Exercise Log 10.20.13 (Leg Day + Cardio)

Today was a bit frustrating at the gym definitely, perhaps it was just low energy or a shitty night’s sleep last night due to carpal tunnel pain, but it was very rough. After my leg warmups which went well, I got started with squats. Starting with the front squat, my focus was twofold, one to emphasise the depth of my squat and two to practice everything I’d learned about the clean grip to keep a solid “shelf” with my delts to support the bar. The shelf was pretty good, I start by heading up to the center of the bar and lining it up with the notch in my neck. Then pressing my body forward I engage in thoracic extension (chest upright) and shrug my traps to bring my shoulders directly up. This creates the deltoid “shelf” the key being, and it took a few weeks to learn this, to shrug the shoulders high enough to actually raise the deltoid shelf level above the collar bone (you don’t want any part of the bar resting on the collar bone unless you want a bruised collar bone at the end of your workout). I felt real confident with this, but when I proceeded to squat I felt like my depth was horribly shitty. I would fold forward and barely reach parallel position.

So I went up in weight until I felt like I had done enough weight-wise to challenge myself eventually falling flat on my ass trying to get deeper. This was a bit embarassing as the guy working out next to me decided to offer me some squat tips (encouraging me to use the bodybuilder grip which I feel weakens my thoracic extension, also my issue wasn’t the grip I felt good there my real issue was the squat depth). All said though, his advice did wind up being useful as he showed me the deltoid shelf by lining his arms straight out and I found it easier to line up the delts this way and found you can load either the clean grip or the bodybuilder grip this way if you want. Still… doing so bad I get unsolicited advice is always awkward. Determined to learn more I reracked for lighter weight and started back squats. I was also aiming to change my back squats by adopting a more “olympic” upright style, as it’s leg day olympic style squats both ways tend to be more leg-centric with less back movement. However I felt like I failed that too and without getting low enough.

Frustrated with the depth issue… especially not more than three days ago I made it a point to practice my depth at home… I reracked for an especially light weight and went to town clear away from the squat rack. That was when my squat exercise really kicked off, doing some legit ass to the ground squats and relifting every lift from a completely dead position it helped me mentally feel more in charge of the squats and I know now I can go deep, I just need to restart a lot of my squat training from a much lighter weight level. So my “squatpocalypse” leg workout will now be two tiers in the future… “heavy” mid-level squats where my only goal is to get close to the rack without losing stability, and then lighter “ass to the ground” low level squats.

I notice these issues are mostly neuromuscular… it’s hard to take my neural energy and flush all the muscles in the right succession to make the complicated movement happen. So I feel like this plan will help me greatly improve the neurological issues as well as increase my overall strength in the motion. Now after squatpocalypse ended, I decided to try a new kind of lunge which is a squat variation called a “deadlift split squat”. Basically holding the bar underneath my legs you lunge to lean down over it. Then you do a standard lunge drawing the barbell up into your crotch area. It’s actually better than a lunge, because time under tension is constant as you never truly peak your movement (unless you like to crush your balls). I found it easier to do with 45lb plates due to their taller standing position, just easier to grab and pull than a barbell with smaller weights. For a nice video of how to do deadlifted split squats, check out this Testosterone Nation video.

Having had my fill of the barbell area and the frustration that goes along with it, I decided to head to the vertical leg press which always makes me feel good. Well almost always! I did a solid set of increased weight repetitions superset with calf repetitions. I found that holding the back of the seat not only stabilizes my body, but squeezing my abs allows me to transfer arm energy down through my trunk into my legs, to help give a more solid “oomph” to push the weight up… I encourage anyone doing vertical leg press machine to try it. Took a quick snap of the rack on the press before I reracked the weights…


That made me feel a bit better after the squatsaster earlier, but I knew I needed to at the very least hit my glutes pretty well. Glutes have a lot of primary functions that are neglected so I’m going for nice and strong ones. I started warming up on the hip extension press machine with a few short sets (2-3 reps) at near max weight, then quickly went up to max weight and went in patterns of sets of 2 presses on each leg, 3 sets in a row then a break. I did this an unknown amount of times I sort of lost track, and made sure to end with a quicker succession until total butt failure.

Well that concluded leg day, and I felt like I learned a lot but wasn’t that happy with what went down. Usually I like to keep cardio light due to, well, leg day beating my legs to shit, so I went ahead and took a hike down in Schenley Park. It’s getting into the colder part of fall, snow will come soon, and I doubt I’ll see much of Schenley Park through the winter. That was 3.22 miles up and down Panther Hollow trail. I got there a little late so the photos weren’t that great, but I’ll post a picture tour in my next post… so enjoy that. I feel like my cardio could be better for my upcoming 5K’s, but I think I’ll do fine… we’ll see!

Can’t really neglect a little nutrition in my log… I’ve been needing extra calories and wanting something to snack on that is better than my staple snack treat of animal crackers fisted with hershey kisses. So I decided to nab a batch of some protein bars I saw on sale at the supermarket… will see how they go down the next time I need the extra calories!


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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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Perverted Justice Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organization which works with law enforcement to help track and prosecute online predators. I help administrate all the sites on this network, in fact many of you may know me from my work there. If you don’t though, check it out.
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