Much has changed since my days of running a 5x5 strength training program: Monday Hamstring Curl Skull Crusher Dumbbell Curl Seated Calf Raise or Extension Lateral or Rear Delt Dumbbell Flye Tuesday Burpees Wednesday Hack Squat or Leg Press Plate Loaded Bench Press Barbell or Cable Row Thursday Burpees Friday Leg Extension Dumbbell Pullover EZ Bar Curl Seated Calf Raise or Extension Lateral or Rear Delt Dumbbell Flye Saturday Burpees Sunday Hack Squat or Leg Press Plate Loaded Bench Press One Arm Dumbbell Row My strategy for surviving the pandemic was to do some form of fitness everyday which has meant I no longer have off days.
Filed in "training"
During recent periods of restrictions due to the pandemic gyms have been closed and many people have resorted to doing body-weight exercises at home to maintain fitness and boost immune systems. My own personal routine has focused on burpees with secondary movements such as push-ups, squats, lunges, jumping jacks and mountain climbers. During the longest stretches of restrictions I was also able to do some resistance work using reusable shopping bags filled with large containers of water.
Since my last update strength training I’ve progressed from 3 sets of 5 reps to 5 sets of 5 reps: the infamous 5x5. I’m still training 3 days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday before work, still not doing any cardio and the Osgood Schlatters is still giving me gip. Here’s what my routine has been like lately: Monday Front Squat Overhead Press or Dumbbell Bench Press Clean Wednesday Front Squat Overhead Press or Dumbbell Bench Press Barbell Row Friday Front Squat Overhead Press or Dumbbell Bench Press Deadlift I’m training the front squat every session and alternating the overhead press and the dumbbell bench press between sessions.
A couple of months ago I decided to add some variety to my strength training program. The main change has been to alternate between front and back squats. The higher frequency with the back squat has brought some much needed practice to an exercise I find mechanically more difficult to perform, quite possibly due to difficulties with my right knee I had when I was a teenager. Through the influence of stronglifts.
For nearly 3 months my strength training has revolved around squatting 3 times a week and this is my current program: Monday Front squat Neutral-grip chin up Parallel bar dip Wednesday Back squat Overhead press Row Friday Front squat Dumbbell bench press Deadlift All squats are done to below parallel with all free-weight exercises being performed for 3 sets of 5 repetitions, after warm-ups, with the exception of the deadlift for which my “work” consists of a single set of 5 reps.
Once again it was my weekly deadlift session this morning but unfortunately I have no injuries to share with you all this time:( My lower-back and hips took a battering though so I might me complaining tomorrow and there would appear to be a possibility of having some tasty bruising over my left clavicle and anterior deltoid from doing front-squats of which I’ll post a photo of if they “shine through” :)
Continuing what appears to be turning into a series detailing my training injuries I present the following: I nipped my finger loading extra plates onto the bar during the warm-up sets of my last deadlift session and I must say it looked more “impressive” covered with magnesium carbonate and dripping blood ;) More haste, less speed may be required next time.
Yep, you guessed it, today was deadlift day:
I’ve now completed my third week of a new strength program. This program involves full-body training 3 times a week with squatting each session (!) and deadlifting once a week. Until I read Practical Programming I didn’t know that bodybuilders were generally the only weight-lifters to squat once per week, or to “train legs” to use their lingo, but apparently many other weight-lifting disciplines are built upon more frequent squatting, especially power-lifting and olympic-lifting.
Over the past few months I haven’t been quite the gym freak that I’ve been in the past but one exercise I have continued to regularly train has been the deadlift. Saturday mornings had become my sole weekly strength session so I had to ensure I was getting as much bang for my buck as possible and nothing works the body like this exercise. I haven’t set a new personal record in any of the big movements since about November so it was a good boost to exceed my previous best.
Towards the end of last year I started rereading large portions of Stuart McRobert’s Beyond Brawn and seeing how I’d begun training in the mornings and consequently had less time to do so I decided to experiment with a more abbreviated routine. Here’s how my routine stands as of today: Monday: Squats Neutral Grip Chin-ups Single Leg Dumbbell Calf Raises Tuesday: Swimming Wednesday: Barbell Bench Press Bent-Over Barbell Rows Weighted Crunches Thursday: Swimming Friday: Stiff-Legged Deadlifts Parallel Bar Dips Dumbbell Shrugs When I was planning this routine I hadn’t had a break from weight training for a few months and I could feel that a rest would be in my best interests: I was starting to feel tired more often, progress had slowed and I knew from past experiences with over-training that if I kept pushing it I would only regress.
In my time honored tradition of bulk purchasing I placed an order with bulkpowders.co.uk, which arrived last week. I refrained from documenting it at the time as I’ve only just had the opportunity to sample the produce and here is what was waiting for me at reception last Tuesday: I’d been meaning to start buying my supplements online for a while but I wasn’t going to be saving much going for brand name products, especially when delivery costs were factored in.
This morning, like the one before it, was another 6:30am start. Tough to get used to but ultimately very rewarding. I’m enjoying getting my training down early and having the rest of the day to pursue the other areas of my life. Deciding to take a week off from strength training has been refreshing: I’ve been able to catch up on cardio, which I haven’t been doing as much of recently, so hopefully I’ll be a bit fitter before I hit the weights again!
The alarm went off at 6:30am, I got up, put the coffee machine on and went to the bathroom. I’d finished my breakfast by 6:45am which consisted of ground oats, semi-skimmed milk and whey protein, blended. The stage was set and after a couple mugs of java I was good to go. I had often toyed with the idea of getting my training done and out of the way before work, leaving me with the rest of the day to relax, recover and enjoy the endorphins.
A good while back, while I was reading up on the Squat, I stumbled upon the Tuna Shake. Tuna is a very inexpensive source of protein and I’ve possibly eaten the equivalent of my body weight of it over the past year; I didn’t think it was possible to consume it in the form of a shake and when I learned of this preparation I immediately thought of the time, effort and money I could save myself by adding these into my diet.
As usual, Thursday night is leg night chez Biscuit; I’m just in from the gym and I’ve munched on a tuna sandwich and I’m just about to hit a meeting. I didn’t punish myself (much) and my workout could only have been described as “average” on a good day, but I turned up and did a bit. The focus was on practicing my squat technique and I must admit I was feeling fearful stepping into the power cage after my experience last week.
I had a bit of a lie-in on Saturday and I was hitting the gym at 10am so I was only going to get the opportunity for one meal before my workout. I knew I would have to have a slightly larger breakfast than normal. When the food was on the plate my first thought was “I have to eat all of that?” followed by the need to photograph it:
Over the past couple of months I’ve been working at removing machine weights from my training regime but up until last week I was using machines exclusively to train my legs. My mate Tony had shown me how to squat a good few months ago but not only was I afraid of injuring my back with improper form I was downright intimidated by this, the daddy of all exercises.