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John W's Training Journal Discussions

Posted: Thu May 11, 2006 10:57 pm
by jeffrerr
Hey guys almost ready for my second phase to kick in. I plan on going onto this 3 day split routine after next week:

Back & Abs:
Crunches (1 set to failure)
Close Grip Chin Ups
DB Rows
Wide Grip Pull Downs
Seated Rows

Chest, Shoulders & Abs:
Knee Raises (1 set to failure)
Machine Bench Press
DB Press on Fit Ball
Incline Bench Press
Smith Machine Military Press
DB Lateral Raises
Upright Rows

Legs, Arms & Abs:
Jack Knife Crunch (1 set to failure)
45° Leg Press
Romanian Deadlift
Calf Raises
Hammer Curls
Tri Cep Pushdowns
EZ Bar Curls
Skull Crushers

Off Days and Weekends:
Abs and Cardio:
Fit Ball Routine
Bike Ride (18km per day)
Stationary bike 60 minutes (10 Push ups every 10 minutes)

On Days
Bike Ride (18km per day)
Stationary Bike 60 minutes (10 push ups every 10 minutes)

Any ideas or concerns on the plan?

In other news I'm about a month away form a new Garage and it will house a home made squat/bench press/incline press/military press/deadlift/olympic lifts rack! I've got a design I found on another forum to use, I just need an adjustable bench and some weights!

Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:57 am
by TimD
Just saw what you called your "rant". Very creative. Done as a circuit, with little rest, it could well help you on your way to your goal. Good job. O'm going to cut and paste and throw the coke bottle filled with water in shoppng bag thing at people that complain of no equipment. Also consider pushups between chair to allow more ROM, burpees, split and overhead squats with a broomstick and inverted rows. All very useful.

Posted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:08 am
by jeffrerr
Thanks Tim!

I'm living in a town called Dundee in Scotland and it's really hard to find a gym that has a good enough equipment to price ratio! They're highly overpriced for what's there let me tell you! Also the cheapest DB's I've come across are [1 million dollars].99 ($73 USD) for two handles and 20kg of weight, not good value at all!

Not real keen on the burpees as I've got neighbours below, but they had crossed my mind! Thanks for the other suggestions though, they had not come to mind! I did do it as a circuit with a 4 minute break in between sets. The idea is to increase reps and sets to 15 x 4 before I add more weight to the bags (saving the bottles already, lol) and for this to be more of a "Getting ready for the gym!" program more than anything.

Anyway I also tried another 'bottle of water' trick last night, we're living on the 5th floor of a "5 story" building and the laundry room is about 50m from our block. So I put 3 of the bottles in my backpack and put it on each time I went up and down the stairs. As it's an odd building it's actually only 6 flights of 7 stairs, but I did it 5 times so that’s 210 stairs with roughly 7.5kg on my back, the legs are feeling it today even though it's only a mild work out! The plan is to do the circuit Monday Wednesday and Friday with changes in the exercises (adding some you mentioned above now) so I don't get bored and doing the "Laundry Legs" Tuesday and Wednesday. Don't really have that much laundry so it will be for other things too, shopping and such, instead of bringing up a huge handful of bags from the car just grab one in each hand and the backpack. Just trying to use anything I can at the moment really, even though about offering the wife a piggyback up the stairs now and then but she's not keen, lol!

Posted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:54 am
by ironmaiden708
In other news I'm about a month away form a new Garage and it will house a home made squat/bench press/incline press/military press/deadlift/olympic lifts rack! I've got a design I found on another forum to use, I just need an adjustable bench and some weights!
Is that thing safe?

Posted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:02 am
by jeffrerr
Never got built! I still have all the steel for it but after the elbow break I took a whole lot of time off from the gym until the following November, by that time it was summer again so no need to work out at home!

But yeah it will be safe, I threw away the design I found and the new one my friend drew up will be made from 3mm steel from old telephone exchange racks, welded by a qualified engineer and dyna bolted to a 20 foot by 20 foot slab of concrete! However it is in Australia and I am in Scotland so it won't be happening for a while!

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:28 pm
by jeffrerr
Hi Tim,

had another suggestion in a different post about Squat Altenatives so I've gone withe split squats, unweighted until I learn the technique properly! Also I changed the order in which I am doing things, but may need to move push ups closer to the start, but I felt happy with the flow other than that. And I'll try them between chairs once they're getting a little easier!

Thanks again for your help!


Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:04 pm
by TimD
Split squats are great. As are overhead squats, and not much weight is really necessary.For warm ups, you might want to find a 7 ft or longer wrecking bar. Might be somefloating around, and try the split squats with the bar held overhead. I think KPJ calls it a Warrior Stretch, but we use to do split cleans and snatches, and it's just the recovery part of a split snatch. Seeing as you're just more or less easing back into condition, a 7-10 KG bar would probably be plenty, and the added benefits are the stabiliztion benefits of both the trunk and shoulder gitdle areas. Also can be done as an oerhead squat, in fact I use both with my wrecking bar for a general warm up or on off days as some type of dynamic stretching.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:44 am
by jeffrerr
So I had some time up my sleeve today and I decide to fathom a work out plan for when I get back to my gym in Australia in December. Here it is and I'll explain my reasoning at the end:

Workout A: Chest & Back
·Specific Warm Up
·Chest (General): Bench Press (Smith)
·Back (Lats): Front Pull Down
·Chest (Upper): Incline Bench Press (DB)
·Back (General): Wide Grip Straight Back Row
·Chest (General): Decline Bench Press (DB)
·Back General: Bent Over Row (DB)
·Trapezius (Upper): Shrug (Smith)

Workout B: Legs
·Specific Warm Up
·Quadriceps: Squat (Smith)
·Hamstrings: Straight Leg Dead Lift (Ezy Bar)
·Quadriceps: Split Squat (DB)
·Hamstrings: Standing Leg Curl (Lever)
·Calves (General): Standing Calf Raise (Smith)
·Hip Flexors: Hanging Leg Raise (unweighted)
·Abdominal: Push Crunch (Flat moving to Decline)
·Obliques: Broom Stick Twist

Workout C: Shoulders & Arms
·Specific Warm Up
·Deltoid (Front): Arnold Press (DB)
·Deltoid (Side): Up Right Row (DB)
·Deltoid (Rear): Rear Delt Row (DB)
·Triceps: Tricep Extension (DB)
·Biceps: Curl (Ezy Bar)
·Triceps: Pushdowns (Cable)
·Brachialis: Preacher Curl (Cable)
·Brachioradialis: Hammer Curl (DB)

The plan is to start off with A on Monday, B on Wednesday and C on Friday to give my body time to get used to it and recover. Then once I feel my body's ready I'll step it up to 3 on 1 off. I feel that the current routine I'm doing at home will get my body geared up for this work out over the next few months, keeping in mind I'll be travelling around Morocco and Egypt for the last fortnight of November. Also I've not mentioned a cardio based warm up as I will be cycling about 20 minutes to get to the gym then cycling home. Also I will be Super Setting sopme exercises to maximise my time in the gym, but I have not yet decided what to put together. I will be aiming for a 10-12x3 rep to set ratio with 60% to 80% of 1 rep max, depending on the usual factors of motivation, fatigue and cycle (M,W,F or 3 on 1 off). Also you may note the use of a smith machine, it's due to the limited facilities of the gym I go to, but it's cheap and I can improvise! You will also notice that most exercises done on the Smith Machine for a compound exercise I've tried to get an auxilary exercise in with a BB or DBs to activate the stabiliser muscles.

If I can get my motivation to stick adn stay commited then I will fork out the cash to move to a more versatile gym, the downside of the move is I can't go in anytime I want. The gym I will be using has 24/7 swipe card access, so I'd be better of in terms of time limitations but worse off in terms of equipment by staying! It's a tuff decision that I'll make a few months after getting back!

Any suggestions about areas that may be lacking or over worked are welcome!

Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:54 am
by jeffrerr
Scrap the last post, I've decided to go for the Madcow 5x5 instead! I'm going to need to work out 5RM first but it looks like it's exactly what I want, especially building leg strength! I'll be starting it around the 1st week of December! Until then it's the Full body 2 to 3 times a week to get ready!


Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:01 am
by pdellorto
If you're not sure of what your 5RM is, just spend the first workout finding it. Just warmup with the bar, then add a tad more weight and do 5 reps, add more, do 5 more, etc. until you reach the point you can't do 5 reps in good form. That's your 5RM. Done! That's how Mark Rippetoe suggests finding your initial 5RM in Starting Strength.

It's also similar to the "work up" sets in Joe DeFranco's WS4SB3 routine - you do single sets of your goal reps, adding more weight each time until you get to where you want to work. Then either you set a new PR (a new 1RM, 3RM, 5RM) or you get to a sub-maximal work load and do a few sets across at that weight (2x5, 3x5, 3x3, whatever). Either way you don't need to know your max for that lift, or even for that lift for that day, because you'll find out what it is as you go.

The other alternative the approach you'll find in, say, the Stronglifts 5 x 5, which is to start with the empty bar initially. It'll waste some time if you can already lift a fair amount of weight and you already had some time off from lifting. But it'll work.

In any case, that all beats trying to guess your 5RM or use one of those rep calculators. They are useful but they can predict the wrong weight pretty easily. It's better to spend a workout or three getting the weights right!

Hope that helps,


Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:15 am
by jeffrerr
Thanks for the tips Peter!

I'm just waiting to get to a gym, that's the only reason I have to wait to calculate the 5RM! Plus I'd like to have a training partner so I can give it a real go not skimp out through fear of dropping the weight etc!

I've been in contact with an old training partner/best friend and we're both gonna sign up to the same gym and get back into it! I use to be the one who mae him work to catch me, but the tables will have turned now as he's been working out far more regularly than me over the past 5 or 6 years since we last trained together!

The other problem I'm facing is that the really, really, super cheap gym I was going to sign up with really doesn't have free weights for Squats or Bench Press, only a smith machine. So I think I need to look at another option as Madcow is pretty dead set against the use of a Smith Machine in some threads he's linked to for the 5x5 on his site! But I can at least start on the Smith until I find a better/more varied gym I guess!

Thanks again!


Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:28 am
by pdellorto
You're welcome.

I've never used a Smith machine. I was lucky enough to lift at home, or at private gyms that had pretty much barbells and dumbbells and that's it. But basically every serious weight coach is opposed to the Smith machine. You can use it, but I think you're better off paying more for the better gym and just starting out right.

Go find a mirror, take a look at your body and tell yourself - "This is not the place to save money." Shop for discount food, discount clothes, discount gas, don't stint on the gear you need to lift properly...and that's going to be a good rack and a barbell.

Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:08 pm
by jeffrerr
Trust me I know what I need for my home gym, I've even had it ordered at one point! Tell my wife it's worth the money for me though! lol!

There is a chance I could go back to my old College Gym for not a lot more than I pay, but the gym times are very limited! The next level of gym is just such a huge leao in cost, I think a home gym set up would be much better! I estimate it would cost me about $300 Australian to get everything I need for olympics lifts, bench press and a pair of adjustable DB's, but it's a lot ot fork out all at once. I think I'll stick to the cheap gym and buy a few plates here and there, then the BB and DBs. I already have a Bench Press bench/Incline bench that is good quality and had leg extension/cur attachment I'll never use and I've got the steel to get my squat rack made up when I get back and my mother-in-law works at a carpet shop that can get me industrial rubber matting very cheap (makes buying plates cheaper as I can go for semi-rubber instead of full olympic rubber plates). It's all there and planned, but $3.30 a week as opposed to a $300 lay out all at once is just more enticing to the purse holder! Not to mention I have a terrible habit of being a weekend warrior and loosing focus far too quickly! If I stick with it for 6 months and start to show some noticable results I'm sure she'll be much more willing to part with the $s!

Posted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:33 am
by jeffrerr
I like having time to prepare, but I keep changing my mind! I'm now thinking that I may work up the Madcow adaption of Bill Starr's 5x5 using The Original Starting Strength Novice Program. My reasoning is that this includes learning the lifts again and I think that i need to make sure my form is correct before going on an all out assault on my body! So my current thought is The Original Starting Strength Novice Program starting the 1st week of December and taking my time to get the lifts perfect, increasing flexibility and correcting any issues with technique, then move on to the 5x5 in 10 to 12 weeks.

I also want to have my nutrition down to routine before I go too hard too, so the learning phase will help with that too! This week has been easy for the diet as I have no out of work factors like family, friends, dogs, cat or sports to take on here in Scotland. My main concern is laziness when I start to get the input of more stress factors when i return to Australia, so I need to use the next 2.5 months to really re-inforce just how easy it is to take 30 minutes a night to prepare lunch for the next day and how rewarding it will be when I can go to clothes shops and not get irritated that they don't stock XXL in the shirt I like or size 40's in the jeans I want! I'm hoping to get to a L or XL top and 36 or 38 jeans by April 09!

What I might do is add some 'before' pics to myspace and link them here. Then you guys can see what I'm working with and maybe I'll update each month! I'll also try to get some measurements done too! I know i'm 120kg (265lbs), I've got a roughly 122cm (48in) chest, I'm 182cm (6ft) tall and I'm approx. 32% body fat, but I'd like to be a LOT more detailed obviously, with chest, waist, hip, bicep, thigh and calf measurements and a more precise body fat%!

To be honest, even if no one reads this, it's still good to write it down! Almost like Fat Therapy! lol


Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:58 am
by brook011
Hi Jeff, just figured I would chime in here and give my two cents. I used to be obese " 290ish lbs @ 6'2" " and no matter what you really do, it's going to help you lose weight. I'll be honest with you, you probably already have alot of muscle underneath your fat "takes alot of muscle to keep yourself up/moving" , and I would figure focusing on cardio for at least 30 minutes of each workout. My guess is that you're eating properly, which if you're eating properly, you're eating to lose fat, which is going to minimize your strength gains beyond what a newcomer is going to see in the gym. "Gotta eat more than you use so your body can put it to reconstructing/building muscle". If you want to improve definition, I would move to using that eliptical trainer you're using as and start doing some interval training "HIIT". It'll help you lose weight, and because the high intensity bouts of 30-60 seconds can be anerobic, it will help you build some definition. And its the fastest way to burn calories, next to running.