The Year of the Overhead Press

Finally getting around to doing one of these. I meant to start this time last year and never got around to doing it. In hindsight, it would’ve been a good way to see how I was plateauing. I was plateauing hard, my strength even ended up regressing.

I was tunnel-visioned on my stuck bench press and it has ended up feeling like hitting my head against a wall again and again. So now I’m sick of doing it and am saying screw it, OHP is my best friend now (and I’ve also got a sneaking suspicion that my shoulders are holding my bench back).

Looking back on the last few years, the main things I was screwing up were:

  1. Too much volume
  2. RPE way too high
  3. Thinking I can still progress by 2.5kg every week

All time bests:
Bench - 96kg x 3 reps
OHP - 54kg x 3 reps
Pull-ups - +20kg x 3 reps

Current strength:
Bench - 90kg x 3 reps
OHP - 50kg x 3 reps
Pull-ups - +15kg x 3 reps

(No lower body movements due to knee problems, no point looking at something I can’t improve)

Due to my current schedule, I’m stuck with 35 minute workouts 5 times per week (half an hour after warm-ups). I’m also trying out a new progression method which I’m calling the Descending Wave, I’ll attach a picture to explain. I got it from Eric Helm’s Pyramid Training book, when I give a rep range like [4-6] or [6-8], that’s what I mean (Also probably going to do his recommendation of three 3 week waves then deload, not every 4th week).
I’m also seeing how I go with dropping pressing volume to 15 sets per week

Descending Wave
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Deload/Intro Week

A light week to start out with. I’ll write out my workout plan below, just without weights this week.

My lower body workouts are pretty constrained right now due to patellofemoral issues I’m having in both knees.

----- Monday -----

Overhead Press & Chin-ups
Top set of 3 reps, then drop 10% and do 2 more sets of 3

Overhead Press 3 x [5-7 reps]
Chin-ups 3 x [4-6 reps]

Cable Lateral Raise
Cable Rear Delt Flye

----- Tuesday -----

Hip Thrust 3 x [6-8 reps]
Physio Squat

SL DB RDL
Dragon Flag Eccentrics

SL Hamstring Curl
Standing Calf Raise

-----Wednesday -----
45° Incline Bench 3 x [4-6 reps]
EZ Bar Curl

Face Pull
Tricep Pushdown

DB Lateral Raise
Reverse Pec Deck
Pec Deck

----- Thursday -----
SL Hip Thrust
Physio Squat

SL DB RDL
Dragon Flag Eccentrics

SL Hamstring Curl
Seated Calf Raise

----- Friday -----
Overhead Press 3 x [6-8 reps]
Pull-ups 3 x [4-6 reps]

Bench Press 3 x [4-6 reps]
Machine Row

I’m curious, what’s the problem here? Can’t improve is a very blanket statement, Vlad Alhazov squatted 500kg raw after a total knee replacement necessitated by his knee caving on a 590kg equipped squat. If there’s a will there’s usually a way and this forum has a lot of people who can help point you in the right direction.

Strong legs help almost every lift and there’s usually knee friendly ways to build them.

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Can you push a prowler? When I had patellar issues, lots of prowler, banded clam shells, single leg work, and touchdown squats helped to clear it up.

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Cut back on your volume after taking a week off. Your muscles need more time to recover.

It’s been an ongoing issue since I decided to train for a marathon. I ended up having to stop and walk home from the middle of a run. I could keep squatting a deadlifting no problems for about another month or two before PFP snuck in there too.

Once I found a good physio it took around 3 or 4 months to heal up to ~95% and I got back into squatting again. He didn’t stress the fact that I’ve gotta keep doing the glute med exercises so it slowly came back.

I’m now coming up on 8 months this time around, had to go to a new physio, then change again. I think it’s slowly getting better now, but even walking up stairs is still uncomfortable

Prowler would set it off for me. Any sort of quad work is basically off the table.
I’m even limited to having to do hip thrusts with a barbell and a bench because a machine with an angled footplate has been aggrivating it.

At the moment the squat depth the physio is getting me to do is down to a bit above 90° at the knee. I’ve worked back up to 16kg for that, but even then it’s still a bit iffy.

Gotta say, my glute med and hip abduction strength has improved a lot since going to the new physio, hopefully that ends up helping to fix this

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I haven’t completely taken a week off. My deload/intro week was only slighty less volume as the rest of the program I’ll be doing, but with less weight.

Previous programs had up to 24 sets of pressing per week, so compared to that, this nearly still feels like a deload

Log Week 1

Wave 1 Week 1

Benchmark Lifts:
OHP: 50kg x 3 reps (+0kg)
Chin-up: +15kg x 3 reps (+0kg)

----- Monday -----

Overhead Press (50kg x 3 reps; 2 x 3 reps @ 45kg)
Chin-ups (+15kg x 3 reps; 2 x 3 reps @ +6.25kg)

Overhead Press (3 x 7 reps @ 40kg)
Chin-ups (3 x 6 reps @ bw)

Cable Lateral Raise
Cable Rear Delt Flye

----- Tuesday -----

Hip Thrust Machine (will change to barbell next week)
Physio Squat

SL DB RDL (3 x 12 reps @ 40#)
Dragon Flag Eccentrics (3 x 5 reps)

SL Hamstring Curl (10//(7 reps))
Standing Calf Raise Machine (40(6)35(4))

-----Wednesday -----
45° Incline Bench (3 x 6 reps @ 65kg)
EZ Bar Curl (3 x 8 reps @ 22.5kg)

Face Pull (3 x 12 reps @ 22.5kg)
OH Tricep Extension (1 x 8 reps @ 40kg, 2 x 8 reps @ 45kg)

Lean-away DB Lateral Raise
Reverse Pec Deck
Pec Deck

----- Thursday -----
No session

----- Friday -----
Overhead Press (3 x 8 reps @ 40kg)
Pull-ups (3 x 6 reps @ bw)

Bench Press (6 reps @ 80kg, 2 x 4 reps @ 80kg)
DB Row (3 x 8 reps @ 25kg)

My thoughts:

Good first week back into things after the deload, I’ve got a good feeling about this training plan.

It’s worth noting that I do a short pause at the bottom of all my presses.

Monday’s first heavy set felt easier than expected, maybe the deload did actually help after all.

Turns out I really don’t like trying to judge RPE after every set, takes me out of the ‘caveman lift fings’ headspace. Just gonna try to judge first set RPE from here.

Gonna drop machine Hip Thrusts, I think they’re aggrivating my knees. Will switch to a barbell.

I judged the weight for Incline Bench and EZ Bar Curls really well on Wednesday. They are both movements I’m not used to, and RPE was exactly where I wanted it.

Friday’s Overhead Presses did feel harder than I expected. I’m going to see if starting the session off with a single using the weight from Monday’s opening heavy triple helps at all.

As it turns out, benching with pre-fatigued shoulders is hard, who knew? I really should drop the weight, but pride won’t let me set it lower than 80kg. I’m gonna ride it down the rep range of this wave, and hopefully I’ll be ready for 3 x 6 @ 80kg at the start of the next wave (week 4).

It’s an interesting feeling benching pre-fatigued becuase I normally have a really good mind-muscle connection with my pecs, but I just didn’t feel them working that much. When I benched on Friday I didn’t feel my chest or shoulders getting torched, it just felt hard, which is a weird feeling for me.

Log Week 2

Wave 1 Week 2

Benchmark Lifts:
Overhead Press: 50kg x 3 reps (+0kg)
Chin-up: +15kg x 3 reps (+0kg)

----- Monday -----

Overhead Press (50kg x 3 reps; 2 x 3 reps @ 45kg)
Chin-ups (+15kg x 3 reps, 2 x 3 reps @ +6.25kg)

Overhead Press (3 x 6 reps @ 42.5kg)
Chin-ups (3 x 5 reps @ +1.25kg)

Cable Lateral Raise
Cable Rear Delt Flye

I’m going to have to up my top triple for OHP next week, even though the RPE is still feeling a bit high for that. If I didn’t, next week would be
50kg x 3 reps
45kg x 3 reps x 2
45kg x 5 reps x 3
And that doesn’t really make sense. I’m gonna up it to 52.5kg and see how I go. I should be able to get 3 reps with that weight, but RPE is going to be sky high.

Also worth noting that for chin-ups, the belt weighs 1.25kg

----- Tuesday -----

No session

----- Wednesday -----

45° Incline Bench (5 reps @ 75kg, 2 x 5 reps @ 67.5kg)
EZ Bar Curl (3 x 7 reps @ 25kg)

EZ Bar Skullcrusher (10 reps @ 20kg, 2 x 10 reps @ 30kg)
Adducted Cable External Rotation (3 x 12 reps @ 5kg)

Reverse Pec Deck (13 reps @ 36kg)
Pec Deck (10 reps @ 68kg)
Hinged DB Lateral Raise (10 reps @ 8kg)

Massively misloaded the Incline Bench today. I added 10kg not 2.5…
In that first rest period I was questioning everything as to why it was so goddam hard. Was it bar path? Was it touch point?? Elbow flare??? lol nope, just a lot more weight on the bar. Definitely encouraging I can actually move that kind of weight for one set, looking forward to where I get to with my progression.

----- Thursday -----

SL Hip Thrust (3 x 12 reps @ 10kg)
Dragon Flag (3 x 5 eccentrics)

Physio Leg Press
SL RDL (3 x 12 reps @ 20kg)

Lying Ham Curl (8 reps @ 30kg)
Seated Calf Raise (18 reps @ 45kg)

----- Friday -----

Overhead Press (50kg x 1 rep, 3 x 7 reps @ 42.5kg)
Pull-ups (3 x 5 reps @ +1.25kg)

Bench (3 x 5 reps @ 77.5kg)
DB Row (3 x 8 reps @ 55lbs)

(Pull-up belt weighs 1.25kg)
I did it, I actually managed to do it. I swallowed my pride and dropped the weight below 80kg for bench press. So glad I did, much better feeling to have it in line with my program. And really, from here I’ll only go below 80kg once again, in 2 weeks when I’m in wave 2, then that’s it!

Thoughts:
I’ve got another 2 weeks of my super squeezed schedule then I can put a bit more time in the gym. I’m looking forward to that so much, it’s a bit ridiculous.

Happy with this program so far. I really think aiming for slower progress is the way to go from here for me, excited to see what I can end up doing. I was thinking about this at one point, and even with this slower progress as a goal, the target would still be to up my Overhead Press by 7.5kg in 9 weeks, which is still very fast all things considered.

I’m thinking I’m going to try giving direct forearm training a go. Even with more time to put in the gym in 2 weeks, my upper body days aren’t really going to hit 45 minutes, so I may as well give it a go and see what kind of progress I can make.

Log Week 3

Wave 1 Week 3

Benchmark Lifts:
Overhead Press: 52.5kg x 3 reps (+2.5kg)
Chin-up: +17.5kg x 3 reps (+2.5kg)

----- Monday -----

Overhead Press (52.5kg x 3 reps, 2 x 3 reps @ 47.5kg)
Chin-ups (+17.5kg x 3 reps, 2 x 3 reps @ +7.5kg)

Overhead Press (3 x 5 reps @ 45kg)
Chin-ups (3 x 5 reps @ +3.75kg)

Cable Lateral Raise
Cable Rear Delt Flye

Upping the top set of overhead press didn’t feel quite as hard as I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, it was still really hard, but I was expecting an all out grinder on the third rep, but end up thinking that I mayyyyybe could’ve got another rep. Good signs

----- Wednesday -----

45° Incline Bench (3 x 4 reps @ 70kg)
EZ Bar Curl (3 x 6 reps @ 27.5kg)

EZ Bar Skullcrusher (3 x 8 reps @ 35kg)
Incline DB Ext. Rot. (3 x 12 reps @ 2.5kg)

Reverse Pec Deck (?)
Pec Deck (11 reps @ 73kg)
Hinged DB Lateral Raise (10 reps @ 8kg)

Incline Bench felt harder than expected given the weight I accidentally did for the first set last week, but hey, progress is still progress.

----- Friday -----

Overhead Press (52.5kg x 1 rep, 3 x 6 reps @ 45kg)
Pull-ups (3 x 4 reps @ +3.75kg)

Bench (3 x 4 reps @ 80kg)
DB Row (2 x 8 reps @ 60lbs, 1 x 6 reps @ 60lbs)

Thoughts:
End of the first wave of my program. I’m liking how everything is going so far, I was definitely stronger on my top set of overhead press on Monday than I was expecting, so that’s definitely a good sign.

I was thinking about the expected progression that this program sets out, and I’m realising that even though it’s slower than what I tried to do before, it’s still gonna get me past all-time bests pretty quickly (hopefully). I mean, give it 3 weeks and my press (hopefully) will be 55kg for 3 reps. I recently remembered that the 54kg x 3 reps was while wearing a belt, so now that I’m beltless, it’s a much bigger achievement to make progress there than it looks like at first.

Also, I’m thinking about loading creatine during the deload at the end of this program. The rate of progress is pretty quick, and idk how I’d do trying to do that for another 9 week block (who knows, maybe it’s doable), but with creatine on board it’ll a lot more realistic. Also, for a while I’ve thought, “what’s the point of creatine, it gives you a small boost in strength, but doesn’t seem to increase progress in the long-term”. But then I thought, hey, that sounds like what a belt does. I’m on board with the idea that bumping the weight in your top/working sets with a belt will give you faster progress over the long term, so why the hell not with creatine too?

I’ve got more time to train on Monday and Tuesday next week, and I am so goddam excited for it. To do these workouts in half an hour, I’ve really had to rush the set up and pack down, and recently, I’ve been losing that ‘push’ which is really eating into my isolation work at the end.

The week after next, my entire week opens back up again, it’s going ot be so so good. I really think it’s going to benefit my lower body training more than upper, because of how many days I’ve given to each, so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can squeeze into Tuesday and Thursday.

Log Week 4

Wave 2 Week 1

Benchmark Lifts:
Overhead Press: 52.5kg x 3 reps (+2.5kg)
Chin-up: +17.5kg x 3 reps (+2.5kg)

----- Monday -----

Overhead Press (52.5kg x 3 reps, 2 x 3 reps @ 47.5kg)
Chin-ups (+17.5kg x 3 reps, 2 x 3 reps @ +7.5kg)

Overhead Press (3 x 7 reps @ 42.5kg)
Chin-ups (3 x 6 reps @ +2kg) [500g belt]

Lateral Raise Machine (3 x 10 @ 46kg)
Deadhang (1 x 30 sec @ 5kg, 2 x 30 sec @ 10kg)

Cable Rear Delt (3 x 14 reps @ 3.75kg)
CoC #1 gripper (3 x 8 reps) [to parallel or a little more]

Back in my old gym today and tomorrow, god having more than half an hour is good.

Heavy OHP triple felt heavier than last week, but I’ve still got another week with this weight before I up it, so I’m sure I’ll be good.

I’m looking forward to what the extra grip work can do for me. When I do pull-ups on a metal pull-up bar, my grip really starts to get to get worked, and I’m wondering if stopping that from happening is going to help my performance (and I’m sure as hell not going to stoop to using straps for pull-ups).

----- Tuesday -----

Hip Thrust (6 reps @ 140kg, 6 reps @ 145kg, 5 reps @ 150kg)

SL RDL (18 reps @ 20kg, 12 reps @ 25kg, 12 reps @ 30kg)

Physio Side Plank

RDL (2 x 6 reps @ 100kg, 6 reps @ 90kg)

Smith Machine Calf Raises (2 x 10 reps @ +70kg, 7 reps @ +70kg)
Dragon Flag (3 x 5 eccentrics)

God, having more time in the gym is so great.

Getting back into heavy-ish bilateral RDLs again. I’ve had problems not getting sore in my lower back from them, and the first two sets I seemed to be having the same problem. Third set, I lowered the weight and really tried to brace into my obliques, and it felt so much better. Hopefully that’s all it took, and it’s all good from here. I even did more ROM on the third set and it felt better.

----- Wednesday -----

45° Incline Bench (3 x 6 reps @ 67.5kg)
EZ Bar Curl (3 x 8 reps @ 25kg)

EZ Bar Skullcrusher (3 x 8 reps @ 35kg)
DB Ext. Rot. (3 x 12 reps @ 3kg)

Reverse Pec Deck (11 reps @ 43kg)
Pec Deck (10 reps @ 77kg)
Hinged DB Lateral Raise (12 reps @ 8kg)

Back at the temporary gym today. Skullcrushers are feeling very very hard still, so I’ll repeat that weight again and see how the RPE ends up before I try to progress anything.

It’s going to be annoying to use a different set of equipment and figure out how much weight I can move on it, because I’m only just figuring out I had way more in the tank on this pec deck than I realised.

----- Thursday -----

Lying Hamstring Curl (2 x 10 reps @ 30kg, 8 reps @ 30kg + 2 drop sets)
Seated Calf Raise (3 x 12 reps @ +50kg)

Physio Side Plank

Physio Leg Press

Was trying out the John Meadows idea of squats/knees feeling better if you have a hamstring pump, but I didn’t really notice anything. Maybe doing the physio side planks let it go away a little bit, but maybe it just has no effect on my knee problems…

----- Friday -----

Overhead Press (52.5kg x 1 rep, 2 x 8 reps @ 42.5kg, 7 reps @ 42.5kg + 1 rep @ 40kg)
Pull-ups (3 x 6 reps @ +1.25kg) [1.25kg belt]

Bench (2 x 6 reps @ 77.5kg)
DB Row (2 x 8 reps @ 60lbs)

Today felt hard. The opening single was closer to RPE 10 than the 7-8 I’m aiming for (although my head wasn’t properly set, so that doesn’t help either) and every other exercise just felt hard. If I had the time to do a third set of bench, there’s no way I woud’ve been able to get 6 reps. Just an off day. Makes sense with the shorter sleeps I’ve had the last couple of nights. Great for life overall and fun times, but I’m paying my dues in the gym.

I’m feeling the bench press in my chest again. As in, a lot, back to the way it used to feel. I have no idea why that is, or what that means, but it’s nice to have it feel like normal again.

Thoughts:

Great to be back in the old gym again, and to have more than half an hour to train! The other one was still good, and still full of brand-new equipment…from when it opened in 1976. It’s all well maintained, but you can really see how equipment has progressed in the last decade or two. I noticed it especially with hamstring curl machines. The resistance curve felt all kinds of wacky, and, I learnt the hard way on one of their machines, not all old hamstring curl machines are designed to be used unilaterally…ouch.

I’m also thinking of slightly switching up my program design for the next block. I’m thinking of moving bench press back to the first exercise of the day one day per week. I took it out of that slot to focus more on bringing up shoulder strength, but also because I was just sick of focusing on it, and having it not progress. I just wanted to forget about it for a second. But deep down, I still do want to progress my bench, so bringing it back is a good idea.
Also, I’ve been thinking that having 2 out of my 5 pressing exercises on Friday is not the greatest idea out there. I’m thinking that doing 2 important exercises then going out for the night, drinking a bunch of alcohol and not sleeping great is not a great combo for good progress. So I’m thinking I’m going to move bench to the 1st slot on Wednesday, and do incline afterwards.

Log Week 5

Wave 2 Week 2

Benchmark Lifts:
Overhead Press: 52.5kg x 3 reps (+2.5kg)
Chin-up: +17.5kg x 3 reps (+2.5kg)

----- Monday -----

Overhead Press (52.5kg x 3 reps, 2 x 3 reps @ 47.5kg)
Chin-ups (+17.5kg x 3 reps, 2 x 3 reps @ +7.5kg)

Overhead Press (3 x 6 reps @ 45kg)
Chin-ups (3 x 5 reps @ +5kg)

Lateral Raise Machine (3 x 11 @ 46kg)
Deadhang (3 x 30 sec @ 12.5kg)

Cable Rear Delt (3 x 14 reps @ 3.75/kg) (The / is an increment weight)
CoC #1 gripper (3 x 9 reps) [to parallel or a little more]

Going to have to up my Overhead Press to 55kg x 3 reps next week. 52.5kg isn’t feeling easy, so I’m still unsure about it, but everything else is tracking, so hopefully I’ve got it in me, like I did 3 weeks ago.

----- Tuesday -----

Deficit Hip Thrust (3 x 6 reps @ 140kg)

SL RDL (12 reps @ 20kg, 12 reps @ 35kg, 2 x 12 reps @ 40kg)

Physio Side Plank

1/4 ROM SL Leg Press (Sled(10))
PFP acted up, had to stop

RDL (3 x 6 reps @ 90kg)

Really was not feeling it today, but happy I didn’t call it quits earlier than I did. Not being able to do a normal lower body day is really starting to drag on me

----- Wednesday -----

45° Incline Bench (3 x 5 reps @ 70kg)
EZ Bar Curl (3 x 7 reps @ 27.5kg)

EZ Bar Skullcrusher (9 reps @ 35kg, 8 reps @ 35kg, 5 reps @ 35kg)
DB Ext. Rot. (12 reps @ 4kg, 2 x 10 reps @ 4kg)

Rev. Pec Deck (12 reps @ 40kg, 12 reps @ 40/kg, 11+ reps @ 40//kg)
Pec Deck (10 reps @ 77kg)
Mid-range DB Lateral Raise (3 x 12 reps @ 6kg)

Smooth Barbell Hold (20 seconds @ 60kg, 2 x 20 seconds @ 80kg)
Wrist Curl (12 reps @ 10kg, 12 reps @ 12.5kg, 12 reps @ 15kg)
Wrist Extension (2 x 12 reps @ 10kg, 8 reps @ 10kg)

Skullcrushers really weren’t great this week. Maybe the weight has been too heavy this whole time, and my form this week was just better, or maybe it’s something else, but I’m gonna drop the weight next week

----- Thursday -----

SL RDL (7 reps @ 40kg)

Physio Side Plank

GHR (3 x 9 reps)

Physio Step-up/Touch-down

Seated Calf Raise (12 reps @ 30kg, 12 reps @ 32.5kg, 12 reps @ 35kg)
Dragon Flag (3 x 5 eccentrics)

Today makes Tuesday look like a good day. Holy shit, I haven’t felt that bad in the gym in ages. At least I tried out a new squat-pattern movement for physio work and it seemed alright. Hopefully that starts helping me out.

----- Friday -----

Overhead Press (50kg x 1 rep, 3 x 7 reps @ 44kg)
Pull-ups (3 x 5 reps @ +3.5kg)

Bench (3 x 5 reps @ 80kg)
Single Arm Barbell Row (4 x 10 reps @ 30kg)

Reverse EZ Bar Curl (10 reps @ 20kg, 6 reps @ 20kg, 5 reps @ 20kg)

.
Turns out last Friday was just a bad day after all!

I went lighter on the Overhead Press primer single and I think that’s a good idea, I felt the difference today.

Bench felt really hard on the first set, but easier on the next two. I was kind of stressing after that first set, I thought my progress had fallen flat on its face again. Gotta say as well, I’ve been trying to push the bar back over my face on more of my reps and I’ve been noticing the difference. I used to only do it on the last rep or two when it got hard because I felt like I fatigued faster if I did it on more than that. This time, it felt like it helped, so maybe this focus on shoulder strength is actually what I’ve been needing all along.

I love the one arm barbell row. Holy shit, it blows DB rows right out of the water. I’m also feeling it quite a lot in my rear delts, which is kinda funky, but it’s really hitting my lats, especially the left side (which is weaker/smaller)
I’m doing them with the technique I saw Brian Alsruhe using on one of his videos: standing over the bar, one end in the corner behind you, one leg forward, one back and to the side, elbow resting on the forward leg, using 5kg/10lb plates.

Thoughts:
Solid week, looking forward to hefting some PR weight over my head on Monday.

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Log Week 6

Wave 2 Week 3

Benchmark Lifts:
Overhead Press: 55kg x 3 reps (+5kg) PR
Chin-up: +20kg x 3 reps (+5kg)

----- Monday -----

Overhead Press (55kg x 3 reps, 2 x 3 reps @ 50kg) PR
Chin-ups (+20kg x 3 reps, 2 x 3 reps @ +10kg)

Overhead Press (3 x 5 reps @ 47.5kg)
Chin-ups (3 x 4 reps @ +7.5kg)

Lateral Raise Machine (2 x 12 reps @ 46kg, 8 reps @ 46kg + dropset)
Deadhang (3 x 30 sec @ 15kg)

Reverse Pec Deck (9 reps @ 40/kg, 2 x 9 reps @ 40kg + one dropset)
CoC #1 gripper (3 x 10 reps) [to parallel or a little more]

Solid RPE 9 triple for my top set, I’ve got more in the tank. I did have a coffee before this session, which I don’t normally, so I’ll have to see how it feels next week but it’s very encouraging. The back-off sets did seem harder than I expected though.

Deadhangs are progressing well. Absolutely could not have done what I did today last week.

----- Tuesday -----

RDL (3 x 6 reps @ 100kg)

1/4 ROM Leg Press (3 x 12 reps @ Sled, 12 reps @ 10kg, 20kg, 30kg)

Physio Side Plank

GHR (8+, 9, 9)

Smith Machine Calf Raise (3 x 8 reps @ +70kg)

Really happy with how my back felt with RDLs today. I focused on keeping my head in line with my back, instead of looking forwards, and it definitely improved things. The reps themselves were pretty difficult, going to use my new progression method with RDLs from here.

Disappointing how weak the RDLs were though. Back when I was still deadlifting, I did a set of 6 or 8 at 120kg, and only didn’t do more sets because my straps were wet and I couldn’t hold on to the bar. This was also when my deadlift was 20kg+ less than the best I got it up to. But I guess this is just the way things go, so all I can do is just get it progressing again.

----- Wednesday -----

45° Incline Bench (3 x 4 reps @ 72.5kg)
EZ Bar Curl (3 x 6 reps @ 30kg)

EZ Bar Skullcrusher (12 reps @ 30kg, 2 x 8 reps @ 30kg)
DB Ext. Rot. (12, 11, 7 reps @ 4kg)

Rev. Pec Deck (2 x 12 reps @ 40/kg, 10 reps @ 40kg + dropset)
Pec Deck (10,7 reps @ 68//kg, 8 reps @ 68kg + dropset)
Mid-range DB Lateral Raise (12, 9 reps @ 7kg, 12 reps @ 6kg + dropset)

Smooth Barbell Hold (3 x 20 seconds @ 80kg)
Wrist Curl (3 x 12 reps @ 15kg)
Wrist Extension (2 x 12 reps @ 10kg, 10 reps @ 10kg)

It’s been fun trying to progress my bicep curls the same way as a compound movement, but I feel like the time for that is coming to a close. I’ve been watching some of Mike Israetel’s stuff and if I try to really emphasise the eccentric for muscle growth like he says, there’s no way I can keep going with this weight. I’m going to drop the weight and double-progress it from here.
Same with my skullcrushers, the slow eccentric is why they really weren’t great this week either. Just got to change what I view as my baseline now to line it up with the weight I can use with a slow eccentric.

----- Thursday -----

No training today

----- Friday -----

Overhead Press (52.5kg x 1 rep, 3 x 6 reps @ 46.5kg)
Pull-ups (3 x 4 reps @ +6kg)

Bench (3 x 4 reps @ 82.5kg)
Single Arm Barbell Row (4 x 10 reps @ 32.5kg)

High to Low Cable Flye (10 reps @ 10kg, 2 x 12 reps @ 10kg)

The top single today felt harder than it should, there was definitely a little bit of a grind. I’m thinking I’m going to stick to 50kg next week. The opening single is supposed to be a primer, difficult, but able to be moved fairly quickly.

Thoughts:

Solid Overhead Press PR this week. It moved well and I’m confident about keeping this gain train rolling. My 54kg best that I beat this week was done with a belt, so it’s a bigger PR than it might look at first.

Now that I’ve progressed my pull-ups enough, I’m going to lower the weights and up the reps to match the pressing movements they’re supersetted with. I only had lower reps to begin with because I just couldn’t do enough while keeping them at RPE 8. No idea how many reps I could get in a bodyweight AMRAP set nowadays, and tbh, I don’t really care. I’ve got a good thing going, and I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.

For a while now I’ve had this separation in my mind between strength and bodybuilding movements. They’ve basically fallen along compound vs isolation (aside from tricep isolation), but I haven’t used different exercise technique for either. Having watched more of Renaissance Periodisation’s videos, I’m going to lean further into the bodybuilding style technique for the bodybuilding work (how shocking). Basically going to really focus on controlling a 3 second eccentric. I’m also going to treat skullcrushers as a purely bodybuilding movement, including a higher rep range. I’ve already got enough lower rep, heavy compound movements to stress them in that rep range.

The single leg RDLs seem to have caused me more pain in my knees (especially the right side) and the physio thinks it’s all still related to the patella stuff I’ve got going on. He’s pretty insistent that I keep it in my program, but that I should go back to using dumbbells instead of a barbell. Not too happy with that tbh, I just really don’t enjoy doing them, but we’ll see how I go over the next couple of weeks. I might be more definite about cutting them out if I still hate them when I go back in again.

This was a weird week on the scale, apparently I’m up 2kg in a week. My average last week was 77.1kg, and on Monday it read 78.8, and I thought ‘huh, must be water weight or something from the weekend’ but then on Tuesday it said 79.4! wtf?! It’s stayed around 79kg all week now. I haven’t really noticed visual changes in the amount of fat I’m carrying, but I’ve definitely not put on 2kg of muscle, so idk wtf is going on.

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Best of luck on your press goals. I’ll be following along. I know there’s at least a couple of us with similar press weights and working on it actively.

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Haha, what a badass log title. Good luck to you, sir. Nothing more impressive than heavy things being held overhead.

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Thanks guys, hopefully it’s a good journey from here

After consuming a ton of RP content myself, I’ve arrived at a similarly reasonable medium. I train mostly for strength, but of course I care about my biceps (and neck, and forearms, and delts). It makes sense to think about resistance profiles and lengthened-bias stuff when you get to your isolation work, but the bulk of your progression will come from improving compounds lifts in disadvantaged positions (i.e., larsen press, high bar ATG squats, and conventional RDLs). Look back at Dr. Mike’s earliest Youtube vids pre-RP…he was doing strict rows with 365, squatting 500 for 10, and overhead pressing 275 for 8. He and Jared Feather both built their physiques with these fundamentals, as did egregiously jacked powerlifters like Ed Coan and Dan Green.

I think people are really splitting hairs (often before they’ve grown them) when it comes to the distinction between hypertrophy and strength. You are going to make the most noticeable changes in your physique by progressively overloading compound movements in the 5-10 rep range with standardized execution. This is coming from a guy who spent five years going down the N-1/Doug Brignole rabbit hole and spending way too much time doing cross-body diagonal pulldowns on the cable machine. Frankly, I find this kind of training un-motivating and boring. I saw my best gains when I was powerlifting, stagnated when I tried the uber-isolation approach, and am back to making steady progress now that I’m focusing on strength in strictly executed compound movements. I still do Bayesian curls between sets of pressing and finish with overhead cable extensions, but those are just the icing.

I’m late to the party, but looking forward to follow along with your log. OHP is damned cool. I’ve just thrown it back in after a few bench-focused blocks, and I’m excited to retrace and eventually eclipse my progress.

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I completely agree, the big basics are where it’s at. It’s always fun to have a bit of isolation work going on (and to hit areas that the compounds might not focus enough for you), but I also feel like big weights for high reps are where the best results are.

Haha what a quote. Who wouldn’t want to be egregiously jacked too

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Log Week 7

Wave 3 Week 1

Benchmark Lifts:
Overhead Press: 55kg x 3 reps (+5kg)
Chin-up: +20kg x 3 reps (+5kg)

----- Monday -----

Overhead Press (55kg x 3 reps, 2 x 3 reps @ 50kg)
Chin-ups (+20kg x 3 reps, 2 x 3 reps @ +10kg)

Overhead Press (3 x 7 reps @ 45kg)
Chin-ups (2 x 7 reps @ +2.5kg, 7 reps @ bodyweight)

The triples felt really good today, easier than last week for sure.

----- Tuesday -----

RDL (3 x 6 reps @ 100kg)

Front Rack Hold - (10 seconds @ 60kg, 80kg, 100kg)

1/4 ROM Leg Press (3 x 12 reps @ 40kg)

Physio Side Plank

Smith Machine Calf Raise (10 reps @ +70kg)

----- Wednesday -----

45° Incline Bench (6, 6, 5 reps @ 70kg)
EZ Bar Curl (3 x 12 reps @ 20kg)

EZ Bar Skullcrusher (3 x 12 reps @ 25kg)
DB Ext. Rot. (12, 12, 7 reps @ 4kg)

Rev. Pec Deck (12, 7 reps @ 40/kg)
Pec Deck (10, 8 reps @ 68//kg, 7 reps @ 68kg)
Mid-range DB Lateral Raise (14, 14, 8 reps @ 6kg + dropset after last)

Smooth Barbell Hold (3 x 20 seconds @ 85kg)
Wrist Curl (10, 10, 15 reps @ 17.5kg)
Wrist Extension (3 x 12 reps @ 10kg)

Felt kinda off and ended up not getting 3x6 for my incline press, but then my accessories felt like crap too. I was worried that my progress for this is hitting a wall, but I’m thinking now that I just had a bad day.

----- Thursday -----

No training today, went surfing.

----- Friday -----

Overhead Press (3 x 8 reps @ 44kg)
Pull-ups (8, 8, 6 reps @ bodyweight)

Bench (6, 6, 5 reps @ 80kg)
Single Arm Barbell Row (4 x 10 reps @ 35kg)

Completely forgot to do the primer single today, oops.

Everything felt hard today, just didn’t feel good in general. Got everything done though, well, except bench. Didn’t get that last rep, but I think that was partly me feeling crappy, partly me not being able to pause the bar in the right spot on my chest on the last set, always a bit high or low, and partly me probably not eating enough yesterday.

Thoughts:

I can definitely feel the emphasis on the Overhead Press paying off. It feels solid and strong, while my bench is progressing but doesn’t feel amazing. But the whole goal of this specialization was to progress OHP and if I increased bench, that’d be nice too.

I’ve got this idea kicking around in my head of trying to progress my bench, as a second exercise, up to the level it was when I did it first in a workout.

It’s a little concerning that I missed a rep on both incline and flat bench this week. Hopefully it’s just up to coincidentally not feeling fully there both days, and not hitting a bit of a plateau with them, but I’ll keep pushing and hopefully it all stays good over the last two weeks of this block.

My pull-ups were a bit disappointing this week. I’m normally very strict about keeping my chest up at the top, but on the higher rep sets I had to ‘cheat’ a little and let it roll forwards to get the reps. It’s annoying that the increasing weight over the last month and a bit hasn’t improved my pull-ups as much as I thought it would, but who knows, maybe my expectations were a bit high. Either way, I’ll try to get these in the right rep range with the right technique, then keep progressing them the way I did before

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