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Old 11-21-2010, 01:41 PM   #1
Ben Byram
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK (kgs please)
Posts: 155
Default Ben's strength log


Not browsed this forum long, but there seems to be some knowledgeable people on here, so I thought I'd start a training log to hopefully get some constructive criticism to help me hit my training goals as quickly as possible. Maybe someone may benefit from my mistakes too...

I am training for strength with a little easy cardio thrown in for health and recovery purposes. My background is probably 10 years of useless training with too much general activity and too little food for any muscular growth (5 years at 11st 4lbs) until I found some decent resources online and started training and eating better about 3 years ago. Started with the KBs via Pavel, then did Starting Strength, Texas Method and this year 5/3/1. Gains have been slowed somewhat by my training being interspersed with preparing for snowboarding holidays and playing around with Ross Enamait influenced concurrent programmes.

My short-term goals are to match my previous modest strength bests whilst keeping my weight below 14st (196lbs). I set this limit as I'm a gangly ectomorph and realistically I'm carrying too much ballast heavier than this. Not bothered about being the next Arnold, just want to get strong without dedicating my life to training and being chubby. I went up to 14st 9lbs at my strongest, but my conditioning level was poor and in retrospect was far too fat. I'm now crawling back to that level slowly.

Best lifts. (All in kg).
Squat 140x2
Bench 100x3 (shite).
Press 80x1
Deadlift 200x1
Power clean 92.5x1

Long-term goals.
Press BW.
Power clean 100kg.
Bench press 1.5xBW.
Squat 2xBW. (Miles off this).
Deadlift 2.5xBW.

I won't record it on here, but all training is preceded by foam rolling, 10 mobility/stability drills with a couple of static stretches, most from Cressey/Robertson's Magnificent Mobility and about 4' on the C2.

My current programme started as 5/3/1, now it just uses the percentages mostly. I like the 5/3/1 session on week 3, so I haven't changed that. I also will max out on the heavy set on week 3 only. I spent months trying to get it 5/3/1 to work unsuccessfully. AMRAP at high reps did nothing for my strength base and I just treaded water. In the end I just ditched the AMRAP and went for steady improvements with lower reps. I also prefer to do the heavy set first, then do the other work sets afterwards, done in reverse pyramid fashion a la Martin Berkhan's suggestion on leangains. Extra back-off sets have been added for volume as I don't get stronger otherwise.

So basically, it's a 3 day per week, full-body session influenced by 5/3/1, Texas Method (fluctuating loads on pushes, pulls and squat) with some assistance work done reverse pyramid or straight sets.

I'm running this plan until it stops working, then I'm probably going to do a specialization routine using Pavel's Russian Squat Routine and something on bench press (Russian Bear?).


Squat (heavy)
Narrow-grip bench press
Loosening deadlift (more of a stretch).

C2 (20' @120-140HR)

Squat (light)
Bench press (light)
Deadlift / RDL
Ab roller
Barbell curl
One-arm DB farmers walk


Power clean
Bench press (heavy - for me)
Squat (speed-sets)
10' KB finished (alternating TGU and Renegade Row)

C2 20' @ 120-140 HR

I've not included all the fine detail as this already reads like the Dead Sea Scrolls, but I'll happily elaborate if anyone is interested.

34 yrs old.
13st 11lbs (193lbs)
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:48 PM   #2
Ben Byram
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK (kgs please)
Posts: 155

Tuesday 23rd November

This is week 3 of a 4 week cycle as in 5/3/1.
Realised somewhere along the line I'd forgotten about staying tight in the eccentric part of the rep. Focused on this today and whole workout was easier than the last few weeks have been as a result.

105x5, 120x3, 135x2 RPE 10, 92.5x15 RPE 10.
Progress, so happy. Didn't drive my traps sufficiently into the bar on the 1st rep of the heaviest set and almost bailed forwards - managed to pull it back.

RPE's are based on an old Mike T. article. RPE 8 being 2-4 spare reps, RPE 9 being one rep saved, and RPE 10 balls out. Book on my Christmas list if I can find it UK based.

60x5, 67.5x3, 75x1.
I don't push for extra reps on week 3 on the press, just increasing through each cycle. Focus is my nemesis - the bench press.

20x4, 10x6, BWx9.
PB for weighted chins.

Narrow-grip bench press:
Added this last week, to try and shift my bench press having seen a recent video by Ed Coan suggesting varying grips. Figured I'd try it.

Loosening deadlift:
Performed in the privacy of my own home. As I've got stronger in the past, my lower back has spasmed after getting progressing tighter. This has kept my back feeling better. Done with a KB whilst stood on a step for extra ROM. Taken from Pavel's BB book, and Kono's idea orginally.
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:32 PM   #3
Ben Byram
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK (kgs please)
Posts: 155
Default Wednesday 24th November

20'@120-140 HR, 2:16.4s/500m average.
Conditioning pretty poor currently, due to skipping the rower because of a persistent cold. Session is dull, but does the job.
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:31 PM   #4
Ben Byram
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK (kgs please)
Posts: 155
Default Thursday 25th November

Technique felt good, slowed down the negative aspect, still focusing on tightness even on light sets.

Bench press:
Felt about right.

5 rep PB or should I say PR, I dunno... Very happy with this, has taken a year to get my pulls sorted out since I stopped the Texas Method and got distracted with other stuff. Last year 175x5 was followed 2 weeks later by a 3RM, 2 weeks later pulled 200kg. Will keep alternating a heavy set of 3 (RPE 9 ish) fortnightly with a full bore set of 5 until it stops working, then will probably introduce 5 heavy singles. Deadlift sessions alternated with RDL's seem suited to my spider/orangutan build.

Ab roller:

Forgot barbell curls. Annoying, but they are only curls.

One-arm DB farmers walk:
34x3 laps (approx 20m).
I find this hard. Obvious I work in an office when it comes to carrying.

Followed by curry. The feeding secret of champions!
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Old 11-26-2010, 12:51 AM   #5
Ben Byram
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK (kgs please)
Posts: 155
Default Friday 26th November

13st 10.2lbs / 87kg.
Have lost a pound this week as the missus has been dieting and I eat what she serves, bless her. Strength up, weight down. Happy days!
Training on Fridays is illegal.
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:28 PM   #6
Ben Byram
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK (kgs please)
Posts: 155
Default Saturday 27th November

Power clean:
82.5x5, 77.5x3x3.
Probably a bit dubious calling the first 5 reps a set as missed the 5th rep and had to do it again. Wasn't pulling my back into extension properly on the heavy set, addressed this is the last few sets and seemed to rectify itself.

Bench press:
75x5, 85x3, 95x3, 65x12.
Created a bit more of an arch in my back and made sure my eyes were the right side of the bar. Felt better.

Squat (speed-sets):
75x2x8 on the '.

32.5x4, 20x6, 10x7.

TGU 20x3 / Renegade row 20x6:
Was planning to do these for 10', but my shoulders felt like toast pretty quickly. The KB's were added for a little extra conditioning and the KB's are fun, but I'm questioning whether I'd be better binning this finisher now...

Having blatantly forgotten the real purpose of assistance work, time to evaluate my weaknesses and make necessary alterations next week... if required.

Deload week now, sweeeeeeeeeeet..............
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:42 PM   #7
Ben Byram
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK (kgs please)
Posts: 155
Default Wednesday 8th December

2x16'@120-140HR / (5' rest between intervals).
Interval 1 - 2:12 ish.... was interrupted.
Interval 2 - 2:16.2 / 500m.

Yes, long steady cardio of sorts at snails pace. I have a rower in the spare room luckily.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:41 PM   #8
Ben Byram
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK (kgs please)
Posts: 155
Default Thursday 9th December

Squat (light):

Bench press (light):

Some muppet stepped right in front of me to do lunges with one 8kg dumbell on his shoulder just before my heavy set. Fueled my set with a mild rage which was useful. Not sure I had another rep in the bag, think I need to add a set to RDL's in my deload week as detraining a smidgen perhaps...

Ab wheel:

Chest-support machine row:
50 thingsx8x3.

Offset farmers walk:
I don't enjoy the farmers walk.

My gym has just installed it's 4th vibration plate machine!!!! Yet we still have 1 squat / bicep curl rack.......?
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Old 12-10-2010, 12:56 AM   #9
Ben Byram
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK (kgs please)
Posts: 155

13st 11.2lbs. 88kg.
+1.4lbs this week. My Triassic diet is in full effect (eat everything in sight with an emphasis on meat, preferably lamb!).

More Christmas drinking this weekend....
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:08 PM   #10
Ben Byram
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK (kgs please)
Posts: 155
Default Sunday 12th December

Hungover...... much sweating.....

Power clean:
85x3, 80x3/2/2/2.
Technique a little better from driving the feet initially and didn't get my usual bloody shins because my knees were moving out of the way. No dramatic increases though. Not sure whether to look at the floor 10 feet ahead as Rip recommends or to bring my gaze forward. I should be power cleaning more than this based on my deadlift surely?

Bench press:
87.5x5, 77.5x6, 67.5x8x2.
Getting soreness in my upper back and quads when I'm benching now. I think that is a good sign.

Squat (speed sets):

Narrow-grip bench press:

15'@120-140 HR.

Going to make an effort to get more sleep this week. Knackered.
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