Summary of Week 20 – Getting Progress!

I postponed the Monday session until Tuesday and therefore it was only 4 session this week. It was a good week, especially for deadlift. The grip has improved somewhat. I also added a second bench session as the Wednesday session was not the best and I am beginning to struggle to perform the sets of 5. Military Press has also improved as 80kg was no problem at all. Timing has been perfect as I am heading to South Korea for 2 week after next week’s session.

Tuesday
Squat: 5×5 @ 155kg (deep squats)
Paused Squats: 3×5 @ 120kg (deep squats)
Standing Calf Raise: 4x10 @ 50 – 200kg
Side Bends: 4×10

Wednesday
Bench Press: 5×5 @ 125kg
NG Bench Press: 3×5 @ 102,5kg
Dumbbell Flyes: 3×10 @ 8 – 12,5kg
JL Press: 7x @ 20 – 40 – 40 – 40 – 40
Triceps Pushdown: 6×9

Thursday
Deadlift: 7×3 @ 190kg
Seated Rows: 4×12 @ 70 – 85% intensity
Lat Pulldown: 4×8
Standing Pulldown: 4×12

Saturday:
Military Press: 5×5 @ 80kg
Bench Press: 5/3/1 @ 120 – 127,5 – 132,5kg

Protein Powder – Star Nutrition “Mix & Match”

I have written about this before, but just wanted to give a tiny updated on protein powder. Most of you already know that there are many suppliers and varieties to choose from. In the bottom line it is all just a supplement that you should only use when you get in a deficit of protein. No, the big question is, when will you be in a deficit? 99.9% of us with a proper normal diet will probably never be in a deficit of protein, but sometime it can be convenient to use a shake instead of a meal. I have reduced my protein supplement intake to a bare minimum. That meaning I probably only take 2-3 shakes per week and usually when I am pressed for time to eat.

As for suppliers there are little difference as the quality is pretty OK over the entire line. It all ends up to money per kg and of course taste. The best protein out there, in my opinion, and the one I use is SELF 100% Micro Whey. The chocolate is awesome and protein content is high (84%). Only problem is that it is somewhat expensive, 212NOK per kg. You can use a currency converter to find out how much that is in dollar or euro.

Gymgrossisten is the largest supplement supplier in Norway and their go-to brand is Star Nutrition. Star Nutrition has a variety of products and protein comes in different sizes packages and flavours. One option I have tried is the so called mix and match where you by 4 bags of 1kg. This is good if you want to try out different flavours. Star Nutrition is the cheapest powder by far where you only pay 150NOK per kg. The protein content is somewhat lower (74-76%), but that’s OK given the price. I have previously used double rich chocolate and decided to try out 3 new flavours:

  1. Cookies & Cream – Way too sweet
  2. Chocolate Mint – Thought this would be like “after eight” chocolate, but was not even close
  3. Chocolate – Weak taste of chocolate
  4. Double Rich Chocolate – OK

I found out if I combines Cookies & Cream with Chocolate Mint, the taste was somewhat OK. The chocolate was so weak that it in fact didn’t taste anything. For the future I will probably just go for the double rich chocolate even though it is not close to the SELF brand.

So, this was my little update on protein powder. It’s not a review nor a recommendation. You find the one you like with respect to price- and taste preference. On a regular basis I can say the price is something you should focus on. No need to spend the big money on supplements

mixmatch

Summary of Week 19 – Deep Squats!

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a normal week and this week was great! My Monday session was very good as my deep squats has really improved mostly due to the fast I’ve dropped the weights in the first cycle. I will be ramping up with 5kg each week, as I have done in my earlier programs with great success. My bench press is lagging somewhat and I might have to  switch over to multiple sets of 3 before I get to 130kg. Another option is to grind out as much as I can with sets of 5, where I have a minimum of 5 sets. It’s old school, but it works even the poundage might stay the same for over a month.

Deadlift I will continue with triples as it helps on my hand, besides doing sets of 5 hasn’t really worked for me the last years. OH-Press is progressing slowly, but technique is improving for some reason I can’t explain.

Monday
Squat: 5×5 @ 150kg (deep squats)
Paused Squats: 3×5 @ 120kg (deep squats)
Standing Calf Raise: 2×16 @ 100 – 150kg (Had to stop as I stretched a muscle)
Leg Extension: 3×10
Side Bends: 3×10

Tuesday
Bench Press: 5×5 @ 122,5kg
NG Bench Press: 3×5 @ 102,5kg
Dumbbell Press: 4×10 @ 17,5 – 22,5 – 27,5 – 27,5kg
Chest Press: 4×10 @ 65 – 100% intensity
Dumbbell Flyes: 3×10 @ 8 – 12,5kg

Wednesday
Accessory day for arms
Biceps: dumbbell curls, barbell curl, dumbbell preacher curl, rope curls
Triceps: rope extension, OH Rope Extension, triceps pushdown

Friday
Deadlift: 10×3 @ 185kg
Power Shrugs: 5×5 @ 160 – 180 – 190 – 210 – 225kg
Seated Rows: 4×10 @ 70 – 85% intensity
Accessory Work: Rear Delts

Saturday:
Military Press: 5×5 @ 77,5kg
Front Lateral Raise: 4×10 @ 70 – 85% intensity
Side Lateral Raise: 4×10 @ 70 – 85% intensity

What Now Watford?

First things first; A big congratulation to all the Watford fans who, together with the players, secured promotion to Premier League by defeating Brighton 2-0 at Amex Stadium in Brighton. Troy Deeney allowed Watford to set its first foot in EPL after 29 minutes and Udinese “loanee”, Matej Vydra, set the other foot in the 94th minute.

In this short post I will try to give my opinion, as an Udinese fan, on what Premier League will probably look like for Watford under a regime controlled by Pozzo. Truth be told, it is actually Giampaolo Pozzo’s son, Gino Pozzo who is having a say on Watford, as he owns the club together with his father. As far as the daily operation of the club, this is controlled by Gino himself, including transfer exchange between the two clubs. In fact, let’s start with the transfer policy, which is the key behind Udinese’s success over the years.

Transfer Policy:
Buying cheap and selling expensive is in all football clubs interest. Some clubs do this better than others, and in two ways; Some clubs prioritize their own youth system and develop players through their own academy. This can be quite a gamble, but can be very effective and has been adopted with great success in Netherland, Belgium and even in Scandinavia, where resources are limited. The other way is somewhat more expensive and depends on a vast scouting network. Udinese is among one of those clubs that exploit a massive scouting network to find players in area where bigger clubs are not heavily present. Countries like Chile, Colombia, small east-European countries, Ghana, Scandinavia are important areas for the scouting network. The vast network, with its scouts, is controlled by one man, Andrea Carnevale. He is the center of all the scouting activities and will, together with Cristiano Giaretta and others, evaluate the reports and videos of players sent in. The network covers also potential loan deals between the affiliated clubs, Granada and Watford, but also others are included (Koper, Avellino, Cadiz, etc.). Once a green light has been given to enter negotiations a financial assessment will be made. This assessment includes the initial negotiation on the player with the current clubs, but more importantly, a future transfer target on the players. This is important for older players (>22) and the more expensive ones. Gabriel Torje is one (good/bad) example of an older and more expensive player.

When Pozzo purchased Watford the intention was to secure promotion to Premier League. Udinese didn’t play any role in this deal as Watford would only benefit on scouting network that was already established. To further strengthen Watford, Udinese would send out players on loan, that would normally be sent on loan anyway and they did so without compromising their own goals in Serie A. The loan deals have been fewer and this season it was only Matej Vydra that was loaned out and that for a good reason, as he did well at Watford and not so well at Udinese. When a player is sold, a percentage of this fee will go directly in to the scouting network in order to maintain the organization and cover all the costs related to scouting. A transfer in Italy can be somewhat different from Premier League. Co-ownerships are made with “hidden” envelopes where clubs place their bid on the player when the co-ownership deal is ended. Antonio Candreva is one player Udinese had for a long time in  a co-own deal before he was eventually sold. The usage of clauses and various installments are being used as well, which means there is not a big chunk of money coming in at one time. This allows a constant flux of money coming in over a period of time. Alexis Sanches is a good examples of clauses and installments being used in the transfer deal.

So how will this affect Watford? Clearly they will be less dependent on loan deals from Udinese, but I don’t expect them to go crazy on the transfer market. The system is robust and will not change with the fact Watford being in Premier League. Smart signings, shrewd housekeeping and a solid grip on the salaries will be important for Pozzo even at Watford. One key element in the system is Udinese’s former coach, Guidolin, who know is employed in a more international capacity at Udinese. I am not sure what his real job specification is, but I would assume he is to give some tactical advise to the scouting network on how to use possible new signings and more importantly, how to optimize loan deals among the affiliated clubs with respects to the qualities of the players compared to the tactical approach being used at the clubs.

Goals:
With this I don’t mean the amount of goals Watford will score during a season. I simply mean what goal is set by the management for the club. At Udinese this has been the same for a decade; Prior to the season the goal is to reach 40 points as fast as possible. Future goals will be based on how fast the club will reach that goal. My opinion on this is two-fold; Firstly, I acknowledge that Udinese is a small club with limited resources and setting a goal equal to qualification to Champions League will be unrealistic and might even jeopardize the business model. Secondly, I would like the club to take a little more risk on the transfer market in order to attract players that can compete on international level. With this, as a consequence, salaries needs to be adjusted accordingly to attract those players.

When it comes to Watford it will be all about surviving Premier League. Even though a big bunch of money through TV revenues are provided, this is not what Watford should build the club around. Salaries must be according to the revenue the club can generate on marketing, sponsorships and contribution to transfers. I think Watford could end up being a similar club to Udinese in Premier League with solid economy and smart signings in an even more chaotic transfer market. I still think 40 points will apply for Watford as well for the upcoming season. Pozzo has stated he wants to win the scudetto with Udinese sometime. BUT in order to do so you can’t, prior to the season, set a goal to reach 40 points…..Does Pozzo want to win Premier League with Watford? Of course he does!

Titanic:
The last two seasons have been terrible for Udinese. It started with Guidolin ending on 13th place the previous season in a year where he was mentally “out” of the club. You could actually see him on the sideline thinking about what he will do after the season was finally over. This also affected the players’ performance. The management decided not to do anything and explained that they will search for new manager once the future had been settled with Guidolin. In my opinion that was already settled. Stramaccioni replaced Guidolin prior to this season and so far this has not paid off at all. The performance has been terrible, if not worse, and there are no indication the trend will turn.
For some reason Gino Pozzo has a different approach as managers have come and gone at Watford. My only concern with Watford is that if the club all of sudden is facing relegation, the management decide to do nothing drastic as far as the coaching staff and manager. Sometimes simple changes in the staff will results in immediate results. Among the clubs in Serie A, Udinese is one of them that does not do drastic changes in the organization when results are trending down. Hopefully there will be a different approach at Watford when they are in the Premier League

Clubs Status
To me, the media focus heavily on calling a club either a feeder or a farmer, depending on the status. Pozzo doesn’t really work under that system. Granada, Udinese and Watford are affiliated clubs in a business model enforced by Pozzo. The status has little to do with how deals and money transaction will be made. The scouting network will exploit the market to the benefit of all clubs. The likelihood of Allan or Widmer to go to Watford is as likely for Troy Deeney to go the other way. The status of Premier League is higher than Serie A, no question asked. BUT, for Pozzo, who is a very patriotic and sentimental person, his hearth lies in Udine. It is not a question of Udinese going down the ranks, it will be more a question to Pozzo themselves if the business model will work for Watford in Premier League. If the fans of Watford will see this as a long term project where consistency will be the key to secure a healthy club in Premier League, there will be a lot of joy to come in the years to follow.

Building a Bigger Back – Progressive Pulls

The «back region» consist of several muscles as you can see from the 2 pictures below it is quite complex. Most people can relate to the simplified version. As a result from looking at the pictures you could question yourself if only doing some isolated lat pulldowns and bent over rows is enough to target the majority of muscles. A typical starting conversation at the gym could look like this:

Person A: “What are you training today?”
Person B: “Today its back”
Person A: “What do you do for back?”
Person B: “Back raise, lat pulldown and seated rows”

I think you get my point by comparing the conversation to the 2 pictures below. Too many times I have asked the questions hoping at least deadlift or some other heavy compound movement was included, but to my disappointment “Malibu-Ken” still believes he can build a great back with 2-3 isolations moves. If you want to build serious mass to you back you need to focus on big heavy compound movements. This applies for back probably more than any other. In order to do so effectively you can alternate 2 back sessions; one week you focus on deadlift (purpose being it is a powerlift), the other week you do a variation. If you decide 2 have to back session in a week, I advise you to cut back a bit on the volume for the alternate day and make sure you have at least 2 days between the sessions.

I have applied alternate sessions for back for several years with great success. The alternate day will change over time and I will swap in and out exercise in order to tweak things a little. Currently, I am doing rack pulls together with power shrugs. Another version would be to do SLDL (stiff legged deadlift) together with bent-over rows. By bent-over rows I mean where your back is parallel to the floor and not the type where you arch your back in a 60 degree angle and let the weights rest on your quads while you pull them up and down. That’s how weak people do barbell rows and they will always stay weak that way!

When entering an off-season and your main goal is to achieve some more mass in the back region there are several regiments you can follow. Nevertheless, the key is periodization where you ramp up weight over time and reduce reps accordingly. The off-season is also a time where you normally will lower the weights to some degree and try to get a strong as possible at a given rep range. Normally the rep target will be 5. Sets of 5s is the key to get bigger and stronger at the same time. Sets of 5s allows you to ramp up weights and thus adding more volume over time than sets of 15 would do.

Focusing on the back I came across a regiment outlined by Marty Gallagher in his book “The Purposeful Primitive” and it is called Progressive Pulls. Progressive Pulls consists of several compound pulling movements that target the back, normally 5 exercises done for 2-3 sets each and where you will cycle the rep range and ramp up the weights. A cycle could last from 6 weeks and up to as many as you want. In his example you start with doing 2-3 sets of 10 reps the first two weeks, then 2-3 sets of 8 reps and the final two weeks you do 5 reps. For advanced lifters you can reduce the rep range and end up with doing triples and even doubles in the final weeks of the cycle. The first week will always be an assessment week, where you try to figure out your initial poundage and then you add 2,5kg per week (5 kg for the deadlift). The key is to start off light enough to allow you for increase over the next weeks.

An example of exercise making up the progressive pulls could be:

  1. Power Clean
  2. High Pulls
  3. Deadlift
  4. Stiff-Legged Deadlift
  5. Bent-Over Rows

A different approach that you can do as a replacement or as an alternation in a different week is:

  1. Power Clean
  2. Deadlift
  3. Rack Pulls or RDL
  4. Power Shrugs
  5. Bent-Over Rows

The last one allows you to move heavier weights due to the reduced range of motion (ROM) on some of the lifts. Normally this is something you can convert to after doing the first example for 1 or 2 cycles.

So, there you have it. Include this in your training regimen and make sure you support it with proper diet and adequate rest. I know this will be a struggle for some people, but I will revert to one of my favorite quotes:

Significant change requires significant struggle!

Back Muscles

Back Muscles

Back Muscles - Simplified

Back Muscles – Simplified

Summary of Week 15 – A Struggle and New Blood Analysis

Looks like dropping the weights and maintaining form was more difficult than I anticipated. I’ve realized I have to cut back on the amount of work done in each sessions as I am not able to do the lift with good form. Besides, as long as I can stay on the same weights while I drop in weight, there is no need to push myself in order to increase over time. Once I’ve reached my under 105kg goal, I will have to make a new plan anyway.

I also went to the doctor on the Friday to take another blood analysis. The last one was done 10th of September last year so it was about time. I expect the cholesterol to go up a little as I am pushing towards 60% on fat in my current diet.

As for training I did some heavy military presses and some back work. The next week will anyway be more or less the same as this one

 

Summary of Week 14 – Easter Training

Last week was amputated due to Easter celebration. My Monday session turned out to be funny as I put on some training pants that were too tight, meaning I didn’t get the correct depth and when I did, the pants got torn. Other than that, the week was really good, but the OH Press was a challenge mostly due to the fact I didn’t sleep well during the night.

The weight is still going down and I am balancing around 107kg. I might have to reduce the kcal to 2500 in order to get the last 2-3kg to reach my goal of 105kg. I am surprised that I haven’t noticed anything in the deadlift and pressing power.

Monday
Squat: 120×5 – 120×5 – 140×3 – 140×3 – 160×5 – 160×5
OH-Press: 70×5 – 70×5 – 70×5 – 70×5 – 70×5 – 70×5 – 70×5
Accessory Work: Calf Raise, Shoulders

Tuesday
Deadlift: 140×5 – 140×5 – 160×5 – 160×5 – 180×5 – 180×5 – 180×5 – 180×5 – 180×5 – 180×5
Bench Press: 105×8 – 105×8 – 105×8
Accessory Work: JL-Press, Barbell Curl

Wednesday
Squat: 120×5 – 140×3 – 160×3 – 160×3 – 160×3 – 160×3 – 160×3 – 160×3 – 160×3
OH-Press: 70×3 – 72,5×3 – 75×3  – 77,5×3 – 80×3 – 82,5×3 – 85×3 – 95×3
Accessory Work: Calf Raise, Shoulders

 

Summary of Week 13 – Fatigue!

A normal week, but struggling with fatigue. It is obvious that I am not used to manage the current volume with the type of diet I am on so I guess it will take some weeks before everything seems “normal”. I went on the scale on Sunday and I saw 107kg for the first time in many many many years. This means I am only 2kg from the magic 105kg, but I am somewhat worried that I have dropped too fast. Not really sure what to do with the diet once I get to the weight I want to be at, but it looks like I have to increase the calorie intake to around 3500. One this is for sure and that’s my metabolism have changed a lot when removing the carbs

The training went OK, struggling a little with the balance and explosiveness in the squat. The deadlift was a nightmare this week. Upper body movements went like a charm! I skipped the Saturday session this week.

Monday
Squat: 120×5 – 120×5 – 140×3 – 140×3 – 160×4 – 160×4 – 160×4 – 160×4 – 160×4
OH-Press: 70×5 – 70×5 – 70×5 – 70×5 – 70×5 – 70×5
Accessory Work: Calf Raise, Shoulders

Tuesday
Deadlift: 140×5 – 140×5 – 160×5 – 160×5 – 180×5 – 180×5 – 180×5 – 180×5 – 180×5
Bench Press: 100×8 – 100×8 – 100×8
Accessory Work: JL-Press, Barbell Curl

Wednesday
Squat: 120×5 – 140×3 – 160×3 – 160×3 – 160×3 – 160×3 – 160×3 – 160×3
OH-Press: 70×3 – 72,5×3 – 75×3  – 77,5×3 – 80×3 – 82,5×3 – 85×3 – 90×3
Accessory Work: Calf Raise, Shoulders

Friday
RDL: 120×5 – 120×5 – 120×5 – 120×5 – 120×5
Power Shrugs: 210×5 – 215×5 – 220×5 – 225×5 – 225×5
Accessory Work: JL-Press, Barbell Curl, Hammer Curl

Diet Update

A quick post to give an update on the effects of the change in diet. I started the reduced carb diet (more or less Paleo/Ketogenic) in the end of January. My bodyweight was then around 117kg and blood pressure around 140/95. The changes have been amazing. I am still keeping roughly a 3000kcal per day diet, but with increased fat (for obvious reasons). My most recent blood pressure was measured at 125/85. This was also post-workout, which normally gives higher values.

As far as the weight I am currently pushing towards 108kg! The weight is stable as opposed to when I was 117 where the weight would jump up and down. I have 3 more kg to go before I get to 105kg, which is the ultimate goal. I will probably have to increase the kcal towards 3500 as I am currently loosing weight at 3000.

The strength is not where it should be, but this is normal as I have almost lost 10kg. You need to make a little sacrifice, but hopefully I will be able to adjust at 105kg. Squat is what has suffered the most, bench and military press are still good.

I have put in a snapshot of the excel sheet showing my current plan. The food is listed in Norwegian, but the I guess you can see that the total macros are pretty OK. There are some veggies left out so I should be a little over 3000kcal. This is just one plan as I have others with different foods. The macros stay more or less the same (I even have one that includes McDonald…)

So it safe to say that this works! If you are struggling with the weight and want to reduce the fat percentage, I can highly recommend this!

Diet Plan

Diet Plan

My Finalized Program Until Summer

Since I arrived from Korea, and together with the change in diet, I have had to restart my training. Losing 8kg over the last 2 month definently makes an impact on the weights you are able to lift. So far it is only the squat that has suffered, mostly due to stability issues and lack of power in the hip-drive.

In order to restart I have made a plan that last until July. The idea is to keep a very modest weight increase over the course, but to steadily increase the volume by incorporating more sets and tweaking the reps. I have had success with this in the past where I have been off training for a while. I guess it is a bit similar to Brandon Lilly’s Cube program, but with higher volume. The plan is to prepare for June where I will cut back on the training and ramp up the weights for the big 3 lifts. I will do 2 ramping up sessions on each lift before I go back to normal. The ramping up will give me an idea where to set the weights for the next 3-4 months. The key here is to only ramp up 1 lift at the time and cut back accordingly prior to that lift. When I ramp up the squat, my previous week is planned accordingly. When I do heavy deadlift the same applies and the alternative back day with RDL and power shrug is removed.

From mid-July and going forward I will keep the rep range between 3-5 and let the weights dictate the progress. This will add more weights more rapidly than what I have now and I will peak much earlier. This is one of the draw-backs (or positive aspects) when training RAW. I don’t have an equipped period where I ramp up the weights according to what my opener at meet with equipment would be.

I still have 5kg to go until I reach 105kg and one of the main reasons why I keep the weights at a very small increase in the forthcoming period is to allow me to drop the weights without do any major changes to what the training should look like. Hopefully I have given enough float in my program to allow for this drop in weight without sacrificing the progress in training.

As you can see I am only concentrating on the main lifts, but I have cut back on bench press and focus more on military press. Accessory work has not been included, only some minor in the start but I will include over time depending on how I feel. Besides, accessory work is not that important now when the volume increases over time.

First Training Cycle

First Training Cycle

Planning for Retirement!

I know the topic seems a little off compared to what I am normally posting on my site. Nevertheless, the approach is still to some extent the same. When I started my own business and had to get more involved in the finances, I realized I had more or less been sleeping in the class when it comes to planning for retirement. Normally a percentages of you salary is put aside by your work and will be the basis for your retirement. I thought this was straight forward, but after talking to some financial institutions, I quickly understood that you can set it up in any way you want (more or less).

I made a deal with my insurance company to set up a plan for my wife and myself (my wife is employed in my company as well) and then I had a look at my saving accounts after the work I did in South Korea. One option would be to leave it there at an interested rate that is so low it would not even be qualified to be called “an investment”. My decision was to have a look at mutual funds. I have always thought about it, but then I hadn’t bothered as it seemed complicated and too risky. I guess the risk part is coming from the word “stock”, which is used in the Norwegian term. Directly translated it will be “Stock Funds”. The main reasons for choosing mutual funds were:

  1. This is a long term investment. A part of it will be for retirement and another for other activities in the future
  2. I can handle a little more risk than the normal saving, but I don’t have the competence and time frame to operate on the stock market.
  3. My company is going to make the investment, and operating in the stock market would “kill” my accountant with all the transactions.

The good thing by using the company as the main player for investing, is that I can move money in and out from the mutual funds and at the same time avoid taxation on profit. Another aspect is that I am not gambling with my “personal finance” as it is only a part of the revenue that will be used as investment.

So what funds to I choose? On my personal account I have 2 types of funds. One invests in big global companies and the other strictly on companies in Norway. The latter isn’t going too well at the moment, but this could change for the future. When it comes to funds for my company I have set up an account at Nordnet and will pick 3 different funds there to spread the risk. I will probably have one related to America and then the others will go towards certain sectors of the industry. I have to do a fair but of reading and listen to what the experts says.

I guess you can make a link to the world of weightlifting when it comes to planning. It is a marathon and every little bit you do today and tomorrow, will eventually pay off in the future.

Summary of Week 12 – Back On the Path

Finally being able to carry out a normal week. Didn’t do anything fancy this weeks as I was re-assessing the weights I am going to use the next month.

The minor change will be that I will ramp slower up with the weights and manipulate the training with increased sets or reps. I will also plan better when I am going heavy for triples and doubles, meaning I will cut back the previous week so I have more in the tank for the following heavy session.

For this week I have trained legs and military press on one day and back and bench press the other:

Squat: Multiple sets of triples at 160kg
OH Press: Multiple sets of 5 at 65kg | Multiple sets of triples pyramiding up to 90kg (different days)
Bench Press: Multiple sets of 5 at 117,5kg & Medium grip with stop at 105kg
Deadlift: Multiple sets of 3 at 185kg | Heavy singles pyramiding up to 220kg

I’ve kept accessory work to a minumum focusing on arms one day and back another day. Very simple but effective

For this week I will just increase the reps range on squat, but keeping the weights at 160kg. For bench press I might go up to 120kg and do drop sets with stop after 5-6 working sets. OH Press will increase to 70kg or throw in an extra session at 65kg instead.

Back From South Korea – Resume Normal Training!

Haven’t posted in a while as there wasn’t much to write while I was in Korea. The gym sessions were OK, but I really missed the equipment I am used to. It was great to get back in order to resume my normal training!

I hit 2 sessions this weekend just to see how much “damage” the Korea gym life had brought upon me. On Friday I did some deadlift and worked my way up 6 sets of triples at 180kg followed by 5 rest-pause on rack pulls at 220kg.

Sunday was squats and OH press. Did 3 sets of triples at 120kg followed by 3 sets of fives at 140kg. It is clearly I haven’t squatted in a while as it felt like a nightmare. Both 120 and 140kg felt like 500 with no explosiveness what so ever.

Hopefully this will change over the next weeks.

Summary of Week 08 & 09 – South Korea!

I know this is waaay to late for my regular weekly update, but I have been quite busy with the travelling to South Korea. I mentioned in a previous post that I have to change my regiment due to limitation of equipment in the gym at the hotel, so I will consider this a major deload. My nutrition will not be the same, but I will stay off the carb so nothing drastic will happen.

For simplicity sake I have just used snipping tool directly in the spreadsheet to show you my first cycle carried out in week 8. Weights are relatively low, but the ramping up will happen fast. Different from the past I have incorporated mini-deload weeks before the heavy week and I will only perform one heavy powerlift in one week. The standard programs out there will ramp up all the lifts at the same time, leaving you with a pretty heavy ending of the program. I am not saying that is wrong, but for myself I found out that if I can spread the heavy weeks out, I am able to recover better and also perform the lifts better. I’ve really seen the benefit of this when it comes to deadlifting.

As for the training in South Korea, it is OK, but I changed the sequence of training. I start with chest % arms, then legs and finish the 3rd day with back & shoulders. Normally you would exect to start with legs in order to recover for the back day, but in this case I do a lot of pulling movement and as I have more or less killed my arms on chest day I really need that day to recover.

First Week of Training

First Week of Training

 

The Bodyscan – First Impressions

I am back in South Korea (Geoje) again to follow up one of the projects. Not sure how long I will stay, but it will probably be close to 3 weeks. This means a minor change in the training regiment, well it’s fair to say it will be a major one as I am not able to perform regular squat, deadlift and most of the variations. Like I did last time, I will turn over to a typical bodybuilding split with a 3 days on – 1 day off cycle. The split is quite easy:

Day 1: Legs – Leg extension, Leg Press, Leg crunch, Sissy Squat, Seated Calf Raise, Standing Calf Raise

Day 2: Chest & Arms: Flyes, Incline Bench Press, Bench Press, Close Grip Chest Press | Triceps Pushdown, Lying Dumbbell Extension | Dumbbell Curl, Preacher Curl, Barbell Curl

Day 3: Back & Shoulders: Back Raise, Bent-Over Rows, Lat Pulldowns | Lat Raise, Shoulder Press, Front Raise, Rear Delt Flyes

I might change some of the exercises, but this will do most of the work while I am down here. I will use fairly high reps this time (10-15) and keep the weights moderate to low.

BUT, what I did today for the first time was to take a body scan. I was mostly interested in body fat percentage, but the equipment they had could determine a wide range of parameters. I am not sure how accurate it is, but I guess it can be too far off either. Besides, it can be used to see trends over time as I am probably going down again on a regular basis. I’ve enclosed a photo in the postm but to summarize the body fat percentage is 19,7, my weight is 106,8kg (something that can’t be right as I weighed 111kg on my home scale a few weeks ago, hopefully my scale is wrong). My skeletal muscle mass is 50kg, which impressed me as normal range is 31-39kg. My weight-to-hip ratio is 0,91.

There were a bunch of other parameters as well, but I got the basic covered here. Moreover, based on the test it calculated my BMR to be 2222kcal, which is a little over than what I calculated myself. Based on my training regiment I am aiming for 3000kcal a day with a macro split of 20-35-45. If I go lower on the carb, I just bump up the fat. I am closer to 15 on carbs.

The good news was my blood pressure. When I first went to the doctor 4 months ago the systolic pressure was close to 140. He gave me 3 months to bring it down before putting me on medications. In the beginning in January I got it down to 130 and when I tested myself today (and right after exercise!!!) it showed 125/85!! This is quite amazing and based on my experiment to factors have made this improvement:

First I started supplementation of L-Arginine. This alone contributed to decrease the pressure towards 132-134. I have a blood pressure apparatus at home which I use ona daily basis. Secondly I changed the diet quite drastically by removing carbs and bumping up the fat. The latter made the biggest impact and I have also started to lose weight in form of fat.

To summarize, I am on the right track. The goal is to have a stable blood pressure around 120 and my weight to be below 105kg

As far as supplementation down here in Korea, I just brought the basics; some whey and my vitamins, minerals and Omega (enclosed photo).

Result of Bodyscan

Result of

Supplements on the go...

Supplements on the go…

 

Summary of Week 07 – End of Period

Everything comes to an end and I’ve decided to restart as I don’t want to enter the phase with heavy doubles and singles. The progress has been good, but I feel I need to build some more mass and needs to cut back on the weights due to the drastic change in diet (low carb/high fat). I don’t have the same explosiveness, but hopefully that will get back. I did a post on the new training regiment and I did try that out in this week. Focusing on the big 3 and variations of it in every session I believe will be a good thing. I will most likely stick to a 5 days in a row session and do some minor conditioning on the last two days.

Week 8 will be a full week with the new setup and as I will leave for South Korea in week 9 I will use that week to polish the regiment

Monday:
Bench Press: 6S-3R @ 130kg | 3S-1R @ 130kg
Incline Smith Machine: 8R @ 30 – 60 – 70 – 70 – 70kg
Flyes: 3S-10R @ 10 – 12,5 – 12,5kg
JL Press: 5S-9R @ 55kg

Tuesday:
Squat: 2S-3R @ 160kg | 180kg x2 | 3S-3R @ 160kg
Bench Press: 3S-3R @ 120kg (pause)

Drafting A New Training Plan

Just a quick post on what I am doing right now as far planning my new cycles when I am done with my current regiment. I like to start planning a few weeks before the regiment ends, as it gives me time to adjust over the next week depending on how the progress goes. Basically I will stop the current regiment before I stall on triples and have to go over to doubles and singles. Truth be told, I’ve done singles on the deadlift, but that’s normal.

Both squatting and bench press has improved a lot, but I am lagging behind on the deadlift. I will most likely lower the intensity in the new setup and have a more strict setup as far as accessory work for the deadlift. In the start I will deadlift every week, but will switch over to every other supplemented with heavy rack pulls and stiff legged deadlift.

A minor change from the current regiment is that I have brushed the dust off excel as I want to have a stricter plan with respect to ramping up weights. The plan below is a draft, but you’ll see the basic setup.

New Plan

New Plan

Summary of Week 05 & 06 – Deload and Continue Up the Hill

I took a deload in week 05 with only 4 easy sessions. I did take a speed session with deadlift and decided that this is something I will continue with every now and then. As for the “normal” week 6, I felt a little fatigued and I guess it is mostly due to the major change in diet where I have more or less left out carbs. I guess this is a transition phase that will last some weeks before I get better. Nevetheless, it was only in squat I felt the big change and hopefully I will get back on track after some weeks.

Did try out some variations with supersets and in order to get some ab work done I introduced an exercise I used back in the 90s, ab cable pulldown. It still works!

Monday:
Squat: 5S-5R @ 170kg
Bench Press: 130kg x 5 | 140kg x 3 | 147,5kg x 1
Flyes: 2S-12R @ 10 – 12,5kg
JL Press: 5S-9R @ 40 – 50 – 50 – 50 – 50kg

Wednesday:
Deadlift: 120kg x 1 | 220kg x 1 | 220kg x 1 | 3S-1R @ 210kg
Power Shrugs: 5S-5R @ 230kg
Biceps Curl: 10R @ 20 – 25 – 30kg
Hammer Curl: 10R @ 7 – 9 – 10 – 10 – 10kg
Curl Machine: 3S-12R @ 60%

Thursday:
Bench Press: 3S-5R @ 130kg | 2S5-R @ 120kg
Incline Smith Machine: 3S-10R @ 40 – 60 – 70kg
Flyes: 3S-10R @ 10 – 10 – 12,5kg
Chest Press Machine: 3S-10R @ 40 – 55 – 65kg

Saturday:
OH-Press: 5S-3R @ 85kg
Lat Raise: (12,5 + 10) superset | (12,5 – 10 – 8) superset
Rear Delt Raise: 3S-10R @ 17,5 + 10 superset
Dumbbell Curl: 4S-10R @ 10 – 15 – 17,5 – 20kg
Barbell Curl: 4S-8R @ 40kg
Ab Cable Pulldowns: 4S-AMAP

Sunday:
Squat: 3S-3R @ 160kg
Rack Pulls: 3S-5R @ 200kg

My Own “All Day U May” Drink

I guess most of you knows Rich Piana’s brand slogan, 1DayUMay and his 5 % nutrition supplement line. His idea of the “all day u may” supplement drink is actually quite good. Not having an opinion about the ingredients in this supplement, but some supplements are OK to take during the day.

As I am at work from 8am to 4pm, I decided to make my own drink. I used to bring a whey shake, but as I more or less have stopped drinking whey during the day, I decided to replace it with something else that also keeps my hydration levels up. It’s not rocket science, but I figured to take a few simple ingredients and make a shake that I will mix in to my water bottle at work. In the evening before work I take a shaker bottle and fill it with water (0,7l) and add 10g of BCAA, 5g of L-Arginine and 5g of Beta-Alanine. You could say it is more like a AA Cocktail. I used to add one scoop of Maxim to add some simple carbs and electrolytes, but as I am cutting waaaaay back on carbs now, I leave it with only the AA.

I basically dilute it so that at the end of workday I have consumed ca. 1,5 – 2l of water. I have placed an order for L-Carnitine at IHerb and I will add 5 grams of that as well in the “cocktail”. The taste is great, mostly due to the flavor of the BCAA, and I guess some of you know how terrible the taste of single amino acids can be, so I am quite happy to mix them in with something that taste good.

Well, this was just a short post about BCAA. I know some people like to have fixed time when they take them, like first thing in the morning and as a pre- and post workout, but I reckon it is OK to provide a constant flow of BCAAs rather than toss it in now and then.

My "AllDayUMay Cocktail"

My “AllDayUMay Cocktail”

Summary of Week 04 – Entering the Plateau

Long week and I added on some more accessory work. I am getting closer to plateau in squat with respect to sets of 5 and had to drop down to 3 on the Monday due to fatigue. The Thursday session wasn’t the best as I almost bommed out my topset in squat. I concluded that I needed a deload, so this week (week 5) has been a deload

Deadlift is going well, but struggling with sore hands. I have actually purchased gloves to use on pulling accessory work.

Bench Press is great and no need to do anything there. Keep putting one more weights every week. Nevertheless, I soon have to start with triples as sets of 5 is getting somewhat taxing on my elbows.

Other than that, nutrition is great, but I have jumped up 2 kg over the last month. Now I have started my low-carb diet, so I expect the weight to drop and hopefully my strength won’t be that much affected

Monday:
Squat: 5S-3R @ 185kg
Bench Press: 130kg x 5 | 140kg x 3 | 147,5kg x 1
Calf Raise: 4S-10R @ 140kg

Wednesday:
Deadlift: 195g x 5 | 215kg x 3 | 3S-1R @ 330kg
Power Shrugs: 5R @ 165 – 205 | 5S-5R @ 225kg
Rear Delt Flyes: 4S-10R @ 12,5kg
Lat Raise Machine: 3S-10R @ 30 – 40 – 50kg

Thursday:
Squat: 177,5kg x 5 | 187,5kg x 3 | 207,5kg x 1
Bench Press5S-5R @ 130kg
JL Press: 4S-8R @ 55kg
Flyes: 3S-10R @ 12,5 – 15 – 17,5kg
Leg Extension: 4S-10R @ 85%

Saturday:
SLDL: 5S-8R @ 110kg
NG Seated Rows: 3S-10R @ 85 – 95%
WG Seated Rows: 4S-10R @ 75 – 85%

Sunday:
OH-Press: 5S-5R @ 85kg | 3S-10R @ 60kg
Lat Raise: 3S-10R @ 12,5 – 15 – 17,5kg
Rear Delt Raise: 3S-10R @ 25kg topset
Hammer Curl: 3S-10R
Preacher Curl: 3S-10R @ 20kg
Rear Delt Cable: 3S-10R