I Lift. Therefore, I Am.


Almost didn’t train yesterday. Whatever I had on Monday got a bunch worse. I cancelled two sessions and slept nearly 5 hours yesterday afternoon. Woke up feeling a lot better but still not close to normal. I really didn’t know if training would prolong this bug or would be fine, so I erred on the side of not being a pussy and went to train at 8:30pm after my evening coaching. Hopefully it will prove the wiser choice.

 Not my best squats ever, but much better than I expected going in. Usually when I’m sick, or even coming back from being sick, everything feels subjectively much heavier, even if it’s moving fast. These didn’t feel bad at all, just didn’t have my usual reserves so got loose on some reps and reps 4-5 were harder because I ran out of gas early. Overall happy though.

I’m glad this is a 3-set week. 5x5 would have been a bitch.  Video link: 430x5x3.

Power Clean
45x6, 95x3, 125x3, 155x2, 175x2, 195x2, 215x2, 235x2, 255x1
Clean Pull
305x2, 335x2, 365x2x2
Power clean at 255x1 shown in video above.  Very pleasantly surprised here. However much my strength is affected by being sick, power is usually twice as affected. I expected to get 215x1 on the cleans and call it, maybe 315 on the clean pulls. However, I stayed with doubles as heavy as last week, and even added 5 to the top single. Then added 20 to the top 2 sets of clean pulls. Pleased, especially considering how shitty I felt. I did feel much better by the time I was done than when I started, however.

Video link for 365x2 clean pull.

Skipped conditioning, don’t want to mess with my luck too much re: recovering from this bug.

(Source: startingstrength.com)

Still feeling slightly under the weather. Not so much that I thought it better not to train, but definitely effecting me more than a little. Also only got 4.5 hr sleep last night, so didn’t expect peak performance. Considering all that, pretty happy with how it turned out.

 Missed the 5th rep on set 1, which is what I planned (225x5). I missed it because I am under the weather. Despite how I felt, the 4th was strong and fast enough that a fifth was possible. But one of the side effects of this little bug is that I can’t get as big a breath as usual. The 5th rep moved slow at the sticking point, really slow, but was still moving up when I absolutely ran out of breath. I had to exhale. I tried to push it as I let my breath out but I was deflated. 

Pissed that I missed a rep for such a dumb reason, and 225x5 on a day when I was feeling far below 100% would have been a big victory. So I rested 5 minutes and did another set of 4. Took a lot out of me, but felt better after I got 4 again on the 2nd set.

Bench Press
315x5, 325x5x3, 315x5
 Mixed bag, but still more volume at heavier weight than last time, and easier overall (on average). Still frustrating at how slow and difficult these are, but at least things are moving little by little and slowly in the right direction.

Weighted Chins
BW + 47.5 x 5 x 3
: Hard. 

Lat Pulldown
Notes: Going to reduce chins by a set on Thursday, so added these in today.

Plate Load Hammer Strength Row
180/side x 11 x 3

Tricep Rope stuff and cable external rotations

(Source: startingstrength.com)

Deadlift Stance Width and Hookgrip: @Shortmom

Should one or should one not hookgrip the DL? I hook by habit on accident a lot.
His feet are so close together!

So many questions and comments, shortmom - you’re inquisitive, for one so short!


His feet are indeed close together.  Even closer than mine when I deadlift, and my stance is narrower than most.   But Carl knows the model, and has experimented with stances to find one that works well for him.  It allows him to shove his knees out far and hard, without that causing him to have to take a wider grip and thus a more horizontal torso.

I wouldn’t teach this style to a beginner, and if I worked with Carl for a prolonged period, would try slight stance width variations.   But I only have him for one DL workout prior to the seminar, and I know he has read Starting Strength, has previously been to a SS seminar in 2012 (the one where I interned as staff), and has also been coached by SS Staff members Tom Campitelli and Jordan Feigenbaum in London, so I trust his experience with the method and model, to make a very slight deviation from it, for the purposes of one session.


It is better to hook-grip deadlifts, vs alternating grip, if you can.  The most compelling performance reason to do so is because hooking allows a slightly narrower grip, which places the torso in a more vertical position at the bottom, a position of mechanical advantage.

From a safety perspective, the even tension on both shoulders and biceps tendons is also a plus.  The stress is symmetrical across the entire system, and the tendency of the upturned hand side to swing out away from you need not be concerned or dealt with.

However, for some people the hook grip isn’t strong enough to pull maximum weights with.  In this case, you alternate grip when you need to.  Don’t miss a lift because you refused to alternate your grip, if your hook won’t hold it.

But if possible, hook grip is better.

Congrats to CarlRaghavan for PRing his hook-grip set of 5 deadlifts today, 180kgx5 (396lb) at a bodyweight of about 88kg/194lb. Done after heavy 3x5s in the squat and bench press, while still adjusting to the 5 hour time difference from London. Solid work.

Hopefully Carl will pass the seminar and become a Starting Strength Coach.  We need one out across the pond in London!





R2-D2 Measuring Cups

My bday is coming.



Holy crap I want this.

"Parks & Rec" episodes watched: 0
Minutes of Ron Swanson clips on YouTube watched: 900 bajillion

485 for two triples today.  First set better than the second.  Got loose and forward some on the second set, but overall happy I got all these.

relentlesspursuitof94kg said:I’m back at the YMCA for the moment, and the only rack there faces a mirror, which throws me off now that I’m used to not having one. So I load facing backwards and back it in after my set. Frustrating to back in after you’re exhausted, but it’s okay

Well, this guy backed it in specifically to FACE the mirror.  Which was 50 ft away.  

But also, I’ve never really considered it safe to back it in after the set.  If you can’t see where you’re putting it, and whether you’re over the hooks or not, and miss, disaster can ensue.  I’d rather face the mirror, given the bad choice between the two, at least if it’s a legit working weight.  Maybe a lighter day would be a different choice.

notesontheheavy said: Sorry, that was me and my lifting bros. I’ll be more contentious about putting my 2.5s back 😔

Seriously Lambster, you’re disrupting my workout flow!

deadlifts-and-donuts said: I love people watching almost as much as lifting

I do too, really.  It just annoys me (or worse) when the stupidity of others potentially prevents me from training properly.  Today, it didn’t, but easily could have if my exercise order was different, or it was a Friday instead of a Thursday.

Bench Intensity, Press Volume, and Scary Stories From the Globogym

Felt very tweaky today all over: both glutes, right elbow, and right lower back. None of them particularly bad, just enough to annoy. Left shoulder was also a bit more noticable than usual in it’s weakness. Overall felt a lot better than Monday, though, in terms of fatigue.

Bench Press
340x5, 365x2
 While technically only 10 lbs less than the most I’ve actually done for a set of 5, I’m so much weaker. This felt almost like a 5RM, whereas when I was doing 345 and 350x5, I had a bunch more in the tank. I didn’t rest long enough for the 365x2, and it was a 2RM at that point. Butt may have come up to get 2nd rep.

: First two sets were really hard. Got my head in the game, focused better, and the last three sets were much improved. After this past de-load week, I switched up which days I do press and bench volume vs intensity. I guess we’ll see if quad cramping from volume pressing on Thursdays makes Friday’s squats and pulls more difficult vs low back fatigue from volume benching on Thursdays.

Notes: Left shoulder bugged me during the first set, but only getting 12 after getting 13 last week motivated me, so I got 13 the next two sets, continuing my streak of adding at least 1 chin per week. Rested more than usual here, though.

Cable Row
220x8, 210x10
Notes: Felt much harder than usual/expected.

KB Clean and Press Ladder
24kg x 4,3,2,1 x 2 sets
Notes: Since I have been disallowed from lateral raises, did these. Basically it’s 1 clean + 4 presses, 1 clean + 3 presses, etc… for two sets. They were pretty easy, even after all the other work.

DB Curls
55x9, 50x8

Cable External Rotations

Stuff I saw at the gym today:
1. Douchebag takes up a rack (the one that happens to be my preferred rack) for ~30-40 minutes to do some bullshit routine involving bodyweight, a ViPR, a reebok core board, and one actual thing with the barbell in the rack. Loaded with 65 lbs. Luckily I had to bench first anyway, but I would have been pissed if I couldn’t get the rack because of him. Even coming to the gym at 2pm is no guarantee of getting what you want, which annoys me greatly.

2. Middle aged woman brings a pair 2.5 lb dumbbells halfway across the gym, to sit specifically on one of only two flat upright support benches in the whole place and do wrist curls. She leaves them on the bench when she’s done.

3. Guy loads 315 on the bar on the bench, does a few reps. Puts on 10 more for 325, does a double, fails the 3rd rep - didn’t ask for a spot, but luckily I was nearby, saw him, and bailed him out. He was wearing gloves and had the collars on both sides, so he’d have been screwed had I not seen him. How do you get that strong on the bench and not know basic bench press safety?

4. Guy comes it and starts squatting, does 135 and is actually below parallel so I notice. He’s in my preferred rack (I’m already done w rack work for the day so no big deal), which is the one (out of 3) that’s not in front of a mirror. But he has turned around so he has to back the weight back in after his sets, so he can squat while looking at a mirror, which is about 50 ft away across the width of the entire gym. By this time he’s half squatting 185.

5. Another guy comes in and starts squatting in the same rack. He is not as creative as previous guy. He doesn’t like that there’s no mirror, so when one of the mirrored racks opens up, he hauls ass over to it and moves there. Leaves his 225 on the bar, no attempt to put it away. Loads up 315 on the new bar and does 1/4 squats.

Fun times at the globo!

(Source: startingstrength.com)

Some fortuitous travel by two clients of mine allowed today’s training to happen. In addition to my regularly planned meals, I ate an extra double meat bowl at Chipotle and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s half baked froyo (I know, I know…) last night. I still almost overslept for my 8am client this morning, and felt like crap. Because my usual Tuesday lunch client was away, I had time to nap from 10-11am, make lunch and eat it, nap again from 12:30-1:30, and wake up feeling much better. Not 100% but able to get to the gym feeling like I could do volume day. And because another client is traveling, I didn’t start my evening set till 7pm instead of 6, leaving me time to do conditioning without hurrying it all up.

And that’s how my first squat volume PR in 10.5 months happened today. I’ll take it.

425x5x5 - PR for 5x5
 Pretty solid for the most part, and rest wasn’t excessive: went from 5 to 7 minutes over the sets. Felt pretty tired after the last set, but not totally beat down. I know I could have done this for a bit already, but I was very careful not to kill it with volume this time around, but the delayed gratification of a new volume PR (420x5x5 was late May, 2013) is still pretty nice.

I don’t usually post my volume work anymore, just film it for myself, but since this is a PR after 10.5 months, here it is above.

Power Clean
45x6, 95x3, 125x2, 155x2, 175x2, 195x2, 215x2, 235x1, 250x1
Clean Pull
295x2, 325x2, 345x2x2
Notes: Started cleans 10-12 minutes after squats and I was still tired. Oh well. Got 250, which is I think more than I’ve ever gotten at Equinox, and it was pretty fast and smooth. Clean pulls popped well today, I’ll probably go to 365 next time.

C2 Erg Intervals
30s Row / 90s Rest x 9
Paces: 1:52.6, 1:42.0, 1:36.1, 1:34.9, 1:34.3, 1:34.3, 1:32.0, 1:32.0, 1:27.7
Notes: I sandbagged the first 3-4 strokes of these, till #7, so my overall pace is lower even though my main rowing was reasonably fast. I was just beat.

I don’t usually post my volume work anymore, just film it for myself, but since this is a PR after 10.5 months, here it is above.