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

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
120 moved really well today. I have hope that after my 2 days rest over the weekend I can continue to cycle up through 125, 130, and maybe even hit my current goal of 135.
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL 260x5, 245x5 (should've been 235x5 for my 90% back-off set, but I miscalculated / misloaded)
- OHP 120x5, 110x5
- static stretching (30 sec per w/ 60 sec on hamstring stretches)


Observations:
My body has not been feeling great this week. Whenever I roll over in bed or turn to the side, my lower left back acts up. Whenever I get out of the car or stand up from being in a chair for a while, my hamstrings, hip flexors, and lower back feel really stiff - just like they won’t unfold like they usually would. And today during warm ups, pressing, and stretching, my shoulders just feel pretty creaky. My goal for the weekend is to rest as much as I can, eat as much lean protein as I can, and do some extra mobility and flexibility work. The result of all this stiffness is that I’ve been having a really hard time getting down to the bar for deadlifts, as you can see in the videos.

All that said, 260 moved well today. Last time I pulled 260 for a set of 5 dead resets (well, it was 265) I had to get myself psyched up for the set and I had to take quite a bit of time between reps to get the full set. This time, it wasn’t easy but it certainly took less mental and physical effort and ended up in a much more clean, compact set.

120 moved pretty well on OHPs. I did start to notice once again, however, that at this weight and above shoulder strength doesn’t feel like the primary issue, but rather core and leg stability - I get pulled this way and that by the weight. When in my “groove,” 120 still fires right up and down pretty easily.

I think the biggest question facing me these days, though, is how to go about programming my workouts. I think I could hit 275x5 (my current PR) again at present, but I can’t do it the day after pulling 260x5. I think I could even pull more - perhaps even all the way up to my current goal of 300x5, but I can’t do it right after a heavy effort like this. I start to carry too much fatigue from day to day, and I’m not at my strongest when I attempt these PR-range weights. So, should I start deadlifting 3x/week with a day in between (i.e. M-W-F or T-Th-S). Or I could do something like a stagger-step progression such as 225 -> 250 -> 235 -> 260 -> 245 -> 270 -> 255 -> 280, etc. so that I get a moderate day in between my heavy days. OR, maybe I should just accept that PTTP isn’t really a “peaking” program, and it’s almost by design that the top day of your cycle isn’t at your 100% freshest, and you’re not pulling your 100% maximum PR. Certainly something for me to think over, though. As I get closer to doing 1.5x bodyweight sets of 5, it seems like I need a bit more rest and/or strategy than I get by just cycling upwards 5 days a week.

DL 260x5

DL 245x5 (realized afterwards that I had loaded 245 instead of the intended 235)

OHP 120x5

OHP 110x5
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
To help me stay healthy (injury-free) as I push for my 300x5 deadlift, I did 3 rounds of my dynamic warm ups in the early afternoon, and 3 rounds of my static stretches right before bed. My body feels much better today. I really want to go for 275x5 on Monday and then plan my route to 300x5 based on how that goes and how fatigued I feel, but maybe the safer route is to do another “wave” this next week (something like 220, 235, 250, 265, 280[PR]) and then "wave" up to 300 the following week (240, 255, 270, 285, 300). The wave structure was my original plan. I guess we’ll see.

Dynamic Warm Ups (10 reps per)
- wrist circles
- elbow circles
- seal swings
- over & backs
- freestyle bounce
- arm circles
- trunk rotations
- hip circles
- bow & bend
- knee circles
- leg swings

Static Stretches (30 sec per)
- 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
 
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freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
I wanted to get in another 3 rounds of mobility work and another 3 rounds of flexibility work today. In the morning, though, I started out by finally getting out and going about installing the Titan stud-mounted pullup bar that’s been waiting under the bed for months. After getting that done, I couldn’t resist doing some pullups, even though it’s a rest day. I had a great experience with pullups in combination with kettlebell clean and presses while traveling, and ever since then I’ve been contemplating doing the Fighter Pullup Program to develop my upper back strength and musculature. So, for better or worse, I went ahead and started the 5RM FPP today with sets of 5,4,3,2,1 pullups. Here’s what the day ended up looking like, training-wise:

12PM:
  • Round #1 foam rolling + dynamic mobility drills
  • 5 pullups
  • Round #2 foam rolling + dynamic mobility drills
  • 4 pullups

3PM
  • 3 pullups

9PM
  • Round #3 foam rolling + dynamic mobility drills
  • 2 pullups
  • Round #1 static stretching
  • 1 pullup
  • Rounds #2 and 3 static stretching

I have to say, I love pullups. They’re a great combination of active spine decompression + upper back activation. My posture feels better for quite a while after even a single pullup, just because my upper back muscles are “switched on.”

And I think that this feeds back into my macro thought process. I’m becoming increasingly convinced that I’m not going to be able to continue to PTTP deadlifts 5 days/week (especially Monday - Friday, weekends off) past 300lbs. Even if the weight moves quickly and I’m not really “grinding,” the toll on my lower body is too much to recover from in 24 hours. So that leads to the question of what my programming is going to adapt to look like.

There’s a lot of good options:

1) I could cut PTTP deadlifts to 3 days/week and do light high bar back squats on the days in between as a “tonic,” practicing a movement I really want to get more familiar with, and getting in some active recovery. I could do the FPP alongside this to get my pullups in.

2) I could switch to doing the Daily Dose of Deadlift plan and do Rite of Passage C&P + pullup ladders & swings 3 days/week and use the program’s “variety” days to do light high bar back squats, TGUs, etc. as my body’s recovery dictates.

That’s just a few off the top of my head. The second plan is appealing to me right now because I found that kettlebell presses agreed with my shoulders a lot more than barbell presses. After just one week back to barbell presses I find the dull pain deep in my right shoulder socket returning. My shoulders always felt really healthy pressing kettlebells. I also find the Daily Dose of Deadlift plan appealing because I’m increasingly finding myself wanting to deadlift for triples or less. It strikes me as really more of a near-maximal-effort movement, and not something that I particularly enjoy doing for reps. I’d be really interested to see how just pulling singles every day goes.
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL 225x5, 200x5
- OHP 110x5, 100x5

- static stretching (30 sec per)
- FPP Day 2 (5,4,3,2,2) throughout the day

Today was the start of wave #2 of my July 2019 PTTP cycle. Wave #1 last week went very well - my bar speed was much better for every rep that I pulled or pressed, and the relative intensity that I had to exert to complete each rep was much lower than a month or so ago. This week, I plan to pull 225, 240, 255, 270, and 285(10lb PR). This will require that I eat and rest as well as I can and keep my hamstrings and lower back healthy.

Today started off with DLs of 225x5 and a back off set of 200x5. After my first set, I watched the video back and was unhappy with the difficulty I had getting down to the bar and setting up (my hamstrings are so tight, even after doing dynamic warm ups and stretching them 7 days/week). This difficulty slowed the overall pace of my set down, and robbed my pulls of their intensity. So, on the my 2nd set, my goal was goal was to get to the bar more explosively, and thereby compact the set into a more intense, focused endeavor. Judging by the playback, I think I was successful. And overall, I was very pleased with my deadlift technique. It may not be perfect, but it has come a long way, and is the result of a lot of practice.

Not as much to say about presses. Decided to take a 10lb jump over last wave. 110 felt pretty light. If I go 110, 115, 120, 125, 130 this week, that’ll be a PR.

And finally, I’m working the FPP Day 2 into the day. 5 reps feels like pretty much a max effort, which I suppose might be worth noting as someday it hopefully won’t anymore.

DL 225x5

DL 200x5

OHP 110x5

OHP 100x5
 
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freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL 240x5, 215x5
- OHP 115x5, 105x5

- static stretching (30 sec per)
- FPP Day 2 (5,4,3,3,2) throughout the day


Observations:
I woke up with a “crick” in my neck today - that type of muscle cramp / strain / spasm / whatever it is, which keeps you from being able to comfortably turn your head in one direction or the other. In my case, it’s shown up 90% of the time on the right side of my neck / upper back / shoulder, and affects my ability to turn my head as well as the strength and mobility of my right arm, going so far as to send shooting pain down to my hand occasionally. So, that was less than ideal, but I did my best to work it out throughout the morning, and although I did notice it negatively affected my deadlifts, I still put together two really good sets of 5.

I tried to build today on yesterday’s implementation of an explosive, tensed decent to the bar, followed by bracing my abs, taking a big breath, setting my back and in so doing taking the tension out of the bar, and then pulling. When done right, it almost feels like the weight is leveraged off the floor, and I definitely feel my legs doing the majority of the work, which is want I want, as opposed to my lower back. Watching the video back, I really liked my tempo and the bar speed that I achieved on each rep. Feeling good about DLs so far this week.

I was a bit concerned about pressing overhead with a “tweak” in my neck, but I really tried to keep my lats and traps tight and my shoulders “packed,” and I didn’t notice any averse affects from the presses. I did feel a bit weaker / the reps felt heavier than I would’ve liked, but I suppose that’s to be expected when your upper back isn’t 100%. We’ll see how 125/115 goes tomorrow.

Overall, I’m feeling back “in the swing” of PTTP. Yesterday felt how I think it should feel - the weights flew up with good technique, I felt good afterward, and I felt pretty fresh upon waking up today. If it weren’t for randomly pulling something in my upper back in my sleep, I think the same could be said for today. In fact, I think todays sets were even better in most respects.

DL 240x5

DL 215x5

OHP 115x5

OHP 105x5
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL 255x5, 230x5
- OHP 120x5, 110x5

- static stretching (30 sec per)
- FPP Day 2 (5,4,4,3,2) throughout the day


Observations:
Well, there’s no sugarcoating it - today’s 100% sets (255x5 DL and 120x5 OHP) felt heavier than I would’ve liked and/or expected them to. I’m going to chalk a good portion of that up to the fact that our 20-month-old was up every 1.5hrs or so last night. I was up I think 3x with her, and I believe my wife was up 2-3x with her as well. Basically, it feels like I usually get 6-7 hours of sleep these days, and its usually interrupted. Not exactly ideal for recovery and strength building. But it is what it is. I’m going to assume that if I was a little more rested 255 would’ve moved a little faster today, and go ahead with 270 tomorrow.

On the positive side of things, my legs and lower back feel pretty good for really starting to get into the heavier part of a cycle. My hamstrings aren’t overly sore. My lower back isn’t feeling particularly taxed. And if I hadn’t tweaked my neck in my sleep two nights ago, I’d say my body overall is feeling pretty good. So, I’m going to keep trying to loosen that knot out of my upper back and keep my hamstrings stretched out, and keep on moving forward.

One thing I am learning, however, is that I need to do a better job of differentiating between training (or “practice” as Dan John would put it) and testing. I keep putting my tests (PRs) at the end of my training cycles, which I have always also programmed at the end of weeks. Instead of being at my freshest to test my true maximal strength, I am quite literally at my most fatigued. So, that’s got me thinking about the best ways to go about programming in the future, after my current cycle is over. Should I:

1) Keep doing PTTP, but at the end of cycles take a few days rest and then go for a 1RM? The thing I don’t like about that is that practicing sets of 5 every day doesn’t really prepare you to pull a 1RM very well at all, but I guess you still get a ballpark estimate of what your 1RM ability is. PTTP has also been getting increasingly hard for me to recover from as the weights progress. I think when I started training I assumed that one’s recovery ability improved linearly with their strength. Honestly, I thought someone could just PTTP their way up to 700lbs if they were diligent enough - adding 5lbs a day, cycling up for a few weeks, and then starting a new cycle over 10lbs or so heavier than the first. Now, though, I think that I’m at the point where I need to decrease frequency or decrease volume to keep PTTP working longer.

2) Do a singles program like Justa Singles or Pavel’s Deadlift Singles program as shared by Dave Whitley. Vodka and Pickles also kind of fits into this category. These are still relatively high-volume programs, which can tolerate being paired with a pressing program, but not much more without overtaxing recovery. These would better prepare me to pull a true 1RM on which I could base future programs. I also wonder if pulling singles would be less fatiguing than sets of 5? But perhaps fatigue is just based purely on accumulated volume, not necessarily the intensity of the sets themselves?

3) Do the Daily Dose of Deadlift program, doing only 3-5 singles of deadlifts a day, most of which are at 70-75% 1RM. I like the idea of following this program as I head back into the school year, as my work schedule is going to pick back up and I need to be feeling a little fresher all around than I have lately. I could pair this with some light-medium squats and keep an upper body press programmed. This would allow me to hopefully keep improving my deadlift, work on pulling singles, and test my 1RM every month, without having really fatigued legs and lower back. This is really the only option in which the deadlift wouldn’t remain the primary element of my training. I don’t know how I feel about that - I love my deadlifts! I think I really do need to practice squats at some point, though.

4) Do Dan John’s 40 Day Program. Instead of doing PTTP + the FPP like I’m doing now, I could do the 40 Day Program consisting of: A) deadlift 2x5, B) pullups (add weight to stay at 2x5 when bodyweight gets too easy), C) overhead press 2x5, D) swings 24kgx20-50, E) Janda sit-ups 1x5. What I like about the 40 Day Program idea is that there’s no cycling. You just take it nice and easy. Increase the weight if it feels too easy, and test every month-and-a-half or so. This might be a good easy strength option for me as the school year commences, as PTTP is feeling less and less like “easy strength.”

I guess I'll see how the rest of this cycle goes first. I wish one could just follow the same program forever. When the time comes to change programs, there's so many options out there it's hard to know what's best to do.

DL 255x5

DL 230x5

OHP 120x5

OHP 110x5
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL 270x5, 245x5
- OHP 125x5 (PR), 110x5

- static stretching (30 sec per)
- FPP Day 2 (5,5,4,3,2) throughout the day


Observations:
Okay. So, first I want to focus on the positive.

Most notably, I hit a PR of 125x5 on my OHP today, after managing 125x4 last cycle, and 125x3 the cycle before that. Not exactly earth-shattering progress, but progress nonetheless. The biggest difference I can feel is in my shoulder stability, which I believe is coming from the pullups.

Also, I hit a pretty nice, compact set of 270x5 today on DL. That’s the second heaviest weight I’ve pulled in my 5 months of deadlift practice, and I did it with much better technique, much less intensity, and in a much more compact time frame than when I pulled 275x5 about a month ago. Again, I’d rather be writing to say that I surprised myself and hit 315x5 today, but progress is progress. Moving in the right direction.

Now, on to the negative.

I’ve been moving around like an old man the past two weeks. My lower back has never loosened up after jumping out of that tree and hitting my butt on the bottom of the river over 4th of July. Whoops. A big part of it, though, is also just the intensity of the training sessions I’m doing. Almost my entire body was sore when I woke up this morning, especially hamstrings, glutes, upper back, shoulders, triceps, and biceps. During DLs, my hamstrings and glutes were screaming. I’m happy that it’s my hamstrings and glutes that are getting recruited, as opposed to my lower back, but the idea of PTTP is to train at an intensity that you’re still fresh for other activities. My intensity has definitely escalated to a point that I’m not fresh at all. Simply put, I don’t think I’m strong enough to be moving the weights I’m moving on a daily basis. I can move them. But can I do it and stay fresh and ready for another workout day after day? Not at my present strength levels.

DL 270x5

DL 245x5

OHP 125x5

OHP 110x5
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL: 285x5 (PR), 255x5
- OHP: 130x4 (PR), 115x5

- static stretching (30 sec per)
- FPP: rest


Observations:
Welp, I hit my 285x5 deadlift PR today. Unfortunately, my wife called during the middle of the set, so the camera only got the first 3 reps. I hate the fact that I can’t prove that I did it, but what can you do? (Put the phone in airplane mode next time is what I’m going to do). Perhaps the most encouraging thing was the bar speed throughout each rep. The first rep flew up way faster than I expected it to (not to say that it wasn’t heavy, but I was able to drive it), and that gave me the absolute certainty that I was going to get all 5, after which point I was able to just attack the bar and go for it. This set of 285x5 was a lot better than my PR of 275x5 last month, which was a real grind, and required me really hyping up for each rep. These are the kinds of days that I want to remember - the days that show that this is all working.

I took a good 10-12 minutes after deadlifts before attempting my heavy set of OHPs. I warmed up by doing 65x5, 95x3, and 115x1. I ended up only being able to get 130x4, which was disappointing, but honestly it all could’ve fallen apart on the first rep, in which I was really wobbly as I pressed, and almost lost the weight either in front or behind me. After I settled in and got in a groove, my shoulder strength felt okay, but on the 3rd rep I was really unstable in my legs and core again. I don’t know exactly what I need to do to improve my press, but a 5lb (4%) PR for a full month’s hard training is not satisfying. I have to believe I can do better than that.

Now that that’s all recapped, I do want to note that it was really interesting to me that I woke up feeling better this morning than any other day this week. I would’ve expected it to be the opposite, given that I did a 270x5 DL and a 125x5 (PR) OHP yesterday. But my lower back felt much looser and healthier, and my legs honestly felt fresh, which seems almost unbelievable. It almost feels like there’s no rhyme or reason to how my body feels - sometimes after relatively light work I feel like total crap, and today after really heavy work I felt great. Who knows?

Today is my rest day from the FPP. I noticed yesterday that I’m feeling way stronger on each rep of pullups - I’m able to explode up with much stronger contraction and really get my chin fully over the bar. Feels good.

DL 285x5 (phone call came in and cut the camera off in the middle of the set :()

DL 255x5

OHP 130x4

OHP 115x5
 

Philippe Geoffrion

More than 500 posts
Congrats on the P.R.! Don't sweat the press too much. You performed the presses after a P.R. deadlift set...I'm sure your back (whole body) was a bit tired. Pressing after pulling is much harder than the reverse. Have you tried putting your presses first? The dead takes much more out of you then the O.H. press and you can probably still pull the same after a heavy press set.
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL: 300x3 (PR), 300x3
- static stretching (30 sec per)
- FPP: 6,5,4,3,2

So, I called an audible today with regards to programming / cycling / testing. I got to thinking about it, and this upcoming week is going to be crazy, as I have a really heavy teaching load, my family comes back in town, and we’re getting ready for a work trip on which my wife and I are both going to be teaching all day while my mom comes along to help with the kids. Basically, I’ve been able to sleep more, eat more, and have way more time to myself with my family out of town the past three days, and this upcoming week is going to be nuts. Maybe (I got to thinking to myself) this is my best chance to test my DL 5RM. After all, I just felt 285x5 in my hands yesterday and that wasn’t that bad. Right?

So, for better or worse, I went for it. I tried to convince myself that there was no way that I wasn’t going to get 300x5. But I think the truth of the matter is that my heart wasn’t completely in it. Watching the video back I can tell that I was really testing the weight on the first rep. 25% of me or so was scared of aggravating my old L4/L5 injury, which would be devastating right before going on a work trip. Could I have gotten 5 reps if I was fresher, instead of coming off of the 5 heaviest consecutive days of deadlifting I’ve ever done in my life? Maybe. Can’t say for sure. But I will tell you that going for 98% of my previous 5RM on Thursday, 104% of my previous 5RM yesterday, and 109% of my previous 5RM today is mentally draining. I wanted to be amped up to pull 300 today, but instead a big part of me was looking at the bar and thinking, “I don’t want to do this…”.

So, I only managed 3 reps on my first set. I gave myself 10 minutes rest and went for another set, but only managed 3 reps again. I’m not going to lie, it feels super disappointing to not have met my goal for July. But I’ve known in the back of my mind all along that my goal was pretty dang lofty (a 25lb PR over a really heavy PR almost exactly one month ago). But part of me believed that by setting lofty goals I could push myself farther than I otherwise might've tried to, and perhaps I have. 300x3x2 is still a PR, so it’s not a total loss. The 1RM calculator says that my 1RM is 320.7 based on pulling 285x5 yesterday, or 317.7 based off today’s 300x3 effort. I think if I have to use any percentages for my next cycle I’ll base them off 315. That seems pretty solidly to be in my ballpark now.

Anyways, the part about this upcoming week being crazy is still true. So, the rest of my off-the-cuff plan is to test my OHP 5RM tomorrow. I won’t be deadlifting, so I’m hoping I can hit the press with more energy and a fresher lower back than I usually do and see some good results. Then, I plan to take this upcoming week pretty moderately easy in preparation for traveling. If I feel really good and have the time one day, maybe I’ll go for 300x5 again, but honestly I forsee the whole family being really busy and under a lot of stress, so I’m not going to push it. As long as I’m not stupid, and keep training consistently, 300x5 will come someday, and then it’ll come super easy someday after that.

DL 300x3

DL 300x3
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- OHP: 135x4 (PR), 135x4
- static stretching (30 sec per)
- FPP: 6,5,4,3,3


Observations:
So, today I did my OHP testing. I warmed up with my usual foam rolling and dynamic mobility drills, and then did 65x5x2, 95x3x2, and 115x1 to get the shoulders themselves warmed up under load and used to the pressing groove. Then I went ahead for the 135x5 attempt.

I ended up getting 135x4, and then like yesterday gave myself 10 minutes rest and went for it again. And like yesterday, I got the same result on the second set - in this case, 135x4. Watching the first set back, I think I might've been able to grind that 5th rep out, but I felt like my lower back was getting compromised and just that moment of second-guessing myself was the turning point. Not thrilled, but given that a month or so ago I was hurting my shoulder / upper back every time I approached 125, I guess I’ll take pressing 10lbs heavier with a healthy shoulder as a win. I know everyone talks about how presses progress a lot slower than squats or deadlifts, but man it feels like crawling.

I’ve been debating whether switching to bench presses for a while would be of any value. Would getting used to handling heavier weight in my hands have any carryover to a better OHP?

OHP 135x4

OHP 135x4
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Cliff Notes:
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL: 240x5, 215x5
- OHP: 110x5, 100x5

- static stretching (30 sec per)
- FPP: 6,5,5,4,3


Observations:
After testing deadlifts on Saturday and presses on Sunday, I decided to take Monday as a rest day, with the exception of continuing the Fighter Pullup Program (6,5,4,4,3). Honestly, I might’ve been better off taking the day off from pullups, too, as my all of my connections (lats and triceps into shoulders, biceps and forearm flexors into elbows) are all sore enough that I’d actually describe it as painful. I tend to be really literal about things, and it’s hard for me to not do my best and try to do exactly what a program says to do. I feel like I’ve been practicing within the PTTP structure long enough to be able to adapt it to my own needs a bit, but not so yet with the FPP. Fortunately, after I go for 6,5,5,4,3 pullups today and 6,6,5,4,3, pullups tomorrow, it’s a scheduled day of rest.

PTTP was interesting today. I’m starting a new, modified wave that accommodates the fact that I tested my 5RMs over the weekend and that I’m headed out of town early Friday morning, so I don’t have my normal 5 days of training Monday-Friday this week.

My deadlifts have perhaps never felt better. 240x5 moved with the best bar speed, with the least effort, and in the most compact time frame I’ve ever done it. It almost felt like the tension I was able to build by getting into the proper starting position was enough to pop the bar off the floor and up to my hips without really contracting much harder. 215 felt flat out light. It’s been a while since 215 was a challenging weight, but this just felt almost like air. All of this is yet another indication to me that PTTP is still working for me, and there’s more I can get out of it.

EDIT: Watching the video back, I need to work on keeping my T-spine flatter (more extended) as I descend to the bar. I think it's rounding as a compensation for my lack of hamstring flexibility.

Presses on the other hand felt pretty bad. Fortunately, my shoulders don’t hurt, but I think they’re just really fatigued from testing my 5RM on Sunday. 110 has never felt heavier. My shoulders just felt almost dead pushing against it - almost like I was pushing against the ceiling. 100 didn’t feel much better. I’ve actually never had this experience with my shoulders before. But I suppose I’ve also never gone for as intense of a 5RM as I did on Sunday. I’ve always been held back by worrying about hurting my shoulder. Sunday was just an all out go. Anywho, I guess we’ll see how they feel tomorrow.

DL 240x5

DL 215x5

OHP 110x5

OHP 100x5
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
July 24, 2019
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL: 265x5, 240x5
- OHP: 120x5, 110x5

- static stretching (30 sec per)
- FPP: rest


July 25, 2019
- foam rolling (5 passes per)
- dynamic warm up (10 reps per)
- DL: 290x5 (PR), 265x5
- OHP: 130x5 (PR), 115x5

- static stretching (30 sec per)
- FPP: rest


Observations:
This week has been all kinds of crazy. In the midst of it all, I managed to pull 265 / 240 on Wednesday, and 290 (PR) / 265 today. I almost didn’t work out today because we have so much to do, but I’m glad I did.

In addition to that big deadlift PR, I managed to press 120 / 100 yesterday and 130 (PR) / 115 today. Hitting a really solid 130 OHP was pretty surprising, given that 130x4 was heavy as all get-out for me last Friday AND I did it just a few minutes after a PR deadlift. Good day.

I did take an extra day of rest from the Fighter Pullup Program today, though. My lats were so sore that I couldn’t even get them to contract for a single pullup. I really think that adding pullups to my training has helped both my deadlifts and presses a lot, but maybe the 5RM FPP is too much volume right now.

We hit the road tomorrow and I’m going to be without consistent training for a little over a week. I may lug my kettlebell along, but I’ll have very little time and even less rest. I haven’t taken a week off of training since March, either, so some time to recuperate might be beneficial.

I didn’t hit my goal of pulling 300x5 in July, but the progress I’ve made from my 275x5 PR in June to a 285x5 PR last Friday and 300x3 on Saturday to a really solid 290x5 PR today is pretty great. I’m noticeably and measurably stronger, and the progress feels good. The same can be said for my presses - a 125x4 PR in June to hitting 125x5, 130x4, 135x4, and finally 130x5 in July.

7/25/19 DL 290x5

7/25/19 OHP 130x5
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
So, I haven't been posting, but I've been keeping a journal for myself and taking videos of my sets every day. I was away from July 26 - August 3, and ate very poorly, slept very little, and was very stressed while traveling (work trip w/ the kids along). I tried getting back into things with a 225 DL and 110 OHP on August 5, but found myself feeling so weak and slow to recover that I didn't try again until August 8 with the same weights. Felt equally crappy, and started getting really discouraged.

Started fresh at a lower weight (200 DL and 100 OHP) on August 12, and tried the 5,3,2 rep scheme with 4:3 waves and 10lb jumps. Here's what that looked like for 3 weeks of training:

8/12: 200 DL / 100 OHP, FPP 3,2,1,1
8/13: 210 DL / 105 OHP, FPP 3,2,1,1
8/14: 220 DL / 110 OHP, FPP 3,2,2,1
8/15: 230 DL / 115 OHP, FPP 3,3,2,2
8/16: 210 DL / 105 OHP, FPP 4,3,2,1

8/19: 220 DL / 110 OHP, FPP 4,3,2,1,1
8/20: 230 DL / 115 OHP, FPP 4,3,2,2,1
8/21: 240 DL / 120 OHP, FPP 4,3,3,2,1
8/22: 220 DL / 110 OHP, FPP 4,4,3,2,1
8/23: 230 DL / 115 OHP, FPP, 5,4,3,2,1

8/26: 240 DL / 120 OHP, PU 5,3,2
8/27: 250 DL / 125 OHP, PU+5, 5,3,2
8/28: 230 DL / 115 OHP, PU+10, 5,3,2
8/29: 240 DL / 120 OHP, PU+15, 5,3,2
8/30: 250 DL / 125 OHP, PU+5, 5,3,2

My deadlift never felt nearly as strong as it did in July, even though I was taking smaller jumps and doing smaller waves, and I found my lower back feeling extremely overtrained (was having a hard time bending over to put my daughter in her crib, difficulty rotating my trunk, etc.). PTTP is supposed to be a program that leaves you feeling fresh and ready for other activities, not like a sack of crap every day. I started supplementing whey protein to try and help recover, but the result of that just seems to be that I've put on ~10lbs. When this Monday rolled around, I didn't feel like I was in any condition to deadlift at all.

So, I'm super discouraged. I've been doing PTTP for 6 solid months, and to be sitting at under a 300lb working weight on my deadlift is not what I had envisioned. I don't know why I'm so weak to begin with. It seems a lot of other 6' 200lb adult men start working in the 200s and get over 300 pretty easily. Even for where I started, I feel like I've been trying to eek out PRs, instead of progressively getting much stronger and the weights staying at somewhat the same RPE.

For example, starting this past cycle in August at 200lbs was about 65-70% of my previous 5RM. 250lbs was about 80%. I don't think I should've burned out so fast at those intensities. I'm coming to the conclusion that my body just can't deadlift 5 days a week, unless it's like 40-60% intensity. And as I say that, I wonder why I've been doing PTTP this whole time. Most barbell training programs don't recommend deadlifting very frequently, and apparently for good reason. I wonder if I would've been better of squatting as my primary lower body movement. I wonder, in general, if I can do any program that has you do the same movements 5x/wk no matter the intensity. My body has always seemed slow to recover. Even as a high schooler, I felt like a "hard gainer."

I'm also discouraged because it doesn't feel like there's much room in life for taking care of my body. It always upsets my wife when I work out because she feels like she doesn't have any time for herself, and she's not wrong and I don't know how to create time for her in our schedule, so it really doesn't feel fair. We're also trying to cut back our budget, so she really gets on my case about drinking extra milk, eating extra chicken / beef, etc. I just feel like stopping trying at all.

Or maybe I'm just doing the wrong things. When I think about what would make me feel good about myself, it'd be more like being 175lbs on my frame, not 205, which I've gotten up to over these past 6 months of barbell training (I started out around 190). I've been eating more and more frequently to try to help recover from daily deadlift workouts, but that doesn't seem to help, and I've definitely gotten fluffier than I would like (although I have really put some muscle on my lats, shoulders, triceps, and biceps). But maybe barbell training isn't what I should be doing if I want to be 175lbs and a lot leaner than I currently am. Maybe kettlebells would be more the thing, and something more like the Warrior Diet.

I don't know. I'm obviously rambling. I do well when I have a plan and a structure, which is what I liked about PTTP - every week day had the same routine to it. But I feel like that's failed quite a few times. I overtrained in May, June and July only worked because I had 3 weeks to train and then was away, but I was quickly overtraining in those stints as well, and I just flared out again in August. I think I clearly need something different. I had been considering the Tactical Barbell Operator template with back squats, bench press, and pullups, but I don't know if I want to be eating to fuel that type of training. I'd like to focus on dropping a bunch of weight and being happier with myself in my clothes first, I think.
 

Kiacek

More than 500 posts
I'm also discouraged because it doesn't feel like there's much room in life for taking care of my body. It always upsets my wife when I work out because she feels like she doesn't have any time for herself, and she's not wrong and I don't know how to create time for her in our schedule, so it really doesn't feel fair.
Have you tried GTG from Pavel's book The Naked Warrior? It takes almost no time commitment.

I worked up to 100lb One Leg Squats in a fairly short period, but it should work with Back Squats too. (If SF Plan 930 doesn't work then I'm going to GTG Zercher Squats next).
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Have you tried GTG from Pavel's book The Naked Warrior? It takes almost no time commitment.

I worked up to 100lb One Leg Squats in a fairly short period, but it should work with Back Squats too. (If SF Plan 930 doesn't work then I'm going to GTG Zercher Squats next).
I was thinking about looking into S&S, but I may get a digital copy of NW and give that a read. I've never had much interest in bodyweight movements, but the fact that I can't get anywhere near doing a pistol is a good reason for me to practice up to one (or more). I think my main goal is going to be dropping ~25-30lbs, trying to keep my bum lower back and bum right shoulder feeling good, and doing some strength work. The former will be mostly diet change (not eating to keep up with frequent barbell work), maybe intermittent fasting. I'll try to keep doing some quick mobility and stretching, and then plug either NW or S&S into the strength component.
 

seward

Triple-Digit Post Count
@freeflowme, I'm in a somewhat similar boat with small kids & time challenges. For me, the time spent training is essential to having the energy, mental clarity, and even keel to get through the day. My wife had similar skepticism early on, but over time she's seen how much more pleasant I am to be around when I have a chance to train.

Of all the training schemes I've tried, PTTP has been one of the best, since it only has to take 15-20 minutes, and I can get the benefits almost daily.

Bad sleep, bad food, and stress have the potential to torpedo just about any training, I don't think you have to look any further for why your results were off after your trip. Also, don't underestimate how effective a few good PTTP cycles can be at boosting your strength. I've never replicated my best 5RM deadlift from a few months of PTTP, even when lifting hard and heavy on 5x5 or other schemes.

As long as you're getting adequate protein (for me at 180#, that seems to be an average of 120 grams a day, though I do routinely exceed that), nutrition shouldn't be the limiting factor in recovery. PTTP is so low volume that it doesn't tax the body like 5x5 or other programs. It does suck to feel weaker than you used to, but there are times in life that it happens. Relax, figure out what you can do now, and keep putting in work -- progress will come sooner or later.
 

seward

Triple-Digit Post Count
One other thought, if you're open to giving PTTP more of a chance. How about rotating exercises? You could switch to floor presses, and either sumo or snatch grip deadlifts, for example.
 
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