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Shahaf Levin

Level 5 Valued Member
I felt it's time to start a training log.

General Info:
Male, 36, 175cm, 70kg
Engineer, part time personal trainer (planning to move to full time soon)
Main sport: Beach volleyball
No active injuries or limitations

Current maxes / heaviest recent lift:
  • Deadlift - 110kg (both conventional and semi-sumo), (125kg PR 1.5 years ago)
  • 1 arm KB Press - 24kg x (1 - R , 2 - L) (PR)
  • TGU - 32kg (PR)

  • 2+ years of Westside Barbell, lower body days only - got strong, but really taxing - especially the assistance work. I was to exhausted to carry the strength gains to the sand consistently. Before that about 2 years of crappy knowledge-less resistance training.
  • Easy Strength based training for the last 12 weeks
  • serious amateur beach volleyball since ever (~2002)
  • staying fresh - be able to carry the strength and movement gains to the sand (and life in general)
  • improving the strength base and fundamental movement quality to support beach volleyball and life
    • reclaiming deadlift PR
    • maintaining full ballistic ROM - focus on left arm overhead position
    • owning 32kg TGU
  • practicing patience in programming and training
  • practicing proper minimal programming, both from a practitioner and a teacher of strength point of view
  • Strength practice as support - sessions should give more than they take!

  • Morning warm-ups - covering all fundamental human movements daily (Dan John's 5+1)
  • alternating 2 weeks ES/EES program for deadlift and 1-2 weeks of PM swings/snatches
  • alternating 2 weeks of overhead work (Press , TGU, Bent Press)
Lets go!
Programming for the first block (starting October 9th):

Deadlift program: semi-sumo deadlift - Simple Strength from @Dan John's Intervention
5 days a week - 2 x 5 , 2 x 5 , 5-3-2 , 2 x 5 , 2 x 5 / 2 x 5 , 6 x 1 , 1 x 10 , 2 x 5 , 5-3-2. Starting weight for 5s - 74kg

Overhead program: Bent Press - the Bent part from @Iron Tamer's Bent and Sinister program from Taming The Bent Press
5 days a week - 5 - 10 singles each side. Starting weight - 20kg
I thought about some military pressing program, but I did some Bent and Sinister sessions last week and my shoulders (and posture, and overall awesomeness) never felt better. I keep the Bent Press for now.

Morning warm-ups: light weights - emphasize movement quality in self-limiting movements
OS resets, Goblet Squats , Halos variation, Clean variation, Armbar / TGU, Loaded Carry

Hanging leg raises
Handstand practice
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Warm up:
OS resets
Goblet Squats @20kg x 3
Snatches @20kg x 5 + 5 (5 right / 5 left)
Bent Press @16kg x 1 + 1
Deadlift@60kg x 1

Deadlift/Bent Press program:
Semi-sumo deadlift @74kg x 2 x 5 (2 sets of 5 reps) - Easy (2.5 out of 5)
Bent Press @20kg x 8 x (1 + 1) (8 sets of 1 rep each side) - Moderate (3-4 out of 5)

Deadlift - set 1 - touch - pause/re-tense - go, set 2 - set-of-singles - full setup each rep. Lifts are much faster with tighter groove on set 2.
Bent Press - pressing out fault on right side at early sets, slowing down movement and trusting the hips helped. work on right side thoracic mobility and hip mobility.

Warm up:

same as yesterday

Deadlift/Bent Press program:
Semi-sumo deadlift @74kg x 2 x 5 - Easy
Bent Press @20kg x 9 x (1 + 1) - Moderate

Beach volleyball matches:
About 6 matches. Took me a long time to get in the rhythm of the game, from focus point of view. Haven't felt that strength training heart my movement. Can't be sure if lack of focus is related to strength training, had a crappy couple of days regardless. Monitor


Deadlift - both sets as set-of-singles. Feels tighter and faster than yesterday on set 1. set 2 the same.
Bent Press - right side a little better than yesterday. less press outs. emphasize right scapula mobility before next session.
Management - both deadlifts and bent press load the trunk heavily. asses trunk fatigue daily and reduce bent press volume if necessary

First bottom-up clean @20kg (morning warm up session). Easy. this GTG stuff really works
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Beach volleyball, OS reset at beach before playing

During the day:

GTG wall handstand practice - wall supported half push-ups for doubles + attempts to go free from the wall

Warm up:

Standard + BU clean & hold + bent armbar

Deadlift program:
Semi-sumo deadlift @74kg x 5 , @89kg x 3 , @99kg x 2 (easy, moderate, heavy)

Haven't felt stronger at the end of the session than the start. Not enough patience :(

Bent press program:
Felt a little tired from the load of the last three days.
That's me practicing patience ;)

Deadlift - set 1 - touch-pause-go, sets 2 + 3 - sets-of-singles. sets-of-singles feel with better groove but also feels way more taxing.
Management - solid double on the last set, but might be a bit over reaching after the total load of the last two days (including two 3 hour bvb session separated by about 9 hours). Need to figure out how to account for beach volleyball as part of the total load.

Need to buy proper stall mat. I lift at home on a yoga mat and therefore put the bar down slowly. This feels way to taxing with no good reason...
GTG wall handstand practice - wall supported half push-ups for doubles + attempts to go free from the wall

I imagine this would be great for beach volleyball! I have been doing handstand practice, too. I'm up to about 5-6 seconds unsupported, though I usually start against the wall and move away from it. Yesterday was a new breakthrough - I was practicing outside (just after that avatar pic was taken, actually) and focused on the abs as soon as I went vertical. Tight, hollow body position. Abs, then glutes, then squeeze legs together if I can hold it that long. It was like instant stabilization! Fun to do, too.
I imagine this would be great for beach volleyball! ... Tight, hollow body position. Abs, then glutes, then squeeze legs together if I can hold it that long. It was like instant stabilization! Fun to do, too.

I actually started it as a general challenge for fun, but since it teaches both overhead stability and total body alignment it had quite a nice carry over to the sand. and after doing them with some bent presses thrown in I feel I can go through walls ;)

I'll try your advice about focusing on tight hollow position as early as possible, before the wall support.

Bent Power program (Deadlift / Bent Press program):

Scheduled rest.
Came at good time, left hamstring was tight and a sore in the morning as a result from poorly managing total load the last three days.

Movement and mobility

OS resets - mainly lower body segmental rolls and standing-half-roll (aka naked windmill)
Flexible Steel Tactical frog session (stages 1 - 5) x 2 - feels like a big rocking complex
Hamstring smash-and-floss with a Supernova 2.0 for 2 minutes x 2 round during the day

3 rounds, spread around 1-2 hours:
  • wall supported handstand practice - kick up to wall, do 1 to 2 reps of half pushup, try to balance unsupported
  • Goblet Squats x 5 reps (20kg prying for round 1, 32kg for rounds 2, 3)
handstand practice - tried @Anna C's suggestion on concentrating on hollow position as early as possible. Feels better, still working on finding my groove. Will probably video tomorrow to check if I can find leaks visually.
mobility work and goblet squats pretty much cleared my left hamstring. Will see how it feels tomorrow after a good night sleep.

Bent Power program:

Semi-sumo deadlift @64kg x 2 x 5 (very easy, kept it very conservative)
Bent press @16kg x 1 + 1 , @20kg x 9 x (1 + 1) - easy, see notes on next post

Waiter / Rack carries @ 20kg(W) + 24kg(R) x 1 + 1
Handstand practice - Free handstand on first attempt following @Anna C's advice. Thanks! Held it for about free seconds before I realized I'm doing it, got excited and lost balance ;). 2nd and 3rd rounds where to wall + 2 reps of half pushups + going free from the wall. Feels better than before.

Left hamstring feels fine, ROM is a not back to par (at least my par), but since it's still a 3 on FMS-ALR don't see a reason for concern. Kept deadlifts weight conservative today.
Handstand - I think that the main reasons @Anna C's tip helped me greatly is that it made me stop thinking of align-the-pelvic-over-ribs-and-over-hands-and-shoulders and simply go for align-the-body... if the body is one piece it might be a good idea to use it as such... :cool:
Preceding the handstand with the OH carries couldn't hurt either...

Free handstand - the reason I posted before doing bent press session :rolleyes:


Bent press session added
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Bent press session notes:
split the session and put a few minute of re-patterning with batwings and light bent armbar. Groove on right felt better (left felt better from day 1).
Videoed the whole session and think I found my problem. I have good thoracic mobility, but I use it improperly. I twist too much at the beginning (loaded for arm past the loaded hip and not straight above it).
This leads to two things I notices:
  1. I left with little room to hinge my hips diagonally and have to hinge backward-ish most of the way and interfere with loading the off-leg - probably not a problem now, but will be a serious problem with large weights.
  2. Since I'm starting the bend at near end-range of thoracic rotation I left with nowhere to turn to make room for the bell (the bell have nowhere to orbit to, since I "used" all the orbit early). On my left side I have really good thoracic mobility and I can keep making space, but on the right side I only have good thoracic mobility (I dislocated my right bicep tendon in a ski accident almost 3 years ago, probably alongside a torn labrum), which forces me to press-out a little at the end. I intuitively squatted a little bit on most sets to "make space" with the hips.
I will try not to over rotate early next session and see if it helps.
13.10.2016 - evening/night
Beach volleyball matches:

4-5 matches, high quality movement and control, empowered partner, very good team dynamics. Need work on timing in attack approach and blocking (touched almost all balls, blocked none :().


Bent Power program:
Semi-sumo deadlift @64kg x 5 , @74kg x 5
Bent press - rest today, some bent armbars

GTG handstand practice
OS resets

I have a couple of off days ahead (visiting my parents) so I split the session and will do the bent press tomorrow.

Future programing:
Deadlift -
training 5 days a week alongside playing allot is new to me. In order to avoid future set backs I'll apply more conservative volume control on the 5s days by reducing intensity. While 74kg is easy lifting, adding the volume to extensive playing I see troubles ahead. Quality steady work will do it's thing in the long run.
I might try reducing the number of lifts in the future (instead of intensity), but I'm still new to the program and so staying true to it's principles and learning from it.

Bent press -
While I said I'll do 5 - 10 singles I did the 8 , 9, 10 singles... In my mind I compare the BtP to a TGU, so I'm going do keep the reps low (5-6) in seven out of ten sessions and go for 8+ in the remaining three. Same reasoning as deadlifts. I feel fine and this is preemptive measure only.

Beach volleyball:
8:00 AM at the beach, nice easy going matches

Bent Power:
Bent press @16kg x 1 , @20kg x 5

Bent press groove - corrected the "early rotation" fault I've seen last time, left side grooves nicely, right still a little tight with almost no orbit. It seems like improper foot position and/or improper hip movement. Will experiment with foot position next time. It might also be a confidence issue, not trusting the dislocated bicep tendon in my right arm to "catch" the weight (which is probably more problematic because it leads to a press-out fault). I'll give it more consideration during the armbars. Keeping this weight until I see and feel a better groove on the right side.
Rest (visited my parents).
Some OS reset and warmups with a 16kg bell.
Passed my FMS level 1 exams (online course)
Reread Pressing Reset - Original Strength Reloaded (meaning actually reading it and not just browsing through)


Long day of travel, so no weightlifting.
Long OS session testing some new resets
  • Head rolls - cool, pretty smooth
  • Elevated rolls - Ahhhh! amazig! gonna get it in my warmup routine
  • Elevated rocking - I'm weak
  • Baby crawl - I'm weak compared to a baby
Felt amazing after the session.

Than added some carries:
Double rack carries @24kg+20kg x 2
Waiter / Rack carries @ 20kg(W) + 24kg(R) x 1 + 1

Warm up:

OS resets
Goblet squat @20kg x 3
Armbar (bent) @20kg x 1 + 1
Snatch @20kg x 5 + 5

Bent Power program:
Semi-sumo deadlift @64kg x 5 , @74kg x 5 - smooth , fast , easy
Bent press @16kg x 3 x (1 + 1) , @20kg x 3 x (1 + 1) - groove is getting better

Hanging leg-raises 2 x 3 - easy
set of 3 reps - oblique emphasize left + oblique emphasize right + center

Beach volleyball:
Two matches, solid movement, good jump, not enough mental focus on the second match.
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Beach volleyball:

Morning session. Not focused, movement not flowing well. Feels that movement issues is caused from lack of focus, kinda like a bad setup leads to a bad lift.

Bent Power:
Semi-sumo deadlift @64kg , @74kg , @84kg , @94kg , @99kg , @104kg (all singles)
Bent press @16kg x 1 + 1 , @20kg x 8 x (1 + 1) - groove keeps getting better

Deadlift - all singles were pretty much the same speed (EDIT: except last, much slower, watched the video), I'm still keeping things conservative by design. Need better equipment!! current setup hurt my concentration.

Bent press - groove keeps getting better. I'm quite pleased with my left side, just need some more concentration in the recovery phase - I have a tendency to release the lat which stresses the pec and bicep. The right side is much improved and need work on more fluid bend and shifting weight to the unloaded side leg.

Programing - In retrospective doing a singles-session after consecutive deadlift-night bvb-morning bvb is probably not the right way to go, even though no lift felt heavy accept the last (left hamstring slightly straining and reminding me of last week overload). Next time that I play allot between sessions I would do another 2 x 5 instead (or a 5-3-2 if the first 5 feels very easy). I need to keep in mind that the focus of this program is the raise the weight of the "easy 5s"
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Long OS resets session (watched ton of OS videos last night, practiced most today)

Warm up:

OS resets
Goblet squat @20kg x 5
Armbar (bent) @20kg x 1 + 1
BU clean @16kg x 3 + 3
BU carry @16kg x 1 + 1 (each carry at the end of the BU clean set)

Bent Power:
Semi-sumo deadlift @52kg x 10
Bent press @16kg x 5 (experimented with some foot positions and recoveries)

Handstand practice laced through the afternoon session
  • still can't get back to that miraculous free handstand from last week, but I feel the progress.
  • @Anna C tip helped allot.
  • Falling seems to origin from not keeping uniform bilateral "pressure". Need to keep my feet tighter together and tighten my hollow position.
Good to hear! I did my best handstand yet today, 10 full second free handstand. Fun to practice :)
From my short time in this community I learned much more correct, safe and useful things then I learned the entire 330 hours of sport-administration-approved gym instructor certification I did last year. That makes me both happy and sad ;)

While I needed the certification for insurance purposes I'm glad my true teachers are the likes of @Pavel, @Dan John , Gray Cook and Co., Louie Simmons, Tim Anderson & @Geoff Neupert, @Iron Tamer, all the other authors I read, and all of you. I truly learned allot in recent months.

Oh, and I bought Original Strength: Performance last night!


Beach volleyball. Woke up late, no resets or standard morning warmup. After you get used to start your morning with movement practice it feels weird without...

Long OS session.

Bent Power:

3 rounds, spread around 3 hours in the afternoon/evening:
  • wall supported handstand practice - kick up to wall, do 1 to 2 reps of half pushup, try to balance unsupported
  • Goblet squats @32kg x 5
  • Asymmetrical loaded carry (1 side only on rounds 1, 2 , both sides round 3)
Some resets thrown around the day. I like those, they make me feel good :)

Warm up:


Bent Power:

Semi-sumo deadlift @64kg x 5 , @74kg x 5
Bent press @20kg x 6 x (1 + 1)

OS playtime ("Reaching game" and commando rocking + resets)
Handstand practice

  • Deadlifts felt easy, but not as fast as last day of 2 x 5. Didn't felt focused enough. Might be that I trained later in day than usual, and that I hadn't tuned out my unrelated thoughts well enough (or well at all...).
  • Bent presses @20kg are easy, just challenging enough so I can still feel most of faults. Will finish my 2-weeks block with that weight and will probably start adding the 24kg in the next block.
  • OS resets - next post
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