Strength Training for Singles (1RMs): Eight-Week Workout Cycle, 1

Discussion in 'Training Information/Training Regimens' started by Bare Lee, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Abide Barefooters
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    Those pictures are great thanks for sharing. And yes a pretty impressive array of water bottles. Its kind of crazy to think about how much wieght a bike can really handle. What was the secret purpose of the trip other than being an awesome experience?
    Ha nice barebell, its like a strongman lift. I remember when I was younger I built a barbell with milk jugs and water attached with duck tape to a broom stick. I think all I did was curls but this was when I was 10-11, so I'll give myself a break.
  2. Abide Barefooters
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    Ha I do not recommend this activity! Maybe with a scuba tank ready.
  3. Abide Barefooters
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    Lee I am finding your pyramiding down interesting, I suspect with this method you will likely see some decent hypertrophy. But why are you doing it vs. say a straight weight 3 x 5 backoff scheme? Is it just to hit additional weight at a higher percentage of max?
  4. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Well, it seems like each rep count -- 1,3,5(,8)--confers unique benefits as well as different bar speeds, so it's a way to cover all my bases, at least for the big lifts. Five reps might spur a little hypertrophy, but I'm hoping most of the gains are in pure strength. Still, I think I've probably put on 10 pounds of mass since the spring. Shirts are getting tight around the chest and shoulders. It will be nice if and when I can lose more fat to see the results more clearly. I think if I can achieve intermediate to advanced levels in all the basic lifts, as we've discussed, over the next year or two, I'll be pretty satisfied, and will probably just sit on those gains and shorten workouts to just maintenance, and focus more on conditioning stuff, or maybe even get back into some sort of softer martial art.

    Anyway, here's a chart I worked out last night to help me keep track of weekly reps. The top pages will serve as a weekly log, saved as a new document at the end of each week, while the bottom will be printed out every week and posted on the wall of the garage, to mark any changes. Don't take Wednesday or Friday's weights too seriously, I'm still experimenting, but I think Monday is all set for next week.

    ST 3 -14.08.20 Rep Counts.jpg

    Ha, 10-11 years old? So you've been at this longer than I thought!

    I also had a barbell with half that amount of cement, and two dumbbells made with smaller cans--one full can, one half can, like the two barbells. The mason who helped make my house made them for me after the project was done. We put re-bar inside so they were pretty well-made. I gave them to my main assistant when I left. I wonder if he uses them?

    Yah, the trip was just experience. That's all I want out of life--interesting experiences. Having kids or seeing how much I can lift or run is just a continuation of that inclination.

    ________________________

  5. Abide Barefooters
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    That makes sense, I think you will see a significant increase in muscle mass from the density alone you are squating 30 reps of significant weight.

    I'm also glad to hear you are keeping a log I think you will find it valuable down the road even though it seems cumbersome now.


    I'm not sure why but I have always had a thing for lifting weights. I probably can blame it on watching the NFL and WWF and reading the Punisher and Wolverine comics. Its definitely been a good habit over the years.

    Very cool outlook after all what is life but a collection of them.
  6. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Yah, the big lifts are really helping build density I think. I should look in the mirror once in a while with my wife's handheld to check out the back too. That's been the area of biggest improvement, after years of neglect.

    I've been jotting notes in my run log about the basic st workouts, but nothing detailed, not even noting which exercises were done most of the time, just "Squat/Press," or "DL/Pull" or something. I think this new way shouldn't be too cumbersome. I just need to take the log off the garage wall and then type up the numbers, to the extent that they varied from the plan, in the computer, so hopefully just 5-10 minutes a week. What I really need to do is cut down my time here(!), but I've been learning so much, I think I can justify it.

    Yah, when I've had a settled life, running and lifting have always seemed like a pretty natural combo. Two ends of the fitness spectrum I guess. My older brother first got into lifting in college, while playing football, and it rubbed off on me. Still, it is kind of funny to be taking lifting even more seriously now in middle-age than I did in my youth. But it's hard to argue with all the benefits st confers. Probably more than running in some ways, although I enjoy running more as a stand-alone activity. It's satisfying lifting heavy sh!t, but half the satisfaction is that solid feeling afterwards, and being able to avoid most daily aches and pains.

    My initial impression of you was that you were more of a yoga and ultra and vegan kind of guy. But you more of a meathead like me.

    Pretty stiff from yesterday's run, with a slight AC head cold. Not looking forward to this afternoon's squats.

    ________________________

  7. Abide Barefooters
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    Lol same here about the time, but yeah all this discussion really has helped develop my goals and plans. I find it very useful so thanks to you and everyone else who has participated.
    Now if only I could get a little more serious about running!

    I just kind of hang out in the grey areas. I like yoga but I tend to find the meditiation aspect overkill, I am a vegetarian but I find veganism to be a bit lacking, ultra's are great for community but sometimes I liken them to self mutilation, and so on and so forth. I find it fun just to dabble mostly but the meatheadness definitely is probably the strongest pull of them all. I had the same impression of you, well more of the wine drinking musician type!
  8. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Yah, it's really been revolutionary for me. I feel like I'm really figuring things out. Similar to the education on running I went through two years back. It'd be nice to have a few more participants, but we got a great group here.

    Yah, I'm glad my running is starting to come back. Right now it seems to make sense to avoid long runs, and devote myself to improving over the 10K/6mi distance. That really is a great workout distance, and takes about the same amount of time as my st sessions, so there's a nice symmetry.

    That's a good way to put it, "hanging out in the grey areas," or "jack of all trades, master of none" in my case. Who is your avatar by the way?

    Ultras have no appeal for me, that's for sure. Maybe I got some of that out of my system in my travels, but I generally don't like running when I'm fatigued. Kind of takes all the fun out of it. It's been nice the last few runs where the fitness is coming back enough that I don't feel like stopping to walk so much. I guess I like tempo pace the best. Maybe in the end three 10K tempo runs per week will be what works best for me, at least spring-summer-fall.

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  9. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Can you link the article? As you can see in the log I posted earlier today, I'm thinking of adding an 8-rep set at the end of my squat session. Something about squats (maybe the fact the we did a lot of BW squats in karate?) argues for doing higher reps once in a while, whereas I don't get the same sense for deadlifts or bench press.

    50 reps would be killer though. We did 50-100 in rhythm in karate: 1) swing one leg to the right, 2) swing one leg to the left, 3) squat, and 4) come back up. Very sore afterwards.

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  10. Abide Barefooters
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  11. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    20 reps sounds more reasonable: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/irontamer5.htm

    Double body weight, probably doable. BW Press, probably not doable for me, at least not strict press. I've been stuck at around bodyweight Bench Press for a long time.

    It's funny, here he's so basic, but in other places I've seen him put forward really complicated rep schemes based on a one-month or two-month cycle.

    Strange he knocks conditioning, but I guess he's not targeting us folks who just want basic fitness.

    This head cold is getting worse. I'll probably blow off the st today.

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  12. Sid Barefooters

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  13. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Hey Sid, would you mind posting that vid on the "Optimal ST for runners" thread? I would kinda like to keep this thread to a discussion of free weight training--maxes, reps, sets, and so on. Thanks.

    I know it is getting a little confusing switching back and forth, but eventually it would be nice if this thread settled down to mostly weekly postings of our st training and some minor discussions afterwards of how things went, or ideas specific to that training. Please feel free to post your weekly st training here too, even if you aren't working on 1RMs per se. But I think anything more than cursory comments on running or conditioning should go on the other thread.

    ________________________

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  14. Sid Barefooters

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    Um yeah, that's cool. I don't think that the video is worth double posting. I was just responding to the off-topic thread by Robin and Abide. I kept quiet until Abide responded to Robin's post. I know it's lame to point out to the cop, that everyone else was speeding, but it feels a bit like that here. Then again citations are lame, in general.
    (I know I've given you a hard time about a few things, too! ;) )

    It would help if you could perhaps post some guidelines on just how off-topic, we're allowed to be. In my youth, after getting a speeding ticket, I once asked a state trooper, just how fast I could drive over the speed limit without getting a ticket. I must have seemed sincere, because he gave me some guidelines.

    So, I'll ask the same of you. How off-topic are we permitted to be, before we get cited? A single sentence, one witty repartee? Obviously, no videos! I'm cool with following the rules of the road, but I need to know what the guidelines are. Thanks! :D
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  15. Abide Barefooters
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  16. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Sorry, I missed the reference. That was a pretty good follow-up to Robin's quip.

    I thought you were following up on the other thread's discussion of MIIT (Medium Intensity Interval Training).

    My bad :(. As you were :).

    P.S., I don't in any way mean to claim ownership of this thread, just because I started it. My view of threads is that they're a collective or organic entity that should have some freedom to evolve as the participants see fit. But I would like to see us stick to reporting and discussing strength training regimens involving barbells, dumbbells, and cables, with some notion of working towards 1RM goals in the 6-12 basic lifts. Quips, verbal or visual, or other minor hijacks, are always welcome. As you can see, I also posted a few pics of my running route. And got off topic giving Abide some background on my traveling experiences.

    Also, anyone else who would like to document their weekly st routines is more than welcome. We learn a lot comparing notes and getting ideas from different approaches.

    ________________________

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  17. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    OK, question: Once I've established my 1/3/5 weights and increments for my big lifts, as I have for the deadlift and bench and will do for the squats in a bit, what's the best way to add weight the following week? Should I add 5-10 pounds across the board, so that, for example, the increments for the bench press, which are currently set at 225/205/185, all jump up at the same time, for each set and rep-count?

    From
    3x1x225
    3x3x205
    2x5x185

    go to

    3x1x235
    3x3x215
    2x5x195

    That might mean failing reps in the later sets, which I would prefer not to do.

    Or do I just bump up the weight for the singles, and when those feel solid, for the triples, and finally, for the five-rep sets?

    From

    3x1x225
    3x3x205
    2x5x185

    go to

    1x1x235, 2x1x225
    3x3x205
    2x5x185

    then

    2x1x235, 1x1x225
    3x3x205
    2x5x185

    then

    3x1x235
    3x3x205
    2x5x185

    then onto the triples

    3x1x235
    1x3x215, 2x3x205
    2x5x185

    and so on, until I get

    3x1x235
    3x3x215
    2x5x195

    This would mean going up 10 pounds across the board in about 8 weeks, which might be too slow, but it would be nice and gradual with a good chance of success.

    Or, alternatively, I could just bump up the weight for the first set of each rep-count, then add to the second set the following week, and finally to the last set on the third week, something like this:

    From

    3x1x225
    3x3x205
    2x5x185

    go to

    1x1x235, 2x1x225
    1x3x215, 2x3x205
    1x5x195, 1x5x185

    then

    2x1x235, 1x1x225
    2x3x215, 1x3x205
    2x5x195

    and finally

    3x1x235
    3x3x215
    2x5x195

    This would be less gradual, but I could reduce the jumps to five pounds, so I have the feeling of progressing every month, for many months in a row. Maybe a 245 bench by Xmas.

    Of course, this will largely work itself in practice, but if I can get a feel for which way might be the most practicable, it will save time.

    ________________________

  18. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    I agree with you. I think for me, either 10K every other day, or 5K every day is the way to go, with maybe a longer run once in a while. I'm coming around to the idea that anything more than an hour becomes catabolic, doing more damage than good.

    Still, that was a pretty good workout you did there, and all under 8mm pace. That's my goal pace as you know. I should probably try to do 1-2 one-mile 8mm-paced runs down on the track pretty soon.

    ________________________

  19. Abide Barefooters
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    Thanks, well the 400s between them were slower but I was moving the whole time. It feels good to run fast during it but it really takes a toll. I can put in a good effort for an hour bike ride and feel pretty much recovered in 30 minues. Thats not the case with running. Obviosuly running is significantly more difficult than biking which I often take for granted.

    I'm still thinking about your increases question. I'm not sure I have a good answer because I don't think strength levels across various rep schemes will increase linearally with your 1 rep max.

    If you think of it on a percentage basis for example, if you increase your 1RM by 10lbs. your 80% back off set should only increase by 8lbs. That's obviously not a feasible increase.

    I do think your ideas are good and they should work, my only recommendation may be to skip the small drop sets (ie the bolded 1x1x235, 2x1x225). After you hit the one if you don't think you can hit a 2nd at that same weight it means it was a pretty significant effort and you should should just move on to the back off sets and let your body recuperate. You hit a new 1RM at this point so its probably safer in the long run to be happy with that and then work at the second rep the next week.

    Another idea would be to increase incrementally for example

    Week 1
    3x1x225
    3x3x205
    2x5x185

    go to
    1x1x235
    3x3x205
    2x5x185
    to
    3x1x235 if possible
    3x3x205
    2x5x185

    to
    3x1x235
    3x3x215
    2x5x185

    to
    3x1x235
    3x3x215
    2x5x195

    And then start back on the 1RM, so you would only be increasing one variable a week. This will give you a month to get comfortable at 3x1 of a max weight.
    It's boring though but we are in this for the long run. And I think you might be able to make bigger jumps (10lbs or more) doing this.

    Another Idea is would be to increase them as they come and not think of them as failed lifts but you are building up to a scheme and once you hit it then you increase, like in that article I posted the other day about 25 total reps.

    From
    3x1x225
    3x3x205
    2x5x185

    go to
    1x1x235
    2x3x215
    1x2x215
    1x5x195
    1x4x195

    to
    3x1x235
    2x3x215
    1x2x215
    2x5x195

    to
    1x1x245
    3x3x215
    1x4x205
    1x3x205

    Does that make sense? This would be more of a by feel approach. The only issue if you are jumping your 5s and 3s at different times you may be encroaching the other rep scheme so you may want to increase them simultaneously when you hit the full set of both in one workout.

    Just some ideas to ponder.
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  20. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
    1. Minnesota

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    Thanks, as always. You've become something of a personal trainer in addition to trainer partner. You've been thinking about sets and reps a lot more seriously for a lot more longer than I have, so I really appreciate the feedback.

    I've developed a pretty good feel for a training 1RM on the bench press over the years, but I'm still finding my way with training singles on the deadlift and squat. And I'm just beginning to get a feel for triples and five-rep sets, and how they all fit together. I expect the learning curve won't be too bad, and within a few months I'll have a pretty good feel for how to progress, but in the meantime, I need some sort of MO to begin the experimentation. Like you said, going by percentages isn't really feasible, plate-wise, and I'm also not prepared to do calculations in the middle of a workout.

    That said, I've become much more willing to monkey with small increments than I have been in the past. Yesterday it was kind of a drag dealing with five- and ten-pound plates on the squat, but it did enable me to hit a pretty good 30-pound spread between the 1/3/5 rep-counts. One thing though, that I've noticed after just a week, is that the triples tend to feel hardest, which seems to suggest that a rigid plate-based spread of 20, 30, or 40 pounds (for the bench, squat, and deadlift, respectively) isn't quite capturing the correct percentages. Perhaps with a five- instead of ten-pound grain, I could hone in on a better triple, bringing it down five pounds, which would make it a little closer to the five-rep set, and a little further from the single. 3x1x225/3x3x205/2x5x185 >>> 3x1x225/3x3x200/2x5x185. That is there seems to be a greater drop off between the singles and triples than there is between the triples and quintuples. Does that jibe with your experience? I guess ExRx and Bodybuilding's calculators (http://exrx.net/Calculators/OneRepMax.html, http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other7.htm) put the triples at around 90% and the quintuples at around 85%, which is similar, so maybe I could try approximating these percentages, while keeping in mind that I'm doing more than one set at each rep-count?

    So, anyway, for both these reasons, right now, I'm leaning towards increases of 5-pounds, which will mean going out and picking up two 2.5-pound plates. At first, I will try increasing everything by five pounds across the board, and then adjust by feel according to one of the schemes we've discussed, perhaps adjusting the triples and quintuples as a percentage of the single along the way.

    I think I agree with you that small drop-sets at a given rep-count probably won't work. I like the idea of keeping all the sets intact, with three sets for the top weight, three sets for the middle, and two for the bottom, and dropping reps off the final reps if need be, but your idea of dropping sets might work too. So really, it's a choice between a drop-rep scheme and a drop-set scheme.

    From
    3x1x225
    3x3x205
    2x5x185

    to

    3x1x230
    3x3x210
    2x5x190

    with the possibility of either dropped reps:

    2x1x230
    2x3x210, 1x2x210
    1x5x190, 1x4x190

    or dropped sets

    2x1x230
    2x3x210
    1x5x190

    At this point I think I'm learning towards dropped reps, provided the increases are five rather than ten pounds. If the increases are ten pounds, then I think a drop-set approach might work better. Does that make sense? The disadvantage of the drop-rep approach is that it would probably mean failing reps one in a while. The problem with the drop-set approach is that you might not push yourself quite as much as you could. You may have determined to only do one set at the next weight increment, when really, you were capable of doing 2 or 3.

    Anyway, we'll see how it works out in the coming weeks. One way or the other, I'm pretty sure this more fixed set/rep approach is going to work well for me. It's just a matter of working out the details. I really liked how workaday the squats felt yesterday. There's a good chance I'll be able to get through most of my programmed workouts most of the time now, something I've always struggled with, and yet the scheme is flexible too. Both the Monday and the Wednesday workouts can easily be cut in two in case I'm short on time, with the second half being done the following day: Mon: DL&Pull > Mon: DL, Tues: Pull; Wed:SQ&Bench > Wed:SQ, Thurs:Bench. If I'm short on time Friday, I'll just do the OH Presses, since I've already gotten in the rows and chinups on Monday or Tuesday.

    About the intervals, I've never been able to do slow running/jogging breaks. I always take walking breaks.

    ________________________

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