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Old 07-03-2016, 11:10 AM   #126
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Week 12 Diet:



Average protein/day up from 127 last week. Yay for weight gain on a calorie deficit. Suck it, thermodynamics.
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Old 07-03-2016, 11:15 AM   #127
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

For training, I dont use a belt at all. Much more core benefit sans belt...imo.
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Old 07-03-2016, 11:23 AM   #128
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by BPA234 View Post
For training, I dont use a belt at all. Much more core benefit sans belt...imo.
http://strengtheory.com/the-belt-bible/

This article among many things makes the case that you get more core contraction with a belt. Well, to be specific, you get a bit more rectus abdominis contraction and bit less external oblique contraction.

What I find the most promising are the implications for recovery. Somewhat related:



Nothing definitive obviously, but it seems likely that increased stress on the spine makes recovery much slower. If you could recover faster from belted squats and deadlifts, that would snowball into a lot faster gains on those lifts, potentially well worth what you'd be giving up by doing somewhat less core training.

Last edited by Renton555; 07-03-2016 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 07-03-2016, 11:56 AM   #129
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

The recovery question definitely gives pause for thought. I'm still thinking about it...article was tough though because of course as so often the case the cited studies weren't applicable or didn't exist.

For me, strictly strength training, I "believe" that I get more benefit training without a belt for most of the reasons given in the article for wearing a belt. I want to tax everything that a belt would "support" when I am training and then add in the belt only when I am 1RM or doing a top work set.

I was disappointed that the video didnt mention CNS impact from DLs. I never have a problem recovering physically....CNS is another story altogether.
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Old 07-03-2016, 12:01 PM   #130
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

I've had the belt for years, but that article sold me that i should probably start using it. After one session, I'm a little bit inclined to use it for squat worksets and do deadlifts sans belt. We'll see.
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Old 07-03-2016, 12:05 PM   #131
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

I can see squats more than DL. Either way, used correctly, belt is probably small rock.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:15 AM   #132
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 Training

Press 31.25kg (5, 5, 9!)

Tidying up my form a little enabled me to gain pounds and a rep from the previous workout. Great.

Squat 80kg (5, 5, 5) **7/15 Quality Reps**

Okay here's the deal. The belt makes me have much better rebound out of the bottom, and these sets weren't very hard at all. The problem is that the belt seems to make it more difficult to reach parallel to the point where I'm bottoming out and getting a good bounce at barely parallel or just above parallel.

The other problem is the bar path. I previously allowed a little forward bar travel in hopes that it would clear itself up as the weight got heavier. I'm finding now that this isn't the case and it's getting worse and worse. In some of the reps it looks like the bar is going several cm forward of mid foot. Now that I've hit 80kg for 3x5 and that's a proper milestone, I'm going to hang out at 80 for a couple of workouts and work on my squat-morning problem. It's encouraging that I'm strong enough to do these sets (fairly) easily in spite of the inefficient bar path. Once I fix this I should have a lot of quick gains to make on the squat.

DB Bent-over Row 45# (12L/12R, 12L/12R, 12L/12R)

I'm loving these because they seem much easier to do correctly with strength, not technique, being the limiting factor. I'd like to stay in the 8-12 rep range so I'll proceed to 50 next week.

Superset:
DB Incline Press 35# (9, 10) +2 reps
Facepulls 75# (15, 15) +3 reps

***

It feels pretty fantastic to make tangible progress on every lift.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:26 AM   #133
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Thursday, July 7, 2016 Training


Deadlift 100kg (5)

I deadlifted first today as the rack was occupied. I tried focusing more on having a tight upper back. I think my back looks pretty good in these reps, but I still seem to have an issue with my torso shifting forward at the start of the pull. Also, my eccentrics need work. I'm just too timid to drop the weight.

Bench Press 52.5kg (5, 5, 7)

Regrettably, I broke down and asked for a spot on the third set. Evidently, coaching came with the deal. I should have read the fine print, damn it. Were it not for the distraction, I may have found an eighth rep. Progress is progress, and this is an all time PR. I think I got 3x5x115lb in 2012 before shoulder pain killed my gains.

Squat:

2x10xBW
2x5x20kg
3x40kg
3x40kg paused
3x50kg paused
3x50kg
3x50kg
3x60kg paused
2x60kg paused
3x60kg
2x70kg paused
2x70kg douche sighting (x-post in GGO)
3x70kg
3x70kg
3x70kg
4x80kg

I doubt many people will watch all these videos, they're mostly here for my own records. That said, they're well-edited and short, and I'd much appreciate any help with my squat form.

My method today was to basically start light, do paused triples until depth was consistent, then do unpaused triples until depth and bar path were satisfactory, then increase the weight 10kg. As the weight got heavier, I found that it was much harder to keep a vertical bar path. I was trying to put the weight more on the heels to overcompensate but it's just such an unnatural thing to do. The body really doesn't like to risk falling back. I really think this is more of a skill thing than a weakness thing. It doesn't make much sense that my body would be stronger at squatting with more-closed hip angle. I'm just leaning forward too much in the bottom and I should be able to abstain from doing that regardless of the weight.

I worked up to my last work set weight and planned to just do a set of five and call it a day but the fourth rep felt so ugly that I didn't want to reinforce bad form with more reps. As ever, technical failure is far from actual failure. I could have done 4-5 more ugly reps probably.

Superset:
DB External Rotations 10# (15, 14) +1 rep
DB Lateral Raises 10# (14, 14) +4 reps

Chin-up Negatives (29s, 26s, 21s, 16s) -5s total from max

LOL I'm always so gassed when I get home to do these negatives. Maybe I should do them later in the day.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:53 AM   #134
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Douche sighting vid delivers. Love your reaction.
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:08 AM   #135
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Sunday, July 10, 2016 Training

Squat 75kg (5, 5, 5), 13/15 depth, 10/15 vertical bar path

The plan was to work up to 75, do a set of 5, add 5kg if it looks good, do sets across if it doesn't. The first set wasn't bad, but it wasn't perfect either so I just went with that. I watched a ton of youtube videos about excessive forward lean in the squat. Most of them suggested that it's the result of weak quads. I don't know that there's anything better I can do about the problem other than keep squatting 75 until they look better.

Press 32.5kg (5, 5, 7)

I had some trouble finding a comfortable grip width because it was a different bar. I'm a bit disappointed that I was so weak on these after getting 9 reps at 31.25 previously. Oh well.

Deadlift 102.5kg (5)

It seems like my setup is getting a lot better. These felt very strong off the floor, which is usually my weak point. The fifth rep was fairly tough, but I think I could have pulled a sixth. I'm really happy with where my deadlift is heading.

Superset:
DB Incline Press 35# (10, 10) +1 rep
Facepulls 85# (12, 14) +10#, -4 reps

Chin-up Negatives (28s, 24s, 21s, 21s) -3s total from max

This time, I waited a solid hour after I returned from the gym before doing these. Still no discernable improvement.

Last edited by Renton555; 07-10-2016 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 07-10-2016, 09:15 AM   #136
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Week 13 Diet:



Slow cut is slow. Down net 0.4lb from two weeks previous. That said it seems to be a general trend of weight decreasing, if slowly. My lifts are going up and my weight is going down so I'm gonna stick to 1600 calories per day for the foreseeable future. Protein could be better, but it could always be better.
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Old 07-12-2016, 06:50 AM   #137
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 Training

Bench Press 53.75kg (4, 3, 2)

I just felt really weak today. I only got 5 hours of sleep last night so I expected reduced performance across the board, but this was much worse than I expected. I'm just gonna kind of pretend this never happened and bench press again on Thursday.

Squat:

40x5
50x3
60x4
60x3
65x3
70x4
75x5 link
65x5 link

Got some thoughts on these for a separate post.

DB Bent-over Row 50# (10L/10R, 10L/10R, 12L/12R) +5#, -4 reps each hand

Can't complain.

Superset:
DB External Rotations 10# (16L/16R, 15L/15R) +2 reps each hand
DB Lateral Raises 10# (15, 15) +2 reps
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:20 AM   #138
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

The state of my squat:

75x5 Pre-Belt, June 21



75x5 Post-Belt, July 12



While I reported an immediate increase in performance when I added the belt, I'm finding that that isn't so much the case anymore. In both sets, there's a pronounced "squat morning." In today's sets, I focused way more on staying tight through the whole range of motion and driving my traps into the bar at the start of the concentric. The reps were actually slower in today's set, which is a bummer considering it's almost 3 weeks after the former set. I should have made progress in that time.

In this video, Candito says that the belt will exacerbate the problem of leaning forward at the bottom. He also seems to be pretty adamant about going beltless, and says he only wears a belt because he competes.

So first of all, I think I'm going to ditch the belt and see if I can more easily correct the squat morning problem without it.

As to the forward lean, this article and this article say that quad weakness is the culprit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Nuckols
You see, your body is pretty good at optimizing movement. Do something enough times, and your body is pretty good at finding the most efficient way for you to accomplish the pattern, given your strengths and weaknesses. So, when you find yourself GM squatting, you’re in that position in the first place BECAUSE your back and hip extensors are strong. Strengthening them further MAY help you lift more weight, but it only furthers the imbalance that already exists.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Nuckols
Remember, the demands on your quads are at their highest point at the very bottom of the squat.

If knee extension demands exceed your quads’ capacity, they have a “safety valve” – your hips. Your knees kick back (shortening the knee extension moment arm and decreasing knee extension demands), your hips shift back, and your torso leans farther forward.

Instead of maintaining a constant back angle between the hole and the sticking point, you tilt farther forward, winding up in a “good morning squat” position because your quads weren’t strong enough to pull their weight, so they shifted more of the load to the hips.
Further, he says that the quads should be trained separately with assistance work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Nuckols
To correct a good morning squat, most people need dedicated quad work. It’s been my experience that just doing more squats rarely corrects the problem. Front squats can help, since you can’t shift the load excessively to your hips. If your torso starts inclining farther forward, the bar will just roll off your shoulders, so front squats force you to keep your quads heavily involved in the lift. Leg presses and machine hack squats are also great options. Finally, unilateral work like split squats, reverse lunges, and step-ups can help as well.
I'm not sure if I should heed this advice or assume it only applies to intermediates. Maybe I'm such a novice that I should just continue doing squats at whatever weight is low enough not to cave me forward. What say you, S&F?
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:53 AM   #139
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Renton,
In my experience, as a fellow beginner with low squat numbers, it is not so much that you need specific work for your quads, but you need to focus on having them fire 100% when you bounce the hole. How? Before you squat, grip the floor with your feet and twist outwards. Then on the bounce just really make an effort of pushing through the mid foot and having the quads involved on the movement.

Have you seen this vid?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5zrloYWwxw

It's pretty good. I believe this advice is in there.
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Old 07-12-2016, 01:02 PM   #140
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

That's a great vid, but it doesn't really address the specific problem I'm having. Sure, my setup could be tighter, but I have a hard time believing that a leaky setup is responsible for the fact that I can squat morning like 1/3 more weight than I can squat with solid form.

I'm gonna continue trying to get tighter, but I've been doing that for three weeks without making progress, while my deadlift number has been flying up. I just wonder if it's worth adding a couple of leg press sets to my accessory work and see where it goes. The last thing I'd like to do are leg presses, but if doing them for a couple of months can remedy an imbalance and allow me to squat closer to max effort with good form, I should try it. And that wouldn't stop me from continuing to improve my squat technique.
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Old 07-12-2016, 02:13 PM   #141
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

You're not imbalanced, you're untrained. Sure, go ahead, add in leg press. But I really don't think you are at the stage where it is worthwhile to change your program on the basis of some perceived flaw. Just keep going at it and focus on overall technique.
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Old 07-14-2016, 07:49 AM   #142
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Thursday, July 14, 2016 Training

Squat 70kg (5, 5, 5) 15/15 depth, 11/15 vertical bar path

Went beltless this time. First set was decent, second set was great, third set sucked. I worked harder on having a tight upper back and lats, but to be honest I don't think this makes any difference to the issue I'm having. It was never my spine that was flexing to cause me to lean forward. It's just the hip angle. Everything seems consistent with having weaker quads than hips.

Bench Press 53.75kg (4), 48.75kg (5, 2, 8)

I felt pretty good during warmups this time. After I could only get four in the first workset, it seemed prudent to just do a GSLP reset and proceed with that. The two rep set was supposed to be the AMRAP, but during the set I found that my setup wasn't sturdy and I couldn't get leg drive. I aborted the set, rested for 3 minutes and did the AMRAP.

Without a doubt I've lost strength here, and I don't feel like anything's injured so it seems like I'm just not recovering. More on that later.

Deadlift 105kg (3)

Meh. I'm okay with this. Adding 5kg a week to the deadlift on a 1600 calorie diet wasn't gonna happen anyway. Form seems decent except that my torso seems to shift forward a bit at the start of the pull. I wonder if this isn't related to the weak quads hypothesis, i.e. my body is naturally transfering some of the knee extension work to hip extension.

Superset:
Lat Pulldowns 130# (8, 9)
Leg Extensions 80# (15), 100# (12)

This was a pleasant surprise on an otherwise dismal day. I frowned at the prospect of doing more chinup negatives today since those haven't been progressing, and I already did the rotator cuff assistance last workout, so I did some lat pulldowns and found that I've gained about 10% strength on them since the last time I did them. So it looks like the negatives were working after all. If I can do 130x9, a bodyweight chinup should be on the horizon.

As for the leg extensions, they seemed like a better idea than leg presses on a day where my glutes are getting more than enough work.
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:01 AM   #143
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Gonna be doing this modified program on a provisional basis:



I dropped the dumbbell incline presses to see if I recover better. The quad assistance may be overkill, I'll drop it from Sundays if there's an issue with recovery.

Last edited by Renton555; 07-14-2016 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:21 AM   #144
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Sunday, July 17, 2016 Training

Squat 72.5kg (5, 5) 9/10 depth, 4/10 vertical bar path

Shrug.

Press 33.75kg (5, 5, 5)

Minus 2 reps for plus 1.25kg, definitely strength loss here.

Deadlift 95kg (4)

My lower back still felt a little sore going into the gym today, so I had a feeling I wouldn't be very strong on these. I loaded 105 and barely broke the first rep from the floor. It felt so heavy I just stopped and de-loaded 10% to get some reps in. Even 95 was surprisingly hard.

Superset:
Leg Extensions 110# (12, 12)
Facepulls 85# (15, 14)


***


I'm definitely noticing a pattern of terrible workouts here. No squat progress in a month, strength loss on the bench press and press, and now finally the deadlift. This week my nutrition was fairly dialed in, averaging 140g of protein a day, up from 125g last week. Carbs are lower than usual, at 91g/day, which might explain some performance loss. My sleeping and stress levels are no better/worse than usual. It just seems like I'm doing too much work for not enough calories.

It seems like I have the following options:

1) Reduce volume substantially and keep diet constant. Drop all the 3 sets across to 2, deadlift 1.5 times per week instead of 2, maybe squat 2 times a week instead of 3. Possibly decrease intensity a little, at least avoiding training to failure as often.

2) Do a bit of 1) while increasing calories slightly. This might allow me to have a few more recomp weeks at a slower rate of fat loss. This option isn't that appealing to me since I'm already losing less than 1/2lb a week as is and it seems at best a stopgap to the inevitable 3), which is....

3) Do a proper cut and get it over with. If I went for 1% of body weight lost weekly, I could go from 159lb and 24-27% body fat to 141lb and 17-20% body fat in 12 short weeks. In the meantime, I could work on making progress in the areas that are least affected by calories: increasing my cardio fitness and work capacity, improving form on the lifts, and working on my mobility. Another pro to 3) is that I've become very accustomed to eating not much food. Lately, I feel like I've had to cram food down just to hit 1400 calories on rest days.

I'm eager for anyone's thoughts.
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:55 AM   #145
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

This kind of thing happens. Strength progression is a series of peaks and valleys.
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:07 AM   #146
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuclear500 View Post
This kind of thing happens. Strength progression is a series of peaks and valleys.
Do you think that I shouldn't make adjustments? Nor cut?
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:22 AM   #147
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renton555 View Post
Do you think that I shouldn't make adjustments? Nor cut?
Since you're not following programming that handles stalls and regressions myself I would just drop the weights by something small and keep going like nothing happened. Dwelling on what minor things might be affecting you otherwise will cause you to spin wheels as you try thing to thing.

Sleep probably makes way more difference then the rest imo
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:24 AM   #148
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Plus it's not like you're trying to peak for a meet so it doesn't matter in the long haul that you regress some at random times. Most of us are just weekend warriors as it were.
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Old 07-17-2016, 01:28 PM   #149
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Week 14 Diet:



I lost a bit more weight this week. My protein is way up.

I've decided to cut. Yeah, I'm sure if I did a de-load week and tweaked the volume a bit I could probably continue to make slow progress at 1600 calories for a while. And I'm sure my weak performance in the deadlift today and Thursday was just due to a lack of recovery from trying to deadlift twice a week. However, a solid month of no progress on the squat despite training it three days a week seems to me more than just a transient valley between peaks.

I was okay with being fat as long as I could make steady progress, but I can't abide being fat AND weak at the same time, so here's the plan:

The Cut

- Target loss of 1% bodyweight per week = 5569 calorie deficit. About 1.6lb the first week and decreasing from there.
- Estimated sedentary TDEE is 13125 calories/week
- One hour brisk walking on rest days (4x/week) plus the cycling and lifting I do should increase that by (conservatively) 1375 calories. So adjusted TDEE is 14500.
- Calorie allowance is 14000-5569 = 8931/week. I'll eat 1148 on rest days and 1446 on lifting days.
- I'm going to aim for 135g average daily protein, I'll try to get as many carbs as I can otherwise but that might be difficult on rest days.
- Plan is to cut for six weeks, then a week of maintenance, then six more weeks to conclude. Hopefully, I can get down to 140 and my body fat percentage below 20% in that time.

Gonna do this program and see how it goes:



I dropped the deadlifts to once per week, the sets across to two, and will only be squatting heavy twice a week. Trying out front squats is as much about keeping things fresh during the cut as it is about fixing my good morning squat problem. This is a tiny amount of volume so we'll see how well I respond to it. I may add some sets and experiment as the cut goes on.
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Old 07-17-2016, 01:46 PM   #150
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Renton's Rise from Weakness

Holy crap do you really need to go that low? Those look like cutting calories for a small female to me.
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