Since the TBT ( “total body training”) thing I’ve been noodling with for the first/last few weeks since I was cleared to lift is insufficiently structured to work for me; I’m getting my form back, but not making any kind of coherent progress. So, with that in mind, I’m poring through my training logs and previous programs to figure out what to hitch my wagon to.


Regain strength and size without undue risk of re-injuring my repaired shoulder. Improve conditioning.


  • My own push/pull/stand act (whether that’s my 15/9/3+ thing or a more TBT-style 3×20/15/8 rep system)
  • 5/3/1’s “Boring But Big” variant
  • Starting Strength / Stronglifts / similar 5×5
  • Smolov-style single-lift focus (probably squats, with a beginning 1RM of 335 to play it safe)

Suggestions from the readership are welcomed, with greater consideration given to documented, first-hand performance improvement by the advocate.

Objects in selfie may not be as buff as they apppear.

Objects in selfie may not be as buff as they apppear.

The safety dance

Since I am perennially a man without a hat, I can make that joke in conjunction with taking delivery of my new EFTS safety squat bar.

Did some empty bar reps in the living room to get a feel for it after I attached the handles. I think it’ll work out well.

Now, if I can dispel the tightness, soreness, and swelling from my right ankle/calf/knee so I can try and squat heavy to explore my approximate 1RM tomorrow, that would be lovely. I’ll be thrilled with 405#, and not dissatisfied with anything over 365. Deadlifts are similarly mentally anticipated to have lost about 10% from my PR last year, so 455#+ is really what I’m looking for with a conventional pull.

Benching was a surprisingly non-deprecated 245# (only lost 20# off my PR despite the months and months of injured discomfort and bullshit) and my overhead press was a nearly complete shock – a 15# PR of 180# (I was really hoping for a 1xBW rep @ 190#, but 185# wasn’t getting up more than halfway).

This is the new shit

Currently crafting a new lifting routine. The two naming candidates are “BSOD” and “666.” Number of surprised people: 0.

As previously noted, fucking off time is over. My plan right now is to go to six days a week, three lifts a day. This is informed by an amalgamation and distillation of my own experience (independently, as well as my tenure under Josh Bryant’s guidance) combined with a recent exposure to and curiosity about the so-called “Bulgarian” school, tempered by a cursory review of Jason Ferruggia’s program[1].

So, here’s how it looks…

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Going to Eleven

That's one louder, innit?

That's one louder, innit?

So, my overall theme for the year, “I can do better,” has finally started to bear more fruit. Some of it was expected, some of it is coming as a pleasant surprise, but pretty much all of it is welcomed.
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Hired Guns

Arthur Saxon performing a bent press.

Image via Wikipedia

Traditionally, I have turned to friends for mentoring and motivation (at least when the latter is not to be found in sufficient quantities internally). However, a couple of the generally-accepted bits of conventional wisdom when it comes to strength training is that, 1) you’re going to hit a plateau, 2) you need to be around people stronger than you, and 3) everything works for a while, but nothing works forever.

To mitigate all three of those things, and at the back-handed suggestion of the guy a mutual acquaintance and I call as “our Tall Friend,” I reached out to Josh Bryant, of

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Ratchet and Clank

Sawtooth wave

Image via Wikipedia

So, paying attention to my own advice, after running up to and against my probable maxes in October, recalibration occurred and the next iteration of the upward-trending sawtooth wave pattern has commenced. Relative to the last reset (July 10), here’s how things stacked up:

Bench Press: 1RM: 240 (+15), new 1st wave max: 165

Overhead Press: 1RM 135 (-15), new 1st wave max: 85

Squat: 1RM 325 (+60), new 1st wave max: 225

Deadlift: 1RM 425 (+20), new 1st wave max: 275

Of course, losing the better part of two months to the broken hand and subsequent plague really hampered everything but the squat (since it doesn’t rely on grasping the bar, it could still be done with relative aplomb). The P&V page has been summarily updated.

Weekend Workouts

15/9/3: Overhead Press (Friday) | Deadlifts (Sunday)

It’s also “weigh and measure weekend,” though I don’t know if I’ll snap some progress pictures to share or not. Feeling a little squidgy after entirely too much coffee and some much-needed beer.

OHP Friday frankly kind of sucked.  Deadlifting on Sunday went better.

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[WotD] Saturday, September 25

the "Ohio State Program" for bench p...

This is much, much more legible than my handwritten log. (Image by skyfaller on Flickr)

15/9/3 – Deadlift & Bench Press

A slightly different take than the “Dead Man Benching” routine from earlier in the week; rather than ramping up both exercises, the bench remained at a moderate load (~50% 1RM) for several high-rep sets.


Deadlift: 1×15 @ 135 / 1×10 @ 185 / 1×5 @ 225 / 1×5 @ 265

Bench Press: 2×15 @ 45 / 1×10 @ 95

Work Sets:

Deadlift: 3×5 @ 295 / 2×5 @ 315 / 3×3+3 @ 355 (PR)

Bench Press: 7×10 @ 125

[WotD] Saturday, August 28

15/9/3 – Squats

Since the splint holds my wrist steady, and I had to do something to keep from going nuts….


Squats: 1×10 @ 45 / 1×10 @ 95 / 1×5 @ 135

Work Sets:

Squats: 3×5 @ 165 / 3×5 @ 185 / 3×5 @ 205

Interestingly, this was the first time I’ve been able to go ass-to-grass (A2G) at 205. It felt good, and I might have had a couple more sets in me, but I didn’t want to push things too far.

Reloading – [WotD] Sunday August 22

15/9/3 – Squat Day

Backing off to ~65% of the 1RM from a couple weeks ago, and restarting the ascending sawtooth wave. That’s the plan, anyway. It’s going to be treading some water until after vacation, plus the whole broken hand thing. This is the one lift that the splint actually helps, since it keeps my wrist from bending back. I was more cognizant of resting my butt on the box, instead of just touch-and-go as a depth check.


Box Squat: 1×15 @ 45 / 1×12 @ 95 / 1×10 @ 135

Work Sets:

Box Squat: 3×5 @ 175 / 3×5 @ 195 / 1×5 @ 215

Not impressive by any stretch, but better than nothing.