Starting this log as a journaling exercise. I’m coming off 10 months of running the SSNLP, and progress definitely feels like I have largely stalled on most lifts. On account of that and being bored silly by the NLP, I’ve decided to try out some intermediate programming in the form of The Bridge 1.0. This will also be a learning activity to trial RPE-based programming. Goals:

- Run this program in its entirety.
- Learn RPE estimation.
- Improve my woeful bench press. Current stats:
- Bodyweight: 80.1 kg
- Height: 175 cm
- Squat: 140 kg x 5 (e1RM 152.5)
- Deadlift: 165 kg x 5 (e1RM 175)
- Bench press: 85 kg x 5 (e1RM 95)
- Overhead press 60 kg x 5 (e1RM 67)

**Monday 19-Mar-2018**

On account of the fact that this week is supposed to be low-stress and I’m wary of overestimating the weight, I’m going a little conservative this week. Overall, the session felt pretty easy and took about 50 min.

**Squat**

5 x 110 @ 6

5 x 120 @ 7

5 x 125 @ 8

Pretty confident about these estimates, given that these are vanilla fives for squat. Might be on the light side, but I’m still unsure how to incorporate fatigue into the RPE estimate.

**Close grip bench**

4 x 70 @ 7

4 x 75 @ 8

4 x 80 @ 9

I’ve never trained CG bench before and I’m used to fives, so this was a bit made-up. I think that I low-balled it a touch, last set was probably 8.5.

**Rack pull**

7 x 100 @ 6

7 x 110 @ 7

7 x 117.5 @ 8

Another new exercise for me (and not fives), so I made it up. Last set was probably still RPE 7.

**Wednesday 21-Mar-2018**

Another easy session. Took about 50 min again, but I did faff around a little.

**Paused squat**

4 x 115 @ 7

4 x 120 @ 8

4 x 125 @ 8.5

A new variation to me, so I warmed up to the first work set. Difficulty felt about right for the 1st two work sets, though I thought that I probably had two reps left for the last one.

**Overhead press**

5 x 45 @ 6

5 x 52.5 @ 7.5

5 x 57.5 @ 8.5

Vanilla OHP at fives, so I should have been able to nail these estimates. 45 went up easy, so bumped the 50 to 52.5 which felt borderline 7.5. I had a longish rest and stuck with 57.5 cf. 55. Reasonably sure that I could have done 2 more reps, barely. Calling it 8.5.

**Barbell row**

8 x 60 @ 6

8 x 65 @ 7

8 x 70 @ 8

8 x 70 @ 8

I’ve been doing these instead of power cleans for a while, though normally only as fives. Whatever, estimates felt bang-on for these work sets.

**Friday 23-Mar-2018**

Session took about an hour.

**Deadlift**

5 x 120 @ 6.5

5 x 130 @ 7.5

5 x 140 @ 8.5

I originally rated the RPE for each of these sets 0.5 less, but then I re-read the flowchart. I probably put a touch too much weight on the bar for the sets. Chalk it up to experience.

**Bench press 1ct pause**

5 x 65 @ 6

5 x 70 @ 7

5 x 75 @ 8.5

The 1-count pause BP was a new variation for me. First two sets felt about right, but the last felt a little heavier than 8 (2 more reps was a maybe). Probably should have rested a little longer than 3 minutes between.

**303 tempo squat**

8 x 80 @ 6.5

8 x 90 @ 7.5

8 x 95 @ 8

I found that eights of this variation was quite taxing; I’m just not used to high-rep sets. I didn’t quite dial it in on the first two sets, but I sucked in the ego and only loaded 95 (instead of 100) for the last. That one felt like an 8. Must keep this lesson in mind for future sessions.

**Monday 26-Mar-2018**

Given that this week is basically the same program as last with some additional volume, I’ve decided to leave all the weights mostly unchanged while keeping to a strict rest period of 4 min. My intent is to benchmark my RPE estimates, to see if I’m able to e.g. do 3 sets across @8 (which should be reasonable). In spite of the strict rests (or maybe because of them) the session took about 1.5 hours.

**Squat w/belt**

5 x 110 @ 6

5 x 120 @ 7

5 x 120 @ 7

5 x 125 @ 8

5 x 125 @ 8

5 x 125 @ 8

Did my first two sets just fine. Did my first set @8 and thought “Wow, that moved up easy”, only to realise that I’d forgotten to add weight. Oh well, an extra set @7 wasn’t a calamity, and the following three sets @8 did feel about right.

**Bench press, close grip**

4 x 70 @ 6

4 x 75 @ 7.5

4 x 85 @ 9

4 x 85 @ 9

First two sets, I didn’t increase the weight on last week and they were definitely lower RPE than programmed. On that basis, I tossed my “don’t increase” plan out and loaded another 5 kg on. Correct guess as it turned out; the first was borderline 8.5/9 while second set was a 9 (the next rep was def. AMRAP).

**Rack pulls**

7 x 100 @ 6

7 x 110 @ 7

7 x 120 @ 8

7 x 120 @ 8

Again left the weight on the first two set unchanged, then upped the last two slightly. The first set @8 was borderline 7.5 while the second was firmly 8. Estimating RPE between 7 and 8 is still feeling like a grey zone.

**Wednesday 28-Mar-2018**

**Paused squat**

4 x 115 @ 7

4 x 120 @ 8

4 x 125 @ 8.5

4 x 125 @ 8.5

Misunderstood my own notes on this variation from last week and didn’t increment the weight. That turned out to be a mistake as neither set @9 was as hard as that. I thought that I would have been more fatigued after the first of those, enough to make it a 9, but they both felt about the same. Regardless, a good benchmark. Installing a metronome app on my phone is turning out to be a useful tool for these tempo variations.

**Overhead press**

5 x 45 @ 6

5 x 47.5 @ 7

5 x 50 @ 7.5

5 x 52.5 @ 8

5 x 52.5 @ 8

5 x 52.5 @ 8

I reread the RPE flowchart again, eyed the increased volume of OHP tonight, and started these slightly lower. However, the first set @8 still felt a hair light so I bumped it up slightly. Second and subsequent sets felt right on 8 with a strict 4 min rest.

**Barbell row**

8 x 60 @ 6

8 x 65 @ 7

8 x 70 @ 8

8 x 70 @ 8

8 x 70 @ 8

These felt pretty well-calibrated.

**Saturday 31-Mar-2018**

Training on Saturday morning instead of Friday night due to social commitments.

**Deadlift**

5 x 110 @ 6

5 x 120 @ 7

5 x 130 @ 8

5 x 130 @ 8

5 x 130 @ 8

I’m wary of overshooting RPE for these sets, so I reduced the weight a little on last week. I feel like I judged it about right, though the difference between 7 & 8 is still a little vague.

**Bench press 1ct paused**

5 x 65 @ 6

5 x 70 @ 7

5 x 72.5 @ 8

5 x 72.5 @ 8

5 x 72.5 @ 8

5 x 72.5 @ 8

Going by last week’s notes and anticipating 4 sets across @8, I dropped the weight a little. Given that my BP seems to drop off a cliff, these felt about right. I’ll push the envelope next week; might get out the fractional plates

**303 tempo squat**

8 x 75 @ 6

8 x 85 @ 7

8 x 95 @ 8

8 x 95 @ 8

Going off last week’s notes, I dropped the weight slightly on the first two sets. Possibly a little much? I find it hard to judge with these high-rep slow variations. These are currently my least-favourite variation in the program.

**Monday 2-Apr-2018**

Session took almost two hours tonight. I must have been faffing about between sets or something.

**Squat**

5 x 115 @ 6

5 x 122.5 @ 7

5 x 127.5 @ 8

5 x 127.5 @ 8

These sets felt pretty well calibrated to the prescribed RPE. Benchmarking has been worthwhile.

**Bench press close grip**

4 x 75 @ 6.5

4 x 80 @ 8

4 x 86.5 @ 9

3 x 86.5 @ 10

4 x 82.5 @ 9

First set flew up, but I know not to get cocky on BP. I got out the little plates to increment the top sets @9 by 1.5 kg. Even with this cautious approach, I failed on the last rep of the top set. Irritated that I’ve dropped a set this early in the program. Notwithstanding that the set before felt like a 9, I should have read the tea leaves and dropped the weight. Did a drop set to make up for it.

**Rack pulls**

7 x 110 @ 7

7 x 120 @ 8

7 x 125 @ 8.5

7 x 127.5 @ 8.5

So earlier today I sliced open the tip of one thumb, which I anticipated being unhelpful for maintaining grip on deadlift. Hook grip was out, so I did these set overhand. Notwithstanding the issue with my thumb, the sets all went up OK. Too easy in the case of the top sets; I definitely stopped short of RPE 9 on both. I’m wary of adding too much to this variation at once though. These high-volume rack pulls are no joke.

**Wednesday 4-Apr-2018**

Session took about 90 minutes tonight.

**Paused squat**

4 x 117.5 @ 7

4 x 122.5 @ 8

4 x 130 @ 9.5

4 x 125 @ 9

I overshot the weight on the first of the top sets, no way was I getting another rep in. Dialled it back for the 2nd.

**Overhead press**

5 x 45 @ 6

5 x 50 @ 7

5 x 53.5 @ 8

5 x 53.5 @ 8

5 x 53.5 @ 8.5

5 x 52.5 @ 8

Got out the 500 g plates for the top sets of these. Felt like a good level of progression, though I was accumulating fatigue throughout.

**Barbell row**

8 x 62.5 @ 6

8 x 67.5 @ 7

8 x 72.5 @ 8

8 x 72.5 @ 8

8 x 72.5 @ 8.5

I like rows, though these sets of 8 are tiring. Left the belt off for these, which was fine.

**Thursday 5-Apr-2018**

GPP - went for a gentle run for the first time in a year. Today, my left knee is reminding me why I gave up distance running. Arm and core work was met by a longish session of indoor climbing.

**Friday 6-Apr-2018**

End of week three. The increase in volume has felt pretty manageable so far. Workouts are getting long, though. Am genuinely interested to see how the “high stress” week feels next week.

**Deadlift**

5 x 115 @ 6

5 x 125 @ 7

5 x 132.5 @ 8

5 x 132.5 @ 8

5 x 132.5 @ 8

These felt pretty good, notwithstanding I’m unused to doing such volume of deadlifts. Last of the top sets still felt like 8, but I suspect that my form was getting a little sloppier. Grip was the limiting factor by then.

**Bench press 1ct pause**

5 x 67.5 @ 6

5 x 72.5 @ 7

5 x 75 @ 8

5 x 75 @ 8

5 x 75 @ 8.5

5 x 72.5 @ 8

First top set felt like crap, second felt great, and on the third and fourth my stamina went to shit (I dropped the weight to stay at RPE 8). It’s frustrating how far behind my other lifts my bench is (I feel). Possibly my technique is crap and holding me back, but I don’t think so. Onward.

**Squat 303 tempo**

8 x 85 @ 7

8 x 95 @ 8

8 x 100 @ 9

8 x 100 @ 9

These suck so hard, kind of a combo of lifting heavy plus HIIT. I’m a little elated that it’s a week before I need to do any more. I’m sure they’re doing me good, but boy do they suck.

**Monday 9-Apr-2018**

Week 4, day 1, high stress week. Big session today, took about an hour and 45 minutes all up.

**Squat**

5 x 117.5 @ 6

5 x 122.5 @ 7

5 x 127.5 @ 8

5 x 127.5 @ 8

5 x 127.5 @ 8

5 x 127.5 @ 8

Had the odd experience tonight of my first two (lightest) sets feeling like total crap, and the final two top sets feeling fantastic. I was almost tempted to throw on some extra weight for the final one, but I stuck to the plan. This is a strange sport, and psychology is a funny thing. Very morale-boosting.

**Bench press close grip**

4 x 75 @ 7

4 x 80 @ 8

4 x 85 @ 9

4 x 85 @ 9

4 x 85 @ 9

I finally have this variation dialled in for my current strength. After reviewing last week, I dropped the fractional plates on the top sets and pushed out three solid @9 sets. I’m confident that I had a single rep left in each set. It’s funny that such a small variation (1.5 kg) can make such a difference. This is the level from which I build.

**Rack pull**

7 x 112.5 @ 7

7 x 122.5 @ 8

7 x 130 @ 9

7 x 130 @ 9

These finally felt pretty well calibrated to the required RPE. Overhand grip again on purpose as I’d like to work my grip a little more.

**Wednesday 11-Apr-2018**

Week 4, day 2. Long-ass session, 2 hours work. Caught up on my podcasts. I’m pleased to observed that I’m not crushed, leading me to believe that my estimates for RPE aren’t too far off the mark. Or possibly I’m just fooling myself into thinking I’m working hard.

**Squat 2ct paused**

4 x 117.5 @ 7

4 x 122.5 @ 8

4 x 125 @ 9

4 x 125 @ 9

4 x 125 @ 9

Well I got through these and the RPE felt right, but I suspect that the last couple of reps on the top sets looked like horrible squatmornings. Restarting that ascent from a dead stop gets haaaard by the 4th rep.

**Overhead press**

5 x 45 @ 6

5 x 50 @ 7

5 x 53.5 @ 8

5 x 53.5 @ 8

5 x 53.5 @ 8.5

5 x 53.5 @ 8.5

Notwithstanding that the last two sets strayed into the realm of 8.5, I decided to leave the weight as-is. The rests were still 4 minutes for each, so I’m happy with how these sets went.

**Barbell row**

8 x 65 @ 6

8 x 70 @ 7

8 x 75 @ 8

8 x 75 @ 8.5

8 x 72.5 @ 8

8 x 72.5 @ 8

In contrast to the OHP, by the second top set I could feel my form slipping due to fatigue. Dropped the weight slightly and (just barely) did the final two sets at the target 8.

**Thursday 12-Apr-2018**

GPP - 7 min of core stuff, 7 mins of chins (33 total). Alternating the grenade grips for pull ups, for variety. Skipped the cardio cos we’ll be riding all over Rottnest Island this weekend. Family holiday is going to spoil my perfect record so far

**Tuesday 17-Apr-2018**

Week 4, day 2 (repeated). Owing to the weekend holiday, I missed Friday and then Monday’s workouts. Got plenty of cardio in though, riding all over the island. Notwithstanding that I’ve thrown the “heavy” week out of whack, I decided that a 5-day break probably wasn’t too big of a deal and picked up where I left off with a repeat of W4D2 today. Back to normal programming from now on. I planned to leave the weights unchanged, but was pleasantly surprised to be able to increase slightly. Probably assisted by the aforementioned rest, but I’ll take it.

**Squat 2ct paused**

4 x 117.5 @ 7

4 x 122.5 @ 8

4 x 125 @ 8.5

4 x 127.5 @ 9

4 x 127.5 @ 9

First of the top sets was definitely not RPE 9, so I added a little more there.

**Overhead press**

5 x 45 @ 6

5 x 50 @ 7

5 x 53.5 @ 8

5 x 53.5 @ 8

5 x 53.5 @ 8

5 x 53.5 @ 8

All four top sets felt a consistent 8, c.f. last week where they were straying into 8.5/9. This almost feels like progress.

**Barbell row**

8 x 65 @ 6

8 x 70 @ 7

8 x 75 @ 8

8 x 75 @ 8

8 x 75 @ 8

8 x 75 @ 8.5

I mixed these up a bit by doing them beltless. Kept the weight at 75 for the top sets tonight, though the last one was a bit of a grind.

**Thursday 19-Apr-2018**

GPP - rower/bike 25 min, core work and pulls/chins (38 total).

**Friday 20-Apr-2018**

Week 4, day 3, 2 hours 10 minutes total. Felt like a long-ass session tonight. Much volume.

**Deadlift**

5 x 117.5 @ 6

5 x 127.5 @ 7

5 x 135 @ 8

5 x 135 @ 8

5 x 135 @ 8

Got these pretty well calibrated.

**Bench press 1ct pause**

5 x 67.5 @ 6

5 x 72.5 @ 7

5 x 75 @ 8

5 x 75 @ 8

5 x 75 @ 8

5 x 75 @ 8

5 x 75 @ 8.5

So much volume. Last top set was creeping into 8.5. Possibly letting the ego take over.

**Squat 303 tempo**

8 x 87.5 @ 6

8 x 97.5 @ 7

8 x 102.5 @ 8

8 x 102.5 @ 8.5

These are still a ballache to judge RPE for.

**Monday 23-Apr-2018**

Week 5, day 1, back to moderate volume.

**Squats**

4 x 125 @ 6

4 x 130 @ 7

4 x 135 @ 8

4 x 135 @ 8

4 x 135 @ 8

New rep scheme, so I pulled out the calculator to guess these weights off an e1RM of 160. Oddly enough, that felt exactly right. The system works, friends!

**Bench press 3ct paused**

4 x 65 @ 7

4 x 67.5 @ 8

4 x 70 @ 8

4 x 72.5 @ 9

4 x 72.5 @ 9

Another new variation and rep scheme, so I just worked it up until it felt right. The first two sets felt about right, but the third just flew up (thought that I must have forgotten to add weight). Added another 2.5 kg and the set suddenly felt like a 9. Did an extra set as penance.

**Deadlift 2ct paused**

4 x 120 @ 7

4 x 130 @ 8

4 x 135 @ 9

4 x 135 @

Another new’un. This is a weird variation, and harder than I guessed they’d be. I wasn’t expecting my grip to be the limiting factor, but I had to swap to hook grip for the final set.