Quick update

Last squat workout for the 6 weeks. 290×20 is done. Just got it, super pumped.

Going to post again this evening

Take care, and good lifting

Tim

Take care and good lifting,

Tim

Wednesday started on the right foot

Wednesday started off on the right foot indeed. Monday and tuesdays workouts did not happen due to work, and other time restrictions. So wednesday morning, after all the morning business was done, I found an hour and a half free, so off to the gym for the monday scheduled workout.

Thick Bar Work (2″ axle)-
Over head press 3×12 at 75lbs
Bench press 3×10 at 135/ 165/ 195
Bent over rows 2×15 at 135lbs
Curls 2×10 at 75lbs

Regular Barbell
Squats 1×20 today’s load was 285lbs
Dumb bell pullovers 1×20 at 50lbs

I tried something different this time. Immediately following every set of thick bar exercises I did 3 3eps of squats, adding weight to the bar 20lbs at a time till it was time for the 20 reps set. This really seemed to work out great as it added more intensity to the work, cut down on training time, and by the time I hit the squats I was thoroughly warmed up.

The 20 reps were done again with a loose belt to help with breathing. I had no issues with my hamstring, and despite some next day soreness, I felt great.

Wednesday, even though it started out on the right foot, ended up being a really long day. work started at the normal 0550, finished at 1800, but I ended up having to go back into work at 2130 to deal with an issue that came up and did not go back home until 0200 thursday. 2 1/2 hours of sleep and back to work at 0550 for the long slog through thursday knocked out my workout for that day. Friday I will do 2 workouts to catch up.

Until next time

Take care and good lifting,

Tim

I couldnt wait for monday!

Ok, so yesterday I posted my intentions for another 6 weeks of 20 rep squats. The cycle’s scheduled to start monday, but I couldn’t wait and went ahead and started today. It all works out, because tomorrow is packed with meetings, classes, and a physical so the gym might not have happened.

The last two weeks of technique work, just focusing on the exercises I enjoy, and total rest days were really needed and they paid dividends today.

Today’s workout will be the monday workout for the next 6 weeks. There are some exercises in it that will be changed or modified, but the basic scheme will remain the same.
The workout:
Warm up-
Some mobility work and a lite jog
The 5rounds of
5 x “Mr Spectacular” with 24kg kettle bells (from Military Athlete)
5x Burpee pull ups

Thick Bar Work (2″ axle)-
Over head press 3×12 at 75lbs
Bench press 3×10 at 165lbs
Bent over rows 2×15 at 135lbs
Curls 2×10 at 75lbs
Squats 1×20 today’s load was 280lbs
Dumb bell pullovers 1×20 at 50lbs
Calves raise 3×20 at 90lbs
Stretching

I kept the weight low with the Thick bar, and kept the form very strict. When I got to the squats, I did several sets working up to 280 to dial in my technique, and then went after it. To get to 20 was awesome, but damn, it hurt.

Lessons Learned and Applied today:
One thing I learned from last cycle was that I fail to force the belly out later in the set. This time I wore a belt. It was not set tight, but only snug enough to keep it in place. To have a reference point really helped me focus on my breathing and setting the abs every rep. Another improvement was my hands were closer together by about an inch on each side, and doing this kept the elbows under the bar making my body much tighter.

Today was a beast, but it will be the heaviest day the whole week. I will only squat one day a week, and friday will be dead lift work. After today, I am glad I made that decision. My hamstrings, hips and butt are already aching, and some cramping set in earlier today that was no fun at all.

I am applying lessons learned from last cycle, and seeing improvements in both my technique, and results.

Till next time,

Take care and good lifting,

Tim

The Next 6Weeks

I apologize for the lack of posts, but family and work issues have priority on both time and energy.

Today is saturday, and after long deliberation, I have decided to embark on another forray into the 20rep squat routine. I have already set my schedule, and worked out the sessions. Monday starts the cycle, and I am starting to get pumped up again thinking about the weeks to come.

My start weight for this cycle will be the 280 that stuck me in the hole last time. As it looks right now I will only be squating one time a week, and the second heavy day will be dedicated to deadlifting. The remaining days will be work capacity, stamina, and snow shoeing/ foot marching with equipment.

The last 2 weeks have been nice, and the focus on recovery have really helped get rid of some aches and pains. I set two PR’s during the last week, and found all the rest of my lifts maintaining.

my current PR’s for lifts are below. I have performed each of these during regular training within the last six months.
(*denotes a new PR)

Squat-
375×1
315×5
270×20

Bench (barbell)
305×1
265×5
185×22

Dead lift (barbell)
425×1*
225×29 in 1 minute (no bouncing, dead stop)
Trapbar
455
405x1x20 (20 singles, which took about 27 minutes to complete)

Barbell clean and jerk
200×1*

1arm barbell clean and jerk
120×1

Body weight
77 burpee pull ups in 20 minutes*
92 pushups in 1:15
89 situps in 2 minutes
2 mile run 14:49 ( really working on lowering my run time)

Kettlebell
24kg snatches
5 minutes 100. exactly. I have only done this one time.
10 minutes 177. I have done this on 4 occasions.

80lb Sand bag get ups
69 in 10 minutes.

That’s all for now. I have a big post I am working on, and trying to work some video into it.

Until next time,

The Last 6 Weeks

During all my time training, I have always believed that physical training should have an impact on mental strength. If the training does not harden the mind to adversity, then it was not worth doing.

Long runs, ruck marches, or body weight exercise sessions or a mixture of the three are excellent in developing the mind to push forward after you think the body’s done. In the weight room, higher reps with lighter weights, modified by shorter rest periods helped to achieve this. Doing multiple two-a-days during the week, were and still are a great way to build stamina and mental endurance.

There were times when someone from higher up would come and do PT with us in the morning. Their usual response would be “great workout”. But it was the comments the following day of “I can’t hardly move, I had to take it easy today” that were the most telling. What they failed to realize was, the guys, despite the earlier workout, were out the next day hitting it just as hard despite the sore muscles and feet. They had trained their mind over the course of weeks and months to perform at a high level despite discomfort. They would do this 5 days a week, and many times with added tactical training during the day. When we went to the field for extended training, the hardships and physical demands were both physically and mentally easier to overcome. They actually enjoyed the field work, and were able to learn something instead of focusing on how much it sucked.

So, the last 6 weeks, I have learned a new way to really develop the mind for hard work by way of high rep heavy squats. I wish I tried these earlier. Every time I got to the squats, that one set of 20 reps, it was a mind game. As the bar got heavier, the mental fight just to start the set got harder, and the rewards were just that much greater.

The Program I worked up was simple :
Mon and Friday were the squat focused days.
Tue. and Thu. Were work capacity focused wed. was stamina focused.

Following this schedule I believe helped keep up and improve my run, and cardiovascular, as well as build strength.
Over the next few posts I’ll explain each day in more detail, and my lessons learned, but I will explain the squat days now.

Monday- a real basic program, and you can tailor to suit your needs, but the focus of the entire workout is the 20reps of the squat.
Warm up- I used the Burpee pull up, and step ups on an 18″ box for this. 10 sets of 5 with 10 step ups between BPU’s. Every week I added another set.
Now to the weights (set the wgts to your abilities)
Over head press with a 2″ bar- 3×10
Bench press- 3×10 with a 2″ bar ( I did this the 1st two weeks, 3rd and 4th week were 10 x 3 with chains; 5th was floor press, and 6 th was 5-4-3-2-1-1-1 working up to a 1 rep max)
Bent over rows (BB)- 2×15 with a 2″bar
Squats- 1×20 take your 10 rep wgt, and do it 20 times. Do several warm up squats of 2-3 reps to working up to your Work load and get your technique dialed in ( I never did high rep squats, so I picked 205 as my start weight) every squat day following add 5 pounds to the bar. If you have a good day, go up 10 pounds, but this is slow cooking, so be very careful with the 10lb jumps. I did one 10 jump from 215- 225, and another at 270-280. If you fail to make 20 squats, that is your load for the next squat day.
DB pullovers- 1×20
Calve raises- 60reps with weight
Farmers carry- medium wgt for distance (you will not do any DL’s so this will help support some of the hand strength and traps)

Friday- this is a much shorter workout, and is a in and out day.
Warm up- 3×10 buprpee pull ups, and 10 step ups 18″ box. ( Keep these sets the same, until week 4, where you do 5 sets thru wk 6)
“The Chain”- start at the 20 dumbell side of the rack. Do a one arm DB swing to over head, shoulder press, curl, and shoulder press. Keep the movement strict as possible. 1 per arm and then move up 5 lbs, another set. Keep going up the chain till you can no longer curl or press the weight. ( inspired by Herman Goerner. He used this as his warmup using kettlebells)
Squats- 5lb heavier than Monday ( again do some warm up sets and work up to your load for the day)
DB pull overs- 1×20
Calves- 3×20 reps

When you get under the bar to squat- you have to set your mind to the fact that the only way the bar is racked is after 20 reps. You can rest between reps all you want, but the bar stays on your back till 20. Every rep is to parallel, no half/quarter squats. No belt, chalk only, breathing, and extreme focus on each rep.

(NOTE- never do this outside of a squat cage/ power rack, with pins set for safety)

The workouts should last just about an hour, to and hour and a half including the warm ups. Try your best to keep it at an hour though. If you go over 1.5 hours, you need to adjust the work load.

Another key point to this is eat like a horse- no dieting or calorie restricting. You need to be tired of eating while doing this. Lots of meat, protein, milk, high calorie meals- clean as you can make them, but high calorie. Those that want 6 weeks of cheat days, this will do the trick.

When I began, I had high hopes of hitting 300×20 on the last day of the cycle, but it was not happening. My friday workout at 270 went very well, and with two solid days of rest, 280 seemed possible. That monday I got stuck at  14 reps after i nearly fell back on lockout. Discretion played the better part of valor and i had to rack it. My last day, my buddy counted my reps, and checked my squat depth, and i got stuck in the hole on number 16. I am already planning my strategy for the next 5 weeks, and 280  will fall when I start another 20 rep cycle.

These past two weeks have been loosely planned in and out days, with only 1 heavy day per week, 2 stamina days, and 4 days of rest. On the heavy day, 5 reps is a breeze mentally. These are still hard workouts, and very high volume, but the added rest helped to tend to some old nagging aches and pains (not to mention a rest for the mind).

Give 20 rep squats a try, and see where they take you.

Till next time, take care, and good lifting

tim