating up after the weighted chins.

Bench
77.5kg (171lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (2.5kg pr :)) YES!

Rows
40kg (88lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (My gym doesn't have any heavier dumbbells so I did a fairly light drop-set after for some more stimulus)
27.5kg (61lbs) x 12

Overhead Press
40kg x 6+2+2+2 (2.5kg PR but it was slow and ugly)

Dips
3 x BW x 6

Good workout again. Chins I'm really happy with. My bench went up - I almost can't believe it. Rows feel strong so I think the chins+rows are doing something positive to my back. I'm switching to barbell rows next cycle and pushing that one hard. The overhead press was really ugly though. The final two reps my right arm shot up far quicker than the left and I was sort of stuck with the bar at an angle above my head until some grunting finally forced it level. Will I ever get past 40kg?

I've also noticed I'm not getting as fatigued any more during the workouts. I felt really fresh when I finished today. My shoulders are aching a bit now but I feel good.

My weight has remained stable at ~205 for two weeks now (after gaining 8-10 pounds in the first two weeks!) so I think I need to increase my calories again. However I think I look a bit "fuller" than before. It may be my imagination but I'm noticing some more definition around my trunk and I'm sure my arms look a bit bigger.

So far... pretty happy with the program. As soon as I get an 80kg+ bench and my shoulders start growing then I'll know for sure its working. I'm cutting down on my cardio a bit to aid recovery and next cycle I'm going to really watch my protein intake.

Off Road
06-09-2010, 08:57 AM
Nice job hitting all those PRs. Looks like you have it dialed-in.

Pure Water
06-09-2010, 05:19 PM
I know what you mean by "Will I ever get past 40kg?"! I've been stuck at the same weight on my overhead presses too and it seems that it never goes up! But good job on gaining those 8-10 pounds, keep up the good work man and you'll up those overhead presses in no time!

J.C.
06-09-2010, 05:30 PM
Nice job hitting all those PRs. Looks like you have it dialed-in.

Thanks man. I feel like I'm on a roll now and I'm enjoying it. I think my enthusiasm shines through in the unnecessarily long paragraphs!


I know what you mean by "Will I ever get past 40kg?"! I've been stuck at the same weight on my overhead presses too and it seems that it never goes up! But good job on gaining those 8-10 pounds, keep up the good work man and you'll up those overhead presses in no time!

It's a combination of things. I think I have some kind of mental block around certain weights for bench and overhead press. The 10 pound weight gain was after coming off a cut. When you start drinking a gallon of milk a day after not drinking any for weeks then you get a bit of a rebound. Still happy with it though. I think weight gain will be key to increasing my press. Need to get some mass on my shoulders and arms.

ELmx479
06-10-2010, 10:57 AM
Solid efforts with everything. You seem pretty happy about hitting that PR on the bench. Good job!

J.C.
06-11-2010, 09:52 AM
11th June 2010, Lower-Body

I was toying with the idea of skipping the first de-load week but have decided it's worth doing after all. That makes this the last workout of the First Cycle.

Squat (2.5kg pr)
130kg (287lbs) x 6+2+2+2

SLDL (2.5kg pr)
117.5kg (259lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Calves
BW+60kg x 10

Curls (2.5kg pr)
37.25kg (83lbs)x 6+2+2+2

Ab Machine (5kg pr)
80kg (176lbs) x 6+2+2+2

I'm feeling good with this. I'm increasing the weights every session but it's kinda hard to judge because I'm only building back up to previous levels. Today was the first time I've squatted 130kg on HCT-12 but before Easter my best 5x5 was also 130kg. So is this a real strength gain or is it muscle memory+quick adaptation? Either way I'm happy to be training hard and training with heavy weights (for me) again.

I think I look a bit fuller, I don't have any nagging aches and pain, and my conditioning is still quite good. After the deload I'll really be putting this to the test as I attempt to push through my old barriers.

Off Road
06-11-2010, 10:16 AM
Nice way to end the cycle. It doesn't matter if they are true PRs, just that you are working hard and making progress.

J.C.
06-17-2010, 04:14 PM
Aaaaand I'm back! Finally getting round to updating this.

I moved house on the weekend which was stressful on mind and body. On the plus side I'm in a nicer (but smaller) place and I'm walking distance from the gym now. Deload week has come at just the right time.

Deload Week

Monday, Upper-Body

Chins
13, 7.
I'd like to do some more work in the 10+ rep range for chins occasionally. Might experiment with that next cycle.
I think I could possibly get 15-16 chins now with a little bit of practice.

Curl Grip Lat Pulldown
15 x can't remember weight. It wasn't too challenging.

Bench
45kg (99lbs) x15x2

Dumbbell Row
20kg (44lbs) x 15x2

Dumbbell Overhead Press
10kg (22lbs) x 15x2

Triceps Pressdown
25kg (55lbs) x15x2

It was nice to take a bit of a break but some of these exercises were still challenging. You realize how bad you are in some rep ranges when you switch it up! From reading the journals I've noticed a few people found the higher reps tough.

Off Road
06-17-2010, 04:24 PM
I sure found them tough, at least on the upper body. Congrats on the new place. Living out of boxes for a while is always fun.

J.C.
06-17-2010, 04:35 PM
Wednesday 16th June, Lower-Body Day

I was really tempted to push this hard. Some of the stuff Off Road in particular has shared about high rep squats has been really inspiring. But then I thought, nope, deload week, lets keep it comfortable... 20 rep squats can wait for another time. I am very curious though.

Squats
80kg (176lbs) x15x2

Not too heavy. I thought about upping it but instead focussed on technique, keeping it really nice and controlled and going as deep as I could. This meant I had to change my style to a high-bar medium stance squat. I haven't done olympic-style full squats for while. There's a big difference between parallel and atg (if you don't have enormous thighs).

Two things - For about the first time ever my quads are sore after a squat workout. What's weirder is that I had a tired and sore chest after a squat workout.
There is something about having that bar sitting on your shoulders for a long period of time, keeping your arms and back rigid while breathing deeply under a heavy load that stresses the whole upper-body. I think I just got a tiny glimpse into why 20-rep squats are effective. Next year I might devote some time to a 20 rep squat routine.

SLDL:
60kg (132lbs) x15x2. Really easy on the back and hams but hard on grip. My grip needs work.

Barbell Curls
20kg (44lbs) x 15x2

Seated Calf Raise
BW+45kg x 15x2

Crunches
2x15

Blitzed through this workout. After I warmed up for squats I didn't need (m)any ramping sets for the other exercises and took short rests. Whole thing probably took just over 30mins. Finished up with some yoga.

After my post-workout meal of beef stir-fry I then went to a BBQ and enjoyed burgers, hot dogs, beer and evening sun. Nice day, a good sweat, lots of calories.

Off Road
06-17-2010, 05:26 PM
Nice job with the squats. You are now cleared to do the 20 reppers some day...but be prepared to suffer :)

Kong
06-17-2010, 08:42 PM
Looks good in here mate. Gonna keep track cause were pretty similar strength wise and i'm gonna give this routine a shot very soon.

J.C.
06-18-2010, 05:47 AM
I sure found them tough, at least on the upper body. Congrats on the new place. Living out of boxes for a while is always fun.

I can't express my relief at getting out of the old place. First time I'm living on my own too. Well, I lived by myself in a trailer on a building site when I was working construction last summer but that doesn't really count.


Nice job with the squats. You are now cleared to do the 20 reppers some day...but be prepared to suffer :)

2x15 was interesting. 20 rep squats must build a lot of character.


Looks good in here mate. Gonna keep track cause were pretty similar strength wise and i'm gonna give this routine a shot very soon.

Cheers mate. Are you taking the piss though? You're a lot stronger than me! My old 1rm squat was 160kg so that's the same as you but my bench is atrocious. I'm about 205lbs and you're 238lbs. Still, maybe you can be my online competitor for squats.

Kong
06-18-2010, 06:19 AM
I'm carrying a bit of bodyfat too mate. Yeah it'll be good to have some competition on squats. Thinking of starting HCT next week and ditching this cycle of 5/3/1 cause the anticipations killing me haha. Gonna go for Front Squats instead of Squats on my first cycle though i think cause i wanna do regular Deadlifts for my hip movemement and can't give one my all if i do the other.

J.C.
06-18-2010, 04:25 PM
Deload Week

18th June, Upper-Body

Chins - Gah, these felt so easy up to 11, then suddenly I hit a wall.
13, 7

Curl-Grip Pulldown
15 x 35kg (77lbs)

Bench
2x15x 45kg (99lbs)

Barbell Row
2x15x45kg (99lbs)

Overhead Press
2x15x20kg bar (45lbs)

Skull-Crushers
2x15x10kg (22lbs)

Nothing too bad here, my body feels like its been worked but I was not trying for a 15 rep max or anything on these exercises. It's been a good change of pace this week but I'm ready to hit the weights hard again next week. I loved the skull-crushers. It's my first time with that exercise and I could really feel it in my triceps.

Off Road
06-18-2010, 09:36 PM
Can't complain about 13 Chin-ups.

J.C.
06-19-2010, 03:07 PM
Deload Week

19th June, Lower-Body

Last day of the deload. I didn't have much energy today but I'm ready to get back to the heavy weights now. Everything feels great, no aches or pains, just a bit tired for some reason. According to the scale at the gym I've also gained a few pounds, which is unexpected but good news. I'm only a couple of pounds off 210 now. With an extra push in calories I hope to tip over this cycle.

Squat
2x15x90kg (198lbs)

SLDL
2x15x60kg (132lbs)

Seated Calf Raise
2x15x60kg (132lbs)

Barbell Curls
2x15x20kg bar (45lbs)

Ab Machine
2x15x45 (99lbs)

Off Road
06-19-2010, 06:30 PM
You mean the deload didn't make you feel refreshed? :)
Those 15 reps are tough if you're not used to them.

J.C.
06-21-2010, 08:14 AM
Cycle 2

3 days a week.

Exercise substitutions:
Barbell Rows for dumbbell rows - my gym only has dumbbells up to 40kgs.
Medium grip pull-ups for chins - chins increased a lot last cycle so I hope to gradually transfer to pull-ups.
Skull-crushers for dips - I've decided dips are too tough on my shoulders.

21st June, Upper-Body

Chins: BW x 6
Medium grip pull-ups: BW x 6+2+2+2
Chins: BW x 7

I define medium grip as slightly outside of shoulders. At full extension my arms were about vertical as opposed to a wide-grip pull-up where my arms would be at about 30 degrees off vertical. Like a slightly wide chin-up but palms turned away.

Bench
72.5 kg (160lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Barbell Rows
70kg (154lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Overhead Press
37.5kg (83lbs) x 5+2+2+2 Seriously?! Damn it. 40kg is kryptonite to me.

Skull-Crushers
25kg (55lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Notes
It all felt great up until my press. I did 6 with 35 and it seemed OK so I did a set with 37.5 and that felt fine until the 6th rep. Then I just lost all power. Oh well, plenty of time to improve.

Kong
06-21-2010, 10:53 AM
Good session. Swap military press with bench for this cycle if its proving that hard to progress. Bench shouldnt suffer too much as your front delts will get some rest while you do the rows. I also find that my military press feels stronger and more stable when done after pullups.

Off Road
06-21-2010, 11:13 AM
Good session J.C.

J.C.
06-21-2010, 05:31 PM
Good session. Swap military press with bench for this cycle if its proving that hard to progress. Bench shouldnt suffer too much as your front delts will get some rest while you do the rows. I also find that my military press feels stronger and more stable when done after pullups.

I thought about that but I should probably concentrate on getting my bench up. I think bench has got to take priority as it works more muscles and should lead to more mass. At the end of the last cycle there were signs that my bench might be starting to increase. I basically finished my last cycle right up against my old PRs before I took some time off so any increases now will show HCT-12 is definitely working.

I have two new stretch marks! A small one between my right pec and bicep, just above my old faded stretch marks. Then another one on my right lat that seems kind of inflamed and is actually a bit sore. That happened with my first stretch marks where the skin would get sensitive because it was so thin and I'd get a kind of pimple for a few days.

They are both definitely new, they look much fresher than my old marks so I KNOW I'm growing. If my upper-body is getting bigger then my pressing strength HAS to increase.

J.C.
06-23-2010, 01:49 PM
23rd June, Lower-Body

This was the first lower-body day of cycle 2 and I was keen to see what I could do. I was in a good mood because England have just gone through to the next round in the world cup. There were SO many missed chances in that game though.

Squat
132.5kg (292lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (2.5kg pr :))

SLDL - Forgot my chalk! This was about 15lbs less than the last workout before the deload.
120kg (265lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Curls
35kg (77lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Ab Machine (5kg pr)
85kg (187lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Back Extension Machine
70kg (154lbs) x 40 x 1

Notes
Squat went up 2.5kg even after a deload week. Some reps felt quite tough but my work capacity must be increasing because the clusters feel way easier than when I started a month ago. I forgot my chalk and I was sweating a river today so I had to do a bit less weight on the stiff-leg deads. It's amazing how a good grip can make a weight seem much lighter. To make up for it I did 1 set of 40 reps on the back extension machine with 70kg. It's not a reverse hyper but its better than nothing and it felt good to expose my hams and lower back to some high-rep work.

Kong
06-23-2010, 01:53 PM
Squats lookin good mate

Off Road
06-23-2010, 01:54 PM
Great job on the squats and congrats on the PR.

J.C.
06-23-2010, 02:07 PM
Thanks guys! You have quick response times.

I should also add that I was so, so hungry after that. I'm eating my post-workout meal now:
2 chicken breasts
2 bowls of pasta with butter
3 handfuls of mixed broccoli and cauliflower

This made two full bowls of food. I'm eating the second one now and am starting to feel quite full. I'm also drinking my third pint of milk with the meal. After a leg workout my appetite is always huge.

I'm starting to look a wee bit soft around the middle but I've decided to just deal with that later. I'm going to keep up the eating till I've stabilised at 210lbs+. I can cut later and I want to make the most of this hypertrophy. I'm keeping an eye on the new stretch-marks too!

J.C.
06-25-2010, 07:58 AM
25th June, Upper-Body

Medium grip pull-ups
BW x 6
2.5kg x 6 +2, BW x 2+2

Chins
BW x 7

Bench Press
75kg (165lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Barbell Row
75kg (165lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Press
37.5kg x 6+2+2+2

Skull-crushers
25kg x 6+2+2+2

Notes
I find pull-ups a lot harder than chin-ups. I think the transition will do me good. My pressing power is still going nowhere fast. I dunno, I'm just getting a bit disheartened seeing other people raving about how HCT-12 has helped them break bench plateaus and mine is immovable. It's been a month now, I'm ready to break free. I think I essentially have two options, keep on auto-regulating and trust that one day it will feel possible to break 80kg or just try harder, be willing to fail and try and force it.

It was a good workout, I had plenty of energy but I couldn't go for any PRs today.

Off Road
06-25-2010, 09:06 AM
Don't worry, I'm not seeing those big jumps in weight either. Most of my strength gains come in spurts, usually after returning to a lift, which makes me think the Westside guys are on to something, at least as far as strength goes.

J.C.
06-25-2010, 09:39 AM
My squat has always risen when I've focussed on it. I can't really think of a time it ever truly plateaued. I might have taken some time off because of aches and pains, or left it while I've been running but when I am squatting it just goes up. I'm confident I'll get a 400+ squat for at least a single before too long because with hard effort I can always find the power. When I have failed a squat it's usually because I haven't been determined enough or because I lost concentration and didn't get the rebound out of the hole. With bench, when I've failed, its because the bar. Will. Not. Move. It's not mental, I've just lacked the strength, so unless I can get stronger I'm just kinda stuck here.

The new stretch marks confirm I'm growing so I'm just waiting for that burst of strength gains now!

Off Road
06-25-2010, 10:04 AM
But if you were using a weight that made you "truly" fail in the squat, I'm sure it would react like the bench and just be stuck there for a while. Maybe not training the bench to failure is the real answer. It's just a lot safer and easier to train the bench to failure, so I think that's why everybody finds there sticking point on the bench so easily.

Of course I'm just hypothesizing here...

J.C.
06-25-2010, 12:20 PM
I think there's some truth to that. I always used to be someone who'd try and increase my bench every time and fail every time. I went nowhere. With this routine, I've been careful to hold back, feel my way up and pick an appropriate weight for the day. I haven't hit failure yet and although I'm not at 80 yet, 75-77.5 is feeling more comfortable so you never know.

With squats, I see it from the other side. Legs have so much untapped potential. People who struggle getting their squat up aren't trying hard enough... Half joking. I'm still too weak to make any real judgements.

J.C.
06-26-2010, 10:13 AM
Low-carb fail!

As with other lanky hard-gainers who have always been naturally skinny I start getting uneasy when I see fat accumulating round my middle. I'm still bulking hard in my goal to get 210+ but I thought a bit of manipulation might be a good idea to keep it under control.

I tried for a low-carb, no-milk day today, lasted till about 4.30 this afternoon then went shopping for veggies and saw half-price chocolate cup-cakes. I just ate three of them and drank a smoothie. Oops - I don't do dieting very well...

J.C.
06-26-2010, 03:02 PM
I felt guilty after my cup-cake lapse so I decided to break my rest day and go for a run.

The first ten minutes felt rough (my legs were still sore from Wednesday's workout) but then everything just seemed to ease into a groove. The evening sun felt glorious, I found a good pace, my legs suddenly felt really strong, my breathing settled into a rhythm and I decided to go past my usual turn-off point. I ran about twice as far as usual and I feel GREAT. Nice runner's high right now. It took maybe 40mins and I haven't done that distance for quite a while. It's good to know HCT-12 isn't interfering with my conditioning but may be helping it. I feel really, really positive about my fitness program now.

Post-run meal was two large bowls of a chickpea and beef stew I'd made for later in the week, and the other two cup-cakes. Now I'm getting a beer from the fridge.

**** low-carb day. It was a disaster with a happy ending!

J.C.
06-28-2010, 09:13 AM
28th June, Lower-Body day

I felt nervous going in today because I'd decided this would be my first attempt at 20-rep squats...

High-bar Squats
100kg (220lbs) x 20

This felt too comfortable. I didn't want to pick a weight that was too ambitious for a first attempt but once I started, this wasn't as challenging as I thought. I was aiming for 5 reps, breathe, then a rep at a time till 20. Instead I shut everything out of mind and did ten straight off, took 5 deep breaths, did another three, 5 quick deep breaths, three more reps, then two more, two more. It hurt my chest but I didn't collapse or anything so I know I can lift more.

Dumbbell pullover - light weight, good stretch on the rib-cage.
7.5kg (17lbs) x 20

I felt like I hadn't done enough work so I did another set of heavier low-bar squats.
Squats
120kg (265lbs) x 6

SLDL - sloppy today
127.5kg (281lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Calf raise - yawn
65kg x 10+3+3+3

Curls - sloppy
37.5kg (83lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Ab machine - too much straining
85kg (187lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Notes
I enjoyed the challenge of the 20 reps today. My endurance is better than I thought. What should the relationship between my 6rm and my 20rm be? Definitely going for more next time. My technique seemed to be better on the heavier set after.

Everything else was a bit sloppy though. This is no doubt partly the fault of doing 20rep squats for the first time but I'm making the executive decision to reset those exercises a little. SLDL was tough but I'm not feeling it in my hamstrings as much now so I want to make it really strict again. Curls I had to cheat a little so I want to put more focus on the biceps from now on. My sessions are also taking a bit longer than I'd like so I want to shift the focus to the big boy exercises.

My leg day is all about the squat so I'm going to keep pushing the weight on that exercise at the beginning of the session and then focus a little more on technique for the rest.

Off Road
06-28-2010, 09:20 AM
Nice job on the 20 rep set. Conditioning does play a big part in it, and you are obviously conditioned. Next time you try it, go 10 or 15 lbs heavier and see how that goes. Also, force yourself to take the breaks between reps, it makes it much harder. Try for a regulated 3 full breaths between each rep.

J.C.
06-28-2010, 09:35 AM
Thanks! I think it's the start of something good. I'm planning on doing them every third session or so and think they will be an excellent tool for my goals.

Interesting... I thought trying to do it without breaks might be a good way of improving pain tolerance and determination. It didn't take that long though, so would doing it the way you describe possibly cause more hypertrophy through increased time under tension? Am I thinking along the right lines here? I can see both methods being beneficial, can you elaborate on the slower version?

J.C.
06-30-2010, 08:09 AM
30th June, Upper-Body

Pull-ups - no change
2.5kg x 6+2+2+2

Chins - A rep pr for a dropset.
BW x 10

Bench Press - 2.5kg PR!!!! About damn time. :)
80kg (176lbs) x6+2+2+2

Rows - no change but stricter rom.
75kg (165lbs) x6+2+2+2

Press
40kg (88lbs) x6+2+2+2

Skulls - Don't know how much the e-z bar weighs.
15kg (33lbs) x6+2+2+2

I'm really pleased with bench pressing 80kg for a solid 6 reps (plus the clusters). That's a big milestone for me and proves that with perseverance I can improve my pressing. I'd about given up hope so maybe this will be the start of some genuine progress. I'd love to bench 220lbs/100kg with the help of HCT-12.

My weight has stayed fairly constant at 208lbs for the last couple of weeks. Weight gain is definitely slower now than the massive growth at the start of the program. I might have to be a bit more patient getting to 210 unless I want to keep gaining fat.

Off Road
06-30-2010, 08:15 AM
Congrats on the Bench Press. Determination is paying off.

J.C.
07-02-2010, 07:53 AM
2nd July, Lower-Body

Squat - 2.5kg PR :)
135kg (298lbs) x 6

SLDL - being cautious for my back.
120kg (265lbs) x 6 +2+2+2

Calf Raise
70kg x 6+2+2+2

Barbell Curl
37.5kg (83lbs) x 6+2+2+2

My squat keeps rising. Long may it continue to do so! I didn't do the clusters today though because there was another guy waiting and there was a bit of a misunderstanding. He was Italian and his English wasn't amazing so when I sat down after the top set he started unloading the bar and then it was too late... I'd already told him it was my last set. Everything else was fine I suppose. As long as the squat rises, all is good.

Off Road
07-02-2010, 08:07 AM
Dang man...you are really rising up on the big lifts. Way to go.

Kiff
07-06-2010, 12:31 PM
Looking good mate, it is nice to finally budge a lift that has stagnated a little :)
Also monster squats, how much weight have you gained this program?

J.C.
07-06-2010, 12:35 PM
The last two workouts were great but I think I just threw a massive spanner in the works. I went to a festival with friends on the weekend and then spent a few nights sleeping on their floor. I didn't eat much food or get much sleep and it was all very unhealthy. I didn't really recover from the last squat workout, let alone super-compensate. On the plus side I got to see Bob Dylan play, which in the long term is more important! I feel like I can tick off an experience there.

Today's workout should have been yesterday but I only got back home in the early hours of this morning. All quite light today.

Pull-ups
BW x 6+2+2+2

Chins
BW x 8

Bench Press
70kg (154lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Chest-supported Row
55kg (121lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Press
37.5kg (83lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Notes
A pretty crappy workout all in all. I dragged myself to the gym and just went through the motions. That's fine though, I'm thinking of it as a recovery day. I'm going to do my leg day tomorrow. Depending on how I feel I might do the 20-rep squat again, because I don't think I ate enough to go for a new 6rm!

J.C.
07-06-2010, 12:54 PM
Dang man...you are really rising up on the big lifts. Way to go.

Thanks. I'm making real headway now. I know I'll fight for every pound on the bench press, but my squat feels really strong. It's hard no doubt, but I'm just going in each time telling myself I can add another 2.5kgs to the bar, and each time I make it happen. Starting a bit below my limit also helped me build some momentum. The first cycle was like a practice cycle!


Looking good mate, it is nice to finally budge a lift that has stagnated a little :)
Also monster squats, how much weight have you gained this program?

Yeah, my upper-body is definitely looking bigger and stronger now. I thought it was improving before but now I know for sure.

It seems my legs and lower back are naturally strong. When I got into lifting I also did the linear progression in Starting Strength, which - if done properly - should make you a pretty good squatter pretty quickly. I came off it way too early though. Everyone thinks of it as a beginner routine yet people can end up squatting 400lbs for reps while still on "Starting Strength."

When I started the program I was a little under 195lbs - under 14 stone. Today I weighed 210 so that's a 15lb+ gain in about 6 weeks. I gained 8lbs in the first couple of weeks alone, then it slowed down a bit.

However, I should point out that I'd cut before that and I'd also taken about a month away from weight training so I was de-trained and quite lean. There was a massive rebound when I started HCT-12, it was like my body woke up again.

J.C.
07-07-2010, 12:38 PM
Wednesday, 7th July, Lower-Body

20 Rep Full Squat - 5kg PR
105kg (231lbs) x 20

Great exercise. Wish I tried them earlier. Why did these ever fall out of fashion? Because they're hard? I will get over 300lbs x 20.

Dumbbell Pullover
10kg (22lbs) x 15

SLDL
125kg (276lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Calf Raise - 10kg PR
80kg (176lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Ab machine
75kg x 6+2+2+2

Curls
I did one set then called it a day, I was sweating a river during the 20 rep squat, then cooled down so by now I was in a cold wet t-shirt. I wanted to go home.

Back Extension Machine
70kg (154lbs) x 15 x 1

Notes
This was my second time doing 20-rep squats and already I love them. Today still felt too easy - although the warm-ups felt hard - so I know I can push further. I like the challenge and I like advancing on two fronts. If my 6rm doesn't budge I can probably make my 20rm move and vice versa. A little bit of variation is a good thing.

The rest of the workout I was on auto-pilot. I'd done the work as far as I was concerned and I'm keeping the SLDLs below 130kg until I'm sure my lower back is strong enough. I haven't tweaked it yet, but I know I was doing too much before. It seems a good idea just to be a little cautious before bringing it back up.

Off Road
07-07-2010, 04:53 PM
I like those 20 reppers. 300 lbs is a good goal, that's what McCallum said to shoot for if you want to see the goods.

J.C.
07-08-2010, 05:23 AM
20 rep squats are interesting. I need to get round to resurrecting that thread you started on them.

Right, I've reached my goal of 210lbs. That's a 15lb weight gain.

However, my body-fat has increased a little too much. I hate being skinny, but I have a slightly protruding gut when I sit down now. You can't notice when I'm standing but I've decided to lean out. I'm not full-on cutting but following Daniel Robert's advice of growing into this weight. I aim to stay 205-210 while slowly lowering body-fat and gaining strength.

Losing weight was never an issue for me so I'm making a few small changes and giving it time. No more GOMAD, no carbs with my final meal, less fat, and I'm switching from whole to semi-skimmed milk. I'll probably continue to drink a couple of pints a day. I've also started using a food supplement for the first time. It's a protein+carb shake that also contains creatine, glutamine and leucine, so that will help me keep protein high. I've never used these things before so I don't know if it will make a difference.

If there is no change in 6 weeks time, I'll do a proper cut.

Off Road
07-08-2010, 06:53 AM
Good luck with the new goal. Just cutting out the GOMAD should have a big effect.

J.C.
07-09-2010, 04:06 PM
9th June, Upper-Body Day

Pull-ups 2.5kg pr
5kg (11lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Chins
BW x 10

Bench - failed on last rep.
80kg (176lbs) x 5
70kg (154lbs) x 2+2
60kg (132lbs) x 2

Grrr... my upper-body fatigues so so easily. I failed on the last rep and had to lower the weight to do the first 2 clusters, then lower again to do the last set.

Barbell Rows 2.5kg pr
77.5kg (171lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Press
40kg (88lbs) x 6 - matched pr, felt good so attempted another set.
42.5kg (94lbs) x 4 - failed on fifth rep, I fatigue easily with pressing. I'll go for it straight-away next time

Skull-crushers - 2.5kg pr
17.5kg (39lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Hang from chin-up bar
Bw (210 lbs) x not long enough.

Meh, there was a guy considerably smaller than me on the next bench knocking out reps with 80, 90 and 95kg (209lbs) with a close grip like they were nothing today. I was gripping the bar hard, working on my arch, squeezing my shoulders, driving the hips, doing everything to get set up perfectly and then failing. He just lies back and goes for it. Like he was mocking me. I always find that kind of thing funny!

I'm adding in some grip work once or twice a week in preparation for when I eventually go back to heavy deadlifts. Start working on my weak links now, so they won't be weak links when it matters right? Currently thinking a dead hang for time once a week and one-handed deadlifts for reps once a week.

J.C.
07-12-2010, 03:40 PM
12th July, Lower-Body

Squats - no change, but felt good.
135kg (298lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Calf Raise - no change
75kg (165lbs) x 6+2+2+2

SLDL from block - I forgot my chalk again so I thought I'd make this a bit more challenging with less weight.
100kg (220lbs) x 6
110kg (243lbs) x 6

Bar Curl
35kg (77lbs) x 6+2+2+2 - I actually super-setted this with the SLDLs to save time.

Ab Machine - 5kg PR
90kg (187lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Notes
I have terrible insomnia at the moment so I wasn't expecting much, but it went fine today. I'm starting to really like HCT-12 and I'm getting more confident with auto-regulating and making slight changes when necessary. I had a nice run on the weekend too. On Friday I'm going for a big 20 rep squat.

Weight today was 206lbs. A 4lbs weight loss in a week?! Guess I under-estimated my maintenance calories, although it's possible cutting out gomad could reduce bloating and water retention.

J.C.
07-12-2010, 03:53 PM
I've started up the yoga again and I'm thinking of working some complexes into the routine. Now that I've gained some muscle and got up to my goal weight I'm interested in becoming a more complete athlete. Fitter, stronger, leaner. The occasional 20 rep squats are part of that and as my work capacity improves I might start adding more cardio. Currently I lift weights three times a week and run once or twice a week. Now I might lift three times a week, run twice a week and do a complex twice a week. I don't like volume training so I have to be cautious with this, but that's the plan I'm going to gradually segue in to.

Post-workout nutrition today:

Chicken, green beans, garlic and chick-peas. Yum. A nice clean dish.
And about three glasses of red wine. I seriously need to relax.

ELmx479
07-12-2010, 07:43 PM
Doing well man, that 20 rep squat is brutal for sure. I have only done them a few times. 190x20 being the best. Be careful not to change too many things with your diet and training all at once. Good luck.

ZMoberg
07-12-2010, 08:46 PM
Amazing how much higher your squat is over your bench. That's a great switch from the norm. The 20 rep squats are rediculous.

J.C.
07-13-2010, 07:03 AM
Amazing how much higher your squat is over your bench. That's a great switch from the norm. The 20 rep squats are rediculous.

Lol - tell me about it. I like squatting and I can do it. I've had people verify depth and trust me, I'm doing proper squats. The funny thing is, I'm not even slowing down on them too much. The 6rm is getting tough and yesterday is the first time in the program I haven't added 2.5kg, but I will next time. I've only done 20rep squats twice and they aren't even close to failure yet. Meanwhile, the bench is improving at a snail's pace.

I'm trying to be patient but in another six weeks the disparity between the two could be ridiculous

J.C.
07-13-2010, 07:12 AM
Doing well man.

Thanks for the support, I'm glad I started a journal here, it really keeps me motivated.


Be careful not to change too many things with your diet and training all at once. Good luck.

Definitely. I'm trying to follow the program pretty closely and I've been cautious with the cardio as well.

So far it's been:
Cycle 1 - exactly as prescribed. Bulking.
Cycle 2 - added occasional 20rep squats (:hello:Off Road). Easing into maintenance.

[future]
Cycle 3 - ask Daniel and Tom Muttafis how to add some conditioning work. Maintenance.
Cycle 4 - depends where I am and how my goals have changed but I'd like to stick with the program.

Off Road
07-13-2010, 09:03 AM
Everything is looking good. The squat SHOULD be a lot bigger than the bench, so don't worry about it.

ZMoberg
07-13-2010, 09:31 AM
How long are your cycles man? 4 weeks or until you stall?

J.C.
07-13-2010, 01:17 PM
I'm doing the 3 day program which has a deload week after every fourth week; so each cycle is 5 weeks.

J.C.
07-14-2010, 03:35 PM
14th July, Upper-Body

Pull-ups I'm not improving on the pull-ups like I was on chins.
5kg (11lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Chins
7

Bench - matched PR again. Yay.
80kg (176lbs) x 6 +2+2+2

Barbell Row - 2.5kg PR, but a bit sloppy.
80kg (176lbs) x 6 +2+2+2

Press - 2.5kg PR - Woo!
42.5kg (94lbs) x 6 +2+2+2

Skull-crushers - 2.5kg PR
20kg (44lbs) x 6 +2+2+2

Static hang for time
Less than a minute. Not long enough, even without chalk.

Oh yeah! I'm not going to lie, pull-ups have been a big disappointment this cycle. But everything else has gone up. I don't much care about the lying triceps extensions, but my row felt strong if not super strict, I matched my pr on what used to be a very daunting weight for the bench press, and even my dismal overhead press has improved.

I can't complain with any of that really and although the steps are small, if I keep it consistent it will all add up by the end of the year.

Daniel Roberts
07-15-2010, 03:20 AM
Congratulations and great effort and this
although the steps are small, if I keep it consistent it will all add up by the end of the year. is one of the best lessons you'll learn in this game.

J.C.
07-15-2010, 06:11 AM
Thanks Daniel. I think the weight gain is paying off, my bench press and overhead press are finally moving. I have to thank the auto-regulating aspect of HCT-12 for that too. On other routines I'd constantly try and add weight each time, trying to force progress, and it just didn't work on my pressing movements. So I spun my wheels, went to failure and got discouraged. With this I'm now sticking around the weight that feels right then going for the new PR when possible.

J.C.
07-16-2010, 09:44 AM
I've been feeling a little bit off this week. I had unusually severe doms from Monday's workout, I haven't been sleeping too well and today my appetite wasn't very big. Nothing too serious, I think it's just one of those things that will pass. I've also tried lowering carbs slightly which might be making me feel worse. Anyway...

20-rep Squat - 5kg sort of pr
110kg (243lbs) x 19

Dumbbell Pull-over
10kg (22lbs) x 20

SLDL
120kg (265lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Barbell Curl
30kg (66lbs) x 6+2+2+2

This was really, really tough today. The belt in the gym has gone awol so I had to do this beltless which made it worse. I wasn't 100% and even though this was only 5kg heavier than last time it was damn hard. I'm annoyed I didn't get 20 but surprised I even managed 19. Afterwards I felt like I was going to be sick and had a pounding headache. So I just did some pull-overs, rested for a few minutes then did a set of sub-maximal stiff-leg deadlifts, a set of curls and went home feeling a bit dazed.

When I got home I broke out the emergency can of coke and sipped on that while my pasta was cooking. I don't drink many soft drinks but I felt a bit better after that.

I'm eating my pasta with broccoli and two large chicken breasts now, then I'm taking a nap. I'm looking forward to monday's upper-body day, it's going to be so much easier lol. Going for a new bench pr actually seems manageable after today!

Off Road
07-16-2010, 10:12 AM
Muwahaha...you are starting to find the magic in 20 reppers. You have to fight for those last reps, even if you have to sit there with the bar digging into your back for a few minutes. Eat BIG and recover. Then add more weight :)

J.C.
07-16-2010, 10:19 AM
Ho ho, this was the first time I understood just how hard they can be... and it was only 11lbs heavier than last time! There were a few long pauses with deep panting this time. Looks like I found the tipping point.

I've finished my chicken and pasta, my non-existent appetite has returned with a vengeance and I'm going to finish off some ginger cake with lots of double cream before my nap. I've slipped from 210 by a few lbs and this week has been much lower carb so I figure I deserve it. :)

ZZZzzzzzzz

ELmx479
07-16-2010, 10:25 AM
Nice squats, that is a very impressive set to me. Changes in your diet will affect your workouts for sure. I have been eating less the past few weeks so I knew what to expect (or what not to expect) I should say.

Off Road
07-16-2010, 10:36 AM
The 20 reppers have a wonderful benefit of increasing the appetite.

J.C.
07-19-2010, 05:55 PM
20th July, Upper-Body

I think this is actually my last week of the second cycle. I feel like I'm just getting rolling and along comes a deload.

Pull-ups - 1.25kg pr
6.25kg (14lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Chins
BW x 10

Bench Press - 2.5kg PR! And it was easy!
82.5kg (182lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Barbell Row - 2.5kg PR but a little bit too much back movement.
82.5kg (182lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Barbell Row - dropset because the top set was a bit sloppy.
60kg (132lbs) x 12

Press - 2.5kg PR!
45kg (99lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Skull-crushers
20kg (44lbs) x 6+2+2+2

A great workout! It's like everything is suddenly moving. I don't know if calories and patience have added up but after weeks of being stuck I'm suddenly making prs every session on all my weak lifts. Bench and overhead press went up. Woop. Suddenly a 200lb bench and a 110lb press seem very possible. I know that's still weak but I'm honestly surprised at how easy that bench PR was. Hopefully I can stay on this roll and keep them coming!

J.C.
07-19-2010, 06:27 PM
I've been working on my bench technique and getting used to a wide grip and better arch. I've also realised that since tightening my shoulders, and driving my back into the bench I naturally press towards my face and feel stronger like this. There seem to be two schools of thought on this. Some people say you should never do it, some say it's more efficient. Dave Tate advocates a straight path in his older articles and advocates a diagonal (towards the face) path in his more recent articles and videos. Is it dangerous for me to do this, or have I just found the right groove at this weight for my body type?

ZMoberg
07-20-2010, 12:01 PM
Congrats on your press PR's man, keep it up.

J.C.
07-20-2010, 02:42 PM
Tonight I did 2x20min run.

I can't work out how far that is but I did my usual lap of the fields I use, rested 5 minutes, then did it again. It's the first time I've done this and while my lungs and heart felt OK my calves were screaming by the end of the second lap. Despite the pain in my calves, it appears I'm getting fitter and stronger at the same time and I'm happy with that.

ZMoberg
07-20-2010, 03:46 PM
Nice job on the cardio session, I always have problems with my calves and shins when I run too. It goes away over time, keep running.

Off Road
07-20-2010, 03:52 PM
ya, I gave up running a long time ago because it beat up my body worse than my heart and lungs.

J.C.
07-21-2010, 04:18 PM
I'm still having trouble sleeping and I think because of the lack of recovery I'm wandering into over-training. I'm feeling especially tired, experiencing more soreness and also getting a few random muscle twitches which is often the sign of a fried CNS.

So I decided to rest today and take it easy. Calories are still high and I might take tomorrow off as well. I've got some prescription meds that should help reset my sleep patterns and then I'll get in a heavy workout on Friday. I'm feeling optimistic that the insomnia is temporary so hopefully I should be back to normal, off the meds and training hard by next week.

Off Road
07-21-2010, 09:20 PM
Nice job reading your body signs and trying to get back on track. A little extra rest never hurt anything and may actually be benfitial. Good luck.

J.C.
07-22-2010, 01:26 PM
So I attempted Wednesday's lower-body workout today:

Squats - attempted 2.5kg pr but failed on sixth rep.
137.5kg (303lbs) x 5

SLDL
120kg (265lbs) x 6

Called it there and did some static stretching, mobility exercises and some shoulder "pre-hab" to wind down.

I've been pushing harder and harder on both weights and cardio while getting less and less sleep. I've made some great prs but it's starting to catch up with me. I have a deload next week and that should be a good opportunity to ease up and prepare for more big prs next cycle.

J.C.
07-23-2010, 09:04 AM
23rd July, Upper-Body

Pull-ups down 6.75kg
BW x 6
BW x 6 +2+2+2

Chins
BW x 6
BW x 5

Bench - equalled PR easily and could have gone higher. I actually did the last cluster at 85kg.
82.5kg (182lbs) x 6 +2+2+2

Barbell Row - down 10kg
70kg (154) x 6+2+2+2

Press - attempted 2.5kg pr and failed
47.5kg (105lbs) x 6
42.5kg (94lbs) x 4

Skull-crushers - no change
20kg x 6+2+2+2

This week started with a bang and ended with a fizz. Still, my bench is definitely improving and once I improve my recovery everything should get rolling again.

Daniel Roberts
07-23-2010, 09:22 AM
Quality sleep is vital. I'm not talking 8hrs a night, how much is personal, but whatever hours you're shooting for should be quality, deep sleep.
I went through a period last year of not sleeping well at all (3-4 months on and off) and it absolutely floored me - recovery was nowhere, skin problems, basically just looked and felt like crap.
I read up on everything I could about sleep, preparing for it, herbs/amino acids to take for it (bacopa and glycine work for me), a memory foam mattress, not drinking anything a few hours before bed and so on and over the last 6 months I hit the sack and basically wake up in the same position I fell asleep.

And I feel great.

Don't underestimate how important sleep is for recovery and look into why you're having these issues.

J.C.
07-23-2010, 10:31 AM
Thanks for that, I'll look into those herbs and aminos. I used to use Valerian occasionally to great effect but it no longer works. I've never had sleep problems like this before and like you it's suddenly catching up to me. I coped the first couple of weeks but now recovery is down, my skin looks worse, I've had some minor hair loss and random low moods.

I've never used sleeping pills before, but I had to resort to over the counter pills first, then when they didn't work I saw a doctor a couple of days ago and got prescription meds. I'm actually feeling a lot more positive now because I was given some good advice by the doctor and I'm over some work stresses too. My doctor emphasized finding a system of relaxation and preparation for sleep so I'll do some reading and see what I can find.

J.C.
07-26-2010, 02:07 PM
Deload Week

Monday 26th July, Upper-Body

Chins
12, 7, 3 - each time a couple reps short of failure. Don't have much endurance for these.

Curl-Grip Pulldown
40kg x 15

Bench
52.5kg x 15 x 2

Barbell Row
50kg x 15 x 2

Press
20kg bar x 15 x 2

Skull-crushers/lying triceps extension/french press...
10kg x 15 x 2

Assorted shoulder prehab with small dumbbells
~50 reps of raises, flys etc

All fine and dandy. I didn't put much thought into this, just picked a weight and got to it. The row was probably hardest because it was tiring to hold that position for so long.

J.C.
07-27-2010, 12:14 PM
Deload Week

Tuesday, 27th July, Lower-Body

Deloads are boring so I used the thicker, heavier bar for everything today and did wide-stance SLDLs on a whim.

Squat
102.5kg (226lbs) x 17
102.5kg (226lbs) x 15

Wide-stance SLDL
62.5kg (138lbs) x 15 x 2

Barbell Curls - serious pump
22.5kg (50lbs) bar x 15 x 2

Ab machine
I just ran up the weights on the machine until it got tough, did another set and called it at that. It was a serious burn.

Weight today: 204lbs
Damnit, maintaining 210 is hard. The weird thing is, I cleaned up my diet hoping to stabilise at 205-210 but despite losing a few pounds I don't look any more cut. I ate really heavily to bulk on this program and now my body is holding onto the fat more than ever before. I don't care about abs but I would like a flat stomach again.

So... maintain around here and hope I get leaner, or push back to 210 again? All I know is, I want to keep getting stronger.

J.C.
07-29-2010, 10:37 AM
Deload Week

29th July, 2nd Upper-Body Day

Chins: 6x5 @ Bodyweight. Short rests.

Bench Press: 50kg (110lbs) x15x2

Dumbbell Row: 20kg (44lbs) x15x2

Military Press: 22.5kg bar (55lbs) x15x2

Skull-crushers: 10kg (22lbs) x 15x2

Shoulder Mobility Exercises: lying raises, bent over raises etc.

J.C.
07-30-2010, 07:40 AM
Final Day of Deload

30th July, Lower-Body

I did everything pretty light today as I wanted a really easy last session before starting cycle 3. Emphasis was on range of motion and technique.

Full ATG squats (high bar): 50kg (110lbs) x 15 x 2

SLDL off block: 50kg (110lbs) x 15 x 2

Barbell Curls: 20kg bar x 15 x 2

Ab machine: ? x 15

Swiss Ball Sit-up: 15

Calf Raise: 45kg (99lbs) x 15 x 2

Whole thing probably took less than half an hour! Roll on cycle 3.

Off Road
07-30-2010, 07:48 AM
Woohoo...bring on cycle 3...good luck man!

J.C.
08-02-2010, 07:25 AM
Alterations
Pull-ups for chin-ups - I didn't improve like I wanted on pull-ups so I'm going back to chins to get stronger there.
Skull-crushers for Close-grip bench press - Never done them before and I'm hoping there will be good transfer.

I'm also going to be slightly less aggressive with squats and really focus on technique now. I want to get it nailed before pushing onto new territory.

I'm going to add more chinning volume because although I'm getting stronger on them in the 6rep range I'm not increasing my max reps by much.

1st Week, 2nd August, Upper-Body

Chin-ups
BW x 6
5kg x 6
7.5kg x 6+2+2+2

Bench: 85kg (187lbs) x 5 (Should have been a PR but my wrist was hurting.)

BB Row: 82.5kg (182lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (equalled last cycle's PR)

Press: 45kg (99lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (equalled last cycle's PR)

CGBP: 60kg (132lbs) x 6+1 (died on the clusters! Woops)

More Chins: 3x5 @ BW

Notes
My wrist was really uncomfortable during bench press. A bad wrist prevented all weight training for several months earlier this year so I have to be careful with it. Hopefully it will be fine by next session and I can get that PR!

Bradruss
08-02-2010, 08:14 AM
Good workouts.

I take a Zinc vitamin before bed, I sleep very deeply. Works for me, don't know if it actually does anything or it is the placebo effect.. cheap supplement anyway.

Milk works also.

ZMoberg
08-02-2010, 10:42 AM
I always found that Valerian Root ext. always seemed to help. Nice job on the first workout back from your deload week, it will be interesting to see where you get on this cycle. Keep it up mang.

ELmx479
08-02-2010, 09:17 PM
Everything looks good to me, nice idea with the chins. Volume is the key with them, do them all the time. I will even do a few reps at work when I have a chance. You could also try the pyramid like this... 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1 Once you can make it up to 10 and back down it's 100 reps total. Keep up the good work.

J.C.
08-03-2010, 04:59 AM
Good workouts.

I take a Zinc vitamin before bed, I sleep very deeply. Works for me, don't know if it actually does anything or it is the placebo effect.. cheap supplement anyway.

My sleep is starting to improve but I'm thinking of trying out ZMA. I hear good things.


I always found that Valerian Root ext. always seemed to help. Nice job on the first workout back from your deload week, it will be interesting to see where you get on this cycle. Keep it up man.

I'll be tightening up my diet and hanging round 205-210. Bench numbers are a priority and with a deload week behind me I feel fresh enough to do it.


Everything looks good to me, nice idea with the chins. Volume is the key with them, do them all the time. I will even do a few reps at work when I have a chance. You could also try the pyramid like this... 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1 Once you can make it up to 10 and back down it's 100 reps total. Keep up the good work.

Thanks! I admit it - you're my chinning inspiration. I noticed that you do quite a lot of volume on them too. I'll try out that idea. I think doing the weighted 6+2+2+2 at the start of the workout and then a few more unweighted sets shy of failure at the end of the workout could be the ticket.

ZMoberg
08-03-2010, 09:36 AM
CGB'ing always made my wrists sore, have you tried weighted dips? All the tricep and lat firing you need for a great BP supplement. Just a curious suggestion. Valerian Root works really well for sleep as well (I mistook that for the olive leaf ext. I suggested before (that's more of an immunity booster).... My bad

J.C.
08-03-2010, 03:04 PM
17 min run, 5 min rest, 15min run.

I really need a pedometer, I've tried using mapmyrun.com but my route is across fields and I just can't figure out how far it is. Probably about 3km. For some reason the second lap felt a lot easier and I was running at a good pace that time around. I was never a brilliant runner but I try anyway.

I feel good. No doubt about it, I'm getting fitter.

ELmx479
08-03-2010, 06:48 PM
Thanks! I admit it - you're my chinning inspiration. I noticed that you do quite a lot of volume on them too. I'll try out that idea. I think doing the weighted 6+2+2+2 at the start of the workout and then a few more unweighted sets shy of failure at the end of the workout could be the ticket.

Haha, thanks man! I still need work in that area too. 20 dead hang reps is my goal with 16 being my best. Adding a set of chins between everything on your upper body days works great to up the volume on them also. I remember reading about Wendler doing that. The truth is 3 or 4 sets of 6 a week just isn't enough to make progress. I was doing at least 100 a week while on 5/3/1.

J.C.
08-04-2010, 08:05 AM
4th August, Lower-Body

Kind of a fun one today. I'm starting squats with a slightly lower weight this cycle while I correct some form issues. I did a couple of sets of regular deadlifts because it's been so long since I last did them and I tried a few different biceps exercises to see which one I like best.

Squat
130kg (287lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Deadlift
140kg (309lbs) x 6+2+2+2

SLDL
120kg (265lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Preacher Curls
20kg (44lbs) x 5

Dumbbell Curls
10kg (22lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Chins
4 sets of 3 interspersed in the workout.

And now food!

Kiff
08-04-2010, 08:22 AM
I am not sure what bit was best about that post.

The bit about going backwards to go forwards and correcting your form or the fact you are clearly very happy to be going to eat :evillaugh:

Good stuff mate, what bizzep work you try out?

J.C.
08-06-2010, 04:27 PM
6th August, Upper-Body

A really quick one today because I had to be somewhere after.

Chins - Just one set, plenty left in the tank but saved some for bench.
5kg (11lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Bench Press - YES! New PR! The last rep was a super slow grind but I don't care. I got this.
85kg (187lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Barbell Row - 2.5kg PR. A bit sloppy but extremely powerful. I was psyched after bench and I've never pulled from the floor so hard before.
85kg (187lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Press - total ******** but at least I got the bench.
45kg (99lbs) x 4+2

Incline Dumbbell Bench - needed to dash so I just grabbed some dumbbells and repped out to get in some more volume.
I can't remember x 15

I'm writing this about 14 hours later and weirdly my lats are the most sore of my muscles. Lesson learnt: aggression works for bent-over rows.

ELmx479
08-06-2010, 06:58 PM
Can't beat that, 2 PR's in 1 session!!

Off Road
08-07-2010, 07:58 AM
Great session JC...congratulations on those big PRs.

J.C.
08-08-2010, 04:11 PM
I don't always record my cardio sessions but I'm going to start from now on so I can track more variables. It might be useful to me to see how my intensity, recovery and progress vary.

Sunday, 8th August
30min jog.

I wanted to go for longer but had to cut it short because my shins and calves were hurting.

Off Road
08-09-2010, 07:09 AM
I just can't run any more. I have to stick to sprints because long durations destroy my back. Good for you on the 30 minutes.

J.C.
08-09-2010, 09:32 AM
Cycle 3, Week2, 9th August. Lower-Body

Squat: 135kg (298lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Deadlift: 150kg (331lbs) x 5+1 (could have gone a bit harder tbh)

SLDL: 125kg (276 lbs) x 6+2+2+2

EZ bar standing curl: 20kg x 6+2+2+2

Hanging leg raise: 1x12

Notes
Squats are benefiting from dropping the weight slightly. I realised from doing high rep squats especially that I gm the weight a bit too much when tired. I need to work on keeping the weight back over mid-foot and strengthening my upper back to help keep my chest up. I hope to break 140kg easily once I'm happy with my form. Today felt great, with much better control.

I know doing squats, deads and stiff-leg deads in the same session is probably a bit much but I might have to go away for a couple of weeks soon so I wanted to get in a good heavy session before then. My deadlift is not up to par. I didn't go super hard today but it felt heavier than it should have and I didn't want to go to failure. This could be because I've grown unfamiliar with the movement or it could be any number of things.

Kiff
08-10-2010, 05:28 AM
Just checking in mate looks really good in here, Nice Barbell Rows man.

And that Bench seems to be shooting up again now mate.

Shame you feel your dead is suffering at the momement, you did squat before mind tho...

Good work mate,

Keep at it

Kiff

Off Road
08-11-2010, 07:39 AM
Form is very important. I'm proud of you for checking your ego and making it a priority. The weight will come back quickly and the improved form will keep those injuries away. Nice work.

J.C.
08-11-2010, 08:52 AM
Just checking in mate looks really good in here, Nice Barbell Rows man.

And that Bench seems to be shooting up again now mate.

Shame you feel your dead is suffering at the moment, you did squat before mind tho...

Bench is slowly but surely climbing. I think my dead will shoot up with some dedicated practice. First thing's first; a 180kg squat.


Form is very important. I'm proud of you for checking your ego and making it a priority. The weight will come back quickly and the improved form will keep those injuries away. Nice work.

Ha. Thanks! You're like the WBB uncle or something, watching and encouraging us, making sure we don't get hurt. It's amazing how as little as 10lbs can mean the difference between good form and bad form. I raced up to 300lbs and now I'm there I don't mind going a bit slower and sorting out the kinks.

J.C.
08-11-2010, 09:07 AM
11th August, Upper-Body

Weighted Chins: 10kg (22lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (equalled old PR)

Bench: 85kg (187lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (matched PR, Woo!)

Bent-over Row: 85kg (187lbs) x 6+2+2+2 (matched PR)

Press: Here's where it got interesting...

I was so annoyed that I didn't match my old PR that I decided to just keep doing reps until my shoulders hurt. I never feel like my shoulders have done any work after overhead pressing and I wasn't going to let that happen today. I was pissed off.

All reps done cluster style. I rested 10-30seconds or enough to feel I could do a few more reps. Then I did it again and again.

45kg x 4 FFS
40kg x 5
30kg x 6 +7 +6 +4 +3 + Failed then push pressed till I reached eccentric failure.

More Chins: BW x 5 x 3

Diet today is high protein, high calorie. Maybe it will make a difference.

J.C.
08-12-2010, 04:32 PM
Right, I'm away for awhile doing research and trying to be scholarly.

I probably won't be able to do any weight training for the next couple of weeks. Oh well, it is what it is.

I know a lot of the early adopters have been dropping like flies recently, but don't worry, I'll be back!

Off Road
08-14-2010, 07:03 AM
Have fun. See you when you get back.

Kiff
08-15-2010, 04:55 AM
Right, I'm away for awhile doing research and trying to be scholarly.

I probably won't be able to do any weight training for the next couple of weeks. Oh well, it is what it is.

I know a lot of the early adopters have been dropping like flies recently, but don't worry, I'll be back!

Cya soon mate, enjoy your scholarly activities, soem of the old crew are still knocking about mate ;)

J.C.
08-26-2010, 11:01 AM
Quick Workout

I'm back home just for a couple of days and thought I'd get in a quick, full-body session using the old 5x5 method to keep things ticking over until I can start training consistently again. The last time I did squats was 17 days ago...

Squats
5x5 working up to 130kg. I think the last three sets were over 120kg.

Bench
5x5 working up to 70kg

Chins
2x10 slow dead-hang chins.

And that was it.

Nothing felt too heavy but my hamstrings are really sore after squats just because it's been so long since they did anything taxing. By the fourth set they were cramping slightly and needed to be stretched out. I'm going away again for another week or so. It's frustrating but one month of no heavy training isn't the end of the world. I'll start up HCT-12 again when I'm back and I'm sure I'll get to where I left off before long.

Kiff
08-26-2010, 11:28 AM
Cool stuff mate hope to cya back soon man

Off Road
08-26-2010, 04:43 PM
Who was that masked man? Glad you stopped by for a quick visit.

J.C.
09-09-2010, 03:24 PM
Hello Again!

Right, what a ball-ache... I've been away for what feels like ages, must be a month or so now, and I've spent a lot of time in the British Library. The research is done, I just need to get this thesis written now. I think I've also secured an extension because of boring "life stuff" like financial issues and other things I tried not to mention on here that upset the summer. :) So that takes some of the pressure off. Blah blah, boring, moving on. I've gone running a couple of times but strength training has been nil.

Should be getting some better temp work soon so things will be a bit more stable and I am now really looking forward to getting some kind of "proper job" in the near future. Unfortunately I don't know what's going to happen to my gym membership because it expires soon and I don't know if I can pay by month at the uni gym. I doubt I'll be here for another year so it seems a shame to waste another year's payment. I'll figure it out this week.

HCT-12 starts again tomorrow. With a Vengeance. I'm really itching to do some hard exercise now. Whatever I'm doing, wherever I'll be, I WILL put up big numbers by Christmas!

Off Road
09-09-2010, 04:45 PM
Welcome back...now get to work :)

J.C.
09-10-2010, 01:33 PM
10th September 2010

First Session Back - Lower Body

Chins: BW x 10

Squats: 120kg (265lbs) x 6+2+2+2
Felt heavy. Need to get this over 300 ASAP. I think I just need a few sessions to get used to heavy weight again.

SLDL: 100kg (220lbs) x 6+2+2+2

EZ-bar Curls: 35kg (77lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Crunches 1 x 15

This was a really quick session, no need to mess around the first day back. I just wanted to get up to a challenging squat then rattle through the other exercises.

I may do the four day routine for a few weeks to give me more chances to improve the weight.

Kiff
09-11-2010, 01:37 PM
10th September 2010

First Session Back - Lower Body

Chins: BW x 10

Squats: 120kg (265lbs) x 6+2+2+2
Felt heavy. Need to get this over 300 ASAP. I think I just need a few sessions to get used to heavy weight again.

SLDL: 100kg (220lbs) x 6+2+2+2

EZ-bar Curls: 35kg (77lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Crunches 1 x 15

This was a really quick session, no need to mess around the first day back. I just wanted to get up to a challenging squat then rattle through the other exercises.

I may do the four day routine for a few weeks to give me more chances to improve the weight.

Nice work mate your right about just needing to aclimatise again man.

Good work, are you normally on the 3 day split?

Off Road
09-13-2010, 07:36 AM
Good start back. Stay consistant and progress slowly.

ELmx479
09-13-2010, 07:08 PM
Nice squat numbers after taking a break. I am really working on some decent squat numbers also.

J.C.
09-15-2010, 08:26 AM
Thanks guys! Yeah I'm normally on the 3 day split. I want to do the four day split but I need to ease in gradually this week and I'll have to juggle responsibilities a bit to do it.

The first workout was on Friday and I've been sore ever since! Ouch. It felt like I couldn't walk on Sunday. It hurt to bend down and tie my shoelaces! Here's the rest of the week so far:

Sunday 12th September, Upper-Body

Chins: BW x 6, 5kg x 6, 7.5kg (17lbs) x 6+2+2+2
Bench: 75kg (165lbs) x 6+2+2+2
Row: 70kg (154lbs) x 6+2+2+2
Seated Dumbbell Press: 20kg (44lbs) x 6+2+2+2
Close-Grip Bench Press: 50kg (110lbs) x 6+2+2+2


Monday 13th September, Lower-Body
It took a lot of effort to convince myself to go the gym that day. My whole body was sore, and my mind kept trying to convince myself it would be better to take another day's rest. In the end I went, did a thorough warm-up and treated it as a short active recovery session. This was definitely the right thing to do as I felt much better the next day and it's good for mental toughness to occasionally train through soreness.

Squat:
Lots of warm-up sets, until it was bearable to squat to depth.
worked up to 120kg (265lbs) x 5 (The same weight as the first session.)
EZ-bar curl: 40kg (88lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Finished with ten minutes of yoga. And that was it. Just two exercises and some mobility/flexibility work.


15th September, Upper-Body

Chins: 10kg (22lbs) x 6+2+2+2
Bench: 77.5kg (171lbs) x 6+2+2+2
Row: 70kg (154lbs) x 6+2+2+2
Press: 40kg (88lbs) x 6+1, then 2+2+2 @ 30kg
Close-Grip Bench Press: 60kg (132lbs) x 6+2+2+2

Notes: I'm no longer as sore so it seems my body is getting used to exercising again. My bodyweight is down to 199lbs but I look softer. Strength is down but not as much as I expected.

For some reason, chins and arm curls are feeling great right now. Since I figured out the ez bar doesn't hurt my wrists like the straight bar I've started really enjoying them! They might become a favourite exercise lol. Looking forward to curling two 20kg plates soon.

Off Road
09-16-2010, 07:19 AM
Tisk...tisk...Curl goals? lol

J.C.
09-17-2010, 09:09 AM
17th September, Lower-Body

Squats: 130kg (287lbs) x 6+2+2+2

SLDL: 110kg (243lbs) x 6+2+2+2

EZ bar curls: 40kg (88lbs) x 6 +2+2+2

Crunches: 1 x 15

Feeling more into it now. Soreness has gone, but I found squats tough again today. I wonder how I'll feel tomorrow.

J.C.
09-17-2010, 12:53 PM
2nd Workout of the Day

Armchair push, drag and carry x 1 big, hill for time

I've been needing an armchair for ages and ebay wasn't tuning up anything cheap so when I saw a discarded one on the street earlier my problem was solved. Unfortunately it was at the bottom of the hill. I live at the top. I don't own a car.

The whole thing turned into a massive struggle to push this up the pavement, trying not to get in peoples' way and avoiding cars. The path was too narrow at points so I had to make a detour which doubled the journey. It was a sunny evening here and I was dripping with sweat by halfway. To make things worse, the heat of the day and the constant friction started to melt and destroy the little wheels so half-way up it wouldn't push straight and by the top, two had completely broken. By this point I was just dragging it because it was too big to shoulder. Must have taken me half an hour. A lesser man would have given up. I finally got it back as I just love free furniture. I chucked a throw over it and now my pad looks much sexier. :)

Off Road
09-17-2010, 10:50 PM
That's determination right there. Don't get in the way of a man and his arm chair :)

Kiff
09-18-2010, 10:27 AM
Every time you sit down your going to be extra relieved :) cool story lol.

J.C.
09-20-2010, 01:33 PM
20th September, Upper-Body

The good news is that despite a month off, my strength is getting back to normal. The bad news is, the students are returning after summer and the gym is disgustingly busy again. I couldn't really get in a good workout today so I mostly abandoned the cluster protocol and did what I could. The sooner I join a new gym, the better.

Chins
10kg x 6+2+2+2
BW x 9

Bench: 80kg x 6 x 2

Close-Grip Bench Press: 60kg x 10

Chest-Supported Row: 50kg x 6 x 3

Press: 40kg x 6 +2+1, 30kg x 5


I wanted to finish with a complex but there was no way I was going to get a barbell or the space. So I did a kind of giant set of pull-up variations.
Pull-ups: 5
Neutral-grip pull-ups: 5
Close-grip Chins: 4

My chinning/pull-up ability has improved a fair bit over the summer. Good news.

Kiff
09-20-2010, 02:06 PM
Nice effort despite the busy gym

J.C.
09-22-2010, 07:14 AM
22nd September, Lower-Body

I've been running a calorie deficit for the last couple of weeks because I wanted to lean up before getting serious again. I may have underestimated my metabolism because I've dropped more weight than I wanted and I'm not regaining my squat strength a quick as I'd like. On the plus side, my waist is smaller and my arm veins tell me I'm leaner.

Squat: 132.5kg x 6+2

Bit disappointed with this. Lifted it plenty of times before but it's like I've gone three steps backwards. The six was really hard. I didn't get depth for the last rep. The first cluster was harder and although I got depth I had to grind through an almost static sticking point, so I left it there.

SLDL: 120kg x 6+2+2+2

EZ-bar Curl: 42.5kg x 6+2+2+1
PR - slowly reaching my goal of 50kg! Ha. :) The first six were easy but the clusters were tough. Last rep was a cheat curl. I think I've reached that point every lifter experiences - I want bigger arms. Half joking...

Neutral grip, narrow grip chins: BW x 10

I feel like I'm spinning my wheels a bit at the moment. I was loving HCT-12 for the first few months and made really great progress up until mid-summer. Since then it's kind of been one step forward, two steps backs. Progress levelled off, I went away, I started cutting... I'm going to stick with it until I'm back to where I was before - 140kg squat for six and 85kg bench for six - and then I think I'm going to switch to another program, probably Texas method, and focus on strength for awhile.

My physique does look different so I can't really complain, but I think it's time for a change. Some fresh stimulus for body and mind will do me good and this seems like a natural time to switch it up.

J.C.
09-24-2010, 08:06 AM
24th September, Upper-Body

Average day. Elbows hurt a bit from squatting so rows and bench felt awkward. Got a chin-up PR though!

Chins:
12.5kg x 6+2+2+2 (2.5kg PR!)
BW x 9

Bench: (no spotter)
82.5kg x 6
70kg x 5 x 2

Barbell Row:
70kg 6+2+2+2

Dumbbell Row:
Left - 30kg x 21
Right - 30kg x 23

Press
40kg x 6+2+2+2

Kiff
09-24-2010, 12:30 PM
Well done on a pr mate

Off Road
09-26-2010, 10:54 AM
Good sessions. I think taking steps forward and backward is just part of HCT-12. It's bound to happen when you are constantly pushing yourself in the gym.

J.C.
09-27-2010, 12:18 PM
27th September 2010, Lower-Body

Quick Session

This was my last day in the old gym before my membership runs out. I've got a new gym lined up but need to commit to signing up and paying the membership. I'm still super busy at the moment with deadlines fast approaching but I'll get it done.

To be honest I just wanted to get in and out today so I decided to mess around a bit, as it might be my last session for a while.

Deep Squats
140kg (309lbs) x 2 x 2

120kg (265lbs) x 5

EZ-bar Curls
42.5kg (94lbs) x 6+2+2+2 PR (got all the clusters this time)

Good Mornings
45kg x 10
65kg (143lbs) x 8

I've never done these before so it was fun to try them out. According to the guy I worked in with I had very good form but I didn't really feel it in my hamstrings and they weren't as tough as SLDLs. Maybe GMs get better with more weight.

Pull-ups
BW x 10


When I was hitting my stride in early-mid summer HCT-12 worked great. Apart from a few exercises, everything improved, I gained weight and I looked more muscular. Thanks to Daniel(s) for putting it together and for providing online support through the forum. I'm going to do something else when I get back but may try and incorporate the cluster protocol occasionally. It was a good learning experience.

I'm going to start a new journal because having one was a big motivator this time around. See you when I'm back!

ELmx479
09-27-2010, 07:06 PM
Nice squats! What do you have in mind for the new routine?

Kiff
09-28-2010, 07:40 AM
Sorry to see you leave HCT will keep tracks of your progress tho mate :)