Barley1 - Fiready Log

Hello everyone,

I’m creating this log for the Surge Challenge.

Age: 43
5’ 11"
175ish lbs

Looking forward to doing this!

Just finished a 15 hour return drive from a fishing trip in Michigan. Found some Surge waiting for me when I got home.

I haven’t touched a weight in about two weeks and barely the week before that because of COVID.

I feel very fortunate to be a part of this.

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Central Ohio got hit with 48 hours of rolling blackouts. No air, no refrigeration, and no lights made training in the basement, um, impossible–or at least more risky than I’m willing to tolerate.

It begins tomorrow.

I can’t wait.


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Baseline photos, before Surge and first recommended workout.

Weight: 171.8
Renpho scale puts me at 13.1-percent body fat, which is probably overly generous.
Measured arms, flexed: 14"

Pump: Split Squat, SLDL, Split Squat

Stimulate: Front Squat, Split Squat, SLDL

Flutter: Split Squat

*Tried substituting sissy squats for leg extensions, but couldn’t get the feel, so did Bulgarian split squats. The pump phase was simple enough, but the 10-second pause during the stimulate phase was a killer. I grossly overestimated my front squat strength and got five reps, after the pause, then stripped 20 lbs to get five more. Stiff legged deadlifts were okay. Immediately going to flutter reps was an out of body experience…my legs are way pumped and feel disconnected from my brain. Wasn’t happy with the squats, so I ended the workout with a 20 second hold in the stretch position.

Pump: Barbell Row, Pullover, Pull-up
Stimulate: Pullover
Flutter: Pullover

*Probably should drop the weight slightly for the flutter reps.

Pump: Banded Press down, Close Grip Bench Press, Banded Press down

Stimulate: Overhead DB extension, drop 5 lbs and repeat

Flutter: Overhead DB tricep extension

*My strength loss from set to set during the stimulate portion was much greater than 5lbs. Felt like I nailed the first set, but ran after steam after six reps on the second. Took a few big boy breaths and knocked out the remaining reps and the pause.

Pump: Wrist Curl, Reverse Wrist Curl, Reverse Curl

Stimulate: Wrist Curl

Flutter: Wrist Curl

*Nothing to report

**Overall, this workout was much harder than I thought. It’s a balancing act between getting pauses and reps in without generating too much fatigue. That intial pause is a killer! I’ve done plenty of paused reps before, but never preceded by a pump phase…not sure if this is what made the difference or it was the prior three weeks of deconditioning. Or maybe both.

Workout #2
Weight 176 — up 4.5 lbs
Legs are still sore from the first workout

Pump–OH bar hang, DB lateral raise x 10lbs, DB Upright Row x 30s
Stimulate–BB overhead press x 95lbs, DB lateral raise x 10lbs, Trap Bar Carry x 155, Trap Bar Shrug x 155, nope! dropped to 135

Flutter–DB lateral Raise x 10lbs

*All the weights on this felt about right, except shrugs. Stripped 20 lbs and started over. To perform the trap bar carry, I walked from one side of my basement–13 steps–turned, then walked back, doing three laps and change.

Pump–BB Row x 135lbs, Pullover x 50lbs, Pullup

Stimulate–Pullover x 50lbs

Flutter–Pullover x 50 lbs

*Last time I learned that fatigue sneaks up on me pretty quickly with this style of training. I used less weight than last time on the dumbbell pullovers. The final 10 second hold during the stimulate phase left my lats and triceps–dumbbell pullovers always fry my triceps–shaking and twitching all over the place. Felt like I nailed the weights/ performance here.

Pump–Narrow Grip Barbell Curl x 45lbs, Chin Up, Wide Grip Barbell Curl x 45lbs

Stimulate–DB Zottman Curl x 15lbs, DB Hammer Curl x 15lbs, DB Curl x 15lbs

Flutter–DB Curl x 15lbs

*I’d never done Zottman Curls before and found it hard to get into a rhythm. Did the static hold at a bit below 90-degrees. Not sure if that’s where to perform it or nor. Hammer curls felt great. DB curls were, and it pains me to say this, too heavy. I got the hold and five reps, set the DBs down for a few seconds, then finished the set.

Pump–Standing Calf Raise on plate x 135, Trap Bar calf raise (somewhere between bent and upright) x 135, Calf Raise (no plate) x135

Stimulate–SLDL (toes elevated) x 115, Calf raise (no plate) x 135

Flutter–Calf Raise x 135

*I haven’t worked my calves in years. The pump phase was good, the stimulate phase was…okay. Using a plate under my toes would have been better. My calves were also beginning to cramp after the SLDLs. It’s hard to do calf raises with a 5 second negative because the range of motion is, like, six inches.

**Did this yesterday and my biceps, lats, shoulders, and tris (even though not directly worked) are sore. I still have a bit of soreness in my quads from the workout three days ago. I feel like my workout performance was much better this time around, with the exception of calves. I’ll probably substitute band curls for DB curls next time–I’ve always lost a lot of strength between sets with short rests and I don’t have any DBs lighter than 15.

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Workout # 3
Weight 177.5 – up 5.5 lbs

Pump–Bench x 10 @ 135, Incline DB Fly x 10 @ 30s, Pushup x 10
Stimulate–Bench x 9 @ 155
Flutter Bench @ 135

**Weights seemed about right here.

Pump–Narrow Grip BB Curl x 8 @ 45 (did 12), Chin x 8 @ BW, WG BB Curl x 8 @ 45 (did 10)
Stimulate-- Zottman Curls x 10 @ 15lb DB, Hammer Curls x 10 @ 15, DB Curls x 10 @ 15
Flutter-- DB Curls @ 15lbs

**Noticeably stronger already on the curls. Couldn’t finish the sets with the weights listed the first time around. Not only finished the suggested reps, but did extra reps during the pump phase. Will have to add a few pounds to the first set of curls. Biceps felt like they tripled in size during the flutter stage.

Pump–Banded pressdown x 10 (did 14), Close Grip Bench @ 95 (did 12), Banded pressdown x 8 (did 10)
Stimulate–Overhead DB triceps extension @ 20lbs x 10 (did 12, lengthened hold to 15 seconds), immediate drop to @ 15 lbs x 10 (did 12)
Flutter–Overhead DB triceps extension @ 20lbs

*Weights felt right, if not a tad light. Significantly stronger than the first time around on these, too. I couldn’t begin to guess if it’s the workout itself, the Surge, or regaining strength after the past three weeks of deconditioning. Maybe it’s some combination of all three.

Pump–Squat (wide stance) @ 115 x 8, Squat (narrow stance) @ 115 x 8, Squat (medium stance) @ 115 x 8
Stimulate–Squat @ 135 x 10 (did 12)
Flutter–Bodyweight Squat

**I went really light on the pump phase. With squats, one I get past the sticking point, roughly 135 degrees, the tension on my thighs decreases dramatically. By avoiding the top 1/4 or so range of motion, I can keep the tension on my thighs the entire time and it requires much less weight to generate fatigue. I felt like it worked. If anybody reads this and thinks this is stupid, please reply and tell me I’m an idiot. I tried to avoid the top few inches of ROM during the stimulate phase, but needed to lockout and take a quick breath once or twice to keep going. During the final hold my quads felt like they were on fire; I spent those ten seconds pondering my desire to go on. The flutter reps pumped my quads until they cramped. After finishing the workout, I lay splayed on the floor for a long time. My wife walked by to make sure I was still breathing and said, “Your thighs look enormous!”

I tried to get photos of my pumped up arms. I’ll post them later.

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I’m terrible at taking selfies, probably due to lack of practice. My wife took pity in me and snapped a photo of my arm.

Warning: If farmer tans make you squeamish, do yourself a favor and look away!

Sounds like what you did gave you a great pump! In my experience a lot of training is very individual for what works for the person. I personally use compound leg where my feet are on the floor in a full-range of motion always and try to milk all the muscle stimulus I can get, squeezing glutes at the top, core tight, etc. That last little bit is very minimal for quads but other areas get stimulus. I’d go with whatever Ellington suggests as he’d know the desired outcome and goal - the sum of everything.


Workout #4

Pump–Pressdown with bands x 10 (did 10, waited a few seconds, then did 12 more), Close-Grip Bench Press x 115 x 10 (did 15), Pressdown with bands x 8

Stimulate–OH Tri Extension–25 x 8 (did 10), no rest OH Tri Extension 15 x 8

Flutter–OH Tri Extension

Pump–Row x 135 x 8 (did 13), Pullover 55 x 8, NG Chin @BW x 8

Stimulate–Pullover 55 x 8 (did 10)

Flutter–Pullover x 55

Pump–Wrist Curl x 65 x 10, Reverse Wrist Curl x 65 x 10, Standing Reverse BB Curl 45 x 10

Stimulate–Wrist Curl x 65 x 10

Flutter–Wrist Curl x 65

Pump–Calf Raise on plate x 135 x 10, Trap Bar calf raise on plate x 135 x 10, Calf raise no plate x 135 x 10

Stimulate–SLDL, toes elevated x 115 x 10, Trap Bar Calf Raise on Plate x 135 x 10

Flutter–Trap Bar Calf Raise on plate

**I seem to continue gaining strength quickly. I was able to increase weight and add reps for some of the triceps and lat exercises, despite dialing in rep speed/cadence even more. I particularly enjoy the lats and triceps work. Not at all looking forward to the legs sessions the next two workouts, but will grit my teeth and power through.

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Just finished workout #5. It’s a bear. I’ll log it tomorrow.

A couple quick thoughts:

  1. I have a hard time gauging strength increases, depending where in a workout an exercise falls. Doing squats first today made everything else way harder. Also, adding a few lbs to a pump set makes the stimulate portion far.m more difficult. Dialing in negatives and pauses does the same.

  2. I’m an idiot when I have to make a decision under the bar. When I notice mid-set a weight is too heavy or too light, I tend to make the worst decision possible in the moment. This is probably why I never became a pilot.

  3. Despite my personal shortcomings, I love being a part of all this. Seeing all the absolute savagery in some of the other logs motivates me to try harder.

Workout #5 (yesterday)
Weight: 179.6

Pump–Squat wide x 8 @135, Squat narrow x 8 @ 135, Squad medium x 8 @ 135

Stimulate–Squat x 10 @ 155

Flutter–Squat x 135

*After reading through some of the other logs, I figured I’d try to up my game and added 20 lbs to all my squatting. All of you able to crank out 34+ squats in less than three minutes with 225 or more have my utmost respect. #Lifegoals, I guess. Had a little trouble maintaining proper bar speed during the stimulate portion–the slow negative pause requires a lot of concentration. I tend to either go to fast or forget the pause. Took @Tomato 's advice and did all the squats with a full range of motion.

Pump–Bench x 10 x 145 lbs (did 11), Fly 10 x 30 lbs (did 15), Pushup x BW x 10

Stimulate–Bench x 160 x 10 (got 8 with hold at beginning and end), dropped to 135 for 6 more with beginning and ending hold

Flutter–Bench x 135

I got a bit too ambitious with the bench press. Somewhere around rep five I was like, “Uh-oh, this is too heavy.” But the little devil on my shoulder said, “Nah, you’ve got five more.” I always listen to that guy, even though I shouldn’t. Finished rep 8 and the hold. Felt like I should’ve done more, so I stripped some weight off and knocked out 6 more with a hold at the beginning and end. Did the flutters and my chest was fried.

Pump–Narrow BB Curl 55 x TOO LIGHT, raised to 65lbs x 8, Chin up BW x 8 (did 10), Wide BB curl 65 x TOO HEAVY, dropped to 45lbs x 8

Stimulate–Zottman Curls 15lbs x 10, DB Hammer 15lbs x 8 with holds, took a few breaths, then did 4 more with holds, DB Curl 15lbs x 5 with beginning and ending holds, rested 15 seconds, then did 5 more

Flutter–DB Curls x 15lbs

*I was weaker today overall with the curl exercises and had to stop two sets a few reps early. In the moment, I decided to take a quick rest, then finish the reps. Not sure what to do in these situations. I’m pretty sure the reason was cumulative fatigue from the bench pressing and squats.

Pump–Seated wrist curl x 65lbs x 10, Reverse wrist curl x 65lbs x 10, Reverse BB Curl x 45lbs x 10

Stimulate–BB Wrist Curl x 65 x 10

Flutter–BB Wrist Curl x 65

**I did all this yesterday. My legs aren’t really sore, but they feel dead and unresponsive. They still feel slightly pumped. Stairs are a challenge. Chest and biceps are sore.

Changing the order of exercises makes dialing in the weights a challenge. I’m way stronger on an exercise if it’s first in a workout. Adding a few pounds/reps to the pump sets seems to have a drastic effect on strength during the stimulate portion. And I don’t really know what to do when midway through a set, I realize I selected the wrong weight. In the case of curls, I don’t have any lighter dumbbells to use, so I did my best. I lift in my basement with free weights, so changing weights can take a while.

Workout # 6
Weight 179.6

Pump–Split Squat x 10 (toes out), SLDL x 115lbs x 8 (did 10), Split Squat x 10 (toes in)

Stimulate–Front Squat x 95lbs x 10, Split Squat x 10, SLDLlbs x 115 x 8 (did 10)

Flutter–Split Squat

*Went embarrassingly light on Front Squats and…it was the right call. The thighs block is where I deviate most from the prescribed program, using single leg squats in place of leg extensions. Single leg work always seems about ten times harder than bilateral work. So far, the thighs block is the hardest part of the workout challenge–I spent all yesterday apprehensive about beginning the workout.

Pump–OH Bar Hang–45 sec, DB Lateral raise 10lbs x 10, DB Upright row 20lbs x 10

Stimulate–BB OHP 95lbs x 10, Lateral Raises x 10 lbs x 10 (did 12), Trap Bar Carry x 165lbs x 40 steps, Trap Bar Shrug 135lbs x 10

Flutter–DB Lateral Raise x 10lbs

*Should try using 12.5lb dumbbells for the lateral raises next time. I might be good for 5-10 lbs more on the overhead press. Felt weak because I couldn’t keep my quads tight for the presses because they were absolutely shot from the earlier thigh work.

Pump–Calf Raise on Plate 135lbs x 10, Trap Bar Calf Raise 135lbs x 10, Calf Raise (no plate) 135lbs x 10

Stimulate–SLDL (toes up) 95 lbs x 8, Trap Bar Calf Raise 135lbs x 10

Flutter–Trap Bar Calf Raise 135lbx

*I dropped the SLDL weight and…it was also the right call. It was my third set of SLDLs for the entire workout. They were hard.

Pump–Bench Press 145lbs x 10, Fly 30lbs x 12, Pushup BW x 10

Stimulate–Bench Press 135lbs x 10

Flutter–Bench Press 135lbs x 10

*I used less weight on the bench press because of fatigue from the earlier shoulder work. In addition, I was unable to contract my quads and stay tight because of the prior leg work. I probably looked like I was benching for the first time, unsteady and shaking all over the place. I imagine the difference between in bench pressing before training legs vs. after is worth at least 20-30 lbs.

**Next day, legs are sore and feel dead, unresponsive. Walking anywhere, even on a flat surface, takes a while. Slight soreness in chest and shoulders. This was the hardest workout yet. I felt like I couldn’t eat enough afterwards. While I’m certainly not the jackedest or strongest, I certainly feel like I’m making significant physique changes. I also feel like, at least when I’m not sore, that I move better in my day-to-day life.

On a side note: I’m really growing to like the taste of the Lemon Drop Surge. One scoop in about 1L of water is perfect. Lately, I wake up in the morning looking forward to my daily serving or three.

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Workout #7
Weight 177.8

Pump–Narrow Grip Barbell Curl–65 lbs x 8 (did 9), Chin Up BW x 8 (did 9), Wide Grip BB Curl 65 lbs x 6 (too heavy), dropped to 45 lbs for 6 more

Stimulate–all with 17.5 lb DBs Zottman Curls x 10, Hammer Curls x 10, Regular Curls x 4, 10 sec breather, x 6

Flutter–BB Curl x 45 lbs

Pump–Close Grip Bench Press 145 lbs (way too light) x 15, Band Pressdown x 15, Close Grip Bench Press 115 lbs x 10

Stimulate–OH Tri Extension 30 lbs x 10, 20 lbs x 10

Flutter–OH Tri Extension 20 lbs

**Everything felt dialed in on for the Triceps work, except the band press downs; I can’t quite find the sweet spot where the resistance feels right. I used close grip bench instead of dips. I used these sparingly a few months ago and really like the movement…I should add 10 - 15lbs to these next time.

Pump–BB Row 145 lbs x 8 (did 10), Pullover 60 lbs x 8, NG Chin BW x 8

Stimulate–Pullover 60 lbs x 8

Flutter–Pullover 50 lbs

*Dropping weight for the flutter pullovers was the right decision. Again, everything felt dialed in; like the Lemon Drop Surge, this style of training is growing on me.

Pump–BB Wrist Curl 65 lbs x 10, Rev BB Wrist Curl 45 lbs x 10 (forearms were fried from curls/chins), Standing Rev Curl 45 lbs x 10

Stimulate–Wrist Curl 65 lbs x 10

Flutter–Wrist Curl 65 lbs

*My arms were as pumped as they’ve ever been after the workout. I snapped a couple pics in the mirror and will post the absolutely most flattering picture of my arms I have ever seen. A lot of it is angle and lighting, I’m sure, but I’ll take it. I fully realize I’m not the savage that some guys on here are, this appears to show some fairly dramatic improvement on me.

My wife, who has never cared anything about my physical appearance, was like, “Whoa, I need a copy of that photo.”


My arms were as pumped as they’ve ever been after the workout. I snapped a couple of pics in the mirror and will post the absolutely most flattering picture of my arms I have ever seen.

A lot of it is angle and lighting, I’m sure, but I’ll take it. I fully realize I’m not the savage that some guys on here are, this appears to show some fairly dramatic improvement on me.

My wife, who has never cared anything about my physical appearance, was like, “Whoa, I need a copy of that photo.”

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Impressive arm improvement!

Family noticing changes is always an important metric.

We don’t want anyone running out of Surge Workout Fuel.

@Jared_Maggard, please check on this and see if we can speed up delivery.


Thanks, Tim!

My wife is extra interested in my lifting lately specifically because of the Surge Challenge. She keeps reminding me to be grateful for the experience. I am.

I appreciate the kind words.

I think the key to impressing the wife is to think long-term like I have and spend your first 40 years sporting pasty white spaghetti arms before you start lifting seriously–it’s the element of surprise. :grin:

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Workout #8
Pump–OH Barbell Hang BW+20lbs x 45 seconds, DB Lateral Raise 12.5 lbs x 10, DB Upright Row 30 lbs x 10

Stimulate–Barbell Overhead Press 105x10, Lateral Raise 12.5 lbs x 5, dropped to 10 lbs to complete, T-Bar Walk 185 lbs x 40 steps, Shrug 135 lbs x 10

Flutter–Lateral Raise x 10 lbs

*Judging weights is the hardest part of this. There’s a real sweet spot with the pump work; if I go a hair too far, I’m significantly weaker for the stimulate sets. I really pushed the OH press, but it cost me on the DB lateral raises. I could probably add more weight to the T-Bar carry and 5-10 lbs to the shrug.

Pump–Standing Calf Raise on plate 135lbs x 12, Trap Bar Calf Raise on plate x 12, Standing Calf Raise (no plate) 135 x 12

Stimulate–SLDL (toes up) 115 lbs x 8 (meant to use 135, like an idiot misloaded to 115), Trap Bar Calf Raise x 135 lbs x 12

Flutter–Trap Bar Calf Raise 135 lbs

Pump–Wide Squat 145 lbs x 8, Narrow Squat 145 lbs x 8, Medium Squat 145 lbs x 8

Stimulate–Squat 155 lbs x 10

Flutter–Squat 135 lbs

*Misgrooved the narrow squat and ended up in a funky position at the bottom of rep 3 or 4. Was able to recover and get the rest of the reps. Planned to squat 165 for the stimulate set, but dropped to 155 because of the weird set earlier. I’m confident I’m good for 165 next time. I’d be happy with a Stimulate set of 185 lbs in the near future; 225 lbs or more is lunacy.

Also, I keep noticing how much difference a few inches of foot placement makes when squatting.

Flutter reps felt really good.

Pump–BB Bench–145lbs x 10, Incline DB Flies–40 lbs x 12, Pushup @ BW x 12

Stimulate–Bench Press 145 lbs x 5, nope, 135 lbs x 5, nope…rest 2 min, 115 lbs x 12

Flutter–Bench Press 115 lbs

*After the legs work, I can’t contract my quads and my benching strength suffers. Should’ve stopped the flies at rep 10. The shoulder stuff earlier didn’t help either. I felt out 145 and realized I’d be lucky to get eight reps, so I dropped the weight to 135 and ran into the same problem. I dropped all the way to 115, really dialed in the form, focused on pausing each rep an inch off my chest, slow negatives, and moving the weight by contracting my pecs. The last two reps were very hard. I do think this was the right decision. Flutters also felt really good.

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Thank you, and please thank your wife for being interested and involved. A supportive spouse is so important.

And we’re very grateful for getting to know each awesome Challenge member and seeing the tremendous effort and progress made so far.

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