Crazy months. Thing have not settled still. The last week of March I spent in Santa Cruz on a mission trip with my youth trip. No gym, but it was a good change of pace for my training. I was on my feet and moving for 8+ hours a day. The time allowed me to figure out if what I was doing in the gym is actually useful in the really world. It also gave me some time to figure out what I need to work on.
The time out the gym gave my joints and muscles to recover a bit. I did a good bit of stretching; both dynamic and static. My depth for squats has improved; however, my upper body mobility is still lacking- it still much improved compared to even 3 months ago.
My 5×5 norms have stalled quite a bit and it was getting boring. My workout were becoming ridiculously long, many time 2+ hours. My weight stagnated. So it is/was time for something new.
So this is what I am doing- I cut out my auxiliary and complimentary lifts, most of them at least. I have moved back to doing Legs 2 days a week and doing Chest/Back 2 days a week and day dedicated to Deadlift, Cleans, OHP and shrugs.
I have two different leg routines. Monday are strength. Back squats with my hybrid stance. Warm up to 70% of max and work set of 3 reps up to 90% of max. For example, This week my max is 460, warmup set were 8-12 rep @135, 185, 225, 275, and 295. Work sets, 3 reps, were: 320(70%), 345(75%), 370(80%), 390(85%), 415(90%). From here I hope to increase weight each time I work strength. After 3 weeks my top set should be 435 1×3. My assistance work is Farmers walks, lunge or leg press.
Thursday is speed day- I am hammering out details, but it will include back squat at 50-60% 1RM, focused on form and speed. Warmup sets are as Monday; however, work sets are 5×5. Adding front squat movement- Very light weight, trying to increase upper body mobility and lower back stability. Sets are higher reps of 8-10 range focused of form. Assistance is is glute/ham bridges or hip thrusters. Explosiveness and strengthening for getting out of the hole on squats and bottom position of Deadlifts.
For Chest/Back splits, there are two major barbell movements- Press and row. My body is still responding to the 5×5 for flat and incline bench. (I hit 395 for reps a couple weeks ago!) I have started to pull heavier for rows, using 5×5 to build strength, alternating between 45 and 90 degrees. I have add dips to the mix with are more efficient than tricep extensions. I am dropping the cable cross over for the sake of focus on barbell movements.
Saturdays or “dead days” or “Barbell Mania” are 4 barbell movements. Open with deadlift. Warmup are like squat except reps are restricted to 5 or 6 reps opposed to 8-12. Today, when I hit last warmup set, 315, I started to increase my weights by 20lb total and dropped reps to 3. My work set were 335, 355, 375, 395, 415-triples and a single @435. Next was shrugs, 3-4set of 10-12 reps at high weight my grip can take after deads. Next was clean, I prefer hang cleans, but right now all I am working on is form and flexibility in the rack position. Last lift of the day is Over Head Press, standing- 5×5 for strength with a linear progress.
I am focusing on building strength at this point opposed to the more bodybuilding approach I had been taking. I have no desire at this point to put any more mass on. I mean, my waist line has shrunk (good), I have lost some circumference on my legs (saddening). My traps are more visible, and my arms and shoulders pushing me to next shirt size, ie more bicep/tricep growth . My weight has been constant at 230 for the last month, despite the poor eating and time off. I am not weight I want be, but physical I am feeling the best I have in over a year. I am adding in weighted cardio, ie farmer walks, and added jump roping which I find more interesting then running on a treadmill.
Side note, my body stores fat on my lats and under my armpits… and it the last place it leaves. Also, I started to take protein powder because it is eating whole chickens and I was hard up to get enough proteins in my normal food. It has been only a week, but we will see how it go before I sink a bunch of money into it….
-Until next time, lift heavy things and don’t get yourself killed.