Minor shoulder injury

/ Posted 06.28.2008

On Wednesday I met my daughters, Blythe and Molly, down at Barton Springs to get a little sun and pool time in with the girls. I like going to Barton Springs because the water is 69 degrees all the time and getting in it is like having a full body ice pack. After a couple sessions of soaking neck-deep (so that my sore shoulders could get the full effect) I was pushing myself up out of the pool and strained something in my right shoulder. Actually it’s more in my upper back, just below the deltoid, but it’s really making my shoulder hurt.

Anyway, on Thursday, instead of my usual back workout, I did a second leg workout so that my shoulder could get an extra day of rest. Rita was game for a second leg workout. We did hack squats instead of barbell squats so that there was less strain on my shoulder. The leg workout went extremely well and my legs are still sore from it.

Thursday leg workout:

Hack squats (I was hitting rock bottom. The sled was hitting bottom!) 6 sets 12-15 reps

Leg Press 7 sets 20 reps ….my last set with 810 lbs was an absolute 20RM set. I couldn’t have done another rep if my life depended on it!

Seated leg curls 5 sets 12-15 reps

Leg extensions 4 sets 10-15 reps

Donkey calf raise 6 sets 15 reps

On Friday (yesterday) Rita and I met for a back workout. My shoulder was still very sore and I didn’t know if I would be able to deadlift at all. I decided to save the deadlifts for the end of the workout and just play it by ear. The lat pulldowns actually hurt more than anything else. I had very little to no pain in my shoulder on any of the other exercises. I was exhausted when I got to the gym. I could have laid down and gone right to sleep on the concrete….that’s how tired I was. But, somehow I was able to conjure up enough adrenaline on each set to get an amazing workout! We even deadlifted off the floor at the very end of it! I have to credit Rita. Her energy and enthusiasm for weight training is just contagious!

Friday Back workout:

Lat pulldowns 5 sets 12 reps

Seated cable row 4 sets 10-12 reps

High Pulley Row 4 sets 12 reps

One arm DB row 4 sets 12 reps

Deadlifts 5 sets 10, 10, 8, 6, 3


Bustin’ butt to get ready

/ Posted 06.25.2008

I’ve really been bustin’ trying to get into contest shape. I’m getting pretty close, but I’m usually closer than this two weeks out. Plus, my legs don’t look too good to me, so I’ve been killing them!

Here are some pics from posing practice this past weekend.

Rita had a tire problem and didn’t get to workout with me on Monday. Training with her has been a great motivation to me, especially when working legs, because she’s so freakin’ strong that if I don’t push myself to the max she’s going to make me look bad. So, without her presence I decided to do some pre-exhaust exercises for my quads and add volume to make sure that my thighs were sufficiently fatigued by the time I finished. Boy, were they fatigued!!! When I did my evening cardio (2 mile walk) I felt like I was walking through knee-deep mud!

Leg Extensions 6 sets 12-15 reps

Hack Squats 8 sets 12-15 reps

Deep Squats 6 sets 5-10 reps

Leg Press 8 total sets …..exact poundages 270X20, 450X20, 540X20, 630X15, 720X12X12X13, 540X23

Supersets using occlusion Leg Extensions/Seated Leg Curls 5 supersets 10-15 reps

Lying Leg Curls 3 sets 8-10 reps

Donkey Calf Raises 7 sets 10-12 reps

Yesterday I met Rita at Pure Austin Gym to train chest. It was my first time to workout in that gym and it was a very impressive facility. Once again my shoulders and elbows were pretty sore at the beginning, but they warmed up after several sets and I had a great chest workout. Oddly enough my strength on Incline Presses has significantly increased in the past month.

Bench Press 7 sets 8-10 reps

Incline Press 6 total sets 135X10, 165X10, 185X10, 205X8, 215X5, 175X12 (215 lbs in the most I’ve inclined pressed in a very long time)

Pec Machine Fly 4 sets 12-15 reps

DB Curls 3 sets 10-15 reps with a drop-set on the final set

Hammer Curls 3 sets 10-12 reps

I’m very pleased with my strength at this point. My bodyweight (nude and first thing in the morning) has been 174-175. My bodyfat is at 3.3% this morning (by Skindex calipers).

Filed Under: Chest, Legs, Photos

Back day

/ Posted 06.19.2008

I started the day off by doing the Shredder Walk with Cecil and Diana.  We doubled up on the stairs again today and although I was sweating like crazy, I felt good when we finished.

Diana and I made our travel arrangements for the NPC Masters Nationals in Pittsburgh (July 18th & 19th).  Man it’s getting expensive to compete!!!  Then I was off to meet Rita for a back workout.  My lower back was really tight from all of the cardio that I’ve been doing so we worked upper back first, then finished off with partial deadlifts.  It was a great workout, but I felt I slighted myself a little bit by not doing any heavy deadlifts off the floor.  But, the way my lower back was feeling I thought it was smarter to leave them out this week.  I’ll definitely pick up a big weight next week!

I’m finally starting to look like I’m getting close to contest shape.  I weighed 174 lbs.  first thing this morning and came out 3.4% bodyfat on my skindex calipers.  With the NPC John Sherman just 2.5 weeks away I need to get my bodyfat below 3.o%.  I want to be in the mid- 2’s by the Masters Nationals.

Lat pulldowns (light warmup) 2 sets 12-15 reps

Pullups 3 sets 12, 10, 8

Lat Pulldowns 3 sets 8-10 reps

Seated Cable Row 4 sets 10-12 reps

High Pulley Row 4 sets 8-10 reps

One arm DB Row  4 sets 10-12 reps

Partial Deadlifts 4 sets 8-15 reps

I’m planning to take some photos when I practice posing on Saturday.  I’ll get those posted.

Filed Under: Back

This week so far

/ Posted 06.18.2008

So far this week my contest prep been going great! I’ve been dieting now for 11.5 weeks. During the first four weeks I was preparing things for the Texas Shredder Classic and didn’t have time to do cardio. So, although I dropped a few pounds, I couldn’t really see a significant difference in my appearance. As soon as the show was over (April 26th) I got on the cardio and things are finally starting to look more like they’re supposed to look! I’ve dropped a total of 9 lbs and I feel like I still need to drop about 4-5 more in the next month in order to be totally shredded for the Masters Nationals.

Rita Ross worked out with me on Monday. Every time we do legs she amazes me! On Monday she amazed some of the other guys in the gym as she cranked out 20 reps on her last set of leg presses with 630 lbs of plates on the sled. That was after working up to 165 lbs for 10 reps on deep squats. On top of that I’m super-sore from the leg workout and she’s not sore at all. I don’t get it!!!

Leg Extensions 9 sets 12-15 reps (I was waiting on Rita and thought I would pre-exhaust my quads a bit)

Squats 5 sets 6-10 reps, one finishing set of 15 reps

Leg press 6 sets 20 reps

Leg Extensions (yes, again) 4 sets 12-15 reps

Seated Leg Curls 4 sets 12-15 reps

Donkey Calf raise 5 sets 15 reps

Lying Leg Curls 4 sets 12 reps (Rita wanted to do them, I couldn’t look like a wimp)

Yesterday I was solo for my chest workout. As I started warming up I found that my right shoulder was extremely sore again. I did some extra light warmup sets and also did a set of 12 reps with a relatively light weight (110 lbs) on the high pulley row after each set of bench press and each set of incline presses. The light rows made my shoulder feel much better and I was able to handle some fairly heavy weights (for me) on the bench and the inclines. As usual, I threw in some bonus bicep work after chest.

Bench Press 3 light warmup sets 12 reps, 4 medium-hvy sets 6-10 reps, 3 sets of heavy doubles, 1 set of 10 reps w/ 225 lbs to finish off bench press

Incline Press 6 sets 7-10 reps, 1 finishing set of 15 reps

Pec Fly Machine 3 sets 10-15 reps Holding the last rep of each set at full contraction for as long as possible

Barbell Curls 4 sets 10 reps

Hammer Curls 3 sets 10-12 reps

Today is just a cardio day. I did a 20 minute walk at 8:30am (about 1.5 miles). Then at 10:30 I was joined by Diana Wilkins and Cecil Ballard to do the Shredder Walk. Today we did the full walk (4 miles, 8 stories of stairs, 11 stories of ramps) and also added another 8 stories of stairs on the way back. Cecil needs to lose another 15 lbs. in the next 7 weeks in order to win a bet with NPC Texas State Chairman, Lee Thompson (and several of the other NPC Texas judges). Diana is on a mission to be in her very best shape for her birthday, July 5th, when we travel to Houston for the NPC John Sherman Classic.

Lee, Dave Cecil

Me with Lee and Cecil at the Texas Shredder Classic

Filed Under: Chest, Contest Prep, Legs


/ Posted 06.14.2008

Damn I’m sore!!!!  On Thursday I had to do my back workout solo.  I decided to keep some heavy deadlifts from the floor in my routine.  The only problem was that I made the mistake of doing the “Shredder Walk” earlier in the day (4 miles round-trip, plus 8 flights of stairs and 11 stories of ramps to the upper deck of UT’s Memorial Stadium) in 95 degree heat.  I was still kinda wiped out when I did my back training and my deadlifts felt much heavier than they should have.  I persevered, however and even did some extra work for my back.

Deadlifts   3 warmup sets of 5-10 reps, then 3 sets 2-3 reps

Pullups 3 sets 8-12 reps

Partial Deadlifts 3 sets 12-15 reps

Lat Pulldowns 4 sets 6-10 reps

Seated Row  3 sets 8-12 reps

High Pulley Row 3 sets 10-12 reps

Straight Arm Pulldowns 3 sets 8-10 reps

One arm DB Row  3 sets 10-12 reps

It was very hot in the gym Thursday afternoon and I was totally wiped out from the Back workout.  Now I’m just totally sore!!!

Yesterday I finally got to train with Brenda Mikalajunas again.  It’s been about a month since we’ve trained together and it was great to see her.  I left my training journal on my desk at work, so I’m just guessing on how many sets and reps I did.  But, I enjoy working out with Brenda and got a fantastic shoulder and arm workout.

Seated DB Press 9 sets 8-12 reps

Lateral Raises 6 sets 10-12 reps

Rear Delt Machine Flys 6 sets 12-15 reps

Rope Pressdowns 3 sets 12-15 reps

Seated Tri Ext  3 sets 15-20 reps

Skull Crushers 3 sets 8-10 reps

Tricep Pressdowns 3 sets 10-15 reps

EZ Bar Curls 4 sets 10-12 reps

Seated Hammer Curls 4 sets 12-15 reps

Cable Curls 4 sets 10-12 reps

Sleeping was not good last night.  My body was so sore!!!  And worse today!  It hurts so good!

Filed Under: Back, Shoulders & Arms

Chest pump

/ Posted 06.11.2008

Me and Teri

Me and my good friend, Teri Alvardo at the meet last Saturday.

Having bench pressed 290 lbs. on Saturday, I was very excited about my Tuesday chest workout. I was thinking that I would continue to work up to some fairly heavy weights. But, as soon as I started warming up, I could tell that it was not going to be a good idea to go heavy. My right shoulder was extremely sore. I opted for keeping my weights light and doing very controlled higher rep sets. After working through the bench press my shoulder didn’t bother me much on the incline press and I was able to use a weight that is fairly heavy for me.

Bench Press 6 sets 12-15 reps

Incline Press 6 sets 10 reps

Pec Fly Machine 4 sets 15 reps

Hammer Curls (sneaking in a little extra arm work) 4 sets 10-12 reps

Filed Under: Chest

Two posts in one day!

/ Posted 06.09.2008

Hard to imagine that I’m doing a second post today!  It coincides with my second client cancellation of the day.

It’s Leg Day, so that means it must be Monday.  I met Rita Ross at Gold’s today at noon to blast legs.   She’s really fun to workout with because she trains so damn hard and she totally enjoys it!  We both came in with sore lower backs, so we started with leg presses again today and really hit’em hard!  Because of the sore lower back and really tight hamstrings I kept my squats lighter today.  Although I can out lift her in squats and leg presses, Rita proceeded to kick my ass on extensions and curls, and went rep for rep, and pound for pound with me on calf raises.

Leg Press 7 sets of 20 reps (heaviest at 810 lbs), 1 set of 50 reps at 540 lbs.

Squats 5 sets 10-13 reps

Leg Ext 5 sets 12 -15 reps

Lying Leg curls 3 sets 10-12 reps

Seated Leg curls 5 sets 12-15 reps

Donkey calf raise 5 sets 15 reps.

Filed Under: Legs

Bench Press/Deadlift Competition

/ Posted 06.09.2008

This is my first opportunity to get online since the Hyde Park Gym Push/Pull Contest on Saturday afternoon. But, I’m very happy to report that when all was said and done, I went 3 for 3 on both my bench presses and deadlifts, and ended up with the Men’s Best Lifter Award!

It’s been a little over 8 years since I’ve competed in a powerlifting meet. When I found out about the push/pull meet about 5 weeks ago I decided to lift in it because I thought it would be a good way to force myself to lift some heavier weights in training, and to force myself to start doing some deadlifts off the floor again. At that time I had no idea how much weight I would be able to lift by contest time, but I figured that I would just “play it by ear”, see how things went, and then lift as much as I could without hurting myself. Even though I set out to lift in the meet just for fun, the idea of training for a powerlifting competition again was very exciting and has really pushed my workouts up into a higher gear this past month.

When Saturday rolled around I was excited, nervous, tired, and somewhat distracted. On Friday evening my truck started leaking power steering fluid so fast that it was undriveable. I had already bought movie tickets for my daughter, Molly, and I to see Don’t Mess With the Zohan (hilarious movie). We were able to take the bus to the theater, but had to walk nearly 4 miles home (12:45-1:45am). I was exhausted from doing the Shredder Walk during the afternoon heat and adding 4 more miles before going to bed made it impossible to get a good night sleep. Then I had to get up a couple hours earlier than I wanted because we had to take the bus to the gym. I had 2 clients to train, a posing session with David Nall, another client to train, and then just 15 minutes to prepare before the meet was to start. Once I got finished with all my clients I was able to get my mind focused on lifting and my excitement level started to rise. But, I knew my legs were tired and as I started warming up on the bench press I found that my shoulders were fairly sore, so that made me nervous.

Based on my training, my goals for the meet were 300 lbs in the bench press and 450 in the deadlift. After I got through several warmups my shoulders started feeling better and I was getting more confident about the bench. Then I went outside. It had to be nearly 100 degress in the parking lot (we were lifting outside). My first attempt on the bench was 270 lbs. I got myself psyched. Then I positioned myself on the bench and stared up into the sun and bright blue sky. It was very different not having a point on the ceiling on which to focus my eyes. The other problem was that the parking lot was uneven and the bench was sloping down to the right a bit. With these issues distracting me, I struggled with my opener. I went 280 for my 2nd attempt. I was better prepared mentally and the weight went up smoothly. Although I wanted to press 300 lbs on my final attempt, I also had promised myself not to get hurt. I felt like a 20 lb. jump was just a little too much so I went for 290 for my last bench. I got myself super-psyched and when I lifted the weight it felt easier than my lifts at 270 and 280. Oh, the power of the mind….

290 bench

290 lb. Bench Press

As soon as we finished the men’s bench press we started warming up for deadlifts. Because my legs were fatigued and i was getting somewhat dehydrated from the heat, my warm up weights were feeling a little heavy. My opening weight was 405 lbs. I didn’t think it would be any problem at all, but once again the slight slope of the parking lot affected my lift. We were lifting facing downhill and the slope was just enough to pull the weight forward a little, making the lift much harder than it should have been. I lifted 435 on my second attempt, and again could feel the affect of the downslope. For my final attempt I was determined to pull 450. I took note of women’s champ, Tina LeBlanc’s final deadlift. Tina had turned around for her last deadlift and pulled it easily. I knew I would need every advantage, so I did the same. The weight came off the ground quickly, but started stalling at my knees. I started shaking violently, but was determined to keep my back tight and finish the lift. It was a long slow pull, but I finally locked it out! 450 lbs was an absolute max for me at that moment. I don’t think I could have lifted even one more pound!

405 Deadlift

405 lb. Deadlift

450 deadlift

450 lb. Deadlift was really heavy!

I felt very good about going 6 for 6, even though I ended up 10 lbs short of my bench press goal. It was still the heaviest I’ve lifted in about 8 years. It was great fun lifting in a competition again! And while it was a competition, we all had a wonderful time helping each other, cheering each other on, and slapping high fives after jobs well-done. I was satisfied and ready to head for the house, thinking that surely my buddy, Marc Heard, would win the best lifter trophy. Molly and Diana talked me into staying for the announcement of the winners….”just in case”. And, low and behold, with bodyweight factored in I was able to edge Marc out for first place! (Marc benched 350 and deadlifted 550)

Marc Heard about to attempt a 600 lb. deadlift

Tina LeBlanc won the women’s Best Lifter trophy. I don’t remember what her best bench press was, but I know that she easily pulled 225 lbs on her final deadlift.

With women’s winner Tina LeBlanc

Thank you to Brook Jones of Hyde Park Gym, and to Amalia Litras and Patty Farley of GrassIron for hosting the competition. I think everyone involved had a fantastic time and came away inspired in some way.

Filed Under: Photos, Powerlifting

Posing Practice

/ Posted 06.03.2008

I’ve been able to get together with my buddy David Nall on the last 2 Saturdays for posing practice.  On Memorial Day weekend Chris Heitman joined us.  It’s too bad I didn’t bring a camera for that one.  This past Saturday we got some pictures.  Although I could see improvement from the first practice session, my photos tell me that I still have a very long way to go to get into contest shape.  Here’s a few pics:

Here’s a few pics of David Nall.  He’s up 20 lbs from contest condition last October.  Incredible off-season gains!

Filed Under: Contest Prep, Photos

Chest and Back

/ Posted 06.03.2008

Since I’m planning to lift in the Hyde Park Gym Bench Press/Deadlift contest on Saturday I decided to work both chest and back today.  Rita Ross and her son, Daniel, joined me for the workout.  My shoulders and elbows were fairly sore so I didn’t go very heavy on the bench press, but got a great chest workout none the less.

Bench Press 6 sets 3-10 reps

Incline Press 5 sets 8-10 reps  I got 205 for 8 on my heaviest set.  That’s really good for me, especially with sore shoulders.

Pec Fly Machine  3 sets 12-15 reps

Lat Pulldowns 5 sets 10-12 reps

Seated Cable Row 4 sets 10 reps

High Pulley Row 4 sets 10-12 reps

Filed Under: Back, Chest