Day 32: Pull Day

Warmup:

  • Stair climber for 5
  • Lower body static stretch

Workout:

  • Deadlifts: 135 for 10 for 2 sets, 185 for 10, 225 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Lat Pulldown: 100 for 15, 115 for 10, 130 for 8 for 3 sets, 145 for 5
  • Lat Pull Machine (one arm at a time): 50 for 15, 60 for 12, 70 for 10, 80 for 8 for 3 sets
  • V Bar Row: 45 for 15, 90 for 15 for 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Row: 70 for 10 for 3 sets
  • Seated Curls: 25 for 10, 30 for 8, 35 for 4 for 2 sets
  • V Bar Seated Cable Pull: 60 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Reverse Grip Curls (ez-curl bar): 30 for 12 for 3 sets
  • Curl Line: 30 for 4, 25 for 6, 20 for 6, 15 for 8, 12.5 for 5

Finisher:

  • 5 Minutes of Skipping

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

 

Day 31: Leg Day

Warmup:

  • Stair Climber for 5
  • Lower body static stretch
  • Shoulder stretch

Workout:

  • Squats: 135 for 12 for 3 sets, 155 for 8, 175 for 8, 185 for 5 for 2 sets, 205 for 2, 225 for 1 for 2 sets, 135 for 6
  • Deadlifts: 135 for 12, 155 for 12, 175 for 12, 195 for 12, 225 for 5 for 3 sets
  • Leg Press: 180 for 15, 270 for 10, 360 for 8, 450 for 5 for 3 sets, 180 for 12
  • Lunges: 50 pound barbell walking for 15 steps each leg. 3 sets
  • Quad Extension machine: 50 for 10 each leg for 6 sets (Rest every 2 sets)
  • Calf Raises: 70 for 10 for 3 sets
  • Calf Raise Machine: 115 for 8 for 3 sets.
  • Hip abduction machine: 145 for 15 for 3 sets

Finisher:

  • Jump rope for 5 minutes

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

 

Day 29: Pull Day – Milestone Reached

Today I hit a new 1 rep max on the deadlift.  I pulled 315 for one.  It wasn’t very clean and took some time to get up, but at the end of it, I got it done.  315 is three plates on each side.  It is a heavy deadlift and is often thought of as the divider between the boys and men.  When your deadlifting, with most average people, you can pull your body weight plus a little extra.  This is why it is common to see people pulling 150-250 in the gym.  This is the natural strength range for most people even when working out.  But to get to pulling 300+, it’s like asking what’s the difference between $100,000 and a million dollars.  There is a ton more work that needs to be put in.  You need to have a strong foundation with no weaknesses.  A strong core, hamstrings, back, grip strength and impeccable mechanics are needed.  This was a huge milestone in my journey and one that I was proud to have reached.  Here’s to starting the journey to four plates

Warmup:

  • Stair climber for 5
  • Lower body static stretch

Workout:

  • Deadlifts: 135 for 10 for 2 sets, 185 for 10, 225 for 8 for 3 sets, 245 for 4, 255 for 4, 275 for 3, 295 for 2, 315 for 1
  • Lat Pulldown: 100 for 15, 115 for 10, 130 for 8 for 3 sets, 145 for 3
  • Lat Pull Machine (one arm at a time): 50 for 15, 60 for 12, 70 for 10, 80 for 6 for 3 sets
  • V Bar Row: 45 for 15, 90 for 15 for 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Row: 60 for 10 for 3 sets
  • Seated Curls: 25 for 10, 30 for 8, 35 for 4 for 2 sets
  • V Bar Seated Cable Pull: 60 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Reverse Grip Curls (ez-curl bar): 30 for 12 for 3 sets
  • Curl Line: 30 for 4, 25 for 6, 20 for 6, 15 for 8, 12.5 for 5
  • Lower Back Extension Machine: 220 for 15 for 4 sets

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 26: Pull Day

We’re here to get it today with this pull day.  I’m excited to get started on this new workout split.  It will be a challenge and something my body isn’t used to but that’s why I’m excited.  I want to keep challenging myself in the gym because that’s what leads to growth.

To have success with this I am going to need to buckle down on the diet.  When doing a regimen like this, recovery time is going to be tight.  My macros must get dialed in and make sure I am getting the grams of protein that I need for recovery.

Warmup:

  • Stair climb for 5 minutes
  • Shoulder and back stretch with bands

Workout:

  • Deadlifts: 135 for 12 for 2 sets, 185 for 10, 225 for 8 for 3 sets, 245 for 6, 255 for 6, 275 for 3, 295 for 2, 225 for 6
  • Lat Pulldown: 100 for 15, 115 for 10, 130 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Lat Pull Machine (one arm at a time): 50 for 15, 60 for 12, 70 for 10, 80 for 6 for 3 sets
  • Chin Ups: 8 for 3 sets
  • V Bar Row: 45 for 15, 90 for 12, 115 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Row: 60 for 10 for 3 sets
  • Seated Curls: 25 for 10, 30 for 8, 35 for 4 for 2 sets
  • Concentration Curl Dropset: 25 for 10 then drop to 15 for 10. 3 sets per arm
  • V Bar Seated Cable Pull: 60 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Hammer Curl: 30 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Reverse Grip Curls (ez-curl bar): 30 for 12 for 3 sets
  • Curl Line: 30 for 4, 25 for 6, 20 for 6, 15 for 8, 12.5 for 5

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 17-18: Rest Day Thoughts

After getting back at if for only three days I made the call to hold off for a couple of days to not aggravate my neck strain.  This is a weird strain that doesn’t seem to be recovering.  Normally with injuries they tend to start feeling better each day but with my neck it’s just been getting stiffer.  I’m not sure if I am sleeping on it wrong or what the heck is wrong, but it’s just one that I feel I needed to make a call and take a few days off.  I’ve talked before about knowing your body and what you can and can’t work through, and this is one where I felt it will pay off more in the long run if I take a couple of days now.  It’s better to shut myself down for a few days to let the ice and heat do their work.

What makes this injury frustrating is because I have no idea how I hurt my neck.  It was one that crept up on me and before I knew it, it was a problem.  With hurting yourself in the gym, you can normally narrow down an injury into one of two scenarios.  Scenario one is when you feel a pop or tear on a movement.  Easy and plain as day to point out, and easier to understand what you need to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The second scenario is when you have an injury creep up on you and the source or cause isn’t always known.  One of the most common examples of this I can think of are lower back injuries.  People will complain of hurting their lower back because they feel strain or discomfort in their day-to-day activities.  This pain isn’t necessarily from a certain activity or movement.  Time off helps but doesn’t necessarily heal.  They don’t ever fix the root problem because they don’t know if it was done in the gym, as a part their lifestyle, or even as a repercussion of diet, etc.  This is why that lingering lower back injury is so common in our society.

With my neck, I felt a little discomfort and stiffness coming on for a few weeks.  I attributed it to my body getting used to me getting after it in the gym.  I tried to hold on to good form and can’t recall a set I did in the past few weeks where I strayed from form badly enough to cause an injury.  Looking back, I did climb up in weight for the deadlift quickly and this could have been an attributing factor.  I was trying to get back into the old weight range and might have overdone it.  Holding that weight puts strain on the neck and upper-back.  When I get back at it, I must focus on lifting less due to ego, and watching the position of neck and truly leading with my eyes.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

 

 

 

 

Day 14: Back Day – Confidence

I walked into the gym feeling confident, which for me is huge.  After my rest day, my body had recovered well and I was feeling strong.  For a lifter looking to make some gains, confidence is huge.  It gives you that extra boost you need to push yourself through obstacles, challenges and setbacks to achieve what you have set out to achieve.  But the reality is that for all things in life, confidence is huge.  There have been stages in my life where my self-confidence is real low, and this affects you outside the gym, but since this is a fitness blog, I’ll stick to talking on confidence within the sanctuary of iron.

There was a time in my life where I was a bigger guy, and I’m not talking about muscle.  During the college days, I skipped the freshmen fifteen and put on the freshmen thirty.  I was considered overweight, had no confidence in my body, and just kept to myself most of the time.  My lowest point was when I stepped on the scale and weighed in at 210 pounds (for reference I’m 160 now).  The feeling I had in that moment of just wanting to break down and cry and hating everything about my body is something I won’t forget.  I would try to go to the gym to workout but that’s where I saw what having no self-confidence can do to you at the gym.

During the periods when I had no confidence in myself, I felt like everyone was watching me.  I thought everyone was looking at me and thinking “he’ so weak for his weight” or “man he’s out of shape.”  I was afraid to work out around other people for fear of judgement, and these were people I didn’t even know.  I would show up to the gym and leave within thirty minutes because I would get anxiety from thinking everyone was watching me in the mirrors.  It kept me from the gym for weeks at a time and it was a tough cycle that kept going for months.

What changed things around for me was when I got a job working nightshift.  I would work out before I went in at midnight, or after work when I got off at 3am depending on the shifts I had.  At this time, the gym is a ghost town, just me and the weights.  This is where I built a foundation of muscle and confidence in my lifting.  I could practice form with low weight without the fear of embarrassing myself around others.  I gained a little strength and saw a little change in my body and the effect that had was astounding.

Eventually I started working out during the day and even thou my confidence was still low, I put my headphones in, put my head down and focused on the work at hand.  This grinding mentality is something that stuck with, and it’s all thanks to the gym.  I had to realize that every guy in that gym started somewhere too, and that through consistency, I could make positive changes, but only if I stuck with it.

Now, it’s easy for me to spot someone at the gym who has no confidence in themselves.  They try to do workouts but don’t know how.  They try to lift weights they think they can lift, but they can’t do it.  They show up and leave shortly after, and when they leave they have a look of defeat on their face.  This is why encouragement in the gym is something that we need more of.  If I ever see someone struggling, or fail on a lift and I can see they are struggling with confidence, a pat on the back can go a long way.  Telling them “you’ll get it next time” or “keep at it, it will come” can make a huge difference for that person.  How do I know? Because I’ve been where they are.  I had guy’s show me technique when I was struggling, I’ve had guys motivate me by encouragement.  Guys I didn’t even know, but they encouraged me instead of judging me, and that little nudge they gave me pushed me through the tough times.

At the end of the day, the only person you’re competing with at the gym is the one you see in the mirror.  So, if you’re reading this, next time you’re in the gym I challenge you to drop the ego and judgement and create a positive community that other can feed off of.

Warmup:

  • Stair climber for 5 minutes
  • Hamstring stretches
  • Shoulder stretches

Workout:

  • Deadlifts (pyramid up and down): 135 for 12, 155 for 12, 185 for 10 for 3 sets, 205 for 10, 225 for 6 for 2 sets, 245 for 4 for 2 sets, 265 for 2, 285 for 1 for 2 sets, 155 for 6, 135 for 10
  • Lat Pull Down: 115 for 10 for 2 sets, 130 for 6 for 2 sets
  • V Bar Pull Down:  115 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Lat Pull Machine (drop sets to 40 after till failure): 50 for 12, 60 for 8, 70 for 8, 80 for 4 for 3 sets
  • Bent over row (barbell) 65 for 15, 85 for 12, 105 for 8, 125 for 4, 105 for 6, 85 for 10, 65 for 10
  • Aussie Pullups: 15, 15, 15, 15
  • Lower Back Extension Machine: 205 for 12 for 4 sets
  • Superman: 3 sets of 10
  • Shoulder shrugs: 45’s for 15, 55’s for 12 for 3 sets

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 8: Back Day – Deadlifts

Want to get stronger? Do deadlifts, it’s that easy

This lift works out so many different muscle groups.  Hamstrings, hips, abs, lower back, upper back, biceps etc.  To often people are intimidated by the deadlift so they stay away from it.  It’s hard work, and as far as dangerous gym movements go, this one is up there.  There are plenty of horror stories to go around of people throwing out their back because of deadlifts.  But the reality is these injuries can be boiled down to one or two mistakes.  The first being form, the second being too much weight.

Mistake 1 – Form.  When deadlifting, form is of the utmost importance.  I cannot stress enough how proper form affects this lift.  When I started deadlifting I wouldn’t go about 135lbs until I knew my form was solid.  This lift is mechanical in that there are so many different moving parts and they must all be in sync to avoid injury.  There are so many great resources both written and visual that break this lift down into its different stages and components.  This is one of those workouts where you can cheat form and still get the weight up, but it only takes one bad lift to change your lift.  In my second-year lifting, I went for a 225lbs pull which at the time should have been easy for me, but I cheated my form and wasn’t paying attention to the mechanics.  The result was what felt like my spine breaking in two.  It took 4 months to fully recover from that injury physically, but mentally I have not forgotten the lessons I learned from that lift.  Take your time to learn the proper way to lift the weight, then slowly progress to heavier weight.

Mistake 2 – Weight.  It’s tough when your deadlifting to want to throw on more weight that you can handle and try to impress those around you.  Even on those lifts where you get the weight up but sacrifice form, there something about this lift that makes you want to try to throw on one more plate and see if you can get it up.  That’s the beauty and curse of the deadlift.  Hitting new PR’s are proud moment, but these moments can come at the expense of your health.  Deadlift progression should be slow and methodical.  In the gym community, “ego-lifting” is a common occurrence, and it is something that is frowned upon and should be avoided at all costs.  If your trying to impress the bodybuilders and the boys lifting 4-5 plates a side, or even the girls at the gym, trust me, they will be more impressed with form than weight.  The reality of the gym is that you’ll never get laughed at for lifting the proper weight for you, you’ll be respected.  But you will be laughed at for lifting a heavier weight than you can handle and flailing it around and have no respect for form.  It’s sad but true.  Drop the ego, and lift smarter to achieve your goals.

Warmup:

  • Stair climber for 5 minutes
  • Foam Roll lower body and static leg stretching.

Workout:

  • Deadlifts (pyramid up and down): 135 for 12, 155 for 12, 185 for 10 for 3 sets, 205 for 5, 225 for 5 for 2 sets, 245 for 4 for 2 sets, 265 for 1, 155 for 6, 135 for 10
  • Lat Pull Down: 115 for 10 for 2 sets, 130 for 6 for 2 sets
  • V Bar Pull Down:  115 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Lat Pull Machine (drop sets to 40 after till failure): 50 for 12, 60 for 8, 70 for 8, 80 for 4 for 3 sets
  • Bent over row (barbell) 65 for 15, 85 for 12, 105 for 8, 125 for 4, 105 for 6, 85 for 10, 65 for 10
  • Aussie Pullups: 15, 15, 12, 12
  • Chin ups (till failure): 8,8,6
  • Shoulder shrugs: 45’s for 15, 55’s for 12 for 3 sets

At this point my back is feeling it, and my grip strength has all but disappeared, all signs of a good lift.

Post-Workout:

  • Massage chair for 15 minutes 🙂

 

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”