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Thread: DannyMcG tries his hand at HCT-12:

  1. #1
    Daniel
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    DannyMcG tries his hand at HCT-12:

    OK, I'm Daniel and I've decided to try the HCT-12 routine as I haven't received one word of bad advice from the knowledgeable lifters here at WBB. I'm a 16 year old student in New Zealand and I enjoy lifting weights as I love feeling stronger, more muscular and it's something that I enjoy doing that I can see myself continuing in the long-term.

    Stats:

    Weight: 150 lbs (from a measly 128 lbs).
    Calories: ~3100.
    Physical activity: I play soccer (some of you may be thinking "what?!", but I'm a defender and size is something that will help me achieve more dominance in my position). I also play Rugby from time to time.
    Program: 3-day cycle adapted to fit my busy schedule.
    Height: 5'9" (or just over).

    Ok I think that's enough stats for now. Here's my first day of the new program (all weights measured in lbs):

    Bench Press (An exercise that needs improvement for me):

    Bar x 6
    66 x 6
    77 x 6
    89 x 6
    99 x 6
    105 x 6
    111 x 6
    116 x 6
    121 x 5 (got distracted by an irritating sound on the radio that was playing, decided to lower weight and do the clusters based on info in the FAQ)
    116 x 2 + 2 + 2 (not too challenging, perhaps I should've tried the clusters with 121).

    Military Press (I normally do seated dumbbell press so this exercise felt very new):

    Bar x 6
    55 x 3
    66 x 6
    77 x 6
    83 lbs x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 (the six wasn't too bad but the clusters were hard, I'm expecting quick gains in this exercise as it was my first time trying it).

    Lat Pulldown (I want to weighted pull-ups but I don't know how to add the weight):

    75 x 6
    90 x 6
    105 x 6
    112 x 6
    120 x 6
    130 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 (Exercise doesn't feel as functional or effective as pull-ups, but oh well).

    Close-grip bench press:

    Bar x 6
    66 x 6
    77 x 6
    89 x 6
    100 x 6
    105 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 (a pretty decent set).

    Barbell Rows:

    Same as bench but my final cluster set was at 132 lbs.

    Yes, I know, it's not a lot of weight here. I'm more of a lower body man, squats tomorrow, an exercise I'm actually quite strong at (well, for my size anyway.)

    Hopefully this program will let me rise to new heights and I will be standing on the shoulders of giants in a few years time.

    Cheers,
    Danny
    Starting weight - 129 lbs
    Current weight - 152 lbs

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Clover's Avatar
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    I just hold a dumbbell in between my feet when I do weighted pull ups. Good luck, you picked a good program.

  3. #3
    Lifting junkie. AKMass's Avatar
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    Welcome to the boards Danny! Off to a solid start! It's nice to see someone younger who's not falling into the upper-body only trap...Sounds like you've got your head on straight.
    5'10"
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  4. #4
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    Finally, a fellow kiwi on HCT-12
    There is no such thing as “firming and toning.” There is only stronger and weaker.
    -- Mark Rippetoe

  5. #5
    Daniel
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    Workout B:

    Squats:

    Bar (45) x 6 (warm-up)
    89 x 6 (warm-up)
    135 x 6 (first work set)
    154 x 6
    170 x 6
    181 x 6
    192 x 6
    205 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2

    A fairly solid squat workout, I'm still learning about my body and when I know I can't get another rep up. Possibly could've gone to the 210-215 range, but I'm happy with the workout and the clusters were quite tough so I'll use that as motivation for next time. Also, to add to that, I decided to add some more depth to my squats, I think I'll continue this.

    Rack Pulls - I find squats and deadlift on the same day VERY difficult, so I thought maybe for the first four-week cycle I could use rack pulls and perhaps this will "warm-up" my body so that after the de-load body I will be capable of performing heavy sets of squats AND deadlifts.

    Bar (45) x 6
    135 x 6
    176 x 6
    198 x 6
    220 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2

    Not as many sets here, may jump up in the weights slower next week, the sets worked my grip very well.

    Curls - I THINK the bar I used was 15 lbs.. I'm not certain on that though.

    Bar (15) x 6
    37 x 6
    48 x 6
    59 x 6
    70 x 6

    Curls are curls.. not much to say about this exercise.

    Calves - I didn't use the cluster training approach for calves, I just did 4 sets of 15-20 with standing calf raise and 4 sets of 20-25 with seated calf raise, with burnout sets in between. I've seen good progress with this and it kills my calves so I decided to keep the calf workout the same.

    Abs - I didn't use any of the recommended exercises, I just did a circuit of various weighted ab exercises.. e.g. weighted decline crunches, barbell russian twist etc...

    A pretty decent workout, I'm particularly looking forward to next week's squats.. perhaps I may reach 220 lbs if I'm feeling up to it.
    Starting weight - 129 lbs
    Current weight - 152 lbs

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  6. #6
    Daniel
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clover View Post
    I just hold a dumbbell in between my feet when I do weighted pull ups. Good luck, you picked a good program.
    Yeah I'm going to try this for the next cycle. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by AKMass View Post
    Welcome to the boards Danny! Off to a solid start! It's nice to see someone younger who's not falling into the upper-body only trap...Sounds like you've got your head on straight.
    Thanks AK, despite the obsession of most people my age to do heaps of bench press and curls everytime they workout, I actually prefer training legs, and I don't see the point in working out if you're only adding mass to half of your body.

    Quote Originally Posted by alin View Post
    Finally, a fellow kiwi on HCT-12
    Kia Ora alin . You're the first Kiwi I've seen on the WBB boards.

    Thanks for the encouragement guys.
    Starting weight - 129 lbs
    Current weight - 152 lbs

    HCT-12 Journal

    "My goal when I come in here everyday is to make sure that if someone beats me - its not because they outworked me!" - Layne Norton, Natural Pro.

  7. #7
    Lifting junkie. AKMass's Avatar
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    Very nice first session Danny. Looking forward to see what you put up in your next squat session!
    5'10"
    180

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  8. #8
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Yes, nice session. You'll get the extra weight on the bar next time.
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  9. #9
    Daniel
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    Session 3 - Upper body

    Bench Press - I don't know why, but the bar I used to today felt lighter than the bar I used last week, am I to assume that all of the bench press bars I use are 45 lbs? It didn't look any heavier than the other bar, it didn't feel heavier when I went to carry it to the bench but when I was warming up my sets felt far easier.

    Bar x 6
    66 x 6
    89 x 6
    99 x 6
    110 x 6
    121 x 6 + 2 2 + 2 - My last session I had attempted this weight and could barely chuck out 5, today I tried it and I just felt so much stronger performing the movement. The last rep went up quite slow so I decided to do the clusters with this weight. I had to check the weight on the bench to make sure it was correct, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it was actually 55kgs (121lbs).

    So a good bench press session which I'm very pleased about.

    Close-Grip Bench Press - I usually leave this till last but decided that while I still have the bench I might as well just do the close-grip BP as well.

    Bar x 6
    89 x 6
    99 x 6
    110 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 - This exercise went good, clusters were hard but possibly could've gone a little higher, but I'm satisfied with it.

    Military Press - Had its ups and downs.

    Bar x 6
    66 x 6
    77 x 6
    89 x 6 + .... - I couldn't seem to do the clusters for this exercise, I was pleased that I had reached 40 kgs (89 lbs) but when I tried to do the clusters, I found that unracking the weight and starting the clusters was just too hard and I couldn't do it. So I decided to quickly drop the weight to 82.5 lbs and do the clusters.

    Chin-ups (weighted) - I know I did Lat-Pulldowns last session and I'm not supposed to change them, but I really don't like Pulldowns and I decided to use Clover's idea about clutching a dumbbell betweeen my feet. It felt awkward at first but I became used to it.

    BW x 6
    BW + 6.6 x 6
    BW + 11 x 6
    BW + 17.6 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 - These were very tough, a lot harder than I'd expected them to be. It's funny how even the slightest addition of weight can make such a huge difference. Even the addition of the 6.6 lbs made a noticeable difference. Hoping to get to an added 22 lbs next session, if my body feels up to it.

    Barbell Rows

    BW x 6
    89 x 6
    110 x 6
    121 x 6
    135 x 6
    137.5 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 An improvement from last week which is good, clusters were tough with the 30s rest time.

    Overall, very pleased with my session, big improvements from my last session. Does anyone else have the same problem with the military press? I found that unracking the bar and moving it to the starting position tired my muscles greatly, that combined with the pre-exhausted muscles from the 30s short rest time = BAM.. hit a wall.
    Starting weight - 129 lbs
    Current weight - 152 lbs

    HCT-12 Journal

    "My goal when I come in here everyday is to make sure that if someone beats me - its not because they outworked me!" - Layne Norton, Natural Pro.

  10. #10
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    First, congratulations on improving the weight and reps this session, just shows you are getting stronger. Next, thanks for the weight conversion, it makes it easier to read for us stubborn Americans. Lastly, doing the triceps exercise before press will have negative impacts on your ability to push it hard, as you found out. Don't worry about it, you'll adjust next time. Nice job.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    Next, thanks for the weight conversion, it makes it easier to read for us stubborn Americans.
    Ha ha. I've been thinking about doing this. Hanging around WBB has meant I've got pretty good at mentally converting lbs to Kg but I might start using lbs more in my journal just so you guys know what I'm talking about.

  12. #12
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.C. View Post
    Ha ha. I've been thinking about doing this. Hanging around WBB has meant I've got pretty good at mentally converting lbs to Kg but I might start using lbs more in my journal just so you guys know what I'm talking about.
    I'm really lazy, so I just double the Kgs. Your guys' lifts would look a lot more impressive with proper conversions
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  13. #13
    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    Good work mate keep it up,

    I am two weeks in and gainning more than i could ever have before on my old program!

    Nice Weights on your pull ups mate seems you have your bodyweight exercises nailed!

    Keiran
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  14. #14
    Daniel
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMass View Post
    Very nice first session Danny. Looking forward to see what you put up in your next squat session!
    Thanks AK, yeah can't wait till my next session of squats. Two days of squats next week, will be an absolute killer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    First, congratulations on improving the weight and reps this session, just shows you are getting stronger. Next, thanks for the weight conversion, it makes it easier to read for us stubborn Americans. Lastly, doing the triceps exercise before press will have negative impacts on your ability to push it hard, as you found out. Don't worry about it, you'll adjust next time. Nice job.
    Thanks, yeah the HCT-12 seems to be living up to its expectations, and I always tend to convert kgs to lbs since most people on here use lbs. I'll definitely do military press before close-grip BP next time.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.C. View Post
    Ha ha. I've been thinking about doing this. Hanging around WBB has meant I've got pretty good at mentally converting lbs to Kg but I might start using lbs more in my journal just so you guys know what I'm talking about.
    Yeah same here, I normally just multiply it the kgs by 2.2 to get the value in lbs. I can also generally remember how much weight it is in lbs because on the weights it has both measures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    I'm really lazy, so I just double the Kgs. Your guys' lifts would look a lot more impressive with proper conversions
    Haha, that would take 10% off of each of my lifts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiff View Post
    Good work mate keep it up,

    I am two weeks in and gainning more than i could ever have before on my old program!

    Nice Weights on your pull ups mate seems you have your bodyweight exercises nailed!

    Keiran
    That's good to hear Kieran, I hope my gains will be similar to yours. Yeah I have a pretty good foundation of BW exercises, adding weight becomes such a challenge though.
    Starting weight - 129 lbs
    Current weight - 152 lbs

    HCT-12 Journal

    "My goal when I come in here everyday is to make sure that if someone beats me - its not because they outworked me!" - Layne Norton, Natural Pro.

  15. #15
    Daniel
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    Session 4 - Lower Body + Biceps

    Squats - I used a thicker bar today, it felt a lot more comfortable on my back. Now there was a slight problem with the squats today, all the squat racks were taken and I had to use a power rack, no problem there, but the problem was that it didn't have a mirror so I couldn't accurately measure when I was at or below parallel and I'm not sure if every one of my reps met the depth that I like. I'm sure I went to parallel on most of them though as it felt right when I did them. Well here's the workout:

    Bar x 6
    89 x 6
    132 x 6
    154 x 6
    176 x 6
    198 x 6
    212 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 - Felt pretty brutual on my body.

    Rack Pulls

    Bar x 6
    132 x 6
    176 x 6
    220 x 6
    242 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 Tough clusters, took a lot of will power to go back to the bar when the 30s rest time was up.

    Bicep curls

    Bar x 6
    37 x 6
    59 x 6
    70 x 6
    75 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 Wow... these clusters were a real killer.

    Calves - Just raise exercises, not clustered, but used burnout reps. Cba putting all the different weights I used.

    All in all a good workout considering I participated in a football match the day before so my legs were still a little worn out. The clusters on all of these exercises absolutely destroyed me, I wanted to run from the gym and never look back (hehe).
    Starting weight - 129 lbs
    Current weight - 152 lbs

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  16. #16
    Senior Member ELmx479's Avatar
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    Did a good job toughing it out on those cluster sets. I know exactly what you mean about going back up to the bar after only 30 seconds. You really have to want it bad.

  17. #17
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    The clusters are definitely tough, but I just tell myself, "It's only two more." Nice job on the squats, I'd like to try a thick bar some day.
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  18. #18
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    Nice job man, you seem to be doing pretty good so far. And ya, those clusters can be tough . Good luck for the rest of the way!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    The clusters are definitely tough, but I just tell myself, "It's only two more." Nice job on the squats, I'd like to try a thick bar some day.
    I'm only about three workouts in, but what I really like about the clusters is the mental side of it.

    You have to get amped up and I find it happens automatically. The first two reps are the hardest, but then the immediate exhaustion from the 6rm mostly goes away and you just have to get angry and grip the bar hard a few times before belting out two more reps. Then take 10 deep breaths, psych up and hammer out two more. Its the same thing with cardio interval training, you have to want it to muster the strength.

  20. #20
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
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    Definately agree with you on that one. You have to use the short rest period to get your head in the right place and then just attack it with everything you have!

    Good job on everything so far, keep it up!
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  21. #21
    Daniel
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    Upper Body:

    Had a bit of an off day today, getting a lot of assignments to do and it's starting to rise the stress levels a bit so perhaps the contributed towards it. But the program emphasizes auto-regulation which I like because it allows me to have a decent workout even if perhaps my body isn't feeling 100% up to the task at hand.

    Bench Press:

    Bar x 6
    66 x 6
    89 x 6
    99 x 6
    110 x 6
    121 x 6
    127 x 5 (Tbh I don't think this was too related to an "off-day), I just became too confident and I felt like Superman before attempting it). Decided to lower weight back down to 121 and do clusters.
    121 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 - Damn these were hard, I had exhausted myself from the failed set so these felt tons harder, clusters killed me. Got way too cocky in the bench press in this session.

    Shoulder Press:

    Bar x 6
    66 x 6
    77 x 6
    89 x 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 - Pretty mucked up here, clusters were slightly better than last time, but I didn't manage to get the six this time.. oh well, hopefully next upper body session.

    Chin-ups:

    Decided to do slight pauses between reps and so reps felt harder, but I did it with the exact same weight as last time which wasn't bad considering there were pauses that really took it out of me. So cluster was with BW + 17.6 lbs with pauses x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2

    Close Grip BP:

    Bar x 6
    66 x 6
    89 x 6
    99 x 6
    110 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 - Fair exercise, can't complain.

    BB Rows:

    Bar x 6
    89 x 6
    110 x 6
    121 x 6
    132 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2

    I'm trying not to beat myself up about the session as it's most likely to do with how tired I was, and how stressed I felt etc.. It just wasn't my day.. hopefully next time.

    If anyone was interested in my overall evalutation of the program, I've enjoyed it thus far, I've enjoyed strength increases and my body enjoys the layout of the program. Today was a bogey day, but the program's use of auto-regulation allows me to make the most of what I can do for each session.

    Danny.
    Starting weight - 129 lbs
    Current weight - 152 lbs

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  22. #22
    Daniel
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELmx479 View Post
    Did a good job toughing it out on those cluster sets. I know exactly what you mean about going back up to the bar after only 30 seconds. You really have to want it bad.
    Yeah.. 30 seconds feels like 10 seconds in between the squat clusters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    The clusters are definitely tough, but I just tell myself, "It's only two more." Nice job on the squats, I'd like to try a thick bar some day.
    The thick bar just felt so much more comfortable on my back, will definitely make a point in using it for future squat sessions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pure Water View Post
    Nice job man, you seem to be doing pretty good so far. And ya, those clusters can be tough . Good luck for the rest of the way!
    Thanks mate, nothing like a good set of squat clusters.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.C. View Post
    I'm only about three workouts in, but what I really like about the clusters is the mental side of it.

    You have to get amped up and I find it happens automatically. The first two reps are the hardest, but then the immediate exhaustion from the 6rm mostly goes away and you just have to get angry and grip the bar hard a few times before belting out two more reps. Then take 10 deep breaths, psych up and hammer out two more. Its the same thing with cardio interval training, you have to want it to muster the strength.
    Yeah.. I normally go back to the bar at the 30s mark and it takes me about 10 secs (five deep breaths) to build up the courage to go for the clusters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Clough View Post
    Definately agree with you on that one. You have to use the short rest period to get your head in the right place and then just attack it with everything you have!

    Good job on everything so far, keep it up!
    Thanks Daniel, an excellent program you've got here, well worth the wait.. and yeah, this program simply won't work if you don't have the mental determination to beat those cluster reps!
    Starting weight - 129 lbs
    Current weight - 152 lbs

    HCT-12 Journal

    "My goal when I come in here everyday is to make sure that if someone beats me - its not because they outworked me!" - Layne Norton, Natural Pro.

  23. #23
    Daniel
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    Haven't been able to get onto the computer recently, so here's my lower body session from the other day:

    Squats:

    Bar x 6
    89 x 6
    132 x 6
    154 x 6
    176 x 6
    198 x 6
    209 x 6
    214 x 5 + 2 + 2 + 2 - Didn't quite get the five, but I'm happy with the set.

    Rack Pulls

    Bar x 6
    132 x 6
    176 x 6
    220 x 6
    242 x 6
    264 x 4 - Decided to do the clusters with 242.

    Due to time restraints, I wasn't able to do the curls and calves, but oh well, I got the important lifts in. I'll get them next time.
    Starting weight - 129 lbs
    Current weight - 152 lbs

    HCT-12 Journal

    "My goal when I come in here everyday is to make sure that if someone beats me - its not because they outworked me!" - Layne Norton, Natural Pro.

  24. #24
    Daniel
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    Alright, I'm about to post my entire week of lifting as I've been strapped for computer time.

    Upper Body

    Bench Press
    Bar x 6
    66 x 6
    77 x 6
    89 x 6
    110 x 6
    121 x 6
    127 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 (Very pleased with this).

    Military Press

    Bar x 6
    66 x 6
    77 x 6
    89 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 (I finally managed to get the six reps AND the clusters, so also very pleased with this).

    Close Grip Bench Press

    Bar x 6
    66 x 6
    77 x 6
    89 x 6
    95 x 6
    110 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 (Also a new weight, wow, I'm on a role.)

    Chin-ups - Did the pause reps again which makes thema lot harder. I'm thinking of switching to weighted pull-ups in the next cycle.

    BW x 6
    BW + 6.6 x 6
    BW + 8.8x 6
    BW + 11 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2

    Rows

    Bar x 6
    89 x 6
    110 x 6
    135 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2

    Lower Body and Biceps

    Squats

    Bar x 6
    89 x 6
    135 x 6
    154 x 6
    176 x 6
    198 x 6
    210 x 6
    215 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 - Could barely walk after these.

    Rack Pulls

    Bar x 6
    135 x 6
    176 x 6
    220 x 6
    242 x 6
    253 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2 (The weight killed my palms).

    Curls

    Bar x 6
    39 x 6
    50 x 6
    55 x 6
    70 x 6 + 2 + 2 + 2

    Upper Body - This day was still a decent session, didn't quite live up to the last one, but the last session was just spectacular.

    Bench Press

    Bar x 6
    66 x 6
    89 x 6
    100 x 6
    110 x 6
    121 x 6
    127 x 4 + 2 + 2 + 2 (Really screwed up the set here, but decided to do the clusters with the weight anyway).

    Military Press

    Exact same as last upper body session, had to use a terrible bar for it though, felt heavier than the rest so I don't know if the weights are accurate.

    Close Grip Bench Press

    Same as last time also.

    Chin-ups:

    Build up was the same as last time but the cluster set was done with 16 lbs added to my body.

    Rows:

    Couldn't fit them in unfortunately.

    Well that's my week so far. The best days are always in the weekend, coincidence? I think not. Hopefully I can crack out some more days like the first upper body session of this week. Squats also increased which was brilliant, along with rack pulls.

    By the way guys, feel free to comment on my progress, this journal is started to grow cobwebs so feel free to freshen it out a little.

    Cheers,
    Danny
    Starting weight - 129 lbs
    Current weight - 152 lbs

    HCT-12 Journal

    "My goal when I come in here everyday is to make sure that if someone beats me - its not because they outworked me!" - Layne Norton, Natural Pro.

  25. #25
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    The only thing that took a hit was the bench, but that's common after hitting a PR. Everything else looks like it's making progress in the right direction. Nice work all around.
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