Ken's Journal Discussion

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by Jungledoc » Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:40 am

I think this is the best use of the squat pads that they sell that velcro around the bar. This and cushioning the ankles when you use the bar as your anchor for GHRs.
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by KenDowns » Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:41 pm

Couple of notes:

Doc: did the chin-ups as 5 per set, trying to get five all across and made it. So thanks for that simple tip. Next week I'll probably try to make set 3 into 6 and see if I can keep the rest at five.

In other news, this is the second Saturday I've done press and found my legs somewhat sore. I'm taking this as a good sign, I must be tightening up core and legs as you're supposed to.

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by KenDowns » Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:01 pm

I'm halfway through week 3 of 5/3/1, and am thinking to make another attempt at an intermediate version, for many reasons, a few of which I'll put here.

The major thing I like about 5/3/1 is the set/rep/weight scheme itself. It provides variety, which makes it fun and interesting, and the chance to set a rep PR is something I really did not appreciate when I started.

I also like the 4 days/week, though strictly speaking that's not a requirement.

On the downside, as an early intermediate it seems a full week of deload is neither required nor advisable, and doing the major lifts once/week is, I'm convinced, a bad idea (for me at my training age). The only thing that kept me interested this far was putting the major lifts back in, so I do press on bench day, bench on press day, and squats on deadlift day. Only deads seem to really work well once/week.

So this has me reviewing why the first attempt did not work, and what I get is simple, especially when compared to how I'm doing 5/3/1:

1) Just got back from vacation, bad enough, but
2) Did not put in a deload to get back going, and
3) Was doing only 3 days/week, which meant
4) Was doing three heavy lifts/session. That was what got me.

So I simply took what I'm doing on 5/3/1 and realized a couple of things:

1) Not all lifts are equally taxing. If Dead, Bench, Squat and 30 Chins are a "1", then for me Press and Rows and 15 Chins are a "1/2", and deloads and Planks and Curls are a zero, in terms of how taxing they are.

2) Deloads do not all have to happen together. You can deload on one lift while hitting 1+ day on another, to keep some balance. You can also put the deload day in wherever you want. So long as every 4th session is a deload, it can be the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th.

3) I've always done bench and row together, for no other reason than Stronglifts did it that way. Moving those around makes things a lot more flexible.

4) Lifestyle realities make Saturday and Sunday ideal for heavier days

So I came up with this 2 week cycle. Every main lift is done twice/week except deadlifts.

Week 1, Day 1 (Taxing 1.5): Press 5+, Bench Deload, 30 Chins

Week 1, Day 2 (Taxing 1.5): Dead 5+, Squat Deload, Row 5+
On every other cycle Deads are 1+

Week 1, Day 3 (Taxing 2.0): Bench 5+, Press 3+, 15 Chins

Week 1, Day 4 (Taxing 1.5): Squat 5+, Row 3+, Planks, Curls

Week 2, Day 1 (Taxing 2.5): Press 1+, Bench 3+, 30 chins (Heaviest day)

Week 2, Day 2 (Taxing 2.0): Dead 3+, Squat 3+, Rows Deload (2nd heaviest day)
On every other cycle Deads are a deload and this is actually the *lightest* day

Week 2, Day 3 (Taxing 1.5): Bench 1+, Press deload, 15 chins

Week 2, Day 4 (Taxing 1.5): Squat 1+, Row 1+, Planks, Curls

So the days are very well balanced for my own experience of their relative strain, 4 of 8 are the same relative strain, with 3 heavier days.

For what its worth I did the equivalent of the two heaviest days yesterday and today. Those are ok to do on the weekend but I would not want to do them after during the week after work. This is extremely close to how I'm doing 5/3/1 now, except for the obvious placing of deloads throughout the cycle and the compression of the 5/3/1 over 4 days in two weeks, and the absence of a full deload week.

It also occurs to me that special deload weeks can be put in with great flexibility as needed, perhaps after 4 weeks I might want one, or 6, or what I actually hope for, after 8 weeks.

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:26 am

I like the way you come back around to basically designing your own program, using what you learn along the way.

:wink:

I go thru similar, yet less public, thoughts on my program as you. In particular, how often to do the big lifts, and when to intesperse lighter days. I'm also, trying to do a bit of gpp, so that's anothre dimension.

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by KenDowns » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:46 pm

Yeah, it's not so much that I want to write my own, as I want to have a good intermediate. I knew Stronglifts was fine as a beginner, and I know 5/3/1 is waiting for me when I'm more advanced. But I haven't found anything for the intermediate.

I guess the best advice you tend to hear around here is "Find out what works for you."

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by Proper Knob » Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:33 pm

KenDowns wrote:But I haven't found anything for the intermediate.
Texas Method or Madow?

I can't help but think Ken that benching and pressing on the same day is going to hinder each lift, depending on which one you do first. Why not deadlift and press one day then squat and bench the next?
What if the Hokey Cokey really IS what it's all about?

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by KenDowns » Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:22 pm

Proper Knob wrote:
KenDowns wrote:But I haven't found anything for the intermediate.
Texas Method or Madow?

I can't help but think Ken that benching and pressing on the same day is going to hinder each lift, depending on which one you do first. Why not deadlift and press one day then squat and bench the next?
I guess I should have said, "I haven't found anything I like." I don't want to beat up on madcow or TM, but they both de-emphasize press, not to my liking.

For Press and Bench, I'm thinking it will work out. There are 4 days that do both. On two of those days one of the lifts is a deload day, so I don't think we have to worry there. On the other two days they "take turns" going first. I'm simply going to observe how that works.

For what it's worth, I've used week 3 of 5/3/1 to try this out -- and actually go more intense than my intended program will be. Saturday after Press 1+ I did Bench 1+ and it did not suffer, then yesterday I did all-out 1+ Squat after all-out 1+ deadlift. Tomorrow I will repeat Bench 1+ and then follow with a repeat of Press 1+. This is more intense than the intended program will be, and if it doesn't kill me it will seal my decision to try it for a few cycles.

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by Jungledoc » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:18 pm

Ken, I think you miss the idea of deload. You can rest a body part on a day you work another body part (this is, after all, the whole point of body splits), but that's not deload. Deload is rest (even active rest) for the whole body, including the CNS. If you don't need to deload every 4th week, then do it every 5th or 6th. If you don't need to deload for a whole week, just take a couple of workouts off. But just giving your posterior chain a break on a particular work-out day isn't deload.

My workouts are inevitably interrupted by the realities of my life, which is somewhat unpredictable. I don't lift when I'm on call. The day after call I may be fine, but if I've been up all night, I don't lift. I take all missed workout days into consideration and adjust deload accordingly. If I've had several missed days lately, I may only take one workout as deload. Lately I rarely take more than 2 or 3, even if there have been no missed days. But if I don't do some kind of real deload, I start wearing out.
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by KenDowns » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:35 am

Doc, you've hit a real point that deload (in the sense of active recovery) is new to my experience. In Stronglifts you don't deload at all in this sense, unless you count that it's only 3 days/week so you get those 2 days. Therefore my book learning is somewhat ahead of my experience and therefore harder to apply.

In Madcow, which is advertised as intermediate, deload as active recovery is only a shadow of what it becomes in something like 5/3/1. A real active rest exists only for squats. There is none for deads or press. For bench and row the exercises are just skipped -- is that serving as deload? I'm just noticing that in programs advertised as intermediate (TM as well) deload is beginning to appear, but not in its full glory that you get in programs advertised as advanced.

I also wonder how much deload as active rest is made necessary by intensity. 5/3/1 takes you up to 95%, while SL, Madcow and TM all stick to what you can do for 5 reps. Many moons ago I asked about 1RM attempts and you pointed out they tend to take a lot out of you, and some rest is necessary afterwards. I wonder how much the deload is made necessary by the intensity.

You've given me a key item to think about. I like your point that you deload as required for your own case.

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by KenDowns » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:39 am

Jungledoc wrote:My workouts are inevitably interrupted by the realities of my life, which is somewhat unpredictable. I don't lift when I'm on call.
Do you mean in-hospital like residents do here in the US, or phone calls "my baby has a fever?"

Funny story regarding the phone-call variety of on-call. After Traci was in practice for a few years, we had a dinner for a colleague, and I'm sitting at a table surrounded by doctors. At one point I was engaged in conversation with somebody when I realized they wanted my attention. They had a question, "Ken, you've been married to a doctor for a few years, do you think you could do her job?" I thought about it and answered with complete honesty, "I suppose I could take call. 'How much does the baby weigh? We treat the child not the number. Give the baby some Motrin and call the office in the morning for an appointment.'"

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by Jungledoc » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:23 am

We don't stay in the hospital, but we all live within a 3 or 4 minute walk. We cover both the inpatients, the maternity deck and the ER when we're on.
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by KenDowns » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:02 am

The only thing that scared me about 5/3/1 was falling behind on Press and Bench by doing them only once/week. In the first week everything but dead felt stiff and unpracticed. Very worrying.

Tried two variations to fix this, and both worked. One week I did 3x8 on Press on Bench day and vice-versa. Second week (this week) I did the complete 5/3/1 of bench after press on press day, and vice-versa. This week's experiment was also aimed at deciding once and for all if I would continue with 5/3/1 or do a self-programmed intermediate 2 week cycle doing 2 lifts/day + maybe one accessory.

Result: the doubling up of major lifts is definitely producing an accumulating fatigue. Guess maybe I'm more advanced than I thought. :smile: Doing it over complete 2 week cycles, cycle after cycle will not work, at least not for me.

Conclusion: I'll stick with 5/3/1 for the long haul, I'm now a 5/3/1 enthusiast. The plan is to stay consistent with volume work for Press on Bench day, volume bench on press day, and so on. This leaves one or two slots for accessories, so I can keep it simple and take advantage of the program.

One final thought about "over-thinking" as some call the process of working through alternatives and experimenting: once a conclusion is reached, it's a firm one. The entire purpose is of course to come to a firm decision.

Tomorrow is last day of first 3 weeks of 5/3/1, very good experience over all.

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:52 am

2 weeks of data leads to firm decision.

I like you, I do, I just tease

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by Proper Knob » Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:04 pm

A suggestion for you Ken, put a single leg exercise in, ie. DB Bulgarian Split Squats or Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats as they seem to be called now.

3 sets of 8 - 12 reps on Deadlift day. That way you won't be worrying about not squatting only once a week.
What if the Hokey Cokey really IS what it's all about?

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Re: Ken's Journal Discussion

Post by KenDowns » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:01 pm

Today we learned for real what I have begun to suspect: Matt is a top notch spotter. Or perhaps the word is coach, or training partner. But anyway...

Since I started 5/3/1 he's been spotting my deadlifts and telling me to stop, usually when I think I have at least two left. Once he sees my upper back round he calls the set, even if I can't feel it.

So naturally I'm wondering, if I just concentrate harder, can I bang out one more? Today we found the answer, which is no.

I told him I wanted six squats at 220# no matter what, so he backed off the coaching, and I "scrunched" my lower back on rep #6. His fateful words just before I went into the hole, "I'll let you do another one." Nothing major, but I skipped the volume work and the hip thrusts, and I figure I'll have some discomfort for maybe 24 hours.

We decided Matt's quite good at this and we'll trust his instincts and let him call a set when he sees bad form.

Funny thing he said though. "Ken, you only needed 1 on the top set right? Well your first one was perfect, so you did get the one." That put us in a good humor about the whole thing.

Saturday begins deload week.

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