Tactical Barbell: "Operator" template, "SWAT" cluster

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
If it helps to get another's perspective, you're not overweight. It's good to eat clean like you're doing but your focus (IMO) should be to put on some muscle which will take a focused approach to keep the calories coming in.

BMI is pretty useless for those that train. But on the low end it can be useful. You have a 25.8 BMI. Get it to 30 then start worrying about body fat if that is one of your goals. Focusing on it now would just lead to skinny fat as well as killing your gains.
I appreciate it. Skinny fat is definitely what I am right now. I carry all my fat on my gut and chest. I'd like to shed it, but my primary goal is definitely getting stronger. When I was actively trying to eat as many eggs, as much chicken and veggies, etc. as I could during my last PTTP cycle, I could really feel the difference. I certainly don't want to limit my caloric intake at present. As long as it's quality foods, I want to eat as much of them as I can right now (y)
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- dynamic warm up (10 reps of: wrist circles, elbow circles, seal swings, over & backs, freestyle bounce, arm circles, trunk rotations, hip circles, bow & bends, knee circles, leg swings)
- 24kg C&P + pullup ladders: 4(1,2,3) = 24 reps r/l (a 33% increase from last workout)
- 24kg 2-H swings: 6x10

- static stretches (30 seconds of: wall calf stretch, scissor hamstring stretch, lunge hip flexor stretch, butterfly groin stretch, pretzel glute stretch, standing toe touch, wall t-spine/lat stretch, doorway chest stretch, over-under shoulder stretch)

Today was a long day, but a good one. What started as a day out and about in Colorado with the kids - driving through Frisco for coffee on the way to a little donut shop in Breckinridge, playing at parks in both towns - got interrupted by a call to come fill in at the Suzuki Institute my wife is teaching at this week. After a few hours of subbing, I took the kids to the pool, and then finally got my workout in while watching the kids on the playground from ~7-8pm.

The workout itself was good. I decided to add another ladder to my RoP-ish progression, and another set of 10 to my swings. Everything felt better - my full-body tension was way higher on both presses and swings, and I didn’t feel so winded (I’m probably acclimating to being at ~8k feet altitude).

Anyways. Really good day of training. In the midst of a lot of chaos, too. Thank you, @Pavel for making programs that work and are simple and to the point with no wasted time.

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Last rung on last ladder
 
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freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- dynamic warm up (10 reps of: wrist circles, elbow circles, seal swings, over & backs, freestyle bounce, arm circles, trunk rotations, hip circles, bow & bends, knee circles, leg swings)
- 24kg TGUs: 4 r/l (8 total)
- 24kg goblet squats: 3x8

- static stretches (30 seconds of: wall calf stretch, scissor hamstring stretch, lunge hip flexor stretch, butterfly groin stretch, pretzel glute stretch, standing toe touch, wall t-spine/lat stretch, doorway chest stretch, over-under shoulder stretch)

I was exhausted today. It could be the aftermath of how crazy yesterday was. It could be the volume I added to my RoP-ish workout yesterday. It could be that the kids wouldn’t nap today and were absolutely insane. It could be being in the thin Colorado air. Probably a little bit of all of the above.

Anywho, I took the kids and my 24kg kettlebell to the playground for my second "variety" day of this week and did my mobility work, 4 TGUs r/l (8 total), and 6 sets of 10 reps of swings. Basically, I did 1 more TGU with each arm than my previous variety day, and one more set of 10 of swings.

Despite being exhausted, everything felt better today. TGUs felt lighter, and like I was able to roll to elbow much easier. And my shoulders didn’t feel taxed at all throughout the isometric hold of the movement. Swings felt way tighter, snappier, and stronger.
 
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freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- dynamic warm up (10 reps of: wrist circles, elbow circles, seal swings, over & backs, freestyle bounce, arm circles, trunk rotations, hip circles, bow & bends, knee circles, leg swings)
- 24kg C&P + pullup ladders: 3(1,2,3,4) = 30 reps (a 25% increase over last workout)
- 24kg 2-H swings: 7x10

- static stretches (30 seconds of: wall calf stretch, scissor hamstring stretch, lunge hip flexor stretch, butterfly groin stretch, pretzel glute stretch, standing toe touch, wall t-spine/lat stretch, doorway chest stretch, over-under shoulder stretch)


Post-Workout Observations:
After doing Sunday C&P + PU ladders & swings, Monday “variety” (TGUs & goblet squats), Tuesday C&P + PU ladders & swings, and Wednesday “variety” (TGUs & goblet squats), I decided to take yesterday off and hopefully hit another higher-volume day of C&P + PU ladders & swings fresh today. That was the idea, but I didn’t feel particularly fresh today - as soon as I picked up my kettlebell and also upon my first C&P my body just felt… off and the weight felt heavy. I don’t feel particularly great sitting here several hours after training either - I have kind of a dull “ache” in my shoulders in particular and lower back a bit as well.

I think this is a learning moment. Since I’m only going to be using kettlebells for a two-week stint here, I decided to do a modified Rite of Passage with a 24kg kettlebell. Basically, I planned to adopt the overall structure of 3 days/wk of Clean & Press + Pullup ladders and Swings separated by “variety” days and rest days. But I eschewed the idea of heavy, light, and moderate days, as I figured this was just a stop-gap program and I wasn’t planning to follow it to it’s completion of 5 ladders of 1,2,3,4,5 reps (rungs). So, I figured I’d just “up-cycle” over two weeks, then rest up and start PTTP-ing deadlifts and overhead presses when I get back home to my beloved barbell.

Let me tell you, I have learned why there are heavy, light, and moderate days on the Rite of Passage. I haven’t really done any volume training before, which the kettlebell really requires and much kettlebell programming is built on. Training in volume, particularly with ladders, is deceptive. While I’m pressing and doing pullups 1,2,3, or 4 at a time, I feel like I could keep doing it all day. But over the course of the week that volume really adds up - in my case, particularly in my shoulders. So, this is a good thing. When I do Simple & Sinister, or when I do the Rite of Passage to completion, which I will assuredly do someday, I will understand the logic behind Pavel’s programming much better and be much more willing to follow it to a “t.”

On another note, I’m finding that swings just don’t feel good for me right now. The way that I’ve been able to work around Anterior Pelvic Tilt, my hyperextended L-spine, and my hyperactive spinal erectors when deadlifting is to really focus on just crushing my abs throughout the movement. If I think “flat back,” I end up with a hyperextended L-spine. As of yet, however, I can’t seem to keep my abs crushed during swings the way I’ve learned to during deadlifts. Thus, my spinal erectors are really getting overactive in the movement. I also haven’t perfected my hip placement in the movement yet - I don’t know whether I should be getting my torso more horizontal to the ground at the back of the arc or if I should be squatting just a tiny bit. I’ll try to video and post for feedback ASAP.
 
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freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- dynamic warm up (10 reps of: wrist circles, elbow circles, seal swings, over & backs, freestyle bounce, arm circles, trunk rotations, hip circles, bow & bends, knee circles, leg swings)
- 24kg TGUs: 3x2 r/l (12 total)
- 24kg goblet squats: 3x10

- static stretches (30 seconds of: wall calf stretch, scissor hamstring stretch, lunge hip flexor stretch, butterfly groin stretch, pretzel glute stretch, standing toe touch, wall t-spine/lat stretch, doorway chest stretch, over-under shoulder stretch)


Morning Observations:
Oof. I’m quite sore today, and in ways and places I’m not accustomed to getting sore. My front deltoids, upper pecs, and upper traps are all feeling it from presses, my forearms are feeling it from pullups, and my hamstrings and to a lesser degree my glutes are feeling it from swings. Fortunately, I’m not feeling it in places that I wouldn’t want to be - like my lower back. But my “variety” work is going to need to be creative today.


Post-Workout Observations:
As it turns out, once it came time to work out I got it in my head to try TGU doubles. I didn’t really set out for any given number of sets, and ended up settling on 3x2 with each arm for a total of 12 TGUs today. I find my form/technique is really improving, and I’m able to get through each rep a little quicker, which decreases my time under tension, allowing me to do more total reps (maybe I’m getting a little stronger, too).

Goblet squats actually felt better today, too. I really focused on getting my toes pointed out farther, like I do on deadlifts, which seems to allow my hips to operate more freely. And I focused on my breathing, so that I wasn’t getting as winded as the set went on, letting me actually focus on my strength.

Tomorrow is a long drive - possibly 15+ hours in the car. We’ll see how I’m feeling for my next C&P + pullups & swings workout on Monday.
 
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freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- dynamic warm up (10 reps, regular routine)
- 24kg C&P + pullup ladders: 4(1,2,3,4) = 40 reps (a 33% increase over last workout)
- 24kg 2-H swings: 6x10

- static stretching (30 seconds, regular routine)


Post-Workout Observations:
Well, today was something of a surprise. We drove >1,100 miles yesterday in a little over 16 hours, and just like when we drove a week ago I woke up stomach sick in the morning. I don’t know what that’s all about. Fortunately, I was able to nap a bit today, and after trying to get a ton of water in me, I lugged my kettlebell over to the park and got my workout in.

As an aside, we were in Colorado for the past week. I thought for sure that mountain air at 8-10k feet would be harder to work out in than my usual Midwestern conditions. But getting back to the Midwest here, I’m finding humidity to be 100% harder to work out in than thin, high-altitude air. I was sucking wind hard on my swings and feeling tight in my chest - a feeling I never once had in CO.

Anywho, I added another ladder of 1,2,3,4 to my C&P + pullup ladders, and getting 40 reps of presses on each arm and 40 total pullups felt good. My shoulder girdle is feeling jacked (I know it’s not by comparison to most strong people, but relative to where I was a few months ago I’m practically hulking out here). I was thinking of going for 8 sets of swings, but my form started breaking down after 6, so I cut it off there. I had already been thinking of moving my swings - or at least the bulk of my swings - to variety days as my C&Ps + pullups are taking up an ever-increasing amount of time and energy.

All in all, though, a surprisingly good workout, and evidence of Pavel’s Rite of Passage from Enter the Kettlebell really working for me on this travel-induced break from Power to the People!
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
As an aside, we were in Colorado for the past week. I thought for sure that mountain air at 8-10k feet would be harder to work out in than my usual Midwestern conditions. But getting back to the Midwest here, I’m finding humidity to be 100% harder to work out in than thin, high-altitude air. I was sucking wind hard on my swings and feeling tight in my chest - a feeling I never once had in CO.
Humidity is brutal. We've had a lot of rain this year (Upstate NY), sessions that would have left me with a little sweat around my neck a few months ago now completely soak my dew rag and T shirt.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Humidity is brutal. We've had a lot of rain this year (Upstate NY), sessions that would have left me with a little sweat around my neck a few months ago now completely soak my dew rag and T shirt.
I actually ripped open a callus on my left hand during yesterday's C&P + pullup ladders, and I think it's because my hand and the bell were so soaked in sweat. When my hands stay dry, the bell glides pretty nicely. I'm hoping it's healed up enough to not hinder tomorrow's workout. Or maybe I can find some tape.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- dynamic warm up (10 reps, regular routine)
- 5 circuits of: 2 TGUs (1r/1l), 5 pullovers, 10 swings (all w/ 24kg kb)
- static stretching (30 seconds, regular routine)


Post-Workout Observations:
As today progressed, my front delts and pecs got more and more sore from yesterday’s C&Ps. I guess this is what DOMS is? I'm not used to getting sore like this from the low-volume PTTP workout's I usually do. Plus, I had a really long orchestra rehearsal, which always makes my upper body really tense. So, when it came time to work out this evening, my primary goal was to feel the weight, get some blood into my muscles, and loosen myself out a bit. I also wanted to get in a few more sets of swings that I didn’t get in yesterday. So, I decided to go with a circuit of TGUs -> pullovers -> swings, and ended up doing 5 circuits.

I’d been wanting to try pullovers with a kettlebell for awhile. My logic was that there’s a wall t-spine and lat stretch that I do that mimics the movement of a pullover and feels really good, and I thought it might be beneficial to my t-spine mobility and strength to do pullovers. They felt pretty lackluster, though. There’s definitely not as much “bang for your buck” with a movement like that as there is with either the TGU or the swing, or a lot of other things you can do with a kettlebell. Not sure if I’ll practice those again anytime soon.

Anywho, hopefully I’ll be in pretty good shape to add a 5th rung to my C&P + pullup ladders tomorrow. Strength really doesn’t feel like the issue, more the fact that I ripped open a callus on my left hand during yesterday’s C&P + pullup ladders and it’s really hot and humid outside. I guess I can take my time in between rungs.
 
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freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- dynamic warm up (10 reps, regular routine)
- 24kg C&P + PU ladders: 3(1,2,3,4,5) = 45 reps (a 12.5% increase over last workout)
- 24kg 2-H swings: 8x10

- static stretching (30 seconds, regular routine)


Post-Workout Observations:
Well, I learned a few things today. Or came to a few conclusions, perhaps I should say. Today I did 3 C&P + pullup ladders of 1,2,3,4,5. I think I could’ve kept doing presses forever, but pullups felt heavy from the very first rep, and sets of 3, 4, and 5 got my arms so pumped that it got difficult to keep going on with things.

And that really takes me to my conclusion - I’m not very interested in doing workouts that involve this high a volume of work. I’d rather be doing 5 sets of 2 or something like that with a 32kg kettlebell than 45 total reps (with a goal of 75 reps to complete the Rite of Passage!). By the time I finished today’s workout, my whole upper body felt like a water balloon - my forearms, biceps, triceps, chest, and even upper back to an extent were just super pumped.

There was a time in my life where this would’ve been exactly what I wanted. I would’ve taken the opportunity to pop a side bicep in the mirror between each set and admire my swell. But, these days I’d rather keep my sets and reps down. I’m looking forward to getting back to PTTP and barbell work.

Anywho, I capped things off with 8 sets of 10 swings. Having my upper body totally gassed probably helped me focus on just snapping the bell up with my hips. I’ve also gotten much better at keeping my abs braced throughout each set of swings. I almost feel like I’m pulling the bell with my abs on each rep, actually, as strange as that sounds.

Tomorrow is an off day. 4th of July festivities and whatnot. Then I’ll do a “variety” day and my last RoP day, take Sunday off, and be back at home doing PTTP on Monday.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
At one point this morning, I was trying to think of how to describe my muscle soreness. The thought went through my head that it feels like a sunburn, but on the inside of my body. It’s like every fiber of my body above my ribs. Can’t say that kettlebell C&P + pullup ladders aren’t an effective / challenging / taxing simple strength practice.

Anywho, I wanted to do some extra stretching today, and chose to start with my upper body, doing 3 circuits of: wall t-spine and lat stretches, doorway chest stretches, and over-under shoulder stretches. I was noticeably less flexible than usual on the over-under shoulder stretches. I just felt… incredibly tight… which isn’t something I’m accustomed to, and not something I enjoyed experiencing. That said, my shoulders, upper back, biceps, triceps, and forearms are all feeling really… full. Like muscle where there’s not historically been muscle. I’m wondering if that’s just inflammation from this week’s unusually high-volume workouts, though.

I finished up with 3 lower body circuits of: scissor hamstring stretches and lunge hip flexor stretches. I’ve had incredibly tight hamstrings my entire life. I might be able to count on one hand the number of times that I’ve been able to touch my toes for a held stretch with straight knees. Most of those came while I was practicing Relax Into Stretch daily and doing long sets of pretty intense stretching. Even then, the results didn’t seem to “stick” (i.e. lead to lasting improvement) day to day.

I may stretch again this evening. I’d really like to limber up.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- dynamic warm up (10 reps, regular routine)
- 24kg goblet squats: 1x10, 1x12, 1x15
- 24kg TGUs: 2x4r/l = 16 total reps (a 33% increase over last workout)
- static stretching (30 seconds, regular routine)


Post-Workout Observations:
Traveling has not been good for me, diet-wise, particularly this 4th of July week staying with my in-laws. They always have ice cream, pie, chocolate, sodas, etc. around and snack on them throughout the day, and I don’t have the strongest resolve when it comes to resisting these things. Plus, when it comes to actual meals, it’s french toast for breakfast, pasta for lunch, and going out for burgers or Mexican for dinner. I haven’t touched a scale, but I legitimately think I may’ve gained 10lbs.

In other news, we went boating this afternoon and pulled up to a sandbar that had some rope swings and trees that lean out and are good for jumping off of into the water. I managed to jump into too shallow of water and when my backside hit the river floor, my lower back all spasmed. I’ve been feeling the effects of that ever since. My 6-year-old son also wanted me to be tossing him into the water, and on the 4th or 5th heave I pulled my hamstring. It sounds almost comical when I “say it out loud” (write it). I’d like to think that doing mobility work, strength training, and stretching on the regular would help protect me from these things, but maybe not. Or maybe it’d be way worse if I wasn’t doing anything proactive.

Anywho, once evening rolled around and I got the kids to bed, I did my “variety” day work - goblet squats and TGUs with the 24kg kb. I tried my toes pointed way more out on goblet squats (which much more closely mimics the deadlifts stance I have found feels strongest for me), and found that the squats felt a lot smoother, stronger, and like I was really recruiting my glutes, which is desirable. TGUs felt pretty smooth and strong. I have enjoyed getting that technique back after years of disuse.

Tomorrow is a C&P + pullups & swings day, which I intend to take relatively light in preparation for traveling Sunday and heading back to regular life (work) and PTTP.
 

Joe Fraser

Level 3 Valued Member
I tried my toes pointed way more out on goblet squats (which much more closely mimics the deadlifts stance I have found feels strongest for me), and found that the squats felt a lot smoother, stronger, and like I was really recruiting my glutes, which is desirable.
Toes out while driving your knees out recruits more muscle area. As you said, glutes, but also hamstrings and adductors (groin muscles). I often feel sore in the glutes when I do this properly (quads too no matter what stance). This is due to being stretched with a load. The other muscles are getting worked hard but aren't as stretched so likely won't feel soreness.

Hang in there with the injuries. As you get stronger it should help protect you more. Just think of a still strong 71 year old Arnold Schwarzenegger falling hard on a patch of ice and another his age but thin with little muscle and 110lbs. Which once is more likely to break a hip or leg?
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
I’d like to think that doing mobility work, strength training, and stretching on the regular would help protect me from these things, but maybe not. Or maybe it’d be way worse if I wasn’t doing anything proactive.
It almost seems to me the stronger you get at specific movements the MORE likely you are to injure yourself doing unaccustomed movements unless you stop and dial it in first. The added strength allows you to get into the sorts of trouble you wouldn't even attempt if you were less active.

In recent years I've nearly killed myself just doing ordinary things w/ my kids - once running at full speed trying to get a kite airborne, looking back over my shoulder I ran into the narrow end of a park bench cemented in place. The hardest I have ever been hit in my life, by anything, and that includes a couple of car accidents. I am still amazed and very lucky not to have broken anything.

Was doing flying monkeys a la ninja warrior on a jungle gym and missed the third rung, fell from about 7 feet fully laid out, flat on my back. Again real lucky they had just laid down a fresh layer of mulch.

My kids are 11 and still want me to throw em in the pool.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- dynamic warm up (10 reps, regular routine)
- 24kg C&P + pullups: 3(1,2,3)
- 24kg 2-H swings: 6x10

- static stretching (30 seconds, regular routine)


Post-Workout Observations:
Today was a planned easy day before we travel again tomorrow and get back to real life and PTTP on Monday. I’ve come to a real appreciation of the Rite of Passage’s “heavy,” “light” and “medium” days. I basically just did “heavy” days, and my presses are okay, but honestly pullups feel heavier after two weeks of that than they did at the beginning of this trip when I was fresh.

I think I got away with that on presses because the 24kg kb is relatively light enough that it didn’t cause me to accumulate too much fatigue in my shoulders. However, doing pullups at 190-195lbs was a little too much. I did a little thinking, and I think I was doing a higher volume of pullups than I would’ve been if I were doing the fighter pullup program at 5RM. Maybe I’m wrong on that. But one big difference is that if I were doing the FPP, I would’ve been doing the pullups GTG style throughout the day, instead of getting a huge pump in my arms and getting super fatigued over the course of the C&P + pullup ladders all back-to-back.

In any case, I have noticed that kb presses agree with my shoulders a lot more than barbell presses seem to at present. I also have noticed my ab bracing on both presses and swings has gotten way better, and my abs are feeling the development. Maybe doing a full RoP, complete with the correct heavy, light, and medium days would be a good idea in the near future. If I were to do it, I think I’d go with a 32kg kb.

As a final note, as with goblet squats yesterday, I tried pointing my toes out a lot more on swings and felt like my hinge was much more fluid and like I was generating a lot more power from my hips on my snap. I’ve really come to enjoy swings a lot over the past 2 weeks.
 
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freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes: t-spine, underarms, glutes, hams, quads)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per movement)
- deadlift: 200x5, 185x5
- overhead press: 100x5, 90x5

- static stretching (30 seconds per stretch)


Post-Workout Observations:
Well, we’re back home and I’m back to my regular equipment and my regular PTTP deadlifts + overhead presses routine. I’ve got two things to say about the past two weeks of kettlebell training:

(1) I am now a believer in kettlebells - in my case specifically their positive impact on barbell training. Both my strength and my physique are better as a result of just two weeks of working with a 24kg kb. The things I noticed the most are that my grip strength is way better (I think that has a lot to do with the thickness of a kettlebell handle, after which a barbell feels tiny and like you can just crush the bejeezus out of it) and that my hip hinge strength (hamstrings, glutes, lower back) is much improved. All that made a 200 DL feel like super light weight today - a great start to a new cycle of PTTP today.

(2) My mobility / flexibility feels way worse. Part of that undoubtedly has to be sleeping on random cheap mattresses all over the place, and spending 12+ hour days in the car on multiple occasions. I also found, though, that high-volume kettlebell workouts (+ pullups) seemed to make my shoulder girdle really tight. I wonder if I might need to up my mobility and flexibility work in keeping with the number of reps of strength training that I do in the future.

In other news, I did (as I feared) gain about 10lbs over the past two weeks. What I’m not sure about is how much of that is muscle (maybe a pound or two, as I know muscle is pretty hard to put on) and how much of it just tubbiness. Thing is, I don’t think my body composition looks much worse, so? *shrug* That does explain why pullups felt increasingly difficult as the trip went on - I was functionally adding a dip belt + a 10lb plate to every set by the end of the second week.

Anywho, I’m looking forward to 3 consistent weeks of barbell training, and trying to go for a 300x5 deadlift at the end of this cycle, and then I’m actually really looking forward to another week of kettlebells when we travel again at the end of July.

DL 200x5

DL 185x5

OHP 100x5

OHP 90x5
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes: t-spine, underarms, glutes, hams, quads)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per movement)
- deadlift: 215x5, 195x5
- overhead press: 105x5, 95x5

- static stretching (30 seconds per stretch)


Post-Workout Observations:
I’m still mulling over how I feel like working with kettlebells is translating over back into working with barbells. One thing that I really notice is that my muscles (both my hamstrings and glutes on deadlifts and my delts on presses) lost the familiarity with long, grindy reps. I really “feel the burn” in each of my reps of deadlifts and presses, just from that long, sustained concentric action.

One change that I’m consciously trying to make as I move back into practicing deadlifts is to just let the weight fall back to the ground after each pull. So far, I’m noticing that this feels a lot better (vs. controlling the eccentric part of the movement) in terms of breathing, energy, and pacing for the set.

I’m noticing that I’m slowly getting my mobility back in my shoulders - I was able to intertwine my fingers in both directions of over-under shoulder stretches. I think I probably put too much volume through my shoulders and upper back on both clean & presses and pullups during the two weeks I was away and practicing with kettlebells. I basically went from the first step of the Rite of Passage (3[1,2,3]) to near the end of the Rite of Passage (3[1,2,3,4,5]) in less than two weeks. I don’t know how long that’s supposed to take if doing the Rite of Passage as written, but it’s got to be ~3x that long, as I was omitting “light” and “medium” days. Anywho, it feels good to be loosening up and getting my shoulder mobility back a bit.

Looking at the videos of my deadlift sets today, I can see that my arms look a lot more full and defined than they did before my stint with kettlebells. I guess that makes sense - the Rite of Passage felt way more shoulder girdle dominant than hip dominant (so many reps of presses and pullups), especially when using the same weight for swings as you’re pressing overhead. Plus, with so much volume in a condensed workout like ladders provide, some hypertrophy is bound to happen, I suppose. Makes me not want to take too long off without practicing with kettlebells and/or doing pullups regularly again :)

DL 215x5

DL 195x5

OHP 105x5

OHP 95x5
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL 230x5, 205x5
- OHP 110x5, 100x5

- static stretching (30 sec per)


Post-Workout Observations:
I’ve been really unhappy since we got back home. Really unhappy - unhappy with my job, unhappy with my house, unhappy with my kids (feeling like I’m not doing / have not done a good job of parenting), unhappy with my body (eating so much burgers, ice cream, pizza, cake, cookies, etc. while we were traveling is coming back to bite me hard). I think it comes down to feeling like I have so little / no control over things - my career path and options feel limited, the house is always a mess due to how busy we are and how destructive kids are, the kids are always crazy and I don’t feel like I have the time or energy to invest in them the way I should, and I just don’t seem to have the self-discipline to say “no” to the foods that everybody else seems to eat all the time that make me feel like a tub of lard.

I say all this partly to get it off my chest, and partly because it puts my feelings about today's work out in perspective. I honestly think that today’s 4 sets (100% DL @ 230x5, 90% DL @ 205x5, 100% OHP @ 110x5, and 90% OHP at 100x5) were perhaps the best total collection of lifts that I’ve put together in a training session. My deadlift was very consistent from rep to rep, and I think the bar was traveling as vertically and directly over my mid-foot as it ever has. My overhead press was similarly in a really good “groove” (I feel like I’ve been able to extend my t-spine much better and get the bar much closer to my center of gravity since practicing pullups for two weeks). All in all, everything was about as technically solid as I’ve been able to put together, and not just on one or two sets out of the four, but all the way across the board.

That said, I’m still not very happy with things. I find myself thinking, “Why the *bleep* am I pulling 230 again? I’ve been pulling this weight since March. It should feel easier then this. I should be farther than this. I should be stronger than this.” Particularly my 4th and 5th reps felt like more of a grind than I would’ve liked or expected given that I’m aiming to go for 300x5 in 2.5 weeks. Similarly my OHP, while in a really good groove, feels heavy. I really thought that pressing kettlebells and doing TGUs would have my press feeling lighter, and I’m wildly disappointed that it feels heavy. I’m sick of pressing in the low 100s and getting stuck somewhere in the 120s. I have to find a way to break through that.

If I have any consolation it’s that some reps of deadlift seem to fly off the floor, while others feel like an absolute grind. That all seems to have to do with my set up, which I still haven’t managed to get consistent from rep to rep or from day to day. If I get my hips set up in the right place and am really leveraging with my glutes and hamstrings instead of my lower back, it’s like a toy weight. If I miss my starting position, it feels like 10 tons. The good in that is that if I nail down my optimal starting position, I should have a lot of room to add weight to the bar.

Anywho, I need to try to go find something good (read: quality protein) to eat. Hopefully I’ll snap out of this funk in a day or two.

DL 230x5

DL 205x5

OHP 110x5

OHP 100x5
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL 245x5, 220x5
- OHP 115x5, 105x5

- static stretching (30 seconds per)


Observations:
Today was another really good day of training (thank goodness). My 2 100% sets (245 DL and 115 OHP) both felt like the lightest and best “grooved” those weights have ever felt for me. The conclusion I’m increasingly coming to as I get more and more information from each additional day of training this week is that perhaps kettlebell training for two weeks was, in fact, really good for me, strength and conditioning-wise, and it’s just taken me few days to get back in the specific firing patterns for the barbell movements.

Either before I pulled 245 or right after (I can’t remember which) the thought crossed my mind that maybe I should see what % of my 5RM 245 actually is. Turns out it’s ~89% (previous 5RM was 275). That was pretty encouraging to me, as 245 moved pretty fast and wasn’t overly taxing, which to me says that I have a good chance of improving on my previous 5RM. One thing I’m trying to pay attention to with my deadlift, though, is not letting my weight get too far forward towards my toes. Watching back my first set (245) it looked like I might be getting pulled a little forward. The set felt fine at the time, though.

When it comes to OHPs, I think pullups were the best thing that ever happened to me. I have a Titan ceiling-mounted pullup bar that I can’t wait to unpack and put up - I really want to add the Fighter Pullup Plan to my routine, as I think strengthening my upper back is the key to pushing through my pressing plateaus. Today was probably my strongest set of press ever, and what made it that way was keeping the bar tight in to my neck, which allowed me to press directly over the midline of my body, instead of getting pulled forward and losing power.

DL 245x5

DL 220x5

OHP 115x5

OHP 105x5
 
Last edited:

Joe Fraser

Level 3 Valued Member
For the press, it's hard to see with the angle. Are you doing a shoulder width grip, approximately at the knurling? Key tips are keep your elbows forward, core tight, and throw the bar up towards the tip of your nose. If the bar goes too far forward you'll miss the lift. It's been a fun but difficult lift for me.
 
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