Against Gravity training log (2020)

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Against Gravity
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Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:37 pm

Last update:

For the past few weeks, I've been extremely busy and my nutrition, sleep and training volume was lower/worse than usual. As a result, I've undertrained and got slightly weaker (& smaller) overall. Not a serious thing though: I'm now BW=76kg (without clothes&fasted in the morning), and current stats for the main exercises are:

Weighted chin-up: 40kg 5X5
OHP: 50kg 5X9
BOR: 50kg 5X20 / 60kg 5X15 / 70kg 5X10
Weighted Ring Dips: 45kg 5X7
BB squats: 90kg 5X10 / Weighted pistol squats: 20kg 5X8

I'm going to start training hard again, with a 4X frequency for upper body and 2X frequency for lower body, for a total volume of 20 hard sets per week and muscle group (which is the average maximum recoverable volume based on what I've read, and also based on personal experience)

I've decided to give up the 5X training frequency. It might be okay if training away from failure (RIR=2+) or close to failure (RIR=0) for a few weeks, but after 2-3 weeks the overall fatigue starts to accumulate, and both motivation to train & performance suffers. A 4X frequency is far more sustainable when training close to failure in the long term

So it'll take a few months before I can recover my strongest shape for all the 5 main exercises & meet new PRs. Not sure if I'll continue to update this though - sadly, the forum isn't active anymore.

I've to say it has been a good experience anyway. Thanks all of you for reading so far & following a part of my journey!

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Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Vagabond » Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:06 pm

Hey man! Time for an update! :D Have you been training harder? How have you been?

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Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Sat Oct 03, 2020 7:25 pm

Here's a quick update:


Current routine:
Monday - OHP & Weighted chin-ups (1-5 sets*) + Weigted ring dips & BOR (5 sets) + One arm push-up variation (1 set) + Strict pistol squat (1 set)
Tuesday - OHP & Weighted chin-ups (1-5 sets*) + PPPU & weighted rows (5 sets) + Strict pistol squat (1 set)
Wednesday - Same as Monday
Thursday - Same as Tuesday
Friday - Same as Monday
Saturday - Off
Sunday - Off

*1-5 sets depending on fatigue. Usually I can handle 20-25 sets OHP, and 15-25 sets weighted pull-ups per week without any recovery issues.

OHP
I progressed, and then regressed.

Progressed, because finally ended up doing 5 sets of 10 reps with 50kg. This allowed me to finally add plates to the bar, and work with 55kg for 5 sets of 7 reps.

However, for the next 3 weeks I also decided to experiment with a reduced frequency (3 times a week, instead 5 times a week) and volume (3 sets instead 5 sets), just to see if I could still make progress that way.

Big mistake. On top of that, I injured my left wrist, and in the third week I could only work on OHP twice.

The result? In the fourth week after 5x10 50kg PR, I felt far weaker, and suddenly 50kg felt heavier again.
So I'm back at March' level (yeah, regressed 6 months of training with just 3 weeks of detraining), training 50kg for 5x8.
Luckily, there's some muscle memory going on, and now I'm progressing faster. Next week I feel ready for 9 reps again.

Weighted chin-ups
Another big mistake. After achieving 20kg for 5 sets of 10 reps (and a PR of 30kg x 9.5 reps), I decided to have fun with OAC training in an extra session, just for 1-2 sets, but high frequency (4-5 times a week). The result? Developed golfer's elbow, which forced me to reduce load significantly. Back to bodyweight chin-ups again.

This is my path of milestones for the following weeks, each one for 5 sets:
- BW x 15 (rehab) Already done
- 5kg x 14 reps or 13 reps
- 10kg x 13 reps or 12 reps
- 15kg x 12 reps or 11 reps
- 20kg x 11 reps or 10 reps
- 25kg x 10 reps or 9 reps
- 30kg x 9 reps or 8 reps
- 35kg x 8 reps or 7 reps
- 40kg x 7 reps or 6 reps
- 45kg x 6 reps or 5 reps
- 50kg x 5 reps or 4 reps
- 55kg x 4 reps or 3 reps
- 60kg x 3 reps or 2 reps

Once I'm doing 5X 60kg x 2-3 reps (last milestone), I'll resume OAC training. I feel I can already do it, if my forearm tendons allowed me to train it for long enough to acquire the unilateral skill component. Next time I'll be far more cautious with volume & frequency though.

Weighted ring dips
After many experiments, I've found my MRV for this exercise, unlike OHP and weighted pull-ups, is only 15 sets per week. At least currently. Any more than that, and my triceps can't recover. So, I'll try to progress for as much as possible using this weekly volume, before trying to build up extra work capacity. These are the milestones, again each one for 5 sets:

- 20kg x 15. Already done
- 25kg x 15 reps. Work in progress.
- 30kg x 14 reps
- 35kg x 13 reps
- 40kg x 12 reps
- 45kg x 11 reps
- 50kg x 10 reps
- 55kg x 9 reps
- 60kg x 8 reps
- 65kg x 7 reps
- 70kg x 6 reps
- 75kg x 5 reps

BOR

The limiting factor for this exercise is lower back. I can't handle more than 3 consecutive sessions without feeling lower back issues, regardless of technique. So, I work on this exercise 3-4 times a week. The remaining days I perform weighted inverted rows. Always for high reps (15-20 reps/set), and no less than 5 sets/workout. Don't really have goals on rowing exercises other than accummulate as much volume as possible to recover. The main purpose is maintain muscular balance & prevent shoulder injuries. This mindset also allows me to keep ego in check and use perfect form, with loads as light as necessary to allow this.

Since I can only train BOR 3-4 times a week due to lower back issues, the remaining days (1-2x / week) I train weighted rows, which doesn't put any stress on lower back, but keeps slightly more emphasis on lats (internal rotators) instead upper back, and thus is more similar to weighted pull-ups, but at least I get some rear delt and mid-traps work to compensate for the dips & OHP volume.

Strict pistol squats
I've decided to give up barbell squats for a simple reason: systemic (overall) fatigue. Even though theoretically I'm working just my legs, my body overall recovery abilities significantly reduce - which prevents me to train upper body as frequently as I like to do. So I've decided to focus on strict pistol squats instead, aiming for perfect form on each rep (that means, the leg off the ground must be completely straight and pointing forward, which increases leverage and thus intensity a lot).

The only problem I have with pistol squats is that I've an inborn issue with my left hamstring. Every rep, only in my left leg, my left knee 'pops' due to incorrect tracking of a hamstring tendon. Bodyweight pistol squats causes no pain, but weighted ones in the 5-10RM does. So, I've decided to work in the 15-20RM range instead. I mean, once I can do sets of 20 strict pistol squats easily, I'll add 5kg (which should allow me to do about 15 reps) and repeat for as long as possible. Hopefully, this will allow me to train weighted pistol squats painless, even it has to be with lighter loads. And if I eventually experienced pain in the 15-20RM, I'd shift my focus to purely mobility and leverage-based variations, like dragon pistol squats for high reps.

Accessories
Currently I'm training:

- Wall pseudoplanche push-ups in the 1-3RM range (aiming for straddle planche push-ups), as accessory for dips. If I eventually can't continue to make progress, I'd switch to weighted ring push-ups.

- One-arm push-up variations in the 20RM for extra triceps emphasis. The great thing is the possibility to quickly use 'dropsets' to completely destroy triceps. You can start with prison-style one arm push-ups (aiming to keep feet together), then continue with straddle one arm push-ups, and end up with diamond push-ups to fill those 20 reps. If I didn't have access to weighted dips or OHP, I'd definitely be doing this as one of my main exercises

- Freestanding headstand push-ups, in the 1-10RM, for fun. Just 10 reps a day, in as many sets as necessary - until eventually, I can do all those ten reps in a single set. Then, I'll make it harder.

- The trifecta holds. If I have time for a quick extra session, I like to train the 'trifecta' (bridge hold, V-sit hold on floor, side twist hold, 1 min each), to keep shoulders & spine healthy. It has helped me to relieve a lot of minor pains.

- Weighted towel hangs. I think grip strength has a lot of potential, and weighted pull-ups aren't enough to discover it. So I'd like to consistently train this at least for one full year. First goal is +50kg weighted towel hang for 30 seconds. Then I'll aim for 2xBW weighted towel hangs, for 30 seconds. And after that, restart the process with one arm towel hangs, systematically increasing load (+5kg) each time I can hold it for 30 consecutive seconds.
Last edited by Against Gravity on Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:52 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Vagabond » Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:53 am

Oh, those pesky mistakes! At least you know now!

Man, that is a lot of pushing assistance exercises you have! Woah!

For the pistols, how do you load them?

And for the pseudoplanche push-ups, do you put your feet on the wall, or do you use the wall to measure the lean? In the past, I've had some fun doing planche push-ups with feet on the wall.

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Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:27 pm

For the pistols, how do you load them?
I used to load them with a barbell, in a sort of single-legged zercher squat in the 5-10RM. But my left hamstring / knee can't tolerate it without pain. Sooner or later, it complaints. The good thing about high-rep strict pistol squats is that it requires a lot less load to be challenging, so I just grab 5-10kg plates in a sort of goblet squat position, like this:

Image
I think I can handle as much as 30-40kg comfortably this way, which means very long term training for 15-20RM.
And for the pseudoplanche push-ups, do you put your feet on the wall, or do you use the wall to measure the lean? In the past, I've had some fun doing planche push-ups with feet on the wall
I use the wall to measure the lean, like this:



My plan is to stick with 3RM (with as much as lean as possible to handle 3 perfect form reps) for the whole October, then 2RM for the whole November, and just singles for the whole December. January 2021 I'll come back to 3RM, hopefully with an increased lean, and repeat the process.
Oh, those pesky mistakes! At least you know now!
Yeah. Regarding OHP, first mistake was in the first week, when I deloaded (without actually feeling like I needed it) to just 13 total sets (I was previously training it for 20-25 sets per week). Though the biggest mistake was committed in the second week of September, where I planned to train OHP just 3 days - but then, due to external factors, just could train it twice. To make it worse, in the third week of September I got a left wrist injury, so it wasn't until fourth week of September I could train OHP normally again (this time, with a 2-rep regression)



A similar thing happened with weighted chin-ups. I got a golfer's elbow injury in the second week (due to additional OAC training), and had to regress:

Still, the last couple weeks of October I've been hitting it hard again. I'll show it in October update. But basically the plan for weighted pull-ups and OHP is very sistematic now. Rather than selecting number of sets 'by feel', I'll periodize it like this:

Week 1: 2 sets per session (10 sets per week)
Week 2: 3 sets per session (15 sets per week)
Week 3: 4 sets per session (20 sets per week)
Week 4: 5 sets per session (25 sets per week)
Weeks 5+: 5 sets per session, aiming to increase total reps

When I can't increase total weekly reps (say, go from 10+10+9+9+9 to 10+10+10+9+9 in average) for two consecutive weeks, I deload to 2 sets (week 1) and start the process again. In the case of weighted pull-ups, adding +5kg. In the case of OHP, adding an extra rep.This cyclical MEV -> MRV volume periodization will allow me to hit it hard periodically, rather than constantly. This little detail may seem not-so-important, but I'm convinced it'll help me reach new levels of strength within a few years, if I continue training consistently.

Regarding weighted ring dips, I wasn't very consistent, but progressed regardless:

And regarding BOR, same thing. I progressed to +60kg for sets of 20, but decided to regress to +50kg by completely removing any little 'partial squat' hip tendency. I mean, legs remain completely still now. This makes it harder, and more similar to weighted horizontal rows (no leg assistance). Also, experimented with different ROMs:

1- Bar just below kneecap in the bottom position.
2-Bar about mid shin level in the bottom position.
3-Bar right above ankle level in the bottom position.

Options 2-3 provide greater ROM, but also greater lower back fatigue and it's very easy to hurt shin skin when aiming for high reps. Thus, I've decided to set my standard to 1: bar just below kneecap in the bottom position.



Without a doubt, regarding overall consistency, September was the worst month of 2020 so far. October I'll be even more busy, but I'll do my best to ensure consistency at least in the basics
Last edited by Against Gravity on Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:20 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:52 pm

Quick update about milestones:

OHP milestones
- 50 kg for 5x8, 5 times per week. Achieved
- 50kg for 5x9, 5 times per week. Work in progress
- 50kg for 5x10, 5 times per week
- 50kg for 5x11, 5 times per week*
- 50kg for 5x12, 5 times per week*

(*This time I'll build up +50kg OHP to 5x12 rather than 5x10 before increasing load, and also, repeat it 5 times in a single week to make it a solid achievement, rather than a loose one that can be easily lost with few weeks of detraining)

Weighted chinups milestones
- BW 5x 15 (rehab). Achieved
- 5kg 5x 14 reps. Achieved
- 10kg 5x 13 reps. Achieved
- 15kg 5x 12 reps. Work in progress
- 20kg 5x 11 reps
- 25kg 5x 10 reps
- 30kg 5x 9 reps
- 35kg 5x 8 reps
- 40kg 5x 7 reps
- 45kg 5x 6 reps
- 50kg 5x 5 reps
- 55kg 5x 4 reps
- 60kg 5x 3 reps

Weighted ring dips milestones
- 20kg 5x 15.Achieved
- 25kg 5x14. Achieved

- 25kg 5x 15 reps. Work in progress.
- 30kg 5x 14 reps
- 35kg 5x 13 reps
- 40kg 5x 12 reps
- 45kg 5x 11 reps
- 50kg 5x 10 reps
- 55kg 5x 9 reps
- 60kg 5x 8 reps
- 65kg 5x 7 reps
- 70kg 5x 6 reps
- 75kg 5x 5 reps

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Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Vagabond » Sat Oct 10, 2020 6:37 pm

Nicely done, man. Keep it up!

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Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:47 pm

Quick update:

Due to lifestyle / external factors to training, for the following months I'm no longer able to train 3-4 hours daily like I was doing before. I've to limit my training sessions to a max of 1-1.5 hours/day.

So here's my new routine:

Monday:
- Weighted pull-ups (1-8 sets) & OHP (1-8 sets),
- Leg work*

Tuesday:
- Weighted ring dips** (1-8 sets) + & BOR (1-8 sets)
- Core work***

Wednesday: Same as Monday
Thursday: Same as Tuesday
Friday: Same as Monday
Saturday: Same as Tuesday
Sunday: Off

*Leg work looks like this:
Barbell front squats (2 sets) + pistol squats (2 sets)

** PPPU is done immediately after dips (1-2 mins afterwards), like a dropset. Limiting factors/ muscles are different, so they barely affect each other.

***Core work look like this (whole session lasts 10-20min):
L to V-sit raises (1 set) + Hanging leg raises (1 set) + Standing an wheel rollout (1 set) + bridge hold (1 set) + stand to stand bridges (1 set) + Mobility work (basically, a side twist + pancake stretch + full pike stretch)

Normally, I'd be doing 5 sets for all upper body exercises, unless:

- I feel like I'm not recovering. In that case, I'd spend 1-2 weeks with reduced volume (1-3 sets) in order to dissipate fatigue & at the same time avoid detraining (deload week)

- There's 1-2 consecutive weeks without progress, despite full recovery. In that case, I'd increase +1 set (and repeat this all the way to +3 sets or 8 total sets, eventually). So the volume periodization, if needed (that is, no further progress with 5 sets), will look like this:

Week 1 - 5 sets
Week 2 - 6 sets
Week 3 - 7 sets
Week 4 - 8 sets
Weeks 5+ - 8 sets, increase total reps
Deload week - 1-3 sets

This means no modification for dips and BOR, but weighted pull-ups and OHP frequency is reduced from 5x to 3x. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because I'll still be doing the same amount of total weekly sets when needed. I mean: instead a max of 5 sets 5 times a week (25 sets/week), I'd be doing a max of 8 sets 3 times a week (24 sets/week). This might be even better, because there's more opportunities for full recovery & adaptation in a single week. Previously, I was basically functionally overreaching every week, then aiming for full recovery&adaptation in the weekend. Now, recovery will be easier.

In addition, since recovery is easier, I can include again barbell squats. Specifically, barbell front squats. So even though I'm training for less total time, the overall training stimulus might be even better than what I was previously doing

As accessory work, I'm training my forearms. If I actually can find a few extra minutes for it, I'm doing barbell curl isoholds and reverse barbell curl isoholds (in the greatest leverage point: elbow bent at 90deg). Why isoholds? Because I needed something to rehab my left wrist and golfer elbows without irritating the joints. And isometrics are perfect for this. In fact, I think they're even better than the standard going for reps approach, because:

1. Recovery is far better. No eccentrics, so minimal muscle damage
2. Mechanical tension and metabolic stress can still be provided, and in a greater amount (no limited by concentric strength)
3. Forearms work mostly isometrically, anyway. Think about hanging, deadlift, farmer walks and overall grip work. There's no need to move the wrist or elbow joint to fully engage those muscles

Just 2 sessions were enough to fully recover my left wrist and golfers elbow symptoms - and I can already notice a little more forearm mass. It's awesome!

Now, having said that, I won't visit this forum more than once a month from now on, until I get more free time for this stuff. Still, I think it's enough. If the forum remains active, I'll be updating this topic monthly with pictures from my excel sheet' training log with the actual workouts

So see you'all in November, keep training hard!

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Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:26 pm

Quick update about milestones:

OHP milestones
- 50 kg for 5x8, 3 times per week. Achieved
- 50kg for 5x9, 3 times per week. Achieved
- 50kg for 5x10, 3 times per week. Work in progress
- 50kg for 5x11, 3 times per week
- 50kg for 5x12, 3 times per week

Weighted ring pull-ups* milestones
- BW 5x 15 (rehab). Achieved
- 5kg 5x 14 reps. Work in progress
- 10kg 5x 13 reps.
- 15kg 5x 12 reps.
- 20kg 5x 11 reps
- 25kg 5x 10 reps
- 30kg 5x 9 reps
- 35kg 5x 8 reps
- 40kg 5x 7 reps
- 45kg 5x 6 reps
- 50kg 5x 5 reps
- 55kg 5x 4 reps
- 60kg 5x 3 reps

* Due to left wrist injury and golfer's elbow irritation, decided to do pull-ups on rings instead bar chin-ups. This is far more gentle for the joints and facilitate recovery. The only problem is rings instability force me to control eccentric motion more, so it's slightly harder when aiming for high reps. Still, I think I can do it anyway. Next macrocycle I may try weighted bar chin-ups again, I'll see.


Weighted ring dips milestones
- 20kg 5x 15.Achieved
- 25kg 5x14. Achieved

- 25kg 5x 15 reps. Achieved
- 30kg 5x 14 reps. Work in progress
- 35kg 5x 13 reps
- 40kg 5x 12 reps
- 45kg 5x 11 reps
- 50kg 5x 10 reps
- 55kg 5x 9 reps
- 60kg 5x 8 reps
- 65kg 5x 7 reps
- 70kg 5x 6 reps
- 75kg 5x 5 reps

BOR milestones
60 kg 5 x 15. Achieved
60kg 5 x 20. Work in progress
60kg 5 x 25
65kg 5 x 15
65kg 5x 20
65kg 5 x 25
70kg 5 x 15
70kg 5 x 20

Front squats milestones
70kg 2x10. Work in progress
75kg 2x10
80kg 2x10
85kg 2x10
90kg 2x10
95kg 2x10
100kg 2x10

Pistol squats milestones
BW 2x20. Work in progress
+5kg 2x20
+10kg 2x20
+15kg 2x20
+20kg 2x20

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Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Vagabond » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:14 am

I like your idea of using an isometric pronated curl to work on your wrist! Maybe I'll copy you on that one!

Enjoy the training!