April 2005 archives

April 8, 2005

Week 13: Coan/Phillipi deadlift routine on the road

Filed under: Workouts

Wednesday, 30 March 2005: Coan/Phillipi deadlift, week 1

rye power girlSeven weeks after the big bang, I am quite content with being able to train twice a week. Time is now a scarce commodity and, besides, I’m not precisely Duracell Bunny (or Energizer Bunny for you American folks) incarnated anyway. Nevertheless, it is time to resume some direction in training even if it is full steam ahead in the heretical direction. You see, I am going to deadlift big time.

Sixteen months after the big hiccup I have no problems with maxing out on the box squat, but I do have some post-injury fears to conquer on the deadlift. Back injuries are notorious for leaving many patients scared of reinjury to the point that they keep protecting their back even when healed. Good idea or not, I’m going to fight fire with fire and bury myself in the deadlift for the next eleven weeks. I hope to come out the other end with re-established confidence and a bit more iron on the bar so that I can slowly start to work my way past previous PRs. I’ve settled on the Coan/Phillipi deadlift program that has a nice mix of various intensity levels, speed pulls and a good array of time proven assistance exercises. With an estimated whoppin’ 1RM of 130 kg/287 lbs at the moment, I’m setting my target at 140 kg/309 lbs. Did a script for the routine, here’s how it looks for me (kilograms, pounds).

I had to squeeze the inaugural workout of the new routine in between teaching and a parents’s meeting. Nearly didn’t make it (hey, I can shower in 30 seconds!). I was thankful the routine calls for doing the accessories in circuit fashion… Started with very conservative weight choices to ease into the greatly increased volume, but will be raising them progressively over the next couple of workouts.

Deadlift (75%): worked up to 2 @ 105 kg
Speed deadlift (60%): 8x3 @ 85 kg (90 sec rest b/w sets)
3 circuits (rest 90sec between exercises, 2-3 minutes between circuits):
          Stiff-leg deadlift: 8 @ 60 kg/133 lbs
          Bent over row: 8 @ 50 kg/111 lbs
          Underhand (reverse) grip lat pulldown: 8 @ 85 kg/188 lbs
          Arched back good morning off pins: 8 @ 60 kg/133 lbs

Total training time: 47 min

Sunday, 2 April 2005: Bench

Unlike the deadlift, I have no program here yet. I am still waiting for Sebastian Burns’s final assessment of my bench and am starting to think that my mail has been zapped by the evil Yahoo spamfilter. I could continue with the recent single day bench approach which I liked, but on the other hand I have been thinking about selecting a few full range movements (perhaps wide-grip bench, decline bench, close-grip bench and dumbell bench) and rotate those back-to-back with every other week being a max effort and the rest a 3-5RM or perhaps 5x5. I’d combine this with a floor press cycle and suitable accessory work. That said, Burns will want me to do boards no doubt. Did some paused close-grip benches followed by dumbell benches today. Wrapped up with some cuff and bodybuilding work (just for fun of course). Also snapped a picture of a poster ad for Tempo Fitness rye bread on my way out of the neighborhood gym. Rye bread is a huge thing here in Finland so there’s room even for the fitness kind…

Close-grip bench, paused:
          10 @ 40 kg/88 lbs
          5 @ 50 kg/111 lbs
          5 @ 60 kg/133 lbs
          3 @ 70 kg/155 lbs
          3 @ 80 kg/177 lbs
          2 @ 90 kg/199 lbs
Dumbell bench:
          5 @ 27.5 kg/61 lbs
          5 @ 32.5 kg/72 lbs
          5 @ 37.5 kg/83 lbs
          2 @ 40 kg/88 lbs
2 supersets:
          Standing rope pull: 8, 5 @ 45 kg/99 lbs
          Seated preacher curl: 7,6 @ 32.5 kg/72 lbs
Cable crossovers (CBCPs): 7 @ 35 kg/77 lbs

Total training time: 38 min

April 10, 2005

Week 14: Still fighting gravity

Filed under: Workouts

Folks, welcome to the new server. After a long break, Under the Bar is back stronger than ever (you can’t argue with a server that blows my laptop out of the water). I have been training as usual, whatever that means right now, and will be bringing this blog back up to speed over the next few days. [technospeak]What is annoying is that the dns for the new server has yet to resolve at my end - turns out the time to live is set to three days at my old host. One day to go. Based on server logs, much of the world is already here though.[/technospeak]

Friday, 8 April 2005: Coan/Phillipi deadlift, week 2

As the twin duo Flu and Fever kept me home from work on Monday and Tuesday, the Wednesday deadlift session landed on Friday instead. I was in a severe hurry and had to cut out one circuit on the accessories, but made up for that by increasing the weight a bit across the board. The plan is to gradually move the accessory poundage up to a serious level.

Deadlift (80%): worked up to 2 @ 112.5 kg/249 lbs
Speed deadlift (65%): 8x3 @ 90 kg/199 lbs (90 sec rest b/w sets)
2 circuits (rest 90sec between exercises, 2-3 minutes between circuits):
          Stiff-leg deadlift: 8 @ 70 kg/155 lbs
          Bent over row: 8 @ 60 kg/133 lbs
          Underhand (reverse) grip lat pulldown: 8 @ 85 kg/188 lbs
          Arched back good morning off pins: 8 @ 70 kg/155 lbs

Total training time: 47 min

Sunday, 10 April 2005: Incline bench

stuck on the inclineAs I already wrote in a comment, I’m just happy to get to the gym twice a week now Rufus and all. Not expecting too much salvation for my sleep deprived soul, I have settled for a simple enough bench template: rotate flat benches, declines and inclines back to back while alternating between 1RM workouts and 3-5RM workouts. Flat 1RM, decline 3-5RM, incline 1RM, flat 3-5RM and so on… To work on my sticking point, the primary exercise is followed by floor presses and various basic accessories (like dips… long time no see). Did declines last week, so today it was inclines.

I’m not precisely known for reclining on an incline. I easily pushed up my fungus clad PR back from late 2003, 80 kg/177 lbs, but then no more. Måns to the rescue. Dips, speed floor presses and rope pulls. End of an era. You see, this was the last workout at the neighbourhood gym as they will be closing shop in late April. To honor its memory, here’s a video (3.2MB) of today’s action. Nothing special, but better than any cerial commercial on the planet.

Incline bench:
          10 @ 40 kg/88 lbs
          8 @ 50 kg/111 lbs
          5 @ 60 kg/133 lbs
          3 @ 70 kg/155 lbs
          1 @ 80 kg/177 lbs
          0 @ 85 kg/188 lbs
          0 @ 82.5 kg/182 lbs
Dips: 5,4,5 @ bodyweight
Speed floor press (wide, medium, narrow): 7x3 @ 50 kg/111 lbs
Standing rope pull: 2x8 @ 50 kg/111 lbs

Total training time: 35 min

April 17, 2005

Week 15: The early bird and something about a worm

Filed under: Workouts

Wednesday, 13 April 2005: Coan/Phillipi deadlift, week 3

Coan/Phillipi week 3. The moment of truth is drawing closer; will my lower back be able to handle this beating and will I be able to conquer my fears of repeat injury? The odds in favor of not chickening out look good in light of the stupidly heavy pull I did three months after the injury. I still regret doing that pull and wouldn’t be too surprised if it was a contributing factor to the complications that only made my injury worse. So far things are good. 120 kg/265 lbs was decently easy and the accessories are still on the lighter side. Heck, 80 kg/177 lbs on the stiff-legs is what I routinely pull off a shaky balance board. ;-)

Deadlift (85%): worked up to 2 @ 120 kg/265 lbs
Speed deadlift (70%): 6x3 @ 97.5 kg/215 lbs (90 sec rest b/w sets)
3 circuits (rest 90sec between exercises, 2-3 minutes between circuits):
          Stiff-leg deadlift: 8 @ 80 kg/177 lbs
          Bent over row: 8 @ 65 kg/144 lbs
          Underhand (reverse) grip lat pulldown: 8 @ 90 kg/199 lbs
          Arched back good morning off pins: 8 @ 80 kg/177 lbs

Total training time: 62 min

Friday, 15 April 2005: Bench

Rufus, now two months old, usually likes to kick the new day into gear anytime between 4.30 and 5.30am. That’s when dad gets out of bed to change his diaper and socialize with the broadly smiling chap. Since I’m up and Sanna needs to get up to breastfeed him anyway, I’ve begun arriving at work way before the 8am when the pupils arrive. This way I don’t need to hang around as much in the late afternoon when my helping hand at home is needed the most. I guess training at 7am is just a logical next step however twisted a thought it may be for a morning person such as yours truly. In the end, I was pleased with a 90 kg/199 lbs bench double. Nothing fantastic about it, but given the ghastly hour I had expected much worse.

          10 @ 40 kg/88 lbs
          6 @ 50 kg/111 lbs
          5 @ 60 kg/133 lbs
          5 @ 70 kg/155 lbs
          5 @ 80 kg/177 lbs
          2 @ 90 kg/199 lbs
Standing rope pull: 2x12 @ 45 kg/99 lbs
Incline sit-up: 12, 4 (ejected as lower abs felt like ripping apart)
Standing dumbell curl: 10 @ 18.5 kg/41 lbs

Total training time: 26 min

April 23, 2005

Week 16: Last of the Circuits

Filed under: Workouts

pencil neck

Friday, 22 April 2005: Coan/Phillipi deadlift, week 4

This was the last workout in the four week lower back conditioning phase on the Coan/Phillipi deadlift program. I wouldn’t say it’s killing, but doing stiff-legged deadlifts, bent over rows, lat pulldowns and good mornings in circuit fashion certainly gives you that fuzzy burning feeling. Today’s heaviest deadlift double at 125 kg/276 lbs was not killingly heavy either, but I could definitively tell it was the heaviest weight I’ve worked with since the injury, save for that one foolish pull with a rounded back. The weights are going to drop slightly for the next two weeks, but then it will be revealed who’s going to inherit the earth as the weights will quickly ramp up to 140 kg/309 lbs.

I had the camera with me today and taped the deads plus the first accessory circuit. Looking at the footage (4.6M) you probably couldn’t tell, but I actually had a printed out copy of Mike Robertson’s excellent T-mag article Precision Pulling with me as reference for form. The place to give me a hard time about my pulling technique is the comment form below. Before anyone comments on this, let me just say that I will slowly start to drop lower on the good mornings after this gentle start. Only had time for two circuits as I had a shirt to iron in the dressing room for an evening meeting at the school.

Deadlift (90%): worked up to 2 @ 125 kg/276 lbs
Speed deadlift (75%): 6x3 @ 105 kg/232 lbs (90 sec rest b/w sets)
2 circuits (rest 90sec between exercises, 2-3 minutes between circuits):
          Stiff-leg deadlift: 8 @ 90 kg/199 lbs
          Bent over row: 8 @ 70 kg/155 lbs
          Underhand (reverse) grip lat pulldown: 8 @ 90 kg/199 lbs
          Arched back good morning off pins: 8 @ 80 kg/177 lbs

Total training time: 65 min

April 30, 2005

Week 18: Deads before dawn

Filed under: Workouts

Monday, 30 April 2005: Coan/Phillipi deadlift, week 5

Deadlifts at 7am at the school gym is precisely the kind of activity you should not do, at least if you listen to spine expert Stuart McGill who advises everyone to avoid bending exercise in the first hour or two after rising.

[T]he intervertebral discs are highly hydrated upon rising from bed, the annulus is subjected to much higher stresses during bending under these conditions, and the end plates fail at lower compressive loads as well. Thus, performing spine-bending manouvers at this time of the day is unwise. [..] Because the discs generally lose 90% of the fluid that they will lose over the course of a day within the first hour after rising from bed, we suggest simply avoiding this period for exercise (that is, bending exercise) either for rehabilitation or performance training.
McGill, Stuart (2002): Low Back Disorders, Human Kinetics: pp. 220.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t even have considered pulling this early if it weren’t for the fact that this was a restorative workout with light weights. Still, the lifts were really slow and tedious which probably derive as much from prolonged sleep-deprivation as from the early hour. Feeling like Tin man, I decided to decimate the workout a bit stopping after the power shrugs that were now introduced into the routine. After all, rest is rest.

Deadlift (80%): worked up to 3 @ 112.5 kg/249 lbs
Speed deadlift (65%): 3x3 @ 90 kg/199 lbs (90 sec rest b/w sets)
Power shrugs (60% of current): 3x5 @ 77.5 kg/171 lbs

Total training time: 35 min (?)