The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    ZenFitness's Journal

    Okay well I'm going to try my hand at journaling my workouts here.

    Background: for a number of months (almost a year) I started working out again. The last time I seriously lifted was in high school for football (I am now 33 years old). Last summer (2008) I weighed roughly 225 - 230 lbs. I focused on diet and cardio, and I have since dropped about 25 - 30 lbs. (I'm at 200 lbs. now). During that time, I worked on dumbbell exercises. The thing was, while I lifted more with the dumbbells than most of the other guys in the gym, I knew I wasn't nearly as strong as I could be. To top it off, most of the bigger lifters in the gym didn't touch dumbbells and instead stuck with barbells. So my quest for strength began, and I found this site (among other things).

    So I'm 33 years old, 6' 3" tall, 200 lbs.

    Short term goals:

    1. Squat more than I bench (I've always been a crappy squatter and I am resolved to change that)
    2. Bench more than 225 as a work set
    3. Be able to do 3 sets of 10 weighted pull ups
    4. Squat, bench, and deadlift more than I weigh.

    I have been doing a variant of the Starting Strength program (from the SS wiki) for just over a week:

    Practical Programming Novice Program:
    Monday
    3x5 Squat
    3x5 Bench press / Press (Alternating)
    Chin-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

    Wednesday
    3x5 Squat
    3x5 Press / Bench Press (Alternating)
    1x5 Deadlift

    Friday
    3x5 Squat
    3x5 Bench Press / Press (Alternating)
    Pull-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

    I also add weighted situps to strengthen my core ab muscles.

    Right now I am doing pull ups every workout because I want to become good at them and train myself to do them before I routine them (I've never been good at pull ups).

    Last night I had a bench/deadlift day, and here is where I am (not counting warmup sets):

    Squat: 135 lbs. 3 sets of 5
    Bench: 165 lbs. 3 sets of 5
    Deadlift: 205 lbs. 1 set of 5
    Pullups: took 6 sets to get to 30... better than I have been doing, but deadlift days really sap the energy
    Weighted situps: ran out of time so only got two sets of 20 @ 25 lbs.

    I started SS with squat at 135, but I seem to have some kind of mental block with that weight. It is hard to deep squat with it, but I know I can do it... for some reason I tend to get a mental block. So I initially rolled the weight back about 20 lbs. and have built back up. Yesterday was better but still not as good as I wanted. Better, though. I know I'll get there.

    Just to round it off, my next lift day (Thursday) I will do press at 110 lbs.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Good stuff man. Good idea starting a journal. I'm looking forward to see how strong you're gonna get from this!
    How to Find Your Dream Job
    My personal blog/website dedicated to giving answers on the age old question - how to escape the "rat race". I now play guitar for a living!

  4. #3
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Thanks man... and thanks for your encouragement here and elsewhere.

  5. #4
    Da Bears slashkills's Avatar
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    ill be following your progress.
    Last edited by slashkills; 07-28-2009 at 11:49 AM.

  6. #5
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Good luck bro, SS will kick your butt!!
    Sarvamangalam!

  7. #6
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Week 3, workout 1:

    Squat: 145
    Press: 110
    Pull ups: 5 sets to 30
    Weighted hyperextensions
    Weighted situps

    Squats were awesome today. For some reason 135 was a mental block for me. I thought I would just do 140 and said **** it 145, and they went well. I was two pullups away from just four sets. Banged out nine in my first set which is great for me.

    Light weight for the heavier lifters, but I'm very pleased.
    Last edited by ZenFitness; 07-31-2009 at 07:24 AM.

  8. #7
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Week 3 workout 2:

    Squat: 155
    Bench: 170
    Deadlift: 215
    Pull ups: 5 sets to 30, missed 4 sets by 3 reps
    Ab stuff... Trying to find something other than weighted situps because the bench tears up my tailbone

    good day today not feeling wiped out anymore after workouts because my body is used to squats and DL now. Weight still moving up so I'm happy

  9. #8
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Week 3 workout 3:

    Squat: 165
    Press: 115
    Pullups: 4 sets to 30 (finally) banged out 10 on my first set
    Weighted hyperextensions: 15 reps @ 25 lbs., 3 sets.

    Did 15 min cardio afterwards with some HIIT (5 min warmup, 5 min HIIT, 5 min cool down)

    Struggled on the squat and the press. Could only get four reps on the last two sets of the press... almost five each. I did the squats but I'm wondering if my form is suffering... I may deload it, we will see.

    Lower back is hurting tonight... I think it is from the press. Not sore, more like sharp pain with certain movements. I'll give it a day or two... two days rest now until my next workout.

  10. #9
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Okay so I am changing my routine... I am not dissing SS here, but it is just not for me. I know it is supposed to get more challenging as the weight goes up (which I know it will and it has somewhat), but I am looking for something slightly different and more varied. I'm not calling myself an expert, but I think the advantage for SS lies more for folks who are not used to lifting. During the past three weeks (plus a couple weeks before that resting from a chest injury), I have noticed that the only gains I am really making are from my pullup work. I'm not feeling stronger and if anything feel a little bit like I'm losing muscle (I have been lifting for a while prior to trying SS).

    After some help from a couple of guys here, I am going to target 5x5 exercises like the following (I'm built like a basketball player, so I'm using front squats instead of back squats because my anatomical build handles them better):

    Workout A: Deadlift, Pullup, Dip, Front Squat
    Workout B: Bench Press, Hyper Extensions, DB Row, Bulgarian Squats
    Workout C: Good Mornings, Military Press, Chin Ups, Front Squats

    I will mix in some ab work on each of these days (some weighted, some not)

    Yesterday did workout A:

    (some warmup sets for each of the weighted exercises)
    Deadlift: 225 lbs. 5x5
    Pullup: Took five sets to get to 30, deadlift saps the energy a bit more than the squats did previously
    Dip: 10 reps, 10 reps, 6 reps @ 25 lbs., 5 reps @ 25 lbs., 5 reps @ 25 lbs. (I think going forward I will do 5x5 with the weight, 10 reps unweighted is super easy for me on dips)
    Front Squat: getting used to the form here, so I took it light: 95 lbs., 95 lbs., 115 lbs., 115 lbs., 115 lbs.
    Plank: Three sets of one minute each
    Bicycle: 50 reps, 80 reps, 100 reps
    Last edited by ZenFitness; 08-07-2009 at 11:55 AM.

  11. #10
    Senior Member ELmx479's Avatar
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    You might want to stick with SS and give it some time. Maybe take a closer look at your diet if your feeling weak. If you want to front squat you could do it on Wednesday.

    Ex:
    mon-squat, bench, DL
    wed-front squat, press, power clean/or row
    mon-squat, bench, DL
    repeat..

  12. #11
    LuNa
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    You should really give a program the time to work. I know that in the beginning SS doesnt feel like much and you are craving for more volume. Keep increasing the weight and intensity and i am pretty sure those 3 exercises will kick your butt. Stick to the program and give it atleast 12 weeks. As long as you are lifting more weight than previous, you are getting stronger and bigger.

  13. #12
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Hey guys, thanks for the comments... I definitely appreciate the thoughts, and yes, I didn't give SS a huge amount of time. That said, I still don't feel like it is for me. I was making gains before on my own programming, and with this new routine, if it doesn't work, I'll go back to SS. I'm not doubting the validity of SS or anything of the sort, but I also realize it's not the only game in town. I just don't particularly like it, but if I'm not making progress otherwise, I'll come back to it. My wife even commented that I looked softer after I had done SS for three weeks (even though I was trying to push at it).

    Today:

    DB Row: 75 lbs. 5x5
    Hyperextensions: 35 lbs. 5x10
    Bench: 165 lbs. 5x5 (dropped the weight back slightly just to accommodate the extra two sets for starters)
    Bulgarian Squats: 45 lbs. 5x5

    Accentuated crunches (3 sets)
    Pullof Press (3 sets to strengthen core muscles)
    Leg raises (1 set)

    HIIT for 20 minutes

  14. #13
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    In a pinch for time today:

    Good Mornings: Getting used to the lift, 115 lbs. 5x5
    Press: 100 lbs. 5x5. Still causes a little lower back discomfort, but better
    Chinup: 4 sets to 30, not far from 3 sets. MUCH easier than pullups.
    Front Squats: 115 lbs. 5x5 Second time for this exercise, and I have a much better feel for how to do it. I can really feel the difference between this and back squats... I have a much easier time in the hole with the front squats b/c of my build.

    Ran out of time for core exercises, but I did some hand walkouts from feet when I got home and had more time.

  15. #14
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear that you're not liking the program, but if it's not for you, it's not for you. You gotta be having fun and enjoying yourself in order to stay motivated, so do what ya gotta do! Looking forward to seeing your progress in whatever you decide to go with.
    How to Find Your Dream Job
    My personal blog/website dedicated to giving answers on the age old question - how to escape the "rat race". I now play guitar for a living!

  16. #15
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Thanks brihead... you hit the nail on the head. I also mean no disrespect to SS... from what I can tell it is a great program, just not a fit for where I'm at. If I don't see gains with this new route, I'll go back.

    The one good thing (which applies to both programs) is that I have never mixed in chins and pullups on a program. Man, it makes a big difference! My shoulders and lats have benefited quite a bit.
    Last edited by ZenFitness; 08-12-2009 at 09:50 AM.

  17. #16
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Week 5 Workout A:

    Body Weight: 202 lbs.

    Deadlift: 245 5x5
    Pullups: Unweighted 5x5 (I widened my grip to increase the difficulty)
    Dips: 30 lbs. weighted 5x5
    Front Squats: 125 lbs. 5x5 (still light weight to get used to it, but I'm really loving front squats... the form fits much more naturally to my body. I'm going to keep increasing the weight each week... I can really focus the efforts in my legs and core vs. back squats and get much deeper)
    Planks: 3 sets of 1 minute each
    Last edited by ZenFitness; 08-17-2009 at 08:25 PM.

  18. #17
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Week 5 Workout B:

    Body Weight: 202 lbs.

    Bench: 170 lbs. 5x5
    Hyperextensions: 55 lbs. 6 reps, 8 reps, 10 reps, 10 reps, 6 reps
    One arm row: 80 lbs. 5x5
    Bulgarian Split Squat: 55 lbs. 5x5

    Accentuated Crunches: 50 lbs. 3x10
    Pallof Press: 60 lbs. 3x10
    Hanging Knee Raise: 1x30

    HIIT for 20 min.

    Overall great workout day, I was surprised at how easy the exercises were today. I'm still trying to add weight every workout a la SS even though I'm doing a different set of exercises. I was really surprised at how easy bench was today.
    Last edited by ZenFitness; 08-17-2009 at 08:25 PM.

  19. #18
    WBB's Juggernaut/Liason BigCorey75's Avatar
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    Good making a journal so we can track your progress, how are you liking the new routine, looks killer, who ever gave it to you knows their stuff about programming and total body workouts...
    Why live if one can not Deadlift?- John Paul Sigmasson

    Accept that which is useful and reject what is not- Bruce Lee

    Reason and Logic trump religion- Me

    Restriction of education, Censorship of knowledge, and Proliferation of religion helps keep the masses tamed- Me

    "Money does not fix everything, Smart fixes everything"

  20. #19
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Thanks man, so far I really like the new routine. Those Bulgarian Squats are killers... nasty and I love 'em

  21. #20
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Week 5 Workout C:

    Body weight: 204 lbs.

    Good Mornings: 125 lbs. 5x5 (I'm resisting running the weight up on these... trying to be patient at lighter weight to handle form)
    Press: 105 lbs. 5x5
    Chin ups: 10 reps, 9 reps, 7 reps, 8 reps
    Front Squats: 130 lbs. 5x5

    Hand Walkouts From Feet: 2 x 10 (first time ever, these are brutal)
    Bicycle: 60 reps
    Last edited by ZenFitness; 08-17-2009 at 08:24 PM.

  22. #21
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Gotta love the bulgarian split squats. Nice training in here. What routine are you doing now?
    How to Find Your Dream Job
    My personal blog/website dedicated to giving answers on the age old question - how to escape the "rat race". I now play guitar for a living!

  23. #22
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Thanks Brihead... I'm still building up the core strength but I'm progressing.

    This is a routine that BigCorey put together for me... here is the workout:

    Workout A: Deadlift, Pullup, Dip, Front Squat
    Workout B: Bench Press, Hyper Extensions, DB Row, Bulgarian Squats
    Workout C: Good Mornings, Military Press, Chin Ups, Front Squats

    I'm doing 5x5 sets across (same weight on each set) and adding weight for each exercise a la SS. The objective is to do a full body workout, not to load the spine in consecutive workouts, and to get a squat exercise, deadlift exercise, push exercise, pull exercise, and core exercise each time.

    My plan is, once I have increased my strength enough, is to do wave programming (again thanks to BigC), but, for now, I'm just adding on a little bit at a time. The big advantage so far is that my squatting is much better. I've got long enough legs that back squats are tough for me to get deep on, but a front squat I can get down deep in the hole with no problem. The weight is a little lighter for now, but I'm sticking with them until I feel like I have enough strength to go back to trying back squats. Back squats are weird for me because the weight is really easy and then suddenly, at a certain weight, I can't get deep anymore... my CNS just takes over and says "Nope!"

  24. #23
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Awesome, this is very similar to SS. Good stuff man!
    How to Find Your Dream Job
    My personal blog/website dedicated to giving answers on the age old question - how to escape the "rat race". I now play guitar for a living!

  25. #24
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Week 6 Workout A:

    Body weight: 203 lbs.

    Deadlift: 255 lbs. 5x5
    Pullups: Unweighted 5x5 (man tough to grip after the deadlifts)
    Dips: 35 lbs. 5x5 (very last rep was not very good... going to hold this weight next time)
    Front Squat: 135 lbs. 5x5

    Planks: 3 sets of 60 seconds
    Bicycles: 100 reps

    Now that I can really see myself squatting (with the front squat in the mirror as opposed to back squat when I wouldn't be able to look up that far and keep good form), I can totally see that I do not get parallel until I am *all* the way down (i.e. butt to calves). It works great with a front squat, but it also shows me why I had such difficulty with getting low on back squat). Good workout today, though. The dips at that weight were tough to get through, and the deadlifts were a beast.
    Last edited by ZenFitness; 08-22-2009 at 01:33 PM.

  26. #25
    Senior Member ZenFitness's Avatar
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    Week 6 Workout B:

    Body Weight: 204 lbs.

    Bench Press: 175 lbs. 5x5
    Hyperextensions: 60 lbs. 3x5, 70 lbs. 2x5
    Dumbbell Row: 85 lbs. 5x5
    Bulgarian Split Squat: 65 lbs. 5x5
    Accentuated Crunches: 60 lbs. 2x10, 1x8
    Pallof Press: 70 lbs. 3x10
    Hanging Leg Raises: 1x30

    No HIIT today, didn't have time.

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