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Squib's Training Log

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  • Squib's Training Log

    Wanted to start my first training log just to track progress and potentially get feedback/input from others.

    Bit of background:

    M/24/78kg/172cm (172lbs/5'8)

    I first started lifting weights in 2013 - with SSLP, but I was very inconsistent due to study, and 'restarted' a lot. I didn't really intend to gain too much weight, and I think I mostly gained weight (fat) in the interim between these training "cycles" lol. I didn't try power cleans and replaced them with pendlays because the internet told me to. I stalled with squat 110kg (3x5), bench 72kg (3x5), deadlift 110kg (1x5), I forget my press but it would not have been higher than 50kg (3x5). At this point I also found it too exhausting to squat heavy 3x/week and had other stressors in life. I probably had and still have a lot of technique issues. I did one of Candito's programs afterwards, and then eventually jumped on to 5/3/1 way before I was even considered an intermediate (in 2016). Keep in mind this whole time my training was extremely inconsistent. Also in 2016 at some point I decided that I didn't want to low bar squat anymore and do front squats instead because they were more 'functional' (???) and was worried about flexibility more, and believed in foam rolling.

    In 2017 I have been way more consistent with training. Particularly since around May or so (now working full time, not studying, recent break up). Still doing 5/3/1 - and even retested with a lower training max and used "joker sets" for extra intensity and volume. Whenever it was that Alan Thrall started getting more involved with SS and Jordan and Austin is when I started paying attention, but was too hesitant to alter my program. But I had been reading articles, watching podcasts, catching a few of Jordan's instagram live sessions - and fast forward to now, I've completely on board. I'm currently on Week 3 of The Bridge and snagged a few templates for afterwards. I'm considering online coaching further down the track too. I've never considered programming as much as I have now - before I would just follow 5/3/1, but now I'm more aware of the different training variables (although I guess I'm still just following a template, it's definitely a more thought out one!)

    My goal is to still lose a bit more weight. In early September I weighed 83kg and now I'm down to 78kg or so. I still have quite a bit of body fat, I might want to lose another 4-5kg or so and then slowly bulk back up. I also want to get stronger or maintain as much strength while doing this. Ideally after this 5/3/1 stint I should have tried to do SSLP again to milk some gains, but I don't think at this stage I would have made much progress, particularly while on a calorie deficit. I'm not too concerned that I'm going about this inefficiently... But yeah I jumped onto the Bridge.

    I'll post my first 2 weeks in this post and try my best to regularly post starting tomorrow.

    Pre-The Bridge Stats:

    BW: 78kg (172lbs)
    Squat e1RM 142.5kg (314lbs)
    Bench (touch and go) 95kgx1 (209lbs)
    Deadlift 155kgx1 (341lbs)
    Press 67.5kgx1 (148lbs)

    The Bridge

    Week 1 Day 1

    Squat (no belt yet): 120kgx5 @8
    CGBP: 82.5kgx4 @9
    Rack pull: 120kgx7 @8

    During my last few weeks of a 5/3/1 variation, I was casually thinking about RPE, but not really practicing it at all. I'm using the % chart and giving myself some wiggle room. So far... this seems legit?

    Week 1 Day 2

    Pause Squat: 110kgx4 @~8.5
    Press (no belt yet): 57.5kgx5 @8
    Pendlay Row: 75kgx8 @~7.5-8

    Felt like I could probably go harder on the squats and rows for next session. But keeping in mind there will be more volume next session.

    Week 1 Day 3

    Deadlift (belt finally arrived!): 125kgx5 @8
    1ct Pause Bench: 80kgx5 @8
    3-0-3 Tempo Squat: 80kgx8 @8

    Deadlift with belt feels weird af. Tempo squats for 8 reps is fucked.

    GPP Day 1

    Shit got too busy.

    Week 2 Day 1

    Squat w/ belt: 122.5kgx5x3 @7-8
    CGBP: 85kgx4x2 @9
    Rack pull: 125kgx7x2 @8.5-9

    Whoa the belt is super awesome for squats. Rack pull for 7 reps was pretty tough today. Kind of worried my CGBP is stronger than my normal bench, and wondering what I'm doing wrong in my bench to make this the case. But I guess this is touch and go and lower reps. Whereas I didn't really pause bench before. Although I'm wondering if my touch and go bench is as good too.

    Week 2 Day 2

    Pause Squat: 112.5kgx4x2 @9
    Press w/belt: 55kgx5 @8... [email protected] (failure)... 55x5x2 @8.5-9
    P. Row: 77.5kgsx8x3 @8-8.5
    GPP: 5x2 pull ups, 5x2 chin ups (7 minute cap), shitty hanging leg raises (7 minute cap)

    Pause squat depth could have been a touch deeper. Should have taken my RPE estimation on my Press more seriously. Definitely a good learning experience for utilising RPE though - this is literally what RPE is about. I thought it felt like an 8, but because I wanted to increase from last week, I still went ahead and increased it and failed the set. I did 2 more sets at a lower weight, hopefully balancing things out stress-wise, but RPE wise the following sets were definitely above 8. Thinking that next week I should just see how I go at 55kg across all sets - but again RPE will guide me. Also pressing with the belt was pretty weird, I felt way off balance compared to before. I'm kind of half assing the GPP due to time constraints and other commitments. But... it was more than last week!

    Week 2 Day 3

    Deadlift w/ belt 130kgx5x3 @8-8.5
    Bench: 82.5x4x3 @8-9 ... [email protected] (failure)
    Tempo squat: 82.5kgx8x2 @8-9

    Playing around with belt position for deadlifts. I think a tad higher than normal is working for me. I forgot to do the 1ct pause for my warm up benching... until my first @8 set. Seemed to be going okay, but over time it became harder until I failed the final set (4-5 minute rest in between working sets). Pretty annoyed about that. I think there definitely is some sort of technique issue here, since my CGBP is comfortably increasing. Not sure how to rate these tempo squats, I think I had 2 reps in the tank each time, but I also know I was hating my life the whole time. I was counting the reps out loud so I didn't lose track haha.

    Week 3 Day 1

    Squat w/belt: 125kgx5x3 @8-8.5
    CGBP: 87.5kgx4x2 @9-10 (last rep of last set was a real grind, probably a @10)
    Rack pull: 130kgx7x2 @9

    Squats felt and looked pretty good. Think last week I was like whoa this belt is super good so may have become a bit lax on form for the first set @8, but focused more on the following sets. My third set felt the best somehow. Dunno how my CGBP is still going up. I'm thinking next week I will go for 90kg for the first set, but might need to back off a bit for following sets. Not necessarily prescribed in The Bridge, but I've taken a peep at the other programs, and it seems reasonable to have to lower the weight, especially when it's @9. Rack pulls were pretty brutal. Wondering if I should get some straps for these, or continue doing overhand and mixed grip so some grip strength carries over to the real deal.

  • #2
    I don't think it's that odd for the close grip bench to be higher since it is touch n go and it is done at 86% instead 81%. But you are not alone with bench frustration. My [email protected] bench is 185 lbs while my best TnG was 250 for a single, pretty clean with no bounce and I might have had more in me. So I'm at only 74% of my TnG 1RM while you started at 84% of yours. You are doing pretty good. If you had a true 1RM of 209 (I know we don't use 1RMs with RPEs, I mean if your true potential 1RM for TODAY was 209) then you should only be able to do 169 for [email protected] according to the RTS RPE chart. And that isn't even accounting for the added difficulty of pausing vs. TnG.

    Do you have any plates for smaller jumps than 2.5kg for presses and possibly bench? You said you will go where the RPE guides you for the press. It might guide you to 56 or 57kg.

    It's definitely normal to reduce the weight for sets across @9. @8 you are supposed to be able to repeat with 4-5 minute rests (maybe 5-6 for squats or deadlifts) I sometimes end up reducing the weight if I have 4 sets across @8 unless the first one was a pretty easy 8.


    • #3
      Originally posted by neandrewthal View Post
      I don't think it's that odd for the close grip bench to be higher since it is touch n go and it is done at 86% instead 81%. But you are not alone with bench frustration. My [email protected] bench is 185 lbs while my best TnG was 250 for a single, pretty clean with no bounce and I might have had more in me. So I'm at only 74% of my TnG 1RM while you started at 84% of yours. You are doing pretty good. If you had a true 1RM of 209 (I know we don't use 1RMs with RPEs, I mean if your true potential 1RM for TODAY was 209) then you should only be able to do 169 for [email protected] according to the RTS RPE chart. And that isn't even accounting for the added difficulty of pausing vs. TnG.
      Thanks man, that's some good insight, and I'm glad we share the same benching frustration haha.

      Originally posted by neandrewthal View Post
      Do you have any plates for smaller jumps than 2.5kg for presses and possibly bench? You said you will go where the RPE guides you for the press. It might guide you to 56 or 57kg.
      Don't have smaller plates at the gym, but after what happened today, I'm wondering whether I should invest in some!

      Originally posted by neandrewthal View Post
      It's definitely normal to reduce the weight for sets across @9. @8 you are supposed to be able to repeat with 4-5 minute rests (maybe 5-6 for squats or deadlifts) I sometimes end up reducing the weight if I have 4 sets across @8 unless the first one was a pretty easy 8.
      Yeap, that's pretty much my understanding too.

      Thanks for the comment man!

      The Bridge: Week 3 Day 2 (Tuesday) (all weights in kilos)

      Pause Squats: 115x4x2 @8.5-9
      Press: 55x5x3 @8-9... 55x4 @10 (failed!)
      GPP: Beach volleyball x40 minutes
      Pendlay Row 80x8x3 @8-8.5
      GPP - chin ups 5x4, ab wheel rollout 10x4, standing dumbell curls 12.5kgx10x3 (each arm)

      Okay so I was pretty disorganised and didn't realise I recommenced social sports this week. I'm going to have to re-organise my days so it doesn't interfere next time. So basically a) I started developing a cold yesterday b) I was super rushed in between work and volleyball and wanted to get in my squats and presses in this time. I didn't want cardio to compromise my lifting, but the rush probably did anyway lol. I was taking 4 minute rests flat in between presses and felt the RPE creep up from a decent 8 to failure. Pause squats was a very clean 9 for the second set, and tbh I can easily see increasing the weight again next week and doing an extra set without any problems. Next week I suppose I'll try pressing 55kg across all sets again, hopefully will be recovered, and will definitely take my time. Potentially will have to drop the weight on the final set to complete it at the prescribed RPE. This is kind of annoying because I really liked how my press was going up on a 5/3/1 variation I was doing where I was doing higher volume pressing and assistance (incline bench + pin press). Although I wasn't doing 4 sets across of 5 reps of regular pressing at this intensity before. Also I have to keep in mind I'm in a caloric deficit so it's perhaps a bit unreasonable to think my press should be going up without any difficulties.


      • #4
        The Bridge: Week 3 Day 3 (Thursday) (all weights in kilos)

        Deadlift w/ belt: 135x5x3 @8-8.5

        So I think belt being a little higher up than normal is helping, but I really need to record my next deadlift session. It was a tough bunch of working sets, but I definitely had some in the tank, likely a true @8, with the last set just creeping up a bit, which is fine. Happy with how the numbers are going up - concerned about my form.

        1ct Pause Bench
        - [email protected] (was hoping for a 7, and I could for the first few working sets of last session)
        - 82.5x5 @9 (fuck)
        - 82.5x4 @9.5 (failed)
        - 80x5 @9.5 (noooo)
        - 75kgx5 @7.5-8

        Alright. So I overshot RPE again, so another RPE learning experience. I suppose I should have left it at 80kg the whole way through, but even then I may have had to reduce it for the last set. Also I didn't do the workout as prescribed, because I don't really know what to really do when I fail like this. I figured the last deload to a manageable weight was warranted to even out the stress and volume. I was really frustrated. I guess I thought through a few things though - a) still recovering from a cold, b) on a caloric deficit, c) I previously did touch and go, so I shouldn't be comparing my numbers to that, and build back up slowly, even if that means starting at 75-80kg, d) in addition to the pause, I have made another technique change (the same time I commenced the bridge) - I brought in my grip by about a finger width. So basically lots of variables have either changed or are suboptimal right now, which... is fine, I just have to work with it. Also likely technique issues too, which I should investigate.

        Tempo Squats - 85kgx8x2 @8.5-9

        Instead of taking 2 days rest, I'll just be taking 1, to ensure I get all 3 days in for next week, hopefully without any interference.


        • #5
          The Bridge: Week 4 Day 1 (Monday) (all weights in kilos)

          So instead of taking 1 or 2 days rest I ended up taking 3 days rest due to some weekend shenanigans. Oops. I think that extra rest definitely helped prepare for this 'high stress' day though.

          Squat w/ belt :127.5kgx5x4 @8
          -I didn't bring the right stuff to record, I wish I did so I could monitor my squat better. I could tell maybe 1 or 2 reps didn't quite hit depth, but I'm quite confident I corrected this down the line. Felt odd cramping towards the end of my last sets in my forearms... not sure what I did with my grip to make that happen. Was happy with these overall, excited to do sets of 4 with more weight next week!

          CGBP: 90kgx4x3 @8.5-9?
          - I anticipated that 90kg might be too much last week and assumed I'd have to back off during these working sets. Nope. It was fine. I mean I don't even feel impressed that it felt easier than last week across 3 sets. If I did undershoot my RPE in this, I'm definitely okay with it because the weight went up. Before I was wondering if there was a technique issue in my normal grip bench that resulted in that being weaker. Now I'm wondering if there's a technique issue artificially inflating my close-grip... probably the contrast between the 1ct pause and touch and go is making me think this. Oh well. No more CG for a while (R.I.P. ego).

          Rack pull w/ belt 135kgx7x2 @9
          - I was so glad this was still only 2 sets. When it came to my working sets I just decided I wanted to use a belt for this, because my last warm up set was tough and I really wanted to increase the weight. The bridge specifies how the squat variations should be beltless... but doesn't explicitly say for deadlifts. Plus I'm hoping this isn't a bad point of reference, given this is a part of The Bridge, I've seen videos of Jordan and Alan Thrall do rack pulls with belts + straps. So I figured why not! I think it definitely helped.


          • #6
            GPP (Tuesday)
            - Chin ups 6x4, ab wheel rollout 10x4, standing dumbell curls 12.5kgx10x3
            - Beach volleyvall 1hr

            The Bridge: Week 4 Day 2 (Wednesday)

            Pause Squat: [email protected], [email protected]
            - I think I had some inefficient/rushed warming up and am also feeling quite fatigued in general. Last week I thought I'd just crush this workout without any issues, but I had to back off a bit, and it was still really hard.

            Press: 55kgx5x4 @8-8.5
            - Finally. These felt good. Last 2 sets RPE started creeping up for sure, but I don't think it was a true 9. Hope I can up the weight next week!

            Pendlay row 82.5kgx8x4 @8


            • #7
              The Bridge: Week 4 Day 3 (Friday)

              Deadlift w/ belt: 130kgx5 @7ish, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
              - Failed my second working set so dropped weight a bit. I think I was just too fatigued this week. I could have squeezed out another rep but form was definitely breaking down.

              1ct Pausse Bench: 80x5x5 @8.5-9
              - Was kind of frustrated that even 80 was this tough across all sets, but again, felt fatigued.

              I got to the gym late because of work, and they close a bit earlier on Friday so I couldn't do my tempo squats. I worked Saturday as well and gym would have been closed afterwards So I couldn't make up for it.

              The Bridge: Week 5 Day 1 (Monday)

              So I bought the templates a while back but haven't fully explored them because I'm doing the bridge. I utilised the calculator to get some estimates for this week because I have close to true RPE8's for the main lifts, and the reps are going down from 5 to 4 this week. Also from one of Alan Thrall's insta stories or posts or something I realised I was warming up incorrectly. I would do RPE6 as 'okay', RPE7 as a bit heavier and RPE8 as my target goal weight for the working set - with not so much consistency in the jump from RPE6 to 7 to 8. I do realise that the Bridge does state that once you high RPE7 you should increase by 5% or so to get the correct RPE8, but for some reason I didn't really follow that, I was just working up to something that I thought was going to be close to my RPE8 off the bat. So utilising the calculator I definitely did the Squats better in this regard. The following 2 lifts I just worked up to as I normally would because I don't have that much of a strong reference point for these. Next week I will use my RPEs from this week to calculate this out a bit better.

              Squat w/ Belt: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
              - My goal was 132.5-135kg this week, and I decided to stay on the lower end. Doing 'true' RPE 6 and 7 sets probably contributed to a bit more fatigue than I'm used to.

              3ct Pause Bench: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
              - Hard to guage this one. From my performance last week I figured I wouldn't increase it further that 75kg, I'm not 100% sure if it was a 9 though, I know the first set felt like a 9 but then the next felt a lot easier? Really focusing hard on my form here - I'm really hoping this carries over to Friday!

              Pause Deadlift [email protected]
              - My friend thinks my hips are too low. Another friend from the other week thought my hips were too high. Fuck man. I just have to play around with it I guess - I just try my best to stick to the 5 step deadlift, but something is probably off with my form.


              • #8
                The Bridge: Week 5 Day 2 (Wednesday)

                Pin Squat: [email protected], [email protected]
                - So first time trying these out, it took a while to figure out the correct width and rack to use. Much tougher than pause squats for me, I'm hoping this was a pretty accurate RPE9, but hard to tell with a brand new variation.

                Press: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
                - Got through these well enough. Took 5 minutes rest preceding the final 2 sets, as opposed to 4 minutes for the first few. On the first last set my QUADS started cramping up. I almost re-racked it but did my final, awkward rep and then called it a day.

                Barbell row: [email protected]
                Last edited by Squib; 12-15-2017, 01:04 PM.


                • #9
                  The Bridge: Week 5 Day 3 (Friday)

                  Deadlift w/belt: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

                  1ct Pause Bench Press: [email protected]
                  - Last 2 sets felt pretty close to a 9 to me. This is pretty mindboggling to me. I'll see how I go on Monday, but I'm pretty sure I'll be able to do 3ct pause at 77.5kg @9 next week.

                  Squat (beltless) [email protected], [email protected]
                  - Ran out of time again! Left work later than intended, next week will make the effort to leave on time.


                  • #10
                    The Bridge: Week 6 Day 1 (Monday)

                    Squat w/ belt: [email protected], [email protected]
                    - Used the calculator from the templates to estimate what my single @8 should be. I was going for anywhere between 140-150kg, and decided to cap it at 150kg. I was a bit unsure if I was supposed to work up towards the top single with just singles, but that sounded correct from the explanation in the bridge. I have never tried a "1RM" for squats, so these singles were essentially PRs and they felt really good! First time I squatted 3 plates, and then manged to do even more!

                    3ct Pause Bench: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
                    - This is absurd. It's so close to my actual bench hahaha. It honestly felt like I probably could have even gone for 82.5kg which was my working set for the 1ct count on Friday.

                    2ct Pause Deadlift [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]


                    • #11
                      The Bridge: Week 6 Day 2 (Wednesday)

                      Pin Squat: 115x3x3 @8.5-9
                      Press: 60x1, 65x1, 67.5x1, 70x1! @8?, 60x4x4 @8-8.5
                      Row: 90x6x4 @8

                      Ok so my aim was to cap the press off at 67.5kg, but I went for 70kg and it felt good! Hard to say if it was an 8 though, maybe overshot it a bit. Very happy with this.

                      The Bridge: Week 6 Day 3 (Friday)

                      Deadlift: 150x1, 155x1, 160x1 @8.5-9?
                      Bench press: 85x1, 90x1, 95x1 @8-8.5, 85x4x4 @8.5
                      Squat (beltless): 120x6x3 @8-9
                      - rushed, didn't warm up properly, didn't have time for final set. Think I have to change gyms lol


                      • #12
                        You're exactly one workout ahead of me on the bridge. Congrats, your press has passed mine lol.


                        • Squib
                          Squib commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Haha thanks man! Don't worry it looks like you can lift heavier than me in the big three!

                      • #13
                        The Bridge: Week 7 Day 1 (Sunday)

                        Squat w/ belt: [email protected], [email protected]
                        Pin Bench (random?): [email protected]
                        Pause Deadlift: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

                        Had to do this session a day earlier because of xmas. Squats felt reallly heavy, potentially because there was only a day off in between deadlifts and beltless squats.

                        The Bridge: Week 6 Day 2 (Wednesday)

                        Pin Squat: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
                        Press 72kgx1, [email protected]
                        - I didn't realise these were supposed to be @9! The 3rd set felt like a 8.5 and the last set was a 9, but all the comp lifts have been @8 so far and I didn't notice this was at @9 until it was too late. I don't think I mind too much that I went a bit conservative here though. Note to self: this week's bench is also @9.
                        Row: [email protected]

                        So during the holidays my gym has horrendous hours so I trialed a different gym today which is 24/7 and has a huge area just dedicated to barbell training based stuff. It's only 5 minutes away from my current gym so I'm extremely tempted to make the move. Also has way more equipment.

                        PS: GPP compliance has been shit
                        Last edited by Squib; 12-27-2017, 01:53 PM.


                        • #14
                          Super retrospective entry for my last week of the bridge. Remember the last day of the high stress week being awful. I was at the gym over 2.5 hours for this session too, felt crap, so didn't do skwaats.

                          The Bridge: Week 7 Day 3

                          Deadlift: [email protected] [email protected]
                          Bench: [email protected] (oops). [email protected] [email protected], [email protected], 85x3x3 @8.5

                          Deload week went smoother.

                          The Bridge: Week 8 Day 1

                          Squat: [email protected], [email protected]
                          3ct Bench: [email protected]
                          2ct Deadlit: 120x3

                          The Bridge: Week 8 Day 2

                          Pin Squat: [email protected]
                          Press: 72.5x1, [email protected]
                          Rows: 90x6x2

                          The Bridge: Week 8 Day 3

                          Deadlit [email protected], [email protected]
                          Bench: 95x1, 90x3

                          Then I had 2 weeks off. Goals for my next training cycle
                          - Use what I learnt about RPE more effectively. This usually means when I'm having a shitty day, and what I thought was going to be an @8 feels like a @9... I should listen to myself. Hell I could have probably stopped myself from even hitting the @9 in the first place. So be more conservative in general, focus on QUALITY reps. Underestimating just a bit will still be productive, and will be more productive than overshooting and fucking up.
                          - Do the GPP. Simple lol.
                          - Do all exercises. I sort of built a habit of skipping my 3rd squat variation, usually because I ran out of time.

                          Week 1, Day 1

                          Squat: [email protected], [email protected]
                          Press: [email protected], [email protected]
                          Rack pull: [email protected], [email protected] (should have only increased to 145kg...)
                          Dumbell curl: 10x12x3
                          Lying tricep extension: 20x12x3

                          Week 1, Day 2

                          2ct pause squat: [email protected]
                          Bench press [email protected], [email protected]
                          Pendlay row: [email protected]
                          - chin ups 4x4 in 7 minutes
                          - planks in 7 minutes (didn't properly record/count, but something like 4x40 seconds?)
                          - volleyball


                          • #15
                            Week 1, Day 3

                            Deadlift: [email protected]
                            Incline bench: [email protected]
                            Leg press: [email protected]

                            Never have done leg press before... hard to guage if that was a true 9 or if it's because I'm learning the movement or something?