Phano's Training Journal Summer Of '99!

Have you ever wondered how meticulous a person who truly loves weight lifting can be? Well, wonder no longer because I will share with everyone a training log which I kept back over the summer of 1999 when I made some serious gains.
Dear Readers,

Have you ever wondered how meticulous a person who truly loves weight lifting can be? Well, wonder no longer b/c I will share with everyone a training log which I kept back over the summer of 1999 when I made some serious gains. If you pay careful attention, you will notice that my strength would climb then plateau and then start to taper off. This was due to the fact that I needed time off but refused to listen to my body. This is probably one of the most important lessons I have learned from lifting. You are the one true judge of what needs to be done. Sure, people can tell you what you need to work on the most but it's really up to you to decide how much work you are going to do. So without further ado, here is the training log. Enjoy.

TRAINING LOG: 5/31/99 - 6/27/99

5/31/99: Quads Intensity Level: 8.9
Today's workout was very intense. I was scheduled to train quads on Sunday but an unexpected turn of events forced me to delay my quad workout by one day. Nonetheless, Gabe and I went to the Pit and hammered away on the leg press machine. I felt extremely strong and motivated today after a few sets of leg presses. After 4 work sets of leg press, I was practically cooked. Then it was full deep squats for relatively high reps. Three sets and then three sets of dumbbell lunges for 30 alternating steps. We even had two girls checking us out from across the street. They just parked their car, sat on the hood, and stared as we lunged our way to extreme soreness. For next quad workout, I'd like to keep the intensity the same.

6/1/99: Chest Intensity Level: 8.5
I felt fatigued from yesterday's quad workout. I felt as if my energy reserves were somewhat depleted. I still managed to produce a good workout. We started by warming up with the flat bench press. I did 3 sets to warm up with. A set of 15 with 135, a set of 8 with 185, and a set of 3 with 225. I'm going to attempt to get 4 reps with 225 at my next chest training session. We did 4 sets of incline, flat, and decline dumbbell presses. I felt a bit tired during incline but I managed to do 2 sets with 80 lbs and 2 sets with 85 lbs. Next training session, I am going to attempt a 90 lb lift with incline. I felt much better on flat dumbbell press. Decline improved from last workout by several reps for each set. I finished off by doing dips for two sets of ten. I can tell I am going to be sore tomorrow. For next chest workout, I would like to up the intensity a bit.

6/2/99: Shoulders/Hamstrings Intensity Level: 8.5
My chest wasn't as sore as I thought it'd be but it's still sore. Our workout began with hamstrings today. I performed 4 sets of lying leg curls and 4 sets of stiff leg deadlifts. I believe I have reached my max for 6 reps on the stiff leg deadlift. My last two sets were with 265 for 6 reps each. Those were extremely painful. I was very exhausted after training hamstrings that I had to take a few minutes to catch my breath. Afterwards, we moved on to shoulders. Shoulders began with 3 sets of seated dumbbell presses. Much to my delight, my poundage went up again. This time 75 lbs each for 6-8 reps on all 3 sets. Then we moved on to standing lateral raises. I think I need to keep my poundage at 25 lbs each and stick with proper form and concentrate on feeling the burn. Rear delt flyes were next. I like this exercise much better than rear delt rows. I can get an extreme burn without the need to control the weight too much. Next was machine military press. I managed to hit 230 for 7 reps on my third set. Very impressive I might add. I followed my workout with 20 minutes of jogging. I feel great now. For my next shoulder/hamstrings workout, I'd like to up the intensity on shoulders a bit. Hamstring intensity was at maximum today but that took a lot out of me so shoulders suffered a little bit but not too bad.

6/3/99: Back/Traps Intensity Level: 9.3
My hamstrings were hurting today! My shoulders are hurting also but not too bad. My workout today began with some sternum pull-ups. Three sets total. I use this exercise as sort of a warm-up for my lats. I am increasing on my first set but my other two sets are staying the same. Hmm…maybe I can up the last 2 sets next week. Next came behind the neck pull downs. I managed 3 sets of 8 at 170 lbs. Not bad. Next week, it'll be 180. See what I can muster then. My third exercise was barbell rows. I did 4 sets for this b/c I haven't done this exercise in a long time. I managed 8 reps at 225 for my last set. Impressive I might add. Last but not least, were seated cable rows. I did three intense sets. Then I moved on to traps. My traps are nearing a sticking point. The first exercise were upright rows using the E-Z curl bar with 110 lbs. I managed 3 sets of 8. Not bad using that piece of crap bar. I prefer a straight bar. Barbell shrugs are hitting the wall at 330 lbs for 8 reps. Dumbbell shrugs are the same story. The YMCA needs heavier weights for my dumbbell shrugs. I managed 3 sets of 20 with 100 lb dumbbells. This back workout was probably my most intense workout all week. If I can muster this type of intensity on all of my workouts, everyone better watch out!

6/4/99: Biceps/Triceps Intensity Level: 8.6
Arm training began with standing alternating dumbbell curls. I performed a warm-up set with 30 lbs each for 30 alternating reps. Then I moved on to my 4 work sets using 45 lbs. After this exercise, my biceps were engorged with blood. Then I moved on to 1 arm preacher curls using 60 lbs. The left arm, my weaker arm, went first. I performed 4 sets for each arm. Then it was off to standing cable curls for 3 sets. By this time, my biceps were cooked. After bicep training, I moved right into close-grip bench press. I did 1 warm-up set of 12 with 135 followed by 4 work sets using 185 lbs. I managed 7, 7, 6, and 6 for my 4 sets. Next workout session, I'll aim for 4 sets of 7. Then it was off to straight bar pressdown. I did 4 sets using the entire stack(150 lbs) for relatively high reps, at least 10. Then I tried a new exercise, reverse grip straight bar pressdowns. I did 3 sets for this exercise. This was a good workout but I feel as if I could up the intensity level just a bit. The intensity was there for biceps but it seems as if when I get to triceps, I lose a little bit of my concentration. Maybe it could be my training partner. I can't wait until I start pushing and pulling weight with Chad Mullins again. We feed off of each other's energy!

6/5/99: Quads/Forearms Intensity Level: 9.2
Today was a rather light day compared to my normal quad routine. I went light because I have a soccer game tomorrow and I don't want to be completely wiped out tomorrow. I've been doing cardio work for at least 20 minutes every day since Tuesday of this week. I performed 1 warm-up set with 3 plates on each side for 20 reps. Then I did only 2 work sets with 4 plates on each side both for 20 reps. I made sure each rep counted. These were full leg presses and when I say full, I mean full. I went so far that my hamstrings and calves touched on nearly all of the reps. After this, I moved on to squats. I performed 2 sets of 10 reps each with 225. Again, I went deep on my squats. I made sure each rep burned and burn they did. Afterwards, I moved on to forearms. I haven't trained forearms in about 2 weeks so my strength levels were not up to par. Aside from this, I performed 3 sets of reverse curls for 15 reps each set using a 40 lb bar. What a burn! I can't wait to get in the gym and do it better next time.

6/6/99: REST

6/7/99: Chest/Calves Intensity Level: 9.4
Today's workout was extremely intense. We did our usual 3 set warm-up using the flat bench press. The warm-up is getting easier each chest day. A sure sign of my increased strength levels. I did a set using 135 for 15 reps, a set using 185 for 8 reps, and a set using 225 for 4 reps. Each set was relatively easy. We changed up our routine a bit this chest session. We began with 4 sets of flat dumbbell press. My first set was awkward because I unknowingly had grabbed an 85 and a 90 lb dumbbell. My 2nd set was with 95 lb dumbbells and my last 2 sets were with 100 lb dumbbells. Very impressive I might add because I have never been able to use 100 lb dumbbells before. Actually, I've never tried. We moved on to incline dumbbell presses. We did 4 sets of those followed by 4 sets of decline dumbbell presses. I managed to use 80 lb dumbells for both incline and decline presses. I figured my strength levels would be affected by going heavy on my first 4 sets but to my surprise, I did better than I had anticipated. Afterwards, I performed 20 minutes of cardio. I felt extremely motivated for some strange reason today and I hammered calves after my brief cardio session. I did 4 sets of seated calf raises pyramiding up from 90, 180, 225, and finally 270 for at least 10 reps per set. Intense! Next came single leg standing calf raises. I was able to muster 20 reps per leg for 3 sets a piece. I should be sore tomorrow. If I'm not, then I don't know what I'll do. I want to be able to train with this type of intensity everyday!

6/8/99: Shoulders/Hamstrings Intensity Level: 8.5
Today's intensity level wasn't as high as yesterday's but it was still up there. I'd like to remain 100% focused on all of my sets. For some reason, I am 100% focused on hamstrings but by the time I get to my 2nd or 3rd shoulder exercise, my attention level had diminished somewhat. Perhaps the answer to this problem may be to separate shoulders and hamstrings and go on a 7 day cycle as opposed to a 6 day cycle. Aside from all of this, I had a rather good workout today despite my lowered intensity level. It might be due to the fact that yesterday's workout was extremely intense. Our workout began with hamstrings. Since I am starting my soccer training up once again, I am going to lower my number of sets for leg exercises but still hit them heavy. We did 1 warm-up set of lying leg curls followed by 2 work sets. Next came stiff leg deadlifts. For some reason, these take a lot of my energy. I performed 8 reps on my first set using 265 and 7 reps on my final set using 275. Hopefully, I'll be up to 315 by the end of the summer. Then it was on to shoulders. My shoulders were aching a little when I went in so I was very surprised to be able to perform my seated dumbbell presses using 80 lb dumbbells. I did 3 sets of seated dumbbell presses for 5, 6, and 5 reps. Not bad at all. I will continue to use 80 lb dumbbells until I am able to perform 3 sets of 8 reps. The second shoulder exercise was the seated machine military press. We did 3 sets and I used 230 lbs for all 3 of my sets. These were very difficult today. Next came 1 arm cable lateral raises. These were much more difficult because of the continuous tension the cables present. Three sets total for this exercise and we moved on to rear delt flyes. I performed 3 sets of 12 reps using 100 lbs. What a burn!

6/9/99: Back/Traps Intensity Level: 8.8
I find more and more difficult to muster up the type of intensity level I wish to train at. Today's intensity level was good. I'll see exactly how much I worked my back come tomorrow. Back training began with the usual sternum pull-ups. I decreased the rest time for this exercise so I was able to rep out 3 sets for 12,10, and 8 respectively. Next came behind the neck pull-downs. As I said before, I managed using 180. I performed 3 sets of 8. Next came 1 arm dumbbell rows. The gym there needs heavier weight b/c I'm having to do 12 reps using the 100 lb dumbbell. I did 3 sets of 12 reps per side. Next came seated cable rows. I stuck with 3 sets of 8 using 230 and concentrating on the feel in my lats. I was pumped by this time. I finished my back training in good time today. 40 minutes total. Not bad. It usually takes about 50 minutes or so. Next came traps. I performed the usual 3 exercises in this order: upright rows, barbell shrugs, and dumbbell shrugs. The difference this week, however, was that I only performed 2 worksets of each along with 1 warm-up set of upright rows. I'm going to lower the sets on my trap workouts because my shoulders aren't too broad and if I overdevelop my traps, I will give the illusion of looking narrower. Anyways, I performed 2 sets of 8 using 115 on upright rows, 2 sets of 10 using 330 lbs on barbell shrugs, and 2 sets of 20 using 100 lb dumbbells on dumbbell shrugs. Today's workout was good but I feel as if it could have been just a little bit better. I can't wait to get in the gym again and do it better next time!

6/10/99: Biceps/Triceps/Forearms Intensity Level: 8.3
Today's arm workout was a little more relaxed than usual. Partly because I was training with a new guy. He wasn't as intense as I had hoped he'd be which caused me to slack off a bit. There were 3 of us working together so my workout wasn't nearly as productive as it could have been. I still managed to get in a good workout though. I started arm training with alternating dumbbell curls. One warm-up set of 30 reps using 35 lb dumbbells followed by 3 sets using 50 lb dumbbells. My biceps were on fire after I finished this exercise. Next came 1 arm preacher curls. I performed 3 sets of 8 reps each using 60 lbs. I always start with my weaker arm first, in this case, my weaker bicep is my left one. I finished off biceps with standing cable curls. Three sets for relatively high reps: between 8-12. Next came triceps. I did 1 warm-up set of 12 reps using 135 followed by 3 work sets using 185 for 7, 7, and 6 reps respectively. I want to increase my reps to either 8 on all my sets or increase the poundage by 5 lbs and perform 3 sets of 6-7 reps. Next came straight bar pressdowns. I like this exercise because I am able to apply a great amount of thrust. I performed 3 sets using the entire stack(150 lbs) for a relatively high number of reps: 12-14 reps. The third and final exercise for triceps were reverse grip straight bar pressdowns. I like this exercise also because of the degree of difficulty it presents. I performed 3 sets in all. My triceps were tight as heck when I finished. Fortunately for me, I have strong triceps as opposed to my biceps which I feel could be a bit stronger. Last but not least were forearms. I have never been a big fan of forearm exercises but I know that I need to increase my forearm size to match my arm size. So, I am going to begin with 3 sets of reverse curls and slowly work my way up to other exercises. I may even work forearms twice during my 6 day cycle. Despite doing only 3 sets of reverse curls, I was still able to acquire an unbelievable burn. I can't wait to get in the gym and work my arms with the intensity that Chad and I used to. I miss those days!

6/11/99: Quads Intensity Level: 9.3
Well, the intensity was there for quad training today. I performed a total of 8 work sets for my quads. I started with squats. The first set was a warm-up with 135 for an easy 20 reps. Boom! As soon as Gabe finished his warm-up set I slapped on 225 and banged out 20 more reps. Next was 315. I managed 10 but I feel as if I could have gotten a few more. As soon as I racked the bar, my quads were burning like hell. Next came front squats. I have never done this exercise before so I figured it was time to try something new. I didn't get as many reps as I had wanted but I've got to get the proper form down first. I have trouble holding the bar in front of me. I managed a set of 10 using 135 and a set of 5 using 225. If I could just hold the bar properly, I will be able to bang out more reps. The weight wasn't hurting me but the pressure the bar put on my shoulders was. Next came single leg leg extensions. I did 25 reps per leg on the first set with 50 lbs followed by a set of 20 reps per leg using 60 lbs. I was hurting severely at this point but I decided to do double leg leg extensions to finish off my quads. I did a set of 15 using 150. I still can't figure out why I stopped at 15. I know I could have gotten 20. That's one reason this workout only received a 9.3 for intensity. If I go to absolute failure on all my work sets then I will be able to receive a 9.7 or higher for intensity level grading. My 2nd and final set was for 12 reps with 170 lbs. Again, I feel as if I could have gotten a few more reps. I'll have to try just that much harder next time. I can't wait to get in the gym and get a higher intensity level grading on a quad workout!

6/12/99: REST

6/13/99: Chest Intensity Level: 9.2
Despite a nagging soreness in my shoulders, today was a good workout day for one reason. Chad and I finally got to move some weight around. This was the first training session I've had with him in awhile and boy did it feel good. We began with our usual 3 set warm-up using the bench press. I felt much weaker today as opposed to my last chest training session. I think it may have something to do with that nagging soreness in my shoulders. Aside from that, we did 4 sets of flat dumbbell presses, 4 sets of incline dumbbell presses, and 4 sets of decline dumbbell presses. For flat dumbbell presses, we used 90's, 95's, and finished off with two sets with the 100's. My reps for the 4 sets of flat dumbbell presses stayed the same but my reps for the other two exercises went up dramatically. I was able to manage 4 respective sets on the incline dumbbell press using 80 lbs for a set of 9, 8, 6, and 7. I need to treat every set as if it were my last to level out my intensity. Finally, we performed decline dumbbell presses. I managed to rep out using 80 lbs for 4 respective sets of 7, 7, 6, and 6. The intensity here was much better. Overall, this workout was good but I feel as if I should have taken another day off. If I had done so, I may have been able to push more weight. I'm on the verge of taking a whole week off while doing minimal amounts of exercise. Perhaps 4 or 5 exercises using only 1 set per exercise as maintenance. We'll see as time passes.

6/14/99: Shoulders/Hamstrings Intensity Level: 9.1
My chest was sore this morning and seems to get worse as time passes. That is a good sign though. Today's workout began with hamstrings as usual. I did 1 warm-up set of lying leg curls followed by 2 work sets. Next came stiff leg deadlifts. I was able to up my poundage again. I'm very pleased with my hamstring progress given the fact that I don't utilize as many sets or exercises as I do for other body parts. Next came shoulders. I didn't have a training partner so seated dumbbell presses were difficult but I was able to manage fine for the first 2 sets. The nagging soreness in my shoulders was still present today and I wasn't able to manage as much weight as I had hoped but it wasn't terrible. I performed 3 sets of seated dumbell presses using 70's for sets of 6,5, and 3. Then it was off to seated lateral raises using 20's. I made sure each rep was slow and deliberate. I wanted to maximize the burning sensation. Then came 1 arm cable lateral raises. I hammered these out using 25 lbs like they were nothing. Then it was off to the military machine press. Three sets using 210 lbs for sets of 8, 8, and 6. Once again, I used deliberate repetitions to maximize the burn. I finished shoulders with rear delt flyes. I was able to up the poundage for this exercise, much to my delight. Today's shoulder workout involved 15 work sets. That is 3 more than usual. I feel as if it was an excellent workout but I may need to lower my work sets. My shoulders seem chronically fatigued and this could be due to overtraining. I am beginning to ponder the benefits of a week of active rest.

6/15/99: Back/Traps: Intensity Level: 9.0
Today's back training was a tangent from my usual routine. I incorporated only bodyweight exercises which included 4 different types of pull-ups. With a rest time of only 2 minutes in between sets and exercises, I began with 3 sets of sternum pull-ups for sets of 14, 10, and 7. Next came behind the neck pull-ups which somewhat mimic behind the neck pull-downs. I performed 3 sets of 7 reps. Next came close-grip pull-ups. I was able to complete 3 sets of 8 reps. I finished off back training with 3 sets of neutral grip front pull-ups for 3 sets of 6, 6, and 8. With a few minutes of rest after my back training, I moved to traps. I warmed up with 1 arm dumbbell shrugs using 100 lbs for 1 set of 15 reps per side. As Chad Mullins had prescribed, I performed 1 side at a time. This felt somewhat awkward. Then it was on to barbell shrugs using 315 for 3 sets of 10 reps. Each rep was slow and deliberate with a contraction at the top to feel the burn. Next came dumbbell shrugs using 100 lbs each arm for 3 sets of 20 reps. Once again, each rep was slow and deliberate to maximize the burn. It's been an hour now since I trained and I am feeling soreness in my lats and traps already. If I have extreme soreness tomorrow, which I doubt, I may utilize this routine for several weeks.

6/16/99: Biceps/Triceps/Forearms Intensity Level: 9.0
Arm training today was fun and intense to say the least. I began with the usual standing alternating dumbbell curls. The first set was a warm-up using 35 lbs for 20 reps. Next came 3 work sets using 50 lbs for reps of 10, 10, and 8. By this time, my biceps were cooked. Next came a new exercise. One arm cable curls using 50 lbs for relatively high reps, 10-12. Three sets total for this exercise and then it was off to cable curls. I performed 3 sets of this exercise and made sure each rep was slow and deliberate thus adding to the burning sensation. I immediately proceeded to close grip bench press. I warmed up using 135 lbs for 12 relatively easy reps. Then I slapped on 185 and banged out 8 reps. My next set was 7 reps using 190 lbs. My third set was 5 reps using 195. I was very pleased with this because I felt as if I was at a sticking point for this exercise. My goal within the next 5-7 weeks is 205 for 4-6 reps. Perhaps I may even hit 225 for 4-6 reps. Next came straight bar pressdowns. This exercise is by far one of my favorites because I am able to apply a considerable amount of thrust. I wish the weight stack was heavier though. I use the whole stack ( 150 lbs) and I am still able to complete 14 reps or so. Three sets of this exercise and it was off to reverse grip straight bar pressdowns for three sets. Once again, I'm getting stronger on this exercise also. If my gains keep like this, I will be a monster. No arm workout is complete without hitting the forearms. My forearms are weaker than any other part of my arm because I used to never train them. I performed 3 supersets utilizing reverse grip curl and wrist curls. What a burn! I may train forearms twice a week seeing how I do at max 6 sets. I'm just deciding on what days I should train them.

6/17/99: Quads Intensity Level: 9.4
Once again, my intensity level for quad training has gone up. I am very pleased with this. I haven't quite figured it out yet but I can really hit the quads hard as opposed to my other body parts. My quads are probably my best developed body part. Aside from this, I began quad training with squats. I did a warm-up set of 20 reps using 135. I banged these out like they were nothing. Next came 20 reps with 225. Once again, I banged these out like they were nothing. Then came 315. I managed 10 reps but I feel as if I could have gotten a few more. I didn't' want to overwork my quads though. I tried front squats once again but it is very painful for my shoulders especially with 225 up there. I managed a set of 7 and 3. I would like to get the form down right and rep out 2 sets of 10 using 225. I know this will take time but I'm game. Next came single leg extensions. Two sets total for this and then it was on to one set of two leg extensions. Afterwards, my quads were dead. I could barely walk. Then I decided to hit abdominals a bit. Nothing serious though. I just stuck with the basics such as crunches, decline crunches, seated knee-ups, and hanging leg raises. I performed a total of 360 reps for all 4 exercises. So far, I am delighted with my quad training and intensity. I feel I may have to lighten the load a bit seeing how I need to get fit for soccer once again. That is going to suck!

6/18/99: REST

6/19/99: Chest/Shoulders Intensity Level: 9.0
Today was the first day of my new training routine and I must admit, I like it so far. My shoulders are better developed than my chest and I'm going to even this out by training chest and shoulders together in one day. I'll make sure that chest goes first because it needs more work than my shoulders. That way, my deltoids will be a little fatigued already and it'll be more or less maintenance work. Today's chest workout began with the usual 3 warm-up sets on flat bench press. Next came flat dumbbell press using 95 lbs for 3 sets. Then came incline dumbbell press using 85 lbs for all 3 sets. I did extremely well on this exercise. Then came decline dumbbell press with 85 lbs. Finally, I added a cable movement to my chest routine. I performed 3 sets of incline cable flyes using 50 lbs per side. I like this movement. It provides an excellent burn for my chest. Next came shoulders. I went really light on shoulders today using only 6 work sets. I performed 2 sets of machine military press using 210 lbs for reps of 5 and 4. Next came one arm cable lateral raises using 25 lbs. I performed 2 sets of 12 reps per arm. Finally, I hit the rear delts using reverse flyes. I performed 2 sets of 10 reps using 110 lbs. I can feel the workout right now as I sit here and update my training log. I am going to have to be patient with my chest. For some reason, it doesn't respond as fast as my other body parts. I am going to change up my routine entirely to overcome any training plateaus. I'm going to mix and match 2 routines and alternate them in and out since I am on a 3 on 1 off schedule now.

6/20/99: Back/Traps Intensity Level: 9.2
Training today was quick or at least it seemed that way. I utilized 3 different types of pull-ups to hit my lats. I performed 3 sets of sternum pull-ups, 3 sets of behind the neck pull-ups, and finally 3 sets of close grip pull-ups. Next came traps. I warmed up with 135 on the barbell shrug for 20 reps. I immediately slapped on 315 lbs and banged out 10 reps. The next set, I banged out 12 reps. On the third set, I repped out an incredible 20 reps. Next came dumbbell shrugs using 100 lbs per arm. I performed 3 sets of 10 reps and held each rep for a 3 count before slowly lowering the weight. I should be sore tomorrow. If not, I may have to add some type of resistance for the pull-ups so I can abuse my back. My traps I know will be sore. I can feel them hurting right now. I'm having trouble holding up my head. Aside from training issues, a "personal trainer" at the YMCA said that I was doing my exercises wrong. That's probably the biggest load of bullsh*t I've ever heard. He said that I strain and that you're not supposed to. If you don't push yourself, then how in the hell are you going to make any serious gains? I think he has no idea what he's talking about. I think I'm going to get a shirt that says "Go heavy or go home" on the front and "steroid-free" on the back.

6/21/99: Biceps/Triceps/Forearms Intensity Level: 8.8
Arm training today was a bit relaxed but I still managed to set them afire. It's official now. My routine has been changed to 3 on 1 off while neglecting legs. I began arm training with alternating dumbbell curls. One warm up set followed by 3 work sets using 50 lbs each. Next was one arm cable concentration curls. I like this exercise because I am able to apply my mind to muscle link. I performed 3 sets of 12 reps using 50 lbs per arm. Next came 3 sets of cable curls using 110 lbs. I immediately moved to close grip bench press and performed a warm up set using 135 lbs for 12 reps. I followed this up with 185 lbs, 190 lbs, and finally 195 lbs making sure I got at least 6 reps per set. Talk about tightness in the triceps after this exercise. Next came straight bar pressdowns for 3 sets using 150 lbs. Afterwards, I performed 3 sets of reverse grip straight bar pressdowns for 3 sets using 125 lbs. That's it for biceps and triceps. I save forearms for last because they don't require too much concentration and I am able to acquire an intense burn with very little effort. I began with reverse grip curls and performed 3 sets of this exercise. I pyramided these sets up to 60 lbs. Next came reverse wrist curls using 95 lbs and made sure each rep was slow and deliberate. I performed 3 sets of 20 reps. The last set was intense! My forearms were tense as hell!

6/22/99: REST

6/23/99: Chest/Shoulders Intensity Level: 8.8
I felt as if I wasn't ready to train my chest today because I just recently switched up my routine but much to my delight, I was able to get in a good workout despite the soreness in my shoulders. I was stoked after my 3 warm-up sets with flat bench press. I'm on the incline cycle now. I will begin the next 4 or 5 chest workouts with incline dumbbell press and follow up with flat dumbbell press and either decline dumbbell press or incline cable flyes depending on the day. I could have rested a little bit less today but I was able to get an unbelievable pump within my chest. Basically, today's training was a bit more relaxed than usual. Don't get me wrong. I did make sure that I felt each rep and made sure every set counted. I was able to manage 85 lb dumbbells for incline press and 85 lb dumbbells for flat press and managed to get an unbelievable stretch in my chest with incline cable flyes. I am particularly fond of this exercise because it's something new and I'm always open to new ideas. Shoulder training was extremely quick today. I performed just 2 sets of 3 different exercises. I started heavy with seated dumbbell presses with 70 lb dumbbells followed by 1 arm cable lateral raises using 25 lbs. Lastly, 2 sets of rear delt flyes using 110 lbs and 120 lbs. I liked today's workout despite the relaxed atmosphere. My body is telling me that I need to back off a bit. Even though I get about 8-9 hours of sleep per night, I am waking up feeling sluggish in the morning.

6/24/99: Back/Traps Intensity Level: 8.9
I felt good before and after training today. I went in there and trained my abs first thing. I immediately moved to sternum pull-ups for 3 warm-up sets. Next came one arm dumbbell rows for 3 sets of 12 reps each using 100 lbs. I wish they had heavier dumbbells b/c I'm having to perform a high number of reps to feel a burn. Next on the agenda was behind the neck pull-ups for 3 sets of 8, 5, and 5 respectively. My back was fried at this point. I did one set of barbell rows using 205 for 8 reps and tried a new exercise with Robert Burgess. We did towel grip pull-ups. I performed 2 sets of 10 reps each. I like this exercise and may incorporate it into my back routine. Then came traps. I warmed up with barbell shrugs using 135 for 20 reps. Then I slapped on 315 and banged out 3 sets of 10 reps. Next came a pyramided set of upright rows starting from 85, then to 95, and finally 105 for 12 reps, 10 reps, and finally 8 reps. Afterwards, it was off to dumbbell shrugs without wrist straps. It makes this exercise much more difficult. I performed 3 sets of 10 because my grip would give out. Today's workout was good because I'm feeling it right now. I can tell I'm going to be sore tomorrow. If not, I'll have to try a new strategy.

6/25/99: Biceps/Triceps/Forearms Intensity Level: 9.1
For the second day straight, my motivation prior to training was high. My biceps were a bit tired from yesterday's back training but not to the point where it would affect training today. I started off with standing alternating dumbbell curls utilizing 2 warm-up sets instead of 1. I grabbed the 35 lb dumbbells and banged out 20 easy reps. I then picked up the 40 lb dumbbells and banged out 14 tough reps. Then it was on to my work sets using 45 lb dumbbells. I managed sets of 14, 10, and 10 respectively. Next came 1 arm cable curls using 50 lbs. I always begin single arm bicep movements with my left arm because it is the weaker of the two but not by much. I banged out 3 sets of 12 reps each. I'm going to have to up weight to 55 lbs for my next training session. Next came 3 pyramided sets of cable curls. I busted out 10 reps using 110 lbs, 9 reps at 115 lbs, and finally 8 reps at 120 lbs. I immediately moved to my warm-up exercise for my triceps which was close grip press using 135 lbs for 12 easy reps. Once again, I pyramided my 3 work sets. I repped out 7 at 185 lbs, 6 at 190 lbs, and 5 at 195 lbs. Next came 3 sets of straight bar pressdowns. We moved through the last 2 exercises relatively fast. I used the entire stack (150 lbs) and managed sets of 14, 11, and 9 respectively. Finally it was off to reverse straight bar pressdowns for 3 sets. Using 125 lbs, I banged out sets of 10, 9, and 8. At this point, I was mentally and physically destroyed but I couldn't stop yet. I still had forearms and I'm not about to cut this or any workout short. I did 3 sets of 20 reps of reverse wrist curls using 95 lbs making sure each rep was painful. Next came 3 intense sets of reverse curls. I pyramided this exercise starting from 50, then to 55, and finally 60. I managed 3 respective sets of 15 reps, 10 reps, and 8 reps. I can feel the tightness in my biceps still and it's been about 7 hours after training. This is a good sign.

6/26/99: REST

6/27/99: Chest Intensity Level: 8.5
I wasn't feeling extremely motivated to train today. It didn't help any when Matt paged me and told me that our 7:00 game had been cancelled. So my day was pretty much shot down. It's official now. I am going to take about 4-6 days off from weight training. My right elbow is bothering me and I'm going to seek treatment for it tomorrow. Not to mention, I'm psychologically unprepared for intense training sessions and my poundage in all of my lifts have gone down tremendously. This is definitely a sign of overtraining. Perhaps I should have stayed with my 6 day cycle, perhaps not. I'll see how my body responds to the rest it so badly needs. Training today was much more relaxed than normal. I don't know if I'm going to be sore tomorrow or not. It's just one of those days which you drag yourself to the gym despite your lack of motivation. I wasn't feeling exactly strong today either. So needless to say, my lifts weren't nearly as impressive as they normally are. It just so happens that every 6-8 weeks, I become psychologically destroyed and I can't perform at peak capacities. This is due to prolonged intense training. In other words, I become burned out. I've encountered this before and I allowed myself a few days off and boom, I came back stronger and more motivated than ever before. Funny how the mind works, especially mine. I can be gung-ho about something for 6 weeks and after that, I need a short break. I hope this break does its job and I plan on returning shortly. Until then, train hard, train smart, think BIG!