Exercise Log 10.19.13 (Back & Shoulder Day + Cardio)
Deadlift mania today as I did some routines to focus on my back strength. My theme today and my theme on back day in general will be more strength training than mass building, so ultra high weights low repetitions many sets is the ideal. Just trying to push it to the max because my back doesn’t need to look big and thick as much as it needs to be just very, very strong. Who can argue with a healthy, strong back? And shoulders too while I’m at it since back day is also shoulder day.
Started the night (after warmups of course) with some bent over rows. I chose some heavy preloaded curl bars I felt going from 90lb to 110lb and just kept form very tight keeping the bent over row position that Scooby advocates in the video below, in letting the bar trace up and down against your quads to get it nice and tight and squeeze out the lats.
So after that nice starting exercise I was eager to hit the deadlifts. I did a few to warm up at 135lb emphasising static position – letting the bar fully come to a rest and even standing up briefly after each rep to reposition and restart the movement from scratch, ensuring that all the driving force of each lift was done from muscle strength alone and not bodily elasticity or other forms of momentum. It is after all the deadlift, not the “jerky and quick bouncy lift”. I do deadlifts for back day because my emphasis with them is the lower back which I want to become very strong, plus I want my core to strengthen for a natural belt for heavy lifting like this, rather than need a weight lifting belt to hit heavy load limits. So my form emphasised that by keeping narrow feet placement (at shoulder width apart or closer) and focusing the driving force with the back angle being the main driver for movement. Any other style of deadlift gives me more driving force yes but also recruits more leg muscles which I don’t want.
I did however focus on heel driving into the ground and learned a lot tonight about the mechanics of creating a strong core plus a heavy driving force utilizing leg and back force coupling to get the weight up from the dead position. In fact since I hit a wall where I was having a hard time getting more weight up, inbetween things I just did some practice flexing and bending movements to get my neurological system worked up. I did a lot of focused interabdominal pressure flexing especially and it definitely helped me squeeze out an extra rep or two at the heaviest weight level… and with a little work, I feel like I could definitely immediately improve my deadlift by 50lbs and I feel like it’s just a neurological issue of focusing the right chain of muscles. So I’m definitely going to focus on conditioning to make that happen I don’t have an immediate deadlift goal because the only goal is to make my lower back really strong, I’d really love to hit a 400lb deadlift sometime which for my size I think is a good starting goal.
While the video below does not emphasise the deadlift from the perspective I did it tonight, it explains a lot of the basic mechanics of the deadlift very well and I think I’m a fan of all the videos on this channel… it’s a Canadian bodybuilder named Christian Thibaudeau’s Youtube channel called Testosterone Nation. I wouldn’tve figured I’d liked it just by the name, but I really like the guy’s explanation of key principles and he has an awesome voice to listen to. In other notes too Christian has a great video on front squatting which I think will help on leg day (ideally which will be Sunday’s workout, we’ll see).
In 3 sets I moved up to my deadlift max of about 225, which I held at with a lot of failed lifts. I knew it was psychological though and proved it to myself by eventually busting out 5 good lifts. I tried to increment the weight higher but I’m not sure if fatigue was setting in or if I was just depleted or had exceeded my max lift for the night, but I could not get the weight to budge. This process ate up a good amount of time so eventually I pulled an Al Bundy and shoed it in by unracking the heavier weight. To finish up deadlifting, I dropped the weight down to half and did a solid 16-20 repetitions in quick succession being sure to keep still with the theme of completely resetting the weight on each pull, which got my blood pumping and felt like it gave my lower back a good burn.
So after this I decided to inkeep with the theme of heavy ass weights so I grabbed a 60lb dumbbell and started doing one arm dumbbell rows on the bench, did 10 reps each arm and went to 65 for two sets then 70lbs for the fourth set. 70 was very high for me and I felt like any higher would’ve broken my form so I’m glad I know that’s in my upper limit area for this exercise. I also went to hit the upper back with some seated rows, tried to keep form real good and squeeze the scapula together keeping all my major trapezius muscles flexed as best I could and really loved that. There was a few back exercises I wanted to do still but I had a long morning and long day, so it was time now to start shoulders.
Shoulders were quick, in keeping with the previous theme of strong & heavy I started with some seated overhead dumbbell military presses superset with standing read deltoid flys. That was a little rough started with too heavy a weight so dropped it and then hit it for 4 sets of 8-10 reps each. Then I swapped to a much lighter weight and proceeded with my favorite routine for shoulders, a triple set of side raises, forward raises and low leaning rear flys with a slightly different form/angle than the standing deltoid flys I did earlier. I did these for a good 4 sets as well. I was sure to give my traps a little loving, so I hopped on the trap machine and racked up as much as I could (230lbs) and shrugged. I found after a set that grip strength was an issue, but completed 3 sets of 8 reps. Maybe 4 sets? I forget. I always feel a little sore perhaps from strain from doing trap shrugs, but I just don’t care honestly trap shrugs are fun and I love them. I need to work on my nervous system though I feel grip strength might be an issue as I grow.
Lastly, I skipped cardio the night before so none of that tonight. I got a 5K next week so I ran 2.33 miles at my 5K pace. Why not 3.1 miles? I feel like I gassed out a little bit as I hit my final mile, and when I hit that wall I decided to call it out. I feel like though treadmills pace you slower than a real pace because all your extra energy doesn’t make your treadmill go any faster so when you start exterting you don’t see a gain unless you exert at the same pace you increase the treadmill pace… but I felt it was a good trail and I’m hoping I can improve my 5K pace 2-3 minutes from my previous time in one of the two 5K’s I got coming up soon.
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Projects & Links
The Thomas Jefferson Blog
My book that I wrote about a founding father who finds himself lost in time, set in the 2003-2006 post 9/11 Bush era of politics. Free for reading online, although I’ve abandoned efforts to get it published.
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Know True Evil
A small wallpaper page dedicated to those who lost their lives to the carelessness of government gone wrong.
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Socialism WORKS! is a short website presentation I put together years ago with help from a friend. It is something of a snarky take on Socialism, critical of the advantages of Socialism from various origins of the idea.
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My good friend Xavier Von Erck’s personal blog, he’s also the director of all the pjfi.org websites incidentally.
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