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Starting Intermediate Work

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  • Starting Intermediate Work

    I'm a 38-year-old who's been pretty strong throughout my life but without ever having trained it in any systematic way. I have two kids, a wife, a huge dog, a couple of cats, and I teach anything that can't get you a job at the college level: philosophy and religion. I exist in a general state of sleeplessness (my little bastards are under 4). I'm about 260, 23-24% bodyfat (likely not accounting for the fat surrounding organs), and I need to cut down to 240 or so at least. One step at a time.

    This coming week, 5/13-5/20, I'm projecting to finish up with LP. I've done one reset, the results of which I believe weren't necessarily worth the extra 3 weeks or so. That's actually one reason I'm here. I started reading and listening to Barbell Medicine content, and they articulated some things that I found interesting. As such, I've been contemplating what to do for my intermediate programming, and I'm going to try the Bridge 1.0, using GPP days for jiujitsu, which I've been longing to get back into. If anyone has any suggestions here, I'm all ears. I don't want to overtrain, but I've got get my face back into some sweaty crotches.

    My first and last LP logs are below, and I've been logging my data on Starting Strength:
    I'm really pleased with the progress I made, and I'm looking forward to making some more. I'm fairly confident BBM can deliver.

    First LP log:1/17/18

    Squat: 185x3x5

    Press: 115x3x5

    Deadlift: 155x5x1

    (Bench, not a part of this workout, was 205x3x5)

    Last LP log-with a few more to go: 5/11/18

    Bench: 290x5x3 (I had to bench alone, so I went with five sets of three for precautionary reasons. They started off around RPE 8 and ended around 8.5. I think I could have done three sets of five with a spotter, but the chance is not worth it.)

    Squats: 395x3x5 (PR territory again. All RPE 8.5 - 9. The body's getting tired. I'm going to try to squeeze out another week of this and get myself to 405x5x3, after which I'll refuse to wear anything but a speedo around home and while gardening as a celebratory gesture. Chicks dig massive white thighs. I made a good call on the switch to light squats for Wed. I will be wrecked tomorrow and will have to make a judgment call as to whether to perform light squats on Monday or stick to the once-per-week rule. I'll likely stick with once-per-week for the week or two I have left.)

    Chins: Bodyweight, 8x6x5 (I'm getting better at these, but my bodyweight is moving back down slightly as well. I couldn't do any more with good form, although I'm loathe to rate these in terms of RPEs given the variance in the amount of swingage, accidental leg-momentum, etc.)

    (Press, not a part of this workout, is 182.5x3x5)

    (Deadlift, not a part of this workout, is 405x1x5)

    If I'm reading my body right, I will be finished with LP by the end of next week. I'm more or less in the same position in terms of body fatigue where I stalled last time, and I don't intend to move toward another reset or milk LP in terms of intensity. I'm moving on.
    Last edited by Rickster; 05-13-2018, 04:52 PM.

  • #2

    I’ve been needing to switch my schedule to a Wed, Fri, Sun schedule, so I can hit BJJ. I finally made the switch today. I was fairly tired when I started, but it was good training. Based on my fatigue, And contrary to my earier post, I believe it’s the last I’ll pursue in LP, thinking that with how tired I am, most gains would be realizations of what’s already been built. With that in mind, I pushed it on a couple of lifts for the sake of vanity and vanity alone. I made it through and need a nap.

    Press: 185x5x3 (The fourth set was an RPE 9, the rest RPE 8.5. I think RPE is greatly tied to technical performance on these, more so than other lifts. This and bench are the only two lifts that I’m considering pursuing a little further on LP, the question becoming for me why? Is it worth it for a week of extra gain? I don’t know, but I lean toward a no.

    Squat: 405x3x5 (Nailed’em and was quite tired. RPE 8.5, 9, 9.5)

    Deadlifts: 425x1x5 (RPE 9.75--which I assume means I could have tried for another rep and likely wouldn't have hit it. I also screwed this number up first time and said I hit it once. I hit it five times, but that was one of the harder sets of anything I've ever done.)
    Last edited by Rickster; 05-14-2018, 05:23 PM.


    • #3
      Intermediate Work--The Bridge 1.0: Week 1


      I'm taking seriously the fact that I have to drop weight. Getting some extra years out of this body will depend on it. I don't want to be an irresponsible father and husband, refusing to prevent the preventible. At around 265, I've delimited my calories to about 2900-3000 to see where that gets me, eating around 250 grams of protein. I'm be tracking with myfitness pal. Probably the biggest thing I can do is lay off the wine and bourbon. It's easy to get carried away at the end of a long semester. The drinks add up at the end of the week, likely binding a lot of free T.

      I'll be walking my dog in a fasted state every morning, and I'll hit BJJ 2x a week for now, using it as my GPP, until I build some work capacity through this high intensity sparring and the Bridge. In fact, I went tonight and rolled with a couple of guys. I'm a little too de-conditioned to be terribly explosive, but it'll come back, and I was strong enough that no one could really tap me. In actuality, I could've gone longer, but, as difficult as it can be to bow out, I pulled myself from the sweaty man-pile and went home to help put the kids down. I really need to see how my body responds to all this work before jumping in all the way. I don't want to enter a pit of physical despair.

      My golfer's elbow is killing me, too. I'm greatly looking forward to the dropped intensity even for the sake of re-working on technique. It's so easy to drop when one is by oneself and lifting heavy. I gotta keep working the Horn stretches, narrowing my grip, and finding the correct forearm verticality for squats, which are definitively the culprit.
      Last edited by Rickster; 05-20-2018, 08:32 PM.


      • #4
        Intermediate Work--The Bridge 1.0: Week 1


        I’m still very tired from my Sunday training, so I did my best to stick with RPEs in the true sense of the idea that I’m lifting based on my level of perceived fatigue. I worked very hard to go easy and not get ahead of myself with intensities based on the fact that I’m not that good at RPEs yet, and the fact that the Bridge is higher volume, which I’m not exactly used to coming off LP. With my relative inexperience, I’m using a basic 10% deload to define a goal for the day, which I, in fact, didn’t meet based on RPEs. Today’s training turned into what seems like a light day might be on an HLM, the light being defined today as somewhere between a 12-17% offset.

        Close-grip: 230x5 (RPE 7), 245x4 (RPE 7.5), 260x4 (RPE 8)-- I’m still starting with my pressing variations on account of the elbow. It hurts, albeit it feels much better today. The benches inflamed it, however. Either way, the middle number could’ve come up by 5-10lbs.

        Squat w/belt: 335x5 (RPE 6), 340x5 (RPE 7.5), 345x5 (RPE 8)--I’m still really tired on these, and, while I certainly could have eked more out based on the RPEs (I believe I got them fairly accurate here), none of these had any pop or felt particularly good. I was very happy to be done squatting.

        Rack Pulls: 335x7 (RPE 7), 325x7 (RPE 6), 340x7 (RPE 7.5-8)--The pulls got successively easier. Maybe I didn’t warm up enough, but I tried to adjust accordingly. I also wonder if the “nocebo” effect takes place with deadlifts and their variants: the fact that I expect my lower back to fatigue really easily compared to the rest of my body allows it to do so through disuse. We’ll see, I suppose!
        Last edited by Rickster; 05-20-2018, 08:16 PM.


        • #5
          Intermediate Work--The Bridge 1.0: Week 1


          Press w/belt: 157.5.5 (RPE 6), 165x5 (RPE 7) 170x5 (RPE 8)--Just absolutely nothing exciting here.

          2 ct Pause Squat: 350x4 (RPE 6, although really difficult to tell), 365x4 (RPE 6.5), 375x4 (RPE 8)--I seem to be underestimating my squats in general, but never having done pause squats has doubled this down. Maybe this in part is because I just didn’t even think about leaving my belt off, which I will do next time. I also just think that some of the dissipating fatigue means my squats are a little stronger than I thought. I’ll push it a bit more next workout either way.

          Barbell Row: 220x8 (RPE 7), 215x8 (RPE 6), 225x8 (RPE 8), 225x7.5 (RPE 10 I guess)--These didn’t actually feel that hard, but I couldn’t quite touch my chest on the last rep, and I wasn’t going to use too much of my hips. I’ll be a bit more conservative next time I train these.
          Last edited by Rickster; 05-20-2018, 08:17 PM.


          • #6
            Intermediate Work--The Bridge 1.0: Week 1


            Got the kids down, and my wife and I headed out to the ol' garage gym. She's just started her LP a couple weeks ago, doing great, and loving it, having not found a sport to do since her retirement from collegiate soccer many years ago (squat: 112.5x3x5, press: 60x3x5, bench 85x3x5, deadlift: 135x1x5). I worked some GPP, which is translating once a week into some sweet, sweet bicep lifting.... I'm on a crash course for 18" guns, which can mean a lot of things in Montana, but I'm talkin' my arms. Also, with the wrestling we're working in BJJ, a few curls might do me some good, which is what I keep saying to myself as if that's hiding me from my inner-bro.

            20-minute hike. Kept the heart-rate between 120-140 and my dog away from the many, many deer carcasses.

            Chins (bodyweight, 260) 8 - 6 - 5.5--couldn't quite get my chin above the bar on the last one.

            Barbell curls: 75x3x5--I was surprised by the fact that my tendonitis felt really good after these.

            DB seated curls: 20x15, 22.5x12, 27.5x10

            Time spent flexing in front of a mirror (TSFFM): 8 minutes--I'll try to titrate this up to 12 minutes.
            Last edited by Rickster; 05-20-2018, 08:17 PM.


            • #7
              Intermediate Work--The Bridge 1.0: Week 1


              Deadlifts: 375x5 (RPE 6.5), 395x5 (RPE 8), 385x5 (RPE 7)--Dude.... Volume deadlifts suck. They wrecked me at the beginning of this workout. I used double overhand through warmups, hit one set with mix grip, and then had to go to straps. I'm hoping this specific adaptation to volume deads kicks in sooner rather than later.

              Pause Bench, 1 ct: 245x5 (RPE 7), 235x5 (RPE 6), 255x5 (RPE 8)--Pause benches were harder than I expected for some reason, likely on account of never having done them.

              3-0-3 Tempo Squat, no belt: 315x5 (RPE 6), 335x5 (RPE 7), 350x5 (RPE 8)--I made sure to go beltless, and I estimated these fairly well, although I thought I might have been able to hit a little heavier. The elbow isn't flaring up nearly as much, but I'm having to keep my hands pretty wide. I'll keep hitting the Horn stretch until I can get my grip in tighter.

              I'll have to be careful at jiujitsu tomorrow. I'm fairly tired, despite the lower numbers, and I need to make sure I recover well enough. Also, I need to figure out how to rename this log to Big White Thighs. The name should last longer than Starting Intermediate Work...
              Last edited by Rickster; 05-20-2018, 11:14 PM.


              • #8
                Intermediate Work--The Bridge 1.0: Week 2

                I went to jiujitsu on Monday and had some good rolls. We had some tough dudes there who are way above my belt, but I was able to hang okay. I’m getting some of the energy systems back even just rolling hard once a week. I’ll probably bring in the equivalent of a “light” rolling day as well just to keep adapting, so long as I don’t accumulate too much fatigue.

                Close-grip Bench: 240x4 (RPE 5-6), 255x4 (RPE 7.5), 270x4 (RPE 9), 270x4 (RPE 9.5)--I was absolutely dead for week 1 of the Bridge, so it was difficult to estimate where my numbers would be this week, where I’m much more recovered. I started out too low, trying to play it safe, and ended in the right spot.

                Squat w/belt: 360x5 (RPE 5-6), 380x5 (RPE 7) , 390x5x3 (RPE 8)--like my benches, this lift is stabilizing, and I should be able to slowly titrate these numbers up, at least based on the same rep schemes.

                Chicken Strips: 1x4 (RPE 1)

                Caesar salad: 1x1 (RPE 7)--Yeah... I had to ditch my workout for a work lunch and come back to finish the workout afterward.

                Rack Pulls, beltless: 335x7 (RPE 6), 345x7 (RPE 7), 355x7x2 (RPE 8)--I’m using straps with these. Again, I don’t want to tear something, so I’ll save mixed grip for the first 1-2 sets of my actual deadlifts.

                I have a theory about RPE. I was originally going to use HLM-style programming to incorporate jiujitsu, making sure not to overtrain. However, I think that using RPEs, so long as one is honest, achieves the same thing de facto insofar as the days you are simply wrecked, you will life lighter weights, accumulating (hopefully) the still rightful amount of stress. I have no doubt that I’ll increase my strength gains more slowly on account of what would be the equivalent of more light and medium days, but that’s fine with me given my priorities.

                Note: I just realized that I missed one set of my fives on squats. I had to go do them on my off day.
                Last edited by Rickster; 05-24-2018, 08:07 PM.


                • #9
                  5/25/18, Intermediate Work--The Bridge 1.0: Week 2

                  I’m now deep into the moderate volume, and I’m feeling pretty tired. My weights will likely go down for my Sunday lift, although I don’t want to nocebo myself into that expectation. I’m looking forward to the eventual adaptations that come with the increased volume.

                  Press: 160x5 (RPE 6), 170x5 (RPE 7.5), 175x5x4 (RPE 8)

                  Pause Squat, no belt: 340x5 (RPE 6), 355x5 (RPE 7), 365x5, (RPE 7.5) 370x5 (RPE 8)--I made sure to do these without a belt. I now have a baseline of expectations as these RPEs are fairly accurate.

                  Barbell Row: 220x8x2 (RPE 7), 225x8x3 (RPE 8)--I was plumb tuckered on these. Had to make a quick coffee to finish these out!
                  Last edited by Rickster; 05-25-2018, 08:19 PM.


                  • #10
                    5/27/18, Intermediate Work--The Bridge 1.0: Week 2

                    Go to Amazon Prime's “All 80s” station, make sure to ‘like’ “Eye of the Tiger” and “Welcome to the Jungle,” and your workout can also become a parody to an 80’s movie montage. It was awesome.

                    Deadlift: 375x1x5 (RPE 6, mix grip), 395x1x5 (RPE 7, mix grip), 405x3x5 (RPE 8-8.5, straps)--Oh, dear heavenly Lord these are tiring.

                    1 ct Pause Bench: 245x5 (RPE 5.5?), 255x5 (RPE 6), 270x2x5 (RPE 8-9), 265x2x5 (RPE 8)

                    303 Tempo Squat: 305x1x8 (RPE 6), 310x1x8 (RPE 7), 315x2x8 (RPE 8)--I can’t tell what the RPEs are on these. They’re just hard, and the acidic buildup sucks.
                    Last edited by Rickster; 06-10-2018, 12:58 AM.


                    • #11
                      5/30/18, Intermediate Work--The Bridge 1.0: Week 3

                      Close-grip: 255x4 (RPE 6), 265x4 (RPE 7), 272.5x4 (RPE 8), 275x4 (RPE 9)

                      Squat w/belt: 365x5 (RPE 6), 385x5 RPE 7), 395x5x3 (RPE 8, last one 8.5)--I videoed myself with Coaches’ Eye. It was helpful. The bar was too high, and it pushed me out over my toes. I fixed it, although, alas, I had to widen my grip to do so. I’ll keep working that shoulder flexibility.

                      Rack Pulls: 340x7 (RPE 8), 335x7 (RPE 7.5), 345x7 (RPE 7.5), 355x7 (RPE 8)--I obviously couldn’t get my act together on these. I wanted simply to go 5lbs up from all of last week’s work, but my back still seemed a bit fatigued from the volume deadlifts on Sunday. That’s fine that I didn’t hit the goal as I believe these are merely for the sake of lower-back hypertrophy. Still, I’m finding that timing makes all the difference with rack pulls, and likely deadlifts, i.e. picking them up a bit quicker than what I’ve been doing, which explains the discrepancy between the first two worksets and the second two. I’m not talking a bounce, here, but I think I’ve been tending to wait too long to set my back and go after having allowed the barbell to come to a complete stop. When I reset my back after 2-seconds as opposed to 7-10 seconds, I was able to get all of these off the rack a lot easier, and I could have likely have gotten to 360x2 at RPE 8.5-9 if I would have approached all sets as such.


                      • #12

                        Press: 162.5x1x5, 172.5x1x5, 177.5x3x5

                        Pause Squat (2 ct, no belt): 345x1x4, 360x1x4, 375x2x5

                        Barbell Row: 222.5x1x8, 225x1x8, 227.5x3x8

                        An uneventful day other than my daughter was butterfly dancing to Moana as I squatted. She’d jump to encourage me as I tried not to laugh.


                        • #13

                          Deadlifts: 380x1x5@6.5, 400x1x5@7.5, 410x2x5@8.5-9, 405x4@10--This is my first real missed rep, which I don’t intend to allow to happen again. It looks like I’ll have to ramp these down a bit. I’m not sure yet whether that means hitting one set at 410, which I’ll either deload from or keep the same, or bumping down to 400. I think I got so caught up in finishing out above 400 that I lost track of RPEs. Also, if I’m honest, I just really didn’t want to take a set of 45s off for the last set because taking weights off of deadlifts is almost as bad as having to watch Buffalo Bill do his tuck dance. I also got some sort of weird pressure headache on the last deadlift where it felt like my blood vessels were constricting on the left side of my head. I’m assuming it’s the coffee as I’ve gotten that before from too much caffeine, but I’ll be a little wary. It kept coming back during the last 2 reps of my squats.

                          Pause Bench: 250x1x5@6, 260x1x5@7, 270x3x5@8-9, 265x1x5@8--I’ll plan on keeping my top weight at 270 on these next week and simply increase the last set to 270 should the RPE gods allow.

                          Tempo Squats 303: 305x1x8@7, 312.5x1x8@8, 317.5x2x8@8.5


                          • #14

                            Weird week. I got another exertion headache trying to hit some pullups. These things knock you on your butt! So I went and saw a chiropractor--not a common thing for me to do and I know we're not supposed to--and I’m taking a light week with lifting so as to not detrain too much, which is actually really light since I had a hard night rolling in jiujitsu last night. (Two days off of lifting, and I felt great, rolling as hard as I could! Bad idea….) I’m resorting back to LP volume and keeping my weight around an RPE 7 until next week, when I’ll get back on track with intermediate training-- so long as the headaches don’t come back.

                            Squat: 315x3x5

                            Bench: 255x3x5

                            Deadlift: 275x1x5 (I twisted my back funny in jiujitsu last night, so I had to take these especially light, which is good since it’s deads that gave me my zinger of headaches anyways.)
                            Last edited by Rickster; 06-10-2018, 12:07 AM.


                            • #15

                              Alright, got back to the Bridge, and I didn’t get a headache after getting my traps to loosen up.

                              CGB: 257.5x4@6, 267.5x4@7, 277.5x4x2@8, 285x4@9--I kinda screwed these up since I began with them, using the squatting volume and RPEs. I made up for it by trying to hit an extra heave set at the end, which ended up being where I likely should have been, if not a bit higher, with my first set.

                              Squat w/belt: 370x5@6, 385x5@7, 400x5@8, 390x5@8--I’m trying a top set with back-offs to see if it more realistically hits the RPEs, and it seems to be working. I’m trying to make my backoffs no more than 2.5%. This set turned out perfect.

                              Rack Pull: 340x7@6.5, 345x7@7.5, 350x7@8, 355x7@8--Rack pulls weird me out. I don’t know how to judge them still. Also, the higher reps throw me off since everything hurts at the end...
                              Last edited by Rickster; 06-10-2018, 12:04 AM.