Thursday, March 31, 2011

Week #8 biceps and abs done - next!

Biceps and abs day was fun, for the first time in a while. I never have a problem working them, but the exercises don't seem as "fun" to me as others do - like legs or chest. Progressions were everywhere last night, and that was a welcome sight. My elbow's still healing, but it doesn't impede my lifting so I'll keep working it.

Shoulders day is today, followed by a full upper-body workout as a buddy and I swap the front suspension on my Focus. Much fun! I really need to build a garage with a lift tho. This jackstands-in-the-driveway thing is getting old fast.

Shoulders day is today. Anything less than a progression in each exercise at least is unacceptable! Oya!

Happy Thursday folks!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Week #8 chest and triceps done

That was seriously not how I expected my workout to go. Since tweaking my elbow and hip almost two weeks ago, I've fought to at least hold fast to my last recorded performance for each day. For chest day, I was hoping like hell for solid progressions.

Yesterday was not only the second week in a row where I had a progression, it was a resurgence of progress that I haven't seen yet doing THT 2.0 Refix. My flat and incline benches had 2-rep increases and my triceps were insane - 95lbs x 9 for my opening overhead dumbell extensions. That is NUTS.

Tricep pushdowns were also similarily positive. Finally, I did about 7-8 dips with 45lbs under me (toa failure), a few more with 25lbs and then a few more bodyweight ones.

Biceps and abs are today. I've gotta keep smashing the weight so that I represent well in my new tank tops.

Gotta keep lifting! Remember folks, 80% of the ad revenue from here will go to and 20% will now be going to the charity of my choice upon payout. It could be the Canadian Red Cross, it could be the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. I'm also revisiting the split for revenue - thinking of making it 50/50 between a donation to Mark and the charities.

The more you click, the quicker payouts happen. Currently sitting just under $20 accrued, payout is at $100.

So, spread the word and help me help some worthy causes - including a good turn for the guy that keeps us all MuscleHacking, Mark McManus.

Lift safe and hard folks!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Week #8 leg day done - with extras!

Like. A. Freaking. T-Rex!

So, I almost blew last night completely. After two wicked sets of Smith Machine squats, I loaded the incline leg press machine with what I had believed to be 650lbs of weight. I sat down in/on it, went to move the plates up so I could release the catches (thankfully, this didn't really come to be) and found that the weight didn't want to move much. I did move it, but nowhere near as easily as I would have expected for that weight. Puzzled, I tried again. And again.

I then started counting plates... for a total of 830lbs. There were two extra plates per side. Whoops! This is why basic math is good for you kids! And so is paying attention to what you're doing. So, aside from the fact I can actually move that much weight, nothing happened. My leg press reps for the day were on-track. Can't argue with that!

Finally, after progressing at calf raises (seated), I decided to come up with a "finisher" for leg day - this week, it was leg extensions (seated). I was quivering, involuntarily, as I walked out of the gym to get changed.

So, that's another positive notch in the logs for THT 2.0 Refix. Also, on a happy note, I ordered two of Mark's new MuscleHack tank tops today! STOKED! They might take a week or so to get here but they're totally worth the wait. Now I can spread the word about MuscleHack without even saying a word!

Have a great day folks!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Week #7 wrap-up post

Yikes! I'm slacking - but at least it's only electronic slacking.

So.... leg day fell on bicep and ab day, and while I didn't push as hard for leg press after I progressed on Smith machine squats due to a bit of extra soreness, overall it was a big success!

Then, on to shoulders and back day. Yes, they ended up being lumped together too. My shoulders are really, really testing my patience of late. They're threatening to slow my progression rate. The good news is that I made up all of the ground I lost due to injury and personal obligation during week #6 and part of week #7.

Another positive note is that I've started developing "finishers" - extra exercise to be completed when I'm at the end of a particular day's workout and I can actually stand the thought of lifting a weight still.

I started with dips (chest and triceps) done with a  plate weight slung under me (with a special weight belt meant for just this purpose). I started with a 25lb but I wanted more pain sooner, so now I do them with a 45lb plate.

Now, I've developed the concept of doing the same with underhand pull-ups. Last night, for no other reason than I wanted to show my buddy Oscar, I decided to demo these with 50lbs of plate weights under me. That's a combined weight of 240lbs for pull-ups. I'm currently doing "massive weight" bent-over dumbell rows after deadlifts and seated cable rows - last night was 105lbs per hand, 6 per side. My shoulders will be next in-line for an ass-kicking. For my legs, I'm torn between hack squats nd leg extensions. For today, I'm leaning toward hack squats as I do miss doing them. Doing them as a "last rep" exercise should be interesting!

So, thanks to a bit of work rescheduling, I'll be able to JUST finish my THT 2.0 Refix schedule instead of having to attempt to do some of it while out-of-town. This pleases me a great deal, as I'm not sold on the gym equipment where I have to go. :(

So, leg day today for week 8 and back on track for schedule. Not a bad way to start the week!

Train hard folks!


Friday, March 25, 2011

Week #7 - officially all out-of-whack

So,  this ends up being a purely infrmational, windbaggish post and not much else. Bicep and abs day didn't materialize last night due to personal obligations and upgrade work on the truck. So, tonight is biceps / abs / legs and tomorrow will be shoulders / back.

Can't wait to hit the gym!

I also appreciate the personal notes sent to me over the past days, both expressing well-wishes about my physical recovery and encouragement / kind words about the blog. Thank you, each and every one of you. I'm writing this blog not just for myself, but more for all of you. It's my daily diatribe about MuscleHacking - my personal endorsement (unpaid, by the way) as proof that MuscleHack THT workouts really work. I sincerely hope that every reader of this blog, and indeed every reader / subscriber of, takes the time to consider their personal health this year and makes conscious steps to ensure their own good health.

I'll be pulling for you! I happily accept any and all questions regarding my work put in, MuscleHack workouts or anything else at all. Do note that if there is a MuscleHack-specific question that I cannot answer, I may steer you to the master himself, Mark McManus. I consider myself well-versed in MuscleHack theory and applications, but I'm still not Mark. ;)

Happy lifting all - and don't forget to enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Week #7 chest and triceps done!

YES! I love being back in the gym. I gave myself a few days off, interspersed with a shoulder and back workout (week #6, noted earlier). I was honestly concerned about my performance, given my off-the-pace resutls with my shoulders and condensed back workout. Chest and triceps day was looking to be... interesting.

Well, I shouldn't have worried at all! Yesterday, through mechanics I can't really begin to fathom, I hit a new personal best for bench: 190lbs x 9, followed by 170lbs x 8. I then managed 120lbs x 12 and 110lbs x 8 for my incline chest press - both sizeable gains. This was followed by new PBs for pec deck.

Shortly thereafter, the hits kept coming. Overhead triceps extension - 90lbs x 12., 80lbs x 10, 75lbs x 12. Tricep pushdowns - 150lbs x 12, 135lbs x 12, 125lbs x 11. I finished with weighted dips with 25lbs on me - I managed 10 reps, 4 reps and then 2/3rds of a rep. Held that last one for a few, slowly lowered to the floor, and then staggered out to the changeroom.

Last night was also cool as a few buds of mine were at 22 Wing for their own workouts. After hearing what two of them were doing for their chest day and triceps, I offered some MuscleHack-type substitutions. They agreed to try them out and I coached them through their first reps. Both immediately said that "my" exercises were far better as they were feeling the work immediately!

It's always a good day to teach someone else about the wonders of MuscleHacking. Thanks for all you do for us, Mark!

Lift safe folks!


PS, in the spirit of the MH fan page March Madness pictures, allow me to welcome you to the gun show. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Week #7 leg day postponed

Yesterday I was so not ready for a full-on leg day. My plan is to do my chest and triceps today (as "usual", set back one day because of last week) and then put in some legs tomorrow after biceps and abs.

My hip is a strange animal - it feels well enough to walk around on, but a few squats and there's some pressure there. Sitting is miles better, but there's still one angle I can sit on that seems to aggravate it.

Plus, my elbow's beat up again and doesn't like taut clothing drawn over it tightly - like when you flex your arm inside of a coat or something. So, a normal chest / triceps day today and hopefully a normal biceps / abs day tomorrow with some legs thrown in after that.

I like training to failure. I don't like it when failure is reached before it should be reached for that particular day. I'm also considering side-stepping out of THT 2.0 Refix this week (after the week's rotation is done) and going to THT 3.1 HIT for a couple of weeks - less overall exercise per period, but more frequent workouts to get everything back into line. I'll see how I'm feeling at the end of this week.

Have a great Wednesday folks!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Week #6 shoulders and back done - injury update

Well, this was an expected, but unwanted, turn of events. With THT 2.0 Refix shoulders day being postponed by two days, and subsequently back day as well, I wasn't expecting big gains while still healing a couple of decent injuries. However, I did feel well enough to hit the gym on Sunday, so I did.

I had less strength than I expected I'd have, but part of that could have been mental "guarding" considering my elbow and hip injuries. However, I did manage to finally eke out some gains doing delt raises and then some gains doing trap shrugs.

Back day was cut fairly short, due to a lack of energy and a desire to not wanting to hurt myself any more than I already had. I limited myself to seated cable rows but still managed to progress across the board.

Even this morning, I have some decent pain in my hip and my lower back (from the fall). Walking still hurts a tad. So does sitting. I'm skipping ball hockey today to give my back a rest, but skating last night wasn't bad at all.

Leg day is today, but not sure how that's going to pan out. I might have to ditch squats and/or leg press, depending on how things go pain-wise. Time will tell.

Remember folks, be safe when lifting! Analyze what you're doing when you can and make sure you're lifting as safely as you can. I've found a new sit-up bench at the gym that I'll be using from now on for my incline sit-ups once my back and hip heal more.

Have a great Monday!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Week #6 biceps and abs day - half done

How do you manage to have a "half done" day? It's simple. The incline situp bench that you're on, doing your weighted incline situps with, decides to tip back and eject you and your 80lbs of dumbell on to the gym floor.

I landed on my rear left hip and secondarily on my left ("bad") elbow. Sitting yesterday was not entertaining. At all.

I DID manage to progress in biceps and forearms before my "incident". It was definitely a wicked day for gains and I'm really feeling it in both my biceps and forearms today.

So, needless to say I didn't do much of anything yesterday. I didn't really make it in to work either. I went in briefly to check on the guys and make sure things were level, but that's about it. Most of my day was spent standing up as that was my least-painful position. Obviously shoulders day went by the wayside. Today, or tomorrow, will be a combination of shoulders and back in a double-up day. Whether I can do legs on Monday remains to be seen.

All in all, one of my worst weeks since starting any type of THT training. I'm glad it's mostly over and that I'm starting to feel a little recovered from my injuries.

Injuries suck, kids. Be safe when you lift.

I, for one, will no longer be doing incline weighted situps unless I can find a longer bench that can counterweight me a little better.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Week #6 chest and triceps done

Yesterday, I was working at trying to maintain my usual progression on 3 hours of sleep. It's even harder than it sounds. I also realized that I was slightly dehydrated, so my water intake for the day increased dramatically while I was there. These two factors added up to make one slightly-irritable Mandalorian. Slightly-irritated Mandos tend to swear. A lot. In Mando'a.

Man, was I ever glad that no-one else understood Mando'a. But first, I'll break to the day's activities. Chest and triceps day was pretty much a full-blown success. I did do my first split-set ever on THT 2.0 Refix, but I wholly blame my overtiredness on that because my follow-up set went flawlessly. Hell, I'm still pumped this morning! Triceps were worked as intensely as I could, and I barely managed to get my progression on my first set of overhead tricep extensions. I also managed to finally smash out my first set (such as it was) of weighted tricep dips. This came at the end of my tricep workout, mind you. So, I managed a grand total of 8 dips with a 25lb plate slung in front of me! I then did 3 forced-resistance negatives... and just about collapsed off of the dip bars at that point. Weighted dips will likely be my "finisher" for my triceps workout for some time to come.

As a kid, watching Star Wars, I always thought that Boba Fett was a great character but also that he was horribly under-used and under-developed. If I'm not mistaken, my middle brother, Aaron, was quite impressed with him too. If there's one good thing that came out of the new Star Wars trilogy, it's the clones element. The use of Jango Fett as the genetic template for the GAR clone army is brilliant - but the post-movies development of the Mandalorians (and Jango having been a Mandalorian) is outstanding.

They invented an entire language, Mando'a. They completely developed the backstory for the Mandalorian's homeworld - Mandalore. They developed the Mandalorian ways: accepting outsiders as their own when those outsiders decide to become Mandalorian, devising simple rules to keep their culture alive - even when off-world, the self-supporting mindset of a true Mando'ade.

What's not to love? This all relates back to my training blog in one idea: ramikadyc. Ramikadyc is Mando'a for "a commando state of mind". Karen Traviss's Mando'a dictionary goes on to state, " attitude that he / she can do anything, endure anything, and achieve the objective. A blend of complete confidence and extreme tenacity, instilled in special forces during training. Can also be used informally to describe a determined, focused person."

When I train, I don't just see myself moving the weight, I already know that the weight is going to move. It's not an option. Unless we're referring to yesterday, where I was wondering "why the shabla weight won't move!" for my final reps. So, I resolved to "nar dralshy'a" - try harder. I still made an awesome effort out of the day.

I'm looking forward to biceps, forearms and abs day today - especially now that I've had enough sleep.

Keep lifting folks!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Week #6 leg day complete

Well, that's a wrap! Leg day was an explosion, a real tour de force. There's something to be said for getting under that bar, setting up and then squatting a new personal best. It's something again when you push that hard to get your gains on the second, lower weight set. Stiff-leg deadlifts are epic for your hams, and calf raises really push you to develop when done right.

I'm looking forward to chest and triceps day today. Today ought to be my last day pressing 180lbs for reps. Stoked! Or, as the Mandalorians say - OYA!

I look at rep-to-failure as a method that I would not have embraced three or four years ago. I was dead-set in my ways, completely convinced that I needed many sets over and over again, with 1.5 hours in the gym or more, just to get development. The sad thing was that I was eventually getting some gains, but not the gains I've been getting since I started MuscleHacking. Rep To Failure - also known as "Hold on a sec, I need to fail!".

Have a great day folks!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Everything's rolled back by one day

Due to having a whack of obligations last night, every day this week is "off" by one day. Leg day today, chest and triceps tomorrow, etc.

Truth be told, I'm glad I gave my legs the extra day off yesterday as I had a really long game of hockey on Sunday night, plus the hour of sleep lost due to Daylight Savings Time. Also, had a fast-moving game of ball hockey yesterday too - so there's another reason for an extra day off.

My thankfulness lies here: Mark's new MuscleHack article. Lots of "fitness gurus" just run those obnoxiously long, repetitive, wear-you-down websites with the floating ads that are always in view. Mark, in contrast to thse practices, does actual research gathering - and he cites his sources! He gives you his solid belief as to why you should or shouldn't do something, based on his own experiences and information gathering.

That's just one more reason I'm proud to call myself a MuscleHacker. It's all thanks to the original MuscleHacker - Mark McManus!

As always, thanks bud. :)

Lift safe folks!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Week #5 shoulders and back day done.

This has to be single oddest entry I've written yet. I had terrific gains on both the back and shoulders portions of my 1.5 hour workout. Amazingly, I was able to maintain just as much intensity for the 2nd half of the workout (back) as I was for the 1st half (shoulders). I smashed an old plateau, outside-grip shoulder pressing 150lbs x 6, followed by a new personal best (PB) of 110lbs x 8 for dumbell seated overhead press. Trap shrugs are at 290lbs with the Smith machine, but I'm looking to attempt them this week with a combination grip and a straight bar.

For my back, combination-grip deadlifts are at 230lbs (estimated, 210lbs + 20ish lb bar), a new PB by far, and seated cable rows are at 260lbs to open.

However, with such an awesome week behind me, I'm still tinged by a bit of self-deprecation. It seems a tad hollow to be so stoked on my gains when entire swaths of shoreline are changed and entire villages/towns are gone in Japan. This morning, I donated to the Canadian Red Cross. I encourage you to do the same via your local Red Cross organization.

Also, take some time to review your own emergency preparedness plans. Ensure you have at least a few days' worth of water and food in your house at all times. Keep a small stockpile of gasoline in a safe place if you need to evacuate - this keeps you from depending on local gas stations that may be overrun with demand.

For those of us in rural areas, a gas or diesel-powered generator makes sense if you want to keep appliances running. See the aforementioned comment about fuel as most generators will only run between 4-12 hours continuously, depending on the load they're servicing and the size of their fuel tank. As an aside, vehicles with larger gas tanks can be either siphoned intermittently to fill the (much) smaller generator tanks - depending on the situation at-hand - or you can get a DC to AC power inverter and use your vehicle as a generator for critical devices. This is my choice if you need to conserve storage space or vehicle payload capacity.

Always keep extra supplies available - cooking capability via BBQ or camp stove, a portable set of dishes, blankets and a couple of good tarps or even a tent (I keep both handy). Be prepared to not only survive for a few days at home at least, but also in case you have to leave your home.

Have a great, productive and safe week everyone!

Friday, March 11, 2011

First double-up day of THT 2.0 Refix is today!

Due to extenuating circumstances, I had to put off my shoulders day until today. So, lots of good food loading today to amp up for a double up shoulders / back day. This should be quite interesting!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Total Six-Pack Abs 2.1 is out NOW!

Holy. Freaking. Crap. Mark McManus just dropped the latest update / release of Total Six-Pack Abs: The Furance, version 2.1.

I have yet to go through it all but there are some decent changes according to Mark. Also, a graphical, interactive calculator (for Windows users, and I expect Linux users with WinE installed) to help you sort out a lot of the calculations.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the changes all are from TSPA2: The Furnace in its original (version 2.0) form.

Thanks again Mark for all of your hard work in making MuscleHacking a true success story waiting to happen for so many of us!



Week #5 biceps and abs done!

And, something new gets thrown into the mix.

Like a number of fellow MuscleHackers (I'd wager), I bougnt a copy of Timothy Ferriss's "4-Hour Body". I read through most of it in a week or so, eagerly digesting the content on "effortless superhuman" and how minutes per week in the gym were enough to gain mounds of muscle. This was all whule I was on the tail end of THT 3.1 HIT, mind you. I;'ve since resolved that this guy is WAY too lucky to be encouraging others to do half of the shit he did. However, all of that reading and processing did give me an idea: what if I did my own little, safer experiment?

So, after having kicked caffeine to the curb in its entirety for 4 1/2 weeks, I've decided that I'm going back to drinking coffee - but the only caffeinated beverage besides coffee will be possibly some energy drinks when I want something cold to drink (that DON'T contain concentrated sugar of any kind!). I had one coffee last night with my girlfriend, but that's it so far. No coffee yet this morning.

What could make me do such a fast 180 degree turn? It's simple: Coffee is mostly harmless, except for the caffeine and the fact that it's a diuretic - it makes you expel water. So, just do what I've been doing anyway - drink lots of water. I did before I gave up coffee and after. I'll just keep drinking more water. It's also a social thing that does far less damage to you than social alcohol drinking. "Having a coffee" with family or friends is a big thing where I live. I genuinely miss doing that.

So, I'll be watching my numbers. Will I gain performance? Lose performance? Stay the same? We'll see over the next 4 1/2 weeks.

As for biceps, forearms and abs day - WOW. I was trashed for over 2 hours after the gym. That's a record for me. Gains right across the board too, even in wrist curls. I was super-smashed after my straight bar curls (two-handed), but still did my last sets of biceps.

I also discovered that I had been doing my kneeling cable crunches backwards. This is a new type of fail for me! I was kneeling previous to yesterday with the weight stack and cable column behind me. I knew I should have been able to move more weight. With the stack in front of me, by the end of my second set, every abdominal muscle fibre I had burned. It was awesome!

Shoulders day is today. I'm excited to get this one started!

All the best for a great Thursday folks!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Week #5 chest and abs done!

Yesterday was quite the day at the gym! Gains all the way across the board for chest and triceps - I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. Thankfully it was a lot less busy than Monday, because that would have driven me nuts!

Hitting my chest really hard yesterday was a great feeling - one of those "epic" days at the gym where everything just feels right. No rhyme or reason for it, it just works. The same for my triceps, where overhead extensions are now at 90 lbs. That's 2 solid increment of increases, week over week. It just... keeps... coming!

Biceps and abs are today. Super-stoked on that! I'm going to be pushing myself even harder now to keep my biceps and abs developing as well as the rest of my body. They're coming up, but there's no rest for the wicked! I'm also looking foward to really hitting my forearms as well!

Have a great Wednesday folks! Good luck with your lifting!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Week #5 leg day! Oh yeah!

Well, leg day today was a bonafide thriller. I actually came good and close to "failing" on the leg press. Thankfully, I've devised a method to prepare to brace my legs with my hands if need be and I actually had to give myself a little "shove" with the hands. Between the progression on Smith machine squats and leg press, I'm trashed - 4 hours later.

Calf raises have become a situation. I've since gone back to seated calf raises and I've seen a progression already there as well. Tomorrow is chest and triceps day - can't wait! It's a hungry, feral feeling, wanting to get back into the gym and kill it all over again.

Last night, about 40 minutes into our hockey game, I had to go ripping back into our end to get the puck. My body did so with no hesitation, no real hint of fatigue. To be fair, I don't think I've ever felt that "fast" since I was like, 20. I was still good to keep moving after that.

Also, a quick shout-out to Mark and the extended fam over at the MuscleHack Fan Page. Mark has a great new logo together that will be going on some MuscleHack merch. I can't wait to place an order!

Lift hard - and safely - folks!



Saturday, March 5, 2011

THT 2.0 Refix 1 month in - thoughts

I have to say that as impressive as my gains were from last summer until now on both THT 3.1 HIT and Volume cycles, I have a feeling that THT 2.0 Refix is going to raise the bar even higher for my next cycle.

Bench press - I was never a fan, but now I'm hitting 180lbs for reps. That's a personal best.

Squats - I NEVER bar squatted until THT 2.0 Refix. Now, I'm hack squatting over 430lbs and Smith machine squatting over 220lbs. That's HUGE for me.

Leg press - 650lbs for reps as of next week. My current bodyweight is 190lbs.

Overhead press - I had previously plateaued at 140lbs (on split-sets) prior to THT 2.0 Refix. This week I did two sets of 140lbs x 6. Next week is 150lbs to start.

Dumbell overhead press - 100lbs for reps as of this week (50lb dumbells).

Delt lateral raises - 50lbs for raises next week to open.

Cabled bicep curls (singlehanded): 85lbs to open next week.

It just keeps coming. This whole cycle is getting ridiculous! I keep carving body fat and adding mass. I was transfixed on my deltoids the other day when doing lat raises as I had never done them with my t-shirt rolled up. The size and striations in my delts was unbelievable! I guess I need a couple of those coming-soon tank tops for my workouts!

I'm stoked to finish up the rest of this cycle and not sure if I'll attack some of the up-and-coming THT 3.2 stuff or take a week off and do another run of THT 2.0 Refix. Seriously. It's THAT good!

I can't close without thanking the original MuscleHacker, Mark McManus, for all of his hard work in developing these training programs for all of us. There's a donation link on the main website guys and gals. Please give, even a bit, to show your appreciation for all of Mark's tireless effort for all of us.

All the best for a great weekend!


Week #4 back day done.

This past THT 2.0 Refix back day marks my first major(ish) adjustment of THT 2.0 Refix. The bent-over barbell rows just aren't doing it for me. I feel I get way more out of seated cable rows (narrow grip) and then some bent-over dumbell rows than by doing barbell rows alone.

So, for week #5 of THT 2.0 Refix, I'm actually amping up my back routine. It will be:

  • 3 sets of deadlifts (4-6) reps, as per THT 2.0 Refix.
  • 2 sets of seated cable rows (narrow grip), 1 x 4-6 reps, 1 x 8-12 reps (adapting this from shoulders day)
  • 2 sets of bent-over dumbell rows, 2 x 8-12 reps
My theory is that I can spur the same level of development that I've seen with my shoulders by mimicking the same series of reps in a collection of sets. For shoulders day, your first set of overhead press is 4-6 reps, followed by two more sets of 8-12 reps. That's why I've chosen the above collection for my "new" back day for the next 6 back days to come.

I'm anxious to give this a try next week. I can't wait to see how I do. :)

Have a great weekend all!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Week #4 shoulders day done

Week #4's shoulders day is done. Really, really done.

A curious thing happened.  I did my usual very minor stretching and then a quick warm-up set for overhead (machine) press. Then, I sat down and banged out the exact same in weight and reps as last week -  but I couldn't do any more. So, I waited for a couple of minutes. Curiously, my shoulders weren't that stressed from the first set. So, I experimented a bit. I decided that I'd sit down and bang out as many more as I could with the same weight (140lbs). Normally it's 1-3 more reps when I'm mucking around like this.

I ended up lifting it easier than the first set and then I banged out 6 more. Uhm, ok!

Hypothesis: I used too much weight (a little over 50% of my "first set weight") as my warm-up weight and my first set, while exhausting, was still a "warm up" set of sorts.

Test: I'll push less weight for a couple more reps to warm up next week and then I'll shoot for at least 8 reps of that weight, effectively ending my time at that weight for my first set.

After that, I still managed to bang out one more set for overhead press, followed by progressions on dumbell overhead press and delt raises.

Trap raises were going to tell the tale. Did I have enough left to progress there as well? I was pretty wrecked by the end of my delt raises.

...yup! I maxed out my 12 reps for my latest weight and now I'll add another 10lbs next week and go for 8 (or more) for my first set there. I also managed to progress on my 2nd and 3rd sets.

Overall, this was likely the best improvement I've had on my shoulders, week-over-week. I love massive progressions. :)

Back day is today, right after work. Can't wait for another BIG day!

Have a great weekend folks!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A quick note - a happy one at that!

So, it was "Google myself" time again. "Rep to falure" was the search term. I came up #3.

No AdWords. No other advertising besides the MuscleHack fan page wall and my signature link on the MuscleHack forums.

Wow. That's awesome! Hopefully I'll be able to do my part and help more people learn about Targeted Hypertrophy Training and the MuscleHack ways!

This is great! Onwards and upwards - both with the visibility and the weights!

Keep lifting folks!


P.S. - The blog just passed 1000 pageviews as of today! I've decided that I'll have another contest starting up when it hits 1500 page views! If you want to help the contest start earlier, it's really simple: share this blog with your family and friends, and anyone else who you believe might benefit from the viewpoints of someone who's just trying to do their best to be in the best shape of their life. Cheers!

Week #4 biceps and abs done

This was an interesting gym run. I went up on my opening standing cabled curls. I then actually lifted less for straight-bar curls, reinforcing what I've thought for a couple of weeks now since replacing single dumbell curls with cabled curls: I had some weight increases to make and that would knock down my 2nd and 3rd exercise weights.

In reality that's perfectly fine. The numbers don't matter, so long as you keep progressing. In fact, I was so trashed that for my second set of incline seated dumbell curls, I actually switched to hammer curls just to be able to move the weight I wanted to move. I've since decided that I like one set of seated incline curls and one set of seated incline hammer curls as my biceps "finisher" exercises.

Abs day was a whole different story - in the same vein of "good". I smashed out new gains on the kneeling ab crunch and on my decline weighted situps. I don't have any straps that I can use for weighted leg raises, so I sub in suspended knee raises that go tight to my chest in sets of 20. Next week I'll make them sets of 25.

When I woke up this morning, my abs were feeling pretty damn good, and that means that I've finally found my "crawl" point for progression with them. Now to just keep blasting them until I really get them up. I normally also throw in a set of kneeling cable crunches and a set of decline weighted situps on Fridays and then I give myself till next Wednesday to rest.

Shoulders day is today. I'm stoked :D After a couple of weeks of improv for traps, I'm looking foward to some Smith Machine time so I can really smash out some trap raises. I'm also stoked to hit another progression on overhead press tonight - both seated machine and dumbell!

Lift hard folks!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Week 4 chest and tris done! A theory...

I had a thought yesterday as I arrived at the gym - what if I wasn't totally up to spec last week for chest day? What if I really was a bit off, my positioning on the bench was a bit off and this would have kept me from lifting as much as I could have any other day.


So, I decided there was only one way to find out definitively - load 180lbs on the bar and go again. So I did.

This just in - yes, I really can bench 180lbs for reps. True enough, it was for 8 reps, but I hit it! Then, I managed to hit 160lbs for 10 reps. That alone told me that when I can rep higher on the second set (as has been my custom), I can normally hit my progression the next week fairly easily.

The rest of the day was just as rewarding. I've been subbing in overhead dumbell tricep extensions for decline tricep extensions (skullcrushers) due to the fact it's been getting pretty busy at the gym. Still progressing there. Tricep pushdowns "stalled" this week, but seeing as they're at the tail end of the workout, I'm not too worried about not progressing there. That just means that I REALLY hit everything prior to them hard yesterday. They'll come up in time.

A side note - my quads are SUPER trashed today -  the old "you'll feel it two days later" syndrome. Bar squatting is quite different than the muscle action for decline leg press. That and the fact that I hadn't squatted for weeks combined to really kick my ass - and quads. They feel like bricks today! On a happy aside, the hack squat machine is back! I'm not sure I'm going to go back to it right away - I think I might give Smith machine barbell squatting a few weeks to see how it does for me.

Just remember - that weight won't move by itself! MucleHack it!

Biceps and abs are tonight. Lift safe folks!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week #4 leg day done - barbell squats!

OK,  after yakking with the guys on the MuscleHack Bodybuilding Forums, I decided to go with two sets of barbell Smith machine squats and then my two sets of leg press, followed by the usual two sets of straight-leg deadlifts.

Good news: I can bar squat well over 200 lbs.Once I really hit it next week, I'll likely hit for about 240 on my opening rep. Yesterday I still got a wicked burn doing 180 x 10 and then 200 x 8 as I was more concerned about form and cadence than sheer weight. I'm pretty confident I gave my legs a decent workout, because I still progressed on leg press (650 to open) and even my calves are protesting this morning.

I have to say, every time I take the time to learn something new with bodybuilding / weightlifting  I've yet to be disappointed.

Chest and triceps day today! Stoked! I'm looking forward to more progressions on my benches and pec deck again today. My triceps will be filing a restraining order by supper time. Can't wait for work to end today so I can hit the gym! C'mon 3:30!

Lift hard folks - but safely! Get that PCP and you'll be rewarded!