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 Andy Awad's Training Log

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Andy Awad
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:27 pm

4/2/14

paused bench

265 x 3
285 x 3 x 3
225 x 13

Bench is feeling pretty good. I'm taking my wide competition grip in just a little more to take a little of the stress off of my shoulders. I'm at about pinky's on the rings now. Which is in from ring fingers which was in from middle fingers. I wouldn't say all of those triples were easy, but I didn't struggle. I made the eccentric very slow and made sure they were very controlled. Important: no left shoulder pain. there was some very minimal irritation, but I honestly think it was mental since I was focusing on it so much.

Incline bench

165 x 7
165 x 7
185 x 5

This, as my ohp, is improving quickly right now. I realize that I am probably close to maxing out this quick and progress in what are basically new lifts to me. Even though these are not competition lifts, it's amazing what progress in any strength movement can do for your psyche. I'm enjoying them very much right now. Eventually I'll pay more attention to my standard bench press again, but as of now I really want to build these up some more before I push my bench like I was. It just feels better and seems like the smarter approach for me to take.

Continuous Circuit. Let me just say that I would really like to lose a little weight - I don't need a six-pack, but I'd like to get rid of the jiggle. Also, I'm consistently weighing in at 213. This makes for more of a cut to 198 than I'd like to do in the event that I compete (which I'd like to do sometime this summer). I think I'll start doing something like this at the end of upper body days.

4 x Run 2 laps (moderate pace)
25 push ups

4 times

Last running was 3 laps to make for a total of 1 mile.

5 sets of 20 face pulls
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:33 pm

Man, I didn't realize how long it's been since I've updated my log.  School is keeping me busy, but I've still been busting my butt to come to the gym at 6 or 7 am every morning (Poage can verify, as I see him there often now).  I had few mediocre workouts that weren't really worth logging.  I've decided that it's time to start doing a new training split for myself.  It's pretty basic.  It's three days on, one day off because I just like that more than a weekly split.  This is what I was doing for the past 5 or six weeks, but I was making things a little complicated, and the squatting movements were too frequent for me and my squat was just getting burned out.  Each three days basically go squat, bench, and deadlift with accessory exercises that I will continue trying out.  The first three, squat and bench are heavy(ish) and deadlift is light, and the second three squat and bench are light and deadlift is heavy.  First, I'll log the basics of a few of my last workouts that I remember.

Squat:

Began experimenting with ligt (225) box squats to help improve my torso position.  Although they are stopping a little short of parallel right now, they are very helpful.

Over head press:  Hit 175 for a pretty difficult single.  It was ugly, but I assure you it was strict.

Bench:  Hit 245 for 11, which is a rep PR of me, after some sets of 5 at 275

Pulled conventional for the first time in about a month.  My form was off.  Pulled 455 x 5 ok, then did 315 x 15 beltless.  Most times I've done 315, and it was pretty easy.  Starting my pull with my hips a little higher.  Didn't bang up my shins, which was nice.

Anyhow, that's that and today began my first day of my new cycle

Squat: (box squat)

I'm sticking to the box (2 45's puls a black rubber block on it's side) for now.  I think if I remove one of the plates I'll be convincingly at depth, but I'm not ready to do that yet.  This is working well, so I'm not going to rush it.  Normally this will be my "heavy day", but I don't think I'm going to try anything too heavy until I get my form where I want it to be.  Today was the best it's been, probably ever.  I wore running shoes to see how I like having a heel (I've been squatting in my chucks, but I think that is going to come to an end).  Although running shoes are far from providing the support I need, it gave me a sense for what it's like having a heel.  I think I will invest in some olympic shoes.  It was fairly helpful in the effort to stay upright.

225 x 10
275 x 2 x 8
315 x 2 x 8

Bulgarian squats

95 x 3 x 12
body weight by 30

Surprisingly, these started to cause some low back irritation so I ditched the weight.  I think it is because I wasn't activating my gluts.  I was having the same issue on my squats.  Change you form, and you start to forget things.

Leg press

3 plates per side for 3 sets

Just did these to get a good stretch and get a deep range of motion since I'm stopping the squats a little short for now.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:12 pm

Nice job man. Looks like you're making good progress.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:24 am

Thanks, Kyle. The added frequency and volume I've been incorporating is starting to pay off.

4/11 (7am....)

Bench

Warm up
225 x 4
255 x 6

I stopped here because something just felt terrible. 255 x 6 was practically failure. My bench hasn’t been feeling the best lately, but there is no reason it should be feeling as weak as it did today. I took the weight down to 225 and convinced myself that I could figure out why this was sucking so much…

225 x 8
225 x 6

These still felt really bad…and weak! Then I tried something. I’ve been thinking so much about my lats recently when I bench. I think it was good for me to focus on, but I was beginning to emphasize them too much. I decided to think about thoracic expansion and tension and forget about my lats. It made a tremendous difference in my bench performance.

225 x 11
225 x 14 (rep PR?)

These sets had very short rest intervals, and I did them with my pinky fingers at the rings. Today I truly realized the impact a good setup can have on lifting performance. I think between the early morning workouts and the lighter weights I’ve been using recently I was starting to neglect this. Lesson learned.

Seated dbb military press.
5 light sets x 10
Did these to really focus on my dealts, which are my weakness.

Finished with some rear delt and rotator cuff work because I need it.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:04 pm

4/12/14

Lightish deadlift (conventional, no belt)

315 x 5 x 5

Felt pretty good and fast. Not a lot of rest between these making an effort to start with my hips higher.

Bent over rows

135 x 15
155 x 3 x 15

Hammer strength low rows, on arm at a time
3 sets

Super sets for arms x 7.....what's happening to me? For realz tho, I am liking the added size to my arms. Not that I care about it aaallll that much, but it is nice to feel my sleeves tight after a nice arm pump. I'm just throwing some arm work in right now at the end of the workout before a rest day.



4/14/14

Light squat

225 x 4 x 10
225 x 15

Lowered the box about 3/4 of an inch from last time for these, three plates plus the rubber block on its short side (last time it was two plates plus the block on its tall side). I think I might be at parallel now, but I'll have to video myself to make sure. I'm keeping myself much more upright now, and it is changing the way I squat a lot. Felt these a lot more in my gluts and hams today. Also, I wore running shoes again. For now, these will have to do.

Front squats
135 x 6
185 x 3 x 3

getting a little better at these. reps go to shit pretty fast, much sooner than I actually start to fatigue.

Box jump to depth drop x 30

Jump rope

4 x 1:30 with 1:00 rest
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:05 pm

I'm feeling really excited to bench tomorrow. I hope this means a good bench day.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:51 pm

4/15/14

Bench
warm up
225 x 4
255 x 8
255 x 8
255 x 9
225 x 14

These were tng bench, and, in an effort to take some pressure off of my shoulders, I didn't come to a full lockout on the last set. My main focus was to get into a good rhythm on these sets, It was alright. I started this session at 6 am....Need to get to bed earlier for these

incline
155 x 2 x8
155 x 7

First two sets were easy, last one didn't make it though. Probably would have if I rested more, but I'm trying to get some conditioning going.

seated dbb military press, superset with face pulls

40 x 3 x 12

Did these at the preacher curl seat, really liked it and made it easier to focus on my delts. This may be the best way for me to target my shoulder weaknesses. I really like doing presses, and I'll continue to do them, but this may be more helpful for now.

run 3 laps on track do 25 pushups x 3 (1 mile, 75 pushups)

Since the intramural meet, I haven't benched over 285. I'm sure my one rep max is down a bit from the 345 I hit, but I feel like the break from heavy stuff was good for my joints, and I'm in a position right now to work up to a bigger bench than before. I worked up to 345 basically after a decently long break and putting my body through the grinder of heavy drinking. I'm thinking about the push pull NASA meet in Des Moines in late May. 365 has been on my radar for a long time (mostly because it's the next cool looking combination after 3 plates). I was hoping to hit it at some point this summer, but not as early as May. I will see how things are feeling as I start upping the weight again. I'm thinking a 10 or 15 lb PR would not be unreasonable though.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:43 am

4/16/14

Deadlift

The plan was to work up to a heavy single, which was going to be 485, and then do some doubles at 455. I woke up with a stiff back, and had a fealing I shouldn't try anything too heavy for the day. I didn't listen to it, and I ended up pulling something on 455. It wasn't horrible, and I've pulled it a lot worse in the past. It's actually fealing a lot better already. But I'm going to take today off as well. I'll likely just do some push ups and pull ups at my home after work and class today. I think my back strain was the combination of several things

1. Not sleeping enough. I've been averaging between 5 and 6 hrs of sleep a night. You often hear lift big, eat big. I think sleep big should be included there.

2. working out at the butt crack of dawn. I've really started to like doing this, but the truth of the matter is it just feels harder on my body. My aches and pains are at an all time high. I think, for my body, it is critical that I be up and about for at least 2 hrs before to get things going.

3. Trying to change my form without lowering the weights. In an effort to make conventional pulling more comfortable for me, I was trying to change my back position as well as the starting position of my pull. In doing so, I lost the focus of my hip drive and was pulling to much with my back.

Anyhow. After I felt the pull in my back, I decided to try some light sumo pulling. I did 3 sets of ten at 225. I did them pretty slowly and controlled the eccentric. They actually felt good. I think this is just how it's going to have to be for me from now on. Heavy pulling will be done sumo for the next several months.

Hammer strength low rows super set with lateral raises

5 sets

Bis and tris superset: 5 sets

In other news, I need to by some equipment. Olympic shoes for squatting and a belt. The only halfway decent belt I was checking out from CRWC disappeared abut a week ago. I've been lifting beltless since then.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:22 pm

4/22/14

This was my first workout since hurting my back. I didn't plan on taking so many days off, but I got kinda swamped with school stuff and I figured I needed to catch up on some rest anyways. Hopefully after this Friday I get back on track with the 3 days on 1 day off I'm shooting for. It was also my first workout not early in the morning in quite some time. Despite how much I was actually starting to like the early morning routine and lifestyle, I think I'm going to switch back to late afternoons/early evenings. It's just better for my body. I just have to find a new motivation to get an early start on my day now. On the other hand, I always look forward to my workout at the end of the day.

Back update: still stiff in the mornings, but it's loosening up as the day goes on.

Squatts:

225 x 3 x 5
275 x 3 x 5
225 x 3 x 5

Took the box down to parrallel, which was a 45, a 25, and the rubber block on it's side. The last three sets of 225 were about an inch below parrallel; took away the 25.

Bent over rows

Did these from the floor, as opposed to the more body building style I usually do, where I try to keep my torso pretty stationary. My upper abdomen is bruised from slamming the bar into it. I like it.

185 x 5
225 x 3 x 5

dumbbell rows

80 x 10 x 3

bodywieght lunges

2 x 10

jaw workout

A bit. It was nice seeing the familiar faces in the gym again. Not a lot of you guys who do the early morning thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:49 pm

Aside from a bench day in which Kyle really helped me with fixing my technique, today was my first workout in almost a week. The rest was much needed because of how stressed I'd been with school. Things today felt great. Also, my first deadlift day since hurting the back.

Sumo deadlift.

warm ups

365 x 5
365 x 5
405 x 5

this was the best deadlifting has felt in a while. I'm going to keep up the sumo. Video to come of the 405 x 5. Thank you Nelson for letting me try out your belt. I liked it a lot.

Feet up bench

185 x 5 x 8

These were very easy, but my main focus is really trying to keep my wrists straight and prevent my elbows from coming forward. Still room for improvement, but The stress on my shoulders was significantly reduced. The bar path felt shaky, similar to the way it felt when I first started to use wraps. I'm sure that will go away relatively quickly. In my last benching session, Kyle observed some weaknesses in my technique that were contribute to increased stress on my shoulder joint. In addition to form, I'm adding some mobility stuff.

Floor press

135 x 10
135 x 15
135 x 10

I had a hunch that doing these would help me feel out my forearm position a little easier than actually being on the bench. I did them with light weight. My thinking was that with my elbows more or less resting on the ground, I'd be able to adjust my wrist position and better feel the effect of the torque being applied to my forearms and elbows. It turned out to be very insightful. I also was able to engage my rear delts a little easier from here too. Also, I was able to focus on not rolling my left shoulder forward at lockout. I'm going to keep my benching work similar to this for a little while. While I am missing the heavy sessions for now, I'm content knowing that this work will allow me to keep doing it for longer.

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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Thu May 01, 2014 11:29 am

4/29/14

Some very mediocre and light squatting. I'm taking squats very light until I get some good shoes. I'm planning to get the romaleos. Tried on a Kyle Kolb's pair, and the they felt amazing. I felt a lot less stress on my hips. Adiddas generally run narrow for me, so I think these will be a better option.

4/30

Feet up bench

185 x 8
205 x 8
225 x 3 x 8
225 x 6 (narrower grip)

Working on the form. Still keeping my feet up to keep the stress off of my back. My shoulder felt pretty good for these. It's still a struggle to internalize all of the cues to something that feels natural so I can get into a good rhythm. None of these felt tough, but in all honesty I should probably have stayed at sets of 205 so I could still focus on form. 225 seemed to be just a little too heavy that I wanted to slide back into familiar technique.

dumbbell shoulder presses

2 arm, then one arm

Face pulls

5 x 25

I also added the PT work I did when I hurt my shoulder last summer. It consists of internal and external rotations and some pull backs (or at least that's what I call them). They served me well before, so I figured why not give them a try again.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Fri May 02, 2014 12:08 pm

5/1

Squat
285 x 3 x 6 or 7

Some of these were done low bar wide stance to parallel and some were done high bar with a narrower stance pretty much atg.  To my surprise, the high bar actually felt better than expected - aside from the sensation that my traps were getting pulverized that is (never done high bar before).  I may start out my next squatting cycle with these.  It was easier to stay upright and get deep.  Tried on Josh's Romaleos for the last set or two.  Although they were a little on the big side for me, I was quite pleased.  Really looking forward to these arriving in the mail sometime next week.

Also, Did some of Josh's stretching routine with him after squats.  Gotta loosen my hips up.  Need to make mobility a priority and not just an after thought.  The side stance squats were tough on my hips.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Fri May 02, 2014 1:59 pm

Sounds like it was a very productive session for you, mate.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Sat May 03, 2014 10:49 am

Fo shizzle, Kyle. I'm getting the bench and deadlift figured out, and I think the squat is on its way as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Sat May 03, 2014 11:11 am

5/2/14

Sumo deadlift

warm up
365 x 2
415 x 1
465 x 3
415 x 1
365 x 2 x 5

I pushed a little harder than I wanted to on the 465 set. I haven't pulled this weight before sumo (I did pull 455 once or twice though), and I didn't know how it would feel, so I was planning to just do a single or a double. It felt pretty good, so I went for 3. The plan was to hit it and then do some triples at 415. The triple at 465 however left me a little gassed and 415 moved much slower than I wanted it to so I took it down to 365 and did some quintuples.

Hammer strength low rows

5 sets

lateral raises with elbows bent

Did these slightly bent over and really tried to keep my shoulders tight and focus on my lateral and rear delts working with the weight.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Sat May 03, 2014 11:14 am

Here are some of my recent sumo deadlift sets.



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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Sat May 03, 2014 1:28 pm

I can't speak much about form, as I don't know much about sumo, but it looks very natural for you. It kills me inside to say that... I'm glad you can start pulling without pain though. What was your conventional deadlift at before your switch?

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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Sat May 03, 2014 1:50 pm

It looks real nice, Andy. Make sure you continue to work on sitting back on your sumos. It's going to be a weakness for a while, but eventually, you'll be able to change your torso angle so that you're more vertical on these. He has different leverages from you, so the same rules really won't apply, but watch Pozdeev from the side:

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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Sat May 03, 2014 6:59 pm

Sam, I know those words were not easy for you to say, which makes it mean that much more. At the intramural meet, I pulled a very difficult 550. A few days before that I pulled 495 for 3 (and 3/4). I remember before I pulled 500 conventional for the first time I pulled a very difficult 455 x 3. Sumo, I pulled a fairly difficult 465 x 3 (don't think I had a 4th rep in me), which I think would put me a little over 500 for a max. I think in a month or two I will try hitting some heavy singles to see.

Kyle, thanks for that video and the compliment. I hadn't heard of Pozdeev before. That looked incredibly easy for him. I like that his stance isn't ultra wide, kind of like mine. I'm hoping the sitting back and being more upright will come. All in all, sumo is already feeling more natural for me than conventional. I'm finding that a lot of the cues I'm familiar with hearing regarding sumo pulling are a lot easier for me to process. I was really able to engage my hamstrings and gluts that session, and "pull the slack out of the bar".
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Sat May 03, 2014 7:04 pm

Training today consisted only of benching.  I didn't give myself much time to train today, but I'm heading out of town for the weekend so, since I'm working my form out on the bench, I thought I should really get a few sets in at low weight.  I figured since the stuff I've been doing is pretty low intensity lately, some extra work on form could only help.  I focused primarily on engaging my rear delts this workout.  Bar path is still a little iffy. First bench session in a while that was completely pain free.  Next step is to be able to keep all these cues in mind while being able to "set" into position with some heavier weight. I'm in no rush to do that though.  No pain in my left shoulder after benching today was a beautiful thing.

feet up bench

185 x 5 sets of 8 - 10
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Mon May 05, 2014 7:06 pm

5/05/14

Squat

275 x 2
325 x 1
325 x 1
325 x 1
325 x 1
325 x 1

These were wide stance. My new gym broham Brian offered me a spot. I told him I didn't need one, but I'd appreciate it if he checked out my form for me on the last one. He assured me that my chest stayed up and I went past parallel. he seemed legit. I would have liked to film one of these, but my phone was in my office charging.

Front squat
185 x 7
225 x 5
255 x 3

Form started to break on the last set So I decided to call it quits. Ended with some stretching.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Tue May 06, 2014 8:13 pm

Paused Bench

225 x 3 x 5
245 x 2 x 5
265 x 5

Felt like bench form got better and better with each set.  Put my feet down for the first time in a while today too.  Dalton helped me quite a bit with getting my form figured out.  There are many things I've been tweaking recently, and it's always easier to work on those with an extra pair of eyes.  The two things I found most helpful today were trying to keep my elbows under the bar and keep my grip tight!  I always forget the tight grip part.  My last set I remembered it and it was probably my best.  Too bad I didn't get the footage of that.  Once again, today's benching was shoulder pain free which always gives me hope.  Also, 265 x 5 was easy, which is encouraging lol.  I haven't done anything heavy in a while, and I always worry about losing some of my bench strength.

Standing OHP
95 x 7
115 x 6
125 x 5
135 x 5

Easy.  Most of these sets were paused as well.

Super set for 4 sets

face pulls, tricep extentions, and 90 degree lateral raises.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Wed May 07, 2014 2:16 pm

In my experience, my max bench never suffers if I'm doing appropriate volume at a reasonably high intensity (say, 70%+). I've gone months without touching anything over 85%, and I always know about where my bench stands. Now, that's just my experience, but I personally feel like the bench generally responds better to more sub-max training than do the squat or the deadlift--in fact, I don't really know of any exceptional high-frequency, high-intensity benchers out there, but I know of plenty of big benchers who mostly do a lot of sub-max, bodybuilding-type training with the occasional high-intensity work mixed in.
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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Wed May 07, 2014 3:59 pm

I've found that I need some sort of balance of both. Overall volume builds muscle and strength potential, but I am absolutely shitty at grinding anything out unless I have a training block dedicated to handling heavy loads and getting used to having a heavy bar in my hands or on my back.

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PostSubject: Re: Andy Awad's Training Log   Thu May 08, 2014 3:11 pm

I'm still figuring out what my bench responds best to, but everything you two mentioned to rings true for me. I've found that once I hit 300 (or there around) I wasn't able to go heavy as often due to the stress on my body. One thing I've also learned over the years is NOT to fail my bench attempts. It just seems like when I push my bench workouts to that point I stop seeing the progress. I think this is typical of most people as well.
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