This week definitely proved to be somewhat mentally challenging and relieving. Late in the week, I had to let my training partner go. Now I'm flying solo for the contest preparation. It's kind of a bad thing in that I have no spotter for the heavy lifts, but at the same time, it's a good thing because now I don't have to wait to train, I can go as I please. The spotter issue was resolved by the help of my dad and my roommate, so that's one less thing to worry about. I feel like I'm a little ahead of schedule for the upcoming contest. I'm right at six weeks out on Saturday, so it's getting pretty serious at this point.
Sunday, 5/19/02 - Chest
My legs are still in a lot of pain today. This time, my quads aren't as sore as they were last time, but trust me, they are plenty sore. I'm going to have to start increasing the intensity because I think that my quads may be adapting to the workout. I'm pretty excited about this workout because last week was our first week of doing flat barbell press, so this week, I should be a lot stronger!
First up, after the warm-up, was flat barbell bench press. I did my first warm-up set with 135 lbs. for a set of 15 easy reps. Next, I went with 185 lbs. and then 225 lbs. for sets of 8 and 10 reps, respectively. So far, the weight felt really light! For the fourth warm-up set, I increased up to 275 lbs. for a set of 4 solid reps. That set was just to get a feel for heavier weight before I made the jump to 315 lbs. The set with 315 lbs. was for 8 pretty light reps. Since I got that many reps, I decided to go with 335 lbs. which I got 6 times. This was definitely an improvement from last week!
The following exercise was flat dumbbell presses. I started here with 115 lb. dumbbells for a set of 11 reps. I just missed that 12th rep, but I had enough to go up to 120 lb. dumbbells. At that weight, I did a set of 9 reps. Finally, for the work set, I grabbed a pair of 125's and got those 6 times. That was some heavy-ass weight, but I kept my form strict and pushed for all I was worth. The third exercise was flat flyes using the cables. This was a little different than using dumbbells and proved a bit more challenging since the resistance was constant throughout the set. I started with 60 lbs. and did a set of 15 reps. Like I said, using the cables was more challenging, I needed some help completing that set. For the work set, I set the weight at 80 lbs. and pumped out a set of 8. My chest was full of blood at this point; what a pump!
Next on the agenda were incline barbell presses. This was going to be rough considering what we had done up to this point. I started out with 205 lbs. and couldn't feel anything for the whole set. I could feel the weight, but I was so fatigued that it actually felt like I was pulling down on the weight! The next set was a little better now that I was used to the movement. I did 225 lbs. for a set of 6 tough reps. From there, we went back to the cables and did incline cable flyes. Again, I started out at 60 lbs. for a set of 12 reps this time. Just like on flat flyes, I went up to 80 lbs., but this time, I got a set of 10 reps. To end this seemingly endless workout, we stayed put for standing cable crossovers. I started out with 70 lbs., and couldn't feel anything at all during the set of 15 reps. I was just squeezing and hoping that the weight was moving, which it was, thankfully. The last set of the workout was with 90 lbs. (same as last week); I got that for a set of 10 reps.
- Flat Barbell Bench Press: 135 x 15, 185 x 8, 225 x 10, 275 x 4, 315 x 8, 335 x 6
- Flat Dumbbell Bench Press: 115 x 11, 120 x 9, 125 x 6
- Flat Cable Flyes: 60 x 15, 80 x 8
- Incline Barbell Press: 205 x 9, 225 x 6
- Incline Cable Flyes: 60 x 12, 80 x 10
- Cable Crossovers: 70 x 15, 90 x 10
The soreness in my quads is slowly waning, but the soreness in my chest is quickly growing!! I really put a hurting on myself this time with the increased weight and cables in place of dumbbells on the flyes. Today's workout was a good one. These marathon back workouts seem endless!
I started off with the 5 minute warm-up on the bike and then made my way over to the pull-up bar. I did two quick and easy sets of 15 and then 10 reps. My back was already pumped, and I hadn't even done anything yet. The final set was done using a 45 lb. plate, and I did that 10 times. Although the last two reps were pretty much characterized by me fighting the negative, I still kept strict form. From there, we went with the usual, bent-over rows. We loaded on 135 lbs. for a warm-up set of 15 reps, no problem. Next, I did 185 for another light set of 10 reps. I went up again to 225 lbs. for the next set, and got it 10 times. Still feeling strong, I went up to 275 lbs. for a set of 10 work reps. Wow, that was heavy as hell, and it's time for a drop set! I dropped down to 185 lbs. again and failed on the 20th rep.
Seated Rows was the next exercise, and I began at 140 lbs. for a set of 12 pretty tough reps. I made a small jump for my next set to 160 lbs. and got it for a set of 10. Following that exercise, we went to the cable pulldown for some curl-grip front pulldowns. Here, I went with 140 lbs. and pulled for a set of 15. My back was almost toast already! My work set was done for a set of 8 at 150 lbs. We left that exercise and found the T-Bar, loaded on 180 lbs. and went to work. I did my first set at that weight for 15 easy reps. Since I did feel strong, I loaded one more plate to make it 225 lbs., and I got it 8 times. The most important thing here is: no matter how heavy the weight is, keep your back arched, look up, and pull with the elbows!
After unloading the weight on the T-Bar, we returned to the cable pulldown, this time for basic front pulldowns. I chose 120 lbs. for my first set and got it 15 times. These 15 rep sets late in the workout were brutal! Although I did do that weight 15 times, my back really fatigued afterwards. As a result, I went up to 140 lbs. and only got 9 reps out of it. Now for the show-stopper, deadlifts. What a mental uppercut! The warm-up weight was 225 lbs., which I got for 10 easy reps. Going up by the plate, I did 315 lbs. for my second set for 6 reps. After debating on what weight to use, we settled for 365 lbs. I did that weight for one set of 10 reps. Believe me when I say, I was more than ready to go to the house after that workout!
- Pullups: 15, 10, 45 x 10
- Bent-Over Rows: 135 x 15, 185 x 10, 225 x 10, 275 x 10, 185 x 20
- Seated Rows: 140 x 12, 160 x 10
- Curl-Grip Pulldowns: 140 x 15, 150 x 8
- T-Bar Rows: 180 x 15, 225 x 8
- Front Pulldowns: 120 x 15, 140 x 9
- Deadlifts: 225 x 10, 315 x 6, 365 x 10
Yep, my back was feeling the repercussions after yesterday's workout. My chest was still in pain on top of that. I took it pretty easy today, eating pretty clean. I basically watched TV and remained relatively worthless all day.
Wednesday, 5/22/02 - Shoulders and Calves
I feel great today after resting all day yesterday. I ate well and carb loaded for today's fiasco. I still had some soreness in my back, my chest had minimal soreness, and my quads were pretty much good to go. Today was a pretty lengthy one, but a good one nonetheless. My training partner being 15 minutes late (as usual) did not make the workout any shorter.
First, after the warm-up, was side dumbbell lateral raises. I grabbed a couple of 15's and went to work, knocking out 15 easy reps. Next, I went up to 20's and got another 15 reps with that weight. Finally, for the last warm-up set, I did a pair of 25's for a set of 10 reps. We racked those dumbbells and went across the gym for military press. My shoulders were moderately warmed up, so I chose to start out at 135 lbs. for a set of 12 reps. That was really easy, so I jumped up to 185 lbs. and got it 10 times. My shoulders were definitely warm-up at this point and I had a great pump going. For the final set, I went up to 215 lbs. and got 8 solid reps. Next was the killer, triple drop sets for side lateral raises. We had three pairs of dumbbells, 20's, 15's, and 10's. We did a total of two full rounds, not resting at all after using each pair of dumbbells. Each round consisted of 10 reps at each weight for a total of 30 reps per round. After that episode, my delts felt like they were going to pop.
From there, we made our way to the T-bar for rear delt work using dumbbells. I grabbed a pair of 40's (not the drink) and knocked out 15 solid reps. My shoulders were feeling great after the drop sets. Next, I went up to 45's and got another 15 reps. The same went for the next set using 50's. For the final set of this exercise, I went with 55's for a set of 12 reps. What a pump, that last set really did me in. Next, we walked over to the machine shoulder press so we could prolong this awesome pump. First off, I started at 180 lbs. for a set of 12 reps. Since I got that many reps, I put on the whole stack of 200 lbs. and got a set of 10 challenging reps. This is such a good exercise, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good exercise late in the workout. To end the delt aspect, I grabbed a pair of 30 lb. dumbbells and did front raises. My first set was for 10 good reps. I could have gotten more, but I had to save what little energy I had left for my work set. I did my final set using 40's for another set of 10 reps. Moving from the delt region to traps, we lugged a pair of 100 lb. dumbbells and rested them on a flat bench. We were now doing dumbbell shrugs. Here, did three sets of 15 reps and stayed with 100's for all three sets.
Now, for calves. Calf training has dipped a little, now that my form is much better, I am getting more bang for my buck. I started, as always, with standing calf raise using only bodyweight for resistance. I did two quick sets of 20 reps, stretching after both sets. Next, I went over to the seated calf raise and loaded on 135 lbs. At that weight, I did a set of 20 easy reps. Next, I went up to 185 lbs. for another set of 20 reps. My peak weight was 225, and I did that for two sets of 20 reps. Although I had a pump after the warm-up, my calves were feeling really pumped after doing seated calf raises. Up next was calf raise on the leg press machine. Here, I started with 315 and got a set of 20 reps. I kept knocking out sets of 20 reps with 405 and 495 lbs. For my final set, I got 15 reps with 585 lbs. What a workout, I'm ready for a nap now!
- Side Lateral Raises: 15 x 15, 20 x 15, 25 x 10
- Military Press: 135 x 12, 185 x 10, 215 x 8
- Triple Drop Sets w/ Side Lateral Raises: 20, 15, 10 x 10, 20, 15, 10 x 10
- T-Bar Rear Delts: 40 x 15, 45 x 15, 50 x 15, 55 x 12
- Machine Shoulder Press: 180 x 12, 200 x 10
- Front Dumbbell Raise: 30 x 10, 40 x 10
- Dumbbell Shrugs: 100 x 15, 100 x 15, 100 x 15
- Standing Calf Raise: 20, 20
- Seated Calf Raise: 135 x 20, 185 x 20, 225 x 20, 225 x 20
- Leg Press Calf Raise: 315 x 20, 405 x 20, 495 x 20, 585 x 15
For reasons beyond my knowledge, my training partner skipped out on today's workout; that was a first. Since I wasn't called before the workout and told this, I waited around for 30 minutes and then got to work. Although this threw a mental wrench into the beginning of the workout, I put it out of my mind and focused on what needed to get done.
I started out with lying leg curls with feet apart after the bike warm-up and stretching. My first warm-up set was with 60 lbs. for a set of 15 reps. From there, I went up to 100 lbs. for 15 more reps. After stretching a little more, I went with 130 lbs. for a set of 15 reps. Next, I went up to 180 lbs. and did one more set of 15 reps. I still felt pretty strong, so I loaded the stack (200 lbs.) and got 12 reps. For my final set, I stacked on some spare weight to make my ending weight 210 lbs. and I knocked out 12 more reps. Already, my hams were feeling numb, and it was all that I could do to squeeze towards the end of my last set.
After the leg curls, I went over to the platform and loaded on 135 lbs. for straight leg deadlifts. My first set was for 15 easy reps. I jumped up to 225 lbs. for the next set of 10 reps. Finally, I topped out at 315 lbs. where I got a set of 12 reps and then a set of 10 reps. I could have gotten one set of 15 like I had been doing, but I thought it would be better to keep my form and get two sets instead. Also, I felt like I could go heavier, but I really want to watch my form and emphasis on my lower back, so I stayed lighter instead.
To end this workout, I went into another weight room for uni-leg curl. This is the first time in a long time that I've been able to do these. The other weight room is usually closed. For my first set, I put a 35 lb. plate on each side, to make the total 70 lbs. and did it 15 times. I went up to 140 lbs. for my second set and failed at 12 reps. I still felt like I had something left in my hamstrings for one more set. I loaded on more weight to make my final set at 210 lbs. for 8 reps.
- Lying Leg Curl (feet apart): 60 x 15, 100 x 15, 130 x 10, 180 x 15, 200 x 12, 210 x 12
- Straight-Leg Deadlifts: 135 x 15, 225 x 10, 315 x 12, 315 x 10
- Uni-Leg Curl: 70 x 15, 140 x 12, 210 x 8
Well, I let my workout partner go this morning and told him that I was going to complete precontest training on my own. I can't just sit around waiting on someone who may or may not show up to a workout. Unfortunately, I didn't have a spot today so my weight suffered. As a result, I took less time during my rest periods so that the intensity would still be high. Yesterday, I did have a spot, and was able to go as heavy as I normally do.
I started out doing standing barbell curls for a warm-up. I started out really light, 40 lbs. for a set of 15 reps. Next, I went up a small bit to 50 lbs. and did another set of 15 reps. I had a small pump, but more importantly, I was good and warmed up. My first real exercise was barbell preacher curl. I started out with 70 lbs. and did a set of 12 reps. I could already tell that my workout was going to suffer a little bit because this exercise really requires a spot in order to really get the needed effects. From there, I went up to 80 lbs. and did two sets of 8 reps. I told you, my weight really suffered this workout, but I was moving quick to make up for that. Next, I stayed at the preacher bench and did dumbbell preacher curls. I went with a 30 lb. dumbbell for my first set of 10 reps. For my second set, I grabbed a 40 and did 8 reps at that weight.
The next exercise that I did was standing alternating dumbbell curls. I started with a pair of 40's and curled that 9 times. From there, I went up to 45's and got a set of 8 solid reps. Please note also that while I didn't have a partner there, I was still going to positive failure, every set. Following that exercise, I did a really good exercise that I hadn't done in a while, incline hammer dumbbell curls. I started out and ended with a pair of 35's. With that weight, I did two sets of 8 reps. My biceps, believe it or not, were really pumped, and I was having a great workout. I ended this half of the workout with reverse curls using a straight bar. Form is very important here, so don't overlook that just because you are working a smaller muscle group. I did my first set using 40 lbs. for a set of 15 easy reps. I did my final set with 50 lbs. for another set of 15 reps. My forearms and biceps were both blitzed and I was ready to move onto triceps.
I never felt like my former training partner and I had worked triceps thoroughly enough, so I stepped up a bit for my workout. I started out doing dips, like normal, for two sets of 15 reps. Then I did close-grip bench press, starting out with 185 lbs. for a set of 10 reps. Next, I increased up to 225 lbs. for a set of 8 reps. No problem so far! I had to be really careful with my next set since I didn't have a spotter, but I went until I didn't think I could do another rep. I did 275 lbs. for a set of 7 solid reps. My triceps already had a great pump, and I was just getting started. The next exercise was supinated cable pushdown. I was working out at a different gym, so the weights were a little different than I was use to. I started out with 150 lbs. for a set of 15 reps. For the next set, I went up to 180 lbs. and knocked out 6 reps.
Moving on, I went over to a flat bench for nosebreakers. I began at 120 lbs. for a set of 12 easy reps. Although it was easy, my triceps were en fuego after the set. I went up to 140 lbs. next and got it 6 times. I was pretty pleased given the circumstances, but the workout wasn't over yet. My final exercise was one-arm overhead extensions. I started out using a 30 and got a set of 15 easy reps. I ended the workout using a 35 lb. dumbbell for a set of 10 good reps. This workout turned out to be a very good one, especially for my triceps!
- Standing Barbell Curl: 40 x 15, 50 x 15
- Barbell Preacher: 70 x 11, 80 x 8, 80 x 8
- Dumbbell Preacher: 30 x 10, 40 x 8
- Standing Dumbbell Curl: 40 x 9, 45 x 8
- Incline Hammer Curl: 35 x 8, 35 x 8
- Reverse Curl: 40 x 15, 50 x 15
- Dips: 15, 15
- Close-Grip Bench Press: 185 x 10, 225 x 8, 275 x 7
- Supinated Pushdowns: 150 x 15, 180 x 15
- Nosebreakers: 120 x 11, 140 x 5
- Overhead extensions (one arm): 30 x 15, 35 x 10
To my surprise, my arms were as sore, if not more sore, than usual. I was definitely happy about this considering I thought the opposite was going to happen. Tomorrow should be pretty interesting because I am going to train quads in a gym that I've only been to once and my dad will be there to spot me, just like the good ol' days!!