Against Gravity training log (2020)

Brothers in arms, we share our progress and face adversity side by side. Each of us is strong. All of us are stronger.
User avatar
Against Gravity
Posts: 529
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:21 pm

Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:38 pm

This is a scoreboard of my all-time PRs. For current training strategy / program, check out the last page

Weighted pull-ups PRs





Weighted ring dips PRs


Last edited by Against Gravity on Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:12 pm, edited 12 times in total.

User avatar
Vagabond
Site Admin
Posts: 759
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:17 am

Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Vagabond » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:33 am

Go go go! Run into 2020 like a bull!

Nice milestones. Work hard and you'll definitely get them, man!

User avatar
Against Gravity
Posts: 529
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Sat Feb 01, 2020 4:44 pm

Thanks! Lets see how it goes this year

I'm having good progress on HSPU since I stopped OHP to focus exclusively on it. It seems strength was there, it just needed a few sessions to get the necessary muscle coordination that is mostly responsible of the novice gains. Left shoulder feels good, so definitely HSPU doesn't cause any problems.

Still, I noticed slightly more hypertrophy gains when using OHP. So I'd like to re-start OHP training again soon, and keep training HSPU in another session. This time I will use Z press though. I've injured left shoulder twice through OHP, but I don't remember having problems with Z press. I'll see.

In any case, I've added milestones for HSPU. Currently I'm doing 4 ugly, wall-assisted reps, using 20cm parallettes that doesn't allow me to get a true full ROM (hands touching shoulders). I'm allowing lots of back arching, because I feel it hits upper chest more (as a sort of inclined bench press) - and there's no external load compressing the spine to be worried about. Hence, the plan is to allow lower back arching with HSPU, but use strict technique (no arch) with OHP, to get the best of both worlds.

I'll have a milestone for every new rep I achieve from now on, until 10 ugly wall-assisted +20cm reps. Only then I'll add a pause in the bottom and further ROM (+30cm or so)

On weighted pull-ups, I've improved technique. Now I'm keeping legs totally vertical, holding plates tightly between plates. That means kipping isn't posible, not even a little for the last bit of ROM in the last rep. So now, 30kg is a 6RM rather than a 7RM.

On everything else I'm having steady progress.

User avatar
Vagabond
Site Admin
Posts: 759
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:17 am

Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Vagabond » Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:52 pm

Excellent! Show us some HSPU sets sometimes! I predict they'll improve at a very good pace for a while. And I've also noticed better hypertrophy with OHP, but I did do OHP after I started stalling on the HSPUs, so I'm sure there's a bit of "whichever exercise you most needed to do will have a bigger impact".

User avatar
Against Gravity
Posts: 529
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:00 pm

Quick update:

5 sets with a 5x/frequency are no longer enough for weighted pull-ups. I've plateaued at 7-7-7-6-6, and I need more volume to break current plateau and achieve the 30kg x 8 milestone. The problem is I don't have enough time to consistently train 6-10 sets, so I'll try another method to dramatically increase volume without consuming extra time

3 years ago I was going through some emotional struggles and trained weighted pull-ups with very high volume as a way to cope and reduce stress. I was doing +100 reps with 30kg every day until too fatigued, using EMOM and/or cluster sets - then rest a day and repeat. I'm thinking about doing that again, but using a 3x/frequency, because it worked quite well for hypertrophy and strength

EDIT: I won't do this. After a week trying this method, I've found I can't properly recover, which forces me to reduce frequency even more. I guess without that emotional struggle, I don't have enough motivation to push through this again.
Last edited by Against Gravity on Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:21 pm, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
Against Gravity
Posts: 529
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Sun Feb 23, 2020 4:37 pm

FEBRUARY 2020 UPDATE (PROGRESS)

Weighted pull-ups
I switched to rings and managed to achieve 30kg x 8. A neutral grip feels far stronger than a pronated one.

The only problem is rings force me to control the eccentric a lot more = more TUT. I bet using a neutral grip on solid, stable bars I'd have a better performance - but still, tension goes more through muscles rather than joints, and that's great.


HSPU



The goal here is very clear: get 10 consecutive reps. Then, I'll reupload this vid again, and give OHP another try (I'd still working HSPU in another session). If I get injured again, I'd definitely give up OHP and focus on weighted HSPU with higher ROM.


BOR



I'll keep progressing at least +1kg/month until +100kg x 10, hopefully next year.

Weighted ring dips
I'm stuck at 50kg x 8,7,7. I can't do more volume with 50kg because it starts to hurt a little on joints. So I've decided to increase load to +55kg x 3 sets on intensity day, and use +30kg x 20 total reps (using 2-3 clusters) x 5 sets as volume day

Straddle pseudoplanche push-ups



I feel hardest part right now is the 'micro-balance' adjustments I've to make to keep the bodyweight shifted forwards through the whole ROM. I tried a free attempt, but I don't have enough straight-arm strength yet. I'll keep leaning forwards until I can keep hands at around hip level (where my shirt ends), I bet by then I may make a solid concentric. Also, I'll take my straddle flexibility more seriously


Squats
I've been alternatively working +100kg BB squats and high rep (20RM+) pistol squats, and managed to get +100kg x 8, but I feel this is sub-optimal.

Ill start taking legs training more seriously. I'll train +100kg BB squats 3x/week until 2020 year ends, and see where it brings me. 20 consecutive reps are a solid goal, 30 even better. I don't have more plates, so I've to focus on reps. Once I get more legs work capacity (3x/week feels quite fatiguing for me, even just for 3 sets) I'll include 1-2 sets of pistol squats as a finisher.

And that's it for now. Let's keep working hard!

User avatar
Against Gravity
Posts: 529
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:40 am

Looking back to my 2019 training' log, I've identified the biggest mistakes I made regarding weighted pull-ups. This is the strategy I started the year with:
I will train both exercises five days a week, because I've found high frequency methods have worked the best for me in the past. So I'll do weighted pull-ups & military press for five consecutive days a week - then take two days off to fully recover.

The initial method I'll try is:
- 5 weeks working at 5x5
- 3 weeks working at 3x3
- 2 weeks working at 2x2

That's one cycle of 10 weeks (70 days). After that cycle, or during the cycle if I feel like I really need it, I may take 3 extra rest days to fully recover / deload. If I repeat this five times, thats a full year ( 73 x 5 =365 ).

On both exercises, I'll try to exhaust linear gains by adding a max of 0,125kg per training session. If I can't adapt to that +0,125kg/day rate, I'll increase load more slowly, like every week or so. In the worst case, if I can't increase my 5RM, 3RM or 2RM at all on an entire 10-week cycle (even if it's just a +0,125kg increase), I'll experiment with other methods.
This method was awesome, and worked well for the 5RM part. However....
Against Gravity wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:08 pm
FEBRUARY UPDATE

Weighted pull-ups
I've been testing 3RM for the last weeks. I noticed how, after a few sessions, I was losing the power I gained from 5RM work. I mean: paradoxically, 5RM training made me stronger at 3RM than specific 3RM training. It seems 5RM is the rep range that makes me strongest. When I stopped 5RM training, +45kg x 3 on weighted pull-ups felt relatively easy. After 2 weeks of 3RM specific work, even just 40kg x 3 felt hard. It could be for multiple reasons: I suspect too low volume (9 reps/day on 3RM vs 25 reps/day on 5RM) as the main one. So for now on, I'll be doing 5 sets for all rep ranges instead (detailed routine below).
This was mistake #1: the problem I encountered with 3RM training. Volume wasn't enough. Also:
Against Gravity wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:08 pm
1- I'll start with a relatively easy 5RM, and add +0,125kg/workout until I fail (=I can't bring chin over the bar) any set. Then, I'll continue using weighted chin-ups (because I'm stronger with a supinated grip), until I fail again (=I can't bring chin over the bar)
Against Gravity wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:50 am
MARCH UPDATE

Weighted pull-ups
At about 37,5kg I started to fail the set (=not be able to bring chin over bar in the last rep) on weighted pull-ups, so I substituted them by weighted chin-ups (supinated grip) and continued adding load as expected (+0,125kg/session). This grip feels definitely easier in the top position - I'm about to do +40kg for 5x5 and it feels fine.
This was mistake #2. I decided to substitute weighted pull-ups with weighted chin-ups, thinking the latter would carryover to the former. Eventually I found it was wrong: chin-ups didn't improve the specific forearm strength needed for pull-ups (pronated grip). Also:
Against Gravity wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:50 am
Once I fail (=I can't bring chin over bar) on last rep for any set, I'll start aiming for 5 sets of 4 reps, and continue adding load, until I fail again at 4RM. Then, I'd continue with 3RM, and so on, until I fail with 2RM.
Against Gravity wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:47 pm
On weighted chin-ups, I recently achieved +40kg. About the plan on keep increasing load every workout and reducing reps, I won't be doing it. The initial idea was to discover my 4RM, 3RM and 2RM, and hopefully gaining some strength in the process. But I realized I had already done this 'test' some months ago.

Instead, I'm going to increase +0,125kg every week on weighted pull-ups / chin-ups (which means +1kg every 2 months).
And this was mistake #3. I decided to stop the initial periodization (5 weeks 5RM, 3 weeks 3RM, 2 weeks 2RM and repeat aiming for PRs) to focus in a 'linear microloading progression' (just add +0,125kg every week until failure). Now I realize this is a worse strategy for 2 reasons:

1. Linear microloading doesn't work to disrupt homeostasis over time. The additional stress (+0,125kg every week) is too little to force new adaptations - for the body, it's no different than always doing the same. And repeating the same thing over and over doesn't improve strength or muscle mass - it just leads to plateau.

2. It's too mentally fatiguing. Once it starts to get hard, aiming to make it slightly harder and harder, makes you dread workouts more and more, building a mental resistance.
Last edited by Against Gravity on Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Against Gravity
Posts: 529
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:13 pm

This is how I'd fix that strategy now, with the increased experience:

Frequency: 5x/week (works quite well for pull-ups)

- 5 weeks working at 5x5RM
- 3 weeks working at 8x3 (to equate reps volume)
- 2 weeks working at 12x2 (to equate reps volume)

This is solution to mistake #1. Just do more sets. Low sets help to maintain intensity high, but still, the last sets can be done with a reduced load (as a dropset) to maintain volume. Something like this: 50kg x 3,3,3 + 45kg x 3,3,3,3,3

Solution to mistake #2, is easy: rather than overthinking whether using fixed pronated or supinated grip on a bar, now I'd do ring pull-ups. Not only it is better for the joints, and forces to control the whole movement more (bouncing at the bottom is harder), but also it allows to use your strongest grip all the time.

Finally, regarding the solution to mistake #3, now I'd follow the periodization strictly (5 weeks 5RM, 3 weeks 3RM, 2 weeks 2RM), and use microloading as a motivational self-regulation tool - adding +0,125kg/workout, but next reducing -1kg in the case of failure / too hard in that particular set. For example,

- say I'm doing 43,5kg x 5,5,5,5,5. Next workout, I add +0,125kg, but I fail last set: 43,625kg x 5,5,5,5,4.
In this case, rather than continue until failing all 5 sets (too mentally fatiguing), I'd just do: 43,625kg x 5,5,5,5 + 42,625kg x 5

I'll give this method a try again with these improvements, just for curiosity' sake. Let's see what can I learn this time. Once it's over I'll come back and update this log again.

User avatar
Vagabond
Site Admin
Posts: 759
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:17 am

Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Vagabond » Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:51 pm

Mistake one could have had multiple solutions, including doing a few high intensity sets, followed by a couple backup sets for volume. I think this might have been less intense on your CNS, too, and easier to recover from.

I have also been using the rings, because you can't really push against it to help pull aggressively. That's what I was doing for my one arm chin-ups on a bar. I wouldn't just pull straight, I'd first push the bar away like if I was to do a front lever pull, then I'd do the chin-up. It did work really well as a technique using a bar, but you can't do that on rings at all. When I did the switch, I went from a max of 7 OACs on the bar to only 2 on the rings.

Microloading is a tool like all others, but linear progression is pretty tough to keep up with, yeah.

Otherwise, good job on the HSPUs. Keep building them up, but don't forget to clean them a bit, too. It looks like your bars should be placed closer to the wall. As it is, you stick your head way too forward when you arch. From the 1RM to 2RM to 3RM, your first rep all improved in quality, but from your 3RM to 4RM, you started cheating right away to get more reps in - which might not necessarily be a mistake, either, so long as you keep getting stronger. But you do have to alternate between using dirty reps to increase your strength and cleaner ones to make better use of the movement.

User avatar
Against Gravity
Posts: 529
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: Against Gravity training log (2020)

Post by Against Gravity » Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:09 pm

Vagabond wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:51 pm
Mistake one could have had multiple solutions, including doing a few high intensity sets, followed by a couple backup sets for volume. I think this might have been less intense on your CNS, too, and easier to recover from.

I have also been using the rings, because you can't really push against it to help pull aggressively. That's what I was doing for my one arm chin-ups on a bar. I wouldn't just pull straight, I'd first push the bar away like if I was to do a front lever pull, then I'd do the chin-up. It did work really well as a technique using a bar, but you can't do that on rings at all. When I did the switch, I went from a max of 7 OACs on the bar to only 2 on the rings.

Microloading is a tool like all others, but linear progression is pretty tough to keep up with, yeah.

Otherwise, good job on the HSPUs. Keep building them up, but don't forget to clean them a bit, too. It looks like your bars should be placed closer to the wall. As it is, you stick your head way too forward when you arch. From the 1RM to 2RM to 3RM, your first rep all improved in quality, but from your 3RM to 4RM, you started cheating right away to get more reps in - which might not necessarily be a mistake, either, so long as you keep getting stronger. But you do have to alternate between using dirty reps to increase your strength and cleaner ones to make better use of the movement.
My training have changed slightly since my last post. Check out the online excel sheet (first page of this topic) to see full details.

Basically, this is my routine right now:

Day 1
- 5 sets of weighted ring pull-ups paired with 5 sets of OHP
- 1 set of weighted towel grip hold paired with 1 sets
fingertips self-assisted OA HS
- 5 sets of weighted ring dips (>10RM) paired with 5 sets of bent over rows
- 1 set of hanging leg raises, bridge hold and hip mobility/stretching (finisher)


Day 2
- 5 sets of weighted ring pull-ups paired with 5 sets of OHP
- 1 set of weighted towel grip hold paired with 1 set fingertips self-assisted OA HS
- 5 sets of weighted ring dips (<10RM) paired with 5 sets of bent over rows
- 1 set of hanging leg raises, bridge hold and hip mobility/stretching (finisher)


Day 3
- 5 sets of weighted ring pull-ups paired with 5 sets of OHP
- 1 set of weighted towel grip hold paired with 1 sets
fingertips self-assisted OA HS
- 5 sets of weighted ring dips (>10RM) paired with 5 sets of bent over rows
- 1 set of hanging leg raises, bridge hold and hip mobility/stretching (finisher)


Day 4
- 5 sets of weighted ring pull-ups paired with 5 sets of OHP
- 1 set of weighted towel grip hold paired with 1 set fingertips self-assisted OA HS
- 5 sets of weighted ring dips (<10RM) paired with 5 sets of bent over rows
- 1 set of hanging leg raises, bridge hold and hip mobility/stretching (finisher)


Day 5
- 5 sets of weighted ring pull-ups paired with 5 sets of OHP
- 1 set of weighted towel grip hold paired with 1 sets
fingertips self-assisted OA HS
- 5 sets of weighted ring dips (>10RM) paired with 5 sets of bent over rows
- 1 set of hanging leg raises, bridge hold and hip mobility/stretching (finisher)


Day 6
- Rest


Day 7
- Rest
Last edited by Against Gravity on Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.