Day 10, Improved Squat Form

Scale at home read 208 again, while the gym scale read 205. Is it possible that I’m losing 3 pounds of water weight during my workouts?

Squats were much better today. I studied a squat coaching video with Mark Rippetoe (the founder of the Starting Strength program) and tried to focus specifically on 1) bar position, 2) feet position and 3) using hip drive for the primary movement. I didn’t concentrate on getting below parallel, but I’m pretty sure I got down pretty far. Added 5 pounds since Monday so 140 x 5 x 3. Still 20 pounds less than what I was doing in February but lighter weights = better form. On Friday I will try to make a new video of my form to compare to last Friday.

After squats I did overhead press 70 x 5 x 3. The movement is much easier after watching Rippetoe explain that the movement should involve the “hips moving horizontally with locked knees“. Once I tried adding this movement to the reps, the weight seemed lighter and I didn’t strain my neck as much.

Finally, I hit a deadlift PR of 195 x 5 x 1, which was pretty satisfying.

The weather is finally resembling spring and my hot tub is back in action. So I hope to add a bit of cardio and some moist heat therapy to my life very soon.

Day 8, Back to the Gym

2015-03-30 05.03.56Home scale showing 207 this morning and 206 at the gym. I won’t believe it until next week but I’m hoping this means that I won’t see 210 ever again.

The students have returned to my gym. When I arrived at the lifting area all three squat racks and both benches were occupied. Luckily it didn’t last too long and I grabbed a squat rack after about 5 minutes.

First off, the workout I posted last night is totally wrong. It’s not an A/B workout. It’s a 3 day workout where the push exercise alternates between Bench Press and Overhead Press. Like this:

Monday

  • Squat 3×5
  • BP or OP 3×5
  • Chins

Wednesday

  • Squat 3×5
  • BP or OP 3×5
  • Deadlift 1×5

Friday

  • Squat 3×5
  • BP or OP 3×5
  • Pull ups

I approached my squats with a completely new eye. Some of the things I tried different since last week:

  • Lower rack position. As suggested so that I don’t go on my tip toes to unrack the bar
  • Safeties. As suggested so that I don’t injure myself
  • Low bar position on back: Based on my history, I was positioning the bar too high. My shins and calves are too tight to do a high bar squat
  • Hip Drive Focus: Consciously thinking about dropping the weight by bending at my hips first and then my knees
  • No bouncing at the top of the lift: As suggested which can cause injury
  • Lower weight, less volume: Because I’m focusing on form and knowing I will be doing squats 3x/week again I dropped the weight to 135 and did 3 worksets

2015-03-30 07.23.49With all this in mind the 135x5x3 was difficult, but not bad enough for me to sacrifice form (at least I don’t think so). Hopefully this becomes easier so I don’t have to think about it as much.

After that I did 160x5x3 on the bench and 3 sets of reverse grip cable pull downs. The programming for this exercise says “3 sets to failure, add weight reps go higher than 15”. I did 15 at 120 but then after adding another 20 couldn’t do more than 6. So I will stick with 140 for now.

The app I’m using is called Gym Buddy and although the interface is very outdated, the app is very functional. I have yet to find another app that handles weight lifting better. Unfortunately I don’t think the app is available anymore. So I’m happy to still have it.

Diet wise, I’m all set for the day. We’re having pizza tonight and I managed to fit 2 slices into my menu and still hit my macros.

Day 7, Week 1 Results

Busy weekend. Hardly had a chance to transfer any of my thoughts to this blog. Week 1 was a success all around. I logged all of my food and didn’t cheat. Only yesterday did I eat after my feeding window (pretty much out of necessity to hit my protein macros). I’m still obsessing over the proper workout routine, but more on that later.

Most importantly, the week 1 results:

  • Weight: 206 (-4)
  • Waist 2″ below navel: 40.5 (-0.5)
  • Waist at navel: 38.5 (-1.5)
  • Waist 2″ above navel: 36 (-1)
  • Chest: 41 (no change)
  • Neck: 15.5 (-0.5)
  • Arm: 14.5 (-0.5)
  • Leg: 23 (-1.5)

Basically, I shrunk just a little bit, everywhere. That’s fine with me.

Back to the workout. I think I’ve decided that the 3 day split is too advanced for me. I still have a lot of work to do on squats and I need the practice. So I’m switching back to a novice Starting Strength routine. The programming will be taking from the Practical Programming book and is set up as follows:

Workout A:

  • 3×5 – Squat
  • 3×5 – Overhead Press/Bench Press (alternating)
  • 1×5 – Deadlift

Workout B:

  • 3×5 – Squat
  • 3×5 – Overhead Press/Bench Press (alternating)
  • 3 sets pull ups to failure

For the first 4 workouts that include pull ups, I will probably use the cable pull down to see how heavy I can go for 5-7 reps and then switch to pull ups. This seems like a realistic schedule to fit in to 50 minutes.

Much more to think and blog about but I have to get some sleep if I’m going squat tomorrow.