deads on weds

Warm up: 5 rounds at 3 min intervals, 7 burpees and 100 single unders

Deltoid front raise
3 x 20 x alternating arms x 8 lb DBS

3 x 6 x 35 lbs KBS

5 x 135 / 3 x 205 / 1 x 275 / 1 x 295 / 1 x 305 / 1 x 315 / 1 x 275 / 1 x 275.
Analysis: total volume 3,030/14 reps/avg 216.

Dips and Chins
3 rounds, 3 min intervals
Dips: 3, 1, 1
Chins: 2, 2, 2

6 rounds at 90 sec intervals
40 meter prowler push + 100 lbs
5 push ups

I’m back!

Monday morning, Happy Memorial Day. Workout 1/12 in new 4 week cycle. First workout back after the procedure. Felt a little weak and rusty today. Body weight: 202. Sleep: pretty good. This week’s diet: excellent so far.


4 rounds: 100 meter run / 20 jumping jacks / 100 meter run / 20 high knees

For the following, I was alternating shoulder rehab sets with squat sets

shoulder rehab

mobility, followed by
external rotations 3 x 8 x each arm x 12 lbs DBs;
press: 3 x 6 x 35 lbs KBs


Squat (HBBS)
5 x 45 / 5 x 95 / 5 x 135 / 3 x 165 / 2 x 195 lbs
1 x 205, 210, 215, 220, 225, 230 (technically a PR, for HBBS)

Chins and Dips

3 rounds (2 x 2 min interval each)
chin ups: 1 x 3, 3, 3
rest remainder of 2 min interval
dips: 1 x 1, 2, 1
rest remainder of 2 min interval


5 rounds @ 180 seconds
Overhead Barbell Box Step Ups (Snatch Grip) x 65 lbs: 12, 12, 6, 0, 0.
200 m run
7 burpees
— The rounds of box step ups were TOO MUCH. This would have been much more doable at 6 reps per round. I did the equivalent of that.

new four week cycle: summer solstice 2012

My new training cycle will be four weeks long, running from May 27th to June 23rd.

The cycle includes the following training and body recomposition goals.

Body Recomposition Goals

At the end of my previous training cycle I got off track with diet, and had a surgical procedure, and ended up flat on my back for a week, eating GORP, and bloating up like a madman. At my peak I had gained 10 lbs from a low that was only three weeks prior! So, the new training cycle is all about tightening up the diet and returning to my goal weight. I started the first day of the cycle at 202 lbs, and will probably end up with an average weight for the week of 199-198 lbs. But my goal is: I will end the four week cycle with an average weight of 195 during that final week. My average waist size and skinfold measure will also decrease, because I will lose fat, not muscle.

The process for doing this reflects my larger motives for training and recomposing my body. Health and longevity are diffuse, but real, long term life goals. So the process incorporates drinking less alcohol (only one day per week!), eating Michael Pollan style (“eat real food, not too much, mostly vegetables”) while still getting my protein, sleeping responsibly, and doing IF. I’ll provide details in my weekly summaries (published Saturday nights).

Training Goals

The training template for this four week cycle is super simple. I am going to focus on doing work with heavy singles on Squat (High Bar, unfortunately), Deadlift, and Power Clean. My medium term goal for the period is to take whatever I can lift in the first week and add 15-20% to that total by the end of the cycle. So, for instance, if I can squat 1 x 230 on Monday of week 1, I’m looking to squat 275 (an all time PR) by week 4. That’s my medium term goals. I’ll discuss these medium term goals in more depth on Saturday of week 1, when I’ve seen what I can do this week.

Also, following Dan John’s advice, I paraphrase, “if it’s important to your development, do it every day,” I will be doing burpees, chin-ups, dips, and presses at every workout. I will also be doing some conditioning at every workout. Those are what Nick Horton would call small goals.

My only relevant long term training goals remain roughly the same as they have since the fall: squat 315 and deadlift 405. I’ve added a few pounds to both goals because, what the hell is the sense of coming so close to three wheels (at 300) or to four wheels (at 400) but not to go all the way? I revised the goals upwards and I believe I can reach them … some day. Those are my long term goals, and I think Nick Horton would approve of them as such, because they still scare me a bit. These long term goals aren’t relevant to a four week training cycle except that my programming has been selected because it may help me progress towards the goal.

The weeks look like this:

MONDAY: warm-up, heavy squat singles, b/p/pu/d, conditioning, and auxiliary optional

WEDNESDAY: warm-up, heavy deadlift singles, b/p/pu/d, conditioning, and auxiliary optional

FRIDAY: warm-up, heavy power clean singles, b/p/pu/d, conditioning, and auxiliary optional


And nothing. That’s the plan! Four weeks. It’s going to fly by.

When I’m done, starting on June 24th, I will take a week between cycles. The next cycle will involve surfing and heavy triples. I know that much. But not much more. So, more on that on July 1st!

the idea of a shorter training cycle

Trial and error. That’s been my training plan and my coach. Really. Because although I have relationships with coaches, and I do a little bit of coaching myself, I just don’t pay anyone else to be my coach or to program for me.

To some ways of thinking, that leaves just me, as coach of myself. But that’s not accurate. Actually, my coach is like a force of nature. I am always trying things out, and often failing to get where I think I’ve planned to go. Because while I always have plans, they rarely work out. I keep making trials, and then wandering off the path in error. Or, I get pushed from the path by random happenstance and accident. I’ve learned to expect this pattern, and even to benefit from it. My coach is thus “trial and error.” He’s relentless. He always says, “do it again.” And he often says, “there is no try, there’s what you did, you’re doing now, and what you’re going to do. That’s all.” So I plan, and I attempt to do X, and do X plus or minus Y, and end up where I end up. It’s important to pay attention to that.

My thinking has changed lately. I’ve rethought the way I go about planning for myself. Over the past three years that I’ve actively pursued “training,” I’ve deliberated with myself about how to periodize my training and how to deal with the inevitable cycles and ups and downs that come when life and training intersect.

I’ve used “training cycles” as defined periods of 8-12 weeks of focused purpose in pursuit of defined goals. But what I’ve found is that a 2-3 month period is just too long. It doesn’t allow for the dynamic nature of life, for the changes that life often brings, without warning. Injuries, illnesses, unplanned events, lapses in discipline, etc.

Experiencing this again and again has taught me something important. It has taught me that I need shorter periods in which to try and remain focused. And so, what I’m thinking now is: I want to try out a year of shorter periods, periods of 3-5 weeks in length.

These shorter training cycles of 3-5 weeks will, I hope, allow me to accommodate life’s shifting forces better in my training. I can choose, ad hoc, to put different cycles back to back, or to repeat the same training cycles, or to add single weeks of rest, conditioning, testing, or rehab between cycles, as needed.

The first of these new, shorter training cycles begins today, Sunday, May 27th, 2012, and continues through Saturday, June 23rd, 2012. It is four weeks long. It will very likely be followed by a week of light conditioning (June 24th to June 30th), and then by a totally different four week cycle while I am in Oregon later this summer (July 1st to July 28th). Another week of light conditioning (July 29th to Aug 4th) will be followed by a third four week cycle (Aug 5th to Sep 1st).

I will discuss, in this blog, each of these periods as they arrive.

a rest week

I’ve not read back through my blog, looking for evidence of the last time I took a true “rest week,” i.e. did not work out or exercise or train in any capacity. I am not sure. Anyway, this one has come along at the right time. I am between training cycles right now. A new, 4 week challenge cycle begins a week from today. I’ll not be posting further this week in this training blog. At least, not about training. No guarantees about anything else. You never know!

I’m going to try and make this week off about R&R so certain elements of my plan are already in effect.

week seven last week wrap up

I decided to end my current eight week cycle one week early, at the end of week 7, and to take the next week as a rest week, not an 8th week or a 1st week, and so not subject to a specific training cycle or plan. A week off.

This recap will look back on the entire mess and see where I’ve come and what I’ve done.

Seven Weeks of “Training”

Training wise this cycle was a bummer. It began on April 1st, and my first day of training was April 2nd. But I injured my back right on the first Monday of week four, on April 23rd. After that I abandoned all the carefully devised plans I had for deadlift and squat and auxiliary lifting, and resorted to light weights, high reps, and short workouts. I am probably weaker in my main lifts after seven weeks of this bullcrap. But I can positively attest to greater shoulder strength and stability and much greater capacity in burpees. So there’s that.

Seven Weeks of “Body Recomposition”

The goal laid out for this training cycle was to establish and maintain an average weight of 195 lbs and to improve skinfold and waist measures at that weight. That did not end up happening. The results were GOOD, though, so it is hard to be angry. My average skinfold measure improved from an average of 10mm in week 1, to an average 8mm in weeks 6 and 7. This means that my overall body fat % went down, which is an unalloyed positive. On the other hand my average weight each week has moved from 196.5 at the first week, to a low of 195.5 in the third week, to a high of 198.0 in the sixth and seventh weeks. So I have gained weight and remain three pounds above my target weight. My average waist measure has not improved. In week I the average was about 36.4″ and in week VI and VII it was about 36.5″. I wish I could bring it down (because that would mean reduction in size of my love handles!) but I haven’t yet.

That’s all I have to say with respect to the end of this training cycle. Out with a whimper.

end of cycle one week early

I had a quick and easy Friday morning workout… doing but little more than a warm up. This was my last workout before a little procedure I would have later this afternoon. Now that I’m recovering from that, I’ll be taking a week off of training, and have a plan worked out for the following training cycle. In fact, it means stopping my current training cycle a week early, and having a true vacation from training … for the first time in months!

ANYWAY I think I knew going into this morning’s workout that, as a final workout in a now seven week training cycle, one in which I had spent over half my time injured, it would be kinda lame. Prophecy fulfilled.

Warm-Up: 4 rounds x 200 meters run + 20 jumping jacks + 20 high knee steps.

Shoulder Rehab: alternating sets of external rotations 3 x 10 x each arm x 10 lbs / shoulder press 3 x 10 x 25 lbs KBs.

Burpees: 5 x 8 @ 60 sec intervals. I.E. 40 more burpees, bringing week’s total to 120.

Chins and Dips: alternating sets Dips: 2, 1, 1 / Chin-Ups: 3, 3, 2 @ 2 minute intervals.

I will share my plans for my rest week and for the next training cycle (starts Sun. May 27) on Sunday.

wednesday beat down

Wednesday morning I almost killed myself! I think. Or, maybe I just worked out hard. I went in with a plan for my “warm-up” … which in retrospect I should have realized would be a killer WOD in itself. I did my plan and then I did the rest, and it was good.

Warm-Up: burpees and prowler pushes on 2 min intervals. Protocol: 5 x 8 burpees alternating sets with 4 x 40 meter prowler push +90 lbs, on a 2 minute interval. Started and ended with burpees, obviously. This was so much more difficult than I thought it would be. I was absolutely spent afterward.

Afterward, I lay down on the floor and suffered for a while. Then did my shoulder rehab work.

Shoulder Rehab: alternating sets of front delt raise: 3 x 10-12 x each arm x 10 lbs DBs / shoulder press: 3 x 11 x 25 lbs KBs.

Romanian Deadlift: 4 x 20 x 85 lbs. This is the third week of this high-rep auxiliary work, which I embarked upon in order to rehab a pulled muscle in my back. It seems to have worked. And it has certainly worked my hams and glutes, too.

So yeah, I didn’t do much today, yet it felt blisteringly hard. Funny how that works.

A note on my “injured” back: the back is basically better. The daily, persistent stiffness and pain that was with me for the first two weeks is gone. I sense that there are weaknesses that may be ongoing, and that it is incumbent upon me to observe the best possible form and to preserve myself from injury by not overdoing volume, etc. I’m not going to be worried about full recovery, though. My week 8 out of 8 has been turned into a rest week because of a minor urological procedure that I’m having done on Friday… and I am quite certain that I’ll be ready to squat and deadlift and powerclean heavier weights during my next cycle, beginning Monday, May 28th.

seventh monday

Sigh. Coming into this seventh week of my eight week cycle “back on track,” but that only means: rededicated to dedication. I have a long ways to go to get to sustainability. Rehab from injury? Check. Known adversaries on the horizon? Gotta get ready. Body Recomposition and Training goals? Still to be attained. This is no time for slacking, or to lose focus, or to lose sight of my vision. Work is work, even in the summer.

Warm-Up: karaoke, etc. floor work

Conditioning: ‘spicy burpees’

5 rounds, 3 min interval

8 burpees

8 ball slam, 15 lbs

8 KB swings, 35 lbs

Rest remainder of round

Shoulder Rehab:

Y/T/I 3 x 3 x 10 x 8 lbs DBs

Press 3 x 11 x 25 lbs KBs

Squat Rehab:

HBBS: 4 x 20 x 85 lbs

The Road Ahead

I didn’t do quite everything I had planned for today, but I’m starting to see my way clear to the other side of the current cycle. I’ll be having a little procedure done later this week (let’s call it private but admit it involves one Dr. Brian Cohen) so I expect NEXT week to be pretty damn light, of necessity.

Therefore, I’m not going to return to heavy lifting until start of week one of my next cycle (which will be just 4 weeks long) and the last “cycle” before I drop out of the “cycle” model during the month of July, which will be all about surfing and having fun. And yes, of course, having fun DOES including lifting weights.

More about all that one week from this coming Sunday, when I post the details of my next cycle and plans for the rest of the summer.

week six recap

Week VI of my 8 week training cycle was… weird. It was finals week, my last week of the term, starting with exams, continuing with grading, and ending with graduation. As a college professor, my life is naturally broken into cycles, and, I need to learn to build my training schedule around them, because, as I saw this week, these kinds of transition periods really hammer my routine and my resolution.

Body Recomposition: My average weight bumped up by two pounds (to 198 lbs) as I ate off plan, abandoned IF, and drank more than I should. And slept less. My waist also balooned (to an average of 36.5″, up by 1/4″). Skinfold remained unchanged (at 8mm). So I was bloated and inflamed, obviously, and not recovering well. I saw a high point of 200 lbs during the week and had only two days at the low, 196. Saturday morning I woke up with a resolution in mind to fast and get myself back on track, which I proceeded to do. So, at least the week ended with my wresting control back from the capricious “id” that had taken control of my behavior.

Training: I’m still nursing that injured back. This makes three full weeks of disrupted training. Not that I didn’t do nothing… as the blog attests. This week actually had an extra training day in it — I completed a swim workout on Tuesday! First in a long time. That was fun. Swimming on Tuesdays will be a regular feature of my week going forward in the weeks ahead. I also had a very active Thursday (doing work around the house and yard); so active, in fact, that my strained back flared up mightily by the evening and was still sore on Friday. I had done some good conditioning during the week, and felt ok about everything, but by Friday I was spent and drained and… that was it. My workout didn’t go far beyond what I call “warm-up” and my “rehab” work.

Starting to look forward to finishing out this current cycle and shifting gears in the next, especially since this particular eight week stretch really didn’t go as planned, what with an “injury” stopping me from heavy lifting during its second half. I have some good thoughts about where I’m going next, though, so, yeah.