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Phano's Training Journal 11!

Today is the day which I begin creatine use once again.

5/13/02 Monday-shoulders

Today is the day which I begin creatine use once again. It has been almost 6 months since I last touched any creatine and I will begin with the usual 20 grams divided up into 3 doses. My diet has been perfect since last Thursday and I've been extremely happy with that. My training has also been going very well so I'm also stoked about that. Things are starting to come together and if I can find that last piece of my psyche which controls my motivation to train like an animal, I will be all geared up to rock and roll! Tonight, we trained at 9:30 PM which I prefer any day because I'm fully fed.

We began with the usual warm up and then went straight to standing dumbbell side laterals for 3 easy warm up sets. I used 12s, 15s, and 20s for sets of 15, 15 and 10, respectively. I was getting a slight pump in my delts at this point already. Now that we were properly warmed, we jumped to behind the neck press. I am so disappointed that I have done these wrong for the most part since my early training days. I was so worried about moving a lot of weight overhead that I didn't focus the feel on my shoulders. I corrected this flaw recently and my delts are getting sore after every workout. I started with 135 for 10 easy reps. Then it was 185 for a set of 8 and then a set of 7 reps. Once again, an improvement from last time so I was happy. Next came standing dumbbell side laterals using drop sets. We used the same weights and reps as we did last week but it just seems to get just a tad bit easier. Don't get me wrong because it's still hard as shit. If you don't believe me, give it a try. I used 20s, 15s, and 10s for 10 reps each without any rest in between. I performed 2 sets of these pump inducing drop sets before tears started to water in my eyes. What excruciating pain!

Next came t-bar rear delt laterals, an exercise which is fast becoming one of my favorites. We started out with 40s and I managed 15 reps. Then it was 45s for another 15 reps followed by 50s for 10 reps. Now came a curve ball in the normal routine. We performed seated machine shoulder press using a pronated grip. I started with 100 lbs and banged out 15 easy reps. Next came 150 lbs for 8 reps and then for 7 reps. It's amazing how much more you can feel machine movements once your delts have been given the bitch treatment. For our final exercise, we performed standing alternating front raises. Using 20s, I banged out 20 easy reps. What's funny to me is that my "ideal" weight for this exercise is very close to my "too much" weight. What I mean by this is that if I go even two pounds over what I can normally handle, I can't feel the muscles working. So in essence, it's a complete waste of time. For my next set, I used 27.5 lb dumbbells because someone had proceeded to take the 25s and then just stand around and not use them. What a bunch of horseshit! If you're not using it, let someone else work in or get out of the gym!

5/14/02 Tuesday-REST

5/15/02 Wednesday-hamstrings

Today would be my first day back to training hamstrings on account of my unfortunate knee injury. We started off with the usual warm up which is becoming more and more bothersome than anything. However, we do it because I know it's good for us. The only good thing that went through my mind about hamstring training was that it would be quick and to the point. There are only so few exercises that are effective in developing your hams. In my book, there are two. No more, no less.

We started off with lying leg curls with our feet positioned together on the padding. Believe me, foot position means a lot in developing hamstrings. Starting with 60 lbs, I performed 15 easy reps. Then I increased to 100 lbs and performed another 15 easy reps. Next came 140 lbs for another 15 reps. This wasn't so bad and I'm a lot stronger than I thought I'd be after my long rest from leg training. For my three work sets, I used 170 lbs and managed 8 reps on all of the sets. It hurt like a bitch and sometimes I can't even feel my hamstrings but the pad is still moving.

Next came Romanian deadlifts. Oh, how I hate this exercise. I hate it so much it hurts me to see other people do them. I knew I wouldn't be strong on this exercise regardless of what I did. I put on 135 and banged out 15 solid reps. Then it was 225 for 10 reps. Not too bad at this point but I was still breathing hard. Much harder than I normally would if I had been doing this exercise. Next came 315 for 6 slow as hell reps. This set seemed to take forever and the harder I pulled with my hamstrings and glutes, the longer the set took. Funny how that works, eh? Finally, we moved back to the lying leg curl machine to perform this movement once again with our feet positioned apart on the padding. To begin, I began with 120 lbs and somehow managed 15 reps. Then it was 140 lbs for 12 reps. This is strange because I expected myself to be tired as hell by this point but the pin was still moving up. For my final set, I used 160 lbs and banged out 8 reps. Yeah, my hamstrings were tore and they are going to be sore as hell. It felt great to be back though.

5/16/02 Thursday-arms

Training has been really good lately but there has been a conflict inside of my mind. I'm having trouble calling upon my intrinsic motivation to push past the pain barrier in the gym and I'm debating on whether or not to train on my own. I know that Dave is a good training partner but it just seems that I may need more than a training partner. I may need my trusty headphones and music to get me back to where I need to be. I don't know what the problem with my motivation is but it's been bogging me down lately. Ok, enough of my drama and on to the training!

We began training with the usual warm up and proceeded to attack arms. We started with e-z preacher curls using the steep end and a narrow grip. As you can see, this is probably my favorite biceps exercise because of the pump it gives me and there is virtually no way to cheat. I started with 70 lbs and performed a set of 15 reps and then a set of 10 reps. Next came 90 lbs for a set of 8 reps and finally 100 lbs for a set of 7 reps. A big improvement from last time! My biceps were pumped all to hell and this was only the first exercise. Wow!

Next came 1 arm preacher curls using the same bench. Man, you gotta love this new variation on the preacher curl. It's working wonders for us, so why don't you give it a try. Sure, your poundages will drop initially but you will feel it more than ever. Sorry about the tangent once again. Back to the training now. I started the next exercise with 45 lbs and banged out 10 reps per arm. Next it was 50 lbs for 8 reps per arm. Once again, another improvement from last time.

Next came standing alternating dumbbell curls using 45s to begin with. Using 45s, I banged out 18 reps and then I increased to 50s where I managed 12 reps. This is one exercise where my grip really matters because if my grips lets out, I have to let go of the dumbbell, unfortunately. Our next exercise was e-z cable curls using a wide grip. To begin, I used 120 lbs and managed 15 easy reps. It's like the weight was moving and I wasn't even trying that hard. Next came 150 lbs for 9 reps. Same story here until I hit the wall. Then I can't go anymore. Damn it! Now came some forearm work. I'm so glad that I've always trained forearms in the past because they match my upper arms very well. For forearm training, we did 1 arm dumbbell hammer curls on the preacher bench using the 45 degree slanted side. For this exercise, I used 35 lbs and managed 2 sets of 8 reps per arm. The idea here is to feel the forearm squeezing. If you don't feel that, then you're not doing it right.

Next came seated reverse grip e-z preacher curls. This is an exercise that will blow up your forearms faster than you can say Ronnie Coleman. It burns and pumps at the same time. When you finish, you feel almost as if your arms are going to tear off. For my first set, I used 40 lbs, and managed 15 reps. Then I increased to 50 lbs and only managed 10 reps. The only thing I remember about this exercise is that it hurt like crazy! Now that my biceps and forearms were obliterated, I had triceps left to tend with.

First came dips using my bodyweight for two sets of 15 reps just to get some blood in my triceps. Then came our main mass building exercise: close grip bench press. I started off with 185 and banged out 10 easy reps. Then came 225 for 8 solid reps. Finally, I used 245 for 6 reps. A vast improvement from last time!

Next came reverse grip triceps pushdown using 150 lbs for 15 reps and then 200 lbs for 10 reps. Even the entire stack is getting easy so we may have to stick with free weights very soon. For our final exercise, we performed lying triceps extensions, nose breakers, skull crushers, or whatever you wish to call them. I call them what I like because that's how I associate things in my mind. This exercise has always given me problems with my elbow so I had to take it easy. Using 120 lbs, I managed a set of 8 reps and then a set of 6 reps. Not too shabby. This workout took about 90 minutes total which is the norm for training arms. For some reason, biceps training always seems to take longer than triceps training. Whatever the reason is, arm training sucks for me! I hate being in the gym for longer than 60-70 minutes at a time. I just feel tired after an hour or so. Maybe I'm just getting old.

5/17/02 Friday-REST

5/18/02 Saturday-quads

No quad training today because my right knee is bothering me once again. Doh! 5/19/02 Sunday-chest

After an "off day" yesterday, I was ready to rock and roll today. I have been feeding myself ample amounts of food the past week and my muscles feel fuller with each passing day. Dave and I decided to train at 2:00 PM today which is fine by me. This allows me to get anywhere from 1500 - 2000 calories in my system by then. I knew today was going to be a good workout because my muscles were feeling "springy." I guess the best way to describe this feeling is when your muscles feel as if they could get a pump from just flexing them. If you've experienced this feeling, then you've experienced the springy feeling I'm talking about.

Dave and I warmed up as we usually did and didn't even bother to stretch. We just went straight to the flat bench press to begin our warm up sets. We put on 135 and I banged out 15 easy reps. Then we put on 185 and I banged out 8 reps which seemed a lot easier than usual. I swear that I couldn't tell a difference between 135 and 185 at this point. Next came 225 for another warm up set of 4 reps. Although I had a tightness in my pecs but not that pumped feeling yet. Next came 275 for 4 reps. I would have gotten more but my hands started to slide wider and wider on the bar with each rep. By the time I had finished this set of 4 reps, my grip had slid about 3 inches. That'll teach me to put on lotion right before going to the gym. I was so pissed off, I went to the bathroom to wash my hands clean off the lotion for my next set.

On my next set with 275, I banged out 6 reps. This was much better but I was still upset that I had essentially wasted a set. Our next exercise was flat dumbbell press. I grabbed the 100s and proceeded for my first set. I managed an easy 10 reps. Next came the 105s for 8 reps. Man, the weight seemed to just fly off of my chest and I wouldn't stop until I hit the wall on the last rep, whatever number that was. Next came 110s for 7 reps. The heaviest I have ever gone on flat dumbbell presses was 110s for 8 reps and that took a lot of building up. Now I'm only three reps away from my all time best. I was extremely delighted.

For our next exercises, we did flat cable flyes. This is very similar to flat dumbbell flyes but I really like the cable machine better. I don't have to worry about controlling the weight as much and can just focus on the hugging motion. For my first set, I used 60 lbs per side and managed 10 reps here. Next came 70 lbs per side where I managed another 8 reps. My pecs were full of blood and it just seemed that the more I did, the more blood came into my pecs. Next came incline barbell press. Now since we aren't doing this exercise first anymore, my strength would naturally be slightly lower than normal. To start things off, I put on 185 and banged out 8 reps. Then I increased the weight to 205 where I managed 5 reps. It hurt like hell but I know it's working.

Next came incline cable flyes using 50 lbs per side. For the first set, I set the incline at position 2 and banged out 10 reps. Next came 60 lbs per side with the incline position at 3 for 8 reps. For our finishing move, we performed high cable crossovers. For my first set, I used 60 lbs per side and managed an easy 15 reps. I hate doing so many reps so I increased the weight to 80 lbs per side and still managed 10 reps. I feel as if I could have gone 90 lbs per side but I guess I will leave that to next time.