May 2005 archives

May 8, 2005

Week 19: City Gym and sore back

Filed under: Workouts

Saturday, 7 May 2005: Coan/Phillipi deadlift, week 6

City Gym from outside

Saturday is obviously the worst day to train in Helsinki. After having looked at a digital camera candidate for Måns at the computer outlet we headed over to Töölö Gym since the neighbourhood gym is no more. Arriving at their door at 5.30pm, we were surprised to notice that they would be closing in thirty minutes. We jumped into Måns’s car with the auspicious register plate (YAK) and headed over to Hot Gym, a place we vaguely recalled as being open 24h. We were greeted by very hot looking neon lights… and a sign that told us the gym is open on weekends to key card holders only. With Metal Gym being at the other end of Helsinki (besides, I didn’t quite feel up to doing my puny deads at the Finnish powerlifting mecca) the Yak mobile next took us to City Gym, a basement gym located in front of the Radisson Sas Royal Hotel . Turned out they closed at 7pm, so we were on for forty minutes.

City Gym panorama
Gym panorama from City Gym, Helsinki, Finland (click image for full view)

We’ve visited City Gym once before, in the early 90s. I vividly recalled how impressed we were with the modified row machine (modified rows were our life then more or less). Besides that, my memory of the place was rather faint. Seven euros, and perhaps two minutes, later I was walking around looking for a suitable place to do week 6 of the Coan/Phillipi deadlift program. There was no power rack to be found (goodbye good mornings off pins!), but they had two squat racks with a deadlift-friendly area in front of them. My back had been feeling rather stiff for most of the week, perhaps not totally unrelated to a certain early morning deadlift session, but decided to give the old pull a try anyway. I got through the workout OK, but by midnight I could tell it hadn’t done my back any good. The next day, I was feeling a burning pain in my low back. Shouldn’t have done that, shouldn’t have done that. I couldn’t help but worry that this spelled the end to this deadlift cycle. Had I done too much after all?

Deadlift (85%): worked up to 2 @ 120 kg/265 lbs
Speed deadlift (70%): 3x3 @ 97.5 kg/216 lbs (90 sec rest b/w sets)
Power shrugs (65% of current): 3x5 @ 85 kg/188 lbs
Stiff-leg deadlift: 3x5 @ 95 kg/210 lbs
Underhand (reverse) grip lat pulldown: 3x5 @ 95 kg/210 lbs
Bent over row: 5 @ 60 kg/133 lbs (light set)

Total training time: 45 min

May 12, 2005

Week 20: Introducing tsampaPRtable and a decline PR

Filed under: Workouts

Monday, 9 May 2005: Bench

My sluggish brain didn’t really expect any miracles to happen so left the camera at home. Still, I ended up nailing 100 kg/221 lbs on the decline (usual makeshift setup) for a single with a royal pause on the chest. Always a little something for the PR matrix. Speaking of which, as you may or may not have noticed, it is now powered by my little GPLd PHP script tsampaPRtable. Now that updating the table is a breeze, it is time to raise the sails on the bench me thinks…

I was pressed for time, so supersetted the accessories.

Decline bench, wide-grip:
              10 @ 50 kg/111 lbs
              5 @ 60 kg/133 lbs
              5 @ 70 kg/155 lbs
              5 @ 80 kg/177 lbs
              4 @ 90 kg/199 lbs
              1 @ 100 kg/221 lbs

      Speed floor press (wide, medium, narrow): 6x3 @ 55 kg/122 lbs
      Sets 1-3: Seated cable L-flye: 8 @ 15 kg/33 lbs, 2x10 @ 10 kg/22 lbs
      Sets 4-6: Lying cable curl: 3x8 @ 65 kg/144 lbs

Total training time: 32 min

May 22, 2005

Week 21: Magic wands and interesting camera angles

Filed under: Workouts

Monday, 16 May 2005: Coan-Phillipi deadlift, week 7

father and sonThe deadlift fairy must have waived her magic wand at my sore back. Or perhaps carrying Rufus, now 6.5 kg/14 lbs, around in his Baby Björn carrier has been therapeutic. Whatever the cause, come Monday I felt 100% ready to go again and the workout did not prove this feeling wrong as I easily pulled the target reps on the deadlift. To be on the safe side, I did lighten up the accessories a bit, but also dropped the height of the pins on the good morning to slightly below the navel (near parallel).

This week of the Coan-Phillipi deadlift program equalled that of week 4 in weight, but with slightly less volume overall. Next week I will jump into the deep end with my first 130 kg/287 deadlift in a loooong while. I should be well prepared by now, but, still… tantalizingly scary.

Deadlift (90%): worked up to 2 @ 125 kg/276 lbs
Speed deadlift (75%): 3x3 @ 105 kg/232 lbs (120 sec rest b/w sets)
Power shrugs (70% of current): 2x5 @ 90 kg/199 lbs
Stiff-leg deadlift: 2x5 @ 80 kg/177 lbs
Bent over row: 2x5 @ 60 kg/133 lbs
Underhand (reverse) grip lat pulldown: 2x5 @ 85 kg/188 lbs
Arched back good morning off pins (below navel):
              5 @ 50 kg/111 lbs
              5 @ 60 kg/133 lbs

Total training time: 50 min

Friday, 20 May 2005: Bench

father and sonGot myself a Hama mini tripod for the Canon PowerShot A80 digital camera. With flexible legs that bend in any direction, this tripod is the ultimate accessory for the gym photographer who wants to set up the camera without resorting to strategically placed pencils designed to give just the right tilt (they never do). Predictably enough, after having shot 68 training clips on a shoestring (more or less literally) I could not help myself. From the side, above, below… you name it. Die-hard readers might want to watch the output (4.3M) of this otherwise fairly lame benching session. Alarmingly close to powerlifting porn.

Floor press:
              5 @ 50 kg/111 lbs
              5 @ 60 kg/133 lbs
              3 @ 70 kg/155 lbs
              3 @ 80 kg/177 lbs
              3 @ 90 kg/199 lbs
              1 @ 100 kg/221 lbs
              0 @ 105 kg/232 lbs
Speed floor press (wide, medium, narrow): 3x3 @ 60 kg/133 lbs
Standing shoulder press (zero leg drive):
              5 @ 40 kg/88 lbs
              5 @ 50 kg/111 lbs
              1 @ 60 kg/133 lbs (sudden failure syndrome)
Standing dumbell curl: 6 @ 21 kg/46 lbs

Total training time: 40 min (?)

May 28, 2005

Week 22: Theory yes, practice no-no

Filed under: Workouts

Wednesday, 25 May 2005: Coan-Phillipi deadlift, week 8

Empowered by Alberto’s recent suggestions on my horrendous deadlift form, I tried sinking lower to bring in more leg drive while firing the hip drive as soon as the bar passed the knees. Suddenly the deadlift felt much safer with the realisation that the upper-body-parallel-to-the-floor style is not what the deadlift should be. I made a lot of progress this day… or so I thought until I reviewed the video (1.8M). I had good form at low weights, but it was back to the usual dark arts with the heavier weights. In fact, the heavier the bar got, the more I wanted to stiff-leg it even when my brain vainly fired off stern orders not to. Synaptic failure. I can blame having a nasty groove programmed in deep, but this may just have more than a little to do with my pathetically weak legs. Will need to do something about that and see if can’t get my body to follow my brain better then. Meanwhile, I wither in this zen like state produced by a deadlift which has no form.

Below is the first rep of my 130 kg/287 lbs pull. Hopefully those who like to link to my image and video content from various discussion forums, will for once note that this sequence is not an example of proper deadlift form but rather the polar opposite of it. Surprisingly often I find people citing some video of mine as a good example of a particular exercise even when I expressely state in the blog entry itself that I have a technique problem (my Zercher squat videos are particularly famous in this regard). That said, I don’t mind linking and mostly it is done well, but please do try to get the context right.

whee ho!


Deadlift (93%): worked up to 2 @ 130 kg/287 lbs (failed first attempt)
Speed deadlift (70%): 3x3 @ 97.5 kg/215 lbs (120 sec rest b/w sets)
Power shrugs (75% of current): 2x5 @ 97.5 kg/215 lbs
Stiff-leg deadlift: 2x5 @ 100 kg/221 lbs
Bent over row: 2x5 @ 80 kg/177 lbs
Underhand (reverse) grip lat pulldown: 2x5 @ 100 kg/221 lbs
Arched back good morning off pins (below navel): 2x5 @ 80 kg/177 lbs

Total training time: 90 min (?!)